The question of the Prophet having nothing to do with the writing of the Qur’an is too self evident to need any verbal admission from him or a study of his morality. It is definitely sufficient to prove a person’s innocence of a particular action of commission that his very nature shows his physical inability to do or produce it.
Let us now reflect on whether Muhammad, the unlettered Prophet, could have produced the Qur’anic concepts and meanings on the basis of his own knowledge and intellectual means.
Atheists, who have no shortage of ignorance, will claim that he could. They would argue that his innate intelligence and penetrating insight enabled him to distinguish right from falsehood, decent moral values from foul ones, and good from evil.
They would even go further and claim that if there was anything in the heavens which could be grasped by deep reflection or sound nature or inspiration, Muhammad would have grasped it, given his undistorted nature, great intellect and profound abilities for reflection.
We believe that his qualities and characteristics are far more splendid than what such atheists credit him with, but we wish to ask: Is everything in the Qur’an deducible by reflection and contemplation, or is it something that one can feel and experience? Certainly not.
We find in the Qur’an a substantial portion that can never be gathered by simple intelligence or contemplation, profound as they may be. No one who was not present at the time when historical events took place could have full knowledge of them except through study and learning.
What can such atheist people tell us about what the Qur’an relates of the history of former nations and the accurate details it gives of such events? Can history ever be formulated through deep thinking or accurate insight? Or would they go as far as to claim that Muhammad lived among those communities of former times, moving among them, and witnessing these events as they took place? Or had he studied the books of former authors so deeply that he learnt every little detail in them?
They cannot make either claim, because they, as well as the whole world, realise that neither situation applies to Muhammad, (peace be upon him), “You were not with them when they drew lots as to which of them should be Mary’s guardian.”(3: 44.)
“You were not with them [i.e. Joseph’s brothers] when they resolved upon what they were going to do and wove their schemes [against him].”(12: 102.)
“You were not on the sunset slope [of Mount Sinai] when We imposed the Law upon Moses, nor were you among those who witnessed [his times].”(28: 44.)
“You have never been able to recite any Divine book before this one [was revealed], nor did you ever transcribe one with your own hand - or else, they who try to disprove the truth of your revelation may indeed have had cause to doubt it.”(29: 48.)
“These accounts of something that was beyond the reach of your 25 perception We now reveal to you, [Muhammad], for neither you nor your people knew them fully before this.”(11: 49.)
“In the measure that We reveal this Qur’an to you, We explain it to you in the best possible way, seeing that before this [i.e. the Qur’an] you were indeed among those who are unaware of what revelation is.”(12: 3.)
We do not say that no one among the Arabs had ever known the names of some past prophets or past communities, or had a general idea of the destruction that overwhelmed the peoples of ᶜĀd and Thamūd or the great floods at the time of Noah.
Such general notions rarely ever remain unknown to any person wherever he lives, in desert or city.
They constitute part of human heritage and are the basis of many a proverb in different languages. The important part is that which concerns minute details only available in well-researched books, giving accurate accounts.
Such knowledge was totally unavailable to the Arabs who were largely an illiterate people. It was known only to a handful of scholars. Yet you find accurate accounts of such history in the Qur’an. Even figures correspond perfectly. In the story of Noah, as related in the Qur’an, he is said to have lived among his people for a thousand years less fifty. And in the Book of Genesis we read that he lived nine hundred and fifty years.
The People of the Cave are reported in the books of the Jews and the Christians to have remained in their cave for three hundred Gregorian years. In the Qur’an, they are mentioned to have stayed “three hundred years add nine.” These nine account for the difference between Gregorian and lunar years. Consider this accurate arithmetic in a community of illiterate people who did not write or calculate.
It is certainly an amazing story. Here is an unlettered man who lives in a community of unlettered people, attending their gatherings, as long as they are free of falsehood and frivolity, leading a normal life, earning his family’s living, working as a paid shepherd or merchant.
He has no contact with scholars of any type. He lives in such circumstances for more than 40 years.
Then all of a sudden he comes up with statements the like of which he has never uttered in the past, nor mentioned to anyone before. He says about communities of older times what could only be gathered from books treasured by scholars. Is it in such matters that those ignorant non-believers claim that he made a rational conclusion or gathered an inspiration? What logic supports the claim that this newly observed stage was a natural outcome of the preceding illiterate stage?
There is no escaping the rational conclusion that this sudden transformation was the result of some totally different cause that should be sought away from the limitation of his own soul or the sort of scanty information that was available to him.
The atheist Arabs of the days of ignorance were more logical in their explanation of this phenomenon and had a better understanding of this secret than latter day atheists. Those Arabs did not say that he invented these stories out of personal inspiration. What they claimed was that he must have received knowledge that was not available to him previously, and that he studied such knowledge thoroughly in order to learn what he had not known: “Thus do We give many facets to Our revelations. And thus they may say, ‘You have learnt it well.’”(6: 105.)
“They say: Fables of the ancient times which he has caused to be written down, so that they might be read out to him at morn and evening.(25: 5.)
They certainly tell the truth. He has studied it well, but at the hand of his teacher, the Holy Spirit. He has caused it to be written down, but from
“honoured pages, exalted, purified, by the hands of noble and devout scribes.”(80: 13-16.)
“Say: Had God willed it otherwise, I would not have conveyed this [revelation] to you, nor would He have brought it to your knowledge. Indeed a whole lifetime have I dwelt among you before this [revelation came to me]. Will you not, then, use your reason.”(10: 16.)
That is what we have to say about the historical information contained in the Qur’an. It could only have come from a source outside Muhammad’s own mind and soul. As for other types of information given in the Qur’an, the claim may be made that it could have been gathered by an intelligent person through deep reflection or sudden inspiration. Such an argument may appear logical to start with, but it soon collapses as a result of thorough examination.
The human mind has a special route through which to grasp ideas, thoughts or concepts. It also has a certain limit that it cannot exceed. Anything that does not fall directly within our normal senses or inner faculties of perception, and which has no roots within the human instinct can only be understood through an appropriate premise that leads to what has not been known.
This can be either suddenly as in surmise or intuition, or slowly as in deduction and construction. Whatever is not introduced through one of these ways cannot be grasped by the human mind in any other way. It has only one remaining source, namely, inspiration, or quoting someone who has received such inspiration.
Now let us look at non-historical information given in the Qur’an. Do we find any means and introductions given for them in order that the human mind is able to grasp them? We will answer this question presently, but we will now give two examples of such meanings. The first belongs to religious beliefs and the other to unknown prophesies.
Concerning religion, the maximum that the human mind can gather through independent thinking, and with the help of undistorted human nature, is to realise that this universe is controlled by a powerful and mighty God.
God has not created this universe in vain, but has established it on the basis of wisdom and justice. Hence, it must be returned a second time to give everyone his just reward for whatever he did of good or evil deeds. This is all that a perfect human mind may gather concerning religion.
But the Qur’an does not stop at this. It explains the limits of faith with considerable detail, describing the beginning and the end of creation, heaven and its bliss and happiness, hell and its varieties of suffering, as though we see both with our eyes.
It tells us even the number of the doors of hell and the number of angels that guard these doors. On what rational theory are such figures and exact details given? This information is not something the human mind can produce on its own. It may either be false, which means that it is a wild guess, or true, which means that it has been taught by someone with accurate knowledge.
But it is certainly the truth confirmed by books revealed earlier, and believed unhesitatingly by their followers: “We have made their [i.e. the angels guarding hell] number nothing but a trial for the disbelievers, to the end that they who have been granted revelation aforetime might be convinced, and that they who have believed may grow yet 27 more firm in their faith.”(74: 31.)
“Thus We have revealed to you, [Muhammad], a lifegiving message, at Our behest. Prior to it, you did not know what revelation is, nor what faith implies.”(42: 52)
“No knowledge would I have had of what passed on high when they argued.”(38: 69.)
“This Qur’an could not have been devised by anyone other than God. It certainly confirms the truth of whatever remains [of earlier revelations] and clearly spells out the Book, revealed without doubt by the Lord of all the worlds.”(10: 37.)
Now let us consider how a perfect mind deals with prophesies of matters unknown. It can only rely on its past experience, making it a light that may predict a few steps along the course of future events.
In other words, it makes that which is known and already experienced a criterion by which to judge what is to come. Its judgement is always taken very cautiously, saying: “This is what may be deduced if matters are to follow their natural course, and provided that nothing out of the ordinary takes place.”
Making a firm prediction, with definite details, even in matters that are not indicated by a scientific premise or an informed guess, is done only by one of two types of person. The first is a person who does not care what people say about him, or whether they describe him as a liar. This is the behaviour of fortune tellers.
The other type is a person that has a covenant with God, and God does not breach a covenant He makes with anyone. This is the behaviour of prophets and messengers sent by God. No one else makes such predictions except one who quotes from either of these two types.
So to what category belongs the carrier of the Qur’an when he gives us a definitive statement outlining what is to happen in a year’s time or after a few years, or what happens in the rest of time, or what will never take place at any time?
He has indeed given us such predictions in the Qur’an, yet he never before made any attempt to give any information about the future, nor did he ever claim any knowledge of astrology or fortune telling. He was never given to making any such wild claims as such people do.
What he gave us in the way of revelation was totally different from theirs. Fortune tellers and astrologists may give a mixture of what is true and what is false. He, on the other hand, disclaimed any knowledge of the future and never aspired to gain such knowledge.
Yet it came to him naturally. Whatever he told of it has never been disproved. Indeed, no subsequent circumstances were ever able to disprove a single letter of what he foretold:
“It is indeed a sublime Book. No falsehood can ever attain to it openly, nor in a stealthy manner, since it is bestowed from on high by One who is truly wise, ever to be praised.”(41: 41-42.)
We will give some examples of the prophesies given in the Qur’an, explaining some of their historical circumstances.
We will then consider whether there were any premises leading to them available at the time so as to make such prophesies the product of deep contemplation coupled with excellent intelligence.
We will confine ourselves to three types of prophesies. The first relates to prophesies concerning the future of Islam itself, or as represented by the Qur’an and the Prophet, while the other two concern prophesies in relation to the future of the two parties: that of God and that of the Devil.
Certainty of the Future
Examples of the first type relate to the religion of Islam and that God has ensured that it 28 will remain forever, and will never be wiped out.GO TO page I