Allah’s Challenge in the Quran to produce work similar to it

By Dr. Bilal Philips

The Quran is not only unique in the way in which it presents its subject matter, but it is also unique in that it is a miracle itself. By the term “miracle,” we mean the performance of a supernatural or extraordinary event which cannot be duplicated by humans. It has been documented that Prophet Muhammad (S), challenged the Arabs to produce a literary work of a similar caliber as the Quran, but they were unable to do so in spite of their well-known eloquence and literary powers. The challenge to reproduce the Quran was presented to the Arabs and mankind in three stages:

1. The Whole Quran

In the Quran, Allah commanded the Prophet (S) to challenge all of creation to create a book of the stature of the Quran:

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“Say: ‘If all mankind and the jinn would come together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce its like even though they exerted all and their strength in aiding one another.’” (Quran 17:88)

quran brings peace2. Ten Chapters

Next, Allah made the challenge ostensibly easier by asking those who denied its divine origin to imitate even ten chapters of the Quran:

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“Or do they say that he has invented it? Say (to them), ‘Bring ten invented chapters like it, and call (for help) on whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful.” (Quran 11:13)

3. One Chapter

This final challenge was to produce even a single chapter to match what is in the Quran, whose shortest chapter, al-Kawthar, consists of only three verses:

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“And if you all are in doubt about what I have revealed to My servant, bring a single chapter like it, and call your witnesses besides God if you are truthful.” (Quran 2:23)

These challenges were not just empty words with no one caring to prove them wrong. Prophet Muhammad’s call to monotheism, to the abolition of idolatry in all its forms, and to the equality of slaves and their masters, threatened the whole socio-economic framework of Mecca society in general, and the position of the ruling Quraishee tribe from which the Prophet (S) came in particular. Mecca, the trading center of Arabia, as well as its spiritual center, desperately wanted to stop the spread of Islam. Yet all that the Prophet’s opponents had to do to crush the movement was to make up a single chapter like any one of those which the Prophet (S) and his followers were reciting to the people. A number of Quraishee orators and poets tried to imitate the Quran, but they failed. They then resorted to offering him vast amounts of wealth, the position of king over them, and the most noble and beautiful of their women in exchange for his promise to stop inviting people to Islam. He responded to them by reciting the first thirteen verses of Chapter Fussilat, until they asked him to stop. [1] The Quraish also resorted to torturing their slaves and relatives who had embraced Islam in a vain attempt to cause them to revert to paganism. Later, they organized an economic boycott against the Prophet (S) his followers and the members of his clan, Banu Hashim, in an attempt to starve them into submission. But even this plan eventually failed. Finally, they plotted to kill him in his home by sending armed young men from each of the clans of Quraish in order that the guilt of his murder be shared by all the clans, making revenge by the Prophet’s clan impossible.

However, Allah enabled the Prophet (S) and his followers to flee Mecca and join a new band of converts who had arisen among the tribes of a city to the north called Yathrib. Islam spread rapidly through the clans of Yathrib, and within a year Muslims became the city’s majority. Prophet Muhammad (S) was then made the ruler, and the name of the city was changed to Medina tunn-Nabi (The City of the Prophet may God bless him), which was then shortened to “Medina”  and sometimes referred to as Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara.

It has been suggested that the inimitability of the Quran is not necessarily unique, for great English poets like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or great poets in any language tend to have distinctly unique styles which set them apart from their contemporaries. However, if, for example, some leading poet of today were to make an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s writings and write a sonnet in Shakespeare’s style in old ink and on old paper, then claim that he had discovered a lost poem of Shakespeare’s, the literary world would probably accept this claim, even after careful study. Thus, even the greatest of poets could be imitated; no matter how unique his style was, just as the famous painters have been imitated. [In fact, some English scholars consider much of what has been attributed to Shakespeare to have been written by his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe.] The Quran, however, is way above this level, as (unsuccessful) attempts to forge chapters have been made throughout the ages (by many Arab literary scholars). And, as was mentioned before, the incentive to imitate the Quran was more intense during the time of its revelation when literally skills were at their peak than at any other time, yet there was no successful attempt.

Healing Quran


Footnotes:

[1] Collected by al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqee, Aboo Ya’laa and Ibn Hishaam, and declared Hasan by Ibrahim al-’Alee in Sahih as-Seerah an-Nabaweeyah, p.64.


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26 comments… add one
  • Masha Allah, this article is genuine; it definitely will elevate Muslim’s imam and will impact other people will of Allah subhaana wa ta’aal. Brothers and sisters are doing magnificent job may Allah (SWT) reward you (Jannah) paradise for your effort. Please keep up the good work, and we will do our best ability Jazaka Allah khayr.

  • Mustapha Kamaldeen

    Article well written and well assimilated. Eloquent display writing prowess. More ink to your pen ‘Insha’Allah’.

