By Farhat Amin
Important facts you should know about the Quran
The Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years. A full surah would not be revealed all in one go, they were revealed partially, a few ayahs at a time. During the lifetime of the prophet (saw), the Quran did not exist in book form as we know it today. There were no ayah numbers or surah numbers, this came later. Each year during Ramadan, the prophet (saw) would recite all the Quran that had been revealed so far with Angel Jibrael and he who would tell Muhummad (saw) the place and order of each ayah. This was all done orally. The prophet (saw), would memorise an ayah and teach it to the Muslims. The Quran is not organised in chronological order, i.e. Surah Alaq, 96 is not the first surah of the Quran even though the first ayahs to be revealed were from this surah.
Having understood the above facts let’s look at the longest surah in the Quran which is Surah Al Baqarah, it has 286 ayat, this surah was revealed in stages over the course of almost 10 years. In ayah 143 of Surah Al Baqarah Allah says
“And like that we made you all a middle nation…”
The word ‘wasat’ means middle and it is only used once in the Quran, miraculously this word middle (wasat) comes in the middle ayah of this surah, there is no way Muhammad (saw) could have organised this ayah to be exactly in the middle of this surah, as he didn’t have the Quran in written form and he couldn’t read or write.
The challenge in the Quran
In the Quran Allah directly challenged the Arabs to produce a literary work of a similar quality to the Quran, but they were unable to do so despite their well-known Arabic eloquence. At that time, composing poetry was one of the most admired skills in society, and Arab poets excelled in their use of the Arabic language the challenge to reproduce the Quran was presented to the Arabs and mankind in three stages:
In the Quran, Allah says
“Say: ‘If all mankind and the jinn would come together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce it’s like even though they exerted all and their strength in aiding one another.’” Al-Isra (17:88)
Next, Allah made the challenge easier
“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.” Hud (11:13)
This last challenge was to produce a single chapter
“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.” Al Baqara (2:23)
These challenges were not just empty words with no one trying to prove them wrong. Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) call to end idolatry threatened the oppressive system of Meccan society, as well as the tyrannical position of the ruling Quraishi tribe, who desperately wanted to stop the spread of Islam. Yet, all that the Prophet’s (saw) opponents had to do to extinguish Islam was to produce a single chapter like any one of those which the Prophet (saw) and his followers were reciting to the people. Given that the smallest surah in the Quran is Al-Asr, which is three ayahs long, essentially, they only had to produce three ayahs like it. Despite this, several Quraishi poets tried to imitate the Quran, but they failed dismally.
Read more: Why are British women turning to Islam?
The Quran is not the speech of Muhammad (saw)
It is a well-known fact Muhammad (saw) could not read or write Arabic. When an ayah was revealed, the prophet (saw) would recite it to his companions and they would memorise it. He would not edit the content or change it. In Mecca, Muhammad (saw) faced a lot of hostility from the leaders of Quraish: they would do anything to stop people embracing Islam. Nevertheless, they never alleged that the Quran was Muhammad’s (saw) speech: they knew it was absurd. How could he (saw) write a book that he couldn’t read?
The way Muhammad (saw) spoke was very different to the way the Quran is written, we know how Muhammad (saw) spoke because we have hundreds of his authentic sayings – hadith. Hadith were very carefully collected and saved and put into books. If you were to compare any of these hadith to any verse of the Quran, there would be no similarity between them in style.
The only thing that they claimed was that Muhammad (saw) had got the Quran from a Christian youth called Jabr. Allah refuted this accusation in the Quran and said
“We know indeed that they say it is a man that taught him. The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear.” An Nahl (16:103)
Allah tells us in the Quran
“Pharaoh said, ‘Haman, build me a tall tower so I may reach the ropes that lead to the heavens to look for this God of Moses.” Surah Ghafir (40:36-37)
Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, hieroglyphics, religion, architecture and art. In the late 1800 hieroglyphics was revived by German and French scholars, they travelled to Egypt, studied hieroglyphics, and developed a scheme of spellings for the images and turned them into pronounceable words. They began translating the hieroglyphics into documents and they learnt a lot about Egyptian court life, life of the pharaohs, their names and their minister’s names and what their roles were. One of the Pharaoh’s ministers in charge of stone quarries and construction was called none other than…Haman. It would have been impossible for anyone living in Arabia in the 7th century to have known his name, as hieroglyphics was no longer in use since the 5th Century. So, the name was discovered in the 1900s, no one knew his name, but Allah knew the name of this man and had revealed it in the Quran.
Scientific facts in the Quran
In the following verse, Allah revealed to the Prophet (saw), 1,500 years ago, the different stages of pregnancy. Ayat like this are signs or proofs for all rational people that the Quran is the speech of our Creator as there is no way any person could have known this information 1500 years ago, in the deserts of Arabia.
“Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So, blessed is Allah, the best of creators.” Al-Muminun (23:14)
Having looked at all these examples we can categorically say that the Quran is the speech of Allah and it is a miracle. Since Muhammad (saw) is the one who brought the Quran he is therefore a Messenger of Allah and we should follow him.