Da’wah Dimensions – 4 Reasons that Sets the Qur’ān Apart from All Other Books
by Shaykh Faheem of the Islāmic Lifestyle Solutions 04/08/2020
An atheist once asked me, “What makes your Qur’ān so special from the other books in the world like the Bible, or the works of Albert Einstein or Aristotle for that matter?” and so my response to him was to forget for a moment everything he had heard about Islām, its Prophet (peace be upon him), and the Qur’ān because once a person holds a predisposition on a matter, then every reaction is based on what they presume to know. After that, I assured him that aside from the thousands of points which the Qur’ān discusses from cosmology, botany, oceanology, biology, etc. that a Muslim could accept the wonder of the Qur’ān based merely on 4 things,
3) Lack of Contradiction
The aforementioned reasons, are the focus of this essay, which endeavours to explicitly elucidate to the erudite, the exceptional excellence of the Qur’ān when juxtaposed to any other book in history.
Reason One – Preservation
Some 1400 years ago, the Qur’ān was revealed upon Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) via Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) in the desolate lands of Mecca. This communication of God’s words was transferred by oral transmission via Arch-Angel Gabriel (upon him be peace). Seeing as though the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not read and write, he dictated the verses to his scribes, who would recite back unto him what they wrote, and -after any corrections-, the verses would be taken into the public domain to be copied, internalized and practiced upon. In this manner, the entire Qur’ān was revealed and preserved piecemeal over 23 years. Thus, during his lifetime, the Qur’ān in its entirety was heard from his blessed lips, memorized by his honourable companions, written down by his erudite scribes, copied by whoever was able to write at the time and preserved in action by them as well.
Before the demise of the Messenger (peace and blessings upon him), there were already thousands who had memorized the Qur’ān. Shortly after his demise, during the short-lived caliphate of his closest friend and first caliph, Sayyidunā Abū Bakr As-Siddīq (may God be pleased with him), a project to unify all the available written manuscripts of the Qur’ān was set in motion and the entire Qur’ān was collated into a single unified manuscript. The above has been elucidated with all the relevant referencing in my first book published by the I.L.S. in 2014, ‘The History & Compilation of the Qur’ān – An Exposition on the Authenticity & Inimitability of the Qur’ān’.
Today, 1400 years later, the Qur’ān has reached every corner of the world in its original Arabic form. Children as little as 4 years old have memorized the original Arabic text although their spoken language is not Arabic. The beauty of the Qur’ān in this regard is that if one were to charter a world tour on Qur’ānic studies, and travel every region of the world in which Muslims reside, one will find in every community, those who have memorized the Qur’ān in Arabic. These select individuals are known by the honourable appellation of “Hāfizh Al-Qur’ān” (Guardians of the Qur’ān). This is a fulfillment of God’s promise in that very Qur’ān,
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحٰفِظُونَ
“Indeed We have sent down the Qur’ān and indeed We ourselves surely are its Guardians.”
(Sūrah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
Thus, if someone were to ‘test’ the precision of that promise of preservation, they will find that wheresoever in the world one may be, there are ‘guardians’ of the Qur’ān who have committed it to memory, and whose internalization of its Arabic verses are maintained to such a degree, that if any word or syllable was altered in any way at all, even a 4-year-old Hāfizh would be able to immediately correct that mistake, thus ensuring that the Qur’ān has, and always will be protected from any sort of corruption.
Is there any other book in the world that has been preserved in this manner? By hundreds and thousands of ‘guardians’ in every region on earth, over every generation since its revelation? That too, in its original language by people who do not speak it? I think not! Thus, insofar as its preservation in its original language is concerned, the Qur’ān’s preservation and its promise of preservation is unrivaled in history. The next reason only strengthens this premise.
