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"(The Quran is) a Book that We have revealed to Muhammad abounding in good, that they may ponder over its verses, and that the men of understanding may mind" (The Quran: 38:29).
Before entering upon a discussion on the truth and authenticity of the Quran, it seems necessary that a mention be made of certain principles. which are of fundamental importance, and which will be found useful in appreciating the arguments offered in the following pages.
The arguments constituting external evidence on the truth of the Holy Book may be divided into four sections:
1) Arguments based on facts which require to be rectified and reformed, as are found in the previous practices of unbelief and heresy, depraved deeds and dishonest dealings which man has adopted instead of the right beliefs and righteous actions and which, having spread all over the world, vitiating its atmosphere, deserve richly to be set right and amended by the grace of the Almighty.
Arguing adversely, it may be objected that it is quite possible to re-state the simple facts incorporated in the Scriptures by taking to the method of hearsay. For this purpose, a man need not be well-read; he can easily reproduce a fact which he has heard from a learned man. The facts of the religion of these people, too, are not so hard and abstruse as not to be understood without the help of high learning and erudition. If the Scriptures were not to contain such problems as cannot be solved except by scholars of high degree, it would have to be admitted that they constitute no high and distinctive mark of learning. For, a book commands but scant respect in the eyes of the learned if it should fail to rise above the crude intelligence of the common folk and fall far below the level of sublime truths. If a person should cherish that the teaching of his Scriptures is devoid of all the exalted truths, he is guilty of a contempt of his own Books. Nor will his feeling of pride be able to hold its own for the simple reason that he will be counted among the mass and, his knowledge and wisdom being in no way superior to theirs, cannot fall within the domain of the secrets of the Unseen, provided their teaching should be so widespread and well-known that there may be good reasons to believe that every illiterate person can be aware of it, if he should devote even his small attention to the matter. On the other hand, if their contents are not generally known, nor universally prevalent - in that case, however crude those facts may be, a disclosure of them will be regarded as the disclosure of the secrets of the Unseen in reference to the man who is absolutely ignorant of the language in which those facts have been written.
Therefore, the knowledge of the Unseen falls beyond the ken of mortal man; and whatever is beyond the power and possibility of man is evidently caused by God. So, the secrets of the Unseen are caused into existence directly by the Divine Being, without the least intervention of human element.
A thing which is brought into existence by the power of the Almighty, be it a living being or a sacred Scripture, should be beyond the possibility of man to produce a like of it. This principle, which is of a general nature, may be, proved in two ways: Firstly, by constructive imagination, according to which it is necessary that God should be One and without an associate in His person, attributes and deeds. For, if the association of a created being were possible in any of His creations, words and deeds, it could also be possible in all His works and attributes, in which case the possibility of the creation of another God would also become conceivable. And if a thing were to possess some of the divine attributes, it should have to be regarded as an associate with the Supreme Being, which is quite inconsistent with the plain dictates of common sense and reason. Secondly by judgement of all those things which have been created exclusively by the power and command of God, from the smallest atom to the most gigantic orb of the heaven. It is an established fact that even from among the merest trifles, for instance, a fly, a gnat or a spider, not one thing is there which lies within the possibility of man to create. On the other hand, the composition of their tiny bodies is so wonderful that it constitutes a strong argument for the existence of the Creator of the world.
However, it is alleged that there exist in the universe many a word of man, the like of which has not so far been produced, and yet these have not been accepted as divine word. This erroneous conception has arisen from want of thought and deliberation; otherwise, of human word, howsoever precious it may be, it can never be claimed justly that it is beyond the power and possibility of human mind, and that the author of it has done a deed which may well be called God-like. A man can do what another man has done. When a word is called the word of man, the conclusion that it is, therefore, not beyond the power of another person, is indisputable and the possibility of its being unparalleled is also precluded.
There has never been a man who ever claimed that his words and deeds can be compared with those of the Divine Being. And, if there had been such an impudent person with such an arrogant claim, many would have challenged him. It should be known that it is exclusively the privilege and glory of God to have challenged all the nations of the world to produce, if they could, word like unto His Word, and to have roused them to summon all their resources for this contest. And when hundreds of reputed poets have laid down their lives without being able to produce even one small chapter like that of the Quran, it will indeed be the limit of ignorance to call their writings as unsurpassable, and to associate them with the Almighty in this Attribute of His. The Quran says that "if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your helpers besides Allah if you are truthful. But if you do (it) not and you can never do (it) - then be on your guard against the fire whose fuel is men and stones; it is prepared for the disbelievers [The Quran, 2:23-24. A similar challenge is contained in 10:38, 11:13 and 17:88. Note that stones in the above verse are generally understood to be the idols which the Arabs worshipped.]." And again the challenge is thrown that "if men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others. And certainly We have made clear for men in this Quran every kind of description, but most men consent to naught save denying [The Quran: 17:88-89. See also 10:37-38 ; 11:13-14.]."
It is thus clear that the distinctive quality of being unparalleled and unapproachable in excellence belongs exclusively to the Divine Word and Deed. It is this very argument which helps to induce belief in the existence of the Creator, and without which the way to reach Him through the gateway of reason would have been closed. The fact of the existence of God, it cannot be gainsaid, is so closely connected with this great principle that it will be nothing short of cutting at the very root of Reason and Faith if we should dare admit mortal men into its purview, and ascribe to them the divine attribute.
If a person should refuse to accept this general principle, established after a careful observation of the laws of nature, he should not, thereafter, refer to Reason nor speak of the Laws that govern this universe, and should discard all books on logic and philosophy. How will he feel when he asserts that a bee, so perfect in its make, has undoubtedly been created by God, but His Word, with all the grandeur of its phrase and greatness of its teaching cannot be so perfect as to evince its super-natural source? Is it not a matter of regret that, whereas in the case of a bee, he professes that its physical structure is such that it lies beyond the power of man to produce a like thereof, but in regard to the Divine Word he avers that its like can be produced?
Such a person contemplates that man cannot create honey, but he has all the power to produce word like unto the Word of God. Does he not feel that if there should be, in the Divine Word, not even as much excellence as in the make-up of an insect, the objection thereof would have to be laid at the door of the Almighty, Who has exalted the inferior creation over and above the superior and higher in excellence, and has endowed the former with such arguments, pertaining to his own person, as have not been conferred on the superior one?
These truths are so evident and clear that even he who has not entered the fold of Islam can understand that it is necessary for the Word of God to be unequalled and unsurpassable in excellence. Every sensible man who reflects on the working of the laws of nature, realises that everything created by God, however trifling it may be, is so full of marvel and wisdom that it is far beyond the power and capacity of human being to produce; nor will he ever be able to accept the possibility of association of a created being in the person, attributes and deeds of the Creator.
For a man of intelligence and understanding, there are, besides what has been stated in the foregoing pages, many more arguments which establish the fact of the incomparability of the Divine Word in a very clear and lucid manner. Suppose, for instance, some men of letters enter into a contest for the production of a composition which should be pure and full of knowledge, wisdom and learning. It needs no saying that the palm, in this contest, will be borne only by that writer, who will have a vast knowledge and a profound practice in the art of writing. No other person, deficient in learning and intelligence, comprehensiveness and capability, will be able to reach the former's elegance and grandeur in writing, and become his equal.
We may here take another example of a physician, who is not only an expert in the art of diagnosis and healing, but is also an adept in the art of speaking and writing. The perfect and precise manner in which he will dilate upon and discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment of a disease, will not be equalled by another man who is not endowed with the gift of the gab. The speech of an illiterate cannot, therefore, be at par with that of a scholar.
Now that it has been established that the disparity, which exists in the literally and intellectual power of a human being, finds its expression correspondingly in his speech, it becomes necessary that the word, which is claimed to be that of God should, in regard to internal as well as external excellences be unapproachable by human word for the reason that the knowledge of no other being can be equal to that of the Divine Being.
When human beings, notwithstanding the fact that they belong to the same species, have different powers of expression on account of the disparity in their knowledge and wisdom, experience and practice, so that a man of small understanding and knowledge cannot attain to the higher level of a scholar's speech-excellence, how could it be possible for a created being, whose knowledge is insignificant, to be an equal of the Creator? The fact that all the internal and external grandeur of a word is solely dependent on the literary capability and practical experience of a person now stands proved.
