There have been numerous claims to prophet hood throughout
time. Some of the claims were rightful, and others were motivated by want for
power, wealth or status. How were the people of those times to know the
difference? How can we tell?
There are at least two characteristics which distinguish the
true prophets. When Allah raised a prophet among a people, he would equip them
with miracles by which the people could identify them. At times, false prophets
would arise and resist them. The false prophets would produce feats of magic
designed to sway the people to their way. But Allah would strengthen His
prophets with His miracles which would defeat the magic. An example of this is
the story of Prophet Moses, in which the magical 'snakes' of Pharaoh's magicians
were devoured by the true miracle of Moses' staff. A further testimony to the
distinction between magic and miracle was the conversion of the magicians
themselves to the religion of Moses upon seeing the miracle of his staff.
The second characteristic is the righteous content of the
prophets' Message, and their unwavering personal adherence to its guidance.
We will focus on the first distinction, and discuss how Allah
has preserved and sent forward a miracle which is with us today.
The miracles of the true Messengers of Allah were primarily
for the people immediately exposed to them. Jesus' raising of the dead, by the
permission of Allah, was undoubtedly a convincing spectacle to those who
witnessed it. The staff of Moses, truly made into a snake by the Permission of
Allah, caused the magicians to fall prostrate in awe of Allah's power.
The prophets have died or been raised up by Allah, and with
them went their miracles. But if Allah calls us to believe in Him, we who live
centuries after the prophets, do we suppose that He would leave us without a
similar opportunity to witness the proofs and signs of His Might and Mercy?
Allah is Most Just, and He has indeed sent forward a single blazing miracle -
Allah revealed Books containing His Guiding Speech to some of
His prophets. After the passing of some of the prophets, people changed some of
the texts by adding or deleting things according to their whims. But, how are we
to know which if these Books have remained intact as they were revealed?
Allah himself answers this question in the Quran:
"Had the Quran been from other than Allah, they would have found in it many contradictions."
Part of our criterion for determining authenticity is
that the Book should not contain contradictions and it should not conflict with
established scientific fact.
We have today those Books which people claim are from Allah.
(i.e., the Torah, Bible, Quran, etc.) Our focus here is not to test each book
and discover its mistakes (see
Islamic Selections, Deedat, Ahmed: The Islamic Propagation Center, Durban, South
Africa). We will only put to
test the Quran, as we believe it to be the last miracle.
Precisely, it is the Words of Allah revealed to the Prophet
Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized, over a period of 23 years,
by the Prophet Muhammad , who taught it to his companions. In turn, his
companions committed it to memory until there were hundreds of his followers
reciting the self-same text. Today, there are perhaps millions of Muslims, men
and women, who have memorized the Quran. Each one eventually able to trace his
teacher back to the Prophet Muhammad .
By this massive corroboration, in Arabic 'mutawaatir',
we can verify that not one word of the Quran has been altered since it was
revealed to Muhammad
over fourteen centuries ago. We believe the Torah and the
Bible are also books originally from Allah, but they have both been changed (ibid.
Deedat) by man over the ages.
The Quran is the only book of Allah which remains unchanged, and was the final
revelation of Allah to mankind.
The Quran is the first source of belief and practice for
Muslims. It provides guidance for living all aspects of life, and deals with all
subjects that concern mankind.
Both the Torah and the Bible were of equal merit to the Quran
in the sense that they were all from Allah. However, Allah, in His wisdom, took
it upon Himself to preserve His final revelation from alteration. He said:
19. Behold! We* (Allah), it is We who revealed the Reminder (Quran),
and behold! Surely We are its Guardian.
of the usages of 'we' in Arabic is for glorifying and indicating the greatness
of a person. Here it indicates greatness and not plurality.
Further, Allah issued a challenge to any who doubt the
truthfulness of the Quran. He said:
And if you are in doubt concerning that which We send down to
Our servant, then produce a chapter of its like and call your witnesses, besides
Allah, if you are truthful. And if you cannot, and surely you cannot, then fear
the fire whose fuel is men and stones prepared for the disbelievers. (2:23-24)
More than 1400 years have passed and not a single fulfillment
to this challenge has been produced. Although the Arabs were among the most
advanced in poetry and speech, they failed miserably in their efforts.
The second part of our criterion was that a Book from Allah
should agree with established scientific fact. This obviously must hold because
the One who revealed the Message and the Creator are the same. The Quran does
more than just passively agree. Over 1400 years ago, predating the advent of
most modern tools of scientific observation, the Quran spoke in detail about
natural phenomena not discovered until recent centuries.
53. We (Allah) shall show them Our Signs on the horizons and
within themselves, until it becomes manifest unto them that it (the Quran) is
the Truth. Is it not sufficient that the Lord is witness over all things?
The Quran, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago, mentioned facts only
recently discovered or proven by scientists. This proves without doubt that the
Quran must be the literal word of Allah, revealed by Him to the Prophet Muhammad
, and that the Quran
was not authored by Muhammad
or by any other human being. This also proves that Muhammad
is truly a prophet sent by Allah. It is beyond reason that anyone fourteen
hundred years ago would have known these facts discovered or proven only
recently with advanced equipment and sophisticated scientific methods. For
We are sure that such will serve to convince the reader that
the Quran could not have been produced by any human being. We appeal to all
open-minded thinkers to study the Quran in the light of the aforementioned
points. Although some of the following statements do not coincide with Islamic
beliefs, we felt that including the opinions of Western writers about the Quran would be beneficial.
"However often we turn to it [the Quran] at first
disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end
enforces our reverence... Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is
stern, grand, terrible - ever and anon truly sublime -- Thus this book will go
on exercising through all ages a most potent influence." --Goethe, quoted
in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 526.
"The Koran admittedly occupies an important position
among the great religious books of the world. Though the youngest of the
epoch-making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly
any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has
created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It
first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian
peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast
politico-religious organizations of the Muhammadan world which are one of the
great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon today." --G.
Margoliouth, Introduction to J.M. Rodwell's, THE KORAN, New York: Everyman's
Library, 1977, p. vii.
"A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and
seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time,
and still more so as a mental development - a work which not only conquers the
repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into
astonishment and admiration..." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes'
DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, pp. 526-527.
"The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by
those who see Muhammad as the author of the Quran untenable. How could a man,
from being illiterate, become the most important author, in terms of literary
merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of
a scientific nature that no other human being could possibly have developed at
that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his
pronouncement on the subject?" --Maurice Bucaille, THE BIBLE, THE Quran AND SCIENCE, 1978, p. 125.
"Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production
should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and
aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's
contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly
to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic
elements into one compact and well-organized body, animated by ideas far beyond
those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was
perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes, and
shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in
T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 528.
"In making the present attempt to improve on the
performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted
as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been
at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the
message itself - constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the
greatest literary masterpieces of mankind... This very characteristic feature -
'that inimitable symphony,' as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book,
'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' - has been almost
totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that
what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the
splendidly decorated original." --Arthur J. Arberry, THE KORAN INTERPRETED,
London: Oxford University Press, 1964, p. x.
"A totally objective examination of it [the Quran] in
the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the
two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite
unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such
statements on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations
are part of what gives the Quranic Revelation its unique place, and forces the
impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls
solely upon materialistic reasoning." --Maurice Bucaille, THE Quran AND
MODERN SCIENCE, 1981, p. 18.
Muslims affirm that the Torah, Bible and the Quran were
revealed by Allah for the Guidance of humanity. However, both the Torah and the
Bible has been edited by mankind, whereas the Quran has remained in its original
form since its revelation.
The Quran is from Allah (Arabic meaning: "the One True
God") is a claim supported by its own contents. The Quran offers many
accurate observations about natural phenomena accurately described only recently
by modern science. Aside from this, the Quran contains knowledge about Allah
Himself, about His Law, and about previous Prophets and nations. The best way to
experience the miracle of the Quran contained within it is to read it, intending
to draw closer to Allah.
Indeed, the first command revealed to Prophet Muhammad
"Read in the Name of your Lord who Created. Created
the human from a clinging blood-clot. Read and your Lord is Most-Generous -
taught humans what they knew not."
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