So far, we have argued that God is the necessarily existing creator, designer, and moral legislator of the universe. However, this only tells us a lot about God. The next natural question is: How do we know that the Qur’an is from God? Until now, we have argued that God is the necessarily existing creator, designer, and moral legislator of the universe. However, this only tells us a lot about God.
The next natural question is, how do we know that the Qur’an is from God? Below is a simple and logical reason why the Qur’an is the word of God. Before delving into the main argument, two ways of gaining knowledge will be explained.
Most of what we know is based on the words of others. This is true for facts that we would never deny. For many of us, these truths include the existence of native Amazonian tribes, photosynthesis, ultraviolet radiation and bacteria. Consider this thinking experience. How would you prove to a stranger – that your mother really gave birth to you? As bizarre as this question may seem, it will help to clarify a very important and underestimated source of knowledge.
You can say “my mom told me that”, “I have a birth certificate”, “my dad told me, he was there”, or “I checked my mom’s hospital records”. These answers are valid; however, they are based on other people’s statements. Skeptical minds may not be satisfied.
You can try to save an empirical basis for your belief using the “DNA card” or by making reference to video images. The belief that her mother is who she says she is is not based on a DNA test kit. The reality is that most of us have not had a DNA test.
It is also not based on video footage, as you still have to rely on the assertion of others to claim that the baby is really you. So, why are we so sure? The only reason you have is the word of others, that is, testimony. Testimony is a vital, but unnoticed, source of most of our knowledge.
An Inference for the Best Explanation
Another way to acquire knowledge is a process known as “inference to the best explanation”. Many of our beliefs are based on a form of reasoning that begins with a collection of data, facts or statements and then seeks the best explanation for them. We will welcome your mother back soon again.
She is heavily pregnant with you in your womb and the due date was last week. Suddenly, her waters break and she starts to have contractions, so her father and the relevant medical team safely assume that she has started work. Another example, a few years later, his mother notices an open package of cookies and crumbs in his mouth and on his clothes. She deduces that you opened the package and helped yourself with some cookies. In both examples, the conclusions are not necessarily true or indisputable, but they are the best explanations, considering all the facts available. This thought process is known as inference for the best explanation.
Using the above concepts, a case will be presented that the Qur’an is an inimitable expression of the Arabic language, and that God best explains its inimitability. What is meant by inimitability is that no one has succeeded in producing or emulating the linguistic and literary characteristics of the Qur’an.
The Miracle of the Quran
The Koran was revealed in Arabia to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the 7th century. This period was known as an era of literary and linguistic perfection. 7th century Arabs were socialized to be a people who were the best at expressing themselves in their native language. However, when the Qur’an was recited to them, they were stunned, incapacitated and stunned in silence. They could not produce anything like the Koranic speech.
It got worse. The Qur’an challenged these linguists par excellence to imitate their unique linguistic and literary characteristics, but they failed. Some experts accepted that the Koran was from God, but most resorted to boycotts, war, murder, torture and a campaign of disinformation. In fact, over the centuries, experts have acquired the tools to challenge the Qur’an, and they have also testified that the Qur’an is inimitable, and assessed why the best linguists have failed.
How can a non-Arab or non-Arab expert appreciate the inimitability of the Qur’an?
Now comes the role of testimony. The above statements are based on an established transmission of written and oral testimonies of knowledge by scholars of the past and present of the Arabic language. If this is true, and the people best placed to challenge the Qur’an have failed to imitate Divine discourse, then who was the author?
This is where the testimony stops and the use of inference begins. To understand the inference of the best explanation, the possible rationalizations of the inimitable nature of the Qur’an must be analyzed. These include that it was written by an Arab, a non-Arab, Muhammad ﷺ or with God.
Considering all the facts that will be discussed, it is unlikely that the Qur’an’s inimitability can be explained by attributing it to an Arab, a non-Arab or Muhammad ﷺ. For this reason, God is the inference of the best explanation.
