Adding to Quranic exegesis
The Computer Speaks: God’s Message to the World
by Rashad Khalifa. Published by Renaissance Productions International,
Tucson, Arizona, USA. 525 pages
The renewed interest in the West in Islam is due to both the resurgence
of the faith in recent times, manifested most dramatically in the
Iranian Islamic revolution, and to the failure of western secular
philosophies of liberal capitalism and Marxist communism.
This Islamic resurgence, definitely begun by the reform movement
of Jamaluddin al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh at the end of the last
century, propagated a return to essential Islam, a rejection of
taqlid (blind following of the teachings of the various schools)
and an opening of independent rational thought and assimilation
of western science, technology and rationalism that are not contradictory
to the Islamic worldview.
Having its roots in earlier 18th century reformers, the movement
was carried forward through the writings of various thinkers, including
Rashid Riyha, Syed Ameer Ali and Muhammad Iqbal. Unfortunately,
midway, the movement was captured by traditionalist thinkers like
Maulana Maududi who stressed tradition rather than new creative
thinking. Still, the modern Islamic trend of Muhammad Abduh’s
creative thinking persists as a strong undercurrent. I would place
Dr. Rashad Khalifa’s book as a major contribution to this
creative reform movement.
The book makes one of the most amazing discoveries about the Quran.
After several years of painstaking research, Rashad has come out
with the extraordinary announcement that the Quranic literary composition
is based on a precise mathematical structure based on the figure
19. It is so precise that if a Quranic word
like “Allah” or “al-Rahman”
or “al-Rahim” is added to or subtracted from the Quran,
this mathematical structure collapses! Indeed the arrangement of
the Quranic chapters and the frequency of certain crucial words
and letters in the Quran consistently conform to this structure.
Rashad gives such overwhelming proof of this thesis that any reasonable,
objective reader cannot but accept it.
He obtains the clue to this amazing Quranic code from from verse
30 of surah 74, appropriately titled “The Hidden Secret”,
the last verse of the fourth revelation to the Prophet. The verse
reads literally: “Over it are nineteen.” The classical
commentators explained the figure “nineteen” as referring
to angels of Hell or to man’s external and internal faculties.
However, verse 35 of the same surah (which was revealed later)
states that this 19-based Quranic code is one of the greatest miracles.
Going on this clue, the author calculated (with the help of the
computer in the case of intricate calculations), found and enumerated
in detail 31 amazing facts about this code, some of which I give
The opening statement of the Quran (“Bismillah”)
consists of 19 Arabic alphabetic letters;
- The famous words that constituted the first Quranic revelation
(first five verse of surah 96) consists of 19 words;
- The last Quranic revelation (surah 110) consists of 19 words;
- The Quran consists of 114 surahs (114 is a multiple of 19);
- The first surah in the order of revelation (surah 96) is
placed in position number 19 from the end of the Quran;
- The first chapter in the order of revelation (surah 96)
consists of 19 verses;
- The first Quranic revelation (the famous 19 words) consists
of 76 letters, and 76 is a multiple of 19;
- The first word in the Quran’s famous opening statement
(“ism”) occurs in the Quran exactly 19 times;
- All the words in the opening statement of the Quran (“ism”,
“Allah”, “al-Rahman” and
occur either 19 times or multiples of 19 times in the Quran;
- The 19-letter opening statement of the fifth Quranic revelation
(Al-Fatihah) and the first surah of the Quran came immediately after
the code 19 was given in the last verse of the fourth revelation
(74) and that this opening statement consists of individual words
occurring 19 times or multiples of 19 times in the Quran, strongly
indicating that the number 19 is central to the Quranic structure.
Although these facts are amazing enough, the reader must read the
book itself to appreciate the full significance of the author’s
revelations of this mysterious 19-based Quranic code. The author
explained that the figure 19 chosen by God to be the numerical basis
of His Quran, because oneness of God is the theme of the Quran.
The numerical value of the Arabic word “one” (wahid)
in the traditional “letter arithmetic” is also 19. It
is a reasonable and logical explanation.
Reading this book, an objective reader cannot doubt the soundness
of the author’s conclusion -- that the Quranic composition
is based on the numerical code of 19 and that this code represents
one of the greatest miracles of the Quran, as the Quran itself states
Although non-believers have said that the Quran is the work of
Muhammad (whom they call a man of the greatest genius), with this
astounding discovery, they can no longer say so with reason, although
they may continue to disbelieve in it. No man can write a book whose
linguistic structure is based on such mathematical precision! Only
an All - Knowing God can execute such intricate and exquisite planning.
The code therefore proves conclusively that the Quran is God’s
message to the world and that it has been perfectly preserved through
these 14 centuries.
Apart from this great discovery, this book opens the minds of Muslims
to one very important fact: that the Quran, the unaltered work of
God to mankind and the last of God’s books, is a comprehensive,
perfect and self- explanatory book of guidance to man, requiring
no other book to supplement or supersede it.
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