Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Numerology miracles in Qur'an dismissed by Fatwah!

One of the things that really annoys me about the many miracles claims Muslims make about the Qur’an is that some of them are so difficult to categorically disprove (despite their complete lack of evidence) because of the old problem with Arabic being “such a difficult language”. There is no more obvious case of linguistic double-think than the so-called numerology miracles. In brief, many Muslims claim that the Qur’an contains divine signs in the amazing coincidences of word occurrences, such a “day-yawm” appearing 365 times and “month-sharar” 12 times, or the words “land” and “sea” appearing in a ratio that exactly matches that found in reality on the Earth. In addition to the above, there is also a suggestion that 19 has magical qualities...For once, however, I found some support on an Islamic site which clearly says all such number miracles are BOGUS. Below is what I sent to “Kevin” regarding these so-called miracles.
I remember an exchange a while back where we tried to get to the bottom of the so-called numerical miracles in the Qur'an. I recall you were rather underwhelmed by Rashad Khalifa’s obsession with the number 19 but suggested that you were convinced other miracles based upon word occurrences were evidence of Allah’s authorship.
I have been researching this for a while now as I thought that this was an intriguing claim.
You are of course right that such research is extremely difficult because of the differing word forms in Arabic. This, I suspect, allows such claims to pass mostly unchecked by believers, who use it to bolster their belief in the divine nature of the Revelation.
After much detailed checking and cross-referencing, I think (and I stress this is of course just my opinion, but one based upon quite a bit of research/counting) that all such claims are questionable.
Yum/yawm, for example, appears from 30 to 445 times depending on the form used for counting. I cannot see any justification for choosing 365. (And in any case, the divinely mandated Islamic year has 354 days not 365. Why should Allah be so keen to prove himself by using a Western/Christian/Gregorian calendar?). I have a lengthy, professional, independent statistical analysis which should interest you if you are keen to examine these claims dispassionately.
The same principle applies to sharar: 8 to 18 (again, no reason that I can discern to pick 12), and the one you seemed fairly convinced about, which magically reproduces the ratio of land to sea seems to hold no water at all (pun intended): bihar is mentioned 41 times and not 32 - thus making the ratio apparently nonsensical. (and in any case, the ratio changes all the time as the sea eats away some land and land is reclaimed elsewhere...)
However, even if it turns out that the occurrences are as believers suggest (and it may well be, given the EXTREMELY limited nature of my Arabic knowledge!) such things are surely nothing more than coincidence. I am fairly certain (although I am no statistician) that there are no more numerical coincidences in the Qur'an than in any other book of a similar length. And, although I am not an expert in statistics, others who are have done research on texts of equivalent length to the Qur’an to show that one can find just about whatever one wishes to find if one looks hard enough (including codes to predict the assassination of Princess Diana by the Royal family in Moby Dick! (
Surely using numerical coincidences to bolster faith or help convert others is unhelpful when, by your own admission, such things are almost impossible to verify. It’s not just non-Muslims who feel like this either. Zahid Aziz feels such theories do Islam a disservice: 
"In conclusion, the whole theory is so ridiculous that innumerable objections based on plain commonsense can be raised against it."
After a short hiatus I asked "Kevin" about the reliability of fatwas, as I had seen a clear dismissal of all numerology miracles on the very Islamic site "Kevin" had suggested I refer to since it was extremely well researched...
The reason I asked is that I've seen a fatwa  by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the well respected traditional Islamic site you recommended (Islam Q and A) saying that claims for miraculous coincidences of word occurences in the Qur'an are to be discounted:
 So it seems I'm not alone in feeling uncomfortable with these claims. (Although the reasons for our doubt are obviously different!)
"Writing a book which contains a specific number of certain words is something that anyone can do; what is so miraculous about that?...
All of that is toying with the Book of Allaah which is caused by ignorance of the true nature of the miracle of the Book of Allaah. 
By examining the statistics presented by those who have published these numbers, we find that they did not get the numbers of some phrases right, and some of them have been selective in the way they counted the words, and that is so that they might reach the conclusion they want and that they think is in the Book of Allaah."


  1. this is rubbish - Allah knows!!

  2. i came to exactly similar conclusions.

  3. Allah knows all and all is a part of his ultimate plan. I don't belive in coincidences.

  4. I am a Muslim and at the same time a man of science, it is unethical to publish or comment on things or issues we are not expert of. You say your knowledge of Arabic language is limited and not even a statistician. Then how would you prove such claims?

  5. It is u who will be dismised, and u have alredy dismissed by having only dot knowlege(numurologist) blaming those who r converting. Quran is the miracle of miracle. People may see miracl numbers or coincedence and other.... They have the right to be a muslim. I recommend u to learn arabic alphabet and to read and understand the quran , stat ...... Muslim and islam(perfect) are different. Always Take or conclude ur evedence from(quran& example- mohammed messeger of allah pbuh) Then we wil meet again inshallah. Thanks to allah nowadays me and many muslim have a knowlage and faith not to be foolished by a publisher like u.

  6. Does someone know how to block this kind of coincidence theorist's site? These are like parasites because they provide no useful content except for irritation of the coincidence theorist on how people try to be attentive.