Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Miraculous Quran Arrangement

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The Miraculous Quran Discovery Concerning Its Arrangement Into Chapters and Parts
Sultan Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood
The Holy Quran Research Foundation
60-B, Nazim-ud-Din Road, F-8/4 lslamabad-Pakistan

INTRODUCTION

The Holy Quran is the eternal message of the last Messenger of ALLAH to mankind, revealed in Arabia more than fourteen hundred years ago. The qualities of this book may be judged by the unparalleled impact it has had on culture, science and technology, and by its profound influence on the life of the believers. This fact is acknow­ledged by Islam's friends and foes alike [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 7, 8]. The Quran is not a voluminous book, yet it has something to tell us on all subjects, from the Big Bang to the afterworld. All is described in a brief, clear and comprehensive manner, without any contradiction or ambiguity [4, 5, 6, 9]. History has witnessed the rise of those who have followed its teachings. Western civilization is also indebted to the Quran for its rise [9, 18].

The Holy Quran is unique in that its subject matter, its scope of guidance, and the quality of its message and style have never gone out of date. You can read it again and again without tiring. It is the most read and the most acted-upon book in history, and as time passes, more and more people discover its riches.

Our purpose in this paper is to describe a discovery concerning the special arrangement of the Quran into chapters and parts.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE HOLY QURAN

"If mankind and the jinn were together. To produce the like of the Quran. They could never produce in like thereof, Even if they backed up one another." (Sura 17:88)
This challenge is repeated a number of times in the Holy Quran. For example, in Sura 11:33 the chal­lenge is offered as a proof of the divinity of the book:-
"They accuse that he has forged it: Say! then bring ten Stints like it: And call upon whom you can,besides Allah If you are truthful." (Sura 11:33)
The non-believers are again challenged in Sura Al-Baqara.
“If you are in doubt to that Which we have revealed to our servant (Muhammad) Then produce a Sura like it.”
There is no greater proof of the Holy Quran's divinity than this challenge, which has now stood for more than fourteen centuries. Even some honest Chris­tian scholars on Islam have acknowledged this. For ex­ample, Harry Gaylord Dorman, is his 'Towards Understanding Islam', comments,
“It (the Quran) in the literal revelation of God dictated to Muhammad by Gabriel, perfect in every letter. It is an ever present miracle witnessing itself.” [4]
Laura Veccia Verlier, in her ‘Apologie De I'-Islamisme,’ writes:
“The proof of the divinity of the Quran is that it has been preserved intact through the ages” [2]
Professor A.G. Arberry argues that Western misunderstandings of the Quran are,
"due to translations and the tact that the Western reader has not been sufficiently advised how to read the Quran. He must get rid of the assumption that the Holy Quran is more or less like the Old Testament." [5]
F.F. Arbuthnot remarked,
"Although several at­tempts have been made to produce a work equal to it, none has yet succeeded." [3]

THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE HOLY QURAN

The Quran with us today is exactly the same as it was when revealed to the messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H). Whenever any Ayats were revealed, the Prophet personally directed the Quranic scribes to add them to a specific Sura in a specific position. [11]

His followers immediately committed the new verses and the new arrangement to memory. [15]

Thus the messenger of Allah himself (peace be upon him) compiled the Quran in its current format under divine inspiration. Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) ordered that the final compilation of Suras be produced in bound book form immediately after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) [6, 8, 9, 10]. On the order of the third caliph, Usman (may Allah be pleased with him), several authenticated copies of the original book were made and placed in each capital as a reference copy for the public. One such copy, used by the caliph himself can still be seen in Istanbul's great mosque. [9, 10, 15]

DISCOVERY OF THE MIRACULOUS ARRANGEMENT OF THE QURAN INTO CHAPTERS AND PARTS

The Holy Quran is arranged into 114 Suras of various lengths. Sum Al-Baqara is the longest, spanning about 8% of the Quran and consisting of 286 verses. The smallest is Sura Al-Kohsar, which consists of just three small verses.

The book is divided into thirty equal parts. Each part is known as a 'Juz', and each Juz has a name.

The revelations are not arranged in chronological order. Some of the revelations received in Madina, for instance, are placed with the earlier Meccan Suras, and a very early Meccan Sura is placed at the end. In general, the longer Suras are placed first and the smaller ones come afterwards. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the first Sura consists of only seven verses, but the following Sura contains 286 ver­ses. [8]

This automatically invites us to question whether there is any logic in the Quran's arrangement, or whether it is simply haphazard. Some possible answers to this question are;
1. The Quran is arranged as it is for aesthetic reasons, and to facilitate reading and memorizing.
2. The longer Suras have been placed first because they deal with social issues of immediate and practical importance, and the shorter Suras have been placed at the end because they lay more stress on spiritual development and the afterlife.
3. The arrangement is haphazard, without any special logic or reason.
4. The arrangement has spiritual significances which we do not yet understand.


This entire means that there is no satisfactory answer to our original question. But this question has been haunting me for some time. If the Quran is a revelation from the Creator of the universe, then it can contain nothing illogical or without significance. Thus the arran­gement of the Quran into chapters and parts must have some deep inner meaning. But what?

One night, as I was offering my prayers, this question began to tickle my mind once again. While praying. I had the idea of listing the Suras in cumulative order with respect to the parts of the Quran; and then to draw a graph between these two quantities to see if there was any logical relationship between them.

