Quranic Reflection No. 468. Āyat 10:37 – Allah ‘azza wajall responds to the accusation
وَمَا كَانَ هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَن يُفْتَرَىٰ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَلَـٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Wamā kāna hādhal-Qur’ānu an yuftarā min dunil-lāhi walākin tasdīqal-ladhī bayna yadayhi watafsīlal-kitābi lā rayba fīhi min rabbil-‘ālamīn.
This Quran could not have been fabricated by anyone besides Allah; rather, it is a confirmation of what was [revealed] before it, and an elaboration of the Book, there is no doubt in it, from the Lord of all the worlds.
(Sūrat Yūnus, No 10, Āyat 37)
The polytheists accused the Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam of fabricating the Quran. They demanded that he bring another book or change the Quran. These demands reflect their lack of conviction that the words of the Quran were from God Himself. The verse above answers this accusation and makes it clear that the book is indeed from God.
The first part of the verse negates the accusation by elevating the status of the Quran – it could not have been fabricated. Note that the verse does not say it was not fabricated, but rather it could not have been fabricated. Tafsīr Namūne compares it to when a person is accused of lying and he says, ‘it does not befit me to lie’, rather than saying ‘I did not lie’. The former is a much stronger negation. It is not in line with the level of the Quran that it could have been fabricated. This type of status negation can also be seen elsewhere in the Quran such as and it did not beseem Allah that He should be unjust to them, but they were unjust to their own souls (Q 29:40). The verse implies that the level of the Quran is such that only God could have spoken thus. This level refers to the depth of the verses, its freshness and application for all times, its poetic style, its historical accuracy and all the other reasons the book is a miracle.
The verse then goes on to talk about the originality of the Quran and its authenticity. It mentions two other qualities of the holy Book:
1) It confirms what was revealed in the Books of the other Prophets. All the beliefs and teachings in the original Books of the past Prophets is verified in the Quran. Although laws might differ, the basic principles of faith and the foundations of virtue and goodness remain the same in the holy Books. The Quran is also a verification of the predictions about it in the other books.
2) The Quran expounds on and elaborates what was sent down in the earlier Books. It gives more details and is specific about some of the general beliefs and rules mentioned earlier. It completes and perfects what the previous Books brought. Had it been from other than the same God who sent down the past Books it would have been different, even contradictory rather than conforming and completing.
This verse connects with verse 2 of the same Sura that asks people why they are surprised that Allah revealed this Book to His servant. The verse says: Does it seem odd to these people that We have revealed to a man from among themselves? (Q 10:2). It also connects to the verses before it which reads: Say, ‘Is there anyone among your partners who may guide to the truth?’ Say, ‘Allah guides to the truth. Is He who guides to the truth worthier to be followed, or he who is not guided unless shown the way? What is the matter with you? How do you judge?’ Most of them just follow conjecture; indeed, conjecture is no substitute for the truth. Indeed, Allah knows best what they do (Q 10:35-36). One of the ways of guidance from Allah is in the form of the Scriptures that were sent to the Prophets. The Quran is one of those Scriptures that guides towards the truth. That is part of the answer to the accusation of fabrication.
As we draw closer to the month about which Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir ‘alayhis salām says, Everything has a spring, and the spring of the Quran is the month of Ramadan, let us understand the greatness of the Book from the Book itself. The verse above is one of many that speaks about the Quran. As you study the Quran in this month, take note of these verses and let them inspire you towards a greater reverence for the word of Allah.
Sources: Shaykh Tabarsi, Tafsīr Majma’ al-Bayān; Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh.