Produce a Sura Like This!
One member of an Internet forum threw me a certain challenge by uttering two of the following verse from Quran---
"'If all the humans and all the jinns bonded together in order to produce a Quran like this, they could never produce anything like it, no matter how much assistance they lent one another.'" (Qur'an 17:88)
And if you are in doubt as to which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a sura like it, and call on your helper, besides Allah, if you are truthful. (Qur'an 2:23)
I would like to respond to the above challenge. To reproduce an entire book like Qur'an is meaningless and redundant to me (While talking to one of my Mukto-Mona colleague Dr. Alamgir Hussain on this afternoon, he reminded me quoting those hate-mongering verses, reproducing Qur'an will be dangerous as well!). No writer can just copy (or wish to copy) another writer to reproduce the same literary work. Anybody can throw a similar challenge to produce another Gitanjali of Rabindranath Tagore, Hamlet of Shakespeare, Agnibina of Kazi Nazrul islam etc. to give a supernatural coating on those literary works, no matter how foolish that would sound.
Now lets come to the context of of reproducing a sura. Muslims dogmatically believe that nobody can produce a sura like what is stated in Qur'an and when Muslims are challenged regarding their faith, they turn to this claim as an irrefutable proof. But it's true for the orthodox Muslims only, not for the freethinkers or rationalists. There is a subtle but very real circularity for believing Muslims. The circularity goes like this: If you're an orthodox Muslim, you believe that the entire Qur'an is the very word of God, and is therefore inerrant. As an implication of this, he or she also believes that there is no other writing as eloquent as the Qur'an. Therefore, any attempt to "produce a Sura like this" must fail - thus verifying that the Qur'an is the very word of God and inerrant. In fact, the verse following the challenge affirms the impossibility of producing such a Sura (to the Muslim), and threatens disbelievers with the Fire whose fuel is men and stones:
But if ye cannot - and of a surety ye cannot - then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith. -- Qur'an 2.24 (trans. A. Yusuf Ali)
It is no surprise, then, that no Muslims have found any sura equal to the Qur'anic text so far. The surprise would be if they had, since even admitting the possibility of a better Sura contradicts 2:24, which says "of a surety ye cannot," hence being a sign of disbelief.
When I see a challenge like this it does not convince me of the Qur'an's truth. It does rather the opposite, making me suspect that the message is false. (By the way, I mean no offense to any Muslims who may read this. I just couldn't think of any inoffensive way to say this.)
Anyway, there are lot of people who are quite successful of producing Sura similar to Qur'an. Among them there are Atheists, Christian, Hindus or even Muslims. Here is one of the web-site (run by a Christian, I presume) took the challenge and produced suras like Quranic ayat. If any one is interested, he/she may enter the following site to see the proof---
From the above analysis one can easily comprehend that Qur'an is not a miraculous book. Even an ordinary people who knows Arabic quite a bit, can try to produce suras similar to Quran who have some inherent poetic capability. Now million dollar Question is, Who are going to be the judges? If an orthodox Muslim is the judge, he will instantly say, "All your creations are rubbish!" So real circularity remains within the challenge. That's why Ali Dashti honestly stated that "Neither the Qor'an's eloquence nor its moral and legal precepts are miraculous."
According to my knowledge there is no scientific miracles at all in Qur'an. On the other hand this book is full of errors, scientific misconceptions and contradictions. Ancient people erroneously believed that our Earth is flat they thought that "it is not the Earth but the Sun moves". In Qur'an we see the exactly the same picture that represent the idea of the people of that time. Sura Ya-Sin(36:38), Az-Zumar(39:5), Ar-Ra'd (13:2), Al-Anbiya(21:33), Ar-Rum(30:25), Fatir (35:41), An-Naml (27:61), Luqmân (31:10) and many other suras clearly depicts that Sun moves round the earth and hence the Qur’an challenges the established modern scientific facts. If you still believe that Qur'an is unique, Qur'an is amazing, Qur'an is miracle, Qur'an is scientific, Qur'an is accurate....... for you I put a simple challenge here:
In Arabic "ARD" means the Earth and "FALAK" is rotation/movement. Once I requested the Muslim believers to show me from Qur'an that any of the verses contains these two words one after another. Obviously The challenge has not been met yet. For details check:
I'm sure that none will be able to show because it is not stated anywhere in the Qur'an. I again repeat my promise is this regard : If u can meet the above challenge, I'll beg apology to you all for my previous misconception, and delete my page from my site.
Published in eshomabesh (Tue 12/5/2000) with a slight variation.
Comments on :
Produce a Sura Like This!
bring a book a book like this!
Quran can't be altered!
1. Challenge by the Quran that if it is not true then bring a book a book like this.
There are five verses in the Quran which deal with this challenge namely (all translations are by A. Yusufali):
Produce a sura like The Quran...2:23
2:23 And if ye are in doubt As to what We have revealed From time to time to Our servant, Then produce a Sura Like thereunto; And call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides God, if your (doubts) are true.
Bring a sura like The Quran...10:38
10:38 Or do they say, "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then A Sura like unto it,
And call (to your aid) Any one you can, Besides God, if it be Ye speak the
Bring ten suras like the Quran...11:13
11:13 Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring ye then ten Suras Forged,
like unto it, and call (To your aid) whomsoever Ye can, other than God! - If
ye speak the truth!
All of mankind and Jinns together cannot produce the Quran...17:88
17:88 Say: "If the whole Of mankind and Jinns Were to gather together To
produce the like Of this Qur-an, they Could not produce The like thereof,
even if They backed up each other.
Produce a recital like the Quran...52:34
52:34 Let them then produce A recital like unto it, - if (it be) they speak The Truth.
The Islamists often use those verses to demonstrate how unique the Quran is! They try to prove that the Quran is the words of Allah because no one accepted Allah's challenge. These are silly and laughable challenges thrown by the scribes of the Quran to the unlettered Arabs. Only Ostriches will believe in these verses. There are many other religious scriptures that can throw similar challenges. What happens if some one takes these challenges and composes verses similar to the Quran? What will be the criteria to judge which verses are better? Who are going to be the judges? How about the Geeta, the Bedas , Ramayana and Mahabharat? Can any one write /produce holy words similar or better than these? Of course, it can be done. In fact, there are many web sites where you can read similar verses like the Quran. People have accepted the challenge of the Quran and constructed verses. Are those verses similar to the Quranic verses or better than the Quran? The answer depends on who is judging. If I am the judge, then I will say that these newly composed Quranic verses are better than the age old Quran. If an Islamist is the judge then, of course, these new verses are blasphemy and nothing but gutter works. So, how are we going to come to a decision?
How about Omor Khayam and his poetry verses? Can anyone produce poems like him? The answer is both yes and no. Any person with the slightest intelligence will attest to this fact.
2. In Quran it is mentioned that Quran can't be altered.
This inquiry is intimately connected with the question: Is Mohammed the last prophet/apostle of Allah and is Quran the final book of Allah?
When I searched the Quran I could find only the following verse which deals with this matter.
33:40 Muhammad is not The father of any Of your men, but (he is) The apostle of God And the Seal of the Prophets: And God has full knowledge Of all things. (Translation by A. Yusufali)
In his commentary on this issue, Yusufali writes:
"When a document is sealed, it is complete and there can be no further addition. The holy Prophet Muhammad closed the long line of Apostles. God's teaching is and will always be continuous, but there has been and be no Prophet after Muhammed. The later ages will want thinkers and reformers, not Prophets. This is not an arbitrary matter. It is a matter full of knowledge and wisdom: "for God has full knowledge of all things." (A. Yusufali; THE
HOLY QUR'AN Translation; page 1119, commentary number 3731)"
If we accept this explanation of Yusufali, then, of course, Mohammed is the last prophet and the apostle of Allah. But there are many Muslims (?) who do not believe in Yusufali's analysis; like the Qadiani Muslims (or Ahmedia). They accept the Quran but do not accept Mohammad as the last prophet. How about the followers of Rashad Khalifa? They make a clear distinction between a prophet and an apostle. So, their version of the finality of Mohammad and the Quran is quite different. They accept only the Quran and consider Mohammad as a messenger only and not the final prophet. In fact, Rashad Khalifa claims that he had a dream where he was transported to heaven to meet Mohammad and he (Mohammad) asked to him rescue the Muslims from the present day decay (that implies that Rashad Khalifa is the next prophet after Mohammad). Rashad Khalifa's followers consider the mainstream followers (that is Sunni, Shia, Ahmedia...etc) to be the followers of Satan and not true Muslims. They even have their own version of the Quran and refuse to accpet the Shia/Sunni/Ahmedi versions. What do all these controversies prove? Yes, Quran is not really an unalterable document that many innocent Muslims tend to believe. You can really manipulate this doctrine of hate to suit your needs. There is no central authority on Quranic matters for the Sunnis who form the bulk of the present Muslims. So, it is like a fish market. Anything goes as long as you have the money and the clout to do that.
If you are a true freethinker/humanist you should not accept any of these stories. We must accept the fact that the Quran is a complete hoax and is never a revelation of Allah (or God), but it (the Quran) is the concoction of a megalomaniac who used the illiterate and the uncultured Arab Beduins to impose his narcissistic ambition to conquer the world through brute force.
