Linguistic miracles in the Quran

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A list of supposed linguistic miracles in the Arabic Quran.

Two hearts in a woman (33:4)

33:1 O Prophet, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

33:2 And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

33:3 And rely upon Allah ; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

33:4 Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives whom you declare unlawful your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.

The miracle is that it says "man" while a man doesn't have two hearts, but a woman somehow has two hearts because she can have a baby inside her and inside the baby is another heart.

  • The verse doesn't clearly say that
  • A woman doesn't have the "two hearts" most of the time
  • When a woman is pregnant, she can have more than one baby inside her, so "two hearts" is still inaccurate for many pregnant women

Classical interpretations of Islamic scholars:

God has not placed two hearts inside any man this was revealed in order to refute those disbelievers who said that they each had two hearts with which they could reason better than Muhammad’s single mind
Tafsir Al Jalalayn [1]

Before Allah discusses ideas and theoretical matters, He gives tangible examples: one man cannot have two hearts in his body, and a man's wife does not become his mother if he says the words of Zihar to her: "You are to me like the back of my mother." By the same token, an adopted child does not become the son of the man who adopts him and calls him his son.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir [2]

The "middle nation" in the middle of sura 2

And thus we have made you a just (وسطا) community that you will be witnesses over the people

The supposed miracle is that the sura has 286 verses and the word وسطا (translated as "middle") is in the middle verse, that is verse number 143.

  • 286 is an even number and therefore there is no middle verse in the sura. This is like claiming that the number 2 is a middle number between numbers 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Sahih International doesn't even translate the word وسطا as "middle"
  • A different verse 2:238 also contains the word "middle" (الوسطى) and it talks about the "middle prayer" (that is the 3rd of the 5 daily prayers). So in this verse the meaning "middle" is more fitting than in 2:143.
  • The numbering of verses is arbitrary. Muhammad didn't clearly specify where a verse ends and starts a new one. So the whole sura could be interpreted to have a different number of verses.
  • This is a cherry-picking fallacy. What about words like "first" and "last", do they appear only at the beginning and ends of suras?

The mention of "Yathrib" in a Medinan sura

33:12 And [remember] when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, " Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion,"

33:13 And when a faction of them said, "O people of Yathrib, there is no stability for you [here], so return [home]." And a party of them asked permission of the Prophet, saying, "Indeed, our houses are unprotected," while they were not exposed. They did not intend except to flee.

The linguistic miracle is that they used the old name "Yathrib" even after the city was renamed to "Medina un-Nabi" (The City of The Prophet). They used Yathrib, because they didn't agree with the new name.

  • This idea comes from the hypocrites. The author of the Quran just quoted them. So even if this was a "linguistic miracle", then how could the author of the Quran take the credit for it?


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