Although the aforementioned example of man researching information contained in the Qur'an deals with a non-Muslim, it is still valid because he is one of those who is knowledgeable in the subject being researched. Had some layman claimed that what the Qur'an says about embryology is true, then one would not necessarily have to accept his word. However, because of the high position, respect, and esteem man gives scholars, one naturally assumes that if they research a subject and arrive at a conclusion based on that research, then the conclusion is valid. One of Professor Moore's colleagues, Marshall Johnson, deals extensively with geology at the University of Toronto.
He became very interested in the fact that the Qur'an's statements about embryology are accurate, and so he asked Muslims to collect everything contained in the Qur'an which deals with his specialty. Again people were very surprised at the findings. Since there are a vast number subjects discussed in the Qur'an, it would certainly require a large amount of time to exhaust each subject. It suffices for the purpose of this discussion to state that the Qur'an makes very clear and concise statements about various subjects while simultaneously advising the reader to verify the authenticity of these statements with research by scholars in those subjects. And as illustrated by the Qur'an has clearly emerged authentic. Undoubtedly, there is an attitude in the Qur'an which is not found anywhere else. It is interesting how when the Qur'an provides information, it often tells the reader, "You did not know this before." Indeed, there is no scripture that exists which makes that claim. All of the other ancient writings and scriptures that people have, do give a lot of information, but they always state where the information came from.
For example, when the Bible discusses ancient history, it states that this king lived here, this one fought in a certain battle, another one had so may sons, etc. Yet it always stipulates that if you want more information, then you should read the book of so and so because that is where the information came from. In contrast to this concept, the Qur'an provides the reader with information and states that this information is something new. Of course, there always exists the advice to research the information provided and verify its authenticity. It is interesting that such a concept was never challenged by non-Muslims fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, the Makkans who hated the Muslims, and time and time again they heard such revelations claiming to bring new information; yet, they never spoke up and said, "This is not new. We know where Muhammad got this information. We learned this at school."
They could never challenge its authenticity because it really was new! In concurrence with the advice given in the Qur'an to research information (even if it is new), when 'Umar was caliph, he chose a group of men and sent them to find the wall of Dhul-Qarnayn. Before the Qur'anic revelation, the Arabs had never heard of such a wall, but because the Qur'an described it, they were able to discover it. As a matter of fact, it is now located in what is called Durbend in the Soviet Union. It must be stressed here that the Qur'an is accurate about many, many things, but accuracy does not necessarily mean that a book is a divine revelation. In fact, accuracy is only one of the criteria for divine revelations.
For instance, the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean that it is divinely revealed. The real problem lies in that one must establish some proof of the source the Qur'an's information. The emphasis is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the Qur'an's authenticity without sufficient proof. If, indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to disqualify it. This is exactly what the Qur'an encourages. Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered in South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said, and so he claimed, "I am going to go home tonight and find a mistake in the Qur'an." Of course, I said, "Congratulations. That is the most intelligent thing that you have said." Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with those who doubt the Qur'an's authenticity, because the Qur'an itself offers the same challenge. An inevitably, after accepting it's challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Qur'an earns their respect because they themselves have had to verify its authenticity. An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough concerning the authenticity of the Qur'an is that one's inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon's existence or another person's explanation of it.
Specifically, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else's explanation. However, the person's refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Qur'anic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says, "I do not believe it." At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others' answers are inadequate. In fact, in one particular Qur'anic verse which I have always seen mistranslated into English, Allah mentions a man who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he was derelict in his duty because after he heard the information, he left without checking the verity of what he had heard. In other words, one is guilty if he hears something and does not research it and check to see whether it is true. One is supposed to process all information and decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is worthwhile information to be kept and benefited from at a later date. One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It must be put in the proper categories and approached from that point of view. For example, if the information is still speculatory, then one must discern whether it's closer to being true or false. But if all of the facts have been presented, then one must decide absolutely between these two options. And even if one is not positive about the authenticity of the information, he is still required to process all of the information and make the admission that he just does not know for sure. Although this last point appears to be futile, in actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person to at least recognize, research and review the facts. This familiarity with the information will give the person "the edge" when future discoveries are made and additional information is presented. The important thing is that one deals with the facts and does not simply discard them out of empathy and disinterest.
