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In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) stated that all Prophets were bestowed with miracles, but what he was bestowed with was Divine Inspiration, Allah’s revelation to him. The Quran, revealed by Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) via the Archangel Jibrail (a.s.) is a timeless miracle. The miraculous nature of the Quran is the reason why the disbelievers failed the challenge of the Quran. It also serves as proof of the Quran’s divine origins.
The Quran contains a complete message for all of mankind regarding the obligation of worshiping Allah. We cannot attain the goal of worshiping Allah without obeying Him. We cannot obey Him without reading and understanding the Quran. Hence, the Quran is a crucial part of all Muslims’ lives.
As a part of the Quran’s miraculous nature and to refute the disbelievers, the Quran contains several challenges toward them. The Arabs were poets and gave great importance to poetry in society. Poetry was something that was a trait of theirs. Hence, if Allah did not send the Quran, it should have been simple for them to author a replica.
A response to the disbelievers
The Makkan disbelievers ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) initially and refused to accept the origins of the Quran. They first stated that the Prophet (PBUH) authored the Quran on his own. This was indeed a stupendous claim because the Prophet (PBUH) was an ordinary human being. He was illiterate and couldn’t read or write. He was never known to be a poet or orator.
In Surah An-Najm, Allah challenges those who disbelieve and accuse the Prophet (PBUH) of inventing the Quran to come up with something like it and asks them if they created themselves and the universe.
The first challenge of the Quran (Quran 17:88)
In Surah Al-Isra, Allah tells us that even if all of humankind and the jinn teamed up to attempt to replicate the Quran, they would be unable to do so. The first challenge from Allah was an emphatic statement. The Lord stated that not only mankind could not replicate the Quran, but that if all of mankind and jinn got together and tried to do so, they would still fall short.
The second challenge of the Quran (Quran 11:13-14)
In Surah Hud, the disbelievers were challenged to produce ten surahs like the Quranic surahs, which they claim are made up, and ask for help from whoever they can, apart from Allah. This was Allah’s second challenge to the disbelievers. He challenged them to author just ten chapters similar to the Quran. The Quraish and their powerful allies utterly failed.
The third challenge of the Quran (Quran 2:23)
In Surah Al-Baqarah, the disbelievers are challenged to produce just one surah that is like the Quran. The final challenge whittled it down to one chapter alone. The shortest chapter of the Quran, Surah al-Kauthar, consists of just three verses. Yet, it was impossible for the disbelievers to create a chapter that was even mildly similar to the Quran.
Quraish’s attempts to meet the challenge
Islam impacted the whole social order of the Quraish and other Arab tribes. Since the Quraish controlled the Kaaba, they controlled the spiritual center of Arabia. People would make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba, and the Quraish would benefit economically. As a result of this, Makkah was also the trading center of the land.
The Prophet (PBUH)’s message proclaiming monotheism and the eradication of idolatry threatened the Quraish’s livelihood. Additionally, other concepts, such as treating slaves equally, were alien to them and would upset the order of their communities. Hence, stopping the Prophet (PBUH) was a very serious matter for them.
So, we have to come to the conclusion that the disbelievers would have tried their best to meet the challenge in order to prove the Quran to be a non-divine book. It is documented that they did indeed try to emulate the Quran via their poets and orators. However, they obviously failed.
After that, the Quraish resorted to other means, such as offering the Prophet (PBUH) wealth, women, and kingship. The Prophet (PBUH) naturally declined. What followed was the persecution of the Muslims until their eventual escape from Makkah. After that, they set up a Muslim state which went on to rule over all of Arabia and beyond.
So, we can see that despite their most desperate attempts, the tribes of the Quraish utterly failed to combat this challenge of the Quran. Doing so could have ended the Prophet (PBUH)’s quest to spread the word of Islam before it began.
Why can’t humans replicate the Quran?
The Quran is the most perfect of all books ever to exist. Hence, it is not possible for anyone to replicate it. The Arabs during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) had impeccable knowledge of Arabic and poetry. According to Arabic linguists, those generations of Arabs had complete mastery over the Arabic language.
Despite that, they were simply unable to cope with the challenge of the Quran. They could not match its unusual sentence structure or rhythm. The Quran moves people’s hearts, even when they don’t understand it. The rhymes contained therein are beautiful in terms of not only their structure but also the meaning.
Even the greatest of authors in history have been copied. People have written fabricated works under others’ names. However, it has not been done in relation to the Quran and will never be achieved. In Surah Al-Hijr, Allah says that He is the One who sent down the Noble Quran, and He will guard it.
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