When the Prophet passed away, he left nine wives behind. This has become a main target of spiteful Christian and Jewish writers. They say that plurality of marriages (polygamy) in itself points to avidity and to yielding to lust and desire, and the Prophet was not content with four wives which had been allowed to his ummah but exceeded even that limit and married nine instead.
It is necessary to point out that this is not such a simple matter to be dismissed by one saying that he was inordinately fond of women, so much so that he married nine wives. The fact is that he had married each one of his wives for some particular reason due to particular circumstances.
His first marriage was with Khadija. He lived with her alone for twenty-five years. It was the prime time of his youth and constitutes two-thirds of his marriage life. We have written about her on the preceding pages.
Then he married Sawdah daughter of Zam’ah whose husband had passed away during the second migration to Abyssinia. Sawdah was a believing lady who had migrated on account of her faith. Her father and brother were among the most bitter enemies of Islam. If she were left to return to them, they would have tortured her, as they were doing with other believing men and women, oppressing and killing them, forcing them to renounce their faith.
At the same time, he married ‘Ayisha bint Abu Bakr, who was then a six-year1 old child. She came to the Prophet's house some time after the migration to Medina.
He married Zainab bint Khuzaymah whose husband ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh was killed during the Battle of Uhud. She was a very virtuous woman even during the time of jahiliyya. She used to be called “ummul-masakin,’ mother of the destitutes, due to her generosity to the indigent and the poor. Seeing that by losing her husband she had none to provide for her, the Prophet married her in order to safeguard her dignity.
When he migrated to Medina, the Prophet began spreading the word of Allah. Thereafter, he married women who were all either widows or divorcees, old or middle-aged. He married Safiyya daughter of Huyayy ibn al-Akhtab, as indicated above, who was killed during the Battle of Khaybar. Her brother was also killed in the same battle. She was a lady of high status and prestige, and when the Prophet saw that she was about to be sold as a slave, he proposed to her, as a way to save her from the degradation of slavery, and she accepted his marriage proposal. Her story is almost similar to that of Juwayriyya, whose real name was Barra daughter of al-Harith, head of Banu al-Mostaliq, narrated below.
This continued for about eight years, that is, till 8 A.H./629 A.D. It was only then that he was prohibited by the Almighty from marrying any woman besides those whom he had already married. Obviously, these marriages cannot be explained by his love for women because both his early life and the later period contradict such an assumption.
Just look at a man with a passion for women who is infatuated with a casual desire, enamored by female companionship, with a sensual lust for them. You will find him attracted to their adornment, spending his time in pursuit of beauty, infatuated with youth, tender age, and fresh complexion. But these qualities are conspicuously absent in the Prophet's marriage life. He married widows after having married one virgin and a number of old-aged ladies after having married young ladies. Then he offered his wives a choice to give them a good provision and allow them to depart gracefully, that is, divorce them if they desired this world and its adornment. Alternatively, they should renounce the world and abstain from adornments and embellishments if they desired Allah and His Prophet and the everlasting abode. Look at this verse of the Qur'an:
O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire this world's life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a graceful departure. And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the latter abode, then surely Allah has prepared for the doers of good from among you a mighty reward.(Qur'an, 33:28-29)
Is this the attitude of a man infatuated with lust and desire?! The fact is that we will have to look for reasons other than lust and avidity for his plurality of wives:
(a) He had married many of them in order to give them protection and safeguard their dignity. It was hoped that the Muslims would follow his example and provide protection to aged women, widows and their orphaned children.
Sawdah bint Zam’ah's marriage comes into this category.
‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh (a cousin of the Prophet), husband of Zainab daughter of Khuzaymah, was martyred during the battle of Uhud (as stated above). This was the second time she became a widow with many orphans. She was one of the most generous ladies even in the era of ignorance, so much so that she was called ummul-masakin, “Mother of the destitute.’ Now she was facing hard times. The Prophet, by marrying her, preserved her prestige and dignity. She passed away during the Prophet's life-time. Year of marriage: 3 A.H./625 A.D.
The Prophet married Umm Salamah, Hind, who was wife of ‘Abdullah Abu Salamah (father of Salamah), son of the Prophet's aunt as well as his foster brother. She and her husband were among the first to migrate to Ethiopia, an ascetic and virtuous lady, a very pious one. She had renounced worldly pleasures and was highly distinguished for her wisdom. Her husband died, leaving her an old widow with many orphans for whom she could not provide; so, the Prophet married her in order to maintain her prestige and look after her orphans who were, of course, his own relatives. Year of marriage: 4 A.H./626 A.D.
Hafsah daughter of ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab was married to him after her husband Khunays ibn Huthayfah was martyred during the battle of Badr. Year of marriage: 4 A.H./626 A.D.
(b) To emancipate slaves: His marriage with Juwayriyya, whose name was Barra daughter of al-Harith (chief of Jewish Banu al-Mostaliq) was performed in 5 A.H./626 - 627 A.D. after the battle of Banu al-Mostaliq. The Muslims had arrested two hundred of their families. Juwayriyya was a Jewish widow, a lady of prestige, and the Prophet married her after emancipating2 her. The Muslims said: These are now the relatives of the Messenger of Allah by marriage; they should not be held captive. So they freed all of them. Impressed by this nobility, the whole tribe of Banu al-Mostaliq entered into the folds of Islam. It was a very large tribe, and this generosity of the Muslims as well as the conversion of that tribe had a great impact throughout Arabia.
(c) To forge friendly relations: Some marriages were contracted in the hope of establishing friendly ties with some tribes in order to blunt their enmity towards Islam.
Umm Habibah, namely Ramla daughter of Abu Sufyan, was married to ‘Obaydullah ibn Jahsh and had migrated to Abyssinia in the second migration. While there, ‘Obaydullah converted to Christianity, but she remained steadfastly on Islam and separated from him. Her father, Abu Sufyan, was in those days raising one army after another in order to annihilate the Muslims. The Prophet married her and afforded protection to her although the hope of any change in Abu Sufyan's attitude did not materialize.
Safiyyah was the daughter of Huyaiy ibn Akhtab, (Jewish) chief of Banu an-Nadir. Her husband was killed in the battle of Khaybar, and her father sided with Banu Qurayzah. She was among the captives of Khaybar. The Prophet chose her for himself and married her after emancipating her in 7 A.H./628 A.D. This marriage protected her from humiliation and established a friendly link with the Jews.
(d) To establish and implement important laws: The case of Zainab bint Jahsh is the only example. She was a cousin of the Prophet (daughter of his paternal aunt, and sister of ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh, the first husband of Zainab bint Khuzaymah). She was a widow. Islam annulled class differences. It declared that a family's tribe, wealth, or social status are not the criteria of distinction. Every Muslim is equal. While announcing it, the Prophet, in the same gathering, gave his three relative ladies in marriage to persons of “low’ birth or status.
It was done in order to practically demonstrate that up to that moment, this concept of equality was only theoretical. Among them, Zainab bint Jahsh was given in marriage to Zayd ibn Harithah, an Arab slave whom the Prophet had freed and adopted as a son. People called him Zayd ibn Muhammad. This marriage soon turned sour. Zainab could not overlook that she was a granddaughter of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, and that Zayd was an ex-slave. No matter how much the Prophet advised them, she did not change her behaviour, so finally Zayd divorced her.