A summary of the argument is as follows:
1. The Qur’an presents a literary and linguistic challenge for humanity
2. The Arabs of the 7th century were the best to challenge the Qur’an
3. The Arabs of the 7th century failed to do so
4. The scholars witnessed the inimitability of the Quran
5. Anti-academic testimonies are not plausible, as they must reject established background information
6. Therefore (from 1-5) the Qur’an is inimitable.
7. The possible explanations for the Qur’an’s inimitability are the authorship of an Arab, a non-Arab, Muhammad ﷺ or God
8. It could not have been produced by an Arab, a non-Arab or Muhammad ﷺ
9. Therefore, the best explanation is that it is from God
1. The Quran presents a literary and linguistic challenge for humanity.
“Read on behalf of your Lord.” These were the first words of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ over 1,400 years ago.
Muhammad ﷺ, who was known to have meditated in a cave outside Mecca, received the revelation of a book that would have a tremendous impact on the world we live in today. Unknown for having composed any piece of poetry and not having any special rhetorical gifts, Muhammad ﷺ has just received the start of a book that would deal with subjects of belief, legislation, rituals, spirituality and economics in a totally new genre and literary form.
The unique literary and linguistic characteristics of the Qur’an were used by Muslims to articulate a series of arguments to support their belief that the book belongs to the Divine.
Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, a prolific 15th century writer and scholar, summarizes the doctrine of the Qur’an’s inimitability:
“… When the Prophet ﷺ brought [the challenge] to them, they were the most eloquent rhetoricians, so he challenged them to produce the [all] as [of the Qur’an] and many years passed and they failed to do so, as God says, Let them then produce a recitation similar to him, if indeed they are true. So, he challenged them to produce a single [chapter] where God says: Or do they say he [that is? The Prophet ﷺ] forged this? Say, bring a chapter like this and invoke who you can besides God, if you are sincere … When the [Arabs] failed to produce a single chapter like [the Qur’an] even though there are the most eloquent rhetoricians among them, [the Prophet ﷺ ] openly announced failure and inability [to meet the challenge] and declared the Quran to be inimitable. Then God said: Say,
According to classical exegesis, the various verses in the Qur’an that provoke a challenge to produce a chapter, like him, boldly challenge linguistic specialists of any age to imitate the linguistic and literary characteristics of the Qur’an. The necessary tools to face this challenge are finite grammatical rules, literary and linguistic devices and the twenty-eight letters that make up the Arabic language; These are independent and objective measures available to everyone.
The fact that it has not been equated since it was first revealed does not surprise most scholars familiar with the Arabic and Quranic languages.
2. 7th Century Arabs Were Best to Challenge the Koran
The Qur’an represented a challenge for the greatest Arab linguists, the Arabs of the 7th century. The fact of reaching the height of eloquence is affirmed by the Western and Eastern scholarship.
The scholar Taqi Usmani claims that, for the “eloquence and rhetoric of 7th century Arabic, it was the blood of life”. According to the biographer of the 9th century poets, Al-Jumahi “verse was for the Arabs the record of everything they knew, and the greatest strength of their wisdom; With that, they started their affairs, and with that, they ended them. ” According to the biographer of the 9th-century poets, Al-Jumahi “verse was for the Arabs the record of everything they knew, and the maximum compass of their wisdom; With that, they started their affairs, and with that, they ended them.
”The 14th century scholar, Ibn Khaldun, highlights the importance of poetry in Arab life:
“It must be known that the Arabs thought a lot about poetry as a form of expression. Therefore, they made the archives of their history, evidence of what they considered right and wrong, and the main basis of reference for most of their sciences and wisdom. ”
Linguistic ability and expertise were a highly influential feature of the 7th century Arab social environment. Literary critic and historian Ibn Rasheeq illustrates this:
“Whenever a poet appeared in an Arab tribe, other tribes came to congratulate, parties were prepared, women joined in lute as they do at weddings, and old and young people rejoiced in the good news. The Arabs used to congratulate themselves only on the birth of a child and when a poet rose among them “.
The 9th century scholar Ibn Qutayba defined poetry as the Arabs saw it, “the mine of Arab knowledge, the book of their wisdom… the true testimony on the day of the dispute, the final proof at the time of the argument”.
Navid Kermani, a writer and expert in Islamic studies, explains the extent to which Arabs had to study to master the Arabic language, which indicates that 7th century Arabic lived in a world that revered poetry:
“Ancient Arab poetry is a highly complex phenomenon. Vocabulary, grammatical idiosyncrasies and strict norms were passed down from generation to generation, and only the most talented students completely mastered the language. One had to study for years, sometimes even decades under a master poet before claiming the title of poet. Muhammad ﷺ grew up in a world that religiously revered poetic expression. ”
7th century Arabic lived in a socio-cultural environment that had all the right conditions to facilitate the incomparable experience in the use of the Arabic language.
3. The 7th century Arabs failed to do so.
Their linguistic skills nonetheless, they collectively failed to produce an Arabic text that corresponds to the linguistic and literary characteristics of the Qur’an.
Quranic Studies Professor, Angelika Neuwrith, argued that the Qur’an was never successfully challenged by anyone, past or present:
“… Nobody did it, that’s for sure… I really think that the Quran even brought the embarrassment of Western researchers, who were unable to clarify how suddenly in an environment where there was no appreciable written text, the Quran appeared with its wealth of ideas and its magnificent words. ”
Labid ibn Rabi’ah, one of the famous poets of the Seven Odes, embraced Islam due to the inimitability of the Qur’an. Once he embraced Islam, he stopped composing poetry. People were surprised “he was the most distinguished poet.” They asked why he stopped writing poetry; he replied: “What! Even after the revelation of the Koran? ”
EH Palmer, a professor of Arabic and Quran, argues that the statements made by academics like the one described above should not surprise us. He writes:
“That the best of Arab writers had never been able to produce something equal in merit to the Koran itself, is not surprising.”
Bachelor and Professor of Islamic Studies, MA Draz, states how the experts of the 7th century were absorbed in the speech that left them disabled:
“In the golden age of Arab eloquence, when language reached its peak of purity and strength, and titles of honor were solemnly bestowed on poets and speakers at annual festivals, The word of the Qur’an swept away all enthusiasm for poetry or prose , and caused the Seven Golden Poems to hang over the doors of the Kaaba to be knocked down. Every ear lent itself to this wonder of Arabic expression. ”
A powerful argument that supports the claim that the Arabs of the 7th century were unable to imitate the Qur’an concerns the socio-political circumstances of the time. Central to the message of the Qur’an was the condemnation of the immoral, unjust and evil practices of the Mecca tribes of the 7th century. This included objectifying women, unfair trade, polytheism, slavery, the accumulation of wealth, infanticide and abandonment of orphans.
Mecca’s leadership was being challenged by the message from the Qur’an, and this had the potential to undermine his leadership and economic success. In order for Islam to stop spreading, all that was needed was that the Prophet’s opponents enfrentar to face the linguistic and literary challenge of the Qur’an.
However, the fact that Islam was successful in its early and fragile days in Mecca testifies to the fact that its main audience failed to meet the Qur’an challenge. No movement can succeed if a fundamental claim to its core is explicitly proven to be false. extinguishing Islam demonstrates that the easy method of refuting Islam – facing the Qur’an challenge – has failed.
4. Scholars Witnessed the Inimitability of the Qur’an.
Multitudes of scholars from Western, Eastern, religious and non-religious backgrounds have witnessed the inimitability of the Qur’an. Below is a non-exhaustive list of knowledge that constitutes testimony that the Qur’an cannot be imitated.
Professor of Oriental Studies Martin Zammit:
“Despite the literary excellence of some of the long pre-Islamic poems … the Qur’an is definitely on a level of its own as the most eminent written manifestation of the Arabic language.”
Orientalist and literary AJ Arberry:
“In making the current attempt to improve the performance of the predecessors and produce something that can be accepted as an echo, however slight the sublime rhetoric of the Arab Quran may be, I found it difficult to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms that – in addition to the message itself – constitutes an undeniable claim of the Qur’an to rank among the greatest literary works of mankind. ”
Professor Bruce Lawrence:
“As tangible signs, the verses of the Qur’an are expressive of an inexhaustible truth, they express meanings in layers of meanings, light on light, miracle after miracle.”
Professor and Arabist Hamilton Gibb:
“Like all Arabs, they were knowledgeable about language and rhetoric. Well, then, if the Koran were its own composition, other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like this. If they couldn’t (and obviously they couldn’t), then let them accept the Qur’an as an excellent evidential miracle. ”
The above confirmations of the Qur’an’s inimitability are a small sample of the countless testimonies available to us.
5. Academic Testimonials are not Plausible, as They Should Reject Established Base Information
The transmission of testimony about the inimitability of the Qur’an would be the most rational to adopt. This does not mean that there is complete consensus on the issue, or that all studies claim that the Qur’an is not challenged. There are some academic opinions (albeit minority ones) that face the inimitability of the Qur’an. If a valid testimony does not require unanimity, why would anyone accept a statement of testimony about another?
The testimony about the inimitability of the Qur’an is more reasonable, due to the fact that it is based on solid knowledge. This knowledge was discussed in premises 1, 2 and 3.
6. Therefore (1-5) the Qur’an is Inimitable
It follows from points 1 to 5 that the Qur’an’s inimitability is justified.
7. Possible Explanations for the Quran’s Inimitability are the Authorship of an Arab, a Non-Arab, Muhammad ﷺ or God
In order to articulate the divine origins of the Qur’an without referring to specificities about the Arabic language, the use of testimony and inference is necessary. What has been discussed so far is that there is a valid transmission of testimony that the Qur’an is inimitable and that the possible explanation for its inimitability can be explained by attributing its authorship to an Arab, a non-Arab, Muhammad ﷺ or God.
8. Couldn’t have been produced by an Arab, a non-Arab or Muhammad ﷺ
To understand who could possibly have produced the Qur’an, a separation of the three main theories is necessary.
There are some main reasons why the Qur’an could not have come from a 7th century Arab, which we have already demonstrated, but what about modern Arabs?
Well, to say that a contemporary person who speaks Arabic can imitate the Koran is unfounded. Some reasons support this point. First, Arabs in the 7th century were better placed to challenge the Qur’an and, as they failed to do so, it would be unreasonable to claim that a linguistically impoverished modern Arab could outperform the skills of his predecessors.
Second, modern Arabic has experienced greater linguistic indebtedness and degeneration than classical Arab tradition. So how does an Arab who is a product of a relatively linguistically degenerate culture equate to an Arab who has been immersed in an environment of linguistic purity? Third, even if a contemporary Arab learns classical Arabic, his language skills could not match someone who was immersed in a culture that dominated the language.
The Koran could not have come from a non-Arab, as the language of the Koran is Arabic, and knowledge of the Arabic language is a prerequisite for successfully challenging the Koran. This was addressed in the Koran itself: “And, in fact, we know that they [polytheists and pagans] say:” It is only a human being who teaches him (Muhammad ﷺ) “. The language of the man to which it refers is foreign, while this is an Arabeeyun mubeen speech.
What if a non-Arab learned the language? This would make that person an Arabic speaker, and I referred to the first possible explanation above.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ?
It is pertinent to note that Arab linguists at the time of the revelation stopped accusing the Prophet ﷺ of being the author of the Koran, after his initial false claims that he became a poet. Professor Mohar Ali writes:
“It should be noted that the Koran is not considered a book of poetry by any experienced person. Nor did the Prophet ﷺ ever indulge in verse. It is true that it was a claim by the unbeliever Quraysh in the early stages of his opposition to the revelation that Muhammad ﷺ had become a poet; but they soon found their claim alongside the mark and changed their lines of criticism in view of the undeniable fact that the Prophet ﷺ is illiterate and completely unaccustomed to the art of poetry making, saying that he had been tormented by others that he had the worst old stories written for him by others, and read to him in the morning and evening. ”
Significantly, the Prophet ﷺ was not considered a master of the language and did not engage in the art of poetry or rhymed prose. Therefore, the claim that he managed to evoke a literary and linguistic masterpiece is beyond the limits of rational thought. Kermani writes: “He did not study the difficult art of poetry when he began to recite verses publicly … However, Muhammad ﷺ’s recitations differed from the poetry and rhymed prose of diviners, the other conventional form of inspired and metric speech at the time.”
9. Therefore, the Best Explanation is that the Quran is from God
Since the Qur’an could not have been produced by an Arab, a non-Arab or the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, then it follows that the best explanation is that it came from God. This provides the best explanation for the Qur’an’s inimitability because the other explanations are unsustainable in the light of available knowledge.