Qur’an: A Timeless Miracle. A Brief Look Into Its Miraculous Nature

The Arabic word for miracle is Mu’jizah.  It comes from the root word ‘a-j-z, which means to be incapable of or to be weak.  Technically, in Islam, it is defined as acts performed by prophets of a miraculous nature that humans are incapable of imitating.1  Allah sent through various prophets, throughout time, specific miracles in order to prove the truthfulness of their message.  Generally, people will not believe a random claim from an individual that he has been sent by the Creator to give them a message from Him, hence, Allah uses miracles as a way to prove to the people that the claimant is speaking the truth and is not an imposter.  Allah granted miracles of various natures to different prophets dependent on what would be the greatest cause of influence for them.  For example, at the time of Moses, people were fascinated by magic; hence, Allah granted him miracles of such a nature that far excelled magic.  Similarly, at the time of Jesus, people excelled in medicine and healing; hence, Allah sent them a prophet that could cure the blind, leper, heal the sick, and even raise the dead.

The main miracle of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), though he had others, was the Qur’an.  This is because at the time of this last prophet, the Arabs had reached the peak of eloquence and poetry, hence, Allah sent them the Qur’an that was completely off the charts in its beauty, eloquence, and poetic construction.  This is why Allah challenged them to produce something like it but they were incapable even though they were masters in this field.  When they could not, Allah Said of them:

Say, “If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they helped one another.” (Qur’an 17:88)

Since the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the last messenger to be sent to mankind and there is no one that is coming after him until the Day of Judgment, his miracle of the Qur’an is timeless and will remain that way until the end of time.  The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

There has not been a single prophet except that Allah gave him miracles because of which people believed in him. I have been given (as my miracle) the Inspiration (Qur’an), which Allah revealed to me. I hope, therefore, that I will have the largest number of followers on the Day of Judgment. (Bukhari Book #61, Hadith #504)

Ibn Hajar said regarding this hadith, “The meaning is that the miracles of other prophets perished with the ending of their eras, hence, they were not witnessed except by those who were present during their times.  But the miracle of the Qur’an is continuous until the Day of Judgment.”2

There have been many works written by scholars of Islam on what makes the Qur’an miraculous.  We will discuss only two of these miracles in order to get a small understanding of its miraculous nature.

The strongest manifestation of the Qur’an is the language and style of the Arabic of the Qur’an. To this day, we know that the Qur’an is considered to be a reference of the Arabic language even for non-Muslims so orientalists make use of different passages of the Qur’an to show the beauty of the Arabic language. Qur’an is the height of eloquence.3  Following are some of the ways in which it shows the literary miracles of this great book:4

  • The placement of a particular word in a perfect context over its synonyms; the fact that Allah chooses specific words over other words so each connotation given by that word is better by the connotation given by its synonyms.
  • The unique sentence structure and syntax. Neither is it similar throughout the Qur’an nor does it resemble the pre-Islamic poets. So if we read Surah al-Baqarah, it is completely different from Surah an-Naba.
  • The use of different tenses to give a deeper meaning to each passage. In general when someone writes a book, the tense and pronoun remains the same throughout the book but the Qur’an changes from passage to passage, right after the other. And if we ponder over it, we realize the beauty of that.  This gives deeper meaning to it.
  • The pronunciation of the words matches its contexts and this is something that even non-Arabs realize. So when the verses are talking about paradise or the mercy of Allah, you find the verses sweeter, melodious and flowing. When it is talking about the fire of hell or the Day of Judgment, all of a sudden you have the strong letters, the ‘ain’, the ‘daad’, the ‘qaaf’, so you find a certain tenseness just by the sound even if you do not understand the meaning.
  • The perfect combination of conciseness and detail. If you have read the Old or the New Testament the first thing to strike you is the level of detail, which literally bores the reader. This is because it is man made. The Qur’an does not give you many of the details found in the bible because there is no need of it. So the attention span of the reader is always higher. It only adds details when necessary.

Another miracle is what Dr. Maurice Bucaille, an Egyptologist, mentioned in his book Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews In Egypt, which goes to show the historical accuracy and preservation of the Qur’an.  His story is as follows:

“I have related the result of such a consultation that dates back to a dozen years ago and led me to question a specialist who, in addition, knew well the classical Arabic language. One of the most prominent French Egyptologists, fulfilling these conditions, was kind enough to answer the question.  I showed him the word “Haman” that I had copied exactly like it is written in the Qur’an, and told him that it had been extracted from a sentence of a document dating back to the 7th century AD, the sentence being related to somebody connected with Egyptian history.  He said to me that, in such a case, he would see in this word the transliteration of a hieroglyphic name but, for him, undoubtedly it could not be possible that a written document of the 7th century had contained a hieroglyphic name – unknown until that time – since, in that time, the hieroglyphs had been totally forgotten.  In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom by Ranke, where I might find the name written in hieroglyphs, as he had written before me, and the transliteration in German.  I discovered all that had been presumed by the expert, and, moreover, I was stupefied to read the profession of Haman: “The Chief of the workers in the stone-quarries,” exactly what could be deduced from the Qur’an, though the words of the Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.  When I came again to the expert with a photocopy of the page of the Dictionary concerning “Haman” and showed him one of the pages of the Qur’an where he could read the name, he was speechless…”5

For even more miracles, refer to the following pages:



1 Qadhi, Yasir. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, p. 257.

2 http://www.islamqa.com/ar/ref/147329

3 http://khutbahs.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/miraculous-nature-of-quran

4 Ibid and Qadhi, Yasir. An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan, p. 268.

5 http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/haman.html

Lowering the Gaze: An Example of How Islamic Law Coincides With Human Nature (Fitrah)

