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My First Parameter: If it is God’s Religion I am Looking for, the Sacred Scripture Must be From God

In my study of other religions, one of my goals was to read each religion’s sacred scriptures directly, in order to understand directly from the source what the religion was all about. This is obviously what piqued my curiosity in the Quran.

I already had a strong belief in God and was convinced of the existence of a Supreme Being. In fact, for a while, I was sometimes a Christian and sometimes simply a deist, following in the footsteps of Voltaire and many of the “founding fathers” of the United States.

The Miraculous Quran 2

Studying the Quran in 1976: The Quran Versus many Non-Muslim Writers
You should keep in mind that this took place in 1976. This was before the Iranian Revolution and Islam being plastered all over the media. I didn’t know any Muslims at the time. (I was living in a relatively small college town and I incorrectly assumed that there were no Muslims there.)

Thus, there was no one trying to convince me of the truth of Islam. In fact, I eventually converted to Islam before ever meeting a Muslim, doing my best to learn the prayers from a book written by a missionary, T. P. Hughes’ The Dictionary of Islam.

Opening Statement

Let me state at the outset that, after being Muslim for many years now, if I were given the topic of “The Miraculous Quran,” as I see it now, I would be emphasizing and discussing aspects that were completely unknown to me at the time that I was studying Islam as a non-Muslim. I have been studying the Quran for over thirty years now and it never fails to fascinate me.

In fact, the phenomenon of continually finding new fascinating aspects of the Quran has been true for the Muslim scholars throughout the years. Over the centuries, as they have spoken about the Quran, later scholars recognize the miraculous aspects that the earlier scholars mentioned while coming across other aspects that they consider no less remarkable and amazing.

The Authorship Of The Quran

Quranic Teachings about Satan and about Morality

Some claim that the Quran was the work of the devil.[1] Let us examine how much sense (or non-sense) this allegation makes.
If he authored or inspired the Quran, why would Satan curse himself and call himself the worst enemy of man (Q.35:6; 36:60)? Why would Satan command that before reciting the Quran, one must first say:
“…I seek refuge in God from Satan the accursed.” (Quran 16:98)
How could Satan so vehemently condemn himself? Is it really acceptable to common sense to hold the view that Satan would ask people to do good, to be moral and virtuous, to worship none but God, to not follow Satan or his whispers, and to avoid and struggle against evil?

To hold such a view is clearly repugnant to reason, as Satan has only undermined himself through this means if he is the author. Even the Bible attests:
“And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.” (Mark 3:26)[2]

Words Of a Poet Or a Teacher?

The Style of the Quran

There is a world of difference between the style of the Quran and Muhammad’s own style as recorded in the books of Ahadeeth. The differences between the two in every respect – style and contents – are immediately evident. The sayings of Muhammad (Ahadeeth) are conversational, oratorical, and expository, of a kind the Arabs were already familiar with. By contrast, the style of the Quran is authoritative:

“We created the heavens and the earth…” (Quran 15:85, 44:38, 46:3, 50:38)
Also,
“Say!...”[1]
Also,
“… had it (the Quran) been from any other than God, they would have found therein much discrepancies.” (Quran 4:82)
Also,
“… Say then: ‘Bring a chapter like it and call, if you can, on other than God…’”(Quran 10:38)
Also,
“… then bring a chapter like unto it… and if you can not — for surely you cannot, then…” (Quran 2:23-24)

The authorship of the quran: the words of a human?

Although it is proven that the text of the Quran has remained intact till today, how are we sure that the words actually originated from God and not some other source? This takes us to look at the authenticity, authority, or source of the Quran.

Concerning the authorship of the Quran, Muslims believe that it was revealed verbatim (i.e. word for word) by God, to Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. Non-Muslims, however, who do not support this view, can have no differences with Muslims concerning the fact that the Quran was at least first witnessed to be uttered by Muhammad, a Meccan Arab in the 7th century CE and, as proved above, there have been no changes to the records of his utterances since then.

Preservation of the quran

The Glorious Quran, the Muslims’ religious Scripture, was revealed in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, through the angel Gabriel. The revelation occurred piecemeal, over a period of twenty-three years, sometimes in brief verses and sometimes in longer chapters.[1]
The Quran (lit. a “reading” or “recitation”) is distinct from the recorded sayings and deeds (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad, which are instead preserved in a separate set of literature collectively called the “Ahadeeth” (lit. “news”; “report”; or “narration”).

What is the sunnah?

The Difference between the Sunnah and the Quran

The Quran is the foundation of Islamic Law. It is the miraculous speech of God that was revealed to the Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, by way of the angel Gabriel. It has been transmitted to us with so many chains of authority that its historical authenticity is unquestionable. It is written down in its own volume, and its recitation is a form of worship.
As for the Sunnah, it is everything besides the Quran that came from God’s Messenger. It explains and provides details for the laws found in the Quran. It also provides examples of the practical application of these laws. It is also either direct revelation from God, or decisions of the Messenger that were then confirmed by revelation. Therefore, the source of all the Sunnah is revelation.

What is the sunnah 2?

