The Quran: A proof of authenticity
It must be stressed here that the Quran is accurate about many, many things, but accuracy does not necessarily mean that a book is a divine revelation. In fact, accuracy is only one of the criteria for divine revelations. For instance, the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean that it is divinely revealed. The real problem lies in that one must establish some proof of the source the Quran’s information. The emphasis is in the other direction, in that the burden of proof is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the Quran’s authenticity without sufficient proof. If, indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to disqualify it. This is exactly what the Quran encourages.
Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered in South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said, and so he claimed, “I am going to go home tonight and find a mistake in the Quran.” Of course, I said, “Congratulations. That is the most intelligent thing that you have said.” Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with those who doubt the Quran’s authenticity, because the Quran itself offers the same challenge. And inevitably, after accepting it’s challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Quran earns their respect because they themselves have had to verify its authenticity.
An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough concerning the authenticity of the Quran is that one’s inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon’s existence or another person’s explanation of it. Specifically, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else’s explanation. However, the person’s refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Quranic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says, “I do not believe it.” At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others’ answers are inadequate.
In fact, in one particular Quranic verse which I have always seen mistranslated into English, Allah mentions a man who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he was derelict in his duty because after he heard the information, he left without checking the verity of what he had heard. In other words, one is guilty if he hears something and does not research it and check to see whether it is true. One is supposed to process all information and decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is worthwhile information to be kept and benefited from immediately or even at a later date.
One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It must be put in the proper categories and approached from that point of view. For example, if the information is still speculatory, then one must discern whether it’s closer to being true or false. But if all the facts have been presented, then one must decide absolutely between these two options. And even if one is not positive about the authenticity of the information, he is still required to process all the information and make the admission that he just does not know for sure. Although this last point appears to be futile, in actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person to at least recognize research and review the facts.
This familiarity with the information will give the person “the edge” when future discoveries are made and additional information is presented. The important thing is that one deals with the facts and does not simply discard them out of empathy and disinterest.
Exhausting the Alternatives
The real certainty about the truthfulness of the Quran is evident in the confidence which is prevalent throughout it; and this confidence comes from a different approach – “Exhausting the alternatives.” In essence, the Quran states, “This book is a divine revelation; if you do not believe that, then what is it?” In other words, the reader is challenged to come up with some other explanation. Here is a book made of paper and ink. Where did it come from? It says it is a divine revelation; if it is not, then what is its source?
The interesting fact is that no one has yet come up with an explanation that works. In fact, all alternatives have bee exhausted. As has been well established by non-Muslims, these alternatives basically are reduced to two mutually exclusive schools of thought, insisting on one or the other.
On one hand, there exists a large group of people who have researched the Quran for hundreds of years and who claim, “One thing we know for sure – that man, Muhammad, thought he was a prophet. He was crazy!” They are convinced that Muhammad was fooled somehow. Then on the other hand, there is a group which alleges, “Because of this evidence, one thing we know for sure is that that man, Muhammad was a liar!” Ironically, these two groups never seem to get together without contradicting.
In fact, many references to Islam usually claim both theories. They start out by stating that Muhammad was crazy and then end by saying he was a liar. They never seem to realize that he could not have been both! For example, if one is deluded and really thinks that he is a prophet, then he does not sit up late at night planning, “How will I fool the people tomorrow so that they think I am a prophet?” He truly believes that he is a prophet, and he trusts that the answer will be given to him by revelation.
The critic’s trail
As a matter of fact, a great deal of the Quran came in answer to questions. Someone would ask Muhammad a question, and the revelation would come with the answer to it. Certainly, if one is crazy and believes that an angel put words in his ear, then when someone asks him a question, he thinks that the angel will give him the answer. Because he is crazy, he really thinks that. He does not tell someone to wait a short while and then run to his friends and ask them, “Does anyone know the answer?”
This type of behavior is characteristic of one who does not believe that he is a prophet. What the non-Muslims refuse to accept is that you cannot have it both ways. One can be deluded, or he can be a liar. He can be either one or neither one, but he certainly cannot be both! The emphasis is on the fact that they are unquestionably mutually exclusive personality traits.
The following scenario is a good example of the kind of circle that non-Muslims go around in constantly. If you ask one of them, “What is the origin of the Quran?” He tells you that it originated from the mind of a man who was crazy. Then you ask him, “If it came from his head, then where did he get the information contained in it? Certainly the Quran mentions many things with which the Arabs were not familiar.” So in order to explain the fact which you bring him, he changes his position and says, “Well, maybe he was not crazy. Maybe some foreigner brought him the information. So he lied and told people that he was a prophet.” At this point then you have to ask him, “If Muhammad was a liar, then where did he get his confidence? Why did he behave as though he really thought he was a prophet?”
Finally backed into a corner, like a cat he quickly lashes out with the first response that comes to his mind. Forgetting that he has already exhausted that possibility, he claims, “Well, maybe he wasn’t a liar. He was probably crazy and really thought that he was a prophet.” And thus he begins the futile cycle again.
As has already been mentioned, there is much information contained in the Quran whose source cannot be attributed to anyone other than Allah. For example, who told Muhammad about the wall of Zul-Qarnayn – a place hundreds of miles to the north? Who told him about embryology? When people assemble facts such as these, if they are not willing to attribute their existence to a divine source, they automatically resort to the assumption someone brought Muhammad the information and that he used it to fool the people.
However, this theory can easily be disproved with one simple question: “If Muhammad was a liar, where did he get his confidence? Why did he tell some people outright to their face what others could never say?” Such confidence depends completely upon being convinced that one has a true divine revelation.
A revelation – Abu-Lahab
Prophet Muhammad had an uncle by the name of Abu-Lahab. This man hated Islam to such an extent that he used to follow the Prophet around in order to discredit him. If Abu-Lahab saw the Prophet speaking to a stranger, he would wait until they parted and he would go to the stranger and ask him, “What did he tell you? Did he say, ‘Black’? Well, it’s white. Did he say ‘morning’? Well, it’s night.” He faithfully said the exact opposite of whatever he heard Muhammad and the Muslims say.
However, about ten years before Abu-Lahab died, a little chapter in the Quran (Chapter al-Lahab, 111) was revealed about him. It distinctly stated that he would go to the fire (i.e., Hell). In other words, it affirmed that he would never become a Muslim and would therefore be condemned forever. For ten years all Abu-Lahab had to do was say, “I heard that it has been revealed to Muhammad that I will never change – that I will never become a Muslim and will enter the Hellfire. Well, I want to become Muslim now. How do you like that? What do you think of your divine revelation now?” But he never did that. And yet, that is exactly the kind of behavior one would have expected from him since he always sought to contradict Islam.
In essence, Muhammad said, “You hate me and you want to finish me? Here, say these words, and I am finished. Come on, say them!” But Abu-Lahab never said them. Ten years! And in all that time he never accepted Islam or even became sympathetic to the Islamic cause.
How could Muhammad possibly have known for sure that Abu-Lahab would fulfil the Quranic revelation if he (i.e., Muhammad) was not truly the messenger of Allah? How could he possibly have been so confident as to give someone 10 years to discredit his claim of prophethood? The only answer is that he was Allah’s messenger; for in order to put forth such a risky challenge, one has to be entirely convinced that he has a divine revelation.
Another example of the confidence which Muhammad had in his own prophethood and consequently in the divine protection of himself and his message is when he left Mecca and hid in a cave with Abu-Bakr during their emigration to Madinah. The two clearly saw people coming to kill them, and Abu-Bakr was afraid.
Certainly, if Muhammad was a liar, a forger and one who was trying to fool the people into believing that he was a prophet, one would have expected him to say in such a circumstance to his friend, “Hey, Abu-Bakr, see if you can find a back way out of this cave.” Or “Squat down in that corner over there and keep quiet.” Yet, in fact, what he said to Abu-Bakr clearly illustrated his confidence. He told him, “Relax! Allah is with us, and Allah will save us!” Now, if one knows that he is fooling the people, where does one get this kind of attitude? In fact, such a frame of mind is not characteristic of a liar or a forger at all.
So, as has been previously mentioned, the non-Muslims go around and around in a circle, searching for a way out – some way to explain the findings in the Quran without attributing them to their proper source. On one hand, they tell you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, “The man was a liar,” and on the other hand, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they tell you, “He was crazy.” What they refuse to accept is that one cannot have it both ways; yet they need both theories, both excuses to explain the information in the Quran.
An encounter with a minister
Useful links seven years ago, I had a minister over to my home. In the particular room which we were sitting there was a Quran on the table, face down, and so the minister was not aware of which book it was. In the midst of a discussion, I pointed to the Quran and said:
“I have confidence in that book.” Looking at the Quran but not knowing which book it was, he replied, “Well, I tell you, if that book is not the Bible, it was written by a man!” In response to his statement, I said, “Let me tell you something about what is in that book.” And in just three to four minutes, I related to him a few things contained in the Quran. After just those three or four minutes, he completely changed his position and declared, “You are right. A man did not write that book. The Devil wrote it!”
Indeed, possessing such an attitude is very unfortunate – for many reasons. For one thing, it is a very quick and cheap excuse. It is an instant exit out of an uncomfortable situation.
As a matter of fact, there is a famous story in the Bible that mentions how one day some of the Jews were witnesses when Jesus raised a man from the dead. The man had been dead for four days, and when Jesus arrived, he simply said, “Get up!” and the man arose and walked away. At such a sight, some of the Jews who were watching said disbelievingly, “This is the Devil. The Devil helped him!”
Now this story is rehearsed very often in churches all over the world, and people cry big tears over it, saying, “Oh, if I had been there, I would not have been as stupid as the Jews!” Yet, ironically, these people do exactly what the Jews did when in just three minutes you show them only a small part of the Quran and all they can say is, “Oh, the Devil did it. The devil wrote that book!” Because they are truly backed into a corner and have no other viable answer, they resort to the quickest and cheapest excuse available.
The source of the Quran
Another example of people’s use of this weak stance can be found in the Meccans’ explanation of the source of Muhammad’s message. They used to say, “The devils bring Muhammad that Quran!” But just as with every suggestion made, the Quran gives the answer.
One versein particular states: “And they say, ‘Surely he is possessed (by jinn)’ but it (the Quran) is not except a reminder to the worlds.”
Thus it gives an argument in reply to such a theory. In fact, there are many arguments in the Quran in reply to the suggestion that devils brought Muhammad his message. For example, in the 26th chapter Allah clearly affirms:
“No evil ones have brought down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it). Indeed they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it.”
And in another place in the Quran, Allah instructs us: “So when you recite the Quran seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the rejected one.”
Now is this how Satan writes a book? He tells one, “Before you read my book, ask God to save you from me?” This is very, very tricky. Indeed, a man could write something like this, but would Satan do this? Many people clearly illustrate that they cannot come to one conclusion on this subject. On one hand, they claim that Satan would not do such a thing and that even if he could, God would not allow him to; yet, on the other hand, they also believe that Satan is only that much less than God. In essence they allege that the Devil can probably do whatever God can do. And as a result, when they look at the Quran, even as surprised as they are as to how amazing it is, they still insist, “The Devil did this!”
Praise be to Allah, Muslims do not have that attitude. Although Satan may have some abilities, they are a long way separated from the abilities of Allah. And no Muslim is a Muslim unless he believes that. It is common knowledge even among non-Muslims that the Devil can easily make mistakes, and it would be expected that he would contradict himself if and when he wrote a book. For indeed, the Quran states:
“Do they not consider the Quran? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.”
In conjunction with the excuses that non-Muslims advance in futile attempts to justify unexplainable verses in the Quran, there is another attack often rendered which seems to be a combination of the theories that Muhammad was crazy and a liar. Basically, these people propose that Muhammad was insane, and as a result of his delusion, he lied to and misled people. There is a name for this in psychology. It is referred to as mythomania. It means simply that one tells lies and then believes them.
