What the Qur'an Itself Says concerning this Matter
Scholars who explain the power of revelation and prophecy using the above explanation, attach great importance to the Science of nature and the visible world, and claim that everything in the world works according to the laws of nature. They view historical events, right up to the present-day, as the developing and constantly changing face of nature.
Likewise, they view all revealed religions as social manifestations. Thus they would agree that if one of the geniuses of history, like Cyrus, Darius or Alexander, had announced himself as having been chosen by God as an executor of divine commands, their explanation would have been no different than that given above.
We do not intend here to establish the existence of the unseen, of the world beyond the visible world of nature; we are not saying to other scholars or scientists that any one science may only be discussed by remaining within the strict limits of that particular science. We are not suggesting that the modern sciences which investigate the properties and effects of the material world, (whether or not they be positively or negatively disposed to the creation), do not have the right to enter into an investigation of the metaphysical.
What we are saying is that any explanation they propose must be in accordance with the explanation of society, existence, nature and the cosmos given by the Qur'an. The Qur'an is an authentic document of prophecy and is the basis Of all social, metaphysical and scientific discussion; the explanation Of the Qur'an contain proofs against their arguments which we can enumerate and reflect upon. These proofs are connected to different Qur'anic verses discussed below.
According to the explanation of modern non-Muslims and atheists, the Prophet's nature was pure through which came to him the word of God, meaning that the divine system of thought was alive in his own thoughts; the idea of divinity manifested itself in his thoughts because he was pure and holy; it was natural (in the minds Of these Scholars) for prophets to attribute these thoughts to God for, in this way, they ennobled and exalted their own task.
The Qur'an, however, strongly and convincingly denies that it is the speech or the ideas of the prophet or, indeed, of any other man. In chapters X:38 and XI:13 the Qur'an declares that if it is the word of man then detractors of Islam should produce similar words about every subject treated in the Qur'an, namely, belief in the after-life, morals, laws, stories of past generations and other prophets, wisdom and advice. The Qur'an urges them to seek help anywhere if they do not realize that it is the word of God and not of man, but adds that even if jinn and man joined forces together they would not be able to produce a Qur'an like it.
In chapter II:23 the Qur'an challenges those who consider it merely the speech of Muhammad to produce a book similar to it or even just one chapter like it. The force of this challenge becomes clear when we realize that it is issued for someone whose life should resemble that of Muhammad, namely, the life of an orphan, uneducated in any formal sense, not being able to read or write and grew up in the unenlightened age of the jahiliyah period (the age of ignorance) before Islam.
In IV:82 the Qur'an asks why no inconsistencies or changes appeared in the verses considering that neither the wording nor the meaning of the verses has altered despite being revealed over a period of twenty-three years. If it was the word of man and not the word of Gods then it would have certainly been affected by change like all other things in the temporal world of nature and matter.
It is clear that this challenge and these explanations are not mere empty words of exultation; rather they present the Qur'an for what it is, namely the word of God.
The Qur'an establishes its own miraculous nature in hundreds of verses. This miracle is still unexplained by normal literacy standards used to "grasp" a text. Indeed successive prophets established their prophethood through similar verses revealed by God. If prophecy was merely the call of an individual conscience or the inspiration of a pure and sincere soul, then there would be no sense in claiming it as divine proof or seeking help in its miraculous nature as the Prophet, in fact, did.
Some writers interpret the many miracles of the Qur'an in terms of undisguised mockery. When we investigate the subject of their mockery we inevitably discover that the Qur'an means something other than that which they have understood.
It is not our intention to try and prove the miraculous nature of the Qur'an nor to demonstrate the soundness and authenticity of its narration; rather, we would point out that the Qur'an clearly describes the miracles of the past prophets, like Salih, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The stories related in the Qur'an can only be understood and interpreted in the light of miraculous guidance.
Why, we may ask, if the prophets were mere men, inspired by the purity of their character, was it necessary to establish the existence of this miraculous guidance?
Adapted from: "The Quran in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"
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