It is true that some knowledge of Arabic is necessary for the proper appreciation of certain points regarding the matchlessness of the Quran. But it is a mistake to think that all the arguments on its grandeur rely for their support on a knowledge of the Arabic language, and that its marvels can be appreciated by the Arabs only. This is certainly not the case. It is well-known to any learned person that many of these arguments are so simple and easy that no proficiency in Arabic is required to understand them; even an ordinary sense suffices for their understanding. It should be noted that the Quran is so short and succinct in volume that it can be scribed with a medium pen in four or five parts only; it contains all the religious doctrines and principles ever taught. Another marvel of the Book is that howsoever many truths of religious learning a man may discover through deep deliberation and hard work, or expound with his own intelligence or argument on any religious topic, or demand to be shown from it, the remedial treatment of any of the moral and spiritual maladies that human beings have been suffering from, he will find the replies in its chapters [The Quran: 10:57. The Quran is a healing and a guidance for all people. See also 29:51]. Yet another easily comprehensible proof of its matchlessness consists in the fact that the dignity of its diction, and the perfect choice of its words is so great that no human effort can ever approach it. This claim as stated above, was put to test at the time of its revelation, and found true, and has since come down through the ages as an established reality.
In short, the Quran, like a sure circle, encompasses within its fold all religious truths and wisdom. All those principles which had been taught wrongly by people, on account of their imperfect knowledge, will be found rectified, and brought to perfection in it. There will also be found in this revealed Scripture such truths, the exposition of which never fell to the lot of any human teacher. The niceties with regard to the divine knowledge which, though put in writing in volumes, but was yet in an incomplete form, have been fully explained in it. The Almighty proclaims that "with truth have We revealed it (the Quran), and with truth did it come [The Quran: 17:105]." "We have not neglected anything in the Book [The Quran: 6:38]."
Again, addressing the Prophet, God says that "We have not revealed to thee the Book except that thou mayest make clear to them that wherein they differ, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe [The Quran: 16:64]."
And the assurance is also given to God's statement that "surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian [The Quran: 15:9. See also 8:7-8; 10:1-2; 41:41-42]."
The Quran is admittedly a small volume. It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad piecemeal during a period of twenty-three years. It is divided into 114 chapters. Each consists of a number of verses. But all the diverse doctrines of religion, and all the great and subtle truths about the Divine Being, and the essence of all the thought-product of the ancient and modern teachers have been so miraculously condensed in it that not a single truth, or true principle, can be pointed out which has remained outside its sphere, thereby, proving indubitably that it is not the work of man.
It is unwarranted to suppose that human power, in the matter of knowledge and wisdom, can be at par with the Divine Power. It is, therefore, necessary that the disparity which exists between these high and low, strong and weak powers, should find a corresponding repercussion in their words. The word proceeding from a higher power will evidently be superior to that which has its source in the inferior, much in the same way as a weak person cannot take his stand against a stronger one, although all men belong to the same human species.
It is not correct to say that every language and dialect has been invented by man. It has been proved conclusively that the Supreme Being Himself, having created man, endowed him with language also that he may be able to express himself. If language had been created by man, there would have been no need for educating a child who, when grown up, would have invented a language for himself. But a child will remain speechless and destitute of oral expression if he is not instructed in any language, no matter whether he is brought up in Asia, or is kept in a forest in Europe, or is taken to some spot below the equator.
An argument is sometimes adduced to the fact that hundreds of different changes have been taking place in languages, indicating human intervention and influence over them. This is another misconception. These changes are not caused by human will and power, nor has any law been discovered so far to determine the periods of time during which human nature acts for the introduction of these changes. A deeper reflection, however, will show that these changes in languages are also brought about by the Divine Being, much in the same way as all other changes, celestial and terrestrial, are made by His will. It can never be proved that human beings ever invented all those languages and dialects, which are spoken in the world.
It is urged that just as changes have been introduced in languages by God as a natural phenomenon, why should it not be possible that, in the beginning, too, languages came to be created likewise, and no special revelation had been vouchsafed from on High?
The reply to this objection is that it is a general law of nature that, in the first instance, the Almighty created everything exclusively by His power of origination. A little pondering over the creation of the heaven and the earth, the sun and the moon, and the human nature itself, will show that the time of the first creation was the time for display of the divine power of origination, which had nothing to do with the other laws of cause and effect.
