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QUR’AN AND IT’S CHALLENGE


Qur’an is the Arabic speech of Allah سبحانه و تعالى that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad both in word and in meaning. It is collected between the two covers of the mushaaf, was narrated in mutawaatir chains (reported by many different reliable narrators, who all independently verify the same account), and is a challenge to humankind. The Qur’an is an ongoing challenge to the human race– to create a book, a Surah, an ayath like it; but nay, humans will never be able to produce.

 

Table of Contents

 

Allah سبحانه و تعالى Challenged the Arabs to produce a literary work of a similar caliber as the Qur’an, but they were unable to do so in spite of their well-known eloquence and literary powers. The challenge to reproduce the Qur’an was presented to the Arabs and mankind in various stages. The Arabs of the 6th and 7th centuries CE were masters of the Arabic language. Eloquence and rhetoric were their lifeblood. The liveliness that marked their gatherings, the gaiety of their fairs, and the virtues of which they boasted, all found expression through poetry and literature. They were so proud of their literary accomplishments that they disdainfully dubbed all the other peoples of the world as “’Ajam” or “Dumb.”

 

The Whole Qur’an

In the Qur’an, Allah سبحانه و تعالى commands the Prophet Muhammad to challenge all of creation to create a book of the stature of the Qur’an:

“Say: ‘If all mankind and the jinn would come together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce its like even though they exerted all and their strength in aiding one another.’” (Qur’an.Surah Isra 17:88)

 

Ten Surah

Next, Allahسبحانه و تعالى made the challenge ostensibly easier by asking those who denied its divine origin to imitate even ten chapters of the Qur’an:

“Or do they say that he has invented it? Say (to them), ‘Bring ten invented chapters like it, and call (for help) on whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful.” (Qur’an.Surah Hud 11:13)

 

One Surah

The Qur'an continued to reduce its challenge until the challenge finally became very small. This challenge was to produce even a single chapter to match what is in the Qur’an, whose shortest chapter, al-Kawthar, consists of only three ayah:

“And if you all are in doubt about what I have revealed to My servant, bring a single chapter like it, and call your witnesses besides God if you are truthful.” (Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:23)

 

A number of Quraishee orators and poets tried to imitate the Qur’an, but they failed. They then resorted to offering him vast amounts of wealth, the position of king over them, and the most noble and beautiful of their women in exchange for his promise to stop inviting people to Islam.

 

Challenge for Non-Arabs

Allah سبحانه و تعالى gives the challenge even to Non-Arabs meaning those who don’t know Arabic. The challenge is to produce contradictions in the Qur’an

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction.” (Qur’an.Surah Nisa 4:82) [1]

 

Challenge in Prophecies

Among other things, the Qur’an contains prophecies of future events, many of which have come to pass. We reproduce here a discussion of one such prophecy, which was fulfilled within the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

 

“…The Romans have been defeated, in the land close by. And after (this) defeat of theirs, they will soon be victorious within a few years. To Allah سبحانه و تعالىbelongs the command before and after and on that day the Believers will rejoice in Allah’s help…” [Qur’an.Surah Rum 30:2-4]

 

“When this prophecy was made, no prediction could be more unbelievable because the initial twelve years of Heraclius were evidently declaring an end to the Roman Empire.” [Fall of the Roman Empire, v.5, p.73-74]

 

Prophecy about Abu Lahab, not accepting Islam is revealed before his death. Qur’an.Surah Lahab 111:1-5

 

In Science and History

Apart from prophecies, the Qur’an has pointed out many scientific and historical facts which were not only unknown at that time, but could not even be imagined given the development of civilization. Entire books have been written (by both Muslims and non-Muslims) confirming the correspondence of scientific discoveries to the truths expressed in the Qur’an. Below are the two examples:

Fir’awn’s body

 The Qur’an has stated that as Fir’awn (Pharaoh) was drowning in the sea he made a confession of faith orally, just to save his life. In response, Allah سبحانه و تعالىSaid (what means):

“What! Now? And indeed before this you did rebel and were of the corrupt. So this day We shall rescue you with your body that you may be a sign to those who come after you.” [Qur’an.Surah Yunus 10: 91-92]

 

Everything is created in pair

The Qur’an has stated: “And of everything We have created pairs that you may take heed.” [Qur’an.Surah Dhariyat 51: 49]

 

When this verse was revealed, the general concept was that male and female pairs existed only among human beings and animals or in some vegetation. However, with the advancement of science, the Quranic reality is becoming manifest that male and female pairs exist in everything. In some instances they are termed as male and female, and elsewhere as positive and negative, as electron and proton, or neutron and positron. In another ayath, the Qur’an has also clarified that the occurrence in pairs in many other things is still unknown to people. It says (what means):

“Glorified be He Who created pairs of all things which the earth grows, and of themselves (humans), and of that which they know not.” Qur’an.Surah Ya Seen 36: 36

 

Scholars view

The following statement of Ibn Taymiyyah رحمت الله: “The greatest (of all the miracles) is the Qur’an that the Prophet Muhammadﷺ came with, for it is the religion of Allah (Glory be to Him) and His speech, and it is proof of the Prophet-hood of Muhammadﷺ. Its very revelation is one of the most supernatural and extraordinary of acts, for it is the call (to the worship of Allah سبحانه و تعالىalone) and the proof (of the Prophet-hood of Muhammad ﷺand the miracle (i.e., all in one)” Collection of Islamic Rulings, vol. 11 p. 324

 

The fact that there are no contradictions in the Qur’an, despite being revealed over the twenty-three years period, under different circumstances, addressing different problems, is a clear indication to the sincere and objective reader of its divine origin.

 

Conclusion

Unlike the miracles of previous prophets, which were only applicable for a limited time, to this day the Qur’an -- the Final Testament given to the Last Prophet ie, Prophet Muhammad is still a relevant miracle for humanity and will remain so as long as the world exists. We live in an age of science and technology, of knowledge, logic, and reason. Yet, in spite of all the human advancement in every sphere of life, the principles of the Qur’an have not been proven wrong nor have they become “out-of-date.” This is really the great miracle of the Qur’an, it has proven itself a timeless, universal message for humankind, relevant to every facet of our life — be it politics, economics, ethics, science, literature, arts or entertainment. [2]

 

References

[1] http://www.islamhouse.com/138063/en/en/articles/The_Challenge_of_the_Quran

[2] http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=114432

 

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