Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an
Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an is a view according to which there is a miraculous mathematical order in the Qur'an. According to this view, the number of Quranic letters and words has a considerable order, and since no ordinary author can produce such an order in writing a book, it shows that the Qur'an is a miracle. The view was first propounded by the Egyptian Quranic scholar, Rashad Khalifa. The view has faced many objections. The critics believe that there are many counterexamples for the view.
According to the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an, the number of Quranic letters and words has a precise order, and since no ordinary author can produce such an order in their book, it is evidence that the Qur'an is a miracle. According to the view, the number 19 is the key to the miracle. On this view, "Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim", has 19 letters, and the number of the occurrence of its constituent words in the whole Qur'an is a multiple of 19. "Bism Allah" has occurred 19 times in the Qur'an; "Allah" 2698 times, "al-Rahman" 57 times, and "al-Rahim" 114 times, all of which are multiples of the number 19. Also, the number of the letters of every Quranic chapter (sura) is a multiple of 19.
Here are some figures provided by the advocates of the view:
- In the Qur'an, the disjoined letters (al-muqatta'at) of a Quranic chapter recur more in that chapter.
- The number of the disjoined letters of the Quranic chapters in which such letters occur is a multiple of the number 19.
- The words, "dunya" (the mundane world) and "akhira" (afterlife), have occurred equally in the Qur'an, that is 115 times.
- The word, "hayat" (life) and its cognates have occurred as many times as the word, "mawt", that is, 145 times.
- The word "sa'a" (time) has occurred 24 times, which is the number of hours in a day and a night.
- The word, "shahr" (month), has occurred 12 times, the number of months every year.
- The phrase, "al-samawat al-sab'" (the seven skies), has occurred seven times in the Qur'an.
- The word, "sajda", has occurred 34 times in the Qur'an, which is the number of sajdas of daily prayers.
According to some scholars, the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an has been first pointed out in al-Suyuti's al-Itqan. However, the view was explicitly articulated by Rashad Khalifa, the Egyptian Quranic scholar. His academic career in Egypt and the USA was not relevant to Quranic studies, but in the USA, he studied the Qur'an for three years, and in 1972, he published the results of his research in the media. In 1983, his book, Mu'jizat al-Qur'an al-karim was published in Beirut and the US. Rashad Khalifa even claimed that he discovered the date of the occurrence of the Resurrection through numerical calculations of the Qur'an.
Abdul Razzaq Naufal, another Egyptian Quranic scholar, continued Rashad Khalifa's project and introduced other cases of the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an, such as the equal number of the occurrence of antonyms in the Qur'an, such as "hayat" (life) and "mawt" (death), as well as "dunya" (the mundane world) and "akhira" (afterlife). After him, Abu al-Zahra al-Najdi, a Shiite Quranic scholar, discovered that the word, "sa'a" (time), has occurred 24 times in the Qur'an, the number of the hours in a day and a night. He also said that the word, "Shi'a", has occurred 12 times in the Qur'an, the number of the Shiite Imams (a).
Today, the theory of the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an has attracted the attentions of many Quranic scholars.
The view has opponents and books and articles have been written to reject it. The critics believe that God has not revealed the Qur'an as a puzzle which cannot be understood by ordinary people. The book has been revealed, they say, to guide people, and such remarks are irrelevant to the guidance. Moreover, the disagreements about the recitations of the Qur'an and the fact that the order of the Quranic chapters is not tawqifi (decided by God) make it impossible to give accurate accounts of the number of Quranic letters and words. The critics believe that most of the figures offered by the advocates of the view are inaccurate and found many counterexamples. Here are some of these:
- The number of disjoined letters in Sura Yasin, that is, the letters, "ya" (ی) and "sin" (س) are the least frequent letters in this chapter, while according to the theory of the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an, they should be the most frequent letters in this Quranic chapter.
- The frequency of the letter, "qaf" (ق) in Sura al-Shamas, Sura al-Qiyama, and Sura al-Falaq, is greater than its frequency in Sura Qaf.
- The claim that all words constituting "Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim" are multiples of the number 19 is only true of the word, "al-Rahman".
- The number of the letters of Sura al-Nas is not a multiple of the number 19.
- The number of the disjoined letters of Sura al-Qalam and Sura Taha is not a multiple of the number 19.
The paper, "Kitabshinasi-yi i'jaz-i 'adadi wa riyadi-yi Qur'an", has provided a long bibliography of the Mathematical Miracle of the Qur'an. It has introduced 118 books, 36 papers, and 6 websites on the topic.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from اعجاز عددی قرآن in Farsi WikiShia.