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God Almighty has issued forth a challenge to mankind and jinns (spirits) in the Qur’an:

And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant (Muhammad), then produce a chapter the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah , if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. [Chapter 2, verses 23-24]

Perhaps the greatest miracle of the Qur’an is its inimitability, this divine challenge has stood for over 1,400 years. God Almighty tells us that it is impossible for any human being or jinn to produce just one chapter like the Qur’an, even if we were to all aid one another in the effort:

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 were to each other assistants.” [Chapter 17, verse 88]

What’s remarkable is that the tools needed to meet this challenge are the finite grammatical rules and the twenty eight letters that comprise the Arabic language; these are independent and objective measures available to all. For argument’s sake, were the origin of the Qur’an not divine in nature, with it merely being the invention of the mind of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), then surely another human being, with equal or greater literary ability, should be able to produce a chapter like it. Many have tried and failed to meet this challenge, and this is in spite of having the very blueprint, i.e. the Qur’an itself, as an example. In addition, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was unlettered and did not have a reputation for poetry. Moreover, this is a challenge that gets harder as time passes by. As we learn more and more about the Qur’an (e.g. recent discoveries of mathematical patterns) the scope of the challenge increases as any new discovery is added to the list of criteria that a challenger must meet.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

A challenge only has merit if there are individuals capable of mounting a response. This is why it is crucial to note the historical context in which the Qur’an emerged. The Arabs at the time considered themselves (and are still considered by historians and linguists to this day) to be masters of the Arabic language. The following quotation from Ibn Rashiq illustrates the importance attached to language at the time. He writes:

“Whenever a poet emerged in an Arab tribe, other tribes would come to congratulate, feasts would be prepared, the women would join together on lutes as they do at weddings, and old and young men would all rejoice at the good news. The Arabs used to congratulate each other only on the birth of a child and when a poet rose among them.” [1]

The 9th century scholar Ibn Qutaiba defined poetry as the Arabs saw it:

“the mine of knowledge of the Arabs, the book of their wisdom the truthful witness on the day of dispute, the final proof at the time of argument.” [2]

Ibn Khaldun, a notable scholar of the 14th century, remarked on the importance of poetry in Arab life:

“It should be known that Arabs thought highly of poetry as a form of speech. Therefore, they made it the archives of their history, the evidence for what they considered right and wrong, and the principal basis of reference for most of their sciences and wisdom.” [3]

The failure of those at the peak of their trade – mastery of the Arabic language – to rival the Qur’an which challenged them should make one think. The famous British historian H. A. R. Gibb states:

“Well then, if the Qur’an were his own composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not) then let them accept the Qur’an as an outstanding evidential miracle.” [4]

A POET CHALLENGES THE QUR’AN

This is an example of the poet Musaylimah attempting (and failing) to bring something ‘like’ the Qur’an [5]:

Before embracing Islam, Amr bin Al-’As went to visit a poet known as Musaylimah.

Upon his arrival, Musaylimah said to him, “What has been revealed to your friend (Muhammad) during this time?”

Amr said, “By time. Verily, man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.”

So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, “Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.”

Amr asked him, “What is it?”

He replied, “O hyrax, O hyrax! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.”

Then he said, “What do you think, O Amr?”

So Amr said to him, “By Allah! Verily, you know that I know you are lying.”

(This is a Hyrax, in case you were wondering).

(This is a Hyrax, in case you were wondering).

By analysing the above attempt to imitate the Qur’an it can be seen that the contemporary of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) just extrapolated verses from the Qur’an, retaining its rhythm whilst lacking the linguistic features of the Qur’an. Amr was not Muslim at that point, and he clearly recognised and openly admitted that this attempt was a poor imitation of the Qur’an.

THE NATURE OF THE CHALLENGE

So then, what exactly does meeting the challenge entail? A lot of people misunderstand the Qur’an’s literary challenge to produce something like it, many assume it simply means writing something as “good” as the Qur’an.

Because of this, many skeptics point out that literary value judgments are highly subjective. This is a fair point to make. If someone says that they think a certain selection of prose or poetry is better than the Qur’an, who can argue with them? After all, isn’t it really just a matter of personal preferance and taste?

