God Almighty says: “This Qur’an is such that it could not be composed by any unless it be revealed from Allah. It is a confirmation of the revelation made before it and a detailed exposition of the Book. Beyond doubt it is from the Lord of the universe.”
The statement that it is ‘a confirmation of the revelation made before it’ underscores that the Qur’an lays no claim of introducing anything novel, of coming forth with any innovation at variance with the fundamental teachings already communicated to man through the Prophets (peace be on them). The Qur’anic claim merely consists of confirming and authenticating those teachings. Had the Qur’an been the product of the imagination of the founder of an altogether new religion, the outcome of a creative brain, it would have borne traces of novelty in order to emphasize its distinctiveness.
The second part of the statement, namely that the Qur’an is a ‘detailed exposition of the Book’ is equally significant. What this means is that the Qur’an elaborates those fundamental teachings which constitute the core and essence of all the scriptures (al-Kitab); that is, those teachings which have been sufficiently elucidated in the Qur’an so that they might be grasped by people and penetrate their hearts; and additionally, it has been shown how those teachings could be applied to practical life.
“Do they say that the Messenger has himself composed the Qur’an? Say: ‘In that case bring forth just one surah like it and call on all whom you can, except Allah, to help you if you are truthful.”
It is generally believed that the challenge embodied in this verse has a reference merely to the eloquence, rhetoric and other literary qualities of the Qur’an. Were one to read the writings of Muslim scholars in connection with the explanation of this verse, it is not surprising that people should entertain such a misunderstanding.
However, the Qur’an is far above claiming its uniqueness and inimitability merely on the grounds of its literary merits. Although there can be no doubt about the literary excellence of the Qur’an, the main ground on which it is claimed that no human being could produce a book like it has to do with its contents and teaching. The Qur’an alludes, in many places, to those characteristics of its inimitability which could not have been conferred upon it by man, thus hinting that those characteristics could have no other source but God Himself.
“In fact they arbitrarily rejected as false whatever they failed to comprehend and whose final sequel was not apparent to them. Likewise had their predecessors rejected the truth, declaring it falsehood. Do observe, then, what was the end of the wrong-doers.”
There can only be two justifiable grounds for those who wish to reject the Qur’an as a false scripture: either they should have definite knowledge to the effect that it is a fabrication or they should be able to demonstrate that the statements made by, or the information contained in it, are false. But as things stand, neither of these two reasons is available. For none can contend, on the basis of definite knowledge, that the Book had been authored by someone who, in his turn, falsely attributed it to God. Nor has anyone been able to penetrate the realms of the suprasensory world and claim, on that basis, that they know for sure that this Book contains false information; that whereas in fact there are several gods, this Book claims that there is none other than the One God; that all its statements about matters such as the existence of God and angels are counter to reality. Nor has anyone returned to life after having suffered death to contend that the Qur’anic statement about the reckoning and reward and punishment in the Next Life is false. Those who continue to decry the Qur’an as false are in fact doing so merely on grounds of conjecture, even though they do this with an air of confidence which at times creates the impression that statements about the fakeness and falsity of the Qur’anic teachings are scientifically established facts.
“Of those some will believe and others will not. Your Lord knows best the mischief-makers.”
The statement that ‘Your Lord knows best the mischief-makers’ underscores art important fact about unbelievers. Those unbelievers could certainly silence others into not carrying the discussion any further by openly admitting that they had failed to grasp the teaching of the Qur’an and hence it was not possible for them to sincerely believe in it. God, however, is well aware even of the things that are hidden, even those that are in the deepest recesses of their hearts and minds. He knows how each person has sealed his mind and heart against accepting any truth; how he has sought to immerse himself in heedlessness; how he has managed to suppress his conscience; how he has prevented the testimony of the truth from affecting his heart; how he has destroyed the innate capacity of his mind to accept the truth; how he has heard the call of the truth and has turned a deaf ear to it; and how, despite his ability to understand the Message of God, he has made no effort to do so. Such people cherish their biases and prejudices, their lusts and desires, their worldly advantages and the interests which can be procured only by supporting falsehood, much more than by accepting the truth. Such people can hardly be considered to have innocently succumbed to a ‘mistake’. On the contrary, they are rank ‘mischief-makers’.