CAN THE LANGUAGE AND STYLE OF THE QUR’AN BE DEEMED MIRACULOUS AND BE
CONSIDERED A PROOF THAT IT IS GOD'S WORD?
OUR Muslim brethren assert that the eloquence and the beauty of the style of the Qur'an are a
miracle, and that thus the Qur'an itself alone is a sufficient proof of Muhammad's prophetic office
and Divine commission. They tell us that he could neither read nor write, and hence could not
himself compose such a book. Hence they conclude that it must have been Divinely revealed and sent
down to him from Heaven. Each prophet, they say, had some special sign granted to him as a proof
that he had been sent from God; but the signs given to prophets varied with the age in which they
lived. In Moses' time the magicians had great influence, hence the miracles which he wrought in
Egypt were similar to their tricks in appearance, though really performed and very much more
surprising. In Jesus' time the art of healing had made great progress, hence He performed superhuman
works of healing. In Muhammad's time eloquence was highly prized among the Arabs, hence the book he
was given excelled all others in its eloquence and its poetry. In proof of this peerlessness
of the Qur'an they quote the challenge to produce a verse like one contained in it (Surahs ii. 21
and xvii. 91).
But when this argument is considered with the care and the respect which are its due, we do not
think it is very convincing. In the first place, there are some famous books in the world which were
composed by men who could not read or write and which are, in their own languages, quite unrivalled.
The Rig-Veda in India was composed between 1,000 and 1,500 years B.C.,