Sign of God

While all the prophets have their signs, Moses had the competition with the magicians and the Pharaoh, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and so on, one Sign was given to the last of the prophets. According to the Muslims, this is the Quran. And this one Sign is still with us. Does not that after all seem fair, that if prophethood is to end that the last prophet should bring something that stays with us so that, in fact, a Muslim who takes his religion seriously suffers no disadvantage to Muslims who lived fourteen centuries ago?
Those people who kept company with the Prophet had access to no more of the necessary information than we have today. It is still a sign to us today, the same miracle.
Well, let us test the Quran. Suppose that if I say to a man, ‘I know your father’. Probably he is going to examine the situation and see if it seems likely that I have met his father. If he is not convinced, he will start asking me questions like, ‘You know my father, you say, is he a tall man? Does he have curly hair? Does he wear glasses?’, and so on. If I keep giving him the right answers to all these questions, pretty soon he is going to be convinced. ‘Well, I guess this man did meet my father like he said’. You see the method.

The Big Bang Theory
Here in the Quran we have a book which claims that its author is one who was present at the beginning of the universe, at the beginning of life. So, we have a right to address that author and say, ‘Well, tell me something, prove to me that you were there when the world began, when life began’. The Quran gives us an interesting statement. It reads:
Have not the disbelievers seen that the Heaven and the Earth were one piece and We parted them? And We made every living thing from water. Will they not then believe?’ (21: 30)
There are three key points here. First of all, it is the disbelievers who are mentioned as being those who would see that the heavens and the earth were one piece and then parted and would see that all life came to be made from water.
As it happens, the universally accepted theory of the origin of the universe is now the Big Bang theory. It maintains that at one time all of the heavens and the earth were one piece, the monoblock as it is called. At a particular point in time, this monoblock burst and it continues to expand. This give us the universe we have today. This was a recent discovery, a recent confirmation.
The Nobel prize in Physics was awarded only a few years ago to those who confirmed the Big Bang origin of the universe. It was only about two hundred years ago that Leeuwenhoek and others perfected the microscope and discovered for the first time that living cells are composed of about eighty percent water.
Those Noble prize winners and the Dutchman who invented the microscope were not Muslims. And yet they confirmed the vital statement that at one time the universe was on piece, that life was made from water, just as this verse says:
Have not the disbelievers seen that the Heaven and the Earth were one piece and We parted them? And We made every living thing from water. Will they not then believe?’ (21: 30)
Well, this sounds like an answer to the question we started with when we ask the author: ‘Tell me something that shows me you were present when the universe began, when life began?

The Expending Heavens
Let me first show more of our examination of the Quran, and then an exmination of convergence. In chapter fifty one, verse forty seven, it is mentioned that the heavens are expending. As I mentioned earlier, this is in connection with the Big Bang origin of the universe, as it is usually called, and it was in 1973 that the Nobel prize was awarded to three men who were confirming that, after all, the universe is expending.
The comments of Muslims over the centuries on this verse which speaks of the heavens doing exactly that is very interesting. The wisest among them had started that the words are very clear, that the heavens are expending, but they could not imagine how that could be so. But they were content to leave words as they were, to say: ‘Allah knows best’.

The City of Iram
The Quran mentions a city by the name of Iram (89: 7). The city of Iram has been unknown to history, so unknown that even some Muslim commentators, out of embarrassment or feeling apologetic for their religion, have commented on this mention of the city in the Quran as being perhaps figurative, that Iram was possibly a man and not a city.
In 1973 the excavation in Syria at the site of the ancient city of Eblus uncovered the largest collection of cuneiform writings on clay tablets ever assembled. In fact, the library discovered in Eblus contains more clay tablets that are more than four thousand years old than all the other tablets combined from all the other sites.
Interestingly enough, you will fine the details in the National Geographic of 1978 which confirms that in those tablets the city of Iram is mentioned. The people of Eblus used to do business with the people of Iram. So here in 1973, comes confirmation of the fact that, after all, there really was an ancient city by that name, wherever it was. How did it find its way into the Quran, we might ask?
Those Muslims who may have offered their comments, trying to explain away this reference that they were uncomfortable with, were outsmarted by the author of the Quran. They are those who would outsmart the author of the Quran. They would attempt it. Primarily, their activity would involve trying to produce the evidence that the author of this book had a primitive understanding of the world around us.

The Smallest Matter
For example, there is a word which is translated today usually in Arabic as zarrah. This is usually translated as atom, and it is usually thought of in Arabic as being the smallest item available at one time. Perhaps the Arabs thought it was an ant or a grain of dust. Today the word is usually translated as atom.
Those who would outsmart the author of the Quran have insisted that, well, the atom is not after all the smallest piece of matter because in this century it has been discovered that even the atom is made of still smaller pieces of matter. Is it then possible to outsmarted the author who chose to use this word? Well, there is an interesting verse, in chapter ten, verse sixty one, which speaks of items the size of a zarrah, (atom) or smaller. There is no possibility that on this subject someone is going to say a new discovery has outdated the words of the Quran on the issue of the size of matter or the ultimate particles. The verse talks about items the size of a zarrah (atom) or smaller.

Speaking of outsmarting the author of the Quran, the Islamic point of view is that when a man embraces Islam, his past is forgiven from the very beginning. This has been the invitation to Islam: come to Islam and all is forgiven from the past.
But consider this. There is only one enemy of Muhammad, peace be upon him, who is mentioned by name in the Quran: one Abu Lahab. In a short chapter of this book, he is condemned to punishment for his sins.
As it happens, the man himself was alive for many years after this revelation. He could therefore have finished Islam very easily. He needed only to go to the Muslims to announce his conversation. They had in their hands the revelation which said that this man is doomed to punishment. He could have gone to the Muslims and say: ‘I accept Islam, and I forgiven or not?’.
He could have confused them so much as to finish this small movement because he would have been pointing out to them that they were now in confusion. The policy was instant forgiveness of the past but their own revealed scripture announced that he was not forgiven. As it was, Abu Lahab died without accepting Islam.

In fact, the Quran confidently predicted a number of things only a few hears before they came to pass. The fall of the Persian empire, for example, was predicted in spite of the fact that it had just suffered a serious military reverse. The evidence was all to the contrary. But in the chapter entitled Rum, the fall of the Persians empire who were recently victors over the Romans was predicted.
When all the Muslims in the world could meet in one room, the revelations were already discussing their future successes. In confidence, they were planning for the day when they would be in charge of the city where they were forced at that time to hide for their very lives.

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