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(2:2)This is the Book

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(This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah)

The Quran: A living Miracle till the End Times – Islamic Web Library

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” Vol 1 surah 2 verses 23-24:

The Guidance which the Holy Qur’an provides to man rests on two
basic principles – Tauhid (the Oneness of God) and Risalah
(Prophethood). The two preceding verses (21 and 22) affirm the One-
ness of God in presenting certain acts peculiar to Allah alone as a
proof; these two verses (23 and 24) affirm the prophethood of Muham-
mad & in presenting the word of Allah as a proof. In both the places,
the mode of argument is the same. The preceding verses mention cer-
tain things which no one could or can do except Allah – for example,
creating the sky and the earth, sending down water from the sky,
bringing forth fruits with water; and the point of the argument is that
since no one except Allah can do these things, no one else can be wor-
thy of being worshipped. These two verses refer to a kind of speech
which cannot possibly come from anyone except Allah, and the like of
which no human being can ever produce just as the helplessness of
man and other creatures in the matter of creating the sky and the
earth etc. is a demonstration of the fact that these are the acts of Allah
alone, in the same way the helplessness of all created beings in the
matter of producing something equal to or resembling the Word of Al-
lah is a demonstration of the fact that this is the Word of Allah alone.
Here the Holy Qur’an challenges all men the world over, those of the
present and those of the future, to produce even a small passage like
this, if they suppose it to be the work of a man, for other men may also
be capable of accomplishing what one man has achieved. In case indi-
viduals should fail in such an effort, the Holy Qur’an allows them the
facility of calling to their aid all possible helpers – they could even
hold an international ‘workshop’ for the purpose. The next verse fore-
warns them that such a venture would never succeed, and threatens
with the fires of hell, for having once acknowledged his inability to
produce something to equal the Holy Qur’an, which is a clear evidence
of its being the word, not of man but of a Being who stands above all
created things, if a man still persists in his disbelief, he is only seeking
a place in hell. The Holy Qur’an asks men to beware of such a fate.

The Miraculous Qur’an is a prophethood of Muhammad (S)
Thus, the verses, in emphasizing the miraculous character of the
Holy Qur’an, present it as the evidence of the prophethood of
Muhammad (S) and of his truth. No doubt, the miracles of
the Holy Prophet (S) are innumerable, each more marvellous
than the other, but in mentioning only one of these here – one that
pertains to the sphere of knowledge, namely, the Holy Qur’an – Allah
has pointed out that this is the greatest. Even among the miracles of
all the prophets (AS) this particular miracle has a special
distinction. It has been the way of Allah to show His omnipotence by
manifesting some miracles through each prophet or messenger. But
each miracle appears with a certain prophet, and ends with him. The
Holy Qur’an, on the contrary, is a miracle which is to survive till the end of time.

As for the phrase: And if you are in doubt,” we may
remark that the verse , employs the Arabic word, raib for ‘doubt’. Ac-
cording to Imam Raghib al- Isfahani, raib signifies a kind of hesitation
or indecision or suspicion which has no basis, and can therefore be eas-
ily overcome with the help of a little reflection. That is why the Holy
Qur’an says that having this kind of doubt (raib) is not consistent with
being a man of knowledge, even if he were not a Muslim:

“So that the people of the Book and Muslims should have no
doubt”. (74:31)

Similarly, at the very beginning of the Surah Al-Bagarah the Holy
Qur’an refers to itself as the Book “In which there is no doubt
(raib).” In the present verse again it uses the word raib to say: if you are in doubt”, the implication being that the truths enunci-
ated by the Holy Qur’an are so clear and evident that there is no room
for any hesitation or indecision or suspicion to arise except for those
who do not possess knowledge.

