More Evidence on His Prophethood: Predictions Dealing with the Future of the Qur'an
Wilson: With the appreciation of the Arabic-speaking people and their respect for the Qur'an, I am inclined to believe in its superiority. As a matter of fact, history does not record any successful attempt by any individual or group to match the Qur'an. We know that the Arabic-speaking people were not all Muslims at any time. We know also that the Arabs at the time of Muhammad were very skillful in oratory, and we know that the majority of them were violently opposed to Islam. The Qur'an challenged them and the future generations to match it, but it seems that the opponents of Islam did not accept that challenge at any time.
The superiority of the Qur'an is a fact and beyond any reasonable doubt. But I would like to know if the Qur'an has anything, besides its superiority and beautiful style, that supports its being a true revelation of God and that Muhammad is truly His prophet.
Chirri: There are in the contents of the Qur'an more than one prediction dealing with the future, and those predictions are fulfilled. Knowledge of the future is possible only to God and unavailable to any human being.
Man has advanced so far in science and technology to a stage undreamed of before. With all his advancements in knowledge, he is still unable to foresee the future. The most civilized nations wage wars against each other, and none of them is assured of victory. Should the knowledge of the future be available to them, they would have avoided destructive wars. A nation that foresees its defeat would refrain from entering any war that will be concluded by its defeat .
To recognize the human inability of foreseeing the future, we need only to remember our election campaigns. In spite of all the information which is obtained through our modern media and scientific methods, none of the candidates is sure of his victory or defeat until the votes are counted .
There is a great deal of information contained in the Holy Qur'an dealing with the future which could not be humanly predicted. Those predictions were fulfilled, and their fulfillment indicates that the Qur'an is a true Divine revelation and that Muhammad is a true messenger of God.
Some of those prophecies deal with the future of the Holy Qur'an itself. Of these prophecies are the following:
1. “Certainly We have revealed the Reminder (the Qur'an), and we shall preserve it.” 15:9
This verse informs us that the Qur'an shall not perish. It shall not disappear from this world, and it will last and continue forever.
This prediction was actually the opposite of what was humanly expected. The Qur'an was introduced by a prophet who was unschooled and unable to read or write. He introduced it in a language of an illiterate nation. The Arabs at the time of the Prophet did not have a hundred readers in a million. In addition to this, the overwhelming majority of that nation was standing against the Prophet and his book, and so was the rest of the world. Under these circumstances, such a book was expected to perish and disappear. The chances of its continuity for so many generations were very slim.
2. The following verse explains:
“It (the Qur'an) is an invincible book. Falsehood does not invade it neither from before it nor from behind it, a revelation from a Mighty, Praised One.” 41:41-42
This verse informs the world that the Qur'an will not be interpolated by words that had been said before the time of its revelation nor by words that will be said after the time of its revelation. It will be pure and will continue so forever.
This, also, was a prediction contrary to what was humanly expected. A book, introduced under the circumstances which we advanced, could not be humanly expected to stay pure without any interpolation.
There was no printing-machine at the time of revelation, nor such a machine was invented until several centuries after Muhammad.
History shows us that no holy book had remained pure without interpolation. The holy books had undergone many changes in many centuries. The Qur'an was expected not to be exceptional.
The two prophecies had been entirely fulfilled. The fulfillment of the first is self-evident: The Holy Qur'an did not perish. It lived and remains a highly living book. Actually the life of the Qur'an is so rich that it may be the most recited book in the world. Every Muslim is expected to pray five times a day, and each prayer includes a recital from the Holy Qur'an. Hundreds of millions of Muslims perform their daily prayers, and hundreds of millions of times the Qur'an is daily recited.
The fulfillment of the second prophecy is quite obvious. The Holy Qur'an remained unchanged. No human word was inserted into it. Even the critics of Islam testify for the remarkable purity of the text of this great book. The words of the Qur'an which we read now are exactly the same words which were recited by the Prophet Muhammad himself, without subtraction or addition.
3. The Holy Qur'an contains many statements by which the opponents of Islam were invited to produce any Arabic discourse that would compare to the Qur'anic discourse. One of these statements is the following:
“Say: If all men…. will unanimously determine to challenge the Qur'an, they will not produce its equal, even if they combine their efforts.” 17:88
This statement not only challenges mankind to compose speeches and discourses comparable to the Qur'an, but also predicts clearly that any such attempt will fail, and the Holy Qur'an will remain superior to all other Arabic discourses.
This statement is very far reaching. It tells that the Holy Qur'an will not be equalled, neither at the present nor in the future. Such a statement is a prediction in a very unexpected direction. We know that the human talent and skill are always evolving and improving. This is true in any field. A scientific invention, regardless of its remarkability, is always expected to evolve and improve through additional knowledge and technology. The first plane that took off the ground, no doubt, was very remarkable, but it cannot compare to any of the planes of today.
Let us assume that the inventor of that first aircraft had predicted that his plane will not be equalled in the future. Such a prediction would be very absurd and will be disproved within one decade because it is opposed to the natural course. Muhammad recited this statement which is contrary to the natural course. He uttered these words about fourteen centuries ago, but his statement is still standing, and the events of the world could not disprove it. On the contrary, the statement now appears to be more meaningful than ever before. The older the prophecy becomes, the more truthful it will appear.
There is another amazing point in this prophecy. It is conceivable to challenge a certain class of people in a field which is not accessible to everyone, such as a special scientific field. We may conceive a gifted scientist, discovering a scientific secret not accessible to any other expert in that field. If such a scientist claims a permanent superiority in his invention, he would be challenging just a limited number of scientists.
With the Qur'an the case is different: There is nothing special in it; its discourse is composed of words and sentences with orders known, not only to a limited number of experts, but to all Arabic-speaking people. There isn't any secret that is hidden from the rest of the people. All of it is known. The challenge, therefore, is not directed to a limited number of people; it is directed to the millions in every generation. With such a universal challenge, in no field of specialization, the failure to produce a match to it is much more remarkable than the failure of a few experts in a field of specialization.
This would be more amazing when we remember that no scientific secret or discovery has remained unmatchable. The highest secret in this century was the secret of the atomic bomb. It was the most important discovery or invention in this century. In spite of its great importance, it could not be kept exclusive for the country which produced it. Other countries tried to produce the same and succeeded.
Why did the Holy Qur'an remain superior and beyond any other Arabic discourse? How did mankind refuse to accept the challenge? Either the Qur'an is truly superior and beyond the reach of any talented individual or group in any generation (and this means that it is a miraculous book), or it is within the reach of the people, but God miraculously prevented mankind from producing a similar discourse. In either case, the prophecy has been fulfilled, and the Qur'an is still standing unequalled.