When every form of creation, in the beginning, was brought into existence merely by His will and command, it would be unreasonable to suppose that the Almighty, Who has the power to create man, besides other things, even without the agency of both father and mother, should be so weak and destitute of power in the creation of languages. Every sensible man will have to accept that the law of origination was in operation in the beginning of the world. It will, therefore, be unfair to throw the creation of the languages outside the sphere of this law.
The fact of phenomenal changes coming over the languages is different from that of bringing a language into actual existence from a state of nothingness. And, besides all these things, when God, even now, reveals His will to His people in different languages, some of which are entirely unknown to them, which they had neither learnt from their parents nor from their teachers, will it not be unreasonable to say that the same All-Knowing God had not the power to create language and teach it to human beings in the beginning of the world, which was just the time of man's want and destitution? Will such a belief leave behind any regard and reverence for the Divine Power? Can any fair-minded man ever harbour such a false notion that the Lord failed to display, in the beginning of the world, certain powers, the manifestation of which was necessary and essential for the good of man who knew it not? Is it thinkable at all that the Creator, who brought man into existence with a firm and set purpose and made him the best of creation, should have left him defective and unfinished in his make, which deficiency was, later on, made up by man himself through an accident? Will it be correct to suppose that the Almighty, Who had a perfect knowledge of all the languages from the very beginning, should have held back that knowledge deliberately from man, even though He had seen him wallowing and weltering in speechlessness?
It is sometimes objected that if language was taught to man by divine instruction, why should the savage tribes be suffered to live in a state of speechlessness in the jungle, to express themselves by mere signs and signals of the hand? Why should not a language be conferred upon them by God and, why should not a new-born baby, if kept in the jungle, be blessed with such a divine revelation?
This objection comes from a wrong conception of the divine attributes. The Word of God is not cast upon anyone. The recipient of the divine communication should possess the requisite excellence and merit. The other condition for the bestowal of the divine revelation is that there should exist a true, genuine need for it. In the beginning of creation, when man was brought into existence, both these conditions, necessary for the teaching of language to man by divine instruction, existed. Man had already been endowed with capability for the reception of divine communion. The condition of a true, genuine need was also fulfilled. For, there was, at the time, no kind and compassionate friend, except the Almighty, Who could teach him how to speak and thereby raise him from the primitive state to the higher and nobler stage of civilisation and culture.
Later on, when the children of Adam, the human race, spread over the world, and the knowledge imparted to Adam from on High was diffused thoroughly among his progeny, some people then became the teachers and preceptors of others. It was not so in the case of Adam. There was no other being, no teacher, preceptor or parent, except God Who could teach him language and educate him in human dignity and decency. In short, it was absolutely necessary that Adam should have been brought up and educated by the Almighty Himself whereas, in the case of his children, this necessity does not arise for the simple reason that hundreds of millions of human beings now speak many different dialects and also teach the same to their children.
The personal capability and excellence of an individual form an essential condition for his becoming the recipient of divine communication. And should a person be found, even now, imbued with noble qualities, he can receive guidance from God. The eye of the Supreme Being penetrates into the depths of man's capability and the comprehensiveness of his mind. The Lord will never deprive him of the opportunity of displaying his mental powers. It can never happen that a person, who is imbued with the faculty of imbibing divine inspiration and knowledge, should yield up his life and depart from this world without having been raised, in consequence of certain physical causes or, for instance, birth in a jungle, to that high office of dignity and distinction for which he had been ordained. On the contrary, only that man rolls in an abject state of speechlessness and savage disposition who is, by nature, defective and deficient. Moreover, by the conferment of so many different dialects upon hundreds of millions of people, the door for the general instruction of others has been widely opened. Under these conditions, no necessity whatsoever is left for the teaching of language by divine revelation, except in some special case in which a sign is intended to be shown.
Man can only know how to express what is in his mind, in a given situation; by preparing a construction of words, placing one sentence in one way, and another in a different way. This placing of words and phrases in a particular order is called literary composition to give expression to a particular thought or emotion. In this literary art, we claim that no man can manage to equal God. Nor can it be held permissible that a human being should be able to rise to a position of equality with Him in this respect. In that case, the implication would be that the creation of God can rise to a position of equality with the Creator, which, of course, should be an impossibility for mortal beings. That man should be making use of the same sounds, the same alphabet, and the same words, which also occur in the Divine Word, does not place him in a position of equality with the Lord. Clay is a creation of God. But a potter treats it in a particular manner, and then shapes pottery from it, which has variety of forms and sizes. When the potter is seen at work, it is not concluded that he has acquired a position of equality with the Creator of the world. Equality with God would be taken to have come about only if a man could shape various forms of animate and inanimate objects.