As for the people who hesitate in accepting the Holy Qur’an as the
Word of Allah, and suspect that it is the work of the Holy Prophet. £% or
of some other man, the verse proposes an easy test – they should
produce a passage (a Surah) resembling or equalling the Holy Qur’an
in order to substantiate their claim; but if they fail, they should finally
acknowledge the Holy Qur’an to be undoubtedly the Word of Allah,
The Arabic word “Surah” means a “limited or definite piece”; as a
technical term, a Surah is a passage of the Holy Qur’an which has
-been set apart from other passages by Divine Commandment (Wahy),
there being 114 Surahs in the Holy Qur’an, some long and others very
short. The present verse uses the word Surah without the definite
article “Al”, and hence includes the shortest of the Surahs in the
challenge thrown out to the doubters.

At this point, the objection can arise that the failure of one man or
one group of men does not necessarily argue the inability of another

  • man or group in the matter. The Holy Qur’an meets this objection by

“And do call your supporters other than Allah, if you are true”.

The Arabic word used here is Shuhada’, the plural or Shahid which
signifies ‘one who is present’- a witness is called a Shahid, for he has
to be present in the court of law. In this verse, the word Shuhada’
refers either to men in general – implying that the doubters could call
to their aid any men whatsoever from anywhere in the world -, or
specifically to the idols of the disbelievers of Makkah who thought that
these blocks of stone would appear on the: Day of Judgment as
witnesses in their favour.

The next verse foretells that the doubters shall never succeed, even
if they tried with all their individual or collective might, in producing a
passage which could resemble the Holy Qur’an. If they should still
persist in their denial, the verse threatens them with the fire of Hell,
which has already been prepared for such stubborn disbelievers.

The infidels of Makkah, history tells us, were ready to give up their
very lives for the purpose of obliterating Islam. In throwing out to
them this challenge, the Holy Qur’an gave them an easy chance of ac-
complishing their purpose, and even hurt their tribal sense of honour
by predicting that they would never be able to take up the challenge.
And yet not a single contender came up for the trial, which was a clear
admission of their helplesseness and an acknowledgment of the Holy
Qur’an being the Word of Aliah. This fact establishes the Holy Qur’an
as the evident miracle of the Holy Prophet (S) . Since the challenge still
stands, the miracle too lives on, and shall live to the end of the world.

The Holy Qur’an: A living miracle

As for the Holy Qur’an being a miracle, the subject has been
thoroughly discussed in scores of books by the greatest scholars in all
the ages and in different languages. We may mention a few
outstanding ones: Nazgm al-Qur’an by al-Jahiz, written in the 3rd
century A.H. ‘Tjaz al-Qur’an’ by Abu ‘Abdullah Wasiti, written early
in the 4th century; a small book, ‘I‘jaz al-Qur’an’ by Ibn ‘Isa Rabbani,
written later in the 4th century; a long and comprehensive book, ‘T‘jaz
al-Qur’an’ by Qadi Abu Bakr Bagillani, written early in the 5th
century; the subject has also been discussed at length in well-known
books like ‘Al-Itqan’’ by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, ‘Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra’
by the same author, ‘At-Tafsir al-Kabir’ by Imam Razi, and ‘Ash-Shifa’
by Qadi ‘Iyad; more recently still, ‘Ijaz al-Qur’an’, by Mustafa Sadiq
al-Rafi‘’, and ‘Al-Wahy al-Muhammadi’ by Sayyid Rashid Rida; and
finally jae al-Quran’ by Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani. We may, in
passing, draw attention to another peculiar quality of the Holy Qur’an
‘that, beside comprehensive and voluminous commentaries, scores of
books have been written on different aspects of the Book of Allah and
on the innumerable considerations which arise from it.