The Qur’an’s challenge, however, is not simply to write something of equal literary merit, but rather what is required is to achieve at least a comparable degree of the literary beauty, nobility, and sublimity of the Qur’an while at the same time emulating the Qur’an’s particular style.

It is possible to superficially mimic the style of the Qur’an, as was seen earlier with the poet Musaylamah’s attempt, but all such attempts from the days of Musaylimah to the present have proven to be inadequate.

It is, likewise, possible for a person writing in Arabic to reach a great level of literary excellence and, in the most moving of poetry and prose, convey the noblest thoughts and sentiments – but nobody has ever done so using the Qur’an’s unique style. The Qur’an is so unique that it created an entirely new genre of Arabic literature whilst at the same time being internally consistent in maintaining its unique style. Respected British Orientalist Arthur J Arberry states:

“For the Koran is neither prose nor poetry, but a unique fusion of both” [6]

This, then, is the acid test: write something in the exact same style as the Qur’an and in doing so produce something of arguably similar quality and sublimity.

Still, one could argue that the evaluation of the results is grounded in subjective literary tastes. However, the second part of the challenge is to bring witnesses to attest to the quality of that evaluation, and not just make an unattested claim:

“Or do they say ‘He has forged it.’ Say: ‘Then bring a chapter like it and call whoever you can besides Allah if you are truthful’.” [Chapter 10, verse 38]

WHAT SOME NON MUSLIM SCHOLARS HAVE TO SAY

French scholar Paul Casanova marvels at the language of the Qur’an:

“Whenever Muhammad was asked a miracle, as a proof of the authenticity of his mission, he quoted the composition of the Qur’an and its incomparable excellence as proof of its divine origin. And, in fact, even for those who are non-Muslims nothing is more marvellous than its language with such apprehensible plenitude and a grasping sonority… The ampleness of its syllables with a grandiose cadence and with a remarkable rhythm have been of much moment in the conversion of the most hostile and the most sceptic.” [7]

The fact that it has not been matched since it emerged to this day does not surprise most scholars familiar with the language Arabic, as Professor Palmer explains:

“That the best of Arab writers has never succeeded in producing anything equal in merit to the Qur’an itself is not surprising” [8]

Coming from a prominent Orientalist and litterateur deeply conversant with Arabic, this excerpt from A.J. Arberry’s translation of the Qur’an highlights its literary excellence:

“In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pain to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which – apart from the message itself – constitutes the Koran’s undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind.”

Here British linguist and Orientalist Dr.Steingass talks about the wider sociological impact of the Qur’an:

“Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad’s contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well-organised body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes…” [9]

Furthermore, the Qur’anic use of rhetoric and eloquence is arguably unparalleled in the Arabic language. The language of the Qur’an is precise and accurate in both meaning and expression; each letter and word has its place while the language is free from fault. The English physician, writer and scholar Henry Stubbe explains:

“The truth is I do not find any understanding author who controverts the elegance of Al Qur’an, it being generally esteemed as the standard of the Arabic language and eloquence.” [10]

Dawood, an Iraqi Jewish Scholar in his translation of the Qur’an comments describes it as a ‘literary masterpiece’:

“The Koran is the earliest and by far the finest work of Classical Arabic prose… It is acknowledged that the Koran is not only one of the most influential books of prophetic literature but also a literary masterpiece in its own right.” [11]

CONCLUSION

The Qur’an reaches, indeed defines, the peak of eloquence in the Arabic language. The Qur’an stakes its claim to divine origin on the matter of its language, by issuing a challenge to rival even its shortest chapter.

How could a man, unable to read or write and without any reputation for being a poet, become the most important author, in terms of literary merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? It is incontestably the standard of the Arabic tongue, inimitable by any human pen. If the Qur’an was written by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), why were not Arab scholars and linguists able to rival it? This renders the position of those that hold him to be the author untenable. The answer to the question of authorship lies in the Qur’an itself:

Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him. He was taught by one mighty in Power. [Chapter 53, verses 2-5]

You can download an excellent English translation of the Qur’an here (PDF file):

Quran-Saheeh-International-English-Translation

Alternatively, order your free copy here:

http://www.quranproject.org/freequran.php

References

1 – Ibn Rashiq, ‘Umda, vol. 1, p. 65.