In the midst of the continuing social reforms, the Qur'an had declared that adoption was not recognized in Islam, that the sons should be affiliated to their biological fathers. Allah says:
Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his breast, nor has He made your wives whom you declare (to be your mothers) as your (real) mothers, nor has He made those whom you call (as your sons) your (real) sons. These are (mere) words of your mouths, and Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the (right) way. Call them after their fathers; this is more just with Allah, but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends. (Qur'an, 33:4-5)
After this admonition, people started calling him “Zayd ibn Harithah’. But there was a need to put this new system in effect in such a way that would leave no room for doubt or ambiguity. Allah, therefore, ordered the Prophet to marry Zainab bint Jahsh, the divorcee of Zayd ibn Harithah. The Qur'an explains:
…. But when Zayd had concluded his concern with her (i.e. divorced her) We joined her in wedlock as your wife so that there should be no difficulty for the believers concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they have concluded their concerns with them, and the command of Allah shall be carried out.(Qur'an, 33:37)
In this manner, both marriages of Zainab daughter of Jahsh served to enforce two very important social ethics. Some non-Muslim writers have claimed that the Prophet had fallen in love with Zainab's beauty and that this is why Zayd divorced her. Such writers are blind to the fact that Zainab at that time was in her fifties. Why did not Muhammad fall in love with her when she was still a maiden and he himself was young?! Consider this question especially in view of the fact that Zainab was a close relative of the Prophet, and that there was no system of hijab at that time, and, in any case, relatives usually know about each other's beauty or ugliness.
One of his wives was Maymuna, whose real name was Barra bint al-Harith al-Hilaliyyah. When her second husband died in 7 A.H./628 A.D., she came to the Prophet and “gifted’ herself to him if he would accept her. She only desired the honour of being called the wife of the Prophet. The Prophet waited for the divine guidance in her regard. Permission was granted to him from his Lord as we read in verse 33:50 of the Holy Qur'an which, inter alia, says:
O Prophet! Certainly we have made lawful to you… a believing woman if she gifts herself to the Prophet; if the Prophet desires to marry her, (it is) especially for thee (O Prophet!) rather than for the rest of the believers.
Thus do we see that each of these marriages had some solid reasons behind it; passion and lust were not among them.
Surely the Prophet married more than four wives, whereas all other Muslims are not permitted to do so, simply because he was not an ordinary person; he was above being ordinary. His share of responsibility was certainly greater than anyone else's, so his priviliges and prerogatives were likewise greater than anyone else's. Try to learn about a type of fast which was solely observed by prophet Muhammad rather than by anyone else; it is called sawm al-wisal, so that you know that what applies to him does not apply to any other believer. How many wives did Prophet Solomon marry?!
This question is directed to the same prejudiced writers who assault the Prophet of Islam without knowing their share of torment in the hereafter for so doing. May the Almighty condemn them in this life and in the life to come for their blasphemy, and may He strengthen the Muslim umma so that it can face its enemies and raise the banner of Islam high in this century and in every century, Allahomma ameen. Most of those who attack Islam and besmear its holy name, in fact, are those who call themselves Jews as well as those who are brainwashed by their Zionist propaganda. Most of these reside in the West, especially here in the U.S.
‘Amra al-Kilabiyya daughter of Zaid ibn Dawwas ibn Kilab. It came to the knowledge of the Blessed One that she had a leucoma. He, therefore, did not cohabit with her but divorced her.
Saba as-Salamiyya daughter of a-al ibn Habib ibn Harithah ibn Hilal ibn Hazim ibn Sammal. She died before the Messenger of Allah could cohabit with her.
Shiraf al-Kilabiyya daughter of Duayyah al-Kilabi, in whose image Gabriel sometimes used to come to the Messenger of Allah . She perished before the Prophet could marry her.
Al-Ghaliya al-Kilabiyya daughter of Ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Abu Bakr ibn Kilab. It is said that after staying with the Messenger of Allah for a short period of time, he divorced her.
Al-Jauna al-Kindiyya; she is not Asma' the daughter of an-Nu’man. It was Abu Asad As-Sa’idi who brought her to the Prophet . ‘A’isha and afa took it upon themselves to comb and dress her. One of them made her believe that the Messenger of Allah loves it when a woman says to him, “I seek refuge with Allah against you!’ So when he came to sleep with her, she said to him, “I seek refuge with Allah against you!’ He, thereupon, covered his face with his sleeve and said, “I seek refuge as He enjoined me to.’ And surely Allah knows best.
Layla al-Awsiyya daughter of Khaum al-Awsi. She came to him while he was unaware, touching his shoulder. He inquired, “Who is this whom the lion may devour?’ She replied, “I am Layla, the daughter of al-Khaum ibn Mu’im. I came to offer myself to you.’ “I accept you,’ he said. Coming home, the women in her family said to her: “The Messenger of Allah has many wives and you are a jealous woman. We do not feel secure against your annoying him, so he will call for evil to befall upon you.’ He did, in fact, dismiss her, and while she was about to enter the groves of Medina, she was devoured by a lion.
Suna’a al-Qushairiyya. She was the wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Jud’an at-Taimi. When he divorced her, she was married by Hisham ibn al-Mughirah al-Makhzumi. Her father was called Salamah ibn Salamah ibn Hisham, and he was a good man. When the Messenger of Allah asked for her hand, Salamah replied, “It is up to her.’ She then said, “Are you leaving the decision regarding the Messenger of Allah to me?! Well, I accept.’ However, when the Messenger of Allah came to know that she was old, he did not pursue the matter, but Allah knows best.
Linguistically, a “miracle’ is the inability, incapability, or inimitability. One who is capable of affecting something which nobody else can affect is the doer of a miracle. None other than Allah Almighty is capable of doing so. He, and only He, is the One Who decrees, Who manifests His might over others, including, of course, the natural phenomena and the cosmos at large. A miracle, hence, is something which others deem as extra-ordinary and it challenges them to duplicate it, to imitate it. A miracle is something that challenges what is already established, proving what is out of the ordinary, violating the rules of normalcy.
Consider the miracles of the isra’ (the night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem) and mi’raj (ascension to the heavens). It is one of the most glorious of all miracles, one which only Muhammad enoyed, becoming the only human being ever to be raised so high. Even arch-angel Gabriel, upon reaching the farthest lote-tree, could not advance when Muhammad asked him to. “If I advance, I will be burnt [ahtariq]; if you advance, you will be able to penetrate [takhtariq, pierce through] where nobody else has ever gone.’
The light of the Almighty, Praised be His Name and Glorified, in that spot was so intense that even the greatest of His angels, namely Gabriel, could not withstand it. How could the Messenger of Allah travel, all alone and during part of the evening, the lengthy distance from Mecca to Jerusalem without any means of transportation? How could he, moreover, traverse the domain of the heavens and physically go through all these barriers and distances, leaving the earth without a plane, a spaceship, or a rocket?