We cannot provide even a brief resume of ali that has been written
on the subject, the literature being so vast. We shall, however, give a
few brief indications as to why the Holy Qur’an is held to be a miracle
of the Prophet of Islam: poly abe al be

Qualities that make the Qur’an a miracle

(1) The Holy Qur’an is incomparable for its comprehensiveness
even among the Sacred Books of the world; on the one hand, it brings
_-to man the ultimate knowledge of a metaphysical order, and, on the
other, provides guidance for all the spheres of human life, spiritual or
physical, individual or collective. Those who suspect the Book to have
been the product of a human agency should remind themselves of the
simple fact that it appeared at a time and in a place which offered no
facilities for acquiring the kind of education which is necessary for
composing such a book – in fact, the Arabs were in those days known
as the Ummiyyun, ‘the illiterates’, and that the Book came through the
Holy Prophet # who could not even read or write, and who had not
tried to learn even the arts of poetry and rhetoric on which the Arabs
prided themselves. This fact, in itself, is nothing short of a miracle.

(2) The Holy Qur’an is, no doubt, a guidance for all men without
any distinction of time or place, but the first to be addressed were the
Arabs of the Age of Ignorance. In affirming that no human being could
produce even a few verses comparable to its own, the Holy Qur’an did
not confine the challenge merely to the richness of meaning and the
quality of wisdom, but included the mode of expression as well. Now,
the ‘illiterates’ of Arabia had no pretensions to wisdom or knowledge,
but they certainly fancied themselves for their eloquence – to them, the
aliens were just ‘The Dumb’ (Al-’Ajam). And some of them were so mad
in their hostility to the Holy Prophet ,l., te Wi 1. that, if they could
see a chance of hurting him in doing so, they would réadily have slit
their own throats out of sheer spite. And yet no one came forward to
accept the challenge. This helplessness in a contest which should have
been easy for a people so gifted with a spontaneous eloquence – does it
not argue that the Holy Qur’an is not the word of man, but the Word of
Allah? As a matter of fact, the most discriminating among the
contemporary. Arabs did admit, though in private, that the Holy.
Qur’an was inimitable; some of them had the honesty to say so in
public and some accepted Islam, while others in spite of this
admission, could not give up the ways of their forefathers, or
sufficiently overcome tribal rivalries, particularly their hostility to
Banu ‘Abd Munaf, the tribe of the Holy Prophet pt… Wits to
embrace Islam.

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti has, in his ‘Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra’, reported a
number of incidents which illustrate the point. When the Holy Prophet
poh ase Ui. and the Holy Qur’an began to attract the attention of
people even outside Makkah, the enemies of Islam became worried
about the huge crowds that would assemble there for the annual
pilgrimage and would be likely to fall under his spell. Their tribal
chiefs wanted to find an effective strategem to prevent such a situation
from arising, and they referred the problem to Walid ibn Mughirah,
the eldest and the wisest among them. To begin with, they suggested
that they could tell the pilgrims that the Holy Qur’an was (May Allah
forgive us for reporting a blasphemy) only the ravings of a lunatic. But
Walid could foresee that when the pilgrims heard the Holy Prophet s&
speaking with such lucidity and eloquence, they would immediately
know that the allegation was not true. Next they thought of dismissing
him as a mere poet. But Walid warned them that, an understanding of
the arts of poetry being innate in most Arabs, the pilgrims would
easily see that he was no poet. Then, they considered the possibility of
putting him down as one of the soothsayers. But Walid feared that
they would again discover how false the imputation was, and would
only turn against the accusers. In summing up his own impression of
the Holy Qur’an, he said: “By God, there is not a single man among
you who knows more about Arabic poetry than me. And, by God, I find
in this speech a kind of sweetness and grace which I have never found
in the speech of any poet or of any eloquent man.” After a good deal of
thought, he finally advised them to accuse the Holy Prophet # of
being a sorcerer who employed his black art in separating sons from
fathers, and wives from husbands.