Islam is the religion of the fitrah, which is often translated as natural disposition, nature, or innateness. In other words, Allah sent down a religion which conforms to our nature in which we are created. It is compatible with it and does not contradict it. He did not send us a religion which goes against our fitrah. As Allah Says in the Qur’an [meaning of which is]:

So stand firm and true in your devotion to the religion. This is the natural disposition [fitrah] Allah instilled in mankind – there is no altering Allah’s creation – and this is the right religion, though most people do not realize it. [Qur’an 30:30]

And it is reported in a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“No child is born except on Al-Fitrah and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated?” [Bukhari]

There is an excellent explanation of this hadith provided by Dr. Yasir Qadhi here.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is also reported to have said:

“Five practices are characteristics of the Fitrah: circumcision, shaving the pubic region, clipping the nails and cutting the mustaches short.” [Bukhari]

All of Islamic laws and guidelines conform to our natural disposition whether we understand them or not. They somehow benefit us in one way or another. Sometimes Allah in the Qur’an or a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) explicitly mentions this benefit but many times they do not. The scholars in later times took it upon themselves to try and explain the wisdom behind some of the rulings. This topic is often studied under Maqaasid Shari’ah [the objectives of Islamic law]. At the end of the day, these are just opinions on their part, hence, it is not uncommon to find differences among them.

Not everything in our nature is positive or beneficial. For example, it is quite natural to be angry but it does not mean that we should not try to control it. Therefore, Islam encourages restraining our anger and not letting it get out of hand. Similarly, it is natural for us to have desires for worldly possessions, but Islam encourages keeping them under control and not letting them become the sole purpose of our lives at the expense of the afterlife. Our Creator understands our nature, thus, He sent us a religion with some rulings which are there to diminish the negative and harmful aspects of our nature. At the same time, He made certain other rulings in the religion which enhance the positive and beneficial aspects of our nature. For example, being generous, kind, merciful, desiring justice, etc. are all natural things in human beings and Allah encourages us to expand these attributes. It is no wonder that some Muslim scholars concluded that the whole purpose of the Divine law is to keep away harm and bring benefit.

Among the things in Islamic law which is quite controversial in our times but conforms to our fitrah is the issue of women’s bodies and how they influence men. It is well known that in Islam, there are more restrictions on the woman’s dress than that of a man, however, there are more restrictions on men’s gazes than that of women. Islamic law is far more stricter on men lowering their gazes in front of women who are not their wives nor their immediate relatives [sister, mother, daughter, etc.], especially if they find them attractive, than it is on women. For example, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:

“O young men! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” [Bukhari]

In another hadith, it is reported by the companion Jarir that:

I asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) about an accidental glance (on a woman). He (pbuh) said “Turn away your gaze [from her].” [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised Ali, his son in law, that:

“O Ali, do not follow the first look [at a woman] with another. There is no blame on you for the first but you have no right to the second.” [Abu Dawud]

The meaning above is that he should immediately look away as soon as he realizes that he’s looking directly at her. Of course, there are exception to this in Islamic law. For example, looking at a potential spouse before marriage, addressing a crowd of people which include women, helping a sick or injured woman, identification, brief glances without intending to look when talking directly to a specific woman, etc. are all exceptions to the general rule. General glances that take place throughout the day without intending to look, such as, when walking down the street, market, etc. are also exceptions due to necessity. The point is that a Muslim man should not look towards a woman who is not his wife nor an immediate relative without necessity.

An incident is reported in another hadith when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) happened to pass by a group of men sitting on the road talking. One of the people sitting in that group reports:

While we were sitting in front of the houses and talking amongst ourselves, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) happened to come there. He stood by us and said: “What about you and your meetings on the paths? Avoid these meetings on the paths.” We said: “We were sitting here without (any intention of doing harm to the passers-by) ; we are sitting to discuss matters and to hold conversation amongst ourselves.” Thereupon he said: “If there is no help (for you but to sit on these paths), then give the paths their rights and these are lowering of the gaze, exchanging of greetings and good conversation.” [Muslim]

This issue even comes up in the Qur’an when Allah Says [meaning of which is]:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gazes and guard their private parts: that is purer for them. Allah is well aware of everything they do. [Qur’an 24:30]

Then immediately in the next verse, Allah Says [meaning of which is]:

“And tell believing women that they should lower their gazes, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk…” [Qur’an 24:31]

It is interesting to note here that Allah first addresses the men and then the women. Since men naturally are visual and easily aroused by women, especially if she is naked or barely clothed, they are encouraged to lower their gazes to diminish this negative aspect of their nature. At the same time, women are encouraged to cover themselves in front of men also in order to diminish the harm caused by this natural phenomenon. Some scholars also argued that not lowering the gaze from unnecessary glances can spiritually corrupt the heart.

I came across a short video online done by a non-Muslim organization which I found very informative. It argues that men are much more visual and easily aroused by seeing women than vice versa. It is purely natural, the video argues. It is very well done and proves to us that the reasoning behind Allah’s ruling of covering for women and lowering of men’s gazes has a lot to do with our fitrah.

This does not mean, however, that it is acceptable for men to sexually harass or ill treat women who do not dress according to Islamic law. Men are commanded to control themselves and they cannot blame their harassment on the woman. Ludicrous statements such as “she was asking for it” are completely unacceptable. The man is responsible for his own action and the woman her own in front of Allah on the day of judgement. Therefore, whether a woman is dressed appropriately or not is not our concern. We as men have to do our part in following the commands of Allah to the best of our ability and treating others respectfully and kindly even if they are wrong is a virtue in Islam.

Here is the video: