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Muslims consider the Quran to be a holy book, the word of God, and a miracle.[1][2] One feature of the book believed to be miraculous is the expressiveness of its verses, as it is claimed they are too eloquent to be written by a human. Another is the amount of scientific information believed to be in the Quran that was not known in the 7th century when the Quran was revealed, which is said to prove that the Quran's origin must be divine.[1][2]

Scientific miracles

See also: Islamic attitudes towards science and Islamic views on evolution

Several verses in the Qur'an are believed to describe miracles -- the splitting of the moon, and assistance of angels given to Muslims at the Battle of Badr.

According to the belief of "scientific miracles in the Quran", the Quran abounds with scientific facts which appeared centuries before their discovery by science. This demonstrates according to supporters that the Quran must be of divine origin.[3] Among these miracles said to be found in the Quran are "everything, from relativity, quantum mechanics, Big Bang theory, black holes and pulsars, genetics, embryology, modern geology, thermodynamics, even the laser and hydrogen fuel cells".[4]

The "themes and emphases" of this "scientific exegesis" of the Quran[5] began in the 1970s and 80s as a "popular literature known as ijaz" (miracle) and spread to Muslim bookstores, websites, and on television programs of Islamic preachers (according to critics).[4] The ijaz movement/industry is "widespread and well-funded"[6] with "millions" from Saudi Arabia.[4]


As of 2008, both (some) Muslims and non-Muslims have disputed whether there actually are scientific miracles in the Quran. According to author Ziauddin Sardar, the movement has created a "global craze in Muslim societies".[4]

Critics[who?] argue that while it is generally agreed the Quran contains many verses proclaiming the wonders of nature — such as “Travel throughout the earth and see how He brings life into being” (Q29:20), “Behold in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding ...” (Q3:190) — The ijaz movement is questionable because

Prophecies and claimed fulfilment

Throughout the Qur'an, claims or predictions are made concerning future events. Many of the prophecies are viewed as having metaphoric meanings, while others are taken more literally.[citation needed] As the Qur'an is said to contain the exact words of God which were revealed to Muhammad in Arabic and later transcribed, the meaning of the Qur'an has a great effect on Muslim beliefs and understanding.[citation needed] Some prophecies are debated more than others as to whether or not they were actually fulfilled or how the Qur'anic text should be interpreted.[citation needed]

One of the more general prophecies is that the Qur'an predicts its own preservation and endurance. The Qur'an states that the book itself will survive as a valid source and that the religion of Islam will last, even dominate, because of this.[citation needed]> Muslim scholars say that today's Qur'an is the same Qur'an originally compiled by Muhammad, and that the memorisation ensures the consistency and its preservation.[8]

The following passages from the Qur'an state these prophecies:

“We have, without doubt, Sent down the Message; And We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption)” (15:9).[9]

“It is Allah Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance And the ideology of Truth, to make it superior over all other ways of life, Even though the disbelievers May hate (it)” (61:9).[9]

Another interpretation of the Qur'an is that it predicted the defeat of the Persians by the Romans. Before the prophecy, at the Battle of Antioch, in 613 C.E., the Persians defeated the Romans. Muslims were upset by this defeat because they felt more connected to Rome, a Christian empire, than to Persia, a Zoroastrian one. The following verse is however included in the Qur'an: "The Roman Empire Has been defeated – In a land close by; But they, (even) after (This) defeat of theirs, Will soon be victorious – Within a few years. With God is the Decision, In the Past And in the Future: On that Day shall The Believers rejoice” (30:2-4).[9] By 627 C.E., the Romans had defeated the Persians, resulting in much celebration by Muslims and allegedly fulfilling a prophecy of the Qur'an.[citation needed]

The Qu'ran says “And We have indeed Made the Qur-an easy to understand and remember: Then is there any that Will receive admonition?” (54:17)[9] That memorisation is indeed possible has been said to be a miraculous fulfilment of a prophecy. The Qur'an's “rhythmic style and eloquent expression” have been cited as aids in verbatim memorization.[citation needed]