Exactly the same was the impression made by the Holy Qur’an on
many other people, who expressed similar views – for example, Nadr
ibn Harith, a tribal chief; Unais, the brother of the blessed Companion,
Abu Dharr; As‘ad ibn Zurarah, another tribal chief, and Qais ibn
Nasibah of the Banu Sulaim tribe. Even the vilest enemies of the Holy
Prophet (S) Akhnas ibn Sharig, Abu Sufyan and, of all
persons, Abu Jahl himself are reported to have stealthily crept in the
darkness of night to the house of the Holy Prophet (S) to hear
him reciting the Holy Qur’an, and to have been so entranced by the
Word of Allah that they could not tear themselves away from the place
till it was dawn. Yet they continued to be stubborn in their denial, for,
as Abu Jahl confessed in so many words, they had been successfully
vying with the tribe of Banu ‘Abd Munaf in all possible virtues, but
now that their rivals had produced a prophet, they could not come up
with something to match the claim.

In short, the Arabs failed to take up the challenge of the Holy
Qur’an, and admitted their helplessness; nor has any one else
succeeded in the attempt since then – all of which goes to show that
the Holy Qur’an can only be the Word of Allah, not of man.

(3) The Holy Qur’an made many predictions about future events,
and things turned out to be exactly as it had declared. For example,
the infidels of Makkah were not prepared to believe the prophecy that
the people of Rum, or the Byzantians, would finally rout the Persians
after having suffered an initial defeat. The infidels made it a point of
honour, and put a wager on it, but were humiliated to see the
prophecy come true before the stipulated period of ten years was over.

(4) The Holy Qur’an gives a clear account of some of the earlier
prophets, of their Shari‘ah and of their peoples, and of many historical
events since the beginning of the world. Even the best scholars among
the Jews and the Christians did not possess such exact information.
The Holy Prophet i, ate i io , who had never attended a school nor
been in the company of a learned man, could not have provided all

these details for himself without having received the knowledge from

(5) Several verses of the Holy Qur’an disclosed what certain people
had tried to keep concealed in their hearts, and they had to confess
that this was just what they had been thinking. We shall cite only two

“When two of your battalions thought of falling away. . .” (3:122)

“They say in their hearts, ‘Why does Allah not punish us for
what we say?’

(6) The Holy Qur’an predicted that such and such men would not
be able to do such and such things, and then it turned out that, in
spite of having the power, they could not do these things. The Jews
claimed to be the ‘Chosen of God’ and His friends. Since one is always
eager to meet one’s friends, the Holy Qur’an asked them to
substantiate their claim by wishing for death and for going back to
Allah, but at the same time declared: tiemee 25: 7:”And they shall never
wish for it” (62:7). Now, expressing a wish for death should not be
difficult for anyone, if he wishes to establish his bonafides; for the
Jews in particular, it would have been an easy way of refuting the
Holy Qur’an. But, in spite of all their hatred for the Holy Prophet % ,
they knew in their hearts that the Holy Qur’an was the Book of Allah,
and feared that if they told a lie in this matter, they would actually
die. And they kept quiet.

(7) When the Holy Qur’an is recited (in Arabic, of course), it affects
in a strange and indefinable way the heart of even a casual listener,
Muslim or non-Muslim. History reports many instances of people
accepting Islam merely because they happened to be passing by when
the Holy Prophet piu, te ai. was reciting the Holy Qur’an – such was
the case, for example, of the blessed Companion Jubair ibn Mut‘im.

(8) The best book in the world, if read four or five times, begins to
lose its charm even for the most fervent admirer. But the peculiar
quality of the Holy Qur’an, and of it alone, is that the more one reads
or recites it, the more eager one becomes to do so again and again.
Even among the sacred books of the world, the Holy Qur’an is unique
in this respect.

(9) The sacred books of many religions have been lost or no longer
exist in an integral and authentic form. But Allah has promised in the
Holy Qur’an that He Himself will protect this Book, and preserve it
against the slightest change upto the end of time. During the fourteen
centuries of the history of Islam, millions of copies, written by hand or
printed, have been spread all over the globe as no other sacred book
has been. But in this respect the greatest miracle of the Holy Qur’an is
that in all the ages and in all the places where Muslims have lived,
there have been millions of people who have known the Book by heart
without the alteration of a single consonant or vowel. So, Allah has
preserved His Last Book not merely in the shape of written words, but,
above all in the hearts of men. Allah is Ever-Living, so will His Word
live for ever beyond the interference of created beings.

