Analysing and criticizing the view of liberal-minded writers on miracle of finality (the Qur’an) (1)

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The Holy Qur’an is the everlasting miracle of the last Prophet. The miracles of the former Prophet like Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Musa and Prophet Isa, each of whom had a revealed Book and also wrought miracles, were distinct from their revealed Book. They wrought such miracles as the transformation of a blazing fire into coolness and peace, the conversion of dry piece of wood into a serpent and bringing the dead to life. Obviously each of these miracles, was temporary and passing. But in the case of the last Prophet his Book itself was his miracle. It is the proof of his Prophet hood. As such, the miracle of finality, unlike any other miracle, is everlasting, not passing nor meant only for the time being.

The fact that a Divine Book is the miracle of the last Prophet is absolutely in comformity with his time, the age of
the advancement of science, knowledge, culture and education. The eternity of this Holy Book is also in consonance with the eternity of its message which is never to be abrogated.

The Holy Qur’an in several verses of it has expressly proclaimed this extraordinary and superhuman aspect of itself. One of these verses says: If you are in doubt what We have revealed to Our bondman, then bring a chapter like it. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:23) (و ان کنتم فی ریب مما نزلنا علی عبدنا فاتوا بسورة من مثله). It has also expressly mentioned several other miracles wrought by the Prophet.

The Holy Qur’an has dwelt on a number of questions related to the miracles. It declares that a Divine message must be accompanied by some miracles, that a miracle is a decisive evidence and definite proof, that the Prophets works the miracles by the will of Allah and that they work to prove the veracity of their claim, and that they are not bound to accede to every request of everybody in his respect. In other words, the Prophets are not expected to hold an exhibition of miracles or to set up a factory of them.

As the Holy Qur’an has dealt with these questions, it has also expressly recounted the stories of the miracles of many of the former Prophets like Nuh, Ibrahim, Lut, Salih, Hud, Musa and Isa, and has categorically confirmed them.

A. The view of liberal-minded writers and orientalists on the Prophet’s miracle which is restricted to the Qur’an
Some orientalists and Christian clergymen on the basis of those verses in which the Holy Qur’an responded negatively to the demand of the idolaters to work the miracles proposed by them, have claimed that the Prophet of Islam told the people that he had no miracle other than the Holy Qur’an, and if they did not accept it, he could do nothing further. Some liberal-minded Muslim writers also have accepted this view, and explaining it, they say that the miracle is an argument which can convince only immature humanity looking for something extraordinary and fantastic. A mature man is not impressed by such things and is concerned only with the things rational. As the age of the Prophet of Islam was of rationality, nor of myths and fancy, he declined by the will of Allah to accept any request for a miracle besides the Holy Qur’an. Une writer says: “To seek the help of the miracles was unavoidable for the former Prophets, for in those days it was almost impossible for them to convince people with any rational arguments. At the time the Prophet of Islam appeared, humanity had passed the period of its minority. It had reached the stage of its intellectual majority. The child of yesterday no longer depended on his mother and was able to stand on his own feet and use his brain. In such circumstances it was not unreasonable that the Prophet of Islam resisted the pressure of the disbelievers and his opponents demanding from him to work miracles. To prove the truth of his mission he solely relied on rational arguments and historical evidence. In spite of the insistence of the disbelievers the Prophet of Islam by the order of Allah refused to work miracles similar to those of the former Prophets. He relied on the Holy Qur’an alone as an incomparable miracle. Its incomparability is in itself a proof of the finality of Prophet hood. It is Book that contains truths, teachings and guidance in complete conformity with all aspects of life. It is a miracle worthy of mature humanity, not an immature humanity believing in myths and fables.

The so called our liberal- minded Muslim writer adds: “The atmosphere in which the ancient man lived was always full of myths, idle stories and supernatural ideas. Hence he was not impressed by anything unless it was contrary to what was reasonable and perceptible. That is why we find mankind throughout history to be fond of what is unknown and in search of what is supernatural. This sentimental attitude towards what is imperceptible and unreasonable is more acute among the more uncivilized. The more men are close to nature, the more they are fond of what is extra natural. Myths are an evil outcome of this situation. The man of the desert is always looking for a miracle. His world is full of spirits and wonderful mysteries. The spirit of a primitive man is moved only by what is marvellous and mysterious. That is why we see that not only the Prophets, but also the kings, the heroes and the sages of every nation have resorted to something supernatural to justify what they claimed. In these circumstances the Prophet whose mission was based on the invisible had to have recourse to a miracle more than others, for at this period of history supernatural events were more effective than logic, science and indisputable facts.”