This is what the non-Muslims say Muhammad suffered from. But the only problem with this proposal is that one suffering from mythomania absolutely cannot deal with any facts, and yet the whole Quran is based entirely upon facts. Everything contained in it can be researched and established as true. Since facts are such a problem for a mythomaniac, when a psychologist tries to treat one suffering from that condition, he continually confronts him with facts.
For example, if one is mentally ill and claims, “I am the king of England,” a psychologist does not say to him “No you aren’t. You are crazy!” He just does not do that. Rather, he confronts him with facts and says, “OK, you say you are the king of England. So tell me where the queen is today. And where is your prime minister? And where are your guards?” Now, when the man has trouble trying to deal with these questions, he tries to make excuses, saying “Uh… the queen… she has gone to her mother’s. Uh… the prime minister… well he died.” And eventually he is cured because he cannot deal with the facts. If the psychologist continues confronting him with enough facts, finally he faces the reality and says, “I guess I am not the king of England.”
The Quran approaches everyone who reads it in very much the same way a psychologist treats his mythomania patient. There is a verse in the Quran which states:
“O mankind, there has come to you an admonition (the Quran) from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts – and guidance and mercy for the believers.”
At first glance, this statement appears vague, but the meaning of this verse is clear when one views it in light of the aforementioned example. Basically, one is healed of his delusions by reading the Quran. In essence, it is therapy. It literally cures deluded people by confronting them with facts. A prevalent attitude throughout the Quran is one which says, “O mankind, you say such and such about this; but what about such and such? How can you say this when you know that?” And so forth. It forces one to consider what is relevant and what matters while simultaneously healing one of the delusions that facts presented to mankind by Allah can easily be explained away with flimsy theories and excuses.
New Catholic Encyclopedia
It is this very sort of thing – confronting people with facts – that had captured the attention of many non-Muslims. In fact, there exists a very interesting reference concerning this subject in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. In an article under the subject of the Quran, the Catholic Church states:
“Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Quran… Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories!!”
Now here is the age-old Catholic Church, which has been around for so many centuries, denying these futile attempts to explain away the Quran.
Indeed, the Quran is a problem for the Catholic Church. It states that it is revelation, so they study it. Certainly, they would love to find proof that it is not, but they cannot. They cannot find a viable explanation. But at least they are honest in their research and do not accept the first unsubstantiated interpretation which comes along.
The Church states that in fourteen centuries it has not yet been presented a sensible explanation. At least it admits that the Quran is not an easy subject to dismiss. Certainly, other people are much less honest. They quickly say, “Oh, the Quran came from here. The Quran came from there.” And they do not even examine the credibility of what they are stating most of the time.
Of course, such a statement by the Catholic Church leaves the everyday Christian in some difficulty. It just may be that he has his own ideas as to the origin of the Quran, but as a single member of the Church, he cannot really act upon his own theory. Such an action would be contrary to the obedience, allegiance and loyalty which the Church demands. By virtue of his membership, he must accept what the Catholic Church declares without question and establish its teachings as part of his everyday routine.
So, in essence, if the Catholic Church as a whole is saying, “Do not listen to these unconfirmed reports about the Quran,” then what can be said about the Islamic point of view? If even non-Muslims are admitting that there is something to the Quran – something that has to be acknowledged – then why are people so stubborn and defensive and hostile when Muslims advance the very same theory? This is certainly something for those with a mind to contemplate – something to ponder for those of understanding!
Testimony of an intellectual
Recently, the leading intellectual in the Catholic Church – a man by the name of Hans – studied the Quran and gave his opinion of what he had read. This man has been around for some time, and he is highly respected in the Catholic Church, and after careful scrutiny, he reported his findings, concluding, “God has spoken to man through the man, Muhammad.”
Again this is a conclusion arrived at by a non-Muslim source – the very leading intellectual of the Catholic Church himself!