It is, of course, true that a measure of invention and literary construction has also fallen to the share of man, which God operates in His wisdom within the lines and confines of the various laws of nature. But, how can the human invention and literary composition rise to the same heights of excellence and beauty as do the powers of the Almighty? In efforts to put himself in a position of equality with God, if a man were to confine himself to the task of re-assembling the various parts of an animal's body that had come to be cut off and dismembered, and to re-infuse the breath of life in the parts he had brought together, he would never be successful. How can a weak and frail human being then dare set himself up as the equal of the Lord? He cannot, with any justice, equal an animal in many respects - in fact not even the small insects, since many of them are far better builders and creators than human beings, some create beautiful and delicate silk, others sweet and health-giving honey, etc.
It should consequently be remembered that, just as the various elements of the human body are from God, similarly, the component parts of the human speech are also from Him. Therefore, a genuine seeker-after-truth should not allow himself to be misled by the thought that the alphabet, words and expressions, which comprise a language, are common between human speech and Divine Word. He should not forget that these elements of human speech have been given to man by the All-Powerful, Who also uses them in His Word, as does man when he desires to express himself to another human being.
In literary expression, man cannot by any possible means rise to the position which belongs in this field, as in others, only to God. This is why the unbelievers of Mecca, many of them poets of the highest repute for the grandeur and the force of their literary compositions, could do nothing at all when they had to face the challenge of the Quran to produce a piece to match it.
To illustrate this, let us suppose a man, after a long series of experiments, has arrived at the irresistible conclusion that arsenic is a violent poison. If he should, thereafter, deny this deadly quality of arsenic for the reason that it is not known to him why it should be so destructive, then such a man will be considered unsound and deranged. But, the biggest of follies to deny the exclusive and unique qualities of the Almighty -- of His being nonpareil and without any sort of association of partnership in His attributes and deeds, and of His being fully perfect and complete in His power and glory. This fact has been established not only by practical experience, but metaphysical reasoning and argument also prove it to be important in the highest degree, and connect the fact of His divineness with these super-human attributes.
The arguments which God has adduced on the inevitable need and super-natural source of the Quran may briefly be summarised as follows: the Book came at the most critical time when the adepts of all faiths had forsaken the true principles and fallen away from godliness, piety and chaste action. Human minds had been obsessed with the love of this world to such an extent that all their efforts and actions were inspired by one single motive: the attainment of worldly pleasure, honour and happiness.
So, in pursuance of His eternal law -- that He turns mercifully towards His creatures whenever they are stricken down with affliction, just as He sends down life-giving rain when the death-dealing drought smites them -- God liked not that His created beings should continue in that state of spiritual darkness and distress, which would ultimately land them in eternal damnation and destruction. So, He revealed the Quran to call them back to rectitude from moral wandering and transgression. Without the advent of a prophet who brought with him such a mighty Book -- which is pure and free from every kind of fault, flaw or failing that impairs excellence -- it would not have been possible to bring back to the right path those who had renounced the true faith. The proof of this argument rests upon the fact that it is the immutable and eternal law of God that He confers His help at the time of physical and spiritual needs -- in the form of rain from heaven when physical distress afflicts the world, and in the shape of His word of wisdom and healing when the spiritual calamity torments.
This proposition is so clear and self-evident that it produces conviction on its bare presentation. No man will ever deny the fact that both the physical and the spiritual systems have been coming down the ages, uninjured and unimpaired, for the one reason that the Lord has been protecting them against all the forces of desolation and destruction. For instance, if He had not vouchsafed His protection to the physical world, by sending down rain from the heaven when deadly drought and frightful famine prevailed, the inescapable result would have been that people, having consumed the yield of their first crops would have, thereafter, starved to death and mankind would have ultimately been annihilated. Or, if He had not ordained the sun and the moon, the day and the night, the wind and the cloud to function with perfect precision, the whole system of this universe would have broken down and disintegrated. And we know that "God it is Who sends down the rain after people have despaired, and He unfolds His mercy. And He is the Friend, the Praised One [The Quran: 42:28]."
