The Challenge of the Qur’an
literature and poetry have been instruments of human expression and creativity, in all cultures. the world also witnessed an age when literature and poetry occupied pride of position, similar to that now enjoyed by science and technology.
muslims as well as non-muslims agree that al-quraan is arabic literature par excellence - that it is the best arabic literature on the face of the earth. the quraan, challenges mankind in the following verses:
and if ye are in doubt as to what we have revealed from time to time to our servant, then produce a soorah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides allah, if your (doubts) are true. but if ye cannot and of a surety you cannot. hen fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones which is prepared for those who reject faith.
(al-quran 2:23-24 indicates soorah or chapter no. 2 and ayaat or verses 23 and 24.)
the same notation is followed throughout the book. references and translation of the quraan are from the translation of the quraan by abdullah yusuf ali, new revised edition, 1989, published by amana corporation, maryland, usa.
the challenge of the quraan, is to produce a single surah (chapter) like the surahs it contains. the same challenge is repeated in the quraan several times. the challenge to produce a soorah, which, in beauty, eloquence, depth and meaning is at least somewhat similar to a quraanic soorah remains unmet to this day. a modern rational man, however, would never accept a religious scripture, which says, in the best possible poetic language, that the world is flat. this is because we live in an age, where human reason, logic and science are given primacy. not many would accept the quraans extraordinarily beautiful language, as proof of its divine origin. any scripture claiming to be a divine revelation must also be acceptable on the strength of its own reason and logic.
according to the famous physicist and nobel prize winner, albert einstein, science without religion is lame. religion without science is blind. let us therefore study the quraan, and analyze whether the quraan and modern science are compatible or incompatible?
the quraan is not a book of science but a book of signs, i.e. ayats. there are more than six thousand signs in the quraan of which more than a thousand deals with science. we all know that many a times science takes a u-turn. in this book i have considered only established scientific facts and not mere hypotheses and theories that are based on assumptions and are not backed by proof.