Question: “Why do Muslims think Qur’anic Arabic can encompass all wisdom?”

The non-Muslim says that new language and new terms will always be needed to express the “previously unknown”, so how can we Muslims be so naive to think that the language of the Qur’an or of early Islamic history is enough to encompass all the wisdom contained in the cosmos for all time – What would we say about this allegation?

Answered by Sharif Randhawa (Researcher at Bayyinah Institute, owner of Qur’anic Musings blog), with slight modifications and an additional note

I don’t know anyone who claims that the Qur’an contains “all wisdom,” whatever that would mean.  It is a fairly short text that contains a considerable amount of repetition (again owing to its nature as an oral composition), although an astounding amount of wisdom can be derived from it.  This does not mean that it contains thorough stipulations for every situation, and Muslim scholars have always recognized this.

[Note: The claim from our Islamic side is that in fact the wisdom necessary to facilitate one to reach salvation is quite small in relation to wisdom as a whole, and that this crucial amount of wisdom is what Allah has revealed in the Qur’an, since He was the most knowledgeable as to what is needed in this respect. If it were to contain “most” or “all” wisdom, then it would be a huge book, most of which would be incomprehensible to the masses – and this would defeat the purpose of the Qur’anic revelation, since the core message would be restricted only to geniuses or top academicians.

Additionally, Islamic epistemology does not exclude knowledge (or ‘wisdom’ if we want to use a fancier term) that one gains from the senses by direct observation, or what one gains from credible reports, regardless of the time or place this information becomes available – in fact, this is considered as indubitable knowledge in Islam, and its basis is derived from the Qur’an, from other Islamic texts and from the traditional Islamic milieu].

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