In order to understand whether
Islam is a man-made religion or not, one first needs to understand and
appreciate what actually Islam means. Islam is the name of the religion that is
embodied not only in the nature of a human being but in fact in the nature of
everything in the world. Islam is therefore the religion of all the prophets of
God. Islam in its conceptual meaning simply means to surrender to God and in its
conventional meaning simply means a set of directives that set the person free
from any other thing so that the person can surrender himself to God.
I think at least for a believer in God,
the above definition of Islam, conceptual and conventional, should be
The question then will be, how we can we
make sure that the religion that the Qur’ān talks about is the same Islam that
we introduced above. In other words, how we can make sure that the Qur’ān was
not the work of a human being and was actually revealed by the Almighty Himself.
One way to answer this is to think what
would be the other explanations (other than the belief that the Qur’ān is
revealed by God). Other explanations need to be thought of only after
appreciating the following facts (among many others):
1. The process of revelation of the
Qur’ān extended 23 years during which the Prophet (sws) led a very adventurous
and unsettled life.
2. Evident from the history and the
Qur’ān itself, the style of the Qur’ān has a beauty and influential elegance
that was unfounded in any Arab literature at the time. This was the reason that
the “author” of the Qur’ān challenged its immediate addressees if they could
produce anything like that.
3. While being a work that completed
only in 23 years, there is a very solid and systematic link and correlation
between the verses and their concepts throughout the Qur’ān (this I admit can
only be appreciated by one who studies the Qur’ān in depth).
4. The Prophet (sws) was never known as
a person who would be able to say poetic pieces or as a person of knowledge and
reading. He was either almost illiterate or at least not a reader of any
5. The Prophet (sws) was a very
successful and charismatic leader, in other words his life was not limited to
uttering the verses of the Qur’ān.
6. The promises of the Qur’ān about the
victory of Muslims and their prosperous life in this world and the perishing of
their enemies came literally true despite all the apparently rational odds.
7. While the Qur’ān is inline with the
previous divine scriptures, it provides some alternative explanations about the
theological and historical aspects of the previous religions. These alternative
explanations often sound more rational and intellectually superior than those
that are offered by these scriptures or their followers.
Any one who intends to provide an
explanation about the source of the Qur’ān needs to consider the above points in
the process. I would like to argue that (at least for a person who believes in
God and previous scriptures) the explanation that “the Qur’ān has been divinely
revealed to the Prophet (sws)” matches all the above points perfectly and that
no other explanation provides such a perfect match.