2 – Ibn Qutaiba, ‘Uyun al-akhbar, (Cairo, 1964), vol. 2, p. 185.

3 – The Muqaddimah, volume 3, page 374.

4 – H. A. R. Gibb, Islam-A Historical Survey (Oxford University Press: 1980), 28.

5 – Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Asr.

6 – The Koran. Oxford University Press, 1998, p. x.

7 – Paul Casanova, “L’Enseignement de I’Arabe au College de France” (The Arab Teaching at the College of France), Lecon d’overture, 26 April 1909.

8 – Professor E.H. Palmer.1820. Introduction to The Koran.

9 – Dr Steingass quoted in T. P. Hughes – “Dictionary of Islam”, pp 256-257.

10 – Henry Stubbe. 1911. Rise and Progress of Mohammadanism.

11 – N. J. Dawood.1990.The Koran Translated. Doubleday.

Written by Many Prophets One Message
A CALL TO THE TRUTH

    15 Comments

  1. Maximus February 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    What kind of God would challenge his puny creatures to produce a miracle, or suffer the consequences?!

    • manyprophetsonemessage February 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read the article and leave a message.

      I think you’re misunderstanding the nature of the challenge. It’s not to belittle or threaten His creation, but rather the purpose is to make it clear to us that it’s impossible for this amazing book to have originated from a human being. As the article states, if a human being created the Qur’an, as sceptics assert, then surely another person with equal or greater literary and poetic ability would have been able to bring something similar (or better) in the 1,400 years since the Qur’an was revealed. Many have tried, but none have succeeded.

      Once we come to the realisation that the Qur’an is beyond human capability then we should acknowledge our Creator and submit our will to His. This is what Islam means, submission to the Creator. Once you do this you will attain true peace and tranquillity, not only in this life but also in the hereafter. May Allah guide us all to the truth, ameen.

      • Maximus February 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        Thank you.
        I was understanding it the way you are explaining it.
        Please, remember that although the content is unique, is similar to what we know “a book” is, this is not a ball of energy speaking every known language.

        If an omnipotent being wants to settle a matter, he can bend stars every friday.
        A “challenge” is a human used way depending in the ability of the other, and do not settle divine origin, because skilled people are rare, but possible.
        That is why I ask why a challenge (and a penalty in the next verse) rather more compelling evidence, specially to those who do not believe but are wondering with yearning of truth.
        Thank you, anyway. Peace and love be with you.

        • manyprophetsonemessage February 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm

          Thanks for your response, I appreciate your respectful tone.

          What we need to realise, is that it’s not just about the Qur’an being an amazing book, it’s also the circumstances in which it was revealed as well. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was not a skilled poet. He had no history of poetry, and in fact we know that he was an average poet at a personal level. How can a man with no experience and no training in poetry create a literary masterpiece that is so unique it created an entirely new genre of Arabic literature, and reaches, indeed defines, the peak of eloquence in the Arabic language. Prophet Muhammad often revealed new verses of the Qur’an on the spot, with no prior planning, as a response to being asked questions by Muslims and non Muslims. You can read about this in detail in this article:

          http://manyprophetsonemessage.com/2014/02/02/the-literary-magnificence-of-the-quran/

          The Qur’an’s literary magnificence is just one evidence. There are also other evidences, such as the mathematics of the Qur’an:

          http://manyprophetsonemessage.com/2013/11/10/fascinating-mathematical-symmetry-in-the-quran/

          And even embryology:

          http://manyprophetsonemessage.com/2013/11/17/embryology-in-the-quran/

          What is amazing is that we keep making more and more discoveries with each new generation, so the Qur’an remains constantly fresh and relevant for all times and all places.

          I agree with what you are saying with regards to skilled people. For example Michelangelo created the Mona Lisa, which is arguably the greatest work of art in history. But Michelangelo was only able to accomplish this after a lifetime of practice and also studying art (use of colours, light, shadow etc). To make the comparison with Prophet Muhammad, can you imagine Michelangelo creating the Mona Lisa as his first painting without ever having picked up a paintbrush in his life? It’s impossible. Yet this is what you would have to believe if Prophet Muhammad was the author of the Qur’an!

          Outside of the Qur’an, Allah has provided innumerable signs for mankind to reflect on. Whether it’s the changing of night into day and day into night, whether it’s the precise orbit of planets, and even the creation of human beings – all these are signs for those that think. The Qur’an mentions this:

          The revelation of the Book is from Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Wise. Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers. And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain [in faith]. And [in] the alternation of night and day and [in] what Allah sends down from the sky of provision and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and [in His] directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason. [42:2-5]

          For many people, just one sign is enough for them to believe. For others, no matter how many signs Allah shows them, they will never believe:

          And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they continued therein to ascend, They would say, “Our eyes have only been dazzled. Rather, we are a people affected by magic.” [15:14-15]

          So you see, for some people, no matter what Allah does, even if He opened the sky for them and made them ascend through it, they would make excuses in order not to believe and ask for even more amazing signs.

          Allah gave us free will, He will not force us to believe. It’s up to each and every one of us to make the decision of whether or not we will submit to Him.

  2. stopspamming1 March 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    It’s like challenging me to come up with “something like” the Mona Lisa.
    The challenge does not specify what needs to be fulfilled and says it can’t be done and anyone trying will be sent to hell.
    Well done.
    The entire concept is crazy because there are several of these “challenges”, all requiring different lengths because they could not make up their minds. If the second sentence “revealed” was to produce an entire Koran it would hardly be possible with 22 years of “revelation” left. So primitive.
    And even if nobody can produce anything like it, it proves absolutely nothing.
    Why are the ones who came up with solutions rejected? By what criteria? What if I take a sentence with some mistakes and correct the mistakes – it would be like the Koran and better….

    • manyprophetsonemessage March 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Hi stopspamming1,

      Thanks for your feedback, and apologies for taking so long to approve your comment. I haven’t had a chance to properly read and digest it until today.

      I think it will be easiest to respond to your points individually:

      “It’s like challenging me to come up with “something like” the Mona Lisa. The challenge does not specify what needs to be fulfilled and says it can’t be done and anyone trying will be sent to hell.”

      The verse can be broken down as follows:

      – This Qur’an can’t be imitated.
      – Attempt this challenge if you can, call as many helpers as you wish.
      – You will never be able to achieve it, because this book is not from a human being.
      – Therefore, you must acknowledge that this book is from God. If you don’t, then you will be punished in the Hellfire for refusing to submit to your Creator after the truth has manifested itself before you.

      Note that you are not punished for having just attempted the challenge, many people have attempted it, failed and then converted to Islam because they are sincere truth seekers.

      Now with regards to how to fulfil the challenge, the article clearly explains this so I will copy it here and summarise for you:

      “So then, what exactly does meeting the challenge entail? A lot of people misunderstand the Qur’an’s literary challenge to produce something like it, many assume it simply means writing something as “good” as the Qur’an.

      Because of this, many skeptics point out that literary value judgments are highly subjective. This is a fair point to make. If someone says that they think a certain selection of prose or poetry is better than the Qur’an, who can argue with them? After all, isn’t it really just a matter of personal preferance and taste?

      The Qur’an’s challenge, however, is not simply to write something of equal literary merit, but rather what is required is to achieve at least a comparable degree of the literary beauty, nobility, and sublimity of the Qur’an while at the same time emulating the Qur’an’s particular style.

      This, then, is the acid test: write something in the exact same style as the Qur’an and in doing so produce something of arguably similar quality and sublimity.”

      Because the challenge is grounded in Arabic prose and poetry which have particular forms and flow, any challenge brought forward can be objectively evaluated. The Qur’an is a unique fusion of prose and poetry, so this not a question of aesthetics which are subjective but rather an objective technical undertaking. You can read more about the technicalities of Arabic prose and poetry here:

      http://theinimitablequran.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/the-literary-form-of-the-quran/

      “The entire concept is crazy because there are several of these “challenges”, all requiring different lengths because they could not make up their minds.”

