Leaving Islam



The Language Miracle of the Quran  

By Mumin Salih



HE QURAN is believed by Muslims to be God's word to man, and is ˜revealed’ and written in Arabic. Muslims also believe that the Quran, as we know it today, is the same as was revealed 1400 years ago. Almost all Muslims know some of its verses by heart, which they recite during their five daily prayers. Some of them even know the entire Quran by heart. At the time of ‘revelation’ of the Quran, the Arabs had such a great linguistic mastery of Arabic that one may argue that such talent was probably the only kind of art they perfected. Today, many will still consider the pre-Islamic Arabic literature and poetry to be the best.

If the Quran is a truly a language-miracle, then we can say with certainty that it is notrevealed’ to mankind in general, and not even to the Arabs in particular. This is because all non-Arabic speaking nations cannot read/understand the Quran; therefore, they are not in a position to appreciate the claimed language-miracle. This is equally true to the majority of today’s Arabs, simply because they themselves lack the necessary command of classic Arabic in which the Quran was ‘revealed’.

It is interesting to note that Muslims of all nationalities talks about how the Quran is a language-miracle, while all what they can do is to recite some verses without even understanding the meaning of these verses. On the other hand, there are many Christian Arab writers whose knowledge in classic Arabic is beyond doubt, but they do not feel that the Quran contains any miracles at all!

Speaking of myself, I always felt guilty when I read the Quran because every time I read the Quran, get a strange feeling that this book can never be divine, after all. This is not because of the many scientific errors it contains (we can always twist the Arabic language to accommodate those, as we often do) but because of the poor language style of the book. Considering only the language style, I can say there are some verses or a few entire suras in the Quran which are very nicely written, some are average and some are poor. That was how I found the Quran to be. My only explanation for this assessment of the Quran is that, while I previously always thought the Quran to be infallible, perfect words of Allah, but after carefully comprehending it, found  no perfection in it. Even though I found in the Quran repetitious, contradictory and grammatically incorrect, I blamed myself for this, instead the Quran, for, I thought it must be I who is wrong, since Quran could never contain any error in it.

So who will judge if the Quran is a language-miracle or not? Muslim scholars will automatically claim that it is a miracle, while others will certainly disagree. The mere fact that we have reached this opposing situation is in itself evidence that the Quran is not a miracle. A miracle should be clear to every human being, regardless of his or her languages, literacy or intelligence. Everyone—without any exception, must agree on the claim of Quran’s perfection.

Just for the argument’s sake let us go back in history and see how the early Arabs thought of the Quran. Mohammed spent 13 years preaching Islam in his hometown Mecca with very limited success. During this period, only few dozens accepted his call, many of them were Muhammad’s close friends and relatives. He used to go to the famous Okaz market, just outside Mecca , to preach Islam, but failed to make much impression on his listeners. Okaz fair was a very popular festival for the Arabs. All poets gathered there to narrate their latest poems and advertise their literary work. Mohammed was there competing with them to recite not his latest poems but Allah’s latest revelations to him. The Arabs, however, were more interested to listen to poetry!

If those Arabs felt there was a miracle in what Mohammed was saying, they would have certainly stayed and listened to him intently, but they turned their backs and went away. Are we to believe that Allah’s work was unable to win a competition with those human poets?

Muslims argue that the people of Mecca were not convinced because they just did not want to be convinced, not because the Quran is not convincing. Their evidence is that the Arabs of Medina (the tribes of Aws and Khazraj ) were easily convinced and converted to Islam even before Mohammed arrived at their city. But this is a clear evidence that the two competing Arab tribes of Medina made their decision to accept Mohammed and Islam for political reasons only and nothing else. Most of those Arabs did not see Mohammed or had even heard of the Quran. They converted to Islam simply because their leaders made a deal with Mohammed to accept to Islam and support him as a neutral third party, to put an end to their long-going confrontations with each other.

Let us move back a few centuries and observe how the Arabs thought of the Quran during the height of the Islamic empire. I shall mention the two most famous poets in Arabic history. The first was Al Mutanabi, who is widely claimed to be the best Arabic poet ever. At some  stage, he himself claimed to be a prophet, because he thought he could make a book which would be similar to the Quran. He was given this name because of this claim. When Al Mutanabi realized the danger on his life, he repented and cancelled his plans for his book. The other famous poet was Abu Alaa Al Maari, a Syrian blind poet who even denounced religions altogether. Of course, none of these two poets thought that the Quran contained any miracles.

There might be many factors that made ordinary Muslims believe the claimed miracles in the Quran. Because the Quran can be read only in Arabic, it was left to the Arabs to make the judgment about the Quranic language and style. Those Arabs are usually Muslim clerics whose starting point is to assume the miracle then bend every rule and logic to fit their logic around it. In this way they have turned the entire concept of logical-thinking upside down and from back to front. Meaningless words, repetitions and contradictions have all became parts of a divine miracle! What helped them to maintain this attitude over centuries is that other language experts like the Christians or the freethinkers were too polite to make any comments. However, their silence and non-conversion to Islam speak volumes.









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