I do not think that the Pope agrees with him, but nonetheless, the opinion of such a noted, reputed public figure must carry some weight in defense of the Muslim position. He must be applauded for facing the reality that the Quran is not something which can be easily pushed aside and that, in fact God is the source of these words.
As is evident from the aforementioned information, all of the possibilities have been exhausted, so the chance of finding another possibility of dismissing the Quran is nonexistent.
The burden of proof on the critic
If the book is not a revelation, then it is a deception; and if it is a deception, one must ask, “What is its origin? And where does it deceive us?” Indeed, the true answers to these questions shed light on the Quran’s authenticity and silence the bitter unsubstantiated claims of the unbelievers.
Certainly, if people are going to insist that the Quran is a deception, then they must bring forth evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof is on them, not us! One is never supposed to advance a theory without sufficient corroborating facts; so I say to them, “Show me one deception! Show me where the Quran deceives me! Show me; otherwise, don’t say that it is a deception!”
Origin of the universe and life
An interesting characteristic of the Quran is how it deals with surprising phenomena which relate not only to the past but to modern times as well. In essence, the Quran is not an old problem. It is still a problem even today – a problem to the non-Muslims that is. For every day, every week, every year brings more and more evidence that the Quran is a force to be contended with – that its authenticity is no longer to be challenged! For example, one verse in the Quran reads:
“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder, and made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe?”
Ironically, this very information is exactly what they awarded the 1973 Noble Prize for – to a couple of unbelievers.
The Quran reveals the origin of the universe – how it began from one piece – and mankind continues to verify this revelation, even up to now. Additionally, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been an easy thing to convince people of fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, if 1400 years ago you had stood in the desert and told someone, “All of this, you see (pointing to yourself), is made up of mostly water,” no one would have believed you. Proof of that was not available until the invention of the microscope. They had to wait to find out that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell, is made up of 80% water. Nonetheless, the evidence did come, and once again the Quran stood the test of time.
More on falsification test
In reference to the falsification tests mentioned earlier, it is interesting to note that they, too, relate to both the past and the present. Some of them were used as illustrations of Allah’s omnipotence and knowledge, while others continue to stand as challenges to the present day. An example of the former is the statement made in the Quran about Abu-Lahab. It clearly illustrates that Allah, the Knower of the Unseen, knew that Abu-Lahab would never change his ways and accept Islam. Thus Allah dictated that he would be condemned to the Hellfire forever. Such a chapter was both an illustration of Allah’s divine wisdom and a warning to those who were like Abu-Lahab.
People of the book
An interesting example of the latter type of falsification tests contained in the Quran is the verse which mentions the relationship between the Muslims and the Jews. The verse is careful not to narrow its scope to the relationship between individual members of each religion, but rather, it summarizes the relationship between the two groups of people as a whole. In essence, the Quran states that Christians will always treat the Muslims better than the Jews will treat the Muslims. Indeed, the full impact of such a statement can only be felt after careful consideration of the real meaning of such a verse. It is true that many Christians and many Jews have become Muslims, but as a whole, the Jewish community is to be viewed as an avid enemy of Islam.
Additionally, very few people realize what such an open declaration in the Quran invites. In essence, it is an easy chance for the Jews to prove that the Quran is false – that it is not a divine revelation. All they have to do is organize themselves, treat the Muslims nicely for a few years and then say, “Now what does your holy book say about who are your best friends in the world – the Jews or the Christians? Look what we Jews have done for you!”
That is all they have to do to disprove the Quran’s authenticity, yet they have not done it in 1400 years. But, as always, the offer still stands open!
A mathematical approach
All of the examples so far given concerning the various angles from which one can approach the Quran have undoubtedly been subjective in nature; however, there does exist another angle, among others, which is objective and whose basis is mathematical.
It is surprising how authentic the Quran becomes when one assembles what might be referred to as a list of good guesses. Mathematically, it can be explained using guessing and prediction examples. For instance, if a person has two choices (i.e., one is right, and one is wrong), and he closes his eyes and makes a choice, then half of the time (i.e., one time out of two) he will be right. Basically, he has a one in two chance, for he could pick the wrong choice, or he could pick the right choice.