Rather, how can this Messenger describe in minute detail all what he saw in the seven heavens in one single night, his observations, and the places he reached? Is there any human being who can refute his description or contest his statements, or falsify what he brought? Actually, even spaceshipS launched nowadays to relatively limited distances, compared to the distance the Messenger of Allah had reached when he went through the seven heavenly strata, are liable to develop technical malfunctions which sometimes force them to postpone their launch.
The Holy Qur'an remains the eternal miracle of our prophet Muhammad, one whereby he challenged the jinns and mankind to produce a book like it, or a chapter, or even ten fabricated “verses.’ This happened when just about everyone was a genius in mastering the language. Yet none was able to face this challenge; so, the Arabs resorted to fighting the prophet once, and once to offering him position and wealth.
The Holy Qur'an is a miracle in the full sense of the word:
And they say: Why are no Signs (miracles) sent down upon him from His Lord? Say: The Signs are only With Allah, and I am only a plain warner. Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for people who believe.(Qur'an, 29:50-51)
The Holy Qur'an was the evident miracle which sufficed all mankind as proof testifying to the truth of the message brought by Muhammad. Every syllable in it is a miracle by itself:
“Say: If men and jinns should join (forces) together in order to bring the like of this Qur'an, they will never be able to bring the like thereof, even if some of them were to aid the others. And certainly We have explained for men in this Qur'an every kind of similitude, but most men do not consent to aught but denying’ (Qur'an, 17:88-89).
No human being can ever be acquainted with all the knowledge embedded in the Holy Qur'an, for it is the speech of the Almighty, the Praised and the Glorified One, Who has said,
“Say: If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely be consumed before the words of my Lord are exhausted even if We were to bring the like of it and add thereto’ (Qur'an, 18:109).
There are miracles in the Holy Qur'an which are continuous, perpetual, eternal, ever present, impressing one generation after another: each generation will by itself discover the miracles of this Book and may come to know that the miracles of the Holy Qur'an never end, nor will its wonders.
All the miracles which violated the laws of nature and whereby Allah strengthened His messengers and prophets had taken place within the sphere of the earth, and they are now no more. But the Almighty revealed to this messenger, Muhammad, the most enduring of all miracles, one that will always shine through each and ever age and time, thus granting him the very uppermost kingdom of the heavens. Other heavenly books have been distorted, altered, tampered with, yet nobody can ever attribute the same to the Holy Qur'an. This by itself is indeed a miracle.
Allah Almighty has said in the Holy Qur'an,
“We will soon show them Our Signs in the universe and in their own selves till it becomes quite clear to them that it is the truth’ (Qur'an, 41:53).
Its challenge, and the fact that it tears down the veil separating us from the future, is another difficult front which the enemies of Allah have to face. Its knowledge of the future may be divided into two time periods: 1) the present and the near future, which is not distant from the time when the Holy Qur'an was revealed, and 2) the distant future.
Let us deal with these stages in a little more detail.
The Holy Qur'an states,
Aleef, Lam, Meem. The Romans have been vanquished, in a near land, and they, after being vanquished, shall be the vanquishers, within a few years. To Allah belongs the command before and after, and on that Day the believers shall rejoice, with the help of Allah; He helps whomsoever He pleases, and He is the Mighty, the Merciful.(Qur'an, 30:1-5)
Could prophet Muhammad predict the result of a war that would be waged between two giant nations of that period of time, namely the Romans and the Persians, after a few years, and can the leader predict the fate of a war and guarantee the victory of one army over another? Let us suppose that the Romans had lost the war after a few years, and that the Persians were the victors; what would the fate of the Holy Qur'an then be?
In that case, the Holy Qur'an would have committed a grievous error if the Romans had been defeated; so, how can the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, put all the creed of Islam and the fate of the truthfulness of the Holy Qur'an in jeopardy just like that, making statements like these and asserting that the Romans will defeat the Persians? But he is not the one who is doing that; it is the Almighty Who is saying so. The reader has already come across the reference to this incident in chapter dealing with Khadija.
The nature of this type of challenge is that it confronted the unbelievers, including Abu Lahab, may Allah condemn him, who disbelieved and ferociously fought the Islamic call. The Almighty, because of that, revealed the following verses about Abu Lahab:
Perdition overtakes both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His wealth and what he earns will not avail him. He shall soon burn in a fire that flames, and his wife (too), the bearer of (fire) fuel, upon her neck (there shall be) a halter of a strongly twisted rope.(Qur'an, 111:1-5)
When these verses were revealed, Abu Lahab was still alive, and he never retreated from his disbelief; so, what stopped him from retreating and claiming to embrace the faith? What could the consequences of a mistake like that have been? But these verses are not statements made by Prophet Muhammad; rather, they express the speech of Muhammad's Lord which suffers no alteration.
The Qur'an's facts can never be changed simply because it challenges all times till the Day of Judgment.
There is another fiery challenge which puts an end to any confusion, forcing the unbelievers to recognize the fact that there is no doubt in this speech, the speech of Allah, the One and Only God, and that it is capable of facing the unknown regarding the past, the present, and the future. This additional challenge is embedded in the verses saying,
You will most certainly ride in a stratum (of sphere) over a stratum.(Qur'an, 84:19)
This statement was made more than one thousand and four hundred and fifty years ago when there were no planes, rockets, space ships, nor attempts to probe the earth's outer sphere, and when means of transportation were confined to riding the backs of animals. Allah, Glory and Praise are His, has included in His miracle called the Holy Qur'an many cosmic mysteries in order to give the Holy Qur'an the chance for a continuous output till the time of the Hour, and so that each generation may derive such an output from the Holy Qur'an.
This is a cosmic verse, and “till it becomes clear to them that it is the truth’ means till they realize that the Holy Qur'an is the truth revealed by Him. Thus can we indicate that cosmic wonders will come in harmony with the verses of the Holy Qur'an. The statement: “We will soon show them Our Signs [or miracles, ayat]’ conveys the meaning that Allah Almighty will reveal to us the wonders and mysteries of the universe, and these can be demonstrated to both believers and non-believers alike “till it becomes clear to them that it is the truth.’ This “truth’ has shattered the veils of the future, testifying to the truth of the Holy Qur'an and to its being the speech of the Lord of the Worlds. Thus were the verses of Surat al Inshiqaq come to state:
“By the moon when it grows full, you will most certainly ride one stratum (of sphere) after stratum. But what is the matter with them that they do not believe, and when the Qur'an is recited to them, they do not prostrate? Nay! Those who disbelieve belie he truth. And Allah knows best what they hide; so announce to them a painful punishment, except those who believe and do good deeds; for them there is a reward that shall never be cut off’ (Qur'an, 84:18-25).
The Almighty and the Praised One promised the humans that they would “ride one stratum (of sphere) after stratum,’ that is, that they would be able to traverse the universe and move from one spheric orbit to another. This is quoted from the tafsir (exegesis) of Ibn Abbas in his book Al Miqyas li Ibn Abbas… Clearly it refers to space exploration; so, where did Prophet Muhammad obtain this knowledge from?! Airplanes have now become a reality, and they are traversing the air layers, moving humans from one layer to another, while space crafts are now moving them from one sphere, orbit stratum or pathway, to another.
