Are you someone born and brought up in a Muslim household, who accepts by default, that the Qur’an is a Divine text? Or someone not-so-sympathetic, someone who was told a lot of negative things about the Book and now you harbour such views yourself. Or simply in search of the truth – a common voyager without any strong affiliations. In any case, you owe it to yourself to know what the Book is all about. Compare what people claim it to be to what you find it to be yourself, of your own personal study and without any external influence or coercion whatsoever.
Make up your own mind, my friend, form your own conclusions! Don’t just follow the crowd! Don’t blindly listen to those who praise it, and on the other hand don’t pay heed to its critics unquestioningly, but weigh and consider your options.
Something is not true just because our parents lovingly taught it to us, or we embraced it from our society. Truth stands on its own two feet, can fight for itself and is not dependent on anyone for its existence. So what we have been tutored to accept does not necessarily mean, is the truth. We have to labour for the truth, and arrive at it objectively.
I am sure you will agree with me that it is not honest and wise to form an opinion about something without really knowing what it is. How would you feel if someone who never met you, who never came across credible evidence about your real personality, suddenly starts your character assassination in front of other people?
Same holds true for the Qur’an. We shouldn’t form an opinion about its origin, message and features without ever bothering to check it up ourselves. But sadly, many people do that. They hold views that they have been ‘programmed’ to accept from their peers and environment, such rarely being an outcome of their personal investigation.
So for your curiosity and interest, in this blog, I would like to discuss with you some of the claims of the Book, with a desire that you will perhaps examine these claims of your own effort and then make an informed decision about their validity.
The salient feature of these claims is that they originate internally, within the Qur’anic text itself. In other words you are going to read about what the Qur’an claims to be by itself, and not what people say what it is.
Mind you these are claims, whether they are true or not, you owe it to yourself to confirm. Here are a few of them.
1. A REVELATION FROM GOD
“The revelation of this Book is from God, Exalted in Power, Full of Knowledge.” 41:2
Very clearly, in non ambiguous terms, the Book claims to be Divine Revelation.
2. THE TRUTH
“That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth…” 35:31
3. GOD’S SPEECH IN THE FIRST PERSON
“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” 2:186
A reflection. Who is the speaker in the above statement?
4. ADDRESSED DIRECTLY TO YOU
When reading the Book you discover that it is addressed to you, i.e. the Reader with the Speaker claiming to be God and addressing you directly at this very point in time:
“O Man! What has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious one.”
“Who created you, then made you complete, then made you symmetrical?”
“Into whatever form He pleased He constituted you.”
“Nay! But you give the lie to the judgment day.” 82:6-9
In the above, the “you” is “Al Insaan”, i.e the Human being and he is being addressed directly. God is speaking to you right at this very moment when you read the Qur’an!
5. CONTAINS ITS OWN EXEGESIS
“And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the best explanation (thereof).” 25:33
“A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail;- a Qur’an in Arabic, for people who understand.” 41:3
6. GOD IS ITS TEACHER
“(God) Most Gracious! It is He Who has taught the Qur’an.” 55:1-2
“Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear).” 75:16-19
7. PRESERVATION VOUCHSAFED BY GOD
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” 15:9
“Those who reject the Message when it comes to them (are not hidden from Us). And indeed it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.” 41:41-42
Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support. 17:88
“This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God…” 10:37
9. CLEAR AND PLAIN
“By the Book that makes things clear.” 43:2
“…We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.” 3:118
The Book claims to be clear and plain and not confusing.
10. EASY TO UNDERSTAND
“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” 54:17, 22, 32 & 40
The Speaker claims that He has made the Qur’an easy.
11. FOR ALL HUMANKIND
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind,…” 2:185
Not sent as a guide to Arabs or Pakistanis but to humankind. It is for everyone who falls within humanity.
12. THE CRITERION TO DETERMINE RIGHT FROM WRONG
We all have our own standards and judgments for accepting or rejecting things. On the other hand the Qur’an also has standards. In its pages, we find that while identifying the right conduct, the wrong behavior is also highlighted so people can amend themselves. Continuing the same verse cited above, another of the Qur’an’s attributes occurs i.e. Al Furqan which means The criterion or judgment between right and wrong:
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)…” 2:185
13. FREE FROM DISCREPANCY
“Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other Than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” 4:82
A very clear cut statement. That the Book has no internal conflict and is consistent with itself. And also states the nature of what is not coming from God.
