Quran and miracles
Islam considers the Quran to be a holy book, the word of Allah, and a miracle. The text itself is believed to be a miracle on the grounds that the Arabic text does not conform to the standard poetry and prose categories commonly expressed by all forms of written and spoken languages and therefore falls outside the realm of limited human possibility and must be divinely inspired.
The definition of a miracle is "a marvellous event not ascribable to human power or the operation of any natural force and therefore attributed to supernatural, esp. divine, agency; esp. an act (e.g. of healing) showing control over nature and used as evidence that the agent is either divine or divinely favoured."
The verses of the Qur'an making this claim are given below (Hilali and Muhsin Khan's Translation):
Say: "If the mankind and the jinns were together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another." [Qur'an 17:88]
And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our final Messenger (Muhammad Peace be upon him ), then produce a surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful. [Qur'an 2:23]
Or they say, "He (Prophet Muhammad(P)) forged it (the Qur'an)." Say: "Bring you then ten forged surah (chapters) like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!" [Qur'an 11:13]
Or do they say: "He (Muhammad(P)) has forged it?" Say: "Bring then a surah (chapter) like unto it, and call upon whomsoever you can, besides Allah, if you are truthful!" [Qur'an 10:37-38]
Or do they say: "He (Muhammad(P)) has forged it (this Qur'an)?" Nay! They believe not! Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur'an) if they are truthful. [Qur'an 52:33-34]
The Quran describes Muhammad as "ummi", which is traditionally interpreted as "unlettered," but the meaning is rather more complex. The medieval commentators such as Al-Tabari maintained that the term induced two meanings: first, the inability to read or write in general; second, the inexperience or ignorance of the previous books or scriptures (but they gave priority to the first meaning). Besides, Muhammad's being "ummi" was taken as a sign of the genuineness of his prophethood. For example, according to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, if Muhammad had mastered writing and reading he possibly would have been suspected of having studied the books of the ancestors. Some scholars such as Watt prefer the second meaning. The suggestion is that since Muhammad had no previous knowledge of the content in the Quran, it was in fact composed of miracles. The majority of Muslim thinkers accept the factuality of the miracles found in the Quran.
Time specific miracles that relate to Muhammad
Several verses that appear in the Qur'an would suggest that certain miracles occurred just in relation to Muhammad: the splitting of the moon (Qur'an 54:2-1), assistance given to Muslims at the Battle of Badr (Qur'an - Although these events occurred during their respective times, Muslims believe their effect cannot be perceived as they were witnessed by a particular people at the time and are therefore only miracles for those who witnessed it at the time. This is why Muslims do not rely on these miracles when attempting to convert others to Islam, but instead rely on the miraculous nature of the text of the Quran.
Throughout the Qur'an, claims or predictions are made concerning future events. Many of the prophecies are viewed as having metaphoric meanings, while others are taken more literally. As the Qur'an is said to contain the exact words of God which were revealed to Muhammad in Arabic and later transcribed, the meaning of the Qur'an has a great effect on Muslim beliefs and understanding. Some prophecies are debated more than others as to whether or not they were actually fulfilled or how the Qur'anic text should be interpreted.
One of the more general prophecies is that the Qur'an predicts its own preservation and endurance. The Qur'an states that the book itself will survive as a valid source and that the religion of Islam will last, even dominate, because of this. Muslim scholars say that today's Qur'an is the same Qur'an originally compiled by Muhammad, and that the memorisation ensures the consistency and its preservation. The following passages from the Qur'an state these prophecies:
Another interpretation of the Qur'an is that it predicted the defeat of the Persians by the Romans. Before the prophecy, at the Battle of Antioch, in 613 C.E., the Persians defeated the Romans. Muslims were upset by this defeat because they felt more connected to Rome, a Christian empire, than to Persia, a Zoroastrian one. A few years afterwards, the following verse was revealed in the Qur'an: "The Roman Empire Has been defeated – In a land close by; But they, (even) after (This) defeat of theirs, Will soon be victorious – Within a few years. With God is the Decision, In the Past And in the Future: On that Day shall The Believers rejoice” (30:2-4). By 627 C.E., the Romans had successfully defeated the Persians, resulting in much celebration by Muslims and fulfilling the prophecy of the Qur'an.
The Qu'ran says “And We have indeed Made the Qur-an easy to understand and remember: Then is there any that Will receive admonition?” (54:17) That memorisation is indeed possible has been said to be a miraculous fulfilment of a prophecy. The Qur'an’s “rhythmic style and eloquent expression” have been cited as aids in verbatim memorization.
The Qur'an states that God says to the Pharaoh of the Exodus: "This day shall We save thee in thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee." The body of the Pharaoh, who was argued to be either Ramesses II or his son Merneptah, had been thought to be lost at sea until the mummies of both were discovered in the 19th century, and put on display in Cairo's Egyptian Museum; it is argued that the prophecy that the Pharaoh's body would be preserved has been fulfilled.
T"... their skins Will bear witness against them, As to (all) their deeds." (41:20) has been said to be confirmed by the development of using fingerprints for identification of criminals.
The problem of environmental pollution as caused by human inventions: "Mischief has appeared On land and sea because Of (the meed) that the hands Of men have earned, That (God) may give them A taste of some of their Deeds: in order that they May turn back (from Evil)" (30:41); "Then watch thou For the Day That the sky will Bring forth a kind Of smoke (or mist) plainly visible, Enveloping the people: This will be a Penalty Grievous" (44:10-11).
New modes of transportation created by humans: "And (He has created) horses, Mules, and donkeys, for you To ride and use for show; And He has created (other) things Of which ye have no knowledge" (16:8).
Equality for women and women's rights: "When the female (infant), Buried alive, is questioned - For what crime she was killed" (81:8-9).
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- Quran 7:157
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- Richard Bell, William Montgomery Watt, 'introduction to the Qurʼān', p.51
- F. E. Peters (1991), pp.3–5: “Few have failed to be convinced that … the Quran is … the words of Muhammad, perhaps even dictated by him after their recitation.”
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- The International Commission on Scientific Signs in the Qur'an and the Sunnah
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