This tabulation is shown in Table 1. Column one is the part number and column two is the number of Suras completed at the end of that part. For example, in part one there are only two Suras. At the end of part two there are still only two Suras, because no new Suras have begun. At the end of part three, the total number of Suras is four. As we move forward through the Quran, since the Suras get shorter, their sum outstrips the corresponding part numbers, till at the end of part 30 there are 114 Suras.

TABLE-I: ARRANGEMENT OF THE QURAN INFO SURAS AND PARTS

Figure-I shows the graph drawn between the Suras and the corresponding part numbers. The Suras run along the Y-axis and the parts run along the X-axis.


This is indeed a most unexpected result, and a beautiful one! The points form a perfect curve. This is rare, to say the least. Even in the case of accurately recorded results, quantities are generally scattered around a mean curve.

But in this case we find a perfect harmony, beauti­ful to a scientist's eye. It clearly has a special mathemati­cal message. In any case the arrangement of the Quran into chapters and parts is not ordinary, but very special. There is absolutely no question of any haphazardness in this arrangement.

Is it possible that such an arrangement was made by an unlettered man living fourteen hundred years ago in the desert of Arabia? Mathematics was then in its infancy, to say nothing of the concepts of graphs or complex functions. How could any human author at that time arrange a text according to a complex code?

Thus one cannot help but acknowledge that the Quran is authored not by a man, but by the Creator of the Universe. Not only its contents, but also it’s arrange meant into chapters and parts, is of divine origin (God is Great!)

SIGNIFICANCE


What is the significance of the Holy Quran's special arrangement? This question increases in impor­tance after this discovery. But there is no simple and sure answer. I can only offer my own interpretations.

When it starts, the curve runs parallel to the X-axis, but it never touches zero. It then picks up gradual­ly, finally shooting up explosively near the end.

This curve may signify the spiritual development of the believer as he progresses in the recitation and understanding of the Quran. The fact that this curve does not start from zero may signify a degree of inherent spiritual development. So even non-believers have a basic goodness and awareness of Allah to start with.

As a reader progresses further into the Quran. his spirit begins to develop. In the beginning the rate of development is slow. He attains about 50% development on reaching the 26th part of the Quran. After that his development speeds up, reaching 100% by the end of the Quran.

This may be due to the fact that the initial Suras of the Quran concentrate on the outward reformation of the individual. They contain Dos and Don'ts, guidance on Islamic law and subjects relating to the social and moral aspects of life. Once an individual has ordered his outward life according to the Quran he is then capable of receiving its inner light. Thus the spiritual development of the believer is greatly accelerated in the final stages of his study of the Holy Quran.

CONCLUSION

The arrangement of the Quran into suras and parts is highly meaningful. Possibly it corresponds to the attainment of spiritual heights as one goes through the book with full faith. Or it may relate to the rise of Islam in the world. Whatever it means, we can say beyond doubt that the Holy Quran is not the work of any human author, but a revelation from the Creator of the worlds. To get to its underlying meaning, a research worker should now determine the mathematical function which corresponds to this curve.

But even more important than this is to accept the Quran as the absolute source of truth, and to follow its teachings for our own good in this life and for ultimate success in the life hereafter.

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Footnotes:

[1] Laura Veccia Verlier. Apologie de L'Islamism. France (P57-59)
[2] Dr. Hart Wig Hiraschfeld. New researchers in the com­position and Exegesis of the Quran. London 1902 (P2).
[3] F. F. Arbuthnot. The construction of the Bible and the Quran. London 1885 (P5).
[4] Henry Gaylord Dorman. Towards Understanding Islam. New York. 1948 (P3).
[5] Prof. A. G. Arberry. The Holy Quran. An Introduction with Selections. London 1953 (P17). [6] Prof. Ziauddin Ahmed. Al-Quran: Divine Book of Eternal Value. Royal Rook Company Karachi. 1989.
[7] Maurice Rucaille. The Bible, the Quran and Science. Pakistani edition, Karachi,1979.
[8] Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall. The Glorious Quran: Text and Translation. Islamic Research Institute Press. Is­lamabad. 1936.
[9] Afzalur Rehman. Muhammad. Encyclopaedie of Seerah. Vol 1. Muslim Schools Trust. London 1981.
[10] Dr. La'l Muhammad Chowala. A Study of Al-Quran Karim. Islamic Publications Ltd.Lahore.1991.
[11] Abu Doud. Abu Doud's Book of the Traditions of the Messenger of Allah.
[12] Kenneth Cram. The Call of the Minaret. Oxford University Prs.1956.
[13] S.Bashiruddin Mahmood. Doomsday and life after Death. Holy Quran Research Foundation, ls­lamabad. 1991
[14] Abdul Wadood. Phenomena of Nature and the Quran. Syed Abdul Wodood. Lahore.1971.
[15] Allama Syed Soloman Nadvi. Seere-tun-Nabi. Services Book Club, Rawalpindi.
[16] lftikhar Bin Hasan. The Astonishing Truths o the Holy Quran. Taaha Publishers, London. 1988.
[17] Rashid Khalifa. The Quran: The Visual Presentation of a Miracle. Islamie Productions. Arizona, USA, 1989.
[18] Michael Hart. The 100 Greats: History of the 108 Human Beigns who have influenced Humanity Most. New York.