Many people, particularly in the West often wonder what fascination Muslims have for their holy book – the Qur’an. To them it is just another religious scripture, like all other religious scriptures they know of, revealed as it were for the edification of its followers. 

Yet, there is more to the Qur’an than meets the eye. The Qur’an unlike other scriptures is addressed to the whole of mankind and as such has universal appeal. It declares in no uncertain terms: And truly this is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds (which the trustworthy spirit (i.e.Gabriel) has brought down upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be of the warners, in the plain Arabic language) And verily, it is announced in the scriptures of former people (Surah Ash-Shu ‘ara V.192-196).  It further declares that the Book was revealed in order that the Prophet might lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light – by the leave of their Lord (Surah Ibrahim.V.1). 

The force and beauty of its language that combines words of wisdom with a poetic diction that no translation can really capture and with a rhythm so haunting that it literally leaves one addicted; the profundity of its message and its matter of fact manner of addressing as it were all mankind, warning and admonishing him and showing him the path that is to be followed if he is to gain salvation; its prophesies and stunning revelation of scientific facts and phenomena that modern science is only now beginning to unravel, all prove that it is more than the work of a man and indeed is nothing short of a miracle. Indeed, Muslims hold that it is the Greatest Miracle ever sent down to man. God declares in the Qur’an (Surah Al-Hijr V.9) that He would guard it (from corruption) and Muslims today proudly point out that even after more than 1400 years have elapsed since its revelation, not a single word has been changed unlike other scriptures such as the Torah and Gospel which have been corrupted over time. 

The Qur’an has an enchanting power about it that continues to captivate those who read and understand it. This is not something new. When the inhabitants of seventh century Arabia heard the Qur’an being recited in their own tongue they felt its effects to be ‘spell-binding magic’ no doubt due to its sublime style and profound language. Although much of this power is lost in translations, one can still experience the force of its message which continues to have a great impact on the minds of modern man, not the least because of its rather advanced way of putting things in perspective, revealing to man as it were the secrets of creation. The Qur’an in Surah Al-Isra (V.88) even goes on to challenge men to compose its like: If mankind and the jinn joined together to produce the like of the Qur’an, they could not produce its like, even if they helped one another

The Qur’an also warns. It warns men of falling victim to mundane temptations and even the dangers in trying to ‘play God’ and change the fair nature He has created. In the Qur’an we have Satan telling God of those men he would lead astray: And most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah's creation (4:119)

This we see today in the frightening scientific advances in Genetic modification (GM) or Gene Splicing where the genetic material of one organism is transplanted to another, effectively changing nature and subverting it to man’s perverse inclinations. The dangers of GM organisms and crops are only now being documented and the opposition to it is slowly but surely gathering momentum in the west and other countries where it is known to take place. The scholars of old thought this altering of Allah’s creation referred to the shaving of the beard, but we in this age well know what it means. Thus it is very likely that Genetic Modification which continues unchecked in countries like the USA is the devil’s handiwork. And to think of it, the Qur’an warned us about it over 1400 years ago. 

We often find that the Qur’an when dealing with the stories mentioned in the Bible contains a few variations whose veracity scholars schooled in the western tradition are only now coming to appreciate. For instance Genesis would have us believe that the creation was effected in six days, implying that a day here is the manner in which we commonly understand it, a 24-hour period as it refers to the evenings and mornings of these days. In the Qur’an too we find: God created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days (7:54). However, the word used to denote this period of creation is Ayyam, the singular form of which Yawm may denote a much longer period of time than a day as we know it as in the Qur’anic verse: He regulates all affairs from the heaven to the earth. Then they ascend to Him in a day, the measure of which is a thousand years according to your reckoning (32:5). Another verse has it: To Him ascend the angels and the spirit in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years”. (70:4). These verses clearly suggest that these ‘days’ are not to be understood in the literal earthly sense we commonly understand them. 

All this makes perfect sense. Before the creation of the universe and the world there was no notion of “day” as a period of 24 hours. Therefore, the six yawms must be understood as six “periods” which is in perfect agreement with modern scientific data which indicate that the universe and our earth passed through several stages, from a nebulous gaseous state to colossal galaxies, with the earth too undergoing various stages of formation before reaching its present state with plant and animal life.

Another telling indication as to the accuracy of the Qur’an when compared to the Bible is found in the story of Noah. In Genesis we read that in the Great Flood “every living thing was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle and the creeping things, and the birds of the sky; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained, and they that were with him in the ark”. According to Biblical chronology, this cataclysmic event should have taken place no earlier than 2200 BC. However, archaeological evidence suggests that throughout 4000 BC if not earlier right down to the present day there have always existed flourishing civilizations in several parts of the globe including in Egypt and Babylonia and that they never suffered a break in the period described in the Bible.