The real certainty about the truthfulness of the Qur'an is evident in the confidence which is prevalent throughout it; and this confidence comes from a different approach - "Exhausting the Alternatives." In essence, the Qur'an states, "This book is a divine revelation; if you do not believe that, then what is it?" In other words, the reader is challenged to come up with some other explanation. Here is a book made of paper and ink. Where did it come from? It says it is a divine revelation; if it is not, then what is its source? The interesting fact is that no one has with an explanation that works. In fact, all alternatives have bee exhausted. As has been well established by non-Muslims, these alternatives basically are reduces to two mutually exclusive schools of thought, insisting on one or the other. On one hand, there exists a large group of people who have researched the Qur'an for hundreds of years and who claim, "One thing we know for sure - that man, Muhammad, thought he was a prophet. He was crazy!" They are convinced that Muhammad (SAW) was fooled somehow. Then on the other hand, there is another group which alleges, "Because of this evidence, one thing we know for sure is that that man, Muhammad, was a liar!" Ironically, these two groups never seem to get together without contradicting. In fact, many references on Islam usually claim both theories. They start out by saying that Muhammad (SAW) was crazy and then end by saying that he was a liar. They never seem to realize that he could not have been both!
For example, if one is deluded and really thinks that he is a prophet, then he does not sit up late at night planning, "How will I fool the people tomorrow so that they think I am a prophet?" He truly believes that he is a prophet, and he trusts that the answer will be given to him by revelation. As a matter of fact, a great deal of the Qur'an came in answer to questions. Someone would ask Muhammad (SAW) a question, and the revelation would come with the answer to it. Certainly, if one is crazy and believes that an angel put words in his ear, then when someone asks him a question, he thinks that the angel will give him the answer. Because he is crazy, he really thinks that. He does not tell someone to wait a short while and then run to his friends and ask them, "Does anyone know the answer?" This type of behavior is characteristic of one who does not believe that he is a prophet. What the non-Muslims refuse to accept is that you cannot have it both ways. One can be deluded, or he can be a liar. He can be either one or neither, but he certainly cannot be both! The emphasis is on the fact that they are unquestionably mutually exclusive personal traits.
The following scenario is a good example of the kind of circle that non-Muslims go around in constantly. If you ask one of them, "What is the origin of the Qur'an?" He tells you that it originated from the mind of a man who was crazy. Then you ask him, "If it came from his head, then where did he get the information contained in it? Certainly the Qur'an mentions many things with which the Arabs were not familiar." So in order to explain the fact which you bring him, he changes his position and says, "Well, maybe he was not crazy. Maybe some foreigner brought him the information. So he lied and told people that he was a prophet." At this point then you have to ask him, "If Muhammad was a liar, then where did he get his confidence? Why did he behave as though he really thought he was a prophet?" Finally backed into a corner, like a cat he quickly lashes out with the first response that comes to his mind. Forgetting that he has already exhausted that possibility, he claims, "Well, maybe he wasn't a liar. He was probably crazy and really thought that he was a prophet." And thus he begins the futile circle again.
As has already been mentioned, there is much information contained in the Qur'an whose source cannot be attributed to anyone other than Allah. For example, who told Muhammad about the wall of Dhul-Qarnayn - a place hundreds of miles to the north? Who told him about embryology? When people assemble facts such as these, if they are not willing to attribute their existence to a divine source, they automatically resort to the assumption someone brought Muhammad the information and that he used it to fool the people. However, this theory can easily be disproved with one simple question: "If Muhammad was a liar, where did he get his confidence? Why did he tell some people out right to their face what others could never say?" Such confidence depends completely upon being convinced that one has a true divine revelation. For example, the Prophet (SAW) had an uncle by the name of Abu Lahab. This man hated Islam to such an extent that he used to follow the Prophet around in order to discredit him. If Abu Lahab saw the Prophet (SAW) speaking to a stranger, he would wait until they parted and then would go to the stranger and ask him, "What did he tell you? Did he say, 'Black.'? Well, it's white. Did he say, 'Morning.'? Well, it's night." He faithfully said the exact opposite of whatever he heard Muhammad (SAW) and the Muslims say. However, about ten years before Abu Lahab died, a little chapter in the Qur'an was revealed to him. It distinctly stated that he would go to the Fire (i.e., Hell). In other words, it affirmed that he would never become a Muslim and would therefore be condemned forever. For ten years all Abu Lahab had to do was say, "I heard that it has been revealed to Muhammad that I will never change - that I will never become a Muslim and will enter the Hellfire. Well I want to become a Muslim now. How do you like that? What do you think of your divine revelation now?" But he never did that. And yet, that is exactly the kind of behavior one would have expected from him since he always sought to contradict Islam. In essence, Muhammad (SAW) said, "You hate me and you want to finish me? Here, say these words, and I am finished. Come on, say them!" But Abu Lahab never said them. Ten years! And in all that time he never accepted Islam or even became sympathetic to the Islamic cause. How could Muhammad possibly have known for sure that Abu Lahab would fulfill the Qur'anic revelation if he (i.e., Muhammad) was not truly the messenger of Allah? How could he possibly have been so confident as to give someone 10 years to discredit his claim of Prophethood? The only answer is that he was Allah's messenger; for in order to put forth suck a risky challenge, one has to be entirely convinced that he has a divine revelation.
