Imam Reza (as) has said: "Wisdom is man's friend, and ignorance is his enemy."
Ibn Sikkit, a great literary scholar of his era, once asked Imam Reza (as): "Why did Allah (SWT) appoint different miracles to each prophet? He sent Prophet Musa / Moses (pbuh) with miracles of the cane and the halo hand, Prophet Isa/Jesus (pbuh) with the power to heal and Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) with the miracle of eloquence?"
Imam Reza (as) replied: "When Allah (SWT) appointed Musa / Moses as a prophet, it was in an era when magic and supernatural acts were more common among people than science. Musa / Moses therefore, brought an act that people had never seen before and could not understand it through their rational. With this miracle, he was able to refute the works of the magicians and give them clear proof.
At the time of Isa/Jesus, on the other hand, diseases without cure had spread throughout. Science and medication was highly in demand. Isa/Jesus therefore came to them with the miracle of healing all diseases, a power not known to them, for he could give life to the dead, and heal genetic blindness and leprosy. And through his miracles, he fulfilled his proof upon the people of his time.
However, Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was appointed at a time when poetry and eloquence in language was very popular among the communities. With the revelation of Holy Quran and its teachings, Allah (SWT) refuted their reasoning."
The miracles of the previous prophets were suitable for the era in which they lived. We do not have access to most of them. The only eternal miracle that has lived its way to us is Holy Quran: a miracle that till this day is being examined in all its different aspects, including its eloquence and language. Although Holy Quran descended in an era where significant attention was paid to poetry and language, nevertheless Holy Quran was not limited to that era, rather later generations can also relate to its message and miracles. For instance, there are cases in which Holy Quran predicts the future; and even cases in which Holy Quran points to secrets of creation that were discovered long after Holy Quran's revelation. These facts imply that Holy Quran was revealed by the one who knows everything about the creation of the universe. Further, this holy book of Islam was brought by a Prophet who had not gone to any academy or school, and therefore could not have compiled Holy Quran himself. Indeed Holy Quran was descended by the Lord of the universe.
Has the time of miracles ended? Will we no longer witness any miracles?
Considering the fact that the miracles of the previous prophets were specifically designed for a certain time and place, must we then for the sake of our own faith refer back to the historical accounts on miracles to become a believer?
In quest for finding answers to these questions, we come across the holy book of Islam. Holy Quran is the only book that clearly and firmly claims to be a living miracle for all humans of any race, in any place, and with any ethnicity they hold.
How Holy Quran views itself a Miracle of Islam?
As we already know, a miracle is an extraordinary act that can not be performed by just any person. One whom claims to be a prophet will then prove his status by presenting a miracle. The message miracles tend to get across to humanity is that since human capacities fail to create miracles, then surely the miracles must be planned and ordered by a power exceeding above human powers: the power of the creator of this world. In other words, by giving the power of miracles to the prophets, His chosen people, Allah (SWT) has confirmed His direct connection with the prophets.
Similarly, to prove that it surely is a miracle from Allah (SWT), Holy Quran challenges the people that doubt the divinity of this book to bring a book similar to Holy Quran. It then clearly alleges that if all the people unite to bring a complete book like that of Holy Quran, they will not succeed. To make its point more clear and to further prove the incapability of man in bringing a book like Holy Quran, Noble Quran this time challenges the people to then bring only ten chapters like the chapters of Holy Quran. And just as the answer is obvious to Holy Quran, it claims that indeed man cannot do such, "Or, do they say: He has forged it. Say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful; But if they do not answer you, then know that it is revealed by Allah's knowledge" (Holy Quran, 11:13-14). And finally to show the extremity of their weakness, it agrees to continue this challenges with only one chapter, "And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful" (Holy Quran, 2:23). And again Holy Quran alleges that they can not do such, "But if you do (it) not and never shall you do (it), then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; it is prepared for the unbelievers" (Holy Quran, 2:24).
It is interesting to know what aspect Holy Quran used for this challenge. Islamic scholars believe that the entire Holy Quran offers many different miracles. However, when Holy Quran challenges based on each one of its chapters it focuses on the eloquence and fluency of the verses.
The Holy Scripture of Islam: Holy Quran in terms of its eloquence and fluency
Eloquence and fluency is meant in this sense that in trying to convey the message, one uses very clear, beautiful, poetic, and meaningful terms. Scholars of Arab literature have noticed these features in all chapters of Holy Quran.
