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 What Is the Qur'an?

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PostSubject: What Is the Qur'an?   Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:37 pm

The Qur'an, the Torah, the Gospel are Scriptures of Allah that He sent down to His Messengers, peace be upon them. The "Qur'an" is Allah’s speech, not a created thing that may perish nor is it an attribute of any created thing. Gabriel brought down the Qur'an to Muhammad, peace be upon him, bit by bit as circumstances warranted over a period of twenty-three years. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would memorize the verses he received and recite them to the companions who happened to be with him and order them to write the verses down immediately.

Muhammad, peace be upon him, himself used to keep a copy of the revealed portions in his house. The Qur'an, the last of Allah's Scriptures, is divided into 114 surah (chapters) of unequal length. It is one of the fundamental sources of Islamic teachings. Allah revealed some of the Qur'an's suwar and verses in Makkah, and the rest He revealed in Madinah. The Makkan suwar and verses deal mainly with the issues of Aqeedah (7), such as tawhid, the belief in the Oneness of Allah, the signs of the existence of Allah, resurrection, life after death, or the Day of Resurrection.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, laid great emphasis on the Oneness of Allah, as did all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah before him, beginning with Adam and ending with Muhammad, peace be upon them all. Suwar revealed in Madinah dealt with the actions of the individuals and every aspect of life, including forms of worship.

Authenticity of the Qur'an

Allah says :

And this Qur’an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah, rather, it is the confirmation of that which was before it, (i.e., the Torah and the Gospel, etc.) and a full explanation of the Book which is no doubt, from the Rubb of the worlds. Or do they say: “He has invented it”? Say: “Then produce a surah like it, and summon whoever you can [to help you] apart from Allah, if you are truthful. (Cool

There is no nation that had ever cared about, revered, and preserved its Divine Scripture as the Muslim Ummah (nation) has cared about, revered and preserved the Qur'an. Unlike the other Divine Scriptures, the Qur'an is not kept in the hands of a particular group or elite of Muslims, and for this reason it is not subject to suspicion that it might have been tampered with or altered. Rather, it has always been within the reach of all Muslims.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded The Muslims to recite Qur'anic verses in their prayers. Allah commands the Muslims to refer all their disputes to the Qur'an for final judgment. The Qur'an was compiled in its final form at a time when the first Muslims to commit it to memory were still alive. Allah has promised to preserve it, and it will be preserved until the Day of Resurrection.

The Muslims today read and recite the Qur'anic texts exactly as they were read and recited during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, and his Companions. Not a single letter has been added to the Qur'an or deleted from it. After having examined the Qur'an, Dr. Maurice Bucaille ascertains:

Thanks to its undisputed authenticity, the text of the Qur'an holds a unique place among the books of revelation. (9)

The Miraculous Nature of the Qur'an
Al-Baqillani wrote about how the Qur’an is the evidential miracle of the Muhammad’s Prophetic Office:

What makes it necessary to pay quite particular attention to that branch of Qur’anic science known as I’jaz al-Qur’an is that the Prophetic Office of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is built upon this miracle. Even though later on he was given the support of many miracles, yet those miracles all belonged to special times, special circumstances, and concerned special individuals. (10)

Allah, the Exalted, has challenged the Arabs and non-Arabs to produce a Qur'an similar to the Divine one. The challenge was reduced to ten suwar, yet they failed to do so. Finally, Allah challenged them to produce a single surah comparable to any of His. Although they were the masters of eloquence and rhetoric, they were incapable of taking up the challenge. They realized that the Qur’an could never be from other than Allah, the Rubb of the worlds.

The difference between the miracles of the previous Messengers, which proved their veracity, and that of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him, is that theirs took place during the lifetime of each one of them, whereas the miracle of the Qur'an remains effective, everlasting, and challenging until the Day of Resurrection.

Some Aspects of the Miraculous Nature of the Qur’an Scholars have mentioned three particular aspects of the miraculous nature of the Qur'an. Al-Baqillani quoted:

One of them is that it contains information about the unseen, and that is something beyond the powers of humans, for they have no way to attain it. One example is the promise Allah, Most High, made to His Prophet, peace be upon him, that his religion, Islam, would triumph over all other religions.

Thus Allah, Mighty and exalted is He, says:

He it is Who Has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it victorious over all religion, even though the polytheists dislike it .

Allah, the Exalted, did indeed fulfill His promise, and Muslims captured all the lands as far as Balk and the land of India. The early Muslims ruled a vast land encompassing many countries in the world. The Qur'an foretold the victory of the Romans against the Persians(11)

Allah' says:

The Romans have been defeated in the land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. (12)

The second aspect is that it is well known that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was an ummi (13) who could neither write or read. Likewise it was generally recognized that he had no knowledge whatever of the books of the earlier people, nor of their records, or histories. Yet he produced summaries of past great and important events such as the stories of the previous Prophets and their peoples.

A person who reads the Qur'an objectively will realize that the prophesies in it are far removed from conjecture or speculation. This is due to the fact that the One Who revealed it is the One who pre-decreed all events till the Day of Resurrection.

The Qur'an as Comprehensive Legislation

The Qur'an constitutes the most comprehensive concept of Islam on the practical level as the source of the shari'ah, or the Divine laws and legislation. It is comprehensive because it includes law, as well as the underlying purposes and moral principles, and the creed to which every Muslim must subscribe. Islamic shari'ah is designed and suitable not only for Muslims, but for all mankind at all times. The Islamic law governs all human acts, by delineating every person's public or private-duties toward Allah and toward His Creation, including man.