(10) There is no other book which should comprehend all the forms
of knowledge and wisdom in so short a space as does the Holy Qur’an,
fulfilling all possible spiritual needs of man, and providing him with
guidance for all the spheres of his internal or external, individual or
social activity.

(11) It is not merely a theoretical guidance that the Holy Qur’an
has offered. Which other book, sacred or otherwise, has had such a
vast and deep impact on the history of mankind in such a short time?
Which other book has brought about such a radical change in the
individual and collective life of millions of men within the space of a
few years ? For when the Holy Prophet 4, ate ali! J» departed from this
world, Islam had, in spite of all opposition and without the modern
media of communication, already established a new order of life all
over the Arabian peninsula, and within the next few decades the
message of the Holy Qur’an had reached India on one side, and Spain
on the other. Can such pervasiveness be anything but a miracle?

Answers to some doubts

Before we leave the subject, we may also deal with certain doubts
which have been expressed with regard to the miraculous nature of
the Holy Qur’an. It has, for example, been suggested that some people,
at one time or another, must have taken up the challenge of the Holy
Qur’an, and produced something comparable to it, but their
compositions have not been preserved and have not come down to us.
But the objection is fanciful. The number of people hostile to Islam
has, in any age, been much larger than that of Muslims, and they have
possessed far greater and much more efficacious means of publicity
than Muslims ever have. If any seemingly successful attempt had been
made to produce an imitation of the Holy Qur’an, it would not only
have been preserved but also been widely publicised. After all, the
infidels of Makkah used to bring all kinds of wild and fanatic charges
against the Holy Prophet plu, Je a! Jo. For instance, they accused him
of having learnt all that he taught from the monk, Buhira whom he
had met only once in Syria; or, they imputed the Holy Qur’an to the
authorship of a Roman slave who, being an alien, could not have been
a master of the Arabic language and of the characteristically Arab
form of eloquence – the Holy Qur’an itself has reported this calumny.
But even they, for all their venom, never pretended to have produced
something resembling the Holy Qur’an. Anyhow, whatever funny or
flimsy attempts have been made to match the Holy Qur’an are on
record in the books of history. For example, Musaylama of Yemen,
known as the Great Liar, came out with a string of obscenities as a
reply to the Word of Allah, but his own people dismissed them for
what they were worth. At a later date, the famous man of letters,
‘Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ thought of trying his wits against the Holy
Qur’an, but soon gave up in despair.!!

The point, however, is that if someone had really produced even
three or four verses comparable to those of the Holy Qur’an, the
matter could not have gone without being passed down to us at least
by the enemies of Islam. Of late a different kind of objection has
sometimes been raised. They say that the impossibility of successfully
imitating a book does not by itself argue that it is the Word of Allah or
a miracle, for poets like Shakespeare or Hafiz too have never been
imitated successfully. But a miracle is, by definition, something which
occurs without the like means having been employed. Every poet or
writer in the world;even the greatest, is known to have undergone a
process of education and training in his art, and to have made use of
certain means and methods which are humanly possible. But the Holy
Prophet (S) to, as we have said before, did not even know
reading or writing, and was never interested in learning the arts of
eloquence. Moreover, it is not merely a question of literary style. In
considering the Holy Qur’an as a miracle, we must, above all, take
into account the spiritual efficacy and the transforming power it has,
and which it has been showing these last fourteen hundred years.