Let us bring a Qur'anic challenge, a miracle in the breach of the veils separating us from the future. This challenge speaks to those who profess knowledge. In it, the Holy Qur'an proves to them that they do not know anything except what Allah has enabled them to know, that none has taught them other than Allah Almighty, the One Who knows the unknown, and that the Holy Qur'an is His speech which falsehood cannot approach at all. In Surat al Dukhkhan we read,
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ha, Meem. I swear by the Book that makes (the truth) manifest. Surely we revealed it on a blessed night; surely We are ever warning; therein every wise affair is made distinct. A command from Us; surely We are the senders (of apostles), a mercy from your Lord; He is the Hearing, the Knowing, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, if you believe. There is no god but He; He gives life and causes death, your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of yore. Nay! They are in doubt; they sport. Keep waiting, therefore, for the day when the heavens brings an evident smoke that shall overtake men; this is a painful punishment. Lord! Remove from us the punishment; surely we are believers. How shall they be reminded, and there came to them an Messenger making (the truth) clear, yet they turned their backs on him and said: One taught (by others), a madman? Surely We will remove the punishment a little (but) you will surely return (to evil). On the day when We seize (them) with a most violent seizing, surely We will then inflict retribution. (Qur'an, 44:1-16)
Allah Almighty is saying here that the Holy Qur'an is the speech of the Creator, Allah, Glory to Him and all Praise, which He revealed to His Messenger Muhammad in a blessed night in order to warn all people, and so that He may determine in it every decree of what will come to pass. To the skeptics who doubted the truth in the Message revealed to Muhammad does the Lord of Dignity and Honor, the Praised One, say, through His servant and Messenger our master Muhammad,
“Keep waiting, therefore, for the day when the heavens brings an evident smoke that shall overtake men’ (Qur'an, 44:10-11).
The Prophet, in a tradition dealing with the signs denoting the approach of the Day of Judgment, is quoted saying, “The first of such signs is the smoke [referred to in these verses].’ He was asked what smoke it would be. He said, “It will cover the east of the earth and the west; it will remain for forty days and nights. It will affect the believer just as a cold [catarrh] affects him. As to the unbeliever, he will feel as though he is intoxicated; it [smoke] will come out of his nostrils, ears and rear ends.’
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq is quoted saying, “There will be smoke that will overwhelm both ends of the earth, causing the death of two thirds of the world population.’ This smoke is now said to be caused by the explosion of nuclear and hydrogen bombs and poison gases. The word “evident’ in this verse means it can be easily seen and identified. It will cover all people and fill the earth. It will be, as the verse describes it, “a painful punishment.’ How it will punish people is explained above by the hadith of the Prophet, that is, it will come out of the nostrils, ears and rear ends of the unbelievers, and they [two thirds of the world population] will all perish.
Just as it defied the past and the future, the Holy Qur'an defied the present as well, putting the creation in a state of puzzlement, giving them the choice either to submit and recognize the Power of Allah Almighty and the admission that His speech which He revealed to His servant and Messenger Muhammad is the truth from Allah, or to remain in their stubbornness and disbelief and renunciation of the truth and thus continue straying; the truth is veiled from their visions and hearts.
Is there another example which we can bring about the Holy Qur'an defying the present? Yes, there is. There are many examples for these challenges in the Holy Qur'an, challenges of our present time; this one is a challenge regarding the creation of humans. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an,
“So let man consider what he is created of. He is created of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs. Most surely He is able to return him (to life) (Qur'an, 86:5-8),’
and He also said,
“We certainly created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place, then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made in the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation; so, blessed be Allah, the best of creators (Qur'an, 23:12-15).’
Is there any description of our creation more eloquent than this one? Is there any among the creation of Allah who can alter this sequence in our creation? Is there anyone who can change the way humans are born, and is there any human who can escape these stages? If anyone is capable of doing so, then we will say that the above is the speech of humans. But if all human beings are unable to come into this world in any way other than the one stated in these verses, then it is the speech of the Almighty, the Creator of creation, the Lord of the Worlds. So Praise be to Allah and Exalted is He above what they describe.
Let us now quote these verses:
“Every soul shall taste of death’ (Qur'an, 3:185),
“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, though you may be in lofty towers’ (Qur'an, 4:78).
This by itself is a challenge Allah Almighty includes in the Holy Qur'an, He Who decreed death to His creation, for who among the humans can run away from death? Are these verses the speech of humans? Does this challenge end at any period of time?
Now it is time to delve into the heart of the major topic in order to prove that the Holy Qur'an is the miracle of miracles. The above is only an introduction.
The majority of Muslim scholars are of the view that the Holy Qur'an, in its entirety, in the rules and regulations it contains, and in its order and organization, wisdom, eloquence and clarity, and because of the legislation it contains, the news of the unseen, and due to other considerations, is, indeed, a miracle the like of which mankind is unable to produce. There are many proofs in and aspects of the miraculous nature of the Holy Qur'an embedded in the Book itself. One such miraculous aspect is its logic and eloquence; it tells about the unseen, its legislative miracle, its scientific miracles in their various forms such as the medical, cosmic, geographical, physical, numerical, informative and many other aspects.
Among the miraculous aspects of the Holy Qur'an is the fact that no other book, religious or secular, has ever received as much attention as the Holy Qur'an. Since its revelation, Muslims learned its verses and chapters by heart, taking time and effort to explain them and record what the Messenger of Allah has commented in their regard and what other scholars of exegesis have. As time passed by, a new class of scholars of exegesis was created, and books were written by commentators.
There are now books dealing with verses with a fixed meaning, and with verses whose meaning is similar, and other studies dealing with the causes of revelation, and other classifications dividing the Qur'anic chapters into either Mecci or Medeni, and studies dealing with the arts of its recitation, and books in the methods of its reading, and others in its miraculous aspect. Books have been authored dealing with the grammar of the language of the Holy Qur'an, others with its imagery, and yet others computing its verses and dividing its chapters and hizbs, the half and the quarter of the latter, in addition to books classifying which verses abrogate others and which verses are abrogated.
There are linguistic studies confined to the study of the Holy Qur'an, to its eloquence, organization, clarity of argument and the meanings of words and diction, the tribal accents in its recitation, and the virtues of its chapters and the rewards of reciting it, and the etiquette of such recitation. The attention paid to the Holy Qur'an reached the degree that its words and letters were computed and the ratio between these words and letters, verses, and chapters, was determined. In Medina, there is a manuscript the date of whose writing dates in the first Hijri century. It quotes a group of scholars explaining how they were computing the letters of the Holy Qur'an using barley grains and recording their statistics in a small dissertation placed among old containers preserved till the present time.
The dissertation contains the total number of the verses and letters, and the total number of characters in the Holy Qur'an, in addition to other statistics.
All this proves the care past generations have paid the text of the Holy Qur'an, and this is what al-Qurtubi has said, quoting Salam Abu Muhammad al-Hamani saying, “Scholars and those who knew the Holy Qur'an by heart assembled, and I was among them, so we computed, and we were of the consensus that the Holy Qur'an contains three hundred and forty thousand, seven hundred and forty letters (340,740).