Now if the same person has two situations like that (i.e., he could be right or wrong about situation number one, and he could be right or wrong about situation number two), and he closes his eyes and guesses, then he will only be right one-fourth of the time (i.e., one time out of four).
He now has a one in four chance because now there are three ways for him to be wrong and only one way for him to be right. In simple terms, he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two.
Of course, the (only instance in which he could be totally right is the last scenario where he could guess correctly in both situations. The odds of his guessing completely correctly have become greater because the number of situations for him to guess in have increased; and the mathematical equation representing such a scenario is 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 (i.e., one time out of two for the first situation multiplied by one time out of two for the second situation).
Continuing on with the example, if the same person now has three situations in which to make blind guesses, then he will only be right one-eighth of the time (i.e., one time out of eight or 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 ). Again, the odds of choosing the correct choice in all three situations have decreased his chances of being completely correct to only one time in eight. It must be understood that as the number of situations increase, the chances of being right decrease, for the two phenomena are inversely proportional.
Now applying this example to the situations in the Quran, if one draws up a list of all of the subjects about which the Quran has made correct statements, it becomes very clear that it is highly unlikely that they were all just correct blind guesses. Indeed, the subjects discussed in the Quran are numerous, and thus the odds of someone just making lucky guesses about all of them become practically nil. If there are a million ways for the Quran to be wrong, yet each time it is right, then it is unlikely that someone was guessing.
The following three examples of subjects about which the Quran has made correct statements collectively illustrate how the Quran continues to beat the odds.
The female bee
In the 16th chapter, the Quran mentions that the female bee leaves its home to gather food. “And your Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations;” Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: their issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.
Now, a person might guess on that, saying, “The bee that you see flying around – it could be male, or it could be female. I think I will guess female.” Certainly, he has a one in two chance of being right. So it happens that the Quran is right. But it also happens that that was not what most people believed at the time when the Quran was revealed. Can you tell the difference between a male and a female bee? Well, it takes a specialist to do that, but it has been discovered that the male bee never leaves his home to gather food.
However, in Shakespeare’s play, Henry the Fourth, some of the characters discuss bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespeare’s time – that the bees that one sees flying around are male bees and that they go home and answer to a king. However, that is not true at all. The fact is that they are females, and they answer to a queen. Yet it took modern scientific investigations in the last 300 years to discover that this is the case.
So, back to the list of good guesses, concerning the topic of bees, the Quran had a 50/50 chance of being right, and the odds were one in two.
In addition to the subject of bees, the Quran also discusses the sun and the manner in which it travels through space. Again, a person can guess on that subject. When the sun moves through space, there are two options: it can travel just as a stone would travel if one threw it, or it can move of its own accord. The Quran states the latter – that it moves as a result of its own motion:
“It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.”.
To do such, the Quran uses a form of the word sabbaha to describe the sun’s movement through space. In order to properly provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the implications of this Arabic verb, the following example is given.
If a man is in water and the verb sabbaha is applied in reference to his movement, it can be understood that he is swimming, moving of his own accord and not as a result of a direct force applied to him. Thus when this verb is used in reference to the sun’s movement through space, it in no way implies that the sun is flying uncontrollably through space as a result of being hurled or the like. It simply means that the sun is turning and rotating as it travels. Now, this is what the Quran affirms, but was it an easy thing to discover? Can any common man tell that the sun is turning?
Only in modern times was the equipment made available to project the image of the sun onto a tabletop so that one could look at it without being blinded. And through this process, it was discovered that not only are there spots on the sun but that these spots move once every 25 days. This movement is referred to as the rotation of the sun around its axis and conclusively proves that, as the Quran stated 1400 years ago, the sun does, indeed, turn as it travels through space.
And returning once again to the subject of good guesses, the odds of guessing correctly about both subjects – the sex of bees and the movement of the sun – are one in four!