Another example of the confidence which Muhammad (SAW) had in his own Prophethood and consequently in the divine protection of himself and his message is when he left Makkah and hid in a cave with Abu Bakr during their emigration to Madeenah. The two clearly saw people coming to kill them, and Abu Bakr was afraid. Certainly, if Muhammad (SAW) was a liar, a forger and one who was trying to fool the people into believing that he was a prophet, one would have expected him to say in such a circumstance to his friend, "Hey, Abu Bakr, see if you can find a back way out of this cave." Or "Squat down in that corner over there and keep quiet." Yet, in fact, what he said to Abu Bakr clearly illustrated his confidence. He told him, "Relax! Allah is with us, and Allah will save us!"
Now, if one knows that he is fooling the people, where does one get this kind of attitude? In fact, such a frame of mind is not characteristic of a liar or a forger at all. So, as has been previously mentioned, the non-Muslims go around and around in a circle, searching for a way out - some way to explain the findings in the Qur'an without attributing them to their proper source. On one hand, they tell you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, "The man was a liar," and on the other hand, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they tell you, "He was crazy." What they refuse to accept is that one cannot have it both ways; yet they refuse to accept is that one cannot have it both ways; yet they need both excuses to explain the information in the Qur'an.
About seven years ago, I had a minister over to my home. In the particular room which we were sitting there was a Qur'an on the table, face down, and so the minister was not aware of which book it was. In the midst of a discussion, I pointed to the Qur'an and said, "I have confidence in that book." Looking at the Qur'an but not knowing which book it was , he replied, "Well, I tell you, if that book is not the Bible, it was written by a man!" In response to his statement, I said, "Let me tell you something about what is in that book." And in just three to four minutes I related to him a few things contained in the Qur'an. After just those three or four minutes, he completely changed his position and declared, "You are right. A man did not write that book. The Devil wrote it!" Indeed, possessing such an attitude is very unfortunate - for many reasons. For one thing, it is a very quick and cheap excuse. It is an instant exit out of an uncomfortable situation. As a matter of fact, there is a famous story in the Bible that mentions how one day some of the Jews were witnesses when Jesus raised a man from the dead. The man had been dead for four days, and when Jesus arrived, he simply said, "Get up!" and the man arose and walked away. At such a sight, some of the Jews who were watching said disbelievingly, "This is the Devil. The Devil helped him!" Now this story is rehearsed often in churches all over the world, and people cry big tears over it, saying, "Oh, if I had been there, I would not have been as stupid as the Jews!" Yet ironically, these people do exactly what the Jews did when in just three minutes you show them only a small part of the Qur'an and all they can say is, "Oh, the Devil did it. The devil wrote that book!". Because they are truly backed into a corner and have no other viable answer, they resort to the quickest and cheapest excuse available. Another Example of people's use of this weak stance can be found in the Makkans' explanation of the source of Muhammed's message. They used to say, "The devils bring Muhammad that Qur'an!" But just as with every other suggestion made, the Qur'an gives the answer. One verse in particular states:
"And they say, 'Surely he is possessed [by jinn], 'but it [i] is not except a reminder to the worlds."
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