We all claim that Quran is the miracle given to Prophet Muhammad yet very few of us understand, appreciate or even realize how Quran is a miracle. What does it do that shows that it is a miracle. We would like to spend sometime to see what is the miraculous nature of the Quran.
Well first of all, what do we mean by a miracle or a mu’jiza. Mu’jiza is from the root a’jaza and a’jaza as you would know means to be incapable of or to be weak. Now it may sound surprising to many how the word mu’jiza can be based on a word that means incapability. You would think that the opposite would be true. The mu’jiza is from the root a’jaz which means incapable because everyone else is incapable of doing it. So mu’jiza means an act or feat which no one can do, which no one has the ability to do.
Now what is the proof that the Quran is a mu’jiza? First of all, the fact that Allah always sends his prophets with mu’jizat and the reason for this was that mu’jizat was one of the few ways people could used to identify the prophets from the imposters. For example, the miracle of Isa involved curing people, healing the sick, the blind, the leper, even resurrecting a dead person by the will of Allah. The miracles of Musa, there were many of them, of them were the staff, of them was the shining light which came out of his hand, of them was the parting of the Nile. So all prophets have been given mu’jizat and therefore our prophet was not an exception. He too has been given mu’jizat. The Quran explicitly mentions that Muhammad has been given many mu’jizat.
Iqtarabatis sa’atu wan shaq qal-qamar
The time for the Day of Judgment has come close and the moon has split.
Many mu’jizaat given to the prophet but there is one that stands up among all rest and that is the Quran. Allah describes the mushrikun as saying:
Wa qaalu lawla unzila alayhi aayaatum mir rabbih.
Why are not aayaat (mu’jizaat) sent from his Lord
Qul innamal aayaatu i’ndallah wa innama ana nazeerum mubeen
the aayaat are from Allah and I am only a warner
Awalam yakfihim anna anzalna alaikal kitaba yutla a’layhim
Is it not sufficient for them (as a miracle) that Allah has revealed to them the kitaab that is recited to them?
The disbelievers were demanding many miracles, aayaat, plural.
There is a hadith related in Bukhari in which the Prophet (SAW) is narrated to have said:
There is not a single prophet that Allah has sent except that he has given him miracles because of which people believed in them. And the only miracle I have been given is this revelation that Allah has revealed to me. Therefore I hope to have the largest number of followers on the Day of Judgment.
Various benefits from this hadith. Firstly, that all prophets have been given miracles. Secondly, that the greatest mu’jiza of the prophet is the quran because he said this is the only miracle and by that it means that the prophet is emphasizing this miracle above all the miracles. Thirdly, Quran is the greatest miracle given to any prophet before the prophet. Where do we get that from? From the fact that the prophet said that I hope to have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Judgment. Because the Quran is the strongest miracle, therefore it deserves the most followers. And what a befitting thing it is because our prophet is the best of all prophets as we know.
Why is the Quran the greatest miracle? There are two main differences:
1. All previous miracles were separate from the revelations. So Isa was given the Injil but his miracles were outside the Injil to prove the Injil, likewise, Musa (AS). The miracle of Quran is that the message and miracle has been combined together in one. The Quran is not in need of external miracles to prove it; the Quran is a miracle in itself.
2. The other miracles were performed during the time of those Prophets and their impact was greatest on those who witnessed them. For those who had not seen them, they could have possibly dismissed them as matters of hearsay. The Quran however is a living miracle.
Each messenger brought to his people a miracle corresponding to the kind of knowledge they most excelled in. We see that because the people to whom Musa (AS) was sent excelled in Magic, the form of the miracle, which Musa (AS) challenged them with was of a magical nature. And so the magicians who observed Musa (AS) performing his miracle were among the first to believe in him and in Allah. Being in a better position than others to judge that the miracle was the super natural work of a divine power and not the result of magical skill, they were overwhelmed by what they witnessed.
The sunnah of Allah is to send the prophets with miracles that would be best appreciated by the people the prophet was sent to. So Isa, the bani Israel of his time would pride themselves in the field of medicine. They would pride themselves that they had so many ways to prevent diseases and to cure them. So when Isa came, Allah sent with him miracles of medical nature. So by showing them the miracles that they could appreciate and understood, the miracle itself were enforced.