Looking further into their argument, we have to first see if anyone during the past 1400 years has been able to refute Holy Quran in bringing even one chapter like that in Holy Quran? Is it really true that up to this day no one has been able to defeat Holy Quran? To answer this question, we must refer back to historical accounts. Historians, both Muslim and Non-Muslim, have not recorded any successful accounts of those who tried to defeat the claim of Holy Quran. This is significant because historical accounts tend to focus greatly on the enemies of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and on the ones who constantly challenged Islam; thus if they had been successful in such a challenge, historians would have definitely recorded it. Likewise we can see that in the contemporary era, not one has succeeded in challenging Holy Quran.
Why have others remained silent in answering the challenge of Holy Quran?
Was the reason for remaining silent against the challenge of Holy Quran due to the incapability and weakness of human beings? Or does it have other reasons? To answer this question, we can first assume three reasons for why people have remained silent in answering the challenge offered by Holy Quran:
1. It may be due to the fact that the people of this and the previous eras did not have a motive to answer this challenge of Holy Quran.
2. There was a motive to answer the challenge, but after the revelation of Holy Quran, Arab literature became weak and eventually diminished. Similarly non-Muslim Arab scholars of literature do not exist in the present day to answer this challenge.
3. Neither of the previous ideas hold true; rather, no one was able to bring a book like Holy Quran, and thus abandoned the idea completely.
By studying the earliest situations, it is obvious that the appearance of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was when many nations were living with different beliefs. Some were materialistic and denying the existence of any God. Some were idol worshipers, Zoroastrians, Christians and Jews. Besides these, the emperors of Persia, and Rome had control over the weak nations. During that period of time, Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) raised the divine flag, and invited the world to accept Islam, and submit to one God. This invitation to Monotheism denied duality of Zoroastrians, Trinity of Christianity, and the improper attributes of Judaism to Allah and His prophets, and all the bad habits and traditions from the time of ignorance. Yet his submission to Allah (SWT) presented hostility between the emperors of his time. Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) alone faced those nations nonetheless, with Holy Quran as his proof of prophecy. With Holy Quran he challenged all the emperors of his time, the religious scholars of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and idolaters. Up to now, Islam has continued this way of challenging and has more enemies from before trying to destroy it.
However, it is natural for them to focus on what they can do to destroy Islam and stand against it for the fact that Islam is demolishing them.
They have tried and are trying many ways to wipe out Islam, in order to achieve their goals. They put Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his companions (Sahabah) in an economic siege for three years, which was very hard on Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his people. The big battles of Badr and Ohod which were caused by the non-believers to destroy Islam, were unsuccessful and since they did not accomplish their ambitions the non-believers became united in the battle of Khandaq to get rid of Islam. They did everything they could to destroy Islam, but their energy was worthless. Wouldn't it have been much easier for them to come up with a man made verses instead of wasting their time to fight with Islam in some other ways? And if they had made up such verses which were equivalent to Holy Quran, it would have been their proof that Islam is a false religion!
Of course the simplest way to void Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his book was to stand up against him which was the case from the very beginning of establishing Islam. Therefore amongst the enemies of Islam who made their best to ruin Islam was enough motives to answer the challenge of Holy Quran.
By over viewing the second condition, we must pay attention to the literary roots of Arabs which was going through a revolution. Although eloquence and fluency was a common technique for the time when Holy Quran was descended, but later on these techniques expanded and flourished continually up to our time. At his time the Arab literacy is more excellent than before and there many new scopes in the relative techniques. We can find many non-Muslim Arab literalists throughout the world. Therefore there are many non-Muslims who are the professionals of eloquence and fluency from the beginning of Islam to now. Occasionally their expertise was to the extent that they have written important reference book in their special field such as linguistics, history, grammar. Let us imagine these literalists had not motive to answer the challenge of Holy Quran, but couldn't the enemies of Islam who were severely fighting against Islam, ask them to supply their need.
So now that we cannot accept the first two conditions we should accept the third one. No one has been able to answer the challenge Holy Quran; the only reason could be that they were unable to do so. Therefore the truth of Holy Quran is being proved to all.