The Qur'an states that God says to the Pharaoh of the Exodus: "This day shall We save thee in thy body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee."[9] The body of the Pharaoh, who was argued to be either Ramesses II or his son Merneptah, had been thought to be lost at sea until the mummies of both were discovered in the 19th century, and put on display in Cairo's Egyptian Museum; it is argued that the prophecy that the Pharaoh's body would be preserved has been fulfilled.[citation needed]

Literary quality

Main article: I'jaz

According to Ali Dashti (d.1982), "there has been much debate, however, on the question whether the Qur’an is miraculous in respect of its eloquence or of its subject-matter, or of both. In general the Muslim scholars consider it to be miraculous in both respects."[10]

Scriptural basis

Verses of the Qur'an stating that the Qu'ran itself is a miracle – i.e. so amazing it could not have been a natural occurrence – include:

Other verses challenging pagans to produce verses as wonderful as the revelations produced by Muhammad and thus suggesting the Quran miraculousness include:

The Quran describes Muhammad as "ummi" (Q7:157),[18] which is traditionally interpreted as "unlettered,"[19][20] and the ability of such a person to produce the Quran is taken as miraculous[20] and as a sign of the genuineness of his prophethood. For example, according to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, if Muhammad had mastered writing and reading he possibly would have been suspected of having studied the books of the ancestors. Some scholars such as Watt prefer the second meaning.[21][22]

However, some scholars[who?] argue that the word did not mean "illiterate" but a non-Jewish and non-Christian Arabs pagan Arabs[clarification needed].[20]


  1. ^ a b Dashti, 23 Years, 1994: p.40
  2. ^ a b Ibrahim, I. A. (1997). A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. Houston: Darussalam. pp. 32–33. Retrieved July 6, 2020..
  3. ^ La'li, Mahdi (2007). A Comprehensive Exploration of the Scientific Miracles in Holy Quran. Trafford Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-4120-1443-4. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e SARDAR, ZIAUDDIN (August 21, 2008). "Weird science". New Statesman. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Ansari, Zafar Ishaq (2001). "Scientific Exegesis of the Qur'an / ‮التفسير العلمي للقرآن‬". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 3 (1): 92. doi:10.3366/jqs.2001.3.1.91. JSTOR 25728019.
  6. ^ Cook, The Koran, 2000: p.29
  7. ^ TALIB, ALI (April 9, 2018). "Deconstructing the "Scientific Miracles in the Quran" Argument". Transversing Tradition. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  8. ^ See:
    • William Montgomery Watt in The Cambridge History of Islam, p.32
    • Richard Bell, William Montgomery Watt, 'introduction to the Qurʼān', p.51
    • F. E. Peters (1991), pp.3–5: “Few have failed to be convinced that … the Quran is … the words of Muhammad, perhaps even dictated by him after their recitation.”
  9. ^ a b c d e Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (2002). The Holy Qur'an: text, translation and commentary. Elmhurst, N.Y.: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an. ISBN 978-0-940368-32-3.
  10. ^ a b c Dashti, 23 Years, 1994: p.40
  11. ^ Q11:13, 50+ translations,
  12. ^ Sale translation
  13. ^ Q17:88,
  14. ^ Q8:31,
  15. ^ Q2:23,
  16. ^ Q10:37 - Q10:38,
  17. ^ Q52:33 - 52:34,
  18. ^ Q7:157,
  19. ^ Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Essays in Honour of Hermann Landolt, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, September 23, 2005, p. 202, ISBN 9780857716224
  20. ^ a b c Dashti, 23 Years, 1994]]: p.44
  21. ^ Richard Bell (Revised and Enlarged by W. Montgomery Watt) (1970). Bell's introduction to the Qur'an. Univ. Press. pp. 31–51. ISBN 978-0852241714.
  22. ^ Günther, Sebastian (2002). "Muhammad, the Illiterate Prophet: An Islamic Creed in the Quran and Quranic Exegesis". Journal of Quranic Studies. 4 (1): 1–26. doi:10.3366/jqs.2002.4.1.1.

Further reading