The word ‘(العجز) al-Ajz’ means inability and the linguistic saying (عجَزَ عن الأمر) ‘Ajiza anil Amr’ means “inability to do something.” The word Mu’jiza (المعجزة) (Miracle) is a sign upon whose basis a challenge is made and the one who is challenged is unable to bring the like of it. The word miracle (Mu’jiza) denotes every sign of Prophethood, be it in the feminine case, such as the Staff, or in the masculine case, such as the Noble Quran.The Aspect (wajhu) of Miracle is the underlying basis of the Miracle, as the challenged one is unable to bring the like of it and he falls short. When the one challenged falls of bringing the like of it from the underlying aspect, he has failed. If the one challenged, or others, were to bring the like of it according to the aspect of miracle, the Mu’jiza becomes invalidated and its capacity to mount the challenge is invalidated. A Miracle may have more than one characteristic, whilst the Aspect of Miracle is one of those characteristics. Accordingly, the Staff of Musa (as) turned into a snake that crawled and frightened, whereas the staffs of the Magicians deceived the people by illusion, as if they were snakes moving to frighten them. This made Musa (as) feel apprehension and so he was commanded to throw the Staff. Suddenly, the distinguished characteristics of the Staff became apparent. The Aspect of the Miracle was that the Staff devoured the objects of their illusion. Thus, the Magicians fell down in prostration, similar is the Noble Quran that was revealed in the Arabic language with Arabic letters. Despite it challenging the Arabs from the aspect of composition, they were unable to bring the like of it. Thus, it is the Miracle of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) in this aspect. This Aspect of the Miracle is not shared by any other words. The Miracle of any matter is that it must not be shared with any other things.
Recently, writings have appeared about the existence of other aspects of the Miracle in the Noble Quran, whilst knowing that the Quran did not challenge from such aspects, nor was the Quran unique from others in such aspects, as such aspects exist in the Sunnah as well.
They assert that the mentioning or indications of the Quran about scientific facts that were revealed only in the modern era is within the Aspect of the Miracle of the Quran. The saying of Allah (swt)
“We have sent down iron.” [TMQ 57:25] and His saying,
[وَالْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ دَحَاهَا]
“And after that He spread the earth.” [TMQ 79:30], and His saying,
[وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا]
“He created from it its mate.” [TMQ 4:1], and His saying,
[وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ]
“And We made from water every living thing.” [TMQ 21:30], and His saying
[بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا يَبْغِيَانِ]
“Between them (the two seas) is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses.” [TMQ 55:20], and His saying,
“And (have we not made) the mountains as stakes?” [TMQ 48:7], and His saying,
[ثُمَّ جَعَلْنٰهُ نُطْفَةً فِىْ قَرَارٍ مَّكِيْنٍ. ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظٰمًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظٰمَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ اَنْشَاْنٰهُ خَلْقًا اٰخَرَ ؕ فَتَبٰـرَكَ اللّٰهُ اَحْسَنُ الْخٰلِقِيْن]
“Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.” [TMQ 23:13, 14] and in other similar verses, the Quran is not distinguished by mentioning such matters which they say as scientific miracles. However, this aspect is also shared by the Sunnah. It is reported by Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Huraira (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, «ما بيْنَ النَّفْخَتَيْنِ أرْبَعُونَ»“Between the two sounds of the trumpet, there will be forty.” قالوا: يا أبا هُرَيْرَةَ أرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا؟ قالَ: أبَيْتُ، قالوا: أرْبَعُونَ شَهْرًا؟ قالَ: أبَيْتُ، قالوا: أرْبَعُونَ سَنَةً؟ قالَ: أبَيْتُ، ثُمَّ يُنْزِلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّماءِ ماءً فَيَنْبُتُونَ، كما يَنْبُتُ البَقْلُ. قالَ: وليسَ مِنَ الإنْسانِ شيءٌ إلَّا يَبْلَى، إلَّا عَظْمًا واحِدًا، وهو عَجْبُ الذَّنَبِ، ومِنْهُ يُرَكَّبُ الخَلْقُ يَومَ القِيامَةِ “Somebody asked Abu Huraira, “Forty days?” But he refused to reply. Then he asked, “Forty months?” He refused to reply. Then he asked, “Forty years?” Again, he refused to reply. Abu Huraira added. “Then (after this period) Allah will send water from the sky and then the dead bodies will grow like vegetation grows. There is nothing of the human body that does not decay except one bone; that is tail bone from which the human body will be recreated on the Day of Resurrection.”
They say that the mother cell is present in the tailbone (coccyx) and that this cell is unique in kind, possessing characteristics rendering it able to create all the body cells, of all kinds. Science reveals, so they say, that the cell contains all the genetic characteristics. This affirms that the Sunnah shares this aspect with the Quran, which they call as one of the Aspects of Miracle. If what they said was true, then the Sunnah would also be a Miracle, like the Qur’an whilst in reality the Quran is the challenging Miracle and not the Sunnah.
The other Aspect of Miracle which they mention is the legislation of the Quran has. It is enough to answer this with the saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw), «قد أوتيت القرآن ومثله معه»“I was given the Quran and the like of it with the Quran”. Whoever looks at the books of Fiqh will also find the truthfulness of the Hadith. Then where is the Miracle? And the disbeliever would argue by saying “where is the Miracle in cutting the hand of a thief, where is the Miracle in marrying four wives and where is the miracle in giving man the share of two women?” Thus the disbeliever demands a rational argument. So how can the Quran be equated with the Sunnah in terms of Miracle. Moreover, the disbelievers may claim that the Western legislation is better than that of Quran, citing the freedoms which the Western legislation has, whilst asking where is the Miracle in paying Jizya, flogging the fornicator and prohibiting the meat of swine? If we wished to establish the argument against the disbeliever in order for him to believe in the Quran, by saying that it has miraculous legislations which man cannot bring the like of it, matters would become confusing and convoluted, whist the argument would be lost. So long as the disbeliever does not believe in the Quran that it is from Allah (swt), he will not believe the Quranic legislation to be miraculous.
Another aspect which they mention is the information of the Quran about the Unseen (المغيبات) such as the saying of Allah. Allah (swt) said,
[الٓمّٓ ۚ. غُلِبَتِ الرُّوْمُۙ. فِىْۤ اَدْنَى الْاَرْضِ وَهُمْ مِّنْۢ بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُوْنَۙ. فِىْ بِضْعِ سِنِيْنَ.]
“Alif Lam Meem. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land, and after their defeat they will be victorious within three to nine years.” [TMQ 30:1-4]. However, there are as many Unseen informationin the Sunnah, as in the Quran about the future, such as the saying of the Prophet (saw), «وليوشكن أن يكون للرجل مثل شطن فرسه من الأرض حيث يرى من بيت المقدس خير له من الدنيا جميعا»“Surely, there will soon come a time when, for a man to have land equivalent to his horse’s rope – from which he can see Bait al-Maqdis – will be better for him than the whole world!” and the saying of Prophet (saw), «مَا الْمَسْئُولُ عَنْهَا بِأَعْلَمَ مِنَ السَّائِلِ وَلَكِنْ سَأُخْبِرُكَ عَنْ أَشْرَاطِهَا إِذَا وَلَدَتِ الأَمَةُ رَبَّتَهَا فَذَاكَ مِنْ أَشْرَاطِهَا وَإِذَا كَانَتِ الْحُفَاةُ الْعُرَاةُ رُءُوسَ النَّاسِ فَذَاكَ مِنْ أَشْرَاطِهَا وَإِذَا تَطَاوَلَ رِعَاءُ الْغَنَمِ فِي الْبُنْيَانِ فَذَاكَ مِنْ أَشْرَاطِهَا فِي خَمْسٍ لاَ يَعْلَمُهُنَّ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ» “The one who is asked about it does not know more than the one who is asking. But I will tell you of its portents. When the slave woman gives birth to her mistress, that is one of its portents. When the barefoot and naked become leaders of the people, that is one of its portents. When shepherds compete in constructing buildings, that is one of its portents. (The Hour) is one of five (things) which no one knows except Allah” and the Prophet’s saying, «يأتي على الناس زمان يتباهون بالمساجد»“There will come a time when people boast one another about Mosques” and the Prophet’s (saw) saying, «لَتُفتَحَنَّ القُسْطَنْطينيَّةُ»“You will conquer Constantinople” and his (saw) saying, «لا تَقومُ السَّاعةُ حتى