It cannot be doubted that the higher purpose behind these wonders of the human body is that man should realise and appreciate the perfection of the Divine Power and Wisdom, which has accomplished these marvellous deeds in his creation. But the following objection may, however, be urged for want of knowledge and discernment: Why should God have made this matter, which was intended to induce divine knowledge, so subtle and abstruse that a whole age of thinking and deliberation is required to understand and appreciate it, and yet with the uncertainty as to whether all the hidden realities will be unravelled and disclosed; and that, on account of this, man has not so far been able to get even one single drop out of the vast ocean of that knowledge; and that these marvels should have been so manifest and clear as to fulfil that great purpose easily?
The reply would be that the Creator, in regard to all His creations, is He Who is not contented with the display of some manifest marvels only, but has also concealed in everything profound and abstract wonders. To call and condemn this noble work of the Supreme Being as worthless and useless will be the height of ignorance. It should be understood that He has not created man, like other inferior animals, with such a narrow nature that his knowledge might have remained confined to a few tangible and readily perceptible facts. On the other hand, man has been invested with the power to make unlimited progress in the vast field of knowledge and learning through keen observation and deep thought.
If all these divine marvels had been made manifest and clear, so that there would have been left no need for the exercise of observation and thought on the part of man, what things would have been there whereto he would have devoted and directed his intellectual powers, the cultivation of which is imperatively necessary for the perfect development of man? And if he had not been vouchsafed the opportunity to comprehend and infer, how could it have been possible for him to raise himself to the intended stage of perfection? Since humanhood is so closely connected with the use of man's mental powers, the Creator has concealed many wonders in His creation in such a way that unless man puts into action with full force the powers and faculties bestowed upon him, these marvels cannot possibly be comprehended.
In short, all the works of the Almighty finish not merely on rough and crude constructions, but the deeper one digs into them, the finer the marvels one will find. The general law, which has been proved beyond doubt in regard to all things coming from God, states that they are all full of deep secrets and abstruse subtleties. Every sensible man, therefore, will have to admit, in accordance with this law of nature, that Divine Word also should not be devoid of profound delicacies.
People argue that since the sacred Scriptures have been revealed for the good and guidance of the ignorant and Bedouins of the desert, the teaching contained therein should, therefore, be within the ken of their meagre needs.
This is another misconception which has arisen out of ignorance. If we were to study the Quran seriously, and reflect over its excellences, our false notion would be dissipated like the dispersion of darkness when the sun rises.
It has clearly been stated by God that the Quran has been revealed for the reformation of the whole world and for the reclamation of all kinds of human temperaments. In it, the followers of all the faiths -- the Jews and the Christians, the Polytheists and the Magians, the Atheists and the Agnostics -- have been addressed much in the same way as the ignorants of the desert have been accosted: "Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve [The Quran, 2:62]."
When it has been proved manifestly that the Quran had to deal with all sorts of human temperaments, was it not necessary that it should have impressed its truth and glory on each one of them, and banished all kinds of doubts and misgivings? Moreover, if the ignorant have also been addressed in this sacred Book, it does not follow that God wished to keep them as such, wallowing in ignorance and lack of knowledge. On the other hand, He wanted that the human powers and wisdom, which lay dormant in their nature, should quicken up and come into action. What possibly is the use of knowledge if the ignorant are forever to be kept in ignorance?
It need not be said that mere conjecture or surmise is unable to hold its stand against a fact. When some peculiarity of a thing has been discovered after a long experience, it would be unwise to denounce it on the basis of some proofless presumption. It sounds as if a man were to deny the peculiar qualities of plants for the reason that if the Creator had reposed these qualities into them for the good and benefit of man, why should He have concealed them from the eye of human beings who, merely for want of a knowledge of them, continued to die without treatment for a long time? Should a man cast a glance around him, he will find that Divine Law is not confined to one or two things only, nor is it hidden to an extent which makes it difficult to understand.
If all the secrets and subtleties of divine knowledge had also been made manifest and easy to understand, there would have been left no difference between a wise and an ignorant person. All knowledge, in that case, would have been destroyed and test for the measurement of human capability, which increases man's observational power and makes him perfect would have vanished away. Man, without this important means, would have been rendered incapable of exercising his observation and thought, with the result that he would have stopped and stagnated at a certain point and lost all power for making unlimited progress and achieving that blessing.
