Why is the Qur'an the greatest miracle of The Prophet Muhammad?
While we have an eternal miracle like the Qur�an,
I feel no need for any other proof.
While we have an evidence of truth like the Qur�an,
I feel no difficulty in silencing those who deny.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Say: �If man and jinn banded together to produce the like of
this Qur�an, they would never produce its like, not though they backed one
another.� (al-Isra�, 17.88).
Some of the miraculous aspects of the Qur'an
THE ELOQUENCE OF THE QUR�AN
This is the eloquence of the Qur�an to the degree of miraculousness. Its
eloquence originates in the beauty of its words, order and composition, its
textual beauty and perfection, the originality and uniqueness of its styles,
the superiority, excellence and clarity of its explanations, the power and
truth of its meanings, and the purity and fluency of its language. It is an
eloquence so extraordinary that it has been challenging for fourteen
centuries the greatest literary geniuses, the most wonderful orators, and
the most profound scholars among mankind to compete with it, to produce a
like of it, or the like of even one of its suras. Although it forcefully
challenges them to compete with it, those geniuses who, in their self-pride
and self-confidence, see themselves as high as to touch the heavens, have
not been able to open their mouths to compete with it and have humbled
themselves before it.
I will now point out the miraculousness of the Qur�an�s eloquence in two
The Qur�an�s challenging all to produce even a like of one of its
The Qur�an�s eloquence is miraculous. For the people of Arabia were
mostly unlettered at that time, and therefore preserved in oral poetry their
tribal pride, history and proverbs which would serve them for good morals.
They attached much importance to eloquence, and any meaningful, unique
expression was memorized for its poetical form and eloquence and handed down
through successive generations. Eloquence and fluency were in such great
demand that an eloquent literary man of a tribe was treated like the
national hero of that tribe. They were most proud of him. Those intelligent
people, who would govern a considerable portion of the world after the
advent of Islam, were further advanced in eloquence than other nations.
Eloquence was so esteemed in their view that two tribes would sometimes go
to war with each other because of a saying of a literary man and then be
reconciled by the words of another. They even inscribed in gold the odes of
seven poets and hung them on the wall of the Ka`ba. These seven odes were
called the Seven Hanging Poems.
At a time when eloquence was in such demand, the Qur�an of miraculous
explanation was revealed. Just as God Almighty had previously endowed the
Prophets Moses and Jesus, upon them be peace, with the miracles that were
foremost in the kind of the acts in the highest demand in their times (Moses
with the staff and white hand because in his time sorcery was in most
demand, and Jesus with raising the dead and healing certain illnesses since
in his time healing was most favored) so too He made eloquence the most
notable aspect of the Qur�an, which is the chief miracle of the Prophet
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. When the Qur�an was revealed, it
challenged first the literary men of the Arabian Peninsula, saying: If you
are in doubt concerning what We have sent down on Our servant, then produce
a sura of its like. It challenged them, put down their intellectual
pretensions and, by continuing, If you do not [produce a sura of its like]
and you will not at all, then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones,
prepared for unbelievers, humbled them.
Those self-conceited people were unable to argue with the Qur�an in
words. Although this was the easy and safe course for them to obstruct and
falsify its message, they chose to fight against it with the sword, which
was the perilous and most difficult course. If those intelligent people
skilled in diplomacy had been able to argue with the Qur�an in words, they
would not have chosen the perilous, difficult course or risked losing their
property and lives. Since they could not argue with it in words, they were
compelled to argue with their swords.
How do we know that nobody has ever been able to dispute with the Qur�an,
and that such a challenge is not possible at all?
Had it been possible to challenge the Qur�an, somebody would certainly
have attempted to do it. Actually, such a challenge was directly needed by
the opponents of the Qur�an, since, first of all, they felt their religion,
life and properties in danger; they would all have thought themselves saved
by any kind of challenge. So, had it ever been possible to challenge the
Qur�an, they would certainly have tried it, and there were lots of
unbelievers and hypocrites ready to advertise it widely, just as they spread
all kinds of malicious propaganda against Islam. If they had succeeded with
any kind of challenge, their success would have been recorded with
exaggeration in the books of history. Now all the books of history are out
in the open; none of them contains anything other than a few nonsensical
lines of Musaylima al-Kadhdhab (the Liar), a false claimant to Prophethood.
They never dared any challenge, although the Wise Qur�an challenged them
continuously for twenty-three years in a way that provoked and annoyed them:
Come on, and produce a like of this Qur�an by means of an unlettered man
like Muhammad, the Trustworthy! If you can not do that, let it not be an
unlettered man, but the most knowledgeable and one well-versed in writing.
If you cannot do that either, let it not be one person, but gather all your
learned and eloquent ones to help each other; also invoke the aid of your
gods and goddesses upon whom you rely. This too you cannot do; make use of
all the books of the highest eloquence that have ever been written, and let
all the unbelievers to come until Doomsday make use of your experiences in
their attempt. Still you have not been able to score any success, try to
produce the like of only ten chapters of the Qur�an, not of the whole of it.
If you see that you are unable to match any ten chapters of the Qur�an truly
and in all respects, then make a composition from baseless stories and
imaginative tales to match only the metrical verse and eloquence of the
Qur�an. Even this you cannot do, so bring about the equal of only one
chapter. If you are still unsuccessful, let it not be a long one; suffice it
to produce the like of any short one! Otherwise, your religion, your lives
and properties, and your families will be at stake both in this world and in
With these eight alternatives, the Qur�an has challenged and silenced men
and jinn, not for twenty-three years, but for fourteen centuries.
Nevertheless, those unbelievers who lived in the early days of Islam,
instead of preferring the easiest way, that is, open challenge, chose the
most dreadful way�to wage war, endangering their lives and properties and
their families because challenging the Qur�an was absolutely impossible.
Otherwise no man of wisdom, especially those of the Arabian peninsula of
that time and especially those intelligent men of the Quraysh, would have
had recourse to this most difficult way, if any literary man among them had
been able to bring about the equal of a single chapter of the Qur�an and
thereby save them from the attacks of the Qur�an.
In summary, as the famous Jahiz put it, since challenge by words was
impossible, they had to resort to struggle by the sword.
Some scholars of discernment have maintained that not a chapter of the
Qur�an, nor a verse, nor a sentence, nor even a word of it is ever possible
to be disputed; nor has anyone ever been able to do this. This judgment
sounds exaggerated, and is too hard to accept. For there are many words
produced by men, which have some resemblance to the Qur�an. So, how do you
interpret this judgment?
There are two schools of opinion concerning the miraculousness of the
According to the prevailing opinion, the eloquence of the Qur�an and the
virtues in its meaning are beyond human capacity.
The other opinion is that although it is within human capacity to
challenge and compete with a chapter of the Qur�an, God Almighty prevented
it as a miracle of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. For example,
if a Prophet told a man, who is normally able to stand up, �You will not be
able to stand up�, and the man could not then stand up, it would be
considered a miracle of the Prophet. This school is called the school of �Sarfa�,
from the viewpoint of which the All-Mighty prevented men and jinn from
producing even a chapter of the Qur�an. If He had not, men and jinn might
have put up a challenge against one chapter. So, according to this view, the
scholars who maintain that even a word of the Qur�an cannot be challenged
are right in their opinion. For, prevented by the All-Mighty on account of
the miraculousness of the Qur�an, they could not even open their mouths to
offer a challenge; even if they had, they could not have uttered a word
because God was preventing it.
In the view of the scholars belonging to the first school, there is,
however, a subtle point that the words and verses of the Qur�an are all
interrelated. Sometimes it occurs that a word is related to ten other
occurrences, thus bearing ten relationships and providing ten instances of
eloquence. In another book of mine entitled Isharat al-I�jaz (The Signs of
Miraculousness), which is a key to the interpretation of the Qur�an, I
showed some examples in this regard drawn from some passages of Sura al-Fatiha
(the Opening Chapter) and from the initial verses of Sura al-Baqara.
In a well-ornamented palace, for example, to place a gem that is of the
greatest importance in the decorative pattern, in the most suitable location
on the wall is possible only after knowing the whole design. Likewise, to
place the pupil of the eye in its correct location entails knowing all the
function of the body and its complex organization, as well as its
relationship with the function of the eye. In just the same way the foremost
among men of exact science and profound truth have demonstrated numerous
relationships between the words of the Qur�an and the manifold relationship
each word has with some other verses and expressions. The scholars who have
studied the mysteries of letters have gone even further, and proved that
each letter of the Qur�an bears many inner meanings the explanation of which
might cover pages. Since the Qur�an is the Word of the Creator of
everything, each of its words may function as the core or heart of an ideal
body around it made of hidden meanings, or as the seed of such an ideal
tree. Thus, there might be among the words of men some similar to those of
the Qur�an, but to place them properly taking into consideration of all such
relationships as exist between the Qur�anic words calls for an