However the archaeological evidence tallies well with the statement of the Qur’an that suggests that it were only the people of Noah who were destroyed in the Great Flood. And Noah’s people, when they denied the Messengers We drowned them, and We made them as a sign for mankind (25:37) showing again that the Qur’an is in many instances superior to the Bible. In contrast to the Bible, the narration contained in the Qur’an deals with a cataclysm that is limited to Noah’s people. They were punished for their sins, as were other ungodly peoples.

There are other apparent shortcomings in the Bible where the Qur’anic narrations reveal a greater understanding of the events described in it. For instance in the Biblical narrative of Joseph related in Genesis, we find Jacob’s sons traversing the vast expanse of the Sinai desert on the backs of donkeys, despite the fact that donkeys are unsuitable for the nomadic life the early ancestors of the Hebrews lived before settling down in the land of the Pharaohs and for desert travel over long periods. In contrast, the Qur’an tells us that they make this journey in camel caravans. And when he provided them with their provision, he put the drinking-cup in his brother's saddlebag, and then a crier cried: O camel-riders! Lo! ye are surely thieves! (12:70). 

Besides these apparent inaccuracies in the Bible which are made clearer in the Qur’anic narratives, we find the Qur’an in some instances expanding on the Biblical stories as for instance in the story of Moses where it states: 

And we brought the Children of Israel across the sea. Then Pharaoh with his hosts pursued them in rebellion and hostility until, when the fact of his drowning overtook him, he said: “I believe there is no god except the one in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of those who surrender to him”. God said: “What- now, after you have rebelled and caused corruption ? This day we shall save you in your body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you. But truly, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs (10:90-92). 

The Qur’an’s  reference to the saving of the Pharaoh’s body is remarkable as it refers to the ancient Egyptian practice of mummifying their deceased monarchs which was probably not known or had been forgotten in later times as in the days of the Prophet. There are also those like Maurice Bucaille, the well known French scientist and author of The Qur’an and Modern science (1995) who argues convincingly in favour of Merneptah, successor to Ramses II being the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus whose mummified body was discovered only in 1898 in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. According to Bucaille, a medical examination of this mummy, has, shown that the body could not have stayed in the water for long, because it does not show signs of deterioration due to prolonged submersion. Here again, the comparison between the narration in the Qur’an and the data provided by modern knowledge does not give rise to the slightest objection from a scientific point of view. 

The other historical data given in the Qur’an are also very impressive and this encompasses facts that had not yet taken place when a particular verse of the Qur’an was revealed as in: 

The Romans have been defeated in the lowest part of the earth. But after defeat they will soon be victorious. Between three or nine years. God’s is the imperative first and last. On that day the believers will rejoice (30: 2-4 )

At the time these verses were revealed the Romans who were Christians were defeated by the Zoroastrian Persians and the incipient Muslim community was grieved to hear the news that the fire-worshippers had prevailed over their fellow monotheistic Christians However, the Qur’an predicted that the Romans of Byzantium would soon become victorious and that the believers would rejoice. 

The Romans have been defeated in the lowest part of the earth. But after defeat they will soon be victorious. Between three or nine years. God’s is the imperative first and last. On that day the believers will rejoice (30: 2-4 )

We learn from history that the Byzantine Empire suffered one of its greatest defeats in the 7th century at the time of the descent of the Qur’an.
So dreadful was this defeat suffered by the Byzantines that it seemed that they could no longer recover. Historical records speak of Heraclius’s collecting and melting in a crucible all the gold and silver of the churches to meet the expenses of the army. The Persians had already occupied Mesopotamia, Cilicia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Armenia, all places that had once been under the domination of the Byzantines. It was in such a time of despair that the Qur’an predicted that the Byzantines would triumph within three to nine years. The prophecy came true when Byzantium won a victory over the Persians somewhere near the ruins of Nineveh in 627 AD, about nine years after the revelation of the prophecy. The Persians signed a treaty, according to which they turned over the territories they had occupied. 


Also interesting is the fact that Verse 3 of this Chapter titled The Romans (Rum) speaks of the defeat of the Romans at the lowest part of the earth. The Arabic expression adna al ard literally means the lowest part of the earth which has been translated by some commentators as “land close by” for want of a better rendering of the Arabic expression used in the Qur’an. The region where the Byzantines suffered defeat was the Dead Sea, a place that is approximately 400 meters below the sea level and indeed is the lowest spot of the earth, a fact that could only be verified with the measuring techniques man had perfected over the last century.

Check Also


It is with utmost horror and revulsion that the world today is witnessing one of …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.