However, the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him and his progeny) is an exception to this rule. He announced that his miracle is a Book. He made this announcement in a society, in the largest commercial city of which the number of those who knew the art of writing was not more than seven. This society never thought of anything other than boasting, the sword, the camel and male child. It is in itself a miracle that in this society he announced that his miracle was a Heavenly Book. He announced this in a country where no Heavenly Book ever existed. His Lord, Allah, the Creator swears by the ink, the pen and the writing before a people who regarded the pen as the tool of a few helpless and weak persons. This is a miracle in itself. Only that Book is a miracle which can always be seen. Unlike any other miracle it is the only miracle the marvellous and extraordinary nature of which can be more accurately understood and appreciated by those who are more wise and more learned in comparatively advanced and cultured societies. It is the only miracle the belief in which is not confined to those who have faith supernatural things. Its super naturalness can be acknowledge by any knowledge person. It is the only miracle which is not for the common people. It is for the intelligentsia, unlike miracles it is not intended to stimulate the admiration of the onlookers and to persuade them to accept a message on that basis. It is meant to educate those who accept it. It is a message in itself. The miracle of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him and his progeny), though not a human product, is not something not concerned with the human beings. Unlike the miracles of the past, it is not a device used only to make people believe, and having no other use. But his miracle represents a sort of the display of the highest human talent. It is also the best model for exercise and training, and for that a model which is always available.

The Holy Prophet tried to divert human inquisitiveness from what was extraordinary and supernatural to the rational, logical and intellectual problems and social and moral questions. His task was not so easy, especially in view of the fact that the people with whom he had to deal were not willing to submit to anything except what was unnatural. It is really astonishing how he called himself a Prophet, invited people to accept his Divine message and the same time admitted formally that he was not aware of the “unknown”. Apart from the human value of his admission, what is striking is the extraordinary truth which is felt in his actions and which compels every heart to bow to him in admiration and respect. Some people asked him to foretell what price their goods were to fetch so that they might plan accordingly to be able to earn profit and make money. The Holy Qur’an ordered him to say: I have no power to acquire for myself a benefit or to avert any trouble except by the will of Allah. If I had the knowledge of the unknown, I would have certainly acquired for myself much that is good and no harm would have touched me. I am no more than the one who gives warning and brings good news to a believing people. (Surah al-Araf, 7:188) (قل لا املک لنفسی نفعا و لا ضر ا الا ما شاء الله و لوکنت اعلم الغیب) لا ستکثرت من الخیر و ما مسنی السوء. ان انا الا نذیر و بشیر لقوم یومنون.)).

A Prophet who could make no prophecy, who did not converse with the spirits, the fairies and the jinn and who did not work a miracle every day, was no good in the sight of the people of the desert. The Holy Prophet called upon them to look into the observe piety, uprightness and faith, to acquire knowledge and to understand the meaning of life and destiny, but they ceaselessly continued to ask him to wok a miracle and make a prophecy. On the other hand Allah prompted him to say: Glory be to my Lord! I am no more than a human messenger. (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17: 93) (...قل سبحان ربی هل کنت الا بشرا رسولا).

Those who deny the occurrence of miracles rely mostly on the following Qur’anic verses saying: They say: We will not believe you unless you make a spring gush forth from the earth for us, or you have a garden of date-palms and cause rivers to flow abundantly in their midst, or you cause the sky to fall on us in pieces as you have asserted, or you bring Allah and the angels before us, or you have a house of gold, of you ascend to heaven. But even then we will not believe in you until you bring down for us a book which we can read. Say: Glory be to my Lord I am nothing but a human messenger. (Surah Bani Isra’il. 17:90-93)
(( و قالوا لن نومن لک حتی تفجر لنا من الارض ینبوعا. او تکون لک جنة من نخیل و عنب فتفجر الانهار خلالها تفجیرا. اوتسقط السماء کما زعمت علینا کسفا اتا تی بالله و الملائکة قبیلا. اویکون لک بیت من زخرف اوترقی فی السماء. و لن نومن لرقیک حتی تنزل علینا کتابا نقروه قل سبحان ربی هل کنت الا بشرا رسولا.).

They say these verses show that the idolaters asked the Holy Prophet to work a miracle other the Holy Qur’an, but he declined to accede to their demand.

B. The disputable points from the view point of liberal-minded writers
Unfortunately we cannot agree to this theory, especially in view of the points mentioned above and in view of what we have said in regard to the superiority of the Holy Qur’an to all other miracles. From our point of view the disputable points are as under:

(i) The Prophet of Islam had no miracle other than the Holy Qur’an. He refused to fulfil the demand of the idolaters who wanted him to produce some other miracle. The verses of the Surah Bani Isra’il prove this point.

(ii) As for the value and effectiveness of miracles, it may be said that they were compatible with the period of the minority of mankind when reason and logic were not effective. Even the sages and the kings had recourse to supernatural things to justify themselves. The Prophets also had to resort to them to convince their people. The Prophets of Islam whose miracle is a Book is an exception to this rule. His justifies himself by means of Book or actually by reason and logic.

(iii) The Prophet of Islam tried to divert the attention of the people from the unusual and supernatural things to the rational and logical questions and to turn their sensitivity from wonders to the actualities and facts.

Note: * In the previous section, we mentioned some orientalists and liberal-minded writers views on Miracle of the Qur’an, Now in the this section, we are going to aralyse their ideas briefly


Man and Universe- part Revelation and Prophethood- pages: 152to157


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