      There is just one challenge but its scope was reduced over time. At first the challenge was to produce an entire Qur’an. When no one was able to do that, God reduced the scope to just having to produce one chapter like it. No one can even achieve this.

      “And even if nobody can produce anything like it, it proves absolutely nothing. Why are the ones who came up with solutions rejected? By what criteria?”

      Again the article clearly explains this so I will copy it here and summarise for you:

      “Still, one could argue that the evaluation of the results is still grounded in subjective literary tastes. However, the second part of the challenge is to bring witnesses to attest to the quality of that evaluation, and not just make an unattested claim:

      “Or do they say ‘He has forged it.’ Say: ‘Then bring a chapter like it and call and call whoever you can besides Allah if you are truthful’.” [Chapter 10, verse 38]”

      So, bring witnesses, i.e. those who have knowledge of Arabic language and prose and poetry, experts in their field, who can testify that your attempt has matched the Qur’an.

      “What if I take a sentence with some mistakes and correct the mistakes – it would be like the Koran and better…”

      To accomplish that you first need to find a mistake in the Qur’an. Please go ahead…

      • stopspamming1 March 6, 2014 at 4:07 pm

        Hey,

        Thanks for the reply.

        I’ve been through this several times with Hamza and he constantly updates his claims, but never accepts facts and deletes it.

        First of all, there is nothing clear or precise about the wording of the Koran in anything.

        This challenge is distributed over 5 sentences with varying contents.
        17:88, 2:23, 10:37, 11:13, 52:33

        The problem with the challenge is that it is not sincere.
        “But if ye cannot – and of a surety ye cannot – then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith”. 2.24

        In addition, he simply fabricates things like “literary beauty, nobility, and sublimity of the Qur’an while at the same time emulating the Qur’an’s particular style” which is nowhere mentioned in the Koran.

        What you are doing is simply stating
        “Note that you are not punished for having just attempted the challenge, many people have attempted it, failed and then converted to Islam because they are sincere truth seekers.”
        telling me that the Koran does not say anyone who tries will fail and be tortured, which it does, and then tell me that only those who accept this claim blindly are sincere and all others are not.
        In addition you claim that those who don’t convert to Islam are automatically exempted from being called truth-seekers.

        Not exactly an honest process, is it?

        The “challenges” are not GROUNDED in Arabic prose, but are in ancient Arabic in the Koran itself. The Koran is only unique in that it codified the various Arabic dialects and slang words into a single version, nothing else.

        The language used in an essay can’t be “objectively evaluated”. That’s why we have different books in different styles. Art is not objective. There is no such thing as an “objective technical undertaking” in art.

        If I am wrong, please prove it providing evidence, not just assertions.

        How do you know “its scope was reduced over time”? How do you know with any degree of certainty what was written when? If the 15th sentence to be “revealed” in 611CE was: “produce a Koran like it”, would that make any sense? No, of course not? Was that sentence the last one to be “revealed”? Not that I know of. So the entire concept is illogical and nonsensical.

        There are several books all written in much better Arabic and some authors have matched the challenge of the Koran just for fun – and have been declared a failure. Al-Razi himself declared: “You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”?!

        Oh please! How many mistakes in the Koran have I shown up? Are you really so ignorant? You disappoint me.

        I will humour you: all I need to do is replace the word “forbidden” in 6:151 with “commanded” and I have created a sentence better than in the Koran.

        • manyprophetsonemessage March 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm

          In addition, he simply fabricates things like “literary beauty, nobility, and sublimity of the Qur’an while at the same time emulating the Qur’an’s particular style” which is nowhere mentioned in the Koran.