Reason Two – Inimitability
By this, we mean that the Qur’ān cannot be imitated in any way. It is thus, unrivaled, unparalleled, and without equal. Now, some may say that these views are a bit ‘bias’, and understandably so, however in ‘reason one’, I have elucidated a mere form of its inimitability by preservation. Statistically, we know that there is a growing number of atheists in the world today, and majority of them became inclined towards atheism via Darwin’s theory of evolution. Atheists and scientists have studied its premise and can explain it well, but if I were to take a random atheist -even a professor- from each continent, put them together, open to a specific page of Darwin’s theory and simultaneously ask each of them individually to continue reading where I stop, will they be able to cite the paragraphs of his views verbatim? Highly unlikely! Yet even today, hypothetically, if all of the written manuscripts of the Qur’ān were lost, the ‘original’ could be brought back into written form in every single county and district in the world which houses Muslim minorities! Meaning, that instead of scratching our heads trying to piece together one original Qur’ān for the world of Islām, we would be able to produce thousands within a 24 hour period, and all of them would be the same! Is there any other book in the world which the same could be said for?
God Almighty has challenged the skeptics of then, as well as the members of the so-called ‘higher academia’ of the world today,
وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِى رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلٰى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِۦ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَآءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صٰدِقِينَ
“And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed (from time to time) to Our servant, then produce a Surah (Chapter) like (it), and call your witnesses (if there are any) besides God, if you are true”
(Sūrah Al-Baqarah, 2:23)
This has been an open challenge for over a millennium yet even the most zealous skeptics have been unwilling to respond. God Almighty calls out to all the ‘doubters’ who initiate global fault-finding ventures regarding the truth of the message of the Qur’ān. The challenge here is for the doubters to produce not merely the likes of the Qur’ān in its entirety, but for even a chapter like it. Yet still, there have been no challengers! Imagine, a person who claims to that religion is backward, and that he or she possesses a Ph.D. in the subject of science, language, arithmetic, etc. and such a person launches independent inquisitions into the Qur’ān to fault-find, yet these very people cannot respond to the challenge? It certainly says a lot. Not only did the Qur’ān present a challenge, but it also divulged that the challenge would not be met,
قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلٰىٓ أَن يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هٰذَا الْقُرْءَانِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِۦ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا
“Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”
(Sūrah Al-Isrā, 17:88)
Even if, hypothetically, someone did attempt to ‘respond to the challenge’, the projection of that mammoth task awaiting such a person would cause him or her to immediately recognize that with each passing day, the challenge only strengthens. This is because, even if someone were to try and imitate the Qur’ān, they would need to ensure that,
The book becomes universally accepted as a creed,
The acolytes of that religion must be willing to give up everything they believe in, and accept the message of that book,
The adherents of the message must reach the same amount of numbers in each generation over a period of 1400 years at minimum,
1400 years later, the message and creed of that book must become global to the point that it must grow to become the second-largest faith in the world (as with Islām today)
Suffice to say that the persons initiating such a task would never be able to demonstrate the possible reality of their claim as they know that they would not be alive to witness, or even experience it.
Another strategically important point regarding the inimitability of the Qur’ān can be understood from a systematic approach of the subject of Prophets Ādam and Jesus (peace be upon them)
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عيسىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرابٍ ثُمَّ قالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكونُ
“The likeness of ‘Isā (Jesus) in Allāh’s sight is the same as Ādam. He created him (Ādam) from earth (dust) and then He said to him, “Be!” and he was.”
(Sūrah Āl-Imrān, 3:59)
“A search of the Prophet Ādam’s (upon him be peace) name in the Qur’ān reveals that he has been mentioned 25 times across its various chapters. Astonishingly, Prophet Jesus (upon him be peace) is also mentioned 25 times in the Qur’ān across numerous chapters! The Qur’ān leaves nothing to chance! Not only did it proclaim a ‘likeness’ between the two figures of historical relevance, but it went on to mention them ‘evenly’ across its corpus. What makes this so miraculous one may ask? Well, when you consider that the Qur’ān was revealed over a period of 23 years piecemeal, and narratives pertaining to these two prophets were sent down on very different situations, it is a linguistic miracle which only God could have ordained when we consider furthermore that the Qur’ān was revealed via oral transmission to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (Defense Against Disaster – A Response to the Systematic Vilification of Islām & Its Prophet , Page 263, published by the Islāmic Lifestyle Solutions).
Based on the above, it is clear to the uncorrupt and unbiased mind to at least agree that its inimitability concerning the abovesaid matter alone is impossible. Of course, for those who say it is not the case, we refer them to the challenge in reason one, and part of that challenge would be to further ensure that every linguistic miracle, every scientific notion, and the entire socio-historic background of its message is reproduced precisely.
