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Al’Qura~n A Befitting Miracle of the Last Prophet

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I believe that the number of times I wrote this introductory paragraph and then deleted it cannot be matched except with the number of times I reflected on the topic of this article.

I am attempting, with my limited knowledge and lack of eloquence, to rationalise the choice of the ’Qura~n as the miracle for the last prophet of God. Put differently: Is this lasting miracle the most befitting miracle of the last prophet?

I was always fascinated by the idea that unlike miracles other prophets of God performed in times past, the miracle that became the legacy of the last prophet is always with us. Its presence; its nearness; its availability to any and all; its accessibility; its openness and frankness; its awe; it’s remarkable, yet simple, style; all in all, the ’Qura~n is so unique and in a very unique way that almost everyone who took the time to read it in earnest had a different and special experience with it. My attempt at understanding the rationale for this marriage between the last prophet and the lasting miracle took me, at times, to some uncharted territories where I had to search for answers to questions, and many a times for questions to answers.

I will discuss in this article two interesting and unique features of the ’Qura~n that makes it the befitting miracle of the last prophet. The first idea concerns the difference between the miracles that were performed by other prophets of God and between the ’Qura~n from a temporal point of view, i.e., the historicity and authenticity of the miracles will be investigated. I called this idea “The Ahistorical Miracle”, and this appears in the fourth issue of I-MAG.

The second idea, which is the continuation of this article (planned for the fifth issue of I-MAG), illustrates how past miracles, with one exception of course, were absolutely not amenable to emulation by the people to whom those miracles were sent. It will then become obvious why I describe the ’Qura~n as “The Ultimate Open-Source Code”.

I sincerely hope that the ideas discussed below would serve mainly as humble invitation for further reflection and discussion.

A. The Ahistorical Miracle
Throughout history, humans received divine guidance from prophets who were sent by God. Commonly, people disbelieved the prophets at first and then, usually influenced by miracles, gradually started to accept the divine message. Miracles were the most important factor in setting apart prophets from imposters; but only when the performed miracles were categorically beyond the ability of the people to whom the prophet was sent.

Miracles may be divided into three types according to their nature and into two types according to their purpose. The first type according to nature involves an action that is completely and absolutely outside human ability. The second involves an action that is beyond the human ability of the contemporary people of the prophet but is, in principle, feasible in the future. The third involves an action that is, in principle, within human capacity at the time of the prophet and thereafter.

Miracles are usually performed for one of two purposes, namely, first to convince the non-believers of the truthfulness of the message and second to sustain the believers both spiritually and physically.

Records of miracles performed by messengers of God differ from one source to another; differences are found in details of the same miracles as well as in accounts of various miracles mentioned in some references but are not mentioned in others. The believers know about miracles usually through their respective scriptures, but others who do not believe in the divine origin of the scriptures may not necessarily believe that miracles did in fact take place if no substantiating evidences exist to corroborate the historical account of the miracle in question. Doubt about the historical authenticity of a miracle might be compounded in the eyes of a non-believer when he or she compares scriptures of different faiths that speak of the same prophet or of the same miracle, some times, with contradicting details.

Moses, peace be upon him, and his miracles serve an excellent example in this regard. While both the Old Testament and the ’Qura~n agree that Moses, along with his brother Aaron, were prophets sent by God to Pharaoh, the differences are not negligible. Both scriptures recount the miracle which involved the transformation of a rod into a serpent, but they differ on whose rod it was. The Old Testament (Exodus, Chapter 7) states that it belonged to Aaron, but the ’Qura~n insists repeatedly that it belonged to Moses. Another miracle attributed to Moses in the ’Qura~n, where the color of his arm whitened significantly and instantly before the Pharaoh and then went back to normal, is found nowhere in the Old Testament.

Muslims would naturally insist that the ’Qura~nic account of Moses’ miracles is the correct one, whereas Christians would, also naturally, insist on the veracity of the Bible’s account of these miracles. But what about someone who is neither? The truth about the miracles performed by Moses and/or Aaron could only be ascertained (from a neutral point of view and if we are to preach to someone other than the convert) by those who witnessed them.

Therefore, it is only natural that someone who is a believer of neither faith would insist on having indisputable records of the said miracles whose authenticity is beyond any shade of doubt. Those records should also contain the affirmation of many known individuals who witnessed the miracles in question and their testimonies should have no contradicting details and no ambiguity.

A Miracle of this type is an historical miracle.
All miracles that vouched for the truthfulness of the many messengers of God were historical miracles that took place at certain moments in time past, witnessed by a specific group of people and were either recorded or found their way into oblivion; all miracles but one, to be perfectly precise. We have a single and glaring exception to this uniform genre of historical miracles, viz. the ’Qura~n.

The ’Qura~n is the only ahistorical miracle. It is with us now as it was with the believers at the time of the prophet, peace be upon him. I need neither historical records nor witnesses to ascertain the authenticity of this miracle or the fact that it happened.

An ahistorical miracle can only be timeless, eternal.
If there is no prophet after Mo’hammad, peace be upon him, then it would be a mockery of intelligence to ask people not to stray away from the true path, unless of course there is a living proof to the veracity of his message; a proof that must be a miracle similar to the miracles that proved the veracity of the messages of past prophets. It does not make sense to ask the Red Sea to part every now and then to attest to the truthfulness of a message, and should not be alert to rod changing into serpents every time a tyrant runs amok, for he/she will find none. Reviving the dead took place to convince the children of Israel that Christ was acting, with God’s permission, his miracles. Just imagine how people would react to dead people leaving their graves every time a call is made to show God’s miracles in action.

The miracle that is manifested in the ‘Qura~n is not only timeless and ahistorical, it is at the same time the only miracle that can be safely left with humans, without a need for further prophets, which will not severely disrupt their lives and livelihood.

And for those who choose to believe, it is guidance and light. 

Ibrahim Babelli -

Ibrahim Babelli [Ibraaheem Baabilly] is a research scientist working for Schlumberger Dhahran Carbonate Research Center. He did his undergraduate work in Saudi Arabia and his graduate work in the USA.Read More >>

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Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:30  

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