Man-made laws are subject to alteration and are based on theories. Whenever a new body of legislators assumes authority, or a new theory appears and appeals to the legislators, the laws are changed accordingly. The Divine law, on the other hand, is unalterable and perpetual because the One Who made it is The Ever-living and Everlasting. He is the Creator Who created mankind and ordained for all human beings what is best for them until the end of time. For this reason, the Qur'an, being the last revelation to the last of the Prophets and Messengers, supersedes all previous Scriptures.

Science and the Qur'an

Muhammad, peace be on him, was unlettered. He could neither read nor write, and he grew up in Makkah where there were no schools. He lived far away from the circles of science and scholars that existed in Syria, Alexandria, Athens, or Rome. Moreover, the scientific facts mentioned in the Qur'an were not known in that time, i.e. in the Seventh Century AC. Having studied and examined the Arabic text of the Qur'an, Dr. Bucaille marvels:

I could not find a single error in the Qur'an. I had to stop and ask myself: if a man were the author of the Qur'an, how could he have written facts in the Seventh century AC. that today are shown to be in keeping with modern scientific knowledge? I had to acknowledge the evidence in front of me: the Qur'an did not contain a single statement that was assailable from a modern scientific point of view. I repeated the same test for the Old Testament and the Gospels, always preserving the same objective outlook. In the former, I did not have to go even beyond the first book, Genesis, to find statements totally out of keeping with what modern science considers to be indisputable facts(14)

Dr. Bucaille studied many scientific facts mentioned in the Qur'an such as the creation of the universe, astronomy, the animal and vegetation kingdoms, human reproduction, and other related issues. We shall select, for the sake of brevity, only two of the above issues to draw the attention of the reader to one of the objectives of this booklet.

The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth

Man's knowledge of the origin of the universe is very limited. Scientists have proposed hypotheses and theories of evolution centered around one theme: the primordial fireball and the primordial era of matter and antimatter. According to these theories, the universe (15) consisted mainly of strongly interacting particles. The primordial matter and antimatter eventually annihilated each other and those particles that survived formed the present universe. This theory is given further credence because it conforms to the basic process of the development of the universe as presented very simply in the Qur'an. Allah commands His Messenger Muhammad, peace be on him, to ask the unbelievers:

Say (to them): Do you disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two days? And yet you set up equals to Him, Who is the Rubb of the worlds. And He placed therein firm mountains above its (the earth's) surface and blessed it, and in four days equitably apportioned the means of subsistence to all who would seek it. Then (Allah) turned to the heaven when it was smoke (yet only gaseous) and said to it and to the earth: Submit willingly or unwillingly! They both said: "We submit in willing obedience." Then He decreed that they become seven heavens in two days, and imparted to each (of the seven) its function. And We decorated the heaven nearest to earth with lights and made them secure. Such is the decree of the All Mighty, the All-knowing (16).

And Allah says:

Are the unbelievers not aware that the heavens and the earth were once a single entity which We then separated, and that We made every living thing out of water? (17)Will they not then (begin to) believe? (18)

The concept of rending one unit into two or more, and the celestial "smoke" referred to in the above, confirms what is considered to be factual scientific data. The English physicist and astronomer, Sir James Jeans, wrote:

We have found that, as Newton first conjectured, a chaotic mass of gas of approximately uniform density and of very great extent would be dynamically unstable: nuclei would tend to form in it, around which the whole of matter would ultimately condense." On the basis of this theory he proposed that all celestial objects originated by a process of fragmentation (19)

The space program helped verify the homogeneity of the substances of which the moon, the earth, and other planets are formed. "Such statements in the Qur'an concerning the creation, which appeared nearly fourteen centuries ago," Dr. Bucaille concluded, “obviously do not lend themselves to a human explanation." (20)

Human Reproduction

The complexities of human reproduction were decoded and understood only after the invention of the microscope, which was invented hundreds of years after the death of Muhammad, peace be on him. But the Qur'an refers to all the stages through which the human embryo passes. As Allah says:

Verily, We created man from the quintessence of mud. Then We placed him as a drop of sperm in a safe depository. Then We fashioned the drop of sperm into a thing that clings, and then We fashioned the thing that clings into a chewed lump (of flesh), and We fashioned the chewed flesh into bones. Then We clothed the bones with (intact) flesh. Then We developed it into a different (form of) creation. So blessed be Allah, the best of creators. (21)

The observations of modern science indicate the stages of human reproduction are:

1)Fertilization of an ovule, which takes place in the Fallopian tubes. The fertilizing agent is the male sperm.

2)The implantation of the fertilized egg, which takes place at a precise spot in the female reproductive system. It descends into the uterus and lodges in the body of the uterus. Once the embryo begins to be observable to the naked eye, it looks like a small mass of flesh. It grows there in progressive stages well known today, which lead to the bone structure, the muscles, the nervous and circulatory system, and the viscera, etc.(22)

In conclusion, Dr. Bucaille ascertains:

More than a thousand years before our time , at a period when whimsical doctrines still prevailed, men had a knowledge of the Qur'an. The statements it contains express in simple terms primordial truths that man has taken centuries to discover by himself. (23)
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