All Prophets came with individual miracles, and those miracles were performed with Allah’s help in a manner which his people understood and would appreciate the most. The biggest miracle, and the one Muslims are most proud of, is the Holy Quran. Its preservation, its memorization, its ability to accurately predict future events prove its miraculous nature.
Muslims consider the Quran the greatest miracle brought by the Prophet. There are many reasons why this is correct. Here, we shall look at some aspects of the Quran miracle.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) performed hundreds of miracles during his lifetime but he didn’t make them out to be more than they were – miracles for that time and to those particular people, although the stories live on.
Why is the Quran a miracle?
The biggest miracle, and the one Muslims are most proud of, is the Holy Quran. Its preservation, its memorisation, its ability to accurately predict future events have all pointed to its miraculous nature.
We shall look at some of these here, although there are many more than mentioned.
A literary miracle
It must be mentioned that the method of delivery of the Quran was verbal and often a part was revealed after a question had been posed by someone to the Prophet. The answer given to the question didn’t need to be revised and researched again for correctness. If an error had been made, it could not have been retracted either otherwise its claim to authenticity could be challenged.
When the Prophet (SAW) brought the Quran, he recited it to his people, who weren’t into magic like the people of Pharaoh were to which Moses (AS) was sent; and they weren’t into medicine like the people that Jesus (AS) was sent to, his people were Arabs who prided themselves on their eloquence and they valued the power of their spoken word.
The Quran was revealed in stages over 23 years according to a circumstance or situation, with some verses in a chapter revealed at different times to other verses in the same chapter. But when read, all the verses come together cohesively and are so relevant to the chapter and instructions in question.
So Allah sent the Quran, a speech like no other speech, and the most eloquent of all books past, present and future.
‘And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe.’
A Book given to an unlettered Messenger?
According to the Tafsir (commentary) of ibn Kathir, the above ayah means ‘is it not sufficient as a sign for them that We have sent down this great Book which tells them about what happened before their time, what will happen after they are gone, and passes judgement between them. Even though you (Muhammad) are an unlettered man who can neither read nor write, and you have not mixed with any of the People of the Book (i.e., the Jews and Christians). Yet you brought them news of what was said in the first Scriptures showing what is right in the matters that they disputed over, and bringing clear and obvious truth.’
The Quran has not been changed but is still relevant today
This fact is evident as there exist in some museums, original Qurans written from the earliest Islamic period. Not one word, or even a particle has been changed from the original revelation for over 1400 years. Yet the Quran is still relevant to circumstances today, whether in science, medicine, even proving facts from history.
How is the Quran more miraculous than the other miracles of the previous Prophets (AS)?
When comparing the Prophet’s (SAW) miracle of the Quran to the previous Messengers, it can be said that those miracles were seen by those people at that time and who then either believed or didn’t believe. But what about the rest of us who came after this time, we didn’t see it. We can’t experience them miracles today.
The Quran on the other hand, being unchanged since it was revealed, means the factor of space and time has been removed. You didn’t need to have been around in 6th Century Arabia to have seen or witnessed the Quran being delivered. You can feel it, experience it, live it even now as the first people who heard it and experienced it during the earlier time of Islam. We today have the same access to it as those who came before. That’s why it’s regarded by many classical Muslim scholars as the ‘Eternal Miracle. ‘
Experiential Evidence of the Quran
When we read the Quran it feels like it is speaking to us, speaking to our situation. Many times you may have had a conversation with someone and came across a question that you didn’t know the answer to, soon after you read the Quran and it provides a verse which answers that question. This is experiential evidence.
The Quran shall remain uncorrupted until the Day of Judgement
The Quran has in it a number of predictions about some events in the future, but perhaps the greatest prediction of it is that it will remain uncorrupted and untouched until the end of time. No one will be able to bring a false copy of the Quran and convince the Muslims that it is true. There is complete agreement among the Ummah about the wording and content of their Quran and this blessing is not found in other world religions.
There is disagreement among scholars of other religions about what constitutes their holy book, which chapters are authentic etc. But no matter how many sects there are in Islam, and there are many different ideologies within Islam, the Quran for all of them is exactly the same.
There isn’t a group of Muslims in one part of the world who believe in the Quran which will be different from the Quran of another group. The fact that a Book of guidance so important for billions of people has remained unchanged for more than 1400 years is an amazing miracle, especially when you look at the most famous Scriptures in other world religions that have many different versions, all of which have been changed and edited, and are lost to the masses and only accessible by the scholarly few.
Miracles within stories of the Quran
A fascinating thing about the stories mentioned in the Quran is that most stories of previous nations are about the children of Israel – descendents of Isaac (AS), yet the Arabs were the descendents of Ismail (AS).
A number of times when stories are related, Allah mentions in a verse that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) wasn’t there at the time to witness this event. For example, when Musa (AS) spoke to his Lord on the western side of Mount Sinai, or when Zakariah (AS) arguing over who will take care of Mary, the Prophet is told ‘You were not there’, so how did he come to know? The purpose of this to let people become aware of how he came by this information i.e. only from his Lord, because neither he nor his people were aware of these stories of different people in a different land at a different time.
An incident that relates to the above point is when the Prophet (SAW) was preaching in Mecca to the Quraish tribe, some of the tribesmen went to the Jewish rabbis in Madina asking for their help in attempting to make the Prophet falter.
Of the things the rabbis instructed, they said to ask him about the story of Yusuf (AS) and his brothers, and about Musa and Khidr because they knew that this information was with themselves only and not with the Arabs who up till then hadn’t bothered to become aware of them. They thought this kind of knowledge would make the Prophet (SAW) stumble and retreat.
This shows that the Arabs were indeed not aware of the stories of the children of Israel and their Messengers. But when they came back to Mecca, the Quran related detailed stories of the same Prophets in question, showing to the Meccans and the Jews the miracle of the Quran and its Origin.
The Laws of the Quran are still applicable today
The content of the Quran in terms of belief and its laws is a miracle too. The teachings of morality, theologies, etc are not things that someone in the 6th century would have done. The detailed laws of various topics covered is so comprehensive that it is relevant even today, able to bring about peace and justice. How this complex content was brought by an unlettered man in such an eloquent, succinct way that it is understood and practicable many centuries later is truly amazing and requires deep reflection.
The effect that the Quran has on its listeners
‘And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognised of the truth. They say, “Our Lord, we have believed, so register us among the witnesses.’
This is one that is truly experienced by those who both understand and those that don’t understand the meaning. Even if you don’t know what the recital is about, you are mesmerised by it. You are transfixed by listening to it and it moves your hearts, especially when it’s recited by qaris (beautiful reciters of the Quran).
The Miracle of memorizing the Quran
The memorization of the entire Quran with easiness is unlike that with any other book, religious or not. This has been practised by millions of people both young and old, classical Arab speaking and not, in the past and present all over the world. No other religion has adherents that have memorized their holy scriptures in their entirety. So every person who has memorized the Quran is a sign of the living miracle of it.
‘Rather, the Quran is distinct verses [preserved] within the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none reject Our verses except the wrongdoers.’
This shows that the speech of the Creator is not like the speech of the creation. There are so many more miracles but who is there to delve deep into it and appreciate it as it should be? May we be blessed by Allah through its attachment.
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