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5/28/2017 8:56 pm  #1

Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

I found this paper which to me makes a pretty convincing case for the prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh) especially the part with regards to the literary merit of the Quran, but as a Muslim this may be due to some bias. What does anyone else think. If you don't want to read the whole paper pay attention to appendix A which focuses on the Quran:


5/28/2017 10:14 pm  #2

Re: Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

That was an interesting read. This is a traditional argument for the miraculous nature of the Quran, and it is a powerful one. This seem to be the heart of it:

Each testimonial individually and all of them collectively show the broad consensus among modern and pre-modern scholars, both non-Muslim and Muslim, that:

  • 1) The Qur’an’s literary form (nazm) is inimitable because it transcends and falls outside the scope, qualities, and definition of all Arabic poetry and prose through history.
  • 2) The early reception of the Qur’an shows that its original listeners – among Muhammad’s followers and his fiercest opponents – perceived the Qur’an as miraculous and inimitable: several experts of the Arab language in Muhammad’s lifetime attested to the superiority of the Qur’an over all Arab speech including: al-Walid b. al-Mughira, al-Tufayl b. ‘Amr al-Dawsi, Hassan b. Thabid, Labid b. Rabi‘a, Ka‘b b. Malik, Suwayd b. al-Samit. No person in Muhammad’s lifetime successfully produced a literary production that was equal to the Qur’an.
  • 3) There has been no successful attempt in the history of Arabic language and literature to imitate the literary form of the Qur’an. All the experts in Arabic literature, poetry, and grammar from Islamic civilization testify to the Qur’an’s inimitability: al-Jahiz (d. 868), al-Nazzam (d. c. 840), Hisham al-Fuwati (d. 833), Abu Muslim al-Isfahani (d. 934), Abu Hatim al-Razi (d. 934), al-Rummani (d. 994), al-Baqillani (d. 1013), al-Sharif al-Murtada (d. 1044), Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 1032), Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), Abu Ishaq Isfara’ini (d. 1027), al-Ash‘ari (d. 935), al-Juwayni (d. 1085), ‘Abd al-Jabbar (d. 1025), ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jurjani (d. 1078), al-Shahrastani (d. 1153).
  • 4) In every Qur’an verse, the selection, combination, and arrangements of words, grammatical constructs, and rhetorical devices are “finely-tuned” with the expressed meaning, such that no formal alternation is possible without severely compromising the aesthetic form or the expressed meaning of that verse (three sample verses are examined).

I was going to raise the objection that there have been quite a few other great works of literature that can rival the Quran, so that this wouldn't make it unique. Infact, even prodigous, quasi-inspired works of genius by a single author are not altogether unknown. Shakespeare, who had only mediocre Latin and little Greek and had a basic grammar school education, produced far-and-away the greatest works of the English language. His was the age of the great English dramatists - Marlowe, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster - many of whom were university men and classicists. And yet Shakespeare towers over them, even Jonson. But I'm not sure this objection would work, if the Quran is such an unparalleled work in its own language and if all its verses are perfect - can Shakespeare or Homer (this latter of course, like all traditional epics, is perhaps the work of multiple hands, which the Quran doesn't seem to be) boast this?

It does seem to me, though, that one would have to have a great grasp of Classical Arabic to really be persuaded by the argument. Not even a good translation would do. The literary merits of the Quran are strongly tied to the Arabic language, as the link says (such as the interrelated meanings of words based on the three-consonant roots, seen in all Semitic languages). One could certainly accept the testimony of the experts mentioned, but I don't think this will have the same force for most.

Indeed, I think one would also have to have a great grasp of poetry and literature, perhaps in several languages, to truly appreciate the literary value of the Quran. I think the latter is especially true today, as not many appreciate good literature, particularly pre-modern literature. I've seen criticisms of the Bible and Quran as literature that seemed based on taking the likes of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones as what defines good literature. If it isn't doesn't have the suspense and pace of a thriller, and the same ease of reading, it apparently is a bad work. At best, such people might have in mind Austen, Dickens, or Keats (I have literally seen such people suggest that by modern literary standards the Bible and Quran are bad, as if the Epic of Gilgamesh or Beowulf are in any way worse than the best of modern literature).


6/03/2017 1:29 am  #3

Re: Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

I wonder what any of the Christians here would think of this?

     Thread Starter

6/03/2017 12:45 pm  #4

Re: Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

Suppose both it and the historical argument from the Resurrection succeed. What does that mean for either Islam, or Christianity?


6/03/2017 12:50 pm  #5

Re: Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

Ummm I guess the Bahai Faith is the true religion?????????

Seriously though I would like some of the Christians here who are convinced by the Resurrection Argument and other exclusively Christian arguments to take a look at this to see how they would react.

     Thread Starter

6/06/2017 11:37 am  #6

Re: Argument for the Prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh)

I think Dr. Peter Kreeft does a far better job than I to explain what a Christian perspective would be to the prophethood of Muhammad. See at 49:51 for the relevent question and answer by both Dr. Zeki and Dr. Peter

Last edited by Jason (6/06/2017 11:51 am)


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