God has endowed man with the power to observe and think, and soar upwards. How can it, then, be possible to allege against Him that He has sent down His Book to hinder man from rising to perfection? Is it not true that He has revealed His Word for the purpose of getting man out of darkness into light? Will not then the divine claim that His Book only can accomplish this object be reduced into a mere empty boast, if it were contended that the books of Aristotle and Plato alone could pull man out of the depths of darkness? Providence Divine has not involved man into a handicap or thrown him into a difficulty. He has bestowed upon him, in the first instance, the power to observe and reflect; and then He has provided materials for the exercise of this power. These are indeed the divine blessings which have enhanced the grandeur and glory of man over other animals.
Again, we are told in the Quran that "the Supreme Being grants wisdom to whom He pleases. And whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good [The Quran: 2:269. See also: 1:5-6; 35:28.]."
In short, God has expounded in his Book the principles of salvation and success so explicitly that no difficulty or doubt can arise in understanding them. The educated and the uneducated are both on the same footing in this respect, yet it has been His will that in the matter of divine knowledge and sublime principles, man should struggle and strive after them, so that this effort and exertion may prove to be the cause of his perfection. All human powers and faculties depend, for their existence, on exercise and use. If a man should keep his eyes closed forever, and use them not for the purpose of seeing, he will soon, as proved by medical experiments, become blind. Likewise, his hands and feet will become defunct, if he should not make use of them. His memory, too, as well as his power of thinking, will waste away and become atrophied, if he should cease to work them.
It is thus His kindness and grace that He has guided man into the way whereon depend the perfect development of his power of observation and thinking. And if He had emancipated man altogether from the shackles of struggle and strife, it would not have been proper and just to send His Last Book, meant for the guidance of all the nations of the world, speaking different dialects, in one single language which they knew not. It would not have been possible for them to make out and decipher a strange language without exertion, however small and meagre it might have been.
God declares in the Holy Book that, before Muhammad, He sent apostles among the different nations of the world. But, those people were taken in and led into error by the deceitful devil, and their evil deeds seemed fair and pleasing to them. So, He sent down the Quran so that their differences may be expunged and the teaching, which existed in an incomplete form in the earlier Scriptures, may be perfected for the guidance of the believers: "We certainly sent (messengers) to nations before thee (Muhammad), but the devil made their deeds fair-seeming to them. So he is their patron today, and for them is a painful chastisement. And We have not revealed to thee the Book except that thou mayest make clear to them that wherein they differ and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe. And Allah sends down water from above, and therewith gives life to the earth after its death. Surely there is a sign in this for a people who listen [The Quran: 16:63-65]."
It has been the law of nature, from time immemorial, that the Almighty causes the winds to blow before His mercy sends down rain. These winds, which carry rain-bearing clouds on their wings, are driven to a dead land which has been sapped of life by a dreadful and devouring drought. He then sends down water and causes many a kind of luscious fruits to grow. In the same way, He pulls the spiritually dead from their depths: "He it is Who sends forth the winds bearing good news before His mercy; till, when they bear a laden cloud, We drive it to a dead land, then We send down water on it, then bring forth thereby fruits of all kinds. Thus do We bring forth the dead that you may be mindful. And the good land -- its vegetation comes forth (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord. And that which is inferior -- (its herbage) comes forth but scantily. Thus do We repeat the messages for a people who give thanks [The Quran: 7:57-58. See also: 30:48-50]."
The Prophet of Arabia appeared at a time when corruption prevailed over sea and land, and the world was tainted with depravity and debasement. People had strayed away and swerved from the right path. The cause of all this corruption was that righteousness had departed from the human minds, and all their actions were impelled by selfish, sordid motives and not by any sense of obedience to the Supreme Being. They had, as a matter of fact, become entirely earth-bound and perverted, in consequence whereof they had been deprived of divine favour and grace. But, before chastising them, God sent to them his Messenger that they might be given a chance to repent and recoil from their evil course: "Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of that which man's hands have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return. Say: Travel in the land, then see what was the end of those before! Most of them were polytheists [The Quran: 30:41-42]."