This article is in response to Sam Shamoun and Jochen Katz challenge in their website “answeringIslam.net” in which they claimed that the author of the Quran many challenges to come with a book similar to the Quran has been met.
Surah 28:48-49 But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, “Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?” Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: “Two kinds of sorcery, each assisting the other!” And they say: “For us, we reject all (such things)!” Say: “Then bring ye a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than either of them, that I may follow it! (do), if ye are truthful!”
In the Quran Sam and Jochen claimed God seem to pose several challenges shown as in Surah 11:13 Or, do they say: He has forged it. Say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it (mithlihi) and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful. And in Surah 17:88 Say: If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran (bimithlihi hatha al-Qurani), they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others. Further in Surah 52:33-34 Or do they say: He has forged it. Nay! they do not believe. Then let them bring an announcement like it (mithlihi) if they are truthful. Based on these verses above, Muslims are convinced that the Quran is absolutely unique and unparalleled. For many it is an important element in their belief in the divine origin of the Quran that nobody was ever able to meet this particular challenge. In this article we want to focus on the amazing fact that there are statements in the Quran which acknowledge that this challenge has already been met! The Quran asserts that the revelation given to Moses is similar and equal to the Quran. Consider the following passage at Surah 28:48-49 which are being quoted on the first paragraph of this article. Muhammad challenges the unbelievers to bring a book which is not only a better guide than the Quran, but also better than the book of Moses! This presumes that the book of Moses was (a) available during Muhammad’s time, and (b) equal to the Quran in terms of guidance. The Quran goes on to state that the previous scriptures are similar to it, being just like it (mithlihi), the very same expression as found in the verses quoted at the beginning of this paper:
In Surah 46:10-12 Say: “See ye? If (this teaching) be from Allah, and ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed while ye are arrogant, (how unjust ye are!) truly, Allah guides not a people unjust.” The Unbelievers say of those who believe: “If (this Message) were a good thing, (such men) would not have gone to it first, before us!” And seeing that they guide not themselves thereby, they will say, “this is an (old,) falsehood!” And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right. Note the structure of the argument: assuming the divine origin of the Torah, the author of the Quran argues that because the Quran is “like the Torah”, therefore it is of divine origin as well. In this context at least, the Quran seeks to derive its authority from the authority of the Torah. However, the relation of “being like it” is symmetric, i.e. “the Quran being like the Torah” implies also “the Torah being like the Quran”. Thus, based on the testimony of the Quran itself, the Torah is like it, and therefore meets the above quoted challenge “to bring something like it”. The evidence provided in this article has several implications. It is evident from the above citations that the author of the Quran believed that the Holy Bible, or at least the book of Moses, met the Quran’s challenge to produce something like it. Yet if, as Muslims often claim, the book of Moses had been tampered with then how can a corrupted text be like the Quran seeing that it is no longer purely divine in origin? How can human additions match the so-called divinely inspired Quranic text? Are we to assume that the author of the Quran was asserting that a corrupted text claiming to be the book of Moses was of equal value as the Quran? Obviously not, which means that firstly the Quran presumes that the previous Scriptures existed in a pure form during Muhammad’s time. Furthermore, the Torah had to be readily available for comparison (a) with the Quran and (b) with those hypothetical competitors, should somebody take up the challenge “to bring a book better than these two”. Neither the argument for the Quran based on its similarity to the Torah (Surah 46:10) nor the challenge to bring a book better than the Torah (Surah 28:49) would make any sense if the Torah is not available to actually perform the necessary comparison. Thus, the obvious assumption behind the formulations found in the Quran verses is that the Torah is in its entirety of divine origin, and the Quran is as well. The Quran neither states that the Torah was corrupted before the time of Muhammad, nor does it contain any warning or prophecy that such a corruption would happen in the future. It assumes and endorses the authority of the Torah without any reservations. Secondly, the Quran teaches that at least parts, if not all, of the previous Scriptures are similar to the Quran, and even match it, in terms of content and guidance. In light of the foregoing, the only thing that a Jew or Christian need to do for the purpose of meeting the Quran’s challenge is to present citations from the Holy Bible, which is actually vastly superior to the Quran. We would like to emphasize explicitly that from the Christian perspective there is no comparison between the Holy Bible and the Quran, contrary to what the Quran claims. The Holy Bible is the inspired inerrant word of the true God, and the Quran is not. The Quran is only a very poor imitation of God’s true and pure word.
Those Muslims who despite all the evidence to the contrary still insist that the Quran teaches the corruption of the earlier scriptures, will have to face another dilemma first if you accept the Quran’s verdict that the Torah is like it (Surah 28:49, Surah 46:10), then the challenge was met before it was issued. It will be hard to avoid the implication that this challenge was published rather thoughtlessly, which in turn questions its alleged divine origin. Even more, this assumption of a corrupted Torah would result in an internal contradiction in the Quran: According to the above quoted passages, Surah 2:24 and 17:88, the author of the Quran claims it is impossible for men (and jinn) to bring anything that is “like it”. If, however, the Torah of Muhammad’s time and ours is not the original divinely inspired text but the product of human efforts of change and corruption, and the Quran still says that “it is like it” (Surah 46:10), then this becomes a plain contradiction. Secondly, you reject this statement of the Qur’an regarding the Torah being like it. Why then would you believe the Qur’an to be from God if you reject what it says as being wrong?