Where do we reach if we divide this figure by half? We found out that half the text of the Holy Qur'an will be marked at the word fal yatalattaf in chapter of the Cave, al-Kahaf, Chapter 18. Then we wondered where we would reach if we were to divide the text to three equal parts. We found out that the beginning of the first third ends at the end of one hundred verses of Chapter Bara'a (or Tawbah, Chapter 9), the second third of it is marked at the end of one hundred and one verses of the Poets Chapter, al Shu’ara', Chapter 26, and the last third comprises the rest of the Holy Qur'an. Then we divided it to seven parts according to the total number of its characters, and we found out the following:
1) The first is marked by the dal in “So of them is he who believes in him and of them is he who turns away…[sadd]’ (Qur'an, 4:55);
2) The second is marked by the ta in ‘… their deeds are null [habitat]’ (Qur'an, 7:147);
3) The third is marked by the aleef in “its food [ukuluha] and shades are perpetual’ (Qur'an, 13:35);
4) The fourth is marked by the aleef in “And for every nation We appointed acts of devotion [mansakan]’ (Qur'an, 22:34);
5) The fifth is marked by the ha in “And it does not behove a believing man nor a believing woman… [mu’minah]’ (Qur'an, 33:36);
6) The sixth is marked by the waw in ‘… those who entertain evil thoughts about Allah’ (Qur'an, 48:6);
7) The seventh is the remainant of the Holy Qur'an.
The first of its quarter is the conclusion of Chapter al An’am, the second is in chapter al-Kahaf, the third is at the conclusion of Chapter al-Zumar, and the last is the remnant of the Holy Qur'an.
A review of the past fourteen centuries or more during which Islam was fought with various norms of wars in which different nations on earth participated, using every possible weapon with the exception of accepting the challenge, proves that all those opponents proved their inability to face the challenge of the Holy Qur'an. The only perfect definition of the Holy Qur'an can be found only in the Holy Qur'an itself, and nobody can attain such knowledge except those who are endowed with knowledge and whose breasts Allah Almighty has expanded for such a task, enabling them to comprehend and absorb such knowledge.
The Holy Qur'an is a miracle in everything it contains. Each of its meanings is a miracle by itself. The venues of its meanings, that is, its expressions, are miracles, too. Its meaning when combined with the expression will provide the meaning of its diction.
The diction of the Holy Qur'an, in the way it is arranged, is a miracle among other miracles that make it the greatest miracle of all. Its words give us clear and shining details about its being a miracle. The number of times Qur'anic words are repeated throughout the Holy Qur'an is a miracle, too. The number of times these words are repeated harmonizes with the number of times other words, which either agree with or oppose, contrast or contradict them, are repeated. The number of times its words are repeated carries a miracle by itself. Also, the characters of the Holy Qur'an, when repeated a certain number of times, contains a dazzling miracle, making its miracle not only by its sacred verses and the miraculous meanings they contain, the principles and bases of equity they carry, and the knowledge of the unknown, but the very number of times by itself. The number of times a particular character is repeated is also miraculous.
The phenomenon of numerical inimitability of the Holy Qur'an is not something newly discovered; rather, it carries a historical extension. Researchers studying the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an had already been keen to it. They observed the fact that when certain characters or words are repeated a certain number of times, they will then carry a particular message. They also tried to discover the secret of the relationship between those numbers and the meanings of words, for the posterity had already noticed the single characters at the beginning of some chapters and came to know that their repetition carried certain meanings.
Among the aspects of the miracle of numeric inimitability of the words of the Holy Qur'an is that it contains 51,900 words, and most words start with the hamza, totalling 8,310, that is, 16% of its total, almost one sixth of the Holy Qur'an. Next to it are those that start with the “qaf,’ numbering 4,086, that is, 8.3% of the total. Following that are words that start with the “kaf,’ totalling 3,878, that is, 7.5% of the total, followed by those that start with “‘ayn,’ numbering 3,788, that is, 7.3%. After that come those that start with the “ra,’ numbering 3,293, that is 6.3% of the total, followed by those that start with the “noon,’ totalling 2,936, that is, 5.7% of the total. Other characters follow in that order and they all end with the “tha.’ If we were to count all the words that start with the first of the latter characters, we would find their total to be 26,021. This means that more than half the words in the Holy Qur'an start with one such character.
This represents a humble amount of information to help the reader to realize the knowledge which Allah Almighty has embedded within the Holy Qur'an, the knowledge which neither scholar nor faqeeh, no matter who he may be, and no matter in what period of time he lived or lives, can be familiar in all the wonders and miracles of the Holy Qur'an. The Qur'an's miracles shall never cease to manifest themselves till the Day of Judgment. This is not according to the decision of a human but is due to the Might of the Almighty Who has pledged saying,
“We will show them Our Signs in the universe and in their own selves [and continue to do so] till it becomes quite clear to them that it is the truth’ (Qur'an, 41:53).
This is the command of Allah Almighty, and nobody can argue about His command; so, let us try to familiarize ourselves with a portion of the miracles contained in the Holy Qur'an as much as Allah wishes to make us acquainted.
The word “Iblis,’ the one whom Allah has condemned, is repeated in the text of the Holy Qur'an eleven times; reference to seeking refuge with Allah against him is also repeated eleven times.
The word museeba, catastrophe, calamity, or tragedy, and its derivatives are all repeated 75 times, while the word shukr, thanks-giving [that is, thanking the Almighty], is repeated also 75 times. The word dunya, the life in this world, is repeated 115 times, while the word akhira, the life hereafter, is repeated also 115 times. The word israf, extravagance, and its derivatives are all repeated 23 times, so are the words sur'a, haste, and its derivatives. The word malaika, angels, is repeated 88 times, so is the word shayateen, devils, and its derivatives. The word sultan, ruler, and its derivatives are repeated 37 times, so is the word nifaq, hypocrisy. The word harr, heat, is repeated four times, so is the word bard, coolness or chill.
The word harb, war, and its derivatives are all repeated six times, so is the word asra, captives, and its derivatives. The word hayat and its derivatives are repeated 145 times, so is the word mawt, death, and its derivatives.
The verb qalo, they said, referring to people, is repeated 332 times, whereas the order qul, say, coming from the Almighty, is repeated a likewise number of times. The word sayyi'at, wrong deeds, is repeated 180 times, so is the word salihat, good deeds. The word rahbah, awe or fear, and its derivatives are all repeated eight times, so is he word raghbah, desire or will. The word naf’, profit or gain, is repeated 50 times, so is the word fasad, corruption. The word nas, people, is repeated 368 times, so is the word rusul, messengers. The word asbat, chiefs, is repeated 5 times, so is the word hawariyyoon, disciples.
The word jahr, declaration, and its derivatives are all repeated sixteen times, so is the word ‘alaniyah, openly, and its derivatives. The word jaza', reward, and its derivatives are all repeated 117 times; the number of times the word maghfira, forgiveness, and its derivatives is twice that many, 234. The word zalalah, misguidance, and its derivatives are all repeated 191 times; the number of times the word ayat, Signs or miracles, is 382, twice that many.