If you are not accepting this truth then you are not a complete freethinker/humanist, your umbilical cord with Islam is not cut yet. You are more of an Islamic Agnost or a Islamic Freethinker or the latest invention, Islamic Atheist!!
Published in Mukto-Mona (Tue 12/5/2000) with a slight variation.
A Shallow Challenge
I will try to comment on your concern about the Qura'an.
As relative creation we are probably not equipped with the ability to conceive absolute truth. With personal unique information, experience, questions and analyses, we construct our own truth, specially about something foggy like religion.
The Qura'anic challenge of "Bring something like this" is unjustifiable and illogical. This type of shallow challenge does not suite to, and bellow the enormous dignity of, an absolute powerful eternal entity like the creator of the universe to its own tiny little creation , mankind. It is trillion times worse than the challenge of President Bush to the cleaner of our building, hypothetically. Then again, as written by Kasem, who is going to decide which is better? There is no visible scale to measure the better verse. Does not matter how better or best verse you bring, the mullas will always say yours is worse. Thirdly, nobody can copy the style of expression of another. Even Shakespere won't be able to copy your style of writing. So it is useless to launch such a challenge for any writing including the Qura'an. You can safely lauch such challenge to all the Nobel Winners in literature.
So, inability to write something alike is not a proof of divinity.
Now, let us look at the alteration of the Qura'an, your second concern. We all know that it was scatteredly written on different objects by the Sahabis during the Prophet's time. Then it was compiled by Khalifa Osman, Zaid as the head of the compiling committee. Except the compilation, all scattered writings were burned. It is only logical to assume that the burned ones were different than the compilation, although those were written by the Sahabis themselves. However, all Muslims today take the compilation as the only Qura'an. I have checked the Qura'ans of Sunnis, Shias and Ahmadis. They all are same in Arabic writings. In that sense it is not altered.
But the effective Qura'an to 90% Muslims are translated ones. The moment you go with the translations ( not the "explanations") you see lots of important differences there. And interestingly the differences are not simple but critical and direction-changing. In fact, somebody should write a book on the differences of translations. Just check the translation of Dr. Rashad Khalifa and Yousuf Ali. You will be amazed to see Dr. Khalifa's effort to "minimize" the violence against women and nonMuslims. S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali and Muhiuddin Khan have bias for Shai and Sunni respectively. Mirza Taher's is different again, favoring Ahmadis.
Dear, by the time the Qura'an came, mankind developed the science of writing. So it was recorded. The technique was primitive, so the authenticity of the job rests more on belief than logic. Though that is fine, there is scope of questions to Qura'anic compilation, (specially when it originally had no vowels and supposedly added the vowles centuries latter). If a Prophet comes today, his everything will be preserved in archives of audio, video, CD, computer and what not, in a more secured fashion than the Qura'an before compilation. Not a bit will be lost, tampered or changed.
So, unchangability is not a proof of divinity.
Published in Mukto-Mona (Mon Dec 3, 2001 ) with a slight variation.
Surah-like-it challenge has been met
Quran not protected against tampering
WTT site Courtesy : CroMagnon
The quranic surah-like-it challenge has been met when some 530 years ago the first scriptures of Sikhism 'appeared' in muslim-ruled/influenced Punjab territory and proved to be special enough to engage people (both muslims and hindus, who thus became ex-muslims and ex-hindus) in declaring them Divinely Inspired and thus giving rise to a new religion that in the past 500+ years have attracted some 22 million pious believers.
The quranic surah-like-it challenge has been met yet another time when in the mid-nineteenth century the first scriptures leading to the modern Bahaï faith 'appeared' in muslim-ruled Persia. Again these scriptures were considered Divinely Inspired by some muslims (who thus became ex-muslims) and proved special enough to form the basis of yet another new post-islam religion that has now some 5 million pious followers.
Thus the quranic sura-like-it challenge has been met at least two times in the past 1400 years, giving rise to two new post-islam religions, each with their own sacred scriptures, considered Divinely Inspired (and apparently 'more special' than the Quran) by its followers. (However, no muslim will and can ever admit the quranic challenge has been met, for when he does that he no longer is a muslim but an apostate.... And the fact that both Sikhs and Bahaï's at times have been/are being persecuted (and sometimes even killed) by muslims says enough... )
Likewise, the islamic claim that the Quran is protected from corruption / tampering / altering has been proven moot now that there is in fact a 'corrupted' version of the Quran published and both physically (book) and virtually (internet) present on the face of the earth AND used by a growing group of muslims as Divine Guidance. I'm talking about Rashad Khalifa's version of the Quran in which he omitted verses 128 & 129 of chapter 9. (Khalifa was killed in 1990 after he was declared an apostate for publishing his version of the Quran).
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