Seeing as back fourteen centuries ago people probably did not understand much about time zones, the Quran’s statements about this subject are considerably surprising. The concept that one family is having breakfast as the sun comes up while another family is enjoying the brisk night air is truly something to be marveled at, even in modern time. Indeed, fourteen centuries ago, a man could not travel more than thirty miles in one day, and thus it took him literally months to travel from India to Morocco, for example. And probably, when he was having supper in Morocco, he thought to himself, “Back home in India they are having supper right now.” This is because he did not realize that, in the process of traveling, he moved across a time zone. Yet, because it is the words of Allah, the All-Knowing, the Quran recognizes and acknowledges such a phenomenon.
In an interesting verse it states that when history comes to an end and the Day of Judgment arrives, it will all occur in an instant, and this very instant will catch some people in the daytime and some people at night. This clearly illustrates Allah’s divine wisdom and His previous knowledge of the existence of time zones, even though such a discovery was non-existent back fourteen centuries ago. Certainly, this phenomenon is not something which is obvious to one’s eyes or a result of one’s experience, and this fact, in itself, suffices as proof of the Quran’s authenticity.
Returning one final time to the subject of good guesses for the purpose of the present example, the odds that someone guessed correctly about all three of the aforementioned subjects – the sex of bees, the movement of the sun and the existence of time zones – are one in eight!
Certainly, one could continue on and on with this example, drawing up longer and the longer list of good guesses; and of course, the odds would become higher and higher with each increase of subjects about which one could guess. But what no one can deny is the following: the odds that Muhammad, an illiterate, guessed correctly about thousands and thousands of subjects, never once making a mistake, are so high that any theory of his authorship of the Quran must be completely dismissed – even by the most hostile enemies of Islam!
Indeed, the Quran expects this kind of challenge. Undoubtedly, if one said to someone upon entering a foreign land, “I know your father. I have met him,” probably the man from that land would doubt the newcomer’s word, saying, “You have just come here. How could you know my father?” As a result, he would question him, “Tell me, is my father tall, short, dark, fair? What is he like?” Of course, if the visitor continued answering all of the questions correctly, the skeptic would have no choice but to say, “I guess you do know my father. I don’t know how you know him, but I guess you do!”
The situation is the same with the Quran. It states that it originates from the One who created everything. So everyone has the right to say, “Convince me! If the author of this book really originated life and everything in the heavens and on the earth, then He should know about this, about that, and so on.” And inevitably, after researching the Quran, everyone will discover the same truths. Additionally, we all know something for sure: We do not all have to be experts to verify what the Quran affirms. One’s Iman (faith) grows as one continues to check and confirm the truths contained in the Quran. And one is supposed to do so all of his life. May God (Allah) guide everyone close to the truth.
An engineer at the University of Toronto who was interested in psychology and who had read something on it, conducted research and wrote a thesis on Efficiency of Group Discussions. The purpose of his research was to find out how much people accomplish when they get together to talk in groups of two, three, ten, etc. The graph of his findings goes up and down at places, but it reaches the highest point at the variable of two. The findings: people accomplish most when they talk in groups of two. Of course, this discovery was entirely beyond his expectations, but it is very old advice given in the Quran:
“Say, ‘I exhort you to one thing – that you stand for Allah, (assessing the truth) by twos and singly, and then reflect…’”
Addendum 2: ‘Iram
Additionally, the 89th chapter of the Quranmentions a certain city by the name of ‘Iram (a city of pillars), which was not known in ancient history and which was non-existent as far as historians were concerned. However, the December 1978 edition of National Geographic introduced interesting information which mentioned that in 1973, the city of Elba was excavated in Syria. The city was discovered to be 43 centuries old, but that is not the most amazing part.
Researchers found in the library of Elba a record of all of the cities with which Elba had done business. Believe it or not, there on the list was the name of the city of ‘Iram. The people of Elba had done business with the people of ‘Iram!
In conclusion, I ask you to consider with care the following:
“And they say: ‘Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord?’ Say: ‘The signs are indeed with Allah: And I am indeed a clear Warner.’ And is it not enough for them that we have sent down to you the Book (Quran) which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a reminder to those who believe.”