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?
The skeptic says that aren’t we Muslims extremely naive and overconfident in thinking that the medium of the classical Arabic language is the best that could have ever come about in the world in terms of information exchange – this being an important argument for why the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic? The skeptic says that it is very much possible for higher modes of communication and information exchange (that is, more expansive, open to more miracles) may appear or may have already appeared in speech, and also in dance, music, pictures, paintings, videos, technology, or a combination of all these in one way or the other?
And also related to the above, the skeptic may say that today’s Arabs, for the most part, are unable to understand the classical Arabic of the Qur’an, meaning that the message of the Qur’an has been phased out in terms of its relevance to the language of the people. What do we respond in this case?
The skeptic says that contrary to what Muslims say, there were and still are many bona fide experts in the Arabic language who, while appreciating the Arabic of the Qur’an, did not see it as of a miraculous nature. The skeptic says that this in itself should be a strong proof against Islam, since miracles may be tried to be explained away by the disbelievers in the religion, but they will never be totally unacknowledged. What is our response to this?
The skeptic says that a number of Western (German, British, American) experts in Islamic history have basically proven that the Qur’an did not come all of a sudden, but rather was a slow project developed over several generations, and made use of various Arabic, Syriac Christian and Jewish sources. Do you have any information about this, and how it may be refuted, both generally and in its specific allegations?
A comment (derived from certain Hindu tracts): In opposition to Arabic and to the Islamic religion, if one were to learn Sanskrit (the language of the early Hindu scriptures) one would also have been introduced to a deep understanding of Hindu metaphysics and of the structure of reality itself. Thus, it is said that Sanskrit as a language is much deeper and useful in every sense than bland languages, including Arabic, and that this characteristic goes well beyond composing a book.
Moreover, the claim is that even if he were to consider the Qur’an, the very fact that there has been an avalanche of philosophical and other types of exegesis based on the primary Hindu texts over the millennia should be enough to point to the greatness and uniqueness of such texts when compared to any other book or received wisdom (including the Qur’an) – What do we say about this matter?
Connected to a previous question on the matter, the non-Muslim says that literature, by its very nature, can never be taken as a yardstick for miraculous Divine interventions into human history, since there is so little of literature that has been uncovered, so much speech goes unnoticed and uncategorized, and it might be possible that some of these tracts of poetry, essays, prose, etc. are in fact greater than the Qur’an, but that they have simply remained concealed. What is our response to this claim?
The non-Muslim says that many different types of speeches and writings have moved men towards immediate action and have made them totally change their minds and their lives. The non-Muslim asks whether there is a reason why anyone should pinpoint the Quran’s impact in this field, while bypassing all other “similar literature”? The non-Muslim says that based on his understanding, the Qur’an is not unique or miraculous in this regard. What do we say about this claim?
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?