The Arabic word for miracle is Mu’jizah. It comes from the root word ‘a-j-z, which means to be incapable of or to be weak. Technically, in Islam, it is defined as acts performed by prophets of a miraculous nature that humans are incapable of imitating.1 Allah sent through various prophets, throughout time, specific miracles in order to prove the truthfulness of their message. Generally, people will not believe a random claim from an individual that he has been sent by the Creator to give them a message from Him, hence, Allah uses miracles as a way to prove to the people that the claimant is speaking the truth and is not an imposter. Allah granted miracles of various natures to different prophets dependent on what would be the greatest cause of influence for them. For example, at the time of Moses, people were fascinated by magic; hence, Allah granted him miracles of such a nature that far excelled magic. Similarly, at the time of Jesus, people excelled in medicine and healing; hence, Allah sent them a prophet that could cure the blind, leper, heal the sick, and even raise the dead.
The main miracle of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), though he had others, was the Qur’an. This is because at the time of this last prophet, the Arabs had reached the peak of eloquence and poetry, hence, Allah sent them the Qur’an that was completely off the charts in its beauty, eloquence, and poetic construction. This is why Allah challenged them to produce something like it but they were incapable even though they were masters in this field. When they could not, Allah Said of them:
Say, “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they helped one another.” (Qur’an 17:88)
Since the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last messenger to be sent to mankind and there is no one that is coming after him until the Day of Judgment, his miracle of the Qur’an is timeless and will remain that way until the end of time. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
There has not been a single prophet except that Allah gave him miracles because of which people believed in him. I have been given (as my miracle) the Inspiration (Qur’an), which Allah revealed to me. I hope, therefore, that I will have the largest number of followers on the Day of Judgment. (Bukhari Book #61, Hadith #504)
Ibn Hajar said regarding this hadith, “The meaning is that the miracles of other prophets perished with the ending of their eras, hence, they were not witnessed except by those who were present during their times. But the miracle of the Qur’an is continuous until the Day of Judgment.”2
There have been many works written by scholars of Islam on what makes the Qur’an miraculous. We will discuss only two of these miracles in order to get a small understanding of its miraculous nature.
The strongest manifestation of the Qur’an is the language and style of the Arabic of the Qur’an. To this day, we know that the Qur’an is considered to be a reference of the Arabic language even for non-Muslims so orientalists make use of different passages of the Qur’an to show the beauty of the Arabic language. Qur’an is the height of eloquence.3 Following are some of the ways in which it shows the literary miracles of this great book:4
- The placement of a particular word in a perfect context over its synonyms; the fact that Allah chooses specific words over other words so each connotation given by that word is better by the connotation given by its synonyms.
- The unique sentence structure and syntax. Neither is it similar throughout the Qur’an nor does it resemble the pre-Islamic poets. So if we read Surah al-Baqarah, it is completely different from Surah an-Naba.
- The use of different tenses to give a deeper meaning to each passage. In general when someone writes a book, the tense and pronoun remains the same throughout the book but the Qur’an changes from passage to passage, right after the other. And if we ponder over it, we realize the beauty of that. This gives deeper meaning to it.
- The pronunciation of the words matches its contexts and this is something that even non-Arabs realize. So when the verses are talking about paradise or the mercy of Allah, you find the verses sweeter, melodious and flowing. When it is talking about the fire of hell or the Day of Judgment, all of a sudden you have the strong letters, the ‘ain’, the ‘daad’, the ‘qaaf’, so you find a certain tenseness just by the sound even if you do not understand the meaning.
- The perfect combination of conciseness and detail. If you have read the Old or the New Testament the first thing to strike you is the level of detail, which literally bores the reader. This is because it is man made. The Qur’an does not give you many of the details found in the bible because there is no need of it. So the attention span of the reader is always higher. It only adds details when necessary.
Another miracle is what Dr. Maurice Bucaille, an Egyptologist, mentioned in his book Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews In Egypt, which goes to show the historical accuracy and preservation of the Qur’an. His story is as follows:
“I have related the result of such a consultation that dates back to a dozen years ago and led me to question a specialist who, in addition, knew well the classical Arabic language. One of the most prominent French Egyptologists, fulfilling these conditions, was kind enough to answer the question. I showed him the word “Haman” that I had copied exactly like it is written in the Qur’an, and told him that it had been extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th century AD, the sentence being related to somebody connected with Egyptian history. He said to me that, in such a case, he would see in this word the transliteration of a hieroglyphic name but, for him, undoubtedly it could not be possible that a written document of the 7th century had contained a hieroglyphic name – unknown until that time – since, in that time, the hieroglyphs had been totally forgotten. In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom by Ranke, where I might find the name written in hieroglyphs, as he had written before me, and the transliteration in German. I discovered all that had been presumed by the expert, and, moreover, I was stupefied to read the profession of Haman: “The Chief of the workers in the stone-quarries,” exactly what could be deduced from the Qur’an, though the words of the Pharaoh suggest a master of construction. When I came again to the expert with a photocopy of the page of the Dictionary concerning “Haman” and showed him one of the pages of the Qur’an where he could read the name, he was speechless…”5
For even more miracles, refer to the following pages:
1 Qadhi, Yasir. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, p. 257.
4 Ibid and Qadhi, Yasir. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, p. 268.