The Author of the Qur’an is reasoning with us, that had Muhummad (pbuh) been a learned man, and had he been able to read or write, then in that case the babblers in the market places might have had some justification to doubt his claim that the Holy Qur’an is God’s Word. In the event of Muhammad (pbuh) being a literate person, the accusation of his enemies that he had probably copied his Book (Al-Qur’an) from the writings of the Jews and the Christians, or that perhaps he had been studying Aristotle and Plato, or that he must have browsed through the”Torat,” the “Zabur” and the “Injeel” 0 had rehashed it all in a beautiful language, might have carried some weight. Then, “THE TALKERS OF VANITIES” might have had a point. But even this flimsy pretence has been denied to the unbeliever and the cynic: a point hardly big enough to hang a fly upon’
‘The Book’? Yes, the “BOOK” itself, carries its own evidence proving its Divine Authorship. Study the Book from any angle. Scrutinize it. Why not take up the Author’s challenge if your doubts are genuine?
It is inconceivable that any human author would remain consistent in his teachings and his preachings for a period of over two decades. From the age of forty, when Muhammad (pubh) received his first call from Heaven to the age sixty-three when he breathed his last, for twenty three years the Holy Prophet practised and preached Islam. In those twenty three years, he passed through the most conflicting vicissitudes of life. Any man, during the course of such a mission, would be forced by circumstances to make “honourable’ compromises, and cannot help contradicting himself. No man can ever write the same always, as the Message of the Holy Qur’an is: CONSISTENT WITH ITSELF, throughout! Or is it that the unbelievers’ objections are merely argumentative, refractory, against their own better light and judgement’?
Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an contains or mentions many matters relating to the nature of the universe which were unknown to man before but which subsequently through evolution and discoveries of Science have fully confirmed – a field where an untutored mind would have most certainly lost in wild and contradictory speculations!
1- And as for those who doubt the authenticity of the Qur’an, Allah challenged them in various parts of the Qur’an to produce or write a book or even a chapter that will surpass the Glorious Qur’an. And if you disbelievers are in doubt concerning that which we have sent down (i.e.; the Qur’an) to our servant (Muhammad) then produce a chapter of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful.
But if you do it not, and never can you do it, – then guard against the fire and fear the fire of Hell whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. (2:23-24)
2- Do they say, He has forged it? Say, Bring then a Chapter like unto it, and call for help on all you can, apart from GOD, if you are truthful. (10:38)
Do they say, He has forged it? Say, then bring ten Chapters like it forged, and call on whom you can apart from GOD, if you are truthful.
And if they do not accept *your* challenge then know that it has been revealed comprising that which is only within Allah’s knowledge and that there is no god but He. Will you then submit? (11:13-14)
*The use of plural pronoun ‘your’ instead of ‘thy’ shows that the challenge was not necessarily from the Holy Prophet alone, but Believers in every age could deliver a challenge in these terms. The verse guarantees that the Qur’an will ever stand unrivalled in its man fold excellent qualities.
3- And this Qur’an is not such as could have been produced by anyone other than Allah. On the contrary, it fulfills that revelation which is before it and is an exposition of the Perfect Law. There is no doubt about it that it is from the Lord of the World. (10:37)
Five very cogent reasons to show that it is the revealed word of God:
-(a) It deals with such themes as are beyond the power of man to know and as can be revealed by God alone.
-(b) The prophecies of the previous Prophets establish its Divine origin.
-(c) It explains and expounds the teachings of previous Scriptures in such a clear and comprehensive manner as no other Scripture has done.
-(d) It contains alt the reasons and arguments needed to prove its Divine origin and does not require the help or support of any outside person or book for this purpose.
-(e) Unlike former Scriptures it satisfies the moral needs and requirements of all mankind under all circumstances.
4- Almighty Allah addressing Prophet Muhammad: Say: To those who refuse to accept the Qur’an as a message from Allah to humanity) “If men and Jinn should gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof even though they should help one another.”
“And surely, We have set forth for mankind in various ways all kinds of similitudes in this Qur’an, but most men would reject everything in respect of it but disbelief” (17:88-89)
The challenge is held out in the first place to those people who indulge in occult practices that they should summon to their aid the hidden spirits from whom they claim to receive spiritual knowledge. The challenge also stands for all time to all people who deny the Divine origin of the Holy Qur’an.