          This has been the understanding of the nature of the challenge since the days of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by not only his companions but also his enemies. There are numerous narrations recorded in Islamic history which prove this is exactly how Prophet Muhammad’s contemporaries understood those verses. Here are just two examples which will suffice:

          1. Unays said: “I have something to do in Makkah; so stay with my mother.” Unays set out until he came to Makkah and he delayed in coming back, then he came back, and I asked him, “What did you do? He replied: “I met a man in Makkah on your religion, who claims that Allaah had sent him as a Prophet.” I asked: “What are the people saying?” He replied: “They say he is a poet, a fortune-teller, a magician.” Now, Unays was a poet, so he said, “I have heard the words of the fortune-tellers, but it is not like what they say; and I have compared his words to the kinds, methods and rhymes of poetry and it does not correspond to any of them, i.e. it is not poetry; I swear by Allaah, he is truthful and they are liars…”). [Sahih Muslim]

          The key thing to note is this:

          “I have compared his words to the kinds, methods and rhymes of poetry and it does not correspond to any of them…”

          This shows that the Qur’an was acknowledged to be something unique, something unlike all the forms of classical Arabic poetry known before it.

          2. Amr bin Al-’As went to visit a poet known as Musaylimah.
          Upon his arrival, Musaylimah said to him, “What has been revealed to your friend (Muhammad) during this time?”
          Amr said, “By time. Verily, man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.”
          So Musaylimah thought for a while. Then he said, “Indeed something similar has also been revealed to me.”
          Amr asked him, “What is it?”
          He replied, “O hyrax, O hyrax! You are only two ears and a chest, and the rest of you is digging and burrowing.”
          Then he said, “What do you think, O Amr?”
          So Amr said to him, “By Allah! Verily, you know that I know you are lying.” [Tafsir Ibn KAthir]

          The key thing to note is this:

          Musaylimah mimicked the rhyming style of the Qur’an, but his attempt was rejected by Amr. Why? It only superficially mimicked the Qur’an, because it had no meaningful or profound content. The content was in fact quite childish.

          Thus, we can sum up the contemporary understanding of the Qur’an challenge as follows:

          Replicate the Qur’an’s unique style, a style which can’t fall into any of the known types/metres of non-Qur’anic poetry/prose that exist in classical Arabic, and in doing so provide content which has literary beauty, nobility, sublimity etc. Basically something a little more sophisticated and profound than a childish description of an animal.

          The “challenges” are not GROUNDED in Arabic prose, but are in ancient Arabic in the Koran itself. The Koran is only unique in that it codified the various Arabic dialects and slang words into a single version, nothing else.

          What is your evidence for this assertion? I have already provided evidence that the contemporaries of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) acknowledged the Qur’an’s unique literary form, a form which did not match any of the known metres of classical Arabic poetry. These are people who were experts in the field. This proves that the Qur’an invented an entirely new genre of literature.

          The language used in an essay can’t be “objectively evaluated”. That’s why we have different books in different styles. Art is not objective. There is no such thing as an “objective technical undertaking” in art. If I am wrong, please prove it providing evidence, not just assertions.

          I would agree with you if the Qur’an were a picture book, because art is completely subjective. Your comparison to art is incorrect, because the Qur’an is grounded in classical Arabic poetry and prose. This is a medium that has measures and metres which allow one to objectively classify and compare one work against another.

          How do you know “its scope was reduced over time”? How do you know with any degree of certainty what was written when? If the 15th sentence to be “revealed” in 611CE was: “produce a Koran like it”, would that make any sense? No, of course not? Was that sentence the last one to be “revealed”? Not that I know of. So the entire concept is illogical and nonsensical.

          We don’t claim that it is an easy process, the Qur’an is not arranged chronologically so it is a science in and of itself to determine the chronological order or surahs and verses.

          I don’t see how it’s relevant to the discussion at hand though. You seem to be saying there are a few of these challenges and they vary slightly. Fine, pick any one you like and show that it has been met. Don’t forget to bring your witnesses to testify to your claims though.

          There are several books all written in much better Arabic and some authors have matched the challenge of the Koran just for fun – and have been declared a failure. Al-Razi himself declared: “You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”?!

          Assertions, nothing but assertions. From what I can see of al-Razi he was an alchemist and philosopher, not a poet. Which of his works are better than the Qur’an? Are they written in the unique style of the Qur’an? Why are they better? Do you think they are better from a subjective artistic point of view, or by means of comparison using the metres of classical Arabic poetry? Who are the experts in classical Arabic poetry that testify to these claims? You say that it’s all subjective, but then go on to make an objective claim about the Qur’an being inferior, your position is inconsistent.