To answer Sam Shamoun and Jochen Katz accusation on all the above alleged inconsistency first it is important to clarify the text of the verses which Allah made His challenges to the disbelievers at Surah 11:13 Or they may say, “He forged it,” Say, “Bring ye then ten chapters forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can, other than Allah! If ye speak the truth! Sam and Jochen claimed that since the relation of the Quran and the Torah of “being like it” then it is symmetric, i.e. “the Quran being like the Torah” implies also “the Torah being like the Quran”. Thus, based on the testimony of the Quran itself, the Torah is like it, and therefore meets the above quoted challenge “to bring something like it”.
It must be emphasized that when Allah make the challenge in the Quran to come with a book better than the Quran or the Torah, it is not for anybody to come with a Torah and claim that it meets the challenge since Allah said so in the Quran, that the Torah is being like the Quran. The challenge is to bring a book other than these two books and get the help of others beside Allah. It is either they come with a book better than the Quran or the Torah to put up the challenge. However, if they put a book saying that it is a better book or similar than the Torah mentioned in the Quran, then there the process to evaluate and to meet the requirement stated int the Quran qualifying that the Torah is from Allah. The Torah is like the Quran and is of divine origin only if its context and contents is overseer or guarded by the truth of the Quran and this is applied for the Gospel or Injil as well as stated in Surah 5:48 And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so, He will let you know that in which you differed. Thus, only after these requirements have been fulfilled only then the Torah or the Injil can be considered like the Quran. The other requirement is that there must be a witness from the children of Israel to testify the similarities otherwise the claim of Sam Shamoun and Jochen Katz is null and void as stated in Surah 46:10 “See ye? If (this teaching) be from Allah, and ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed while ye are arrogant. Unless and until a witness from the Children of Israel can testify none can pick and claim any Torah or Inji to be the one from Allah and of similar to that of the Quran. As can be seen, there is therefore qualifications for the Torah to be like the Quran or for it to be similarly divine.
On the challenge at Surah 17:88 Allah provoke that none can produce the like of the whole Quran even if Jinns and mankind were to combine to produce one like it. Based on these verses above, Muslims are convinced that the Quran is absolutely unique and unparalleled. For many it is an important element in their belief in the divine origin of the Quran that nobody was ever able to meet this particular challenge. This is true and cannot be disputed as there is no such religious book of the same size of the Quran with the original language having been preserved since its completion as that of the Quran being preserved for fourteen hundred year. And the amazing facts is that millions of devotees have been memorizing the Quran beginning with the Prophet himself being the first “Al Hafitz” or those “memorizing the whole Quran. These are some of the reasons Muslims believed that none have met this challenge.
On their claim that “The Quran neither states that the Torah was corrupted before the time of Muhammad, nor does it contain any warning or prophecy that such a corruption would happen in the future. With addition, they claimed it assumes and endorses the authority of the Torah without any reservations.” This is a false statement from Sam and Jochen as the Quran in many verses confirmed previous scriptures were not without errors. These verses showed the previous scriptures have been manipulated as stated in Surah 5:15-17 O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book, Wherewith Allah guide all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and lead them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light, guide them to a path that is straight. In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all everyone that is on the earth? For to Allah belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He creates what He please. For Allah hath power over all things.” Further there were evidence that the Jews corrupted their book as stated in Surah 6:91 No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: “Nothing doth Allah send down to man (by way of revelation)” Say: “Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought?- a light and guidance to man: But ye make it into (separate) sheets for show, while ye conceal much (of its contents): therein were ye taught that which ye knew not neither ye nor your fathers.” Say: “Allah (sent it down)”: Then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling. This verse is therefore giving proof that Allah Torah is different from those of the Jewish and the Christians scriptures who had manipulated their books and to claim that those books were divine as that of the Quran is more of a farce.
Further to quote them saying “We would like to emphasize explicitly that from the Christian perspective there is no comparison between the Holy Bible and the Quran, contrary to what the Quran claims. The Holy Bible is the inspired inerrant word of the true God, and the Quran is not. The Quran is only a very poor imitation of God’s true and pure word.” In refutation to this claim, it is better for them to bring evidences from the Quran what has been poor imitation or more appropriate to bring what is falsehood being there is in the Quran.
In conclusion the Torah or the Gospel were also guidance from Allah is not without qualification, it was the guidance before Prophet’s Muhammad’s time as this is clearly spelt out in Surah 3:3 It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind. The Torah and the Gospel will be guidance as that equal to the Quran only after the Quran verify and confirm with the truth in the Quran as what is quoted in those scriptures. But most important the Quran is guardian over previous scriptures as stated in Surah 5:48 And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it. And more it is stated in Surah 27:76 Verily this Qur’an doth explain to the Children of Israel most of the matters in which they disagree. Thus, unless the Jews and the Christians can verify and adjust their messages of their scriptures to the truth of the Quran, they can never claim that the Torah or the Gospel is equal in divinity to the Quran. There are no such verses in the Torah or the Gospel as that quoted in the Quran being stated in Surah 15:9 We have, without doubt, sent down the Message (the Quran); and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). Or that which Is stated in Surah 39:28 (It is) a Qur’an in Arabic, without any crookedness (therein): in order that they may guard against Evil. And also stated in Surah 41:42 No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise. And the message of the Quran will not come from the Devil as stated in Surah 26:110-113 No evil ones have brought down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it). Indeed, they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it. So, call not on any other god with Allah, or thou wilt be among those under the Penalty.