A Glimpse of Tasfir al-Mizan: The Miracle of the Qur'an
In verse 2:23 in the Qur’an, God challenges the unbelievers to bring a book like the Qur’an, or to bring ten chapters or even one chapter like it. This all-inclusive challenge directed to both the layman and elite is not limited to its style and eloquence, but also takes into consideration its morality, spirituality, just legal code, and proof of the unseen. The claim that the Qur’an is a miracle verifies both the occurrence of miracles, and that the Qur’an is one of those miracles. This article is a synopsis of Allamah Tabatabai’s interpretation of verse 2:23 in his Tafsir al-Mizan where he focuses on the five qualities that render the Qur’an a miracle: Its a) knowledge, b) recipient, c) prophecies, d) consistency and e) eloquence. Additionally, Allamah responds to objections raised about abrogation and the miraculous nature of speech. The Qur’an is a continuation of the teachings of earlier prophets and considers every topic relevant to one’s spiritual and social life – such as morality and jurisprudence – that will remain valid and guide humankind until the end of the world. Prophet Muhammad (s), an untaught person, suddenly conveyed a Book unsurpassed in its eloquence, knowledge, predictions, and knowledge of the unseen. Its superiority in all the above-mentioned aspects astonished the pre-Islamic Arabs who were unrivaled in linguistic excellence by their contemporaries. This led some to venerate the Qur’an and act upon its teachings, while others who were resentful falsely accused the Prophet of having been educated by third parties. The knowledge it contains is reserved for Allah, and this renders people incapable of producing a piece similar to its perfectly arranged words that require intelligence, understanding, and expertise in eloquence, all qualities that allot writers and speakers at various levels.