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An examination of the miraculous quality or inimitability of the Qur’aan

The following is the translation of an Arabic article.

The miraculous matter is that matter which breaks or exceeds the norm or what is usual in any time and place. The new invention breaks the norm however it is caught up with by something similar to it or better than it and as such is not considered to be miraculous. Therefore, for the matter to be miraculous or inimitable, it is necessary that the people be incapable of reproducing the like of it in every time and place. This is a matter which is not realised in anything present or existing within all that exists, except in the Qur’aan which Allah Ta’Aalaa revealed upon our Sayyid Muhammad .

Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla has made it the eternal proof of the Muslims to establish the correctness or validity of their Deen and to prove that it is from Allah alone and not the production of any human being. The people’s realisation of the existence of Allah is a matter which is possible by way of the ‘Aql (mind). However, the people cannot comprehend what Allah has required or demanded from them as that does not happen except via an address from Allah to mankind where it is established by a Daleel Qat’iy (definite) evidence that it is from Allah alone.

Allah has addressed his slaves with the Qur’aan to explain to mankind what is required for them and He made the Qur’aan itself a miracle for as long as the heavens and earth remain (i.e. until the Day of resurrection). In the absence of the miraculous nature or inimitability the proofs for the correctness of the Deen collapse. For that reason, it became obligatory upon the Da’wah carriers to apply an extreme amount of care and concern to this miraculous nature; to explain it to the people and establish the evidences for it as much as they can and are able. The unresponsiveness of the people to Islaam is often a result of the people not comprehending or realising this miracle and the lack of concern with it in origin. That is because the majority of those who have studied the miracle of the Qur’aan have complicated the matter more than they have simplified it. That is to the point that it became perceived by the people to be a mysterious matter which could not be fully comprehended except by someone who has an extensive knowledge of the Arabic language. For that reason, the miracle of the Qur’aan became a matter which didn’t mean anything to the majority of the Muslims and even if they say with their mouths that the Qur’aan is a miracle for all of the people.

The miraculous aspect in the Qur’aan is only found in the linguistic formulation of the intended meaning and whoever wishes to sense or touch upon the miracle, then he must define the meaning which the Qur’aan is addressing whilst leaving the form used by the Qur’aan to bring that meaning, and then attempt to bring a formulation of his own to express the same reality. And so, for example, in respect to the Qawl of Allah Ta’Aalaa:

يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ
O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me (Yousuf: 4).

This represents an expression about a particular meaning and its reality is that a particular person slept and saw in his dreams 11 stars prostrating to him, in addition to the sun and moon. And then he spoke to his father about that. This is the reality.

For us to touch upon and sense the miraculous nature, we bring a new formulation other than the formulation brought in the Qur’aan which expresses the same meaning. If we were to do that we would touch upon a huge difference between our formulation and the formulation of the Qur’aan, whilst the matter would never require experts to say that. This is a natural matter and that is because the first form is from Allah whilst the second is from the human and it is natural to sense the difference between them both and even the one who is not proficient in the sciences of the Arabic language. If we were to try the following formation for instance:

يا أبي إني حلمت بأن أحد عشر نجما ومعهم الشمس والقمر ساجدين لي
O Father, verily I dreamt that 11 stars alongside the sun and the moon prostrated to me

And then we were to present the two forms upon someone and even upon the one who does not possess knowledge of Arabic, he will be able to easily judge that the form of the Qur’aan is one thousand times better than the other formulation or usage of wording. Even if we were to gather the literary experts upon the face of the earth to bring a form composed by themselves, the judgement would remain the same.

It is natural and inevitable for the difference to be vast and easily noticeable between the two as one of them is from Allah and the other is from man, as we have previously stated. When the difference between two matters is vast then it does not require experts to differentiate between them. Experts in language are only required if the two forms are similar or close to each other exactly like any other discipline from amongst the disciplines of the world. As such it is possible for someone who does not have expert knowledge in construction to distinguish between the crooked and straight building, just as any person is capable of distinguishing between a new vehicle and an old rusty one. However, if the two buildings, for example were equal in respect to quality, then it would not be possible for other than the expert to distinguish or differentiate between them … and so on.

Whoever wishes to live with the miracle, then when he reads an Aayah from the Kitaab of Allah, he should specify its meaning and attempt to bring a new formulation (of wording) for the same meaning and at that time alone he will be able to touch upon or sense the miraculous nature. As for comparing the text of the Qur’aan with a line of poetry here and there or with some prose here and there, then that by its nature will not make the person realise the miraculous nature of the Qur’aan. Indeed, it is possible that it will complicate the matters and unintentionally give the impression to the one listening that the miracle is a mysterious matter which none but the knowledgeable (in certain areas) can fully comprehend.

It is for you to contemplate upon the Qawl of Allah Ta’Aalaa:

يُوصِيكُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنثَيَيْنِ
Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females (An-Nisaa’: 11).

If you were to gather the literary experts of the earth to bring a form other than this expressing the same meaning, then what they bring will represent nothing but a corrupt scribble when compared to the form of the Qur’aan. The same applies in respect to His Qawl Ta’Aalaa:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ ۚ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ الْأَنْعَامِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ
O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur'an] - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends (Al-Maa’idah: 1).

And also His Qawl:

وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِن قَوْمٍ خِيَانَةً فَانبِذْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَلَىٰ سَوَاءٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ
If you [have reason to] fear from a people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them, [putting you] on equal terms. Indeed, Allah does not like traitors (Al-Anfaal: 58).

And the same applies in respect to most of the Aayaat of the Qur’aan as the result will be the same regardless of how much the one who attempts that attempts to do that.

It is true and correct that the lowest challenge set by Allah was to bring a Soorah:

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ
And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a Surah the like thereof (Al-Baqarah: 23).

However, that does not prevent many of the Aayaat being miraculous like the Aayaat we have mentioned and those similar to them. As for His Qawl Ta’Aalaa: “الرَّحْمَـٰنُ” (Ar-Rahmaan) and his Qawl Subhaanahu: “عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ” (‘Allama l-Qur’aan) etc. Then, it is perfectly clear that Aayaat such as these are not miraculous (in themselves) and as such the lowest challenge set by Allah for man was a Soorah and not an Aayah.

The issue of the miracle or inimitability, as stated previously, must be given the greatest amount of care and attention by the Da’wah carriers because it alone represents the evidence that this Deen is from Allah whilst the removal of this from within the people represents a fundamental reason for the distance of the people from their Deen and their unresponsiveness to the one calling to Allah. The human being, by his nature, follows the strong and possessor of miracles. The disbelievers have been given a great share of power and accomplishments in an unprecedented manner historically and for the people to be diverted from them it is necessary for there to be a material power to meet their power, or spiritual power or both combined together.

That is like what happened with the Nabi . That is because when he came with a great spiritual power it settled within the Nufoos (pl. of Nafs) of the people and they were diverted away from following the Persians and Romans. Indeed, they came to see them as being insignificant, confronted them and broke their strength and power. The days rotate; today they are in favour of the disbelievers and not us, and that is because we left the spiritual power which can our realisation of the miracle bestows upon us and so we came to face the most insolent and (materially) strongest people of the earth, that history has known, whilst being stripped without a weapon. The result was therefore decisive in their favour just as has been the case since the last one hundred years.
Sheikh Abu Islam Yusuf Shaqeero, Palestine


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