The miracles and wonders of the Holy Qur'an are yet to be exhausted, if at all. They, in fact, shall never be exhausted till the Day of Judgment. The year, for example, is comprised of 365 days; therefore, the word yawm, day, is repeated exactly 365 times, while the word shahr, month, is repeated twelve times, and the word sa’a, hour, is repeated twenty-four times, signifying the total number of hours in the day.
The word sab’ (seven) is connected to the word samawat (heavens) either before or after it, and is repeated in the Holy Qur'an seven times: the days of the week are seven, and so is the number of the heavens.
The verb sajada, as used for humans, in various tense forms, has occurred 34 times throughout the Holy Qur'an. This number equals the number of prostrations (sajdas) in the five daily prayers the total number of whose rek’at is 17, and there are two rek’at per each prostration, hence the total number is 34 prostrations. References to them are as follows:
1. “And We said to the angels: prostrate (make sajda) to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 2:34).
The number of this verse, as you see, is 34; it is the first verse of the Holy Qur'an which makes a reference to prostrating, and its number is the same number of the total daily prostrations.
2. “Then We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 7:11).
3. “When We said to the angels: prostrate….’ (Qur'an, 17:61).
4. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 18:50).
5. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 20:116).
6. “O you who believe! Bow down (make rek'a) and prostrate (make sajda) and adore your Lord.’ (Qur'an, 22:77).
9. “So prostrate to Allah and adore (Him)’ (Qur'an, 53:62).
10. “O Maryam! Keep obedience to your Lord and prostrate (to Him) and bow down with those who bow’ (Qur'an, 3:43).
11. “So the angels, all of them, prostrated…’ (Qur'an, 15:30).
12. ‘… the angels, all of them, prostrated…’ (Qur'an, 38:73).
13. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis; he refused (to prostrate)’ (Qur'an, 2:34).
14. “So when they prostrate, let them take their position behind you’ (Qur'an, 4:102).
15. “Then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated except Iblis’ (Qur'an, 17:61).
16. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis’ (Qur'an, 17:61).
17. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated except Iblis; he was one of the jinns’ (Qur'an, 18:50).
18. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated except Iblis; he refused’ (Qur'an, 20:116).
19. “He said: I am not to prostrate to a mortal whom You have created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape’ (Qur'an, 15:33).
20. ‘… except Iblis; he said: Shall I prostrate to one whom You created out of mud?’ (Qur'an, 17:61).
21. “He said: What prohibited you from prostrating as I ordered you?’ (Qur'an, 7:12).
22. “He said: O Iblis! What prohibits you from prostrating to what I have created with My hand?’ (Qur'an, 38:75).
23. “Do not prostrate to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created both of them…’ (Qur'an, 41:37).
24. “They said: And what is the Most Merciful? Are we to prostrate as you order us?’ (Qur'an, 25:60).
25. “To Allah do all those in the heavens and the earth prostrate willingly or unwillingly’ (Qur'an, 13:15).
26. “To Allah do all those in the heavens and on earth prostrate’ (Qur'an, 16:49).
27. “Have you not seen that to Allah do all those in the heavens and the earth prostrate?’ (Qur'an, 22:18).
28. ‘… that they do not prostrate to Allah Who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and the earth…’ (Qur'an, 27:25).
29. “They recite the Signs of Allah during the night, and they prostrate (to Him)’ (Qur'an, 3:113).
30. “Those who are with your Lord are not too proud to worship Him, and they glorify Him, and they prostrate to Him’ (Qur'an, 7:206).
31. “I found her and her people prostrating to the sun rather than to Allah’ (Qur'an, 27:24).
32. “And when the Qur'an is recited to them, they do not prostrate’ (Qur'an, 84:21).
33. “And during part of the night adore Him and prostrate to Him a long (part of the) night’ (Qur'an, 76:26).
34. “Nay! Do not obey him, and prostrate, and seek nearness (to Allah)’ (Qur'an, 96:19).
Only one single time does the verb “prostrate’ apply to a non-human; it occurs in this verse: “And the stars and the trees do prostrate too’ (Qur'an, 55:6).
Other than that lone verse, all verses wherein the verb “prostrate’ occurs, the total number of which is 34, are applied to man.
The noun salawat (plural of salat) is repeated throughout the Holy Qur'an five times only, equalling the total number of daily prayers performed at: morning, noon, after-noon, sunset, and evening. These five references are as follows:
1. “Upon those are salawat from your Lord and (His) Mercy’ (Qur'an, 2:157).
2. “Uphold the salawat and (particularly) the middle salat’ (Qur'an, 2:238).
3. “And he regards what he spends by way of charity as means to achieve nearness to Allah and the salawat of the Prophet’ (Qur'an, 9:99).
4. “Had not Allah repelled some people through others, there would certainly have been the destruction of synagogues and churches and salawat [at mosques] in which the name of Allah is remembered a great deal’ (Qur'an, 22:40).
5. “And those who safeguard their salawat….’ (Qur'an, 23:9).
The singular salat (prayers) and its derivatives combined with qiyam (standing up) and its derivatives are repeated 51 times. This figure equals the total number of rek’at (bowing down) in the obligatory daily prayers, seventeen all in all, plus the recommended (nafl) prayers, 34 all in all, as indicated above. The total number of nafl morning prayers is two, of the noon prayers is eight, of the after-noon prayers is eight, of the sunset prayers is four, and of the evening prayers is one. The nafl of the evening totals eleven rek’at. The total comes to 34 rek’at for the nafl; add to them the 17 for the obligatory daily prayers, and you will come to the figure 51. These occurrences are in the following verses:
1. “And do not pray for any of them when he dies, nor should you stand by his grave’ (Qur'an, 9:84).
2. “So the angels called upon him while he was standing for his prayers at the sanctuary’ (Qur'an, 3:39).
3. ‘… who believe in the unseen and who stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 2:3).
4. “And stand for the prayers, pay zakat and bow down with those who bow’ (Qur'an, 2:43).
5. “And say to the people a beautiful word, and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:83).
6. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:110).
7. ‘… and the beggars and for the (emancipation of) the slaves, and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 2:177).
8. “And they stand for the prayers and they pay zakat, they shall have their reward with their Lord’ (Qur'an, 2:277).
9. “Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…?’ (Qur'an, 4:77).
10. “And when you are with them and you stand for the prayers, let a group from among them stand with you too…’ (Qur'an, 4:102).
11. “And when you have finished the prayers, mention Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on your sides’ (Qur'an, 3:103).
12. “And once you feel secure (from danger), stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:103).
13. “And when they stand for the prayers, they stand sluggishly…’ (Qur'an, 4:142).
14. “They believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and they stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:162).
15. “O you who believe! Once you have stood for the prayers, wash your faces…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).
16. “And if you stand for the prayers, pay zakat, and believe in My messengers…’ (Qur'an, 5:12).
17. ‘… who stand for the prayers and pay zakat even as they prostrate…’ (Qur'an, 5:55).
18. ‘… and stand for the prayers and fear Him; to Him, indeed, will you all be gathered’ (Qur'an, 6:72).
19. ‘(As for) those who hold fast by the Book and stand for the prayers, surely We do not waste the reward of the doers of righteousness’ (Qur'an, 7:170).
