It is said that every single civilization, people, or culture has excelled in one quality above and beyond other civilizations at any given point in time. So he asks, why should the Muslims be so concerned or narrow-minded about “language at the time of the Jaahiliyia” as the best standard through which a miracle from God could be shown to the people at large- especially, he says, as personalities have appeared, in the past and even today, claiming special communication between themselves and God, and many of them doing amazing things based on the proclivities of their culture, time and place (i.e. that which we Muslims would call miracles according to the skeptic) – What is our response in this case?
In connection with a previous question, the skeptic says that surely, in the thousands of years when Arabic has been evolving as a language, a good percentage of the language must have become modified in some sense [i.e. in structure, meanings of words, etc.]. He asks that, are we Muslims really sure that the Arabic of the Jaahiliya time was really the best, with nothing better than it before or after, and if so, where are the scientific studies which show this claim to be true.
He explains that since the arrival of Islam, many new terms have entered into the normative version of Arabic, the grammar has changed and many other modifications have come upon it which seriously call into question the eternal validity of classical Arabic as the best mode of human expression [the skeptic maintains that languages do change as a natural matter of course, but it is our insistence that there is indeed a peak of linguistic achievement which is problematic for any objective and serious researcher into the Islamic religion]
It is said: “At most, the ‘Miracles of the Qur’an’ and of Islam in general are probabilistic sets of evidence, since reasonable arguments can be made against them. Even if we take the evidence from biology (like evolution), archeology, or other fields to also be probabilistic evidence against Islam, why should the objective person choose the probabilistic set of Islamic evidences over and above the (stronger) probabilistic set of evidences from scientific observations, experiments, and their concomitant conclusions?” What is our response in this case?
The skeptic asks what the exact strength of the claim that the Quran’s structural plan does not follow any of the humanly known blueprints for composition, speech, or poetry is. The skeptic says that as far as he can see, it would have been better if there was a previously-known meter, mode, or plan that all could relate to and learn, and this (rather than the lack of such a plan or mode) would make the Quran’s eloquence and impact more discernible to the common listener. What do we say about his claim?
The skeptic says that one of the arguments in favor of the miraculous nature of the Qur’an is that no one person can possibly know the language from top to bottom, to the point that he can compose something that is impossible for others to imitate (which means that only Allah put the Qur’an together in its arrangement and composition). But the skeptic says that this point is weak, since there are people who have a super-encyclopedic knowledge of Arabic or any other given language. Is this a valid objection in your view?
It is asked that, if the rhetorical devices in the Qur’an can be traced back to some or the other pre-Islamic poetry or prose, then how can anyone claim that the Qur’an is miraculous, seeing that it is merely borrowing and adapting already existing literary genres? For example, it is said that the rhetorical techniques used in the Qur’an (such as Iltifaat, Tajaanus, Muqaabalah, etc.) were already known and used, and there is nothing miraculous in using what everyone else is using or at least knows about it.
(Thus, it is said that exactly for the very reason that one can make sense of what the Qur’an says by going back to a dictionary and referring back to previous writings in prose and poetry, no person should consider such “traceable material” as being a candidate for miracles).
It is said that there are many Chapters of the Qura’n where the linguistic features are artificially advanced, to the point that one who knows Arabic only to a moderate level cannot keep up with the text, and cannot understand the Qur’an in such places – he refers particularly to the earlier Makkan Chapters with their extensive use of linguistic features. What do we say in this case?