The Arabs at the time of the prophet excelled in the Arabic language, balagha, eloquence. They would have annual fairs, the fair of Ukaz as we know. They had the famous seven muallaqat, the seven most famous poems that they hung on the ka’ba. So to prove to them that the prophet was the messenger of Allah, Allah gave him the Quran, which was extremely eloquent and powerful in its language.
When the Messenger of Allah began to preach Islam and recite the Qur’anic Surahs that were revealed successively, this provoked a great storm of opposition and hostility. A few months passed in this state until the Hajj season approached. The people of Makkah feared that if Muhammad (PBUH) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spell binding and unique Revelations of the Qur’an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj, his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraish chiefs held a conference and settled that they would start a propaganda campaign against the Prophet (PBUH) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived.
Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: “If you said contradictory things about Muhammad (PBUH), we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon one opinion, which we should all say without dispute.”
Some people said that they would call Muhammad (PBUH) a soothsayer. Walid said: “No, by God, he is not a soothsayer. We have seen the soothsayers: what they murmur and what they utter has no remote resemblance with the Qur’an.”
Then some other people said: “Then we say he is possessed.” Walid said: He is not a possessed one: we have seen mad and insane people; the way one talks disjointedly and behaves foolishly in that state is known to all: who would believe that what Muhammad (PBUH) presented was the incoherent speech of a madman?”
The people said: “Then we say he is a poet.” Walid said: “No, he is not a poet, for we know poetry in all its forms, and what he presents conforms to no form of it.”
The people said: “Then he is a sorcerer.” Walid said: “He is no sorcerer either: we have seen sorcerers and we also know what methods they adopt for their sorcery. This also does not apply to Muhammad.”
Then he said: “Whichever of these things you said about Muhammad, it would be known to be false. By God, his speech is sweet, whose root is deep and whose branches are fruitful.” At this Abu Jahl urging on Walid said: “Your people will never be pleased with you unless you say something about Muhammad.” He said: “Let me think over it awhile.”
Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, he said: “The nearest thing to the truth is that you tell the Arabs that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father; and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family.” They all agreed on what Walid had proposed.
Then, according to a scheme the men of Quraish spread among the pilgrims in the Hajj season and they warned everyone they met of the sorcery of Muhammad (PBUH) and of his stirring up divisions in the families by it.” But the result was that by their this plan the Quraish chiefs themselves made the name of the Holy Messenger known throughout Arabia.
In verses 11-26, without naming Walid bin al-Mughirah, it has been told how Allah had blessed him and how inimical he proved to be to true Faith. In this connection, his mental conflict has been portrayed, telling that, on the one hand, he was fully convinced of the truth of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) and the Qur’an, but, on the other, he did not want to risk his leadership and position among his people. Therefore, not only he did not believe himself but after a long-drawn-out conflict with his conscience he also came out with the proposal that in order to restrain the people from believing the Qur’an should be branded as magic.
Kalla innahu kana liayaatina aneeda. Saurhiquhu sauda. Innahu fakkara wa qaddar.
By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory! Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities! For he thought and he plotted; And woe to him! How he plotted! Yea, Woe to him; How he plotted! Then he looked round; Then he frowned and he scowled; Then he turned back and was haughty; Then said he: “This is nothing but magic, derived from of old; “This is nothing but the word of a mortal!” Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire!
The strongest manifestation of the Quran is the language and style of the Arabic of the Quran. This is why when Quran is recited to someone who is familiar with the Arabic language, he is struck in awe of it. To this day, we know that the Quran is considered to be a reference of the Arabic language even for non-muslims so orientalists make use of different passages of the Quran to show the beauty of the Arabic language. Quran is the height of eloquence. Of these ways of eloquence is:
- The placement of a particular word in a perfect context over its synonyms; the fact that Allah chooses specific words over other words so each connotation given by that word is better by the connotation given by its synonyms.
- The unique sentence structure and syntax. Neither is it similar throughout the Quran nor does it resemble the pre-islamic poets. So if we read surah al-baqarah, it is completely different from surah naba.
- The use of different tenses to give a deeper meaning to each passage. In general when someone writes a book, the tense and pronoun remains the same throughout the book but the Quran changes from passage to passage, right after the other. And if we ponder over it, we realize the beauty of that.
- The pronunciation of the words matches its contexts and this is something that even non-arabs realize. So when the aayaat are talking about jannah or the mercy of Allah, you find the verses sweeter, melodious and flowing. When it’s talking about the fire of hell or the day of judgment, all of a sudden you have the strong letters, the ‘ain’, the ‘daad’, the ‘qaaf’, so you find a certain tenseness just by the sound even if you understand the meaning.