The Challenge to Mankind: Produce a Surah the like thereof – Islamic Web Library

The following excerpt is taken from “Anwar al Bayan” pg. 23-24:


Once a person believes in Allah, he needs to recognise Allah’s qualities and
needs to learn how to worship Him. However, man cannot know these things by
himself. Therefore, Allah has sent the Prophet’s (Anbiya) (as) pete to teach man
these things in his own language. To prove the veracity of these Prophets
(Anbiya) (as), Allah allowed them to perform various miracles, which best
suited the times.

The Atabs in the time of the Holy Prophet (S) were extremely
eloquent and proficient in the Arabic language. They used to convene gatherings
wherein they recited poetic verses to each other. People used to hang their poems
on the Ka’ba, thereby challenging anyone to compose better poetry.

Allah sent the Holy Prophet ,l-y «ls 4! le as a Prophet to the whole of
humanity till dooms day (Qiyamah). The beloved Holy Prophet ply «ie «i! ls has
performed numerous miracles, which are enumerated in his biographies. As the
crown of all these miracles, Allah revealed the Qur’an to him because the Arabs
were so proficient in their language. It is a miracle lasting to this day, which none
can challenge.

One of the famous poets at that time was Sayyidina Labid bin Rabi‘ah,
whose poems often offered a challenge to others during the period of
ignorance. After he became a Muslim, Sayyidina Umar (RA), once asked him
what poems he had composed after accepting Islam. He replied by saying that
Allah had replaced his poetry by the likes of Surah Al-Bagarah and Surah Al
Imran. [Al Isibah v.3 p.326]

In the above verse Allah challenges the Infidels (kuffar) by saying, “If you are
in doubt with regard to what We have revealed (i.e. the Qur’an) upon Our slave, then
Produce a Surah the like thereof And call your allies besides Allah if you are truthful.”

Initially, the Infidels (kuffar) were challenged to produce ten Surahs like
those of the Qur’an but they were unable to do so. Eventually the above
challenge of one Surah was issued.

Allah says in Surah Yunus, “Say, ‘Produce a single Surah the like thereof and call
whomsoever you can besides Allah, if you are truthful”

Certain ignorant people during the time of the Holy Prophet (S)
said, “If we wish, we could say the same thing (as the Qur’an).” However, they were
unable to accomplish such a feat. Some people did try to compose some verses to
rival the Qur’an, but they mere miserably unsuccessful Allah says in verse 88 of
Surah Bani Isra’il, ‘Say, ‘If mankind and the jinn combine to produce the like of this
Qur’an, they would not be able to produce its example even if they are assistants to each

(24) lf you cannot accomplish the feat, and you will never be able to do so, then
fear that Fire, the fuel of which is men and stones. It has been prepared for the


History bears testimony to the fact that none has ever been able to produce a
single Surah equivalent to even the smallest Surah of the Qur’an. The above
prediction therefore has been most accurate.

Since there is a need for people throughout the ages to believe in the Holy
Prophet Ws ale i! t+, Allah has made His miracle everlasting so that everyone
may witness its miraculous nature, there by be in convinced of the Holy Prophet’s
(S) authenticity as Allah’s Prophet.

The truth of the Qur’an is evident, yet some people, after hearing it, still
choose to reject it because of obstinacy and national prejudices. In so doing, they
expose themselves to the torment of hell. It is for this reason that Allah informs
them that when they cannot meet the challenge, they should ‘fear (entry into) that
Fire, the fuel of which is men and stones. It has been prepared for the disbelievers”

Commentators say that the stones to be burnt in Hell will be the stone idols
that the Polytheists (Mushrikin) carved. Surah Anbiya contains the following
address to the Infidels (kuffar): “Verily you, together with what you worshipped
besides Allah, shall be the fuel of Hell (Jahannam). You will all pass thereby. “[verse 98]

“Durrul Manthir’ (0.1, p.36) reports from Sayyidina Abdullah bin Abbas (RA)
that the stones mentioned in this verse refer to sulphur which Allah will
create as He pleases.

Commandments of God in the Quran – Islamic Web Library

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