  • Sameena

    Assalaamulaikum, Jazakallahkhair.
    Alhamdulillah we Muslims have no doubt about the Quran being the Word of Allah. What we need, however, is to implement its teachings in our lives, as that is exactly what we are supposed to do. All our actions, personal and public interactions and dealings should reflect the teachings of the Quran. May Allah Help us all Muslims to project sincerely, the true faith by following His Guidance provided in the Quran. Aameen

  • Anonymous

    Alhamdulilah, for this kind of an article. just that we muslim never realy knows the favour Allah almighty has bestow on us. May the almighty give us the will to implement the real meaning of the koran in our daily life.

  • Jemal

    Aslamu alaikum warhamatuulah wabarakatuhu
    Jazakum Allahu khair for enlighting us with your religious tips and no doubt the holy Quran is revealed by the supreme being ( Allah swt) . May Allah guide us to the right path to use it practically and make all muslim ummah sesnsible.
    ameen

  • Yusuf Jidda

    Alhamdulillah, jazakhallah khairan brother Dr. Bilal Philips. The article is well written, assuring, inspiring, revielling and inviting. May Allah continue to guide us on to the straight path. May Allah also provide you with more knowledge and inspiration to enlighten us more. Thank you.

  • Fuad

    Salaamalaykum. The article is concise and straight to the point. I found it very informative. Personally my appreciation and understanding of Islam is a lot better. There is no doubt that Iqrasense is doing a wonderful job. Please, keep it up. Jazak’ALLAHl’khairan.

  • Aafiya

    assalamu alikum..,surely quran is the miracle of the miracles…!this article is the best proof for those who say tat prophet{peace be upon him}himself wrote the quran..,may allah guide them..,

  • jazakallah kairan. The Holy Quran is a guide to mankind and the light of the world. This article only helps to confirm the obvious. Ma salaam

  • M.A.Mannan

    And please Declare, “the Truth has come, & falsehood has vanished. Surely the falsehood was certain to vanish.” SURA BANEE ISRAAAEL (BANEE ISRAAAEL, Chapter 8, Verse 81)

  • Asslamoalyikom warhmataAllah brother jazakallah khier about your emiel about the wards of Allah subhanahowatallah ,iread the quran avery night ,as the quran is the guide and shefah from all the illneses,the great quran is insha Allah will be rabea our hearts and noor our cheast and remove our sadnese and remove our homomana .

  • Muna

    MashAllah, truly inspiring, AlhamdulilAllah for Allah has blessed us with the Quran as a guide. Allahu Akbar.

  • NURU MUHAMMAD

    Assalamu alaikum. Another challenge is that there is no contradiction in the Quran. It asked, “don’t they ponder over the Quran? If it were from any other than Allah you would have found so many contradictions in it”. Bissalam.

  • Dr Alhassan Datti Mohammed

    May Allah SWT reward all members & staff of IqraSense and all those who support it financially or otherwise with Al-jannat fiddaus, ameen.

    My belief is that all systems will fail one day and Quran & Islam will remain standing and available to cure ALL forms of injustice and disease. Only then true peace will reign

  • Shamim

    Undoutedly none can produce work similar to Quran. It’s Allah’s challenge and if anybody takes up this challenge he or she will miserably fail to do so.

  • riyaz

    Alhamdulilallah,there is no doubt iqra sense is doing great job.very inspiring article.

  • isa sulaiman

    AsSalaamu Alaikum! As we live in a world of ” The Harmony between opposites” The Blessed Qur’an, hasn’t any opposite…therefor it is the Singularity the quality of the next world of timeless existence.

  • Habiba

    Salam alaykum, Allahu Akbar. Indeed Allah is the Ultimate. Shouldn’t this ought to be an eye opener to the unbelievers and even the believers with minimal Iman. May Allah forgive us our sins and grant us Aljjanah firdaus. Amin

  • I loved it and believe it or not whilst reading i could hear Sir Bilal Phillips voice very clearly in my ears. strange.

  • Mohammed S. mAHMOUD

    A wonderful reminder for all muslims to strengthen their faith and imam and to non muslims to ponder and realise that ALLAH IS THE ONLY SUPREME BEING worthy of being worship. JAZAKALLAHU KHAIRAN.

  • mehmud

    iqra sense has been a marvelous source of learning that guides us what exactly islam is? It has covered almost all the topics relating to the events that always occur in the life of muslims from around the globe.
    May Allah make you and the team much more strengthen so as you could continue to provide updated knowledge about Islam.
    Jazakallah.

  • Muhammad Mukhtar

    Assalamu Alaikum, This is a well written and beautiful article. It confirms beyond any doubt that, the ‘Book’ QUR’AN is from Allah, and not written by Muhammad(s) or his companions. May the Almighty reward Dr Bilal for the contribution, amin

  • Khadiza

    Subhan’Allah, jazak’Allah for enlightening us about the eloquence and uniqueness of the quran Allah has sent to us. The rhetoric, stylistic elements in the quran leave us in awe of it. Subhan’Allah. It is divine in its own nature, no one can write with such eloquence except Allah.

    Absolutely loved reading this article.

    Jazak’Allah.

  • Allah akbar.The quran will always remain a challenge to those that dont believe and a therefore the biggest miracle.

  • ali said

    Allah akber the Qur’an Will always remain a challenge to those that dont believe and therefore the biggest miracle . jazak Allah Dr

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