20. ‘… who stand for the prayers, and who spend of what We provide them with…’ (Qur'an, 8:3).
21. “So if they repent and stand for the prayers and pay zakat, do then release them’ (Qur'an, 9:5).
22. “If they repent and stand for the prayers and pay zakat, they surely become your brethren in faith’ (Qur'an, 9:11).
23. ‘… and whoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day and stands for the prayers and pays zakat…’ (Qur'an, 9:18).
24. “And they stand for the prayers and pay zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 9:18).
25. “And make your homes places of worship, and stand for the prayers, and give glad tidings to the believers’ (Qur'an, 10:87).
26. “And stand for the prayers in both parts of the day and in the first hours of the night…’ (Qur'an, 11:114).
27. “And those who persevered, seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and they stood for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 13:22).
28. “Tell My servants who have believed that they should stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 14:31).
29. ‘… Lord, so that they may stand for the prayers; therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them…’ (Qur'an, 14:37).
30. “Lord! Make me (able to) stand for the prayers and my offspring too’ (Qur'an, 14:40).
31. “Stand for the prayers from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night’ (Qur'an, 17:78).
32. “Surely I am Allah; there is no god but I; therefore, worship Me and stand for the prayers for My remembrance’ (Qur'an, 20:14).
33. “And We revealed to them the doing of good deeds and the standing for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 21:73).
34. “And those who, when afflicted, persevere, and who stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 22:35).
35. “And those who, when We establish them in the land, stand for the prayers and pay zakat….’ (Qur'an, 22:41).
36. ‘… and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and hold fast to Allah; surely He is your Guardian’ (Qur'an, 22:78).
37. ‘… men whom neither trade nor sale distract from mentioning Allah and the standing for the prayers….’ (Qur'an, 24:37).
38. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and obey the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 24:56).
39. ‘… those who stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 27:3).
40. “Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 29:45).
41. “Turning to Him, and be careful regarding (your duty to) Him, and stand for the prayers and do not be of the polytheists’ (Qur'an, 30:31).
42. ‘… who stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 31:4).
43. “O son! Stand for the prayers and enjoin the doing of good, and forbid the doing of evil….’ (Qur'an, 31:17).
44. ‘… and they stood for the prayers and paid zakat and obeyed Allah and His Messenger….’ (Qur'an, 33:33).
45. “You only warn those who fear their Lord in the unknown and who stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 35:18).
46. “Those who recite the Book of Allah and who stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 35:29).
47. ‘… and those who answered the call of their Lord and stood for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 42:38).
48. “So when you do not do it while Allah has turned to you (mercifully), then stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 58:13).
49. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and lend Allah a beautiful loan’ (Qur'an, 73:2).
50. ‘… being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and they stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 98:5).
51. ‘… and take Abraham's standing place as a place for your prayers’ (Qur'an, 2:125).
All of this, by the Grace of Allah, proves the superiority of the juristic school of thought which upholds this number of nafl prayers, the 34 rek’at every day and night.
Each imperative predicate aqim (stand for) applied to the singular, and aqeemu applied to the plural, has occurred in conjunction with the prayers (salat, hence aqim al salat for the singular, or aqeemu al salat for the plural) has occurred 17 times throughout the entire text of the Holy Qur'an. This equals the total number of the rek’at (times of bowing down) of the daily prayers, that is, 17 rek’at.
What underlines this fact is that the noun fard (obligation) and its derivatives has also occurred 17 times, equal to the total number of the rek’at of the daily prayers. The Qur'anic verses in which reference to the prayers is made in conjunction with the imperative predicate aqim or aqeemu are:
1. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and bow down with those who bow down’ (Qur'an, 2:43).
2. “And say to people a beautiful saying, and stand for the prayers and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:83).
3. ‘… and stand for the prayers and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:110).
4. “Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…?’ (Qur'an, 4:77).
5. ‘… so once you feel secure (from danger), stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:103).
6. “And that you should stand for the prayers and fear Him, and He it is to Whom you shall be gathered’ (Qur'an, 6:72).
7. ‘… and make your homes places of worship and stand for the prayers and give glad tidings to those who believe’ (Qur'an, 10:87).
8. “And stand for the prayers in both parts of the day and in the first hours of the night…’ (Qur'an, 11:114).
9. “Stand for the prayers from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night’ (Qur'an, 17:78).
10. “Surely I am Allah; there is no god but I; therefore, worship Me and stand for the prayers for My remembrance’ (Qur'an, 20:14).
11. ‘… and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and hold fast to Allah; surely He is your Guardian’ (Qur'an, 22:78).
12. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and obey the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 24:56).
13. “Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 29:45).
14. “Turning to Him, and be careful regarding (your duty to) Him, and stand for the prayers and do not be of the polytheists’ (Qur'an, 30:31).
15. “O son! Stand for the prayers and enjoin the doing of good, and forbid the doing of evil…’ (Qur'an, 31:17).
16. “So when you do not do it and Allah has turned to you (mercifully), then stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 58:13).
17. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and loan Allah a beautiful loan’ (Qur'an, 73:2).
The word fard (obligation or obligatory) and its derivatives has occurred conveying the meaning of “a must’ 17 times throughout the Holy Qur'an, equalling the number of the rek’at of the obligatory daily prayers. These are as follows:
1. ‘… so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be neither intercourse nor fornication’ (Qur'an, 2:197).
2. “Most surely He Who has made the Qur'an binding on you will bring you back to the destination’ (Qur'an, 28:85).
3. “There is no harm in the Prophet doing what Allah has ordained for him’ (Qur'an, 33:38).
4. “Allah has indeed sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths, and Allah is your Protector’ (Qur'an, 66:2).
5. “And if you divorce them before touching them and you have (already) appointed for them a portion …’ (Qur'an, 2:237).
6. ‘… then (pay them) half of what you have appointed, unless they relinquish it…’ (Qur'an, 2:237).
7. “We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess…’ (Qur'an, 33:50).
8. ‘(This is) a chapter which We have revealed and made obligatory…’ (Qur'an, 24:1).
9. There is no blame on you if you divorce women when you have not touched them nor appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:236).
10. ‘… if you have not touched them nor appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:236).
11. “And if you divorce them before touching them and you have appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:237).
12. ‘… Your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is nearer to you in benefit…’ (Qur'an, 4:11).
13. “Then as to those whom you marry for enjoyment (in mut'a), give them their dowries as appointed…’ (Qur'an, 4:24).
14. ‘… and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree upon after what is already appointed…’ (Qur'an, 4:24).
15. ‘… and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer, an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Wise’ (Qur'an, 9:60).
16. ‘… whether there is little or plenty thereof…’ (Qur'an, 4:7).
17. ‘… Most certainly I will take of Your servants an appointed portion’ (Qur'an, 4:118).
The word qasr (to shorten) and its derivatives have occurred 11 times. This number equals the number of rek’at of the daily prayers when one is embarked on a journey, the total number of which is 11. In Lisan al Arab, it is written that, “The qasr and qisr in something is the opposite of its being long. When something qasrs, it is qaseer, short, the opposite of long. One who makes qasr to the prayers is one who shortens them. Qaseer is the antithesis of taweel, long (or tall).