- The perfect combination of conciseness and detail. If you have read the Old or the New Testament the first thing to strike you is the level of detail which literally bores the reader. This is because it’s man made. The Quran doesn’t give you many of the details found in the bible because there is no need of it. So the attention span of the reader is always higher.
The second miraculous aspect of the Quran are the prophecies in the Quran
We see that there are many prophecies in the Quran, many of which have already manifested before us. Among these is that no one will be able to come up with a speech like Quran. There are 5 verses in the Quran that challenge the mushrikun to produce another Quran similar to it. These are known as aayaatut tahaddi.
Wa in kuntum fi raybim mimma nazzalna aala abdina fa’tu bisooratim minm mithlih
If you are in doubt as to what we have revealed to our servant, bring a surah like it and call to whoever you want to call besides Allah if you are truthful (Al Baqara: 23)
Fainlam taf’alu walan taf’alu fattaqun naral latee waqudohan nasu wal hijara
If you do not do it and you can never do it, then fear the fire of hell whose fuel is men and stones that has been prepared for those who reject faith.
The beauty in this challenge is that Allah has given yet another prophecy that they would never be able to do it. The challenge was not just for the time of the prophet; in fact it is operative until the Day of Judgment.
Another example of this is the prophecy of the Quran in which it prophesized about the victory of the Romans over the Persians; the fact that Byzantines were defeated and that they will in turn defeat Persians. And believers will themselves rejoice their victory. This was said in Makkah and the event occurs on the day of Badar, the day that the Byzantines defeated the Persians, was the day the believers defeated the mushrikeen on Badar and they themselves were rejoicing as the Byzantines were rejoicing their victory, the believers were rejoicing their victory in Badar; something that occurred after many years.
One of the amazing characteristics of the Quran is that it reflects the age and time that it is in. So we are now living in an age of scientific miracles and we have witnessed that many aspects of the Quranic miracle have opened before us.
Formation of Iron
Allah mentions in Surah al-Hadeed:
Wa anzalnal hadeeda fihi ba’sun shadeedun wa manafi’u linnaas
We sent down iron wherein there is mighty power and benefit for the people.
Anzala means to go from the highest to the lowest. Our scholars from earlier times had a problem understanding this because what did sending down of iron mean? Should it be taken literally or metaphorically. Ibn Taymiyyah said that at the beginning iron must have been on the top of the mountains because those are the highest things on the earth and it must have somehow rolled down from there. This was his attempt to understand this verse linguistically. Some of the other scholars said that “anzalna here means khalaqna”. So it’s a metaphor but in Quran the first thing you go to is the literal meaning. You have to go to first to what the word literally means before you could derive a metaphorical meaning from it.
Recently, Dr. Armstrong from the University of Kansas at Lawrence conducted research around the formation of Iron and concluded that by the nature of the temperature that we have on earth it’s impossible for Iron to be formed in the earth. In fact according to him, the solar system itself lacks a temperature that would be conducive for formation of Iron. Based on his findings, Dr. Armstrong mentioned that when the amount of iron in a star exceeds a certain threshold, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes resulting in what is referred to as “nova” or a “supernova.” These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space. In the early stages of the formation of our solar system, iron that was given out as a result of the explosion of a star, ultimately found its way into the core of the earth. So now we have the proof that anzalna should be understood literally since iron came from the heavens down to the earth.
In Surah Alaq, referring to Abu Jahl, Allah says:
Nay! If he ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock. A lying, sinful forelock!
Forelock is essentially the forefront of the head of the man. Again this was a problem for the earlier commentators that why the forefront has been talked about. Now we know that it’s the frontal lobe of the head of human beings and the animal that are used for ethical and rational thinking. Allah says that it’s a lying nasiyyah. Who would have thought that something like forefront of a man could lie because they thought that tongues lie? The lies emanating from them are from the thinking of man. It’s from his thoughts that are in his frontal lobes which is a miracle of the Quran.
So we really have to think about these things. The implications of these things are that here is a revelation which is revealing itself to us. That is why the Prophet (SAW) is narrated to have said “the wonders of the Quran will never cease“, meaning that this book will continue to cause wonderment as long as this book is being read and studied.