The Sunnah, according to the scholars of hadeeth, is everything that has been related from the Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, of his statements, actions, tacit approvals, personality, physical description, or biography. It does not matter whether the information being related refers to something before the beginning of his prophetic mission, or after it.
Explanation of this definition:
The statements of the Prophet include everything the Prophet said for various reasons on different occasions. For example, he said:
“Verily deeds are but by intentions, and every person will have only what he intended.”

The actions of the Prophet include everything that the Prophet did that was related to us by his Companions. This includes how he made ablutions, how he performed his prayers, and how he made the Hajj pilgrimage.

The letter of the byzantium

The Public Reading of the Letter

After Heraclius had confirmed that he believed Muhammad to be a prophet, he said:
“I knew that he was going to appear, but I did not know that he would be from among you. If what you have said is true, he will rule the very the ground beneath my feet; if I knew I would definitely see him in person, I would undertake the journey to meet him; and if I were with him, I would wash his feet.”

This is in keeping with the placement of this story after the ibn al-Natur’s report of the attempt by Heraclius to foretell the future astrologically. It is apparent that he ‘knew’, or at least suspected, that a powerful prophet had arisen among the Arab people. It was at this stage that he asked for the letter he had received from the Messenger of God so as to read it aloud to the assembly.

The letter of the byzantium 2

Heraclius Receives News of Muhammad

Ibn al-Natur was the Governor of Jerusalem for Heraclius, who was the head of the Christians of Greater Syria. Ibn al-Natur narrates that once, while he was in Jerusalem:
Heraclius got up in the morning in a sad mood. Some of the priests asked him why.

Being one who practiced astrology, Heraclius had been attempting to map out the future.
In reply to the enquiry, he said, “Last night I was looking at the stars, and I saw that a leader of those who practice circumcision had appeared (and would conqueror all before him). Who are they who practice circumcision?”
The priests replied, “Except the Jews nobody practices circumcision, and you needn’t be afraid of them; just issue orders to kill every Jew present in the country.”

While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the King of Ghassan[1] to convey the news of the Messenger of God to Heraclius was brought in.
(This news may have been the actual letter from the Prophet)

The letter of the byzantium 3

Organization of the Article
This article consists of a first part which is the background and context of the two stories that are told in the second and third part. The main story is the narration of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb to Abdullah ibn Abbas concerning his meeting with Heraclius in Jerusalem, recorded in the collection of Saheeh al-Bukhari. Appended to this narration is another, whose source was the Governor of Jerusalem, ibn al-Natur. From the events recorded in each story, it seems obvious that the invitation to Islam by Heraclius to his people in Homs happened at a later date than the meeting of Abu Sufyan with him in Jerusalem. However, it also seems clear that Heraclius must have called for Abu Sufyan after he had heard news of the Prophet in Arabia. Moreover, it is without doubt that when Abu Sufyan met Heraclius, the latter was in possession of the letter from the Prophet.

Prophecies of the quran addressed to Muhammad

Entering Mecca’s Grand Mosque (al-Masjid al-Haram)
In the sixth year after the Prophet was forced to migrate from Mecca to Medina, he saw himself visiting Mecca and performing pilgrimage in a vision mentioned in the Quran:

"Certainly has God showed to His Messenger the vision (i.e. dream) in truth. You will surely enter al-Harammosque, if God wills, in safety, with your heads shaved and [hair] shortened[1], not fearing [anyone]. He knew what you did not know and has arranged before that a conquest near [at hand]." (Quran 48:27)
God made three promises:

(a) Muhammad would enter into Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
(b) Muhammad would enter in a state of security.
(c) Muhammad and his companions would get to perform pilgrimage and fulfill its rituals.

The miracles of Muhammed

There are many other miracles which the Prophet performed related in the Sunnah, or conglomeration of the sayings, deeds, approvals, and descriptions of the Prophet.

The Tree Trunk
In Medina Muhammad used to deliver sermons leaning on a tree stump. When the number of worshippers increased, someone suggested a pulpit be built so he can use it to deliver the sermon. When the pulpit was built, he abandoned the tree trunk. Abdullah ibn Umar, one of the companions, gave an eye-witness testimony of what happened. The trunk was heard weeping, the Prophet of mercy went towards it and comforted it with his hand.[1]

The event is also confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through the ages with an unbroken chain of reliable scholars (hadith mutawatir).[2]

The Flowing of Water

The miracles of Muhammad

Splitting of the Moon
One of the times when God performed miracles at the hand of the Prophet was when the Meccans demanded to see a miracle from Muhammad to show his truthfulness. God split the moon in two separate halves and then re-joined them. The Quran recorded the event:

“The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder!” (Quran 54:1)
Prophet Muhammad would recite these verses of the Quran in large congregations of the weekly Friday prayer and the bi-annual Eed prayers.[1] Had the event never occurred, Muslims themselves would have doubted their religion and many would have left it! The Meccans would have said, ‘Hey, your prophet is a liar, the moon never split, and we never saw it split!’ Instead, the believers grew stronger in their faith and the only explanation the Meccans could come up with was, ‘passing magic!’

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