14. FOR ALL TIMES AND GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS
“Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds!” 81:27
“Zikr un Lil Alameen” – a remembrance to the Worlds. Notice that the literal meaning of Alameen is “Worlds” (in plural). Does it mean that the Qur’an is a guide to mankind beyond the boundaries of this world as well? Strange, is it not? We are just dwelling on planet earth at present, the moment we conquer outer space and make habitations on other planets, it is then that this claim will really be put to the test.
15. HAS ALL THINGS NECESSARY FOR GUIDANCE
“..and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.” 16:89
“Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for a people who believe.” 29:51
“Say: ‘Shall I seek for judge other than God? – when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail?” 6:114
“…Nothing have we omitted from the Book…” 6:38
16. PROMOTES PEACE
“…There hath come to you from God a (new) light and a perspicuous Book, Wherewith God guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety…” 5:15-16 17.
17. A SOLACE TO THE SUFFERING
“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…” 17:82
18. REMOVES YOUR ILLS AND IMPROVES YOUR CONDITION
“But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and believe in the (Revelation) sent down to Muhammad – for it is the Truth from their Lord,- He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition.” 47:2
19. CONSISTENT WITH NATURAL PHENOMENA
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day,- there are indeed Signs for people of understanding, Those who remember God, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” 3:190-191
The Qur’an is calling to study the natural world. Would it do so if it were not consistent with it?
20. PROPHECY ABOUT CONQUEST OF SPACE BY MAN
“And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: Behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” 45:13
21. PROPHECY ABOUT LIFE IN OUTER SPACE AND ITS CONTACT WITH HUMANITY
“And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and what He has spread forth in both of them of living beings; and when He pleases He is all-powerful to gather them together.” 42:29
Here it foretells us that there are living beings in both – heavens as well as earth and one day they can join together! Time will tell.
22. IT WILL AMAZE YOU
“Say: It has been revealed to me that a party of the jinn listened, and they said: Surely we have heard an amazing Quran!” 72:1
Aren’t you amazed by what you have read so far?
23. IT WILL BRING YOU OUT FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT
“A. L. R. A Book which We have revealed unto thee, in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light – by the leave of their Lord – to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in power, worthy of all praise!” 14:1
24. IT WILL TOUCH YOUR HEART
“And when they listen to the revelation… thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognise the truth…” 5:82
“…Whenever the Signs of (God) Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears.” 19:58
So here you are. Two dozen claims. Quite a long list. You hold in your hand a Book that claims to be from the Almighty Creator, claims to be perfect, free from discrepancy, incorruptible and perfectly preserved, claims to provide Divine guidance for your day to day living, wherever you may be, and in whatever time frame you may exist, is easy and comprehensible, but will be revealed on you according to situation and spiritual development.
These are some really unique claims worth investigating, don’t you think. Ever come across any other religious Scripture that has within its pages such direct claims?
To the Muslim reader. As I said earlier, you need to take up the Book by yourself. You have tarried long enough with your ignorance. It is your own job to know the reality, not the job of your local Imam or your mother or father or brother or your in-laws to do it for you for that matter. You don’t know the Book and your non Muslim friend doesn’t know it either. What makes you special then?
So have you got your copy of the Qur’an ready? Have you started to read the meanings and make notes and pointers?
Now to the skeptic. It is very easy to attempt to disprove the Qur’an. All you have to do is come forward with the proof to nullify these claims.
E.g. in 2:23-24 it states that no one will be able to produce a Surah similar to the Qur’an. All you have to do to prove that the Qur’an is wrong is to meet this challenge.
Or in 4:82 it states that there is no discrepancy in the Book – you just need to come forward with one contradiction to prove your case.
The Qur’an not only offers claims, but also provides numerous tests for its authentication. Above are a few claims – why not work at them, because if they are indeed true, and you are in the habit of falsifying them without credible reason then it is your neck on the day of account.
I have presented to you an alternate view, then one which perhaps is known to you. But I won’t ask you to believe everything just like that. It is not within my domain to make you believe or accept a certain viewpoint.
Nobody can convince anyone. We need to arrive at the truth about things at our own pace, and as a result of our own labour and reflection. Therefore what will be stated is for your personal investigation and analytical study. So the ball is in your court. Go to your Qur’an and start studying.