Human faculties being limited, man can, at best, deal with only a limited number of problems. But the Qur’an has fully dealt with all those matters that concern his moral and spiritual development
5- Do they say, He has forged it? Nay, but they have no faith. Let them, then, produce a discourse like this if they speak the truth. (52:33-34)
The above verse refutes the disbelievers’ allegation of forgery against the Holy Prophet If the Holy Prophet, it seems to hold out a challenge to them, receives no revelations from God and the Qur’an is his own fabrication, then let them produce a book like it, couched in such beautiful style and inapproachably exquisite diction as the Qur’an, and should, like the Qur’an, deal thoroughly and effectively with all the complex and d moral and spiritual human problems and satisfy the multitudinous and multifarious needs of man, and exert such powerful influence on the lives of it followers, and above all, should be the repository of all eternal truths and imperishable teachings. The disbelievers are further challenged to produce a book like the Qur’an with their combined and concerted effort, calling in ‘all the men and jinn’ to help and assist them in its composition. The Qur’an emphatically declares that they will not be able to produce such a book because the Qur’an is God’s own revealed word.
Before explaining the various forms of these challenges it is worth noting that their mention in the Qur’an is invariably accompanied by a reference to wealth and power, except in the present verse which, as already stated, does not contain a new challenge but only repeats the challenge made in 10:39. From this it may be safely concluded that there exists a close connection between the question of wealth and power and the challenge for the production of the like of the Qur’an or a part thereof. This connection lies in the fact that the Qur’an has been held out to disbelievers as a priceless treasure. When disbelievers demanded material treasures from the Holy Prophet (11:13), they were told that he possessed a match less treasure in the form of the Qur’an; and when they asked, Wherefore has not an angel come with him (11:13), they were told in reply that angels did descend upon him, for their function was to bring the Word of God and the Divine Word had already been vouchsafed to him. Thus both the demands—for a treasure and for the descent of angels—have been jointly met by the Qur’an which is a matchless treasure brought down by angels, and the challenge to produce its like has been put forward as a proof of its peerless quality.
Now, take the different verses containing this challenge separately. The greatest demand is made in 17:89, where disbelievers are required to bring a book like the whole of the Qur’an with all its manifold qualities. In that verse disbelievers are not required to represent their composition as the Word of God. They may bring it forward as their own composition and declare it to be the equal of, or, for that matter, better than, the Qur’an. But as at the time when this challenge was made the whole of the Qur’an had not yet been revealed, the disbelievers were not required to produce the like of the Qur’an then and there; and the challenge thus implied a prophecy that they would never be able to produce the like of it, neither in the form in which it then was, nor when it became complete. Again, the challenge was not confined to the disbelievers of the Prophet’s time alone, but extended to doubters and critics of all time. The reason why the disbelievers in 11:14 have been called upon to produce ten Surahs and not the whole of the Qur’an is that the question in that verse did not relate to the perfection of the whole of the Qur’ in all respects, but to that of only a portion of it. The disbelievers had objected to some parts of it being defective. Hence they were not required to bring a complete book like the whole of the Qur’an, but only ten Surahs in place of those parts of the Qur’an which they deemed to be defective, in order that the truth of their assertion might be tested. As for the selection of the specific number 10 for this purpose, it may be noted that since in 17:89 the whole of the Qur’an was claimed to be a perfect Book, its opponents were called upon to produce the like of the whole of it; but as in 11: 14 the point was that certain portions of it were objected to, so they asked to choose ten such portions as appeared to them to be most defective and then produce a composition even like those portions. In 10: 39 disbelievers were called upon to produce the like of only one Surah of the Qur’an. This is because, unlike the above-mentioned t verses, the challenge in that verse was in support of a claim made by the Qur’an itself and not in refutation of any objection of the disbelievers. In 10:38, the Qur’an claimed to possess five very prominent qualities. In support of this claim, verse 10:39 throws out a challenge to those who deny or doubt it to produce a single chapter containing these qualities in the same perfect form in which they are contained in the 10th Surah. The fifth challenge to produce the like of the Qur’an is contained in the verse under comment (2:24) and here also, as in 10:39, disbelievers have been called upon to bring forward a single Sarah like that of the Qur’an. This challenge is preceded by the claim that the Qur’an guides the righteous to the highest stages of spiritual progress. The disbelievers are told that if they are in doubt about the Divine origin of the Qur’an, then they should bring forward a single chapter that may be comparable to it in the spiritual influence it exercises over its followers.
The above explanation will show that all these challenges calling upon disbelievers to produce the like of the Qur’an are quite distinct and separate one from the other, and all of them stand for all time, none of them superseding or cancelling the other. But as the Qur’an comprises sublime and lofty ideas, it was inevitable that a most beautiful diction and the chastest style should have been employed as the vehicle for the expression of those ideas; otherwise the subject-matter was liable to remain obscure and doubtful and the perfect beauty of the Qur’an would have been marred. Thus, in whatever form and in whatever respect disbelievers have been challenged to produce a composition like the Qur’an the demand for beauty of style and elegance of diction comparable to that of the Qur’an also forms a part of the challenge.