          Al-Razi’s statement about the Qur’an “not containing any useful information” is silly. Even non Muslims will agree that Muhammad is one of, if not the, most influential people in history. Therefore the Qur’an at the very least contains invaluable information about him from a historical perspective. It’s difficult to take such a person seriously when they’ve made such hyperbolic statements.

          Tell me please, whose testimony carries more weight – al-Razi who comes across as a hater, or the sworn enemies of Prophet Muhammad who admitted that the Qur’an was special? Please try and rationalise why his enemeies, who were much more skilled poets than him at a personal level, would openly admit this. This fact alone is enough to refute your claims.

          Oh please! How many mistakes in the Koran have I shown up? Are you really so ignorant? You disappoint me.

          Let’s keep this civil please, no need to get personal or aggressive. As the Qur’an tells us, truth stands out clearly from falsehood. If you have anything of substance then let it speak for itself.

          I will humour you: all I need to do is replace the word “forbidden” in 6:151 with “commanded” and I have created a sentence better than in the Koran.

          Likewise I will reciprocate and humour you. Let’s apply your ‘improvement’ and see how it fares:

          This is the full verse in context:

          Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.” [6:151]

          You said that changing this…

          “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right.”

          To this…

          “And do not kill the soul which Allah has commanded [to be killed] except by [legal] right.”

          …results in an improvement. Your change actually butchers the Qur’an, because it no longer makes sense. Why would Allah tell Muslims not to kill a soul that he has commanded? The clause afterward (“except by right”) is now superfluous, because based on Allah’s Just nature He only commands that which is legal, right and just. You have now introduced a command into a list of prohibitions, thus breaking the flow and consistency. If you can’t even improve on what already exists, how could you ever hope to bring something completely original that matches it!

          • stopspamming1 March 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

            Are you going to write more and more every time I show how fallacious your argumemts are?

            I state that there is nothing mentioned about this in the Koran and you reply with some human made claims. How can you compare Koran and hadith?

            “Replicate the Qur’an’s unique style” is not what is demanded in the Koran. YOU are adding the qualifier “unique”.
            All it is, is the proof of human creativity, nothing more.

            You used the word “grounded”, making it more pompous than it is. It’s only language. Man-made language.

            No, you maybe THINK you are providing what you call “evidence” but it’s just assertions and unproven claims. Yes, I acknowledge the Koran was the first written work codifying Arabic. There were different dialects used in different regions, just like today. Hahaha, you are strange. Have I just invented a new type of essay? Well, strictly speaking yes, because nobody has ever written before, what I have just written.

            No, man, art is anything, not just paintings. The Koran is not “grounded” in anything, it just took a language style, mixed different dialects, which was then taken as basis for Arabic, what today is ancient Arabic. No, why do I need to repeat this? There is NO OBJECTIVE measurement for eloquence or writing style. You are making this up. You can classify all you want – but you can’t quantify or measure style.

            Oh please! Don’t use the word science if you don’t understand it. This is getting frustrating. You are not making sense and only repeating primitive propaganda. If I show you how illogical your claim is, you don’t understand it and say it is irrelevant. It is because it makes the entire challenge fall flat on its face.

            Oh boy, this is tedious. I think you don’t want an honest discussion. You only want your version and nothing else.

            Can’t you follow simple instructions? I said replace forbidden with commanded.
            what your Lord has forbidden to you … to parents, good treatment
            what your Lord has commanded to you … to parents, good treatment

            Which makes more sense?

            So I can improve the Koran and make it better. I have fulfilled the challenge and everyone will agree.

          • manyprophetsonemessage March 7, 2014 at 10:01 pm

            I had to sift through quite a few ad hominems but there are a few nuggets worthy of a response:

            I state that there is nothing mentioned about this in the Koran and you reply with some human made claims. How can you compare Koran and hadith?

            So hadith don’t count as evidence according to you, how convenient.

            You are wrong by the way, hadith that reach a certain grading are regarded on the same level of reliability as the Qur’an. I quoted from Sahih Muslim, one of the most reliable collections of hadith in existence.