Understanding the miracle of Holy Quran (from the aspect of eloquence and fluency)
A very important fact is that understanding this aspect of miracle of Holy Quran is taken place only by the professional of this aspect (literalists). Basically to compare the quality of different works in specific profession, one must ask the professionals of that field to express their opinions about them. For a better understanding we will refer the below example:
Imagine Dr. "A" claims to the whole wide world that no other Doctor is better than him and he is the best out of all doctors. Now imagine that his argument is against others, and so they want to prove that he is arguing in vain, therefore,
1) If no Doctor claims that he is better than Dr. "A" then it is clear that Dr. "A" was right.
2) If Dr. "B" says that what Dr. "A" has done is wrong and that he will prove that he is better than him, then those who are not familiar with the medical profession cannot judge nor distinguish the two Doctors.
Now about the miraculous character of Holy Quran, we can say that since no one was able to give a proper answer (making a verse) which can be also approved by Arabic literatures, it is proven that Holy Quran is a miracle even to those people who do not know anything about the Arabic literature. Yet if someone has claimed to challenge the Holy Quran they must have had the approval and confirmation of Arab literalists.
Other aspects of the miraculous character of Holy Quran, the final word of Allah (SWT)
Although the aspect which Holy Quran has challenged referring to each chapter individually is its fluency and eloquence, totally, it has other aspects of being miracle that are mentioned below. It is noteworthy that these aspects are not specialized; all can understand them.
1- Holy Quran and the mysteries of nature: Although Holy Quran is not a science book and has not been descended for such reasons and its aim is to guide mankind to eternal success, it has used such matters in the way of its own special goal. It has referred to them as signs of the immortal power of the Almighty Allah; therefore, it has mentioned many mysteries of nature in several cases. This fact indicates that Holy Quran has been descended from a person who is completely conversant with the nature, namely the creator of it.
As an instance three of these mysteries, are mentioned briefly:
A. The movement of the earth: "(The Almighty Allah) who made the earth for you like a cradle."(Holy Quran, 20:53)
In this verse, Holy Quran has alluded to the movement of the earth and likened it to a cradle. As we know, a child in the cradle will enjoy comfort if the cradle moves. The reason why it has not stipulated the movement of the earth is that these verses were descended in a time when man thought of nothing except the earth's repose and the firmaments orbiting it. For instance, when Galileo explained this fact one thousand years later, he was sentenced to death. Hence, if Holy Quran stipulated the movement of the earth, it would be expelled, so it has alluded to this fact delicately in a way not in explicit disagreement with people's belief and also expressing the truth.
B. The fertilization done by the wind: "And we send the winds fertilizing." (Holy Quran, 15:22)
Centuries had past when Biologists discovered the effect of winds in the fertilization of some plants. This is definitely a miracle.
C. "And we have made the iron, wherein is great violence (power) and advantages to men." (Holy Quran, 57:25)
Till the 18th century, 12 centuries after the descendent of Holy Quran, metallic works suffered ultimate weakness and not only their value was unknown, but also they were considered unimportant. Suddenly, iron appealed to man and the scientists competed in its extraction and utilization to the extent that the two previous centuries are called the metal advancement era. Now, man has realized its value, and as a result, the truth of Holy Quran's saying. It's important to notice that among all the metals, Holy Quran has specified iron. Today it is evident that the efficiency of iron is more than other metals.
2- Holy Quran's predictions: Holy Quran has predicted future events in many cases. This fact shows that it has been descended from a person who knows and can report the unseen, namely the Almighty Allah who is the only absolutely knowing the unseen. Numerous verses of Holy Quran are related to the prediction of future events which we refer to some.
A. Before Muslims conquering Makkah, Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) dreamed that He shaved his head as a sign of exiting Ihram (finishing Hajj Pilgrimage), and because prophets' dreams are true, he promised his companions to enter the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) soon. In 6 (AH), Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) left to visit Kaaba in Makkah with some of his companions. In the way, the pagans (Mushrikin) blocked the way in Hudaybiyah and the Hudaybiyah treatment took place, in which they agreed that Muslims return and then visit Makkah two years following the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. After the agreement, some of the companions objected it and doubted the truth of Holy Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) dream. In this situation, the following verse was descended:
"Certainly the Almighty Allah will show the truth of his Prophet's dream that you shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, having your heads shaved and your hairs cut. You shall not fear, as He knows what you do not, so He brought about a near victory."(Holy Quran, 48:27)
In this verse, the truth of Holy Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) dream and the conquest of Makkah are promised. In 7 (AH), the dream came true and Muslims visited Makkah and in the next year, the second promise was performed, as Muslims conquered Makkah after the pagans cancelled the agreement.
B. Badr was the first battle of Muslims against the infidels of Quraish. A caravan of the infidels of Makkah with abundant merchandises was passing by Medina. Muslims asked Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to permit them to attack the caravan and take their merchandise in revenge for usurpation of their property in Makkah. Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) permitted them and this verse was then descended:
"When Allah promised to grant you (believers) victory over either one of the two groups, you wished to have control over the unarmed one. Allah decided to prove (to you) the truth of His promises and to destroy the unbelievers." (Holy Quran, 8:7)
This verse describes the results of the battle of Badr. Although the number of battlers of the enemy was several times of the number of battlers of Muslims, and Muslims were worried about, but Holy Quran gave Muslims glad tiding. Holy Quran explicitly expressed that either the victory in the battle or the merchandises would be for the Muslims.
C. when the child of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) passed away, a man named as A'as ibn Wabil said: "Indeed Muhammad is childless. He has no son to be his successor and when he dies his remembrance would fade. Then the verses of Surah Al-Kawthar were descended:
"We have granted you Kawthar (abundant virtue). So worship your Lord and make sacrificial offerings. Whoever hates you will himself remain childless." (Holy Quran, 108:1-3)
In these verses it is announced that the one who called Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) childless would have no child and the generation of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) will remain.
3- Who has brought Holy Quran? One of the definite characteristics of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) which no one can deny is that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was "Ummi" i.e. he had not written, he had not studied nor had he been taught by any teacher. This fact is so definite and clear that famous western orientalists have mentioned it in their books. Therefore stating such words that are in the extreme eloquence and fluency and contains the secrets of the universe by such a person, shows that it is a divine work and this knowledge is gained through revelation. In this regard Holy Quran says:
"You were not able to read or write before the Quran was revealed to you; however, the followers of falsehood would have tried to confuse the matter" (Holy Quran, 29:48)
Final word regarding Holy Quran, the Eternal Miracle and Complete Way of Life
Although Holy Quran is a miracle from different aspects, but it should be noted that it is not a literal book, or a book of mysteries of creation. All these specifications are to prove that it is a miracle. Actually it calls itself the book of guidance. So everyone who has perceived that it is a miracle should seek the way of guidance and the correct divine knowledge through it. As an instance by accepting Holy Quran as a miracle, our belief to the previous prophets and their miracles can be based on the occult informing of Holy Quran about them.
Finally to summarize what was mentioned in this article, we would like to refer to these points briefly:
1. The miracles of previous prophets belonged to their own era and today nothing of them is available for us. But now we only find Holy Quran that claims it is a miracle for all time.
2. To prove its claim, Holy Quran calls the entire world to bring words like its verses.
3. Eloquence and fluency is the only aspect of miracle of Holy Quran that it has challenged upon. However different parts of Holy Quran have other aspects of being a miracle.
4. The enemies of Islam and Holy Quran whether in the past or now have applied the hardest and most expensive means to invalidate Islam; on the other hand they have not done any act to apply their simplest mean (i.e. answering the challenge of Holy Quran). They have not brought any significant instance to excel Holy Quran in eloquence and fluency in the eyes of scholars, considering the fact that they had both enough motives to do so and powerful literalists. This is the best reason of their inability against Holy Quran.
5. There are many instances in Holy Quran that refer to secrets of creation, and centuries later the secret has been clarified. This indicates that Holy Quran is descended by the One who is completely aware of the secrets of creation.
6. There are many instances in Holy Quran that predict events and later the event has taken place exactly as Holy Quran had described. This indicates that Holy Quran is descended by the One who has occult knowledge.
7. Holy Quran with all aspects of being a miracle is brought by a prophet who has never studied before. This proves that he himself has not composed Holy Quran, but it is descended from the Lord of the universe.
Conclusion about Holy Quran, the Eternal Miracle and Complete Way of Life
Finally it can be deduced that Holy Quran is a miracle for all eras and for all nations, therefore it is descended from the almighty Allah (SWT). When it is proved that Holy Quran is a miracle, the trueness of the claim of the prophecy of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) would be proved. Then all the human beings can now study and research about this book and by perceiving that it is a miracle, can find out the prophecy and trueness of Holy Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) religion.