Quran and Miracles
Islam considers the Quran to be a holy book, the word of Allah, and a miracle. The text itself is believed to be a miracle on the grounds that the Arabic text would not conform to the standard poetry and prose categories commonly expressed by other forms of written and spoken languages and therefore is attributed to supernatural, esp. divine, agency; esp. an act (e.g. of healing) showing control over nature and used as evidence that the agent is either divine or divinely favoured.
According to Ali Dashti, “there has been much debate, however, on the question whether the Qur’an is miraculous in respect of its eloquence or of its subject-matter, or of both. In general the Moslem scholars consider it to be miraculous in both respects.” Verses of the Qur’an stating that the Qu’ran itself is a miracle – i.e. so amazing it could not have been a natural occurrence – include:
11:13 Or they say, “He (Prophet Muhammad(P)) forged it (the Qur’an).” Say: “Bring you then ten forged surah (chapters) like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!”,
was revealed in response to polytheists accusation that Muhammad’s revelation was invented by Muhammad or came from other men.
17:88 Say: “If the mankind and the jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.”
was issued in reply to an accusation found in
8:31 ‘We have already heard (such things). If we wished, we could say (things) like this. These are only fables of the ancients'”
Other verses challenging pagans to produce verses as wonderful as the revelations produced by Muhammad and thus suggesting the Quran miraculousness include:
2:23And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur’an) to Our final Messenger (Muhammad Peace be upon him ), then produce a surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful.
11:13Or they say, “He (Prophet Muhammad(P)) forged it (the Qur’an).” Say: “Bring you then ten forged surah (chapters) like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!”
10:37 – 10:38 Or do they say: “He (Muhammad(P)) has forged it?” Say: “Bring then a surah (chapter) like unto it, and call upon whomsoever you can, besides Allah, if you are truthful!”
52:33 – 52:34Or do they say: “He (Muhammad(P)) has forged it (this Qur’an)?” Nay! They believe not! Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur’an) if they are truthful. (all English translations by Hilali and Muhsin Khan)
The Quran describes Muhammad as “ummi”, which is traditionally interpreted as “unlettered,” and the ability of such a person to produce the Quran is taken as miraculous and as a sign of the genuineness of his prophethood. For example, according to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, if Muhammad had mastered writing and reading he possibly would have been suspected of having studied the books of the ancestors. Some scholars such as Watt prefer the second meaning.
However, some scholars argue that the word did not mean “illiterate” but a non-Jewish and non-Christian Arabs pagan Arabs.
Claimed time-specific miracles relating to Muhammad
It has been claimed that several verses that appear in the Qur’an suggest certain miracles occurred just in relation to Muhammad: the splitting of the moon, and assistance given to Muslims at the Battle of Badr. Although these events would have occurred during their respective times, Muslims believe their effect cannot be perceived as they were witnessed by a particular people at the time and are therefore only miracles for those who witnessed it at the time.
Prophecies and claimed fulfillment
Throughout the Qur’an, claims or predictions are made concerning future events. Many of the prophecies are viewed as having metaphoric meanings, while others are taken more literally. As the Qur’an is said to contain the exact words of God which were revealed to Muhammad in Arabic and later transcribed, the meaning of the Qur’an has a great effect on Muslim beliefs and understanding. Some prophecies are debated more than others as to whether or not they were actually fulfilled or how the Qur’anic text should be interpreted.
One of the more general prophecies is that the Qur’an predicts its own preservation and endurance. The Qur’an states that the book itself will survive as a valid source and that the religion of Islam will last, even dominate, because of this. Muslim scholars say that today’s Qur’an is the same Qur’an originally compiled by Muhammad, and that the memorisation ensures the consistency and its preservation.
The following passages from the Qur’an state these prophecies:
“We have, without doubt, Sent down the Message; And We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption)” (15:9).
“It is Allah Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance And the ideology of Truth, to make it superior over all other ways of life, Even though the disbelievers May hate (it)” (61:9).
Another interpretation of the Qur’an is that it predicted the defeat of the Persians by the Romans. Before the prophecy, at the Battle of Antioch, in 613 C.E., the Persians defeated the Romans. Muslims were upset by this defeat because they felt more connected to Rome, a Christian empire, than to Persia, a Zoroastrian one. The following verse is however included in the Qur’an: “The Roman Empire Has been defeated – In a land close by; But they, (even) after (This) defeat of theirs, Will soon be victorious – Within a few years. With God is the Decision, In the Past And in the Future: On that Day shall The Believers rejoice” (30:2-4). By 627 C.E., the Romans had successfully defeated the Persians, resulting in much celebration by Muslims and allegedly fulfilling a prophecy of the Qur’an.
The Qu’ran says “And We have indeed Made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: Then is there any that Will receive admonition?” (54:17) That memorisation is indeed possible has been said to be a miraculous fulfilment of a prophecy. The Qur’an’s “rhythmic style and eloquent expression” have been cited as aids in verbatim memorization.
The Qur’an states that God says to the Pharaoh of the Exodus: “This day shall We save thee in thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee.” The body of the Pharaoh, who was argued to be either Rameses II or his son Merneptah, had been thought to be lost at sea until the mummies of both were discovered in the 19th century, and put on display in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum; it is argued that the prophecy that the Pharaoh’s body would be preserved has been fulfilled.
Claimed scientific miracles
Starting the 1970s and 80s a “popular literature known as ijaz” (miracle) and often called “Scientific miracles in the Quran” developed and spread to Muslim bookstores, websites, and on television programs of Islamic preachers. The ijaz movement/industry is “widespread and well-funded” with “millions” from Saudi Arabia. Enthusiasts of the movement argue that the Quran abounds with “scientific facts” centuries before their discovery by science and thus demonstrating that the Quran must be of divine origin. Among these miracles alleged to be found in the Quran are “everything, from relativity, quantum mechanics, Big Bang theory, black holes and pulsars, genetics, embryology, modern geology, thermodynamics, even the laser and hydrogen fuel cells”.
Zafar Ishaq Ansari describes the idea that “the Quran (and the Sunna)” contain “a substantially large number of scientific truths that were discovered only in modern times” as one of the “new themes and emphases” of “scientific exegesis of the Quran”.
Some examples are the verse
“So verily I swear by the stars that run and hide …” (Q.81:15-16)
“And I swear by the stars’ positions-and that is a mighty oath if you only knew”. (Qur’an, 56:75-76)
which demonstrate (to proponents) the Quran’s knowledge of black holes;
“[I swear by] the Moon in her fullness; that ye shall journey on from stage to stage” (Q.84:18-19)
refers to human flight into outer space.
As of 2008, both (some) Muslims and non-Muslims have disputed whether there actually are scientific miracles in the Quran. According to author Ziauddin Sardar, the movement has created a “global craze in Muslim societies”.
Critics argue that while it is generally agreed the Quran contains many verses proclaiming the wonders of nature — such as
“Travel throughout the earth and see how He brings life into being” (Q.29:20),
“Behold in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding …” (Q.3:190) —
- it requires “considerable mental gymnastics and distortions to find scientific facts or theories in these verses” (Ziauddin Sardar);
- that the Quran is the source of guidance in right faith (imam) and righteous action (alladhina amanu wa amilu l-salihat) but the idea that it contained “all knowledge, including scientific” knowledge has not been a mainstream view among Muslim scholarship (Zafar Ishaq Ansari); and
- because “Science is ever-changing … the Copernican revolution overturning polemic models of the universe to Einstein’s general relativity overshadowing Newtonian mechanisms” (Ali Talib);
- Dashti, 23 Years, 1994: p.40
- Quran 7:157
- Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Essays in Honour of Hermann Landolt, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2005-09-23, p. 202, ISBN9780857716224
- Dashti, 23 Years, 1994: p.44
- Richard Bell (Revised and Enlarged by W. Montgomery Watt) (1970). Bell’s introduction to the Qur’an. Univ. Press. pp. 31–51. ISBN978-0852241714.
- Günther, Sebastian (2002). “Muhammad, the Illiterate Prophet: An Islamic Creed in the Quran and Quranic Exegesis”. Journal of Quranic Studies. 4 (1): 1–26. doi:10.3366/jqs.2002.4.1.1.
- William Montgomery Watt in The Cambridge History of Islam, p.32
- Richard Bell, William Montgomery Watt, ‘introduction to the Qurʼān’, p.51
- F. E. Peters (1991), pp.3–5: “Few have failed to be convinced that … the Quran is … the words of Muhammad, perhaps even dictated by him after their recitation.”
- Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (2002). The Holy Qur’an: text, translation and commentary. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an. ISBN978-0-940368-32-3.
- SARDAR, ZIAUDDIN (21 August 2008). “Weird science”. New Statesman. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
- Cook, The Koran, 2000: p.29
- La’li, Mahdi (2007). A Comprehensive Exploration of the Scientific Miracles in Holy Quran. Trafford Publishing. p. 17. ISBN978-1-4120-1443-4. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- Ansari, Zafar Ishaq (2001). “Scientific Exegesis of the Qur’an / التفسير العلمي للقرآن”. Journal of Qur’anic Studies. 3 (1): 92. JSTOR25728019.
- “BLACK HOLES”. miracles of the quran. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- TALIB, ALI (9 April 2018). “Deconstructing the “Scientific Miracles in the Quran” Argument”. Transversing Tradition. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia