The Quran : An Abiding Wonder


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This collection briefly discusses two aspects of the Qur’an: firstly, its being in itself a proof that it is the Book of God; secondly its complete preservation in its original form, as revealed to the Arab Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century Hijrah. Many revelations had been made by God and committed to writing by His devotees before the advent of the Qur’an. Then what particularly distinguishes the sacred Islamic text from its forerunners? It is not just that it is complete and the other revealed books incomplete. To categorise the sacred scriptures in this way would amount to discriminating between the Prophets themselves which is certainly not right.

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The Quran : An Abiding Wonder

  1. 1. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder Table of ContentsTABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents................................................................2Foreword.............................................................................4The Qur’an: The Book of God ...........................................7 Contradictions in Human Reasoning ...........................9 Darwinism .......................................................................9 Political Philosophy ......................................................16 Twofold Inconsistency .................................................21 Biblical Inconsistency ...................................................23 Secular Contradictions .................................................25 External Inconsistency..................................................30 Historical Inaccuracy....................................................35 An Example from History............................................38 The Mummy of Merneptah .........................................40 Natural Phenomena......................................................43 Examples from Astronomy..........................................45 ~2~
  2. 2. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder Table of Contents The Development of Biology .......................................46 Evolution of the Embryo inside the Uterus................48 Origin of the Universe..................................................50 The Healing Property of Honey ..................................55 Superiority of the Qur’an.............................................57 Newton’s Theory of Light............................................59The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miracle.............................63 Social Upheavals...........................................................69 Literary Advancement .................................................81Qur’an: The Voice of God................................................94The Preservation of the Qur’an.....................................120Divine Arrangement ......................................................136Eternal Truth...................................................................144 ~3~
  3. 3. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder ForewordFOREWORDThis collection briefly discusses two aspects of theQur’an: firstly, its being in itself a proof that it is theBook of God; secondly its complete preservation inits original form, as revealed to the Arab ProphetMuhammad in the seventh century Hijrah.Many revelations had been made by God andcommitted to writing by His devotees before theadvent of the Qur’an. Then what particularlydistinguishes the sacred Islamic text from itsforerunners? It is not just that it is complete and theother revealed books incomplete. To categorise thesacred scriptures in this way would amount todiscriminating between the Prophets themselveswhich is certainly not right.What then is its great distinguishing feature? Thereis only one. A simple, but a major one. The text ofthe Qur’an has never been tampered with, whereasall the other Books have long ago lost their originalform and content, which has meant a serious loss ofauthenticity. It is this characteristic of the Qur’an –its perfect state of preservation –which singles it out ~4~
  4. 4. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder Forewordfrom its predecessors as a unique vehicle for divineguidance and salvation, one which will retain itsvalidity until Doomsday.The preservation of the Qur’an was a laborious taskrequiring remarkable skill and dedication. As such,it was the most extraordinary undertaking of theage. This feat gains in importance when seen in thecontext of the loss of authority of previous textswhich were not maintained in their pristine state.The Qur’an alone has survived as the completelypreserved utterances of the Almighty.God has absolute power over all things. If He hasgiven man freedom throughout his lifespan in thisworld, it is purely in order to test him. So that ifman made interpolations in, and even destroyeddivine scriptures, it was because he chose to misusethis freedom. Finally, as an exceptional blessing toman, God made arrangements to preserve Hisguidance for future generations. That is how – bythe special succour of God – the Prophet and hiscompanions were victorious in their long tusslewith the transgressors, thus ushering in a new erain world history. ~5~
  5. 5. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder ForewordThey succeeded in replacing the old world with anew world which, with its unassailable fidelity totruth, afforded an eternal guarantee for thepreservation of the Qur’an. Wahiduddin Khan ~6~
  6. 6. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodTHE QUR’AN: THE BOOK OF GODWhen the Prophet Muhammad, (may peace beupon him) claimed that the Qur’an was a divinebook revealed to him by God for the guidance ofman, there were many who did not believe him.The scriptures to them were a human rather than adivine composition. The Qur’an then gave achallenge to these sceptics, asking them to produce“a scripture similar to it,” if what they said weretrue. (52:34).It declared, moreover, in no uncertain terms that,even if all the human beings and the jinns madecollective and concerted efforts to produce a booklike the Qur’an, they would all fail miserably intheir attempt. (17:88).The Qur’an, being an eternal book, poses aperennial challenge, addressed to every humanbeing under the sun until Doomsday.Now the question arises as to the characteristics thissacred book possesses which render it inimitable.Several aspects of its uniqueness are mentioned inthe Qur’an, one of which is its consistency: ~7~
  7. 7. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of God“Do they not ponder over the Qur’an? If it had notcome from God, they would have found in it manycontradictions (ikhtilaf)” (4:82).(Professor Arberry has translated the Arabic wordikhtilaf as ‘inconsistency’. Other renderings of theword include contradiction, disparity anddifference.)Total consistency is an extremely rare quality, onewhich is an exclusive attribute of God. It is,therefore, beyond any human being to compose awork in which there are no disparities. For a work tobe quite flawless, the composer has to have acommand of such knowledge as encompasses thepast and the future, and extends also to all objects ofcreation. There must be no shadow of doubt in hisperception of the essential nature of things.Furthermore, his knowledge must be based on directacquaintance, not on information indirectly receivedfrom others. And there is another unique quality hemust possess: he must be able to see things, not in aprejudiced light, but as they actually are.God and God alone can possess all theseextraordinary qualities. For this reason, only His ~8~
  8. 8. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodWord will remain perennially free of allinconsistency. The work of man, on the other hand,is always marred by imperfection, for man himselfis imperfect; it does not lie within his power tocompose a work free of contradiction.CONTRADICTIONS IN HUMAN REASONINGIt is not by chance that the work of man is fraughtwith contradictions. It is inevitable, given the inherentlimitations of human cerebral activity. Such is thenature of creation that it accepts only the Thought ofits Creator. Any theory which is not in consonancewith His thinking can find no place in the universe. Itwill contradict itself, for it stands at variance with theuniverse at large; it will be inconsistent, for it does notrun true to the pattern of nature.For this reason, intellectual inconsistency is boundto mar any theory conceived of by man. We shallillustrate this point by several examples.DARWINISMCharles Darwin (1809-1882), and other scientistsafter him, developed the theory of Evolution from ~9~
  9. 9. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godtheir observations of living creatures. They saw thatthe various forms of life found on earth outwardlyappeared different from one another. Yet,biologically, they bore a considerable resemblanceto each other. The structure of a horse, for instance,when standing up on its two hind legs, was notunlike the human frame.From these observations they came to theconclusion that man was not a separate species, andthat along with other animals, he had originatedfrom a common gene. All creatures were involvedin a great evolutionary journey through successivestages of biological development. While reptiles,quadrupeds and monkeys were in an early stage ofevolution, man was in an advanced stage.For a hundred years this theory held sway overhuman thought. But then further investigationsrevealed that it had loopholes. It did not fully fit inwith the framework of creation. In certainfundamental ways, it clashed with the order of theuniverse as a whole. For instance, there is thequestion of the age of the earth. By scientificcalculation, it has been put at around two thousand ~ 10 ~
  10. 10. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godmillion years old. Now this period is far too short tohave accommodated the process of evolutionenvisaged by Darwin. It has been shownscientifically that for just one compound of proteinmolecule to have evolved, it would have takenmore than just millions and millions of years. Thereare over a million different forms of animal life onearth and at least two hundred thousand fullydeveloped vegetable species. How could they allhave evolved in just two thousand million years?Not even an animal low down in the evolutionaryscale could have developed in that time, let aloneman, an advanced life form which could havedeveloped only after passing through countlessevolutionary stages.A mathematician, by the name of Professor Patau,has made certain calculations concerning thebiological changes postulated by the theory ofevolution. According to him, even a minor changein any species would take one million generationsto be completed. From this, one can have an idea ofhow long a period would elapse before a dog, forexample, turned into a horse. The multiple changesinvolved in such a complicated evolutionary ~ 11 ~
  11. 11. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godprocess would have taken much too long for themto have happened during the human lifespan of theworld.As Fred Hoyle puts it, in The Intelligent Universe:Just how excruciatingly slowly genetic informationaccumulates by trial and error can be seen from asimple example. Suppose, very conservatively, thata particular protein is coded by a tiny segment inthe DNA blueprint, just ten of the chemical links inits double helix. Without all ten links being in thecorrect sequence, the protein from the DNA doesn’twork. Starting with all the ten wrong, how manygenerations of copying must elapse before all thelinks – and hence the protein – come right throughrandom errors? The answer is easily calculated fromthe rate at which DNA links are miscopied, a figurewhich has been established by experiment.‘To obtain the correct sequence of ten links, bymiscopying, the DNA would have to reproduceitself on an average, about a hundred millionmembers of the species all producing offspring, itwould still take a million generations before even asingle member came up with the required ~ 12 ~
  12. 12. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godrearrangement. And if that sounds almost withinthe bounds of possibility, consider what happens ifa protein is more complicated and the number ofDNA links needed to code for it jumps from ten totwenty. A thousand billion generations would thenbe needed, and if one hundred links are required(as is often the case), the number of generationswould be impossibly high because no organismreproduces fast enough to achieve this. Thesituation for the neo-Darwinism theory is evidentlyhopeless. It might be possible for genes to bemodified slightly during the course of evolution,but the evolution of specific sequences of DNAlinks of any appreciable length is clearly notpossible’ (p. 110).And in any case, as Hoyle had earlier stated,‘Shufflings of the DNA code are disadvantageous,because they tend to destroy cosmic geneticinformation rather than to improve it.’To solve this problem, another theory, called thePanspermia Theory, was formed. It held that lifeoriginated in outer space. From there it came toearth. But as it turned out, this theory created new ~ 13 ~
  13. 13. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godproblems of its own. Where in the vastness of spacewas there a planet or a star with the conditionsneeded for life to develop? For example, there isnothing more essential to life than water. Nothingcan come into existence or continue to survivewithout it. Yet no one knows of anywhere in theentire universe, except the earth, where it exists. Wethen had a certain body of intellectuals whofavoured a theory of Emergent Evolution, accordingto which life – or its various forms – came intobeing all of a sudden. But this theory is empty ofmeaning. How can there be sudden appearance oflife without the intervention of an outside force? Sowe are back to where we started, with the OutsideForce – or Creator – to discount which all thesetheories were originally invented.The fact of the matter is, without taking a Creatorinto account, one cannot give a valid explanation oflife. There is simply no other theory which fits inwith the pattern of the universe. Being inconsistentwith the nature of life, other theories fail to takefirm root. It is indeed significant that eminentscholars from various fields have thought fit tocontribute to an Encyclopaedia of Ignorance, which ~ 14 ~
  14. 14. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godhas been published in London. The book has thefollowing introduction:‘In the Encyclopaedia of Ignorance some 60 well-known scientists survey different fields of research,trying to point out significant gaps in ourknowledge of the world.’What this work really amounts to is an academicacknowledgement of the fact that the Maker of theworld has fashioned it in such a way that it justcannot be explained by any mechanicalinterpretation. For instance, as John Maynard Smithhas written, the theory of evolution is beset withcertain ‘built-in’ problems. There appears to be nosolution to these problems, for all we have to go byare theories. And without concrete evidence, thereis no way we can back up our theories.According to the Qur’an, man and all other forms oflife have been created by God. The theory ofevolution, on the other hand, holds that they are allthe result of a blind mechanical process. TheQur’anic interpretation explains itself, for God cando as He wills. He can create what He wisheswithout material resources. Such is not the case ~ 15 ~
  15. 15. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godwith the theory of evolution, which demands thatthere should be a cause for everything that happens.Such causes cannot be found, with the result thatthe theory of evolution is left without anexplanation, – in an intellectual vacuum, one mightsay, while the same cannot be said of theexplanation of life offered by the Qur’an.POLITICAL PHILOSOPHYThe same is true of political philosophy. Accordingto the 1984 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica:‘Political philosophy and political conflict haveevolved basically around who should have powerover whom.’ (14/697).For five thousand years, eminent human brainshave addressed their efforts toward finding ananswer to this question. Yet they still have not beenable to produce what Spinoza termed a ‘scientificbase’ on which to form a coherent politicalphilosophy.Altogether, there are more than twelve schools ofpolitical thought, which fall into two broadcategories: despotism and democracy. The first is ~ 16 ~
  16. 16. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godstrongly objected to on the grounds that no goodreason can be found for one single individual totyrannise the entire population of a country orcountries. Although democracy, as opposed todespotism, has wide popular support, it has notprovided fool-proof solutions either tophilosophical or practical problems. The literalmeaning of democracy – a word of Greek origin – isrule by the people. This notion has been widelyhailed as a panacea of all ills, but, in practice, it hasproved impossible to establish rule by the entirepopulation of any given country. If all of the peopleare to govern, how can they – at the same time – begoverned? If all the people cannot have powersimultaneously, how can a popular government beformed? Various theories have been propounded,the most popular of which is Rousseau’s, i.e. that itshould be left to the General Will, which can bedetermined by plebiscite. But, this being a time-consuming and cumbersome process (not to speakthe expense involved), government by the peoplebecomes, in effect, government by a few electedindividuals. People may be free to vote as theyplease, but after they have voted, they are onceagain subjected to the rule of a select group. ~ 17 ~
  17. 17. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodDemocratically elected rulers over the world arenow seen to assume the same role as the monarchsof former times.The notion of freedom is traditionally associatedwith democracy, but there, too, as a political systemit does not necessarily make people more liberatedthan they were under overtly oppressive regimes.Although the entire basis of democracy is the beliefthat people are born equal, with equal rights andthat they are free, Rousseau expresses the moreimmediate reality with the very first lines of hisSocial Contract, “Man was born free andeverywhere he is in chains.” Then, too, there isman’s very nature to be considered. He is a socialanimal. Far from being an independent entity in thisworld with the liberty to live as he pleases, he is anintegral part of the corpus of society. Anotherphilosopher goes so far as to say that “man is notborn free. Man is born into society which imposesrestraints on him.”Clearly, democracy, although in large measure animprovement on despotism, does not automaticallyprovide the key to solving the problems of ~ 18 ~
  18. 18. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godrestricted individual liberty and social inequality.Often, in the name of democracy, a dynasticmonarchy is supplanted by an elective oligarchy,leaving the individual still feeling that he is no morethan a pawn in the struggle for power. In the 18thand 19th centuries, people rose in rebellion againstmonarchical systems of government, but, once freeof the yoke of kingly rule, they had to resignthemselves to rule by an elite group callingthemselves ‘representatives of the people’ – whichdid not seem much of an improvement on lifeunder the old monarchs, who had laid claim tobeing ‘representatives of God on earth.’All political philosophers have been caught up incontradictions of this nature. And there appears noway out of the impasse. Even the so called“representation’ of the people is open to question.Take the example of the British conservatives who,in one year, won a decisive victory, winning anoverall majority of 144 seats. In terms of votes,however, the conservative share of the vote (43%)had fallen since 1979, i.e. as far as seats wereconcerned the conservatives had won a massiveoverall majority. But, as far as votes were ~ 19 ~
  19. 19. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godconcerned, they could muster only 43%. Could thisbe said to be truly representative of the people?Man’s failure in this field has been summed up inthese words: ‘The history of political philosophyfrom Plato until the present day makes it plain thatmodern political philosophy is still faced with thebasic problems.In fact, there is only one political philosophy thatdoes not contradict itself, and that is the philosophyput forward by the Qur’an. The Qur’an says, thatonly God has the right to rule over man: ‘ “Have weany say in the matter?” they ask. Say to them: “Allis in the hands of God,’” (3:154).The idea of God as Sovereign makes for a coherentsystem of thought, free from all forms ofcontradiction. But when man is consideredsovereign, there are bound to be contradictions andinconsistencies in the political theories that evolve.The aim of all political theories has been toeradicate the divisions between ruler and subjects.Yet no human system, whatever its nature, has beenable to do this. In both the democratic andtotalitarian systems, human equality has remained ~ 20 ~
  20. 20. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godan unattainable ideal, for power has always had tobe put in the hands of a few individuals, with othersbecoming their subjects. This disparity can onlydisappear when God is considered Sovereign. Thenthe only difference that remains is between God andman. He is the Ruler, all are His subjects. All menare equal before Him. There is no division and nodistinction, between man and man.TWOFOLD INCONSISTENCYIf the different parts of a book contradict each other,the book is inconsistent within itself. If the contentsof a book, as a whole, or in part, contradict knownfacts, the book is inconsistent with external realities.The Qur’an claims – with justice – to be free ofeither type of inconsistency, whereas no work ofhuman origin can be free of either. It follows,therefore, that the Qur’an must be superhuman inorigin. Had it been written by a human being, itwould have been flawed by inconsistencies of thetype so frequently found in the works of man.Contradictions within a work arise basically fromthe deficiencies of its author. If such imperfectionsare to be avoided, two things are essential: absolute ~ 21 ~
  21. 21. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godknowledge and total objectivity. There is no humanbeing who is not sadly deficient in both of theseareas. It is only God who is omniscient, and flawlessas a Being, and while works wrought by the humanhand are invariably marred by inconsistencies, Hisbook, and His book alone never contradicts itself.Because of man’s inherent limitations, there aremany things which, intellectually, he cannot grasp.He is forced, therefore, to speculate, and thisfrequently leads him into making erraticjudgements and unfounded contentions.Every human being graduates from youth to oldage, and when a man grows old, he oftencontradicts things he asserted as facts when he wasyoung and immature. With age, his knowledge andexperience increase, hence his final verdict stands atvariance with his initial judgements. But even whendeath finally comes to take him away, he still hasmuch to learn, and often the assertions of hismaturer age are proved wrong after his death. Thetruth is not arrived at purely through experienceand reasoning.Human beings, in addition to making inadvertent ~ 22 ~
  22. 22. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godand unwitting errors are all too prone to makedeliberate misrepresentations of facts when they aremotivated by the base emotions of greed, envy,jealousy, revenge and fear.Human moods and passions are often to blame forpeople turning a blind eye to the truth and falling aprey to faulty reasoning. Love and hate, friendshipand hostility all have their influence on humanthinking. A man’s inability to be dispassionate, hiselation or depression, his triumph or despair, hissuccesses and frustrations all colour the quality ofhis thought. Such fluctuations of mood, caprice andwillfulness, can deflect the very best minds from thetruth.The only one who is free of all such caprice and allsuch limitations is the Almighty. That is why Hisword is of an impeccable consistency.BIBLICAL INCONSISTENCYTo illustrate this point, let us take the example ofthe Bible, which, as a book of revelation was theforerunner of the Qur’an. ~ 23 ~
  23. 23. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodInitially, the Bible was the word of God, but in lateryears it suffered from human interpolations, withthe result that many internal contradictions beganto sully its pages. A case in point is the genealogy ofthe Messiah, which has been given in several placesin that part of the Bible known as the Injil, or NewTestament. The Gospel according to Matthewbegins with this abridged genealogy: “The book ofthe genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, theson of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1).The genealogy of Christ is then given in detail,beginning with Abraham and ending with Josephwho, according to the New Testament was “thehusband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus”(Matt. 1: 16).When the reader turns to the Gospel according toMark he finds these words: “The beginning of thegospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark. 1:1).According to one chapter of the New Testament,Jesus was the son of a person named Joseph, whileanother chapter of this very New Testament says hewas the son of God. ~ 24 ~
  24. 24. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodUndoubtedly, in its original form, the Injil was theWord of God and free of all inconsistencies. It wasonly in later years, that human beings madeadditions of their own, introducing contradictionsinto a formerly consistent text. The ChristianChurch has evolved yet another extraordinarycontradiction in order to explain away thisdiscrepancy in its sacred book. The descriptiongiven of Joseph in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1984edition) is as follows: ‘Christ’s earthly father, theVirgin Mary’s husband.’SECULAR CONTRADICTIONSFor an instance of serious internal contradiction insecular writings, I turn to the works of Karl Marx,who commands an immense following in themodern world. The famous American economist,John Galbraith, has written of him:‘If we agree that the Bible is a work of collectiveauthorship, only Mohammad rivals Marx in thenumber of professed and devoted followersrecruited by a single author. And the competition isnot really very close. The followers of Marx now faroutnumber the sons of the Prophet.’ ~ 25 ~
  25. 25. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodBut Marx’s enormous popularity does not changethe fact that his work is little better than a collectionof glaring contradictions. For example, Marxconsiders the existence of class as the root of all evilin the world. According to his philosophy, classdistinction is derived from the system of privateownership, and the control exercised by thebourgeoisie over the means of production enablesthem to plunder the lower labouring class.The solution prescribed by Marx consisted ofconfiscating the properties of the capitalist class andputting them under the administration of thelabouring class. Thus, he claimed, a classless societywould come into being. But herein lies the basicflaw in Marx’s philosophy. For what comes intoexistence as a result of this transfer is not a classlesssociety, but a society in which one class takes overwhere the other leaves off where one classpreviously controlled the economy by virtue ofownership, another class now controls it by virtueof its right to administer. Marx’s so-called classlesssociety, was, in fact, one in which capitalistownership was replaced by communist ownership. ~ 26 ~
  26. 26. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodWhat Marx had condemned in one place, hecondoned in another. But due to his great antipathyfor and antagonism towards the capitalist class, hewas unable to see his own contradiction in thought.He was in favour of taking the control of economicresources away from capitalists and entrusting it toofficials. But, blinded by prejudice, he failed to seewhat he was doing. He gave separate names to twodifferent forms of the very same phenomenon: inthe one case, he called it plunder of the many by thefew, in the other, he termed it ‘social order.’The Qur’an, on the other hand, is completely free ofself-contradiction of this nature, and there isabsolute harmony in its content. Even so, opponentsof the Qur’an have tried to prove that contradictionsdo occur in it. All the examples they cite in thisregard, however, have no connection whatsoeverwith the case they are trying to prove. They say, forinstance, that in the sermon of his FarewellPilgrimage, the Prophet stated that all men werefrom Adam, and Adam was from the earth.According to this principle women should enjoy thesame status as men. In practice, however, this is notthe case, say opponents of the Qur’an, who point to ~ 27 ~
  27. 27. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godthe inferior position women have been allotted inIslamic society. They then cite the fact that thetestimony of two women is equated in law with thatof one man. It is true that this is so, but only inspecial sets of circumstances, as is made clear in theverse of the Qur’an where this rule has been laiddown. The verse in question deals with the writtenrecording of debts:‘And take two male witnesses. If there are not twomen, then one man and two women – you mayselect the witnesses of your choice. If one womanforgets, the other will be able to remind her.’The wording of the verse shows quite clearly thatthe basis of this rule is – not discrimination betweenthe sexes – but rather allowances being made for theinferior memorizing ability of women. What isalluded to is a biological fact – that women are notas adept at remembering things as men. This iswhy, if women’s testimony is to be accepted inloans cases, there should be two of them: so that ifat any time subsequently, they are required to giveevidence, one of them should be able to compensatefor the other’s poor memory. ~ 28 ~
  28. 28. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodIt should be borne in mind that any otherinterpretation of this rule shows a totalmisunderstanding of the scriptures. It should beborne in mind that modern research has confirmedwhat the Qur’an asserts – that women’s memory isweaker than that of men. Russian scientists havegone into this matter in great detail, and theirconclusion has been published in book form. Asummary, entitled ‘Memorizing Ability’, appearedin the New Delhi edition of the Times of India onJanuary 18, 1985: ‘Men have a greater ability to memorize and process mathematical information than women, but females are better with words,’ says a Soviet scientist. (UPI) ‘Men dominate mathematical subjects due to the peculiarities of their memory,’ Dr. Vladimir Konovalov told the Tass news agency.The Qur’anic rule, far from evincing anycontradiction, proves in fact that the Qur’an hascome from One who has absolute knowledge of thefacts of existence. He sees things from every angle,and so is in a position to issue commandments that ~ 29 ~
  29. 29. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godare in total harmony with nature.EXTERNAL INCONSISTENCYNow we turn to external inconsistency. Externalinconsistency in a literary work occurs when what itasserts is contradicted by some reality in the outsideworld. Since man’s speech and writing occur withinthe sphere of his own knowledge, which is markedby human limitations, what he writes or says fails toconform to the external reality. We produce here afew comparative examples to illustrate this point.Certain ancient Arab tribes sometimes killed theirchildren, in most cases female babies, for fear ofbeing unable to feed a large family. It was in thiscontext that the following verses were revealed: Do not kill your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Truly, the killing of them is a great sin. (17:31)Inherent in this pronouncement of the Qur’an wasthe claim that the growth in population, whateverits extent and degree, would not create a problem of ~ 30 ~
  30. 30. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godsustenance for man on the earth; that there wouldbe a constant favourable balance of sustenance andhuman population; that there would be an adequateprovision of sustenance tomorrow just as there istoday.Throughout the ages, Muslims have been endorsingthis claim as a matter of faith. They have left thismatter to God, the great Provider.One thousand years after this claim made by theQur’an, the British economist, Robert Malthus(1766–1834) published in 1798 his book, An Essay onthe Principle of Population as it Affects the FutureImprovement of Society, in which he set forth hisfamous theory on the growth of population.‘Population, when unchecked, increases in ageometrical ratio. Subsistence only increases in anarithmetical ratio.’Simply stated, growth in population and growth insustenance are not naturally equal. Humanpopulation grows geometrically, that is at a ratio of1 - 2 - 4 - 8 - 1 6 - 32, while the growth of foodsupplies maintains an arithmetical ratio: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 -5 - 6 - 7 - 8. Sustenance, therefore, cannot keep up ~ 31 ~
  31. 31. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godwith the astronomical growth in human population.The only solution to this problem, according toMalthus, was for mankind to control its birth-rate.The population should not be allowed to exceed acertain limit, failing which the number of people onearth would become disproportionate to theamount of sustenance available, thereby ushering inan age of famine in which countless people wouldstarve to death.Malthus’s book made a powerful impression,winning substantial support among writers andthinkers, and leading to the launching of birthcontrol and family-planning schemes. Recently,however, researchers have come to the conclusionthat Malthus was quite wrong in his calculations.Gwynne Dwyer has summarized this research in anarticle, provocatively entitled ‘Malthus: The FalseProphet,’ which appeared in The Hindustan Times(New Delhi) on December 28, 1984: It is the 150th anniversary of Malthus’ death, and his grim predictions have not yet come true. The world’s population has doubled and redoubled in a geometrical progression as he ~ 32 ~
  32. 32. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of God foresaw, only slightly checked by wars and other catastrophes, and now stands at about eight times the total when he wrote. But food production has more than kept pace, and the present generation of humanity, is on average the best fed in history.Malthus was born in an age of ‘traditionalagriculture.’ He was unable to envisage the approachof an age of ‘scientific agriculture,’ in which amazingadvances in production would become possible. Overthe 150 years since Malthus’s death, methods ofcultivation have been radically altered. Crops undercultivation are chosen for their particularly highyield. Cattle are able to produce a far higher amountof dairy food than before. New methods have beendiscovered to increase the fertility of land. Modernmachinery has brought vast new areas undercultivation. In technologically advanced countries ofthe world there has been a 90% fall in the number offarmers: yet at the same time a tenfold increase inagricultural produce has taken place.As far as the third world is concerned, 3 billionpeople inhabit these under-developed countries, but ~ 33 ~
  33. 33. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godthe third world also possesses the potential toproduce food for 33 billion-ten times the presentpopulation. According to F.A.O. estimates, if theincrease in the population of the third worldcontinues unabated, reaching over the 4 billion markby the year 2000 A.D., there will still be no cause foralarm. The increase in population will beaccompanied by an increase in production: themeans will be available to provide food for 1 ½ timesmore than the number of people who have to be fed.And this increase in food production will be possiblewithout deforestation. So there is no real danger of afood crisis, either on a regional or on a universalscale. Gwynne Dwyer concludes his report with thefollowing words: ‘Malthus was wrong. We are notdoomed to breed ourselves into famine.’Where Malthus’s book on population andsustenance – the work of a human mind workingwithin the confines of time and place – was very farout in its predictions for the human race, (and thiswas proved to the world just 150 years after theauthor’s death) the Qur’an, on the other hand – thework of a superhuman mind – still bears outexternal realities to this very day. ~ 34 ~
  34. 34. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodHISTORICAL INACCURACYIn the 20th century B.C., during the time of theProphet Joseph, the Children of Israel enteredEgypt. Seven centuries later they left Egypt alongwith Moses, crossing over into the Sinai Peninsula.These events are mentioned in both the Bible, andthe Qur’an. But, while the account in the Qur’an isentirely consistent with external history, the Biblerelates several incidents which do not correspond tohistorical records. This has created problems forbelievers in the Bible. Should they accept what iswritten in the Bible, or should they go by history?Since the two contradict one another, they cannotaccept both at the same time.On January 12, 1985, a gathering was held in theIndian Institute of Islamic Studies at Tughlaqabadin New Delhi, which was addressed by Ezra Kolet,president of the Council of Indian Jewry. His topicwas: ‘What is Judaism?’ Naturally, he dealt withJewish history in his talk, mentioning, among otherthings, the Jew’s entrance into and exodus fromEgypt. The names of both Joseph and Moses figuredin his talk as well as the kings who were ruling in ~ 35 ~
  35. 35. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodEgypt in their respective times. For both kings, thecontemporaries of Joseph and Moses, he used theterm ‘Pharaoh.’As everyone acquainted with the period knows, thisnomenclature is historically incorrect. The reign ofthe kings known as Pharaohs did not begin until thetime of Moses: in Joseph’s day, a different line ofmonarchs ruled in Egypt.When Joseph entered Egypt, the kings of a dynastyknown as the Hyksos were in power. They wereethnically Arabs, and had usurped the Egyptianthrone, reigning from 2000 B.C. until the end of the15th century B.C. at which time the indigenouspopulation rebelled against foreign rule, thusbringing the Hyksos dynasty to an end.Home rule was then established in Egypt. The clanthat took over sovereignty chose for itself the nameof Pharaoh, which literally means son of the sun-god, for in those days Egyptians worshipped thesun, and in order to vindicate their right to ruleover the Egyptians, they made themselves out to beincarnations of the sun-god. ~ 36 ~
  36. 36. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodIn effect, Mr. Kolet was calling the Hyksos Kings,Pharaohs. He had no option in this, for that is whatthey are called in the Bible, with reference to bothJoseph’s and Moses’ respective periods. The Jewishspeaker could either accept the Bible or history, butnot both simultaneously. Since he was speaking inhis capacity as president of the Jewish Council, heput history aside and based his talk on biblicalaccounts.But in the Qur’an we do not find accounts whichclash with history in this way, and those who followthe Qur’an are not compelled to forsake history inorder to uphold their Holy Book. When the Qur’anwas revealed, people had no knowledge of ancientEgyptian history. Only in later years didarcheological excavations make it possible forEgyptologists to compile a record of the history ofthat country’s ancient kings.Even so, the Qur’an mentions the Egyptianmonarch who was a contemporary of Joseph, andrefers to him by the title, of ‘King of Egypt.’ As forthe king who ruled in Moses’ day, the Qur’anrepeatedly calls him Pharaoh. We thus have a ~ 37 ~
  37. 37. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodQur’anic account that corresponds exactly withhistorical facts, unlike the biblical account which ishistorically inaccurate. This shows that the Qur’anwas written without recourse to human sources ofknowledge, by One who had direct access to theTruth.AN EXAMPLE FROM HISTORYAccording to the theory of evolution, both man andanimals are descended from a common ancestor.That is, a single animal species passed throughmany gradual stages of evolution, ultimatelydeveloping into the chimpanzee, and finally, homosapiens.Even if we take for granted the theory of evolution,there are ‘missing links’ between these evolutionarystages between animal and man which have still tobe accounted for. Where are the species still in theprocess of evolution possessing both animal andhuman features? Though no such real middle linkhas yet been discovered, evolutionists believe thatsuch species did exist and will one day bediscovered. ~ 38 ~
  38. 38. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodIn 1912, the English newspapers trumpeted thenews that a fragment of an ancient skull, half, apeand half man, dating back to some nebulous, pre-historic period, had been found at Piltdown, thusproviding material evidence which confirmedDarwin’s theory of evolution.This Piltdown Man achieved instant popularity. Thename appeared in standard text, books such as R.S.Lull’s Organic Evolution. Leading intellectualscounted the discovery among the great triumphs ofmodern man. In authoritative works such as H.G.Wells’ Outline of History and Bertrand Russell’sHistory of Western Philosophy, it was mentioned asthough there was no doubt about the PiltdownMan’s existence.For nearly half a century scholars remainedenthralled with this “great discovery.” It was onlyin 1953 that some scientists became doubtful. Theyextracted the Piltdown man from its iron, fire-proofbox in the British Museum and subjected it todetailed, modern, scientific analysis, studying itfrom every relevant angle. Their final conclusionwas that the Piltdown Man was a forgery. The great ~ 39 ~
  39. 39. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godacclaim it had received was totally unfounded.What had actually happened was that someone,who wished to discredit a rival by playing a trick onhim, had taken the jaw of a chimpanzee and dyed itto make it look ancient, and had then filed its teethto make them look human. He then submitted his“find” to the British Museum, saying that he hadcome across it in Piltdown, England. He intended ata later stage to reveal the whole affair as a hoax, inorder to make his rival look foolish, but when hesaw the seriousness with which his trick had beentaken by the entire body of western scientists, hewas afraid to own up, and his silence thenprevented positive thinking on evolution for severaldecades. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1984, PiltdownMan.)THE MUMMY OF MERNEPTAHOne of the most intriguing predictions made by theQur’an concerns a Pharaoh of Egypt, calledMerneptah, who was the son of Rameses II.According to historical records, this king wasdrowned in pursuit of Moses in the Red Sea. Whenthe Qur’an was revealed, the only other mention of ~ 40 ~
  40. 40. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodPharaoh was in the Bible, the sole reference to hishaving drowned being in the book of Exodus; ‘Andthe waters returned, and covered the ‘chariots, andthe horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that cameinto the sea after them; there remained not so muchas one of them.’Amazingly, when this was all the world knewabou1 the drowning of Pharaoh, the Qur’anproduced this astounding revelation: ‘We shall saveyou in your body this day, so that you may becomea sign to all posterity.How extraordinary this verse must have appearedwhen it was revealed. At that time no one knew thatthe Pharaoh’s body was really intact, and it wasnearly 1400 hundred years before this fact came tolight. It was a Professor Loret who, in 1898, was thefirst to find the mummified remains of the Pharaohwho lived in Moses’ day. For 3000 years the corpsehad remained wrapped in a sheet in the Tomb ofthe Necropolis at Thebes where Loret had found it,until July 8, 1907, when Elliot Smith uncovered itand subjected it to proper scientific examination. In1912 he published a book entitled The Royal ~ 41 ~
  41. 41. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodMummies. His research had proved that themummy discovered by Loret was indeed that of thePharaoh who ‘knew Moses, resisted his pleas,pursued him as he took flight, and lost his life in theprocess.’ His earthly remains were saved by the willof God from destruction to become a sign to man, asis written in the Qur’an.In 1975, Dr. Bucaille made a detailed examination ofthe Pharaoh’s mummy which by then had beentaken to Cairo. His findings led him to write inastonishment and acclaim: Those who seek among modern data for proof of the Holy Scriptures will find a magnificent illustration of the verses of the Qur’an dealing with the Pharaoh’s body by visiting the Royal Mummies Room of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo!As early as the seventh century A.D., the Qur’anhad asserted that the Pharaoh’s body was preservedas a sign for man, but it was only in the 19thcentury that the body’s discovery gave concreteproof of this prediction. What further proof isneeded that the Qur’an is the Book of God? ~ 42 ~
  42. 42. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodCertainly, there is no book like it, among the worksof men.NATURAL PHENOMENAThe Qur’an was revealed at a time when little wasknown about nature. Rainfall, for example, wasbelieved to come from a river in heaven whichgushed down on to the earth. The earth wasthought to be flat and the heavens a kind of vaultresting on the hilltops which provided a roof overthe earth. Stars were considered to be shining silvernails set in the vault of heavens, or thought of astiny lamps which were swung to and fro at night bymeans of a rope. The ancient Indians held that theearth rested upon the horns of a cow and when thecow shifted the earth from one horn to the other,this caused earthquakes. Up till the time ofCopernicus (1473–1543 A.D.) it was generallybelieved that the earth was stationary and that thesun revolved around it. (Two thousand yearsearlier, Aristarchus of Samos had anticipated thistheory, but his ideas did not gain ground).With the advances made in the field of science andtechnology, the range of human observation and ~ 43 ~
  43. 43. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godexperiment were vastly increased, opening up greatvistas of knowledge about the universe. In allspheres of existence and in all disciplines of science,previously established concepts were proved wrongby later research and were discarded. This meansthat no human work dating back 1500 years canboast of total accuracy, because all ‘facts’ must nowbe reevaluated in the light of recent information. Nosuch book has, in fact, been found to be totally freeof errors, with the notable exception of the Qur’an,whose authenticity has withstood all challengesover the centuries. This constitutes conclusiveevidence of the Qur’an having had its source in anOmnipresent and Eternal Mind – one which knowsall facts in their true forms and whose knowledgehas not been conditioned by time andcircumstances. Had it been a human fabrication, itcould not have withstood the test of time, humanvision being, by contrast, narrow and limited.The basic theme of the Qur’an is salvation in thelife hereafter. That is why it does not fall into thecategory of any of the known arts and sciences ofthe world. But since it addresses itself to man, ittouches on almost all the disciplines which ~ 44 ~
  44. 44. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godconcern him. In spite of the breadth of its scope,none of its statements has ever been shown tostem from inadequate knowledge. BertrandRussell, in his Impact of Science on Society makesthe point that, renowned philosopher as he was,Aristotle, while ‘proving’ the inferiority ofwomen to men, stated that ‘women have fewerteeth than men,’ thus revealing his ignorance ofthe fact that men and women have an equalnumber of teeth. No such ignorance ormisconception has ever been detected in theQur’an. This clearly shows that the origin of thiswork is a superior Being whose knowledge pre-dates time itself and goes infinitely far beyondpresent knowledge, no matter how advanced thelatter may appear to be.EXAMPLES FROM ASTRONOMYReferring to the sun and the moon, the Qur’an tellsus that both these heavenly bodies are moving intheir own circular courses (falak) (36:40). Dr MauriceBucaille, discussing these verses in detail, says thatfalak here has the scientific meaning of ‘orbit,’ while,‘floating’ is the most appropriate term to describe ~ 45 ~
  45. 45. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godthe movement of celestial bodies in a vast andsubtle space.Dr Bucaille further writes: It is shown that the sun moves in an orbit, but no indication is given as to what this orbit might be in relation to the Earth. At the time of the Qur’anic Revelation, it was thought that the Sun moved while the Earth stood still. This was the system of geocentrism that had held sway since the time of Ptolemy, in the second century B.C., and was to continue to do so until Copernicus in the sixteenth century A.D. Although people supported this concept at the time of Muhammad, it does not appear anywhere in the Qur’an, either here or elsewhere (p. 159).THE DEVELOPMENT OF BIOLOGYAn interesting example of the Qur’an’sforeknowledge of biology was highlighted in thepress towards the end of 1984. The Canadiannewspaper, The Citizen, (22 November, 1984)published it under the heading: ~ 46 ~
  46. 46. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of God Ancient Holy Book 1300 Years Ahead of its Time.The Times of India, New Delhi (10 December, 1984)stated with equal drama: Koran Scores Over Modern Sciences.This new light on ancient Quranic verses was shedby Dr. Keith More, a famous embryologist andprofessor at Toronto University, Canada. In order tomake a comparative analysis of the assertions of theQur’an and the findings of modern research onembryology, he made an in-depth study of thedescriptions of the development of the foetus asgiven in certain verses such as 23:14 and 39:6. In thisconnection he also visited the King Abdul AzizUniversity in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on severaloccasions, along with his colleagues. He found,astonishingly, that the statements of the Qur’ancorresponded in every detail with moderndiscoveries. He was very surprised that factscontained in the Qur’an had been brought to light bythe Western World as late as 1940. In a paper writtenon this subject, he says: “The 1300 years old Korancontains passages so accurate about embryonic ~ 47 ~
  47. 47. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Goddevelopment that Muslims can reasonably believethem to be revelations from God.”Convincing supportive details can be had from theanalysis Maurice Bucaille makes in his book, TheBible, The Qur’an and Science which was published in1970. We reproduce here some excerpts from thechapter entitled ‘Human Reproduction.’EVOLUTION OF THE EMBRYO INSIDE THEUTERUSThe Qur’anic description of certain stages in thedevelopment of the embryo corresponds exactly towhat we know about it today, and the Qur’an doesnot contain a single statement that is open tocriticism from modern science.After ‘the thing which clings’ (an expression whichis well-founded, as we have seen) the Qur’aninforms us that the embryo passes through the stageof ‘chewed-flesh,’ then osseous tissue appears andis clad in flesh (defined by a different word from thepreceding which signifies ‘intact flesh’).–Surah 23, verse 14: ~ 48 ~
  48. 48. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of God “We fashioned the thing which clings into a chewed lump of flesh and We fashioned the chewed flesh into bones and We clothed the bones with intact flesh.”‘Chewed flesh’ is the translation of the wordmudgha; ‘intact flesh’ is lahm. This distinction needsto be stressed. The embryo is initially a small mass.At a certain stage in its development, it looks to thenaked eye like chewed flesh. The bone structuredevelops inside this mass in what is called themesenchyma. The bones that are formed arecovered in muscle; the word lahm applies to them.It is known how certain parts appear to becompletely out of proportion during embryonicdevelopment with what is later to become theindividual, while others remain in proportion.This is surely the meaning of the word mukhallaq,which signifies ‘shaped in proportion’ as used inverse 5, surah 22 to describe this phenomenon. “We fashioned ... into something which clings ... into a lump of flesh fashioned and unfashioned.” ~ 49 ~
  49. 49. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodMore than a thousand years before our time, at aperiod when whimsical doctrines still prevailed,those who were privileged to have a knowledge ofthe Qur’an were fortunate, for the statements itcontains express in simple terms truths ofprimordial importance which man has takencenturies to discover.ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSEThe Qur’an says: “Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were one solid mass (ratq) which we tore asunder (fatq)…” (21:30)Ratq means wholesomeness, compactness, whilefatq is the opposite, that is, disintegration.Modern studies in astronomy have confirmed thetruth of this concept, various observations havingled scientists to postulate that the universe wasformed by an explosion from a state of high densityand temperature (the ‘big-bang’ theory) and that thecosmos evolved from the original, highlycompressed, extremely hot gas, taking the form of ~ 50 ~
  50. 50. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godgalaxies of stars, cosmic dust, meteorites andasteroids. The present outward motion of thegalaxies is a result of this explosion. According tothe Encyclopaedia Britannica (1984), this is ‘the theorynow favoured by most cosmologists.’ Once theprocess of expansion had set in – about six billionyears ago – it had to continue, because the more thecelestial bodies moved away from the centre, theless attraction they exerted over one another.Estimates of the circumference of the originalmatter place it at about one thousand million lightyears and now, according to Professor Eddington’scalculations, the present circumference is ten timeswhat it was originally. This process of expansion isstill going on. Professor Eddington explains that thestars and galaxies are like marks on the surface of aballoon which is continuously expanding, and thatall the celestial spheres are getting further andfurther apart. Ancient man supposed quitewrongly, that the stars were as close to one anotheras they appeared to be. How significant that theQur’an should state in Surah 51, verse 47, ‘Theheaven, We have built it with power. Truly, We areexpanding it.’ Now science has revealed that sincethe universe came into existence 90 thousand ~ 51 ~
  51. 51. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godmillion years B.C., its circumference has stretchedfrom 6 thousand to sixty thousand million lightyears. This means that there are inconceivably vastdistances between the celestial bodies. And it hasbeen discovered that they revolve as part of galacticsystems, just as our earth and the planets revolvearound the sun.Just as within the Solar System, many planets andasteroids are situated at great distances from eachother, yet revolve according to one system, likewiseevery material body is composed of innumerable‘Solar Systems’ on an infinitesimally small scale.These systems are called atoms. While the vacuumof the Solar System is observable, the vacuum of theatomic system is too small to be visible. All things,however solid they appear, are hollow from theinside. For instance, if all the electrons and protonspresent within the atoms of a six foot tall man wereto be squeezed in such a manner that no space wereleft, his body would be reduced to such a tiny spotas would be visible only through a microscope.The farthest galaxy that has been observed issituated several million light years away from the ~ 52 ~
  52. 52. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godsun. Yet it is held that if the total quantum of cosmicmatter as worked out by astrophysicists – and it isenormous – were to be compressed so as toeliminate all space, the size of the universe wouldbe only thirty times the size of the sun. In view ofhow recently these calculations have been made, itis quite extraordinary that 1500 years ago theQur’an asserted that not only had the universeexpanded from a condensed form but that itsoriginal quantum of matter had remained constant,so that it could conceivably be re-condensed into arelatively small space. It describes the end of theuniverse thus: “On that day, we shall roll up theheaven like a scroll of writing” (21:104).The moon is our nearest neighbour, in space, itsdistance from the earth being just two lakh andforty thousand miles. Due to this proximity, itsgravitational force affects the sea waves, causing anextraordinary rise in the water level twice a day. Atcertain points these waves rise as high as sixty feet.The land surface too is affected by this lunary pull,but only in terms of a few inches. The presentdistance between the earth and moon is optimalfrom man’s point of view, there being several ~ 53 ~
  53. 53. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godadvantages. If this distance were reduced, forexample, to only fifty thousand miles, the seaswould be so stormy that a major part of the earthwould be submerged in them and, moreover, thecontinual impact of the stormy waves would cut themountains into pieces and the earth’s surface, morefully exposed to the moon’s gravitation, would startto crack open.Astronomers estimate that at the time the earthcame into existence, the moon was close to it andthe surface of the earth had, therefore, been exposedto all kinds of upheavals. In the course of time, theearth and the moon drew apart, to their presentdistance from one another, according toastronomical laws. Astronomers hold that thisdistance will be maintained for a billion years, thenthe same astronomical laws will bring the moonback closer to the earth. As a result of conflictingforces of attraction, the moon will ‘burst when closeenough and glorify our dead world with rings likethose of Saturn.’This concept bears out the Qur’an’s prediction to aremarkable degree. The following lines, in addition ~ 54 ~
  54. 54. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godto presenting this phenomenon as a physical fact,explain its religious significance: The Hour of Doom is drawing near, and the moon is cleft in two. Yet, when they see a sign, the unbelievers turn their backs and say, ‘Ingenious magic’THE HEALING PROPERTY OF HONEYThe Qur’an tells us about the healing property ofhoney (16:69). In the light of this verse Muslimsattached great importance to the medicinal aspect ofhoney, and it became an important ingredient intheir pharmacology. But the western worldremained unaware of its medical value forcenturies; they treated it as merely a liquid food,item. It was not before the twentieth century thatthe European physicians discovered the antisepticproperties of honey.Here is a summary of modern researches on honeypublished in an American journal.Honey is a powerful destroyer of germs whichproduce human diseases. It was not until the ~ 55 ~
  55. 55. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godtwentieth century, however, that this wasdemonstrated scientifically. Dr. W.G. Sackett,formerly with the Colorado Agricultural Collegeat Fort Collins, attempted to prove that honeywas a carrier of disease much like milk. To hissurprise, all the disease germs he introducedinto pure honey were quickly destroyed. Thegerm that causes typhoid fever died in purehoney after 48 hours’ exposure. Enteritidis,causing intestinal inflation, lived 48 hours. Ahardy germ which causes bronchopneumoniaand septicemia held out for four days. Bacilluscoli Communis which under certain conditionscauses peritonitis, was dead on the fifth day ofexperiment. According to Dr. Bodog Beck, thereare many other germs equally destructible inhoney. The reason for this bactericidal quality inhoney, he said, is in its hygroscopic ability. Itliterally draws every particle of moisture out ofgerms. Germs, like any other living organism,perish without water. This power to absorbmoisture is almost unlimited. Honey will drawmoisture from metal, glass, and even stone rocks(Rosicrucian Digest, September 1975, p. 11). ~ 56 ~
  56. 56. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of GodSUPERIORITY OF THE QUR’ANThe very language in which it is written – Arabic –is a kind of miracle, being an astonishing exceptionto the historical rule that a language cannot survivein the same form for more than 500 years. In thecourse of five centuries, a language changes soradically that the coming generations find itincreasingly difficult to understand the works oftheir distant predecessors. For instance, the worksof Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400), the father ofEnglish poetry, and the plays and poetry OfWilliam Shakespeare (1564-1616), one of thegreatest writers of the English language, havebecome almost unintelligible to twentieth centuryreaders, and are now read almost exclusively aspart of college curricula with the help of glossaries,dictionaries and ‘translations.’But the history of the Arabic language is strikinglydifferent, having withstood the test of time for noless than 1500 years. Wording and style have, ofcourse, undergone some development, but not tosuch an extent that words should lose theiroriginal meaning. Supposing someone belonging ~ 57 ~
  57. 57. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godto the Quranic times of ancient Arabia could bereborn today, the form of language in which hewould express himself would be asunderstandable to modern Arabs as it was to hisown contemporaries.It is as if the Qur’an had placed a divine imprintupon Arabic, arresting it in its course so that itshould remain understandable right up to the lastday. This being so, the Qur’an is never just going tocollect dust on some obscure ‘Classical Literature’shelf, but will be read by, and give inspiration topeople for all time to come.In the field of science, despite the great and rapidadvances in knowledge in recent years, we comeback to what was asserted in the Qur’an, so manycenturies ago, as having arrived at the quintessenceof the matter. Just as the Arabic language seems tohave been crystallised at a particular point in time –in fact, at the moment of divine revelation, so alsodoes science seem to have been arrested in itscourse, the Qur’an having the final say on matterswhich for centuries lay beyond man’s knowledgeand which still, in many important cases, elude ~ 58 ~
  58. 58. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godman’s intellectual grasp. The most significant ofthese is the origin of the universe.NEWTON’S THEORY OF LIGHTAnother point on which human intelligenceappeared to have arrived at a major scientific truthwas that of the true nature of light. It was Sir IsaacNewton (1642-1727) who put forward the theorythat light consisted of minute corpuscles in rapidmotion, which emanated from their source andwere scattered in the atmosphere. Owing to theextraordinary influence of Newton, this corpusculartheory held sway in the scientific world for a verylong time, only to be abandoned in the middle ofthe nineteenth century in favour of the wave theoryof light. It was the discovery of the action of thephoton which delivered the final blow to Newton’stheory. “Young’s work convinced scientists thatlight has essential wave characteristics in apparentcontradiction to Newton’s corpuscular theory.”It had taken only 200 years to prove Newton wrong.The Qur’an, on the contrary, gave its message to theworld in the 7th century, and even after a lapse of1400 years its truth emerges unscathed. The reason ~ 59 ~
  59. 59. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godfor this is that it is of divine, not human origin: theabsolute truth of its statements can be proved at alltimes – an extraordinary attribute that no otherwork can claim.Einstein’s theory of relativity declares that gravitycontrols the behaviour of planets, stars, galaxies andthe universe itself, and does so in a predictablemanner.This scientific discovery had already beendeveloped into a philosophy by Hume (1711-1776)and other thinkers, who declared that the wholesystem of the universe was governed by theprinciple of causation, and that it had only beenwhen man had not been aware of this, that God hadbeen supposed to control the universe. Theprinciple of cause and effect was then thoughtlogically to dispense with the idea of God.But later research ran counter to this purelymaterial supposition. When Paul Dirac, Heisenbergand other eminent scientists bent their minds toanalysing the structure of the atom, they discoveredthat its system contradicted the principle ofcausation which had been adopted on the basis of ~ 60 ~
  60. 60. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of Godstudies made of the solar system. This theory, calledthe quantum mechanics theory, maintains that atthe subatomic level, matter behaves randomly.The word ‘principle’ in science means somethingwhich applies in equal measure throughout theentire universe. If there is even one single instanceof a principle failing to apply to something, itsacademic bona fides have to be called in question. Itfollowed then that if matter did not functionaccording to this principle of causation in an exactlysimilar manner at the subatomic level as it did inthe solar system, it should have to be rejected.Einstein found this idea unthinkable and spent thelast 30 years of his life trying to reconcile theseseeming contradictions of nature. He rejected therandomness of quantum mechanics, saying, “Icannot believe God plays dice with the universe.”Despite his best efforts, he was never able to resolvethis problem, and it seems that the Qur’an has thefinal word on the reality of the universe. The factthat the universe cannot be explained in terms ofhuman knowledge is aptly illustrated by IanRoxburgh when he writes: ~ 61 ~
  61. 61. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an: The Book of God The laws of physics discovered on earth contain arbitrary numbers, like the ratio of the mass of an electron to the mass of a proton, which is roughly 1840 to one. Why? Did a Creator arbitrarily choose these numbers?Science seems to recognise the fact that the universecan never be encompassed by human knowledge.The Universe it must be conceded is the awesomemanifestation of the will of the Almighty. Hence notrue explanation can be arrived at unless it is basedon, the concept of the Will of God. ~ 62 ~
  62. 62. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleTHE QUR’AN — THE PROPHET’SMIRACLEEvery Prophet is given a miracle – a sign. Themiracle of the Prophet of Islam is the Qur’an. Theprophethood of Muhammad, on whom be peace,was to be valid until the Last Day. It was imperative,therefore, that his miracle also be one which wouldlast for all time. The Qur’an was, therefore, assignedto the Prophet as his everlasting miracle.The Prophet’s opponents demanded miracles, suchas those performed by previous prophets, but theQur’an stated clearly that such miracles would notbe forthcoming. (17:59) The Qur’an even had this tosay to the Prophet: If you find their aversion hard to bear (and would like to show them a miracle), seek if you can a burrow in the earth or ladder to the sky by which you may bring them a sign. Had God pleased, He would have given them guidance, one and all. Do not be ignorant then. (6:35) ~ 63 ~
  63. 63. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleInstead, the revealed Book of God was made intothe Prophet’s miracle: They ask: ‘Why has no sign been given him by his Lord?’ Say: ‘Signs are in the hands of God. My mission is only to give plain warning.’ Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Surely in this there is a blessing and an admonition to true believers. (Qur’an, 29:50-51)There are many different aspects of the Qur’an’smiraculous nature. Here we are going toconcentrate on just three: 1. The language of the Qur’an – Arabic – has,unlike other international languages, remained aliving form of communication over the ages. 2. The Qur’an is unique among divinescriptures in that its text has remained intact in theoriginal form. 3. The Qur’an challenged its doubters toproduce a book like it. No one has been able to takeup this challenge, and produce anything ~ 64 ~
  64. 64. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclecomparable to the Book of God.The languages in which all the ancient scriptureswere revealed have been locked in the archives ofhistory. The only exception is Arabic, the languageof the Qur’an, which is still current in the worldtoday. Millions of people still speak and write thelanguage in which the Qur’an was revealed nearly1500 years ago. This provides stunning proof of themiraculous nature of the Qur’an, for there is noother book in history which has been able to makesuch an impact on its language; no other book hasmoulded a whole language according to its ownstyle, and maintained it in that form over thecenturies.Take the Injil, known as the New Testament, ofwhich the oldest existing copy is in Greek and notAramaic, the language which Jesus is thought tohave spoken. That means that we possess only atranslated account of what the Prophet Jesus saidand did; and that too, in ancient Greek, which isconsiderably different from the modern language.By the end of the 19th century the Greek languagehad changed so much that the meaning of at least ~ 65 ~
  65. 65. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miracle550 words in the New Testament - about 12% of theentire text - was not known. At that time a Germanexpert, Adolf Deissman, discovered some ancientscrolls in Egypt. From them it emerged that biblicalGreek was in fact a colloquial version of classicalGreek. This language was spoken in Palestineduring the first century AD. Deissman was able toattach meanings to some of the unknown words,but there are another fifty words whose meaningsare still unknown. (The Gospels and the Jesus ofHistory, by Xavier Leon-Dufour S.J.)Ernest Renan (1823-1894) carried out extensiveresearch on Semitic languages. He wrote a book ontheir vocabularies, in which he had this to say aboutthe Arabic language: “The Arabic language is the most astonishing event of human history. Unknown during the classical period, it suddenly emerged as a complete language. After this, it did not undergo any noticeable changes, so one cannot define for it an early or a late stage. It is just the same today as it was when it first appeared.” ~ 66 ~
  66. 66. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleIn acknowledging this ‘astonishing event of humanhistory’ Renan, a French orientalist, is in factacknowledging the miraculous nature of theQur’an. It was the Qur’an’s phenomenal literarystyle which preserved the Arabic language fromalteration, such as other languages have undergone.The Christian Jurgi Zaydan (1861-1914) is one of thescholars to have recognized this fact. In a book onArabic literature he writes: “No religious book has had such an impact on the language in which it was written as the Qur’an has had on Arabic literature.”World languages have changed so much throughoutthe ages that no expert in any modern language isable to understand its ancient form without the aidof a dictionary. There have been two main causes oflanguage alteration – upheavals in the social order ofa nation and the development of a language’sliterature. Over the centuries these factors have beenat work in Arabic, just as in other languages. Thedifference is that they have not been able to changethe structure of the Arabic language. The Arabic thatis spoken today is the same as that which was ~ 67 ~
  67. 67. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclecurrent in Mecca when the Qur’an was revealed.Homer’s Iliad (850 BC), Tulsi Das’ Ramayan (1623AD), and the dramas of Shakespeare (1564-1616), areconsidered literary masterpieces of their respectivelanguages. They have been read and, in the case ofthe Ramayan and Shakespeare’s plays, performedcontinuously from the time of their compilation untilthe present day. But neither their literary worth northeir form has been able to prevent the languages inwhich they were written from being altered. TheGreek of Homer, the Sanskrit of Tulsi Das and eventhe English of Shakespeare, are now classical ratherthan modern languages. The Qur’an is the only bookto have moulded a language and maintained it inthat same form over the ages. There have beenvarious intellectual and political unheavals in Arabcountries, but the Arabic language has remained as itwas when the Qur’an was revealed. No change inthe Arab social order has been able to alter in anyway the Arabic tongue. This fact is a clear indicationthat the Qur’an came from a supernatural source.One does not have to look any further than thehistory of the last 1500 years to see the miraculousnature of the Book revealed to the ProphetMohammad. ~ 68 ~
  68. 68. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleSOCIAL UPHEAVALSThe example of Latin shows how social upheavalsaffect languages. Though in latter days Italy becamethe centre of Latin, it was not originally a product ofthat country. Around the 12th century BC, duringthe Iron Age, many central European tribes spreadout into surrounding regions. Some of them,especially the Alpine tribes, entered Italy andsettled in and around Rome. Their own languagemixed with the language of Rome, and that washow Latin was formed. In the third century BCLubus Andronicus translated some Greek tales anddramas into Latin, thus making it a literarylanguage. The Roman Empire was established inthe first century BC, and Latin became the officiallanguage. The strength of Latin was even furtherreinforced by the spread of Christianity. With thesupport of religious and political institutions, andbacked by social and economic forces, Latincontinued to spread until eventually it came tocover almost the whole of ancient Europe. At thetime of St. Augustine, Latin was at its peak, andright up to the Middle Ages it was considered themain international language. ~ 69 ~
  69. 69. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleThe 8th century AD was an age of Muslimconquest. The Romans were forced to take refuge inConstantinople, which became the capital of theeastern half of the Empire, until in 1453 the Turkstook Constantinople and banished the Romans fromthis, their last stronghold. The decline of the RomanEmpire enabled various local languages to flourish,notably French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.Latin had a strong influence on all of them, beingthe language from which they were all derived, butitself survived only as the official language of theRoman Catholic Church. No longer a living tongue,it was ultimately only of historical interest,although it did continue to provide the linguisticbases for technical, legal and scientific terms.Without a good grasp of Latin, for instance, onecannot read Newton’s Principia in the original.Every classical language followed much the samepattern, changing along with social circumstancesuntil, eventually, the original language gave way toanother, completely changed one. Ethnicintegration, political revolutions, and culturalclashes have always left a deep imprint on thelanguages of the affected peoples. These factors ~ 70 ~
  70. 70. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclehave been at work on the Arabic language over thelast 1500 years, but amazingly it has remainedintact. This extraordinary resilience of the Arabiclanguage is entirely due to the miraculous spell theQur’an has cast on it.After the coming of Islam, Arabs settled in manyparts of Africa and Asia where other languagesbesides Arabic were spoken. Their interminglingwith other races, however, did not have any effecton the Arabs’ language, which remained in itsoriginal state. There are also instances of otherpeoples changing over to Arabic, such as the Jewishtribes who left Syria in 70 A.D. and settled inMedina where, having come in contact with theArabic speaking ‘Amaliqa tribe, they adoptedArabic as their language, although the Arabic theyspoke was different from common Arabic,retaining, a strong Hebrew influence.In the very first century after the revelation of theQur’an, Arabic was exposed to the sort of forceswhich cause a language to alter radically. This waswhen Islam spread among various Arab tribes, whobegan to congregate in major Muslim cities. ~ 71 ~
  71. 71. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleIntonation and accent varied from tribe to tribe. Somuch so that Abu ‘Amr ibn al-ula was moved toremark that the ‘Himyar tribe do not speak ourlanguage; their vocabulary is quite different fromours.’ ‘Umar ibn Khattab once brought before theProphet an Arab whom he had heard reciting theQur’an. The Arab had been pronouncing the wordsof the Qur’an in such a strange manner that ‘Umarwas unable to make out what part of the Book ofGod he was reading. The Prophet once spoke to avisiting delegation from some Arab tribe in theirown dialect. It seemed to ‘Ali as if the Prophet wasspeaking in a foreign tongue.The main reason for this difference was variation inaccent. For instance, the Banu Tameem, who livedin the eastern part of Najd, were unable to say theletter ‘j’ (Jim) and used to pronounce it as ‘y’ (Ye)instead. The word for mosque (masjid), they used topronounce ‘masyid’, and instead of’ shajarat’(trees), they would say ‘sharat’. ‘Q’ (Qaaf) theypronounced as ‘j’, (Jim) calling a ‘tareeq’ (road) a‘tareej, a ‘sadiq’ (friend) a ‘sadij, ‘qadr’ (value) ‘jadr’and ‘qasim’ (distributor) ‘jasim’. According tonormal linguistic patterns, the coming together of ~ 72 ~
  72. 72. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miracletribes who spoke such varying dialects should haveinitiated a fresh process of change in the Arabiclanguage, but this was not to be. The supremeeloquence of the language of the Qur’an guardedArabic from any such transformation. Whathappened instead has been explained by Dr.Ahmad Hasan Zayyat: “After the coming of Islam, the Arabic language did not remain the monopoly of one nation. It became the language of all those who entered the faith.”Then these Arab Muslims left their native land,conquering territory extending from Kashghar inthe east to Gibraltar in the west. Persian, Qibti,Berber, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic and Suryaniwere among the languages spoken by the peoplesthey came into contact with. Some of these nationswere politically and culturally more advanced thanthe Arabs. Iraq, bastion of an ancient civilizationand the cultural centre of major tribes, was one ofthe countries they entered. They mingled with theIranians, masters of one of the world’s two greatempires. The highly advanced Roman civilization, ~ 73 ~
  73. 73. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miracleand an expanding Christian religion, were two ofthe forces that they clashed with. Among thecountries they occupied was Syria, wherePhoenician, Ghassanid, Greek, Egyptian andCana’anian tribes had left behind outstandingtraditions in literature and ethics. Then there wasEgypt, the meeting place of oriental and occidentalphilosophy. These factors were more than enoughto transform the Arabic language, as had been thecase with other tongues exposed to similar forces.But they were rendered ineffective by the Qur’an, aspecimen of such unrivalled literary excellence thatno power could weaken the hold of the language inwhich it had been written.With the conquests of Islam, Arabic no longerbelonged to one people alone; it became thelanguage of several nations and races. When the‘Ajamis, (non-Arabs) of Asia and Africa acceptedIslam, they gradually adopted Arabic as theirlanguage. Naturally, these new converts were not asproficient in speaking the language as the Arabs ofold. Then the Arabs in their turn were affected bythe language spoken by their new co-religionists.The deterioration of Arabic was especially evident ~ 74 ~
  74. 74. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclein large, cosmopolitan cities, where there was moreintermingling of races. First it was the rank and file,those who did not pay much attention to the finerpoints of linguistics, who were affected. But thecultural elite did not remain immune either. A manonce came to the court of Ziyad ibn Umayya andlamented. ‘Our fathers have died, leaving smallchildren,’ with both ‘fathers’ and ‘children’ in thewrong grammatical case. Mistakes of this naturebecame commonplace, yet the Arabic languageremained essentially the same. Shielded by theQur’an’s supreme eloquence, written Arabic wasnot corrupted by the degradation of the spokenversion. It remained cast in the mould of theQur’an.For proof of the Qur’an’s miraculous nature, onehas only to look at all the traumatic experiences thatArabic has been through over the last 1500 years. Ifit had not been for the protective wing of theQur’an, the Arabic language would surely havebeen altered. The unsurpassable model that wasestablished by the Qur’an remained the immutabletouchstone of standard Arabic. ~ 75 ~
  75. 75. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleThe fall of the Umayyad dynasty in the secondcentury Hijrah posed a great threat to the Arabiclanguage. The Umayyads had been a purely Arabdynasty. Strong supporters of Arab nationalism,they took their promotion of Arabic literature andlanguage almost to the point of partiality. Theircapital was situated in Damascus, in the Arabheartland. In their time, both the military and thecivil administration were controlled by Arabs. Nowthe Abbasids took over the reins of power. Since itwas Iranian support that had brought the caliphateto the Abbasids, it was inevitable that the Iraniansshould maintain a strong influence on theiradministration. This influence led to the capitalbeing moved to Baghdad, on the threshold ofPersia. The Abbasids gave the Iranians a free handin affairs of government, but looked down on theArabs and their civilization, and made consciousefforts to weaken them, unlike the Umayyads whohad always preferred Arabs for high posts. With thewane of pro-Arab favouritism, Iranians, Turks,Syrians, Byzantine and Berber elements were able togain control over all affairs of society and state.Marriages between Arabs and non-Arabs becamecommonplace. With the mixing of Aryan and ~ 76 ~
  76. 76. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s MiracleSemitic civilizations, Arabic language and culturefaced a new crisis. The grandsons of the emperorsand lords of Persia arose to resurrect the civilizationof their forefathers.These events had a profound effect on the Arabiclanguage. The state that it had reached by the timeof the poet Mutanabbi (915-965 AD) is expressed inthe following lines: “The buildings of Iran excel all others in beauty as the season of spring excels all other seasons. An Arab youth goes amongst them, His face, his hands, his tongue, a stranger in their midst. Solomon, they say, used to converse with the jinns. But were he to visit the Iranians, he would need a translator.” (Diwan al-Mutanabbi)It was the Qur’an’s literary greatness alone whichkept Arabic from being permanently scarred by ~ 77 ~
  77. 77. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclethese upheavals. The language always returned toits Qur’anic base, like a ship which, afterweathering temporary storms on the high seas,returns to the safety of its harbour.During the reign of the caliph Mutawakkil (207-247AH), large numbers of Ajamis–especially Iraniansand Turks–entered Arab territory. In 656 theMongolian warrior Hulaku Khan sacked Baghdad.Later the Islamic empire received a further setbackwhen, in 898, Andalusia fell to the Christians. TheFatimid dynasty, which had held sway in Egyptand Syria, did not last long either: in 923 they werereplaced by the Ottoman Turks in large stretches ofArab territory. Now the centre of Islamicgovernment moved from Cairo to Constantinople;the official language became Turkish instead ofArabic, which continued to assimilate a number offoreign words and phrases.The Arab world spent five hundred and fifty yearsunder the banner of Ajami (non-Arab) kings.Persian, Turkish and Mughal rulers even madeattempts to erase all traces of the Arabic language.Arabic libraries were burnt, schools destroyed; ~ 78 ~
  78. 78. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclescholars of the language found themselves indisgrace. The Ottoman emperors launched an anti-Arabic campaign, fittingly called “Tatreek ‘ul-’Arab” (Turkisation of Arabs) by the well-knownreformer Jamaluddin Afghani (1838-97). But noeffort was strong enough to inflict any permanentscar on the face of Arabic. Fierce attacks werelaunched on Arabic language and literature by theTartars in Bukhara and Baghdad, by the Crusadersin Palestine and Syria, then by other Europeans inAndalusia. According to the history of otherlanguages, these assaults on Arab culture shouldhave been sufficient to eradicate the Arabiclanguage completely. One would have expectedArabic to have followed the path of other languagesand merged with other Semitic tongues. Indeed, itwould be true to say that if Arabic had not come upagainst Turkish ignorance and Persian prejudice, itwould still be spoken throughout the entire Muslimworld today. Its very survival in the Arab worldwas due solely to the miraculous effect of theQur’an whose greatness compelled people toremain attached to Arabic. It inspired some Arabscholars – Ibn Manzoor (630-711 AH) and IbnKhaldun (732-808 AH) being two that spring to ~ 79 ~
  79. 79. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclemind – to produce, in defiance of the government ofthe day, works of great literary and academicexcellence.Napoleon’s entry into Cairo (1798) ushered in theage of the printing press in the Middle East.Education became the order of the day. The Arabiclanguage was invested with new life. Yet thecenturies of battering that Arabic had received wasbound to leave its mark: instead of pure Arabic, amixture of Arabic and Turkish had been taken asthe official language in Egypt and Syria.The situation changed again with the Britishoccupation of Egypt in 1882. They opposed Arabicwith all their strength, prescribing compulsoryEnglish in schools and eliminating other languagesfrom syllabi. The French did the same in areas overwhich they had gained control. With the colonialpowers forcing their subjects to learn theirlanguages, Arabic lived in the shadow of Englishand French for over one hundred years. Yet it stillremained in its original form. Certainly, itassimilated new words – the word “dabbaba”meaning tank, for instance, which had previously ~ 80 ~
  80. 80. The Qur’an An Abiding Wonder The Qur’an — The Prophet’s Miraclebeen used for a simple battering ram. New styles ofwriting emerged. If anyone were to write a bookabout why people adopt Islam today, he might callit. “Li madha aslamna” (Why we accepted Islam),whereas in the old days rhythmical and decorativetitles were preferred. Many words were adopted bythe Arabic language – the English word “doctor”for example. But such changes were just on thesurface. Arabic proper still remained the same as ithad been centuries ago, when the Qur’an wasrevealed.LITERARY ADVANCEMENTOnce in a while, writers of outstanding statusappear on a language’s literary scene. When thishappens, the language in which they writeundergoes some change, for their literarymasterpieces influence the mode of popularexpression. In this way languages are continuallypassing through progressive evolutionary stages,until eventually they become quite different fromtheir original form. With Arabic this did nothappen. At the very outset of Arabic history, theQur’an set a literary standard that could not be ~ 81 ~