How Do We Know That the Qur’an Is Inimitable and Thus From Allah?
Answered by Shaykh Akram Abd al-Wahhab al-Mawsuli
Translated by Sr. Wajihah Gregor
Question: How do we know that the Quran is inimitable and thus from Allah?
Answer: The questioner believes in the inimitability of the Qur’an, however he did not comprehend the way this belief was derived [from its sources], and not the character of its inimitability, and his state is the state of most Arab people today who did not investigate the subtleties of its inimitability. Nonetheless, I say:
(1) The perfection of its guidance
Every Muslim believes that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was unlettered, living among his people. Nonetheless, there proceeded from him a tremendous book in its details and the teachings, in matters of belief, society, ethics, and [even] inheritance law. These principles are guidance for a remarkable civilization. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) informed us that this book is from Allah, so we know with utmost certainty that it is the book of Allah, Exalted is He.
(2) The Quran’s linguistic inimitability
The Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace, lived in a community [that spoke] with the utmost rhetorical ability and the peak of eloquence. They were challenged to come with something remotely like the Qur’an and they could not. They were then challenged to come with merely ten verses like it and they proved incapable. Thereafter, they were challenged to come with just one verse [like it] and they could not. If these people at the pinnacle of rhetorical ability, eloquence, and literary skills proved thus incapable then those after them were yet more incapable and this is sufficient in establishing the matter for the creation.
(3) Informing of matters of the Unseen
The Qur’an informed the Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace, concerning the unseen and the fine points of matters of which was never before contained in a book, or of anything that was known among them. The Prophet [Allah bless him and give him peace] could not read or write which is an intellectual proof that this is the book of Allah, Exalted is His matter.
(4) Its guidance in matters of knowledge
In this tremendous book are points of knowledge that were realized by its bearers over a period of a quarter millenium until they reached a civilizational peak that was not realized by the Arabs before them, and they excelled tremendously in scientific and other knowledge. All of this indicates that this tremendous book is the book of Allah in its magnificence and inimitability.
Shaykh Akram Abdul Wahhab Muhammad Amin
Director, Dar al-Nur for Shari’a Studies
Shaykh Akram Abd al-Wahhab is one of the major scholars of our time. He was the head of the Council of Scholars of Mosul, and has taught and authored in the major sciences of Islam fiqh, aqida, tafsir, the language sciences, logic, hadith, sira, tasawwuf, and more. He has authored a 1,100 line poem about his teachers and some of his many chains of transmission in the Islamic sciences, and has written a 15-volume commentary on this poem. This commentary contains invaluable biographies of the ulema of Mosul, Iraq, and elsewhere. He is the director of the al-Nur Institute for Islamic Studies, and a PhD in Tafsir. He currently resides and teaches in Amman (Jordan).