The verb taqasara means demonstrated shortness. When someone makes something qaseer, he shortens it. Short hair is the opposite of long hair. One who qasrs his hair, he cuts it short. In the Divine Revelation, we read,
‘… (some) having their heads shaved and (others) having their hair cut (muqassireen)' (Qur'an, 48:27),
the noun thereof is qisar. One who cuts his hair is one who eliminates a part thereof without shaving it off completely. The qasr of a building is a well known part thereof, and it is called so because prohibitives in it are made qasr, confined. Its plural is qusoor. In the Divine Revelation, we read,
‘… and He will give you therein palaces (qusoor) (Qur'an, 25:10).'
The maqsoora is a spacious fortified house. ‘Surely it sends up sparks like qasrs' (Qur'an, 77:32);
that is, as long as a qasr, and the qasr in this verse means the tallest of date-palms or trees or buildings. One who qasrs his prayers is one who makes them short during his journey. Allah Almighty has said,
‘And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten (taqsuru) the prayers' (Qur'an, 4:101),
that is, by praying two rek’at for each of the noon, afternoon, and evening prayers. A woman who shortens her gaze is one who does not look at anyone except her husband.’
Among the matters related to daily prayers is ablution. It includes the ghusul and the rubbing with wet hands. The word ghusul with water, i.e. bathing, and its derivatives exist in the Holy Qur'an thrice. The ghusul which Allah Almighty has commanded us to repeat thrice includes: 1) washing the face, 2) washing the right hand, and 3) washing the left hand. To this do these verses refer:
1. ‘… wash your faces and hands as far as the elbows…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).
2. ‘… when you are under an obligation, perform a bath till you have washed…’ (Qur'an, 4:43).
3. “Urge with your foot; here is a cool washing-place and a drink’ (Qur'an, 38:42).
The word mash, to wipe or rub, occurs in three verses. This number equals the compulsory number of times of wiping during the performance of the ablution; these are: 1) wiping the head, 2) wiping the right foot, and 3) wiping the left foot. The said verses are as follows:
1. ‘… betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and hands…’ (Qur'an, 4:43).
2. ‘… and wipe your heads and feet to the ankles…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).
3. ‘… betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and hands therewith…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).
The word mashan (a derivative of mash) has occurred in this verse: ‘… so he began to slash their legs and necks’ (Qur'an, 38:33).
The connotation of this word, however, is explained on page 4197, Vol. 6, of Lisan al Arab which states: “One who makes mashan is one who slashes or strikes, and it is also said that it is one who cuts. The verse that says, ‘… so he began to slash their legs and necks (Qur'an, 38:33)' explains all such connotations.’
Muslims agree that the number of ulul-azm among the messengers of Allah are five. They are: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, peace be upon them, and of course our Prophet and beloved one Muhammad, peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon him and his holy progeny. The term ulul-azm has occurred throughout the Holy Qur'an five times, that is, as many times as the total number of the ulul-azm among the messengers of Allah. These verses are:
1. ‘… and if you persevere and guard yourselves (against evil), surely it is an indication of your firmness of determination’ (Qur'an, 3:186).
2. ‘… and bear patiently regarding that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage (and determination)’ (Qur'an, 31:17).
3. “And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are acts of courage (and determination)’ (Qur'an, 42:43).
4. “Bear up, therefore, patiently as did the apostles endowed with constancy, and do not seek to hasten for them (Qur'an, their doom)’ (Qur'an, 46:35).
5. “And certainly We gave Adam a commandment before, but he forgot, and We did not find in him any determination’ (Qur'an, 20:115).
References to tawaf and its derivatives, which is commended in the life of this world, have all occurred seven times throughout the text of the Holy Qur'an. This number equals the number of times of making tawaf around the sacred precincts [of the Ka’ba] and the number of the rounds of sa'i, the running between the safa and marwa, as these verses demonstrate:
1. “And We enjoined Abraham and Ishmael saying: Purify My House for those who visit it and those who abide in it for devotion and who bow down and prostrate’ (Qur'an, 2:125).
2. “We assigned to Abraham the place of the House saying: Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who make the circuit and stand to prayers and bow and prostrate’ (Qur'an, 22:26).
3. “Then there encompassed it…’ (Qur'an, 68:19).
4. ‘… a visitation from your Lord while they were asleep…’ (Qur'an, 68:19).
5. ‘… so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them both’ (Qur'an, 2:158).
6. “What has turned them from their qibla which they had?’ (Qur'an, 2:142).
7. ‘… some of you must go round about (waiting) upon others’ (Qur'an, 24:58).
The word qibla has occurred seven times throughout the text of the Holy Qur'an. This figure is equivalent to the number of the times of tawaf round the sacred qibla, that is, the holy precincts of the Ka’ba, as the following verses demonstrate:
1. “We did not make that which you would have to be the qibla but in order that We might distinguish one who follows the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 2:143).
2. “Indeed We see the turning of your face to heavens, so We shall surely turn you to a qibla which you will…’ (Qur'an, 2:144).
3. ‘… nor are they followers of each other's qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).
4. ‘… and make your homes places of worship and keep up prayer’ (Qur'an, 10:87).
5. “And even if you were to bring those who have been given the Book every sign, they would not follow your qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).
6. “What has turned them from their qibla which they had?’ (Qur'an, 2:142).
7. ‘… they would not follow your qibla, nor can you follow their qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).
The predicate ‘araja [root word of the noun mi’raj] and its derivatives conveying the meaning of “ascending to heavens’ are repeated seven times, the number equivalent to the seven heavens. Bear in mind that the Holy Qur'an applies this word to describe the passage in the space away from the earth's gravitation. Modern science has discovered that such movement is accomplished by a curving path [mun’arajat or mun’atafat], whereas the Holy Qur'an applies the word yas’ad or yassaccad, or the like, to describe flying within the earth's sphere. These verses are as follows:
1. “To Him ascend the angels and the spirit…’ (Qur'an, 70:4).
2. ‘… then shall it ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count’ (Qur'an, 32:5).
3. “He knows that which goes down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heavens, and that which goes up thereto, and He is the Merciful, the Forgiving’ (Qur'an, 34:2).
4. “He knows that which goes deep down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heavens, and that which goes up into it, and He is with you wherever you are’ (Qur'an, 57:4).
5. “And even if We open to them a gateway to heavens so that they (would be able to) ascend into it all the while…’ (Qur'an, 15:14).
6. ‘… We would certainly have then assigned to those who disbelieve in the Beneficent God (to make) the roofs of their houses of silver and the stairs whereby they ascend’ (Qur'an, 43:33).
7. “One (inquirer) inquired about the chastisement which must befall the unbelievers; there is none to avert it, from Allah, the Lord of the ways of ascent’ (Qur'an, 70:1-3).
This much should suffice the discreet reader who is advised that this is only a drop in the bucket of the miracles contained in the Holy Qur'an, a humble specimen. Those who look for the truth will find it though it may be after a while. Knowledge is never served on a golden platter. Seekers of knowledge exert a great deal of their time and effort in order to reach it. May the Almighty enable us to seek it, find it, and abide by it, Allahomma Ameen.