Reason Three – Lack of Contradiction
The Qur’ān set forth another challenge to its objectors of then, and its objectors today. Yet again, when the Almighty, All-Knowing God sends down a revelation, He can assuredly back-up His claims by inviting open-challenges to all, because there is none to who can respond, and if history has proven anything, it is that whilst there are many who harbour enmity against the Islām, they cannot respond to God’s challenges.
The Qur’ān states,
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْءَانَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلٰفًا كَثِيرًا
So do they not ponder about the Qur’an? And had it been from anyone besides Allah, they would certainly find much contradiction in it.
(Sūrah An-Nisā, 4:82)
Now, some are claimants to the existence of supposed contradictions in the Qur’ān, but at every single instance, these claims have been refuted as mere ‘ignorance’ on either their lack of Qur’ānic information or lack of understanding the depth of its message in the Arabic language. Many apologists have claimed that the Qur’ān contradicts itself, but none of them have been able to maintain those positions after being illuminated by the scholars of Islām. Evidently, having a degree from a university does not give one ‘insight’ into matters beyond the scope of one’s perception.
The Qur’ān is clear on its position as being free from contradiction. It is thus explicit in its message and those who are unable to approach it appropriately, find themselves in a cul-de-sac of their own confusion. There are no contradictions in the Qur’ān. It is merely the flawed methodology which leads one to believe such things.
Reason Four – Prediction
Humankind is bound by the laws of nature, but in reality, it is God who has brought about all things into existence from non-existence. One such phenomenon is the passage of time. No –unaided- human being can foretell the future, as we are constrained to the present. The Qur’ān’s ability to go beyond the realms of time is evidence of its divine origin. No other book in religious history was able to precisely predict events that unfolded during the lifetime of the observers when that particular prediction was made. The Qur’ān has made a few. A general example of this can be seen from the opening verses of the 30th chapter of the Qur’ān known as Sūrah Ar-Rūm. The Romans had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of the mighty Persian empire at the time, and the hierarchy of the Meccans seized the opportunity to mock the Muslims. This is because Islām and Christianity share many commonalities, and the Persian empire was paganistic in tradition, so naturally, the Pagans of Mecca sided with the Persians. God Almighty revealed,
الم ﴿١﴾ غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ ﴿٢﴾ فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ ﴿٣﴾ فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ ۗ لِلَّـهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ ۚ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿٤﴾
Alif-Laam-Meem. (1) The Romans have been defeated. (2) In the nearby land, and after their defeat they will soon be victorious. (3) Within a few (up to nine) years time; only for Allah is the command, before and after; and the believers will rejoice on that day (4)
(Sūrah Ar-Rūm, 30:1-4)
This was an astonishing statement because here, God Almighty revealed via the Qur’ān, a prediction foretelling a future event which was not connected to the efforts of the Muslims in Mecca, and one that was taking place in a completely different region of the world. History bears testimony to the fact that within the timeframe foretold by the Qur’ān, and against all odds, the Romans were indeed victorious, as per the Qur’ānic prediction, and within the timeframe it foretold.
Even more amazing is the fact that verse 4 stated that on that day in which the Romans are victorious, the believers would rejoice. The books of hadīth testify that the victory of the Romans reached the Muslims on the Battle of Badr, which incidentally was their first battle against the Meccans, and one in which they were victorious, thus, did they celebrate! Therefore, within this prediction was another, and both predictions came to pass precisely as predicted. Is there any other religious book that has been able to consistently predict in the way the Qur’ān has? Within the lifetime of its admirers and adversaries alike?
If there exists any such religious scriptures or secular books from atheistic teachings out there that have been able to exhibit such precise prediction in the way of the above example, I would definitely like to read about it. Yet, millennia later, and still there has been no response to the superlative superiority of the Qur’ān.
1400 years later, and the Qur’ān continues to school us about its authenticity via its preservation, inimitability, lack of contradiction, and prevailing prediction. Hence we have elucidated not just 1, but 4 reasons that distinguish the Qur’ān from all other books on the face of the earth!