Miracles of the Quran
03 May, 2008
Editor: We do not believe in the existence of 'miracle'.
In this article I discuss some of the Islamic writings claiming
miracles in the Qur’an. Then, I try to strictly define the concept
of a miracle. After that, I try to obtain the intended meaning of
the miraculous Qur’an as claimed by its founder; Muhammad. I end the
article with a substantive conclusion.
Many Islamic apologists put different twists on the Qur’an to show its miraculous nature. My mother tongue is Arabic. When one reads the Qur’an in Arabic, one will quickly find how boring reading the Qur’an is. This characteristic by itself is a miracle. No book is more boring to read than the Qur’an. In fact, I challenge the reader to find a book whose reading is more boring than the Qur’an. Well, joking aside, this article was motivated by three factors:
- Many Islamic thinkers claim the miraculous nature of the
Qur’an without telling us what a miracle is. I mean we are not
told what defines a miracle.
- I was reading an article on Islam Watch, that is essentially a
symposium on the idea of creating a “selective Qur’an” through
getting rid of the “bad verses” in the Qur’an. Such an idea is
silly and will be condemned by most Muslims. I myself liked this
idea because it will motivate Muslims to think about the evils
contained in the “holy” book. Also, such an open discussion about
the Qur’an will allow me to market an idea I’ve been propagating
for many years: replace the whole Qur’an with the poetry of
Khayyam, Qabbani, and some of the great writings of Jubran. It is
a practical idea that has an aesthetic side to it. And the
Mullah’s in mosques will have no problems reciting such beautiful
writings, especially if they had a good Sunni glass of wine after
Again, joking aside, Edib Yuksel is an Islamic scholar who was
included in the symposium. He is termed as a “Rational Muslim”. He
talks about some interesting “numerical facts in the Qur’an”. For
instance the word “YAWM” (which means “Day” in Arabic) is mentioned
exactly 365 times in the Qur’an. Yuksel calls such Qur’anic facts
“interesting” but stops short of calling them miracles. He also
stops short of telling us why such Qur’anic facts are interesting.
However it is easy to see how the writings of researchers like him
can be taken by others to mean miraculous facts in the Qur’an.
Here is the link:
There are many Islamic thinkers who claim some form of “the miraculous” does exist in the Qur’an, be it some scientific facts, numerical facts, or any other fact that was not known to the Arabs 1400 years ago.
The Starting Point: Definitional Terminology
When we talk about miracles it is of extreme importance to have a working and precise definition of what constitutes a miracle. Without a criterion that tells us what a miracle is, we cannot judge anything to be a miracle. I submit to you that a generally accepted definition of a miracle is this: An event that occurs in our world, and actually violates at lease one natural law. I am not talking here about magicians and what they do. I am talking about factual events. For example if a person was declared clinically dead by doctors in the hospital (i.e. he was in fact dead), then a wise man came into the room of the dead person, put his hand on him, and the dead person came back to life, then indeed we have a miracle on our hands. We know that dead people do not come back to life. At the minimum, there was one natural law that was broken through bringing this person back to life. I hope this definition is clear enough. A miraculous event has to involve a violation of at least one natural law.
Now, I know, people use the concept of the miraculous more loosely. For instance we may say “it was a miracle that I survived the car accident I was involved in”, but we really mean that I was lucky to survive the accident. We don’t really mean that any natural law was broken. People use the word miraculous to mean unusual events. But a strict definition of the miraculous will not view such events as miraculous.
Going with the Clowns
Our idiot of the year nominee, Zakir Naik, may claim some scientific facts to be miraculous because they were in the Qur’an all along. Yuksel may claim that there are some interesting numerical facts in the Qur’an. However, none of such claims qualify as miraculous. There are no natural laws that were violated, even if one accepts such ridiculous claims. By the way, brother Mumin Salih has done a very good job in refuting the “amazing” numerical claims supposedly contained in the Qur’an.
Here is the link:
The Original intended Meaning for the “Miraculous” Qur’an
People forget what concept of “Miraculous” Muhammad meant when he
talked about the Qur’an. We all know what it is. Muhammad was
challenged by many in his days because he brought no true miracles.
He was compared by the Arabs to the Jewish prophets and to Jesus.
Those prophets of old supposedly performed miracles in the sense
that they performed actions that involved violations of natural
laws. For instance, in his first miracle, Jesus turned water into
wine in an instance. Such an event cannot be done with all the
technology that we have nowadays. Such an event, if took place,
certainly involves a violation of at least one natural law. However,
Muhammad could not produce such an event. His claim was that his
Qur’an was miraculous because of its superior “High Language Level”
such that no one can produce a Qur’an like his (and I say: Thank God
for that. Enough plundering and destruction has been done in the
last 1400 hundred years through one Qur’an. Imagine what would have
happened if we had more people producing such Qur’ans! I would
imagine the human race would have been done and over with long ago).
But clearly, a high language level is no miracle. It does not
involve any violation of any natural law. One can, if she wants, say
that the Qur’an has a high language level in its words. But this, in
no way admits the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.
A question that may come up here is this: if Muhammad only meant that the Qur’an is superior linguistically to any writing that another human can produce, why is it that Muslim apologetics look for ways to show that the Qur’an is miraculous through scientific facts, numerical facts,.etc? I think the answer to this question may involve multiple factors. Here are some:
- For Muslims apologetics, such claims are a source of income
and fame. Gullible Muslims rush to believe what they hear if it
will support and strengthen their faith.
- At this day in age, it is clear that there is nothing
linguistically miraculous about the Qur’an. So, Muslim apologetics
try hard to find something else in the Qur’an that is miraculous.
However, such apologetics ignore the simple fact regarding the
“miraculous” as intended by Muhammad himself.
- The inner psychology of the human being is a factor in the apologetics’ making that motivates him/her to find meaning in the meaningless (of the Qur’an). For example, Yuksel comes from a religious family. His roots are entrenched in Islamic dogma. But he lives in the west, and has to make peace between his inner self and modern day life. So, he advances the Qur’an as a “very interesting” book because it has some numerical facts that are interesting. (He has not told us what is interesting about those facts, but, nevertheless, they are interesting). Again, I think brother Mumin Salih’s article constitutes a good refutation to claims like those of Yuksel’s.
It is evident that Muhammad never intended the “miraculous” acrobatics that modern day apologetics try to attribute to his book. He only meant that his Qur’an is miraculous because of its amazing language. However, such a claim, even if true, does not constitute what is truly miraculous, as I clarified in my definition of what a miracle is. Muhammad himself admitted that. The Qur’an is not miraculous at all. It is an extremely boring book to read. In addition it is saturated with evil and hate. Muslim apologetics try to sugarcoat the evil book by creatively “imposing” miraculous nonsense in the Qur’an. Such claims are easily refuted. Brother Mumin Salih’s work is one of many examples that clearly show the errors and the selectivity of the apologetics
Ibn Kamuna an Arabic-speaking writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.