            No, you maybe THINK you are providing what you call “evidence” but it’s just assertions and unproven claims. Yes, I acknowledge the Koran was the first written work codifying Arabic. There were different dialects used in different regions, just like today.

            If the Qur’an were nothing more than a codex of different Arabic dialects then there would be no need for the multiple modes, or ahruf, that exist:

            “The Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it that which is easier for you.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

            Each mode represents a specific dialect, e.g. the Qurayshi dialect, not a mixture. These modes of recitation were revealed to make it easier for Arabs of different dialects to understand the Qur’an.

            Can’t you follow simple instructions? I said replace forbidden with commanded.
            what your Lord has forbidden to you … to parents, good treatment
            what your Lord has commanded to you … to parents, good treatment

            Which makes more sense?

            My apologies, the original Arabic has two instances of the word ‘forbidden’ (har-rama) in that verse and I only spotted the second instance. Your change still butchers the original, because the overall theme of that verse is things that are not allowed (“not associate anything with Him…”, “not kill your children…”, “not approach immoralities…” etc). So the word ‘forbidden’ is more appropriate than your substitution ‘commanded’.

            Even for the sake of argument, if I accepted that your modification is superior, all you have done is change one word for another. You’ve not brought something like the Qur’an, as per the challenge, rather you’ve brought the Qur’an!

            So I can improve the Koran and make it better. I have fulfilled the challenge and everyone will agree.

            You contradict your own position. You claim that the medium of the Qur’an is purely art, thereby ignoring the science behind the metres of classical Arabic poetry, and therefore hold the stance that you can’t objectively compare different works of classical poetry. Yet you bring forward a change to the Qur’an and objectively state that you have created something improved and better. Seems to me like the Qur’an’s challenge is only subjective so long as you have zero chance of fulfilling it! I’ll take this as tacit acceptance from you that we can indeed measure and evaluate these works objectively.

            Finally, I can see that you completely ignored my questions when I called you out about al-Razi. This was entirely expected.

          • stopspamming1 March 7, 2014 at 11:55 pm

            }”I had to sift through quite a few ad hominems”
            Ah, you don’t know logical fallacies and what an ad hominem really is. But I’m used to it, so I’ll ignore it.

            “hadith don’t count as evidence”
            No, not when I am talking about the Koran.

            And no, hadith are fabricated fairy tales. But since the Koran was fabricated by humans as well, you are right, they both have the same level of reliability.

            Oh goodness, the recitation does not change contents, just pronunciation and local variations, again, according to humans. You don’t seem to speak Arabic or you would know that in Arabic, the words in Morocco are different from thgose in Egypt which are different from those in Yemen. So the situation was worse in the 8th century, when tribes in Oman spoke a vastly different dialect compared to those in Yemen or the Hijaz. Scripts such as Hijaz and Kufic were different from each other and time.
            Don’t you know anything about Islamic history?

            “original Arabic has two instances of the word ‘forbidden’ (har-rama) in that verse”
            No, there’s only 1. there are others in other sentences or parts of the chapter, but here there’s only 1.

            You are side-stepping and either lying or ignorant or stupid. No, forbidden cannot be right, because prohibiting Muslims from treating their parents well is hardly the intention.

            I have corrected a mistake and have brought a sentence like the sentence in the Koran, but better, yes, by improving a single word. Show me in the instructions that this is not permissible.

            Stop waffling. There is no “science behind the metres of classical Arabic poetry”. How many times do I need to tell you this before you understand?

            I ignored the rest because it was simply too stupid. I want facts and not some emotional wishy washy.

            But anyway, I know the standard Muslim procedure, when you are down and unable to respond factually you insult people and then block them and erase everything as though nothing happened.

  3. m0stafa1 March 6, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Reblogged this on ilmsharif.

  4. thisisownage May 30, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Can you do an article about the Kabba in the Bible, look at Psalms 84 and IslamQA has an article on this – it’s quite good.

    • manyprophetsonemessage May 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      That’s a good suggestion, jazak Allah khayr. Insha’Allah the next article is going to be about how Ishmael has been written out of the Torah.