When we look at the human intellect that Allah (SWT) has given us, we see that it has the extraordinary capacity of fulfilling its instinctual needs and urges. It can understand many aspects of the universe it finds itself in and is able to act accordingly to draw benefit. It’s able to fulfill its needs through its understanding, but we also realize that the intellect is not able to comprehend everything. Like somebody who is in a room with a roof. He or she can only see as far as the roof. They are not capable of seeing something outside or above the roof. The intellect has a roof of understanding beyond which it cannot see.
We can see that this is the purpose of the Prophets to bring to us the news of what lays beyond the ceiling of our understanding. So these intelligible things which are metaphysical in nature, they are beyond the realm we find ourselves in and yet they cannot be comprehended by the intellect alone things like why was the human being was created what is the purpose what is his destiny what is the nature of his Creator what are the attributes of his Creator. This is the role and the purpose of the Prophets.
When we look at the ancient history we notice that human being did not have the ability to communicate through great distances by the nature of their limitations in respect of time and places. So if we look at the messengers that went before us and some of them we have been told about them, others as the Quran has said that We have not told you about them. These messengers were sent to different people and their message was in a sense tribal or limited to geographical areas and ethnicities; that they were not sent to all of humanity but specific to their people. It was due to the nature of the ancient world. As the world began to change, the nature of the message changed with it. So what was a message specific to a people was universalized in the final message of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Allah (SWT) sent this last message to all of humanity. His message was a message which would be able to reach to all of humanity.
Quran – A Miracle for All Times
But like anyone who puts forth a proposition has to bring his proofs with him because this is the nature of rational human being that he desires proofs for propositions presented before him. So when the prophets put forth this proposition that they were sent by Allah, they also brought with them the proofs that established the veracity of their claims. Some of those proofs were material proofs. For instance the staff of Musa (AS) was a material proof. Musa (AS) was commanded in the Quran to throw his staff, appeared before them as a large snake wriggling with great speed. Similarly, Salih (AS) was given proof in form of a huge she-camel that born out of the rock and was wondrous and different from other camels. Isa (AS) was given the ability to heal the leper, to give sight to the blind, to give hearing to the deaf and life to the death. So these miracles were given to prove the truth that the Prophets came with. Rasulullah (SAW) was given a miracle which was Quran and it continues on in every age. Previous Prophets were given their miracles but they didn’t last.
Some of our ulama have seen this Quran as a legal miracle and have spent their lives examining the legal aspects of the Quran, examining the exalted judgments of the Quran, the highly esteemed rules that Allah (SWT) has given us. Some of them have looked into the mercy of the Quran. Some of them have looked at the spiritual aspects of the Quran. Some of them have looked at the wisdoms of the Quran. Some of them have looked at the fact that this is the Quran that when firmly rooted in the heart of a man, suddenly this man is in no need of a policeman. He is in no need of somebody that is over him all the time threatening him with the sword of law but somebody who is able to guard his own soul and abstain from wrongdoing because of something that has occurred in his conscience, because of his awareness of his Lord.
These are the exalted qualities of this Quran, the eloquence of this Quran, the profundity of the Quran, the depth that Quran has reached. And one who reflects on it, who really digs deeply into the soul of its meanings has to come to the conclusion that this is from Allah (SWT).
Prophecies in the Quran
We see that there are many prophecies in the Quran, many of which have already manifested before us. One 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 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. But before we give some of the examples of the scientific miracles from Quran, I would like to mention that our scholars have cautioned us from the danger of taking this too far because we obviously do not want to force meanings to the Quran that are simply not there.
Methods of Quranic Interpretation
According to the opinion of our scholars, the Quran can only be interpreted based on one of the three ways. The first is from the sayings of the Prophet (SAW). This is an authoritative type of tafseer because the Prophet understood Quran better than anyone. The second way of interpreting Quran is based on the sayings of the sahaba because they lived in the time of the Prophet (SAW) so if Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) says something then it carries weight. He was given the knowledge of the Quran and lived among those who lived with the Prophet (SAW). The third type is a linguistic commentary in which the meaning is clearly indicated linguistically. The third one is acceptable because we can interpret the Quran using the language and using the rules of the Arabic language and making sure that the meaning is in there. If that is done then that is acceptable.
So we do find that there are mathematical miracles in the Quran. There are experimental miracles in the Quran, things that will be revealed by experimentation. There are also microscopic miracles in the Quran for instance embryology. Allah (SWT) mentioned when He created man from a chain which began with soil, then He created them in the form of this clinging Nutfah, then something which is like a chewed piece of flesh, a stage in embryology that is only visible microscopically where u see this chewed like flesh, the teeth mark where vertebrae begins to form and people can see pictures of that. And then We made the mudgha into bones, then We dressed the bones with flesh. Then Allah uses “fa” and not “thumma”, because fa is something that occurs immediately because this is a very short period of time when the bone is in the emryo and then the flesh begins to show up. So the “fa” is used which is important. This is a clear and detailed account of what is occurring in the body. That can only be understood now microscopically. When one of the scholars of embryology Keith Moore came to Arabia and was shown this by some of the scholars there he said that this is indeed a very accurate scientific description so I m going to re write the chapter in my book about the first examples of sound embryology because he thought it didn’t come till the late 17th century. Now this is in his book ‘Clinically Oriented Anatomy’, which is taught at UCLA school of physiology, among other schools of medicine. This man was a Canadian embryologist says the first really clear example of a scientific foundation for embryology was given in the 7th century in Quran. This is somebody who is a scientist saying it a contribution to human knowledge so he put it in there.
Formation of Iron
Dr. Armstrong from the University of Kansas at Lawrence conducted research around the formation of Iron and concluded that it’s impossible for Iron to be formed in the earth by the nature of the temperature that we have in the earth. In fact the solar system itself lacks a temperature that would be conducive for formation of Iron. Surah Hadeed “wa anzalna al hadeeda” anzala means to go from the highest to the lowest. Ulama in earlier times has problem with this because what did that mean, anzalna, should we take it literal or figuratively. Ibn Taymiyyah said that it must be in the beginning on the tops of the mountains because those are the highest things on the earth and it must have rolled down from the mountain tops. This was his attempt to understand linguistically because they didn’t think that it came from out of space. Now they are telling us that’s where iron came from. Some of them 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 means. Now you have the proof that anzalna means that it came from the heavens down to the earth so it came from there. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes in what is called a “nova” or a “supernova.” These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.
So these are clear miracles that Allah (SWT) has given us in order to firmly root the faith which is interesting because the previous people were geniuses of language. They knew how to put words together. So when the Quran came to them, the miracle to them was its language. Now we are living in an age where nobody appreciates rhetoric any more. Nobody can appreciate what beautiful words mean.
In Quran Allah (SWT) says that He will take the Nasiyyah which is the forefront of the head of the man , this lying nasiyyah, the nasiyyah of a kafir, 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 (SWT) also says about animals that there is no animal on this earth except that Allah has its frontal lobes in grasp which means that they are being controlled by their instincts. They don’t have free will. Even though they share some of the aspects of our brain their brain is not the same they don’t have will like we have will. They are working more on their instinctual level. 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 that anyone who memorizes the Quran has revelation between his two sides except that that revelation is not coming from the heavens. In other words he is not a Prophet but he is carrying prophecy with him. So this is what is happening because if you look into this you will find the meaning everywhere. It will continue to happen because hadith says “the Quran’s wonders will never cease“, this will continue to cause wonderment as long as this book is being read and studied. So it’s absolutely essential for us to look into these and think about them and to discover more and continue look at that.