يَبنيَ النَّاسُ بُيوتًا يُشبِّهونَها بالمَراحِلِ»“The Final Hour will not come until people build houses which are like colored (stripped) garments,” and his (saw) saying to Umm Haram «أنت من الأولين» “You are amongst the first ones”, so she sailed over the sea and then she fell down from her riding animal and died, and his (saw) saying, «تقتل عمارًا الفئة الباغية»“The transgressing group will kill Ammar”, and his (saw) saying, «يُوشِكُ الْأُمَمُ أَنْ تَدَاعَى عَلَيْكُمْ»“Nations will soon summon one another to attack you” and others. If the information about the Unseen were one of the aspects of miracle, the Sunnah would have been a miracle.
They say that amongst the Aspects of Miracle of the Quran is its information about the stories of predecessors. This matter is not restricted to the Quran alone. The Sunnah has also narrated the stories of predecessors, such as the story of People of the Cave upon whom the entrance of the cave was closed, the story of the monk and the young boy, and others. However, this aspect is shared by what was written in many languages about the stories of the past. The disbeliever cannot believe the truthfulness of the Quranic story and its distinction from the stories of other books, unless he believes that the Quran is from Allah (swt). As long as this is the case, the Quran is not miraculous from this aspect.
Definitely, these aspects are not evidence for the Miracle as they are also shared by the Sunnah and other than the Sunnah. Upon scrutiny, it seems that those who say this are confused between the Miracle of the Quran and the fact that the Prophet (saw) received Revelation and he (saw) does not utter anything of his own desires. The Quran is a Miracle and the Sunnah is not a miracle, whereas both of them are divine Revelation. This distinction must be made between them.
The only Aspect of the Miracle of the Noble Quran that challenges humanity and Jinn lies in its composition (نظم) and styles (وأسلوب) i.e. in the form of expression (تعبير), for the portrayal of the meanings. In language, expression is of words and structures (تراكيب), wherein such words and structures are in the forms of meanings (قوالب للمعاني), which never separate from them absolutely, unless they are the nonsense word (مهمل muhmal), whereas there is nothing muhmal (word without meaning) in the Quran. When some of the meanings of the Quran are translated into other languages, they do not constitute a Miracle. Accordingly, the Miracle is in the composition (نظم) that depicts the meanings.
This is the only Aspect of the Miracle. Comprehending the miracle necessitates the knowledge of Arabic and its literature (آداب). This is completely different from establishing the argument that the Quran is a Miracle. Accordingly, establishing the argument can be in any language to establish that the Quran is from Allah (swt) and not from Muhammad (saw), or Arabs or non-Arabs. The challenge of the Miracle was and is still existing today. No one will produce the like of it i.e. the like of its composition and styles. What is required is to establish the argument of confirming the inability of people and not explaining the Aspect of the Miracle. The former, i.e. establishing the argument, can be in any language, whilst the latter, explaining the Aspect of Miracle, can only be in Arabic language.
Whoever engages in debate with the disbelievers and hypocrites must differentiate between the Miracle of the Quran and between the reception of the Divine Revelation by the Prophet and his nature of not uttering of his own desires. He must also differentiate between establishing the argument that the Quran is a Miracle and explaining the Aspect of its Miracle. Whoever insists on establishing the existence of scientific facts in the Qur’an, let him use them to establish the Revelation of Muhammad (saw), and not the Miracle of the Quran.
Translated from Al-Waie Magazine Issue 173, September 2001