# Arbitrary Numbers of Mathematical Miracles in the Quran

Some Islamic apologists try to count letters, words and verses in the Quran in every possible way and when they find an interesting numerical co-incidence, they cherry-pick this co-incidence (out of all the numbers that weren't interesting) and present is as a miracle in the Quran.

But how can we count anything, when the number of suras, words and letters is not clearly established within Islam?

## Arbitrary numbers

This section deals with the text of the Qurans that we have available today.

### Number of suras

Apologists use all kinds of numbers, including number of suras. The number of suras is not clearly established. The 9th sura doesn't have a basmala at the beginning, because it was considered a continuation of sura 8.

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

"I said to 'Uthman bin 'Affan: 'What was your reasoning with Al-Anfal - while it is from the Muthani (Surah with less than one-hundred Ayat), and Bara'ah while it is from the Mi'in (Surah with about one-hundred Ayat), then you put them together, without writing the line Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim between them, and you placed them with the seven long (Surah) - why did you do that?' So 'Uthman said: 'A long time might pass upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ without anything being revealed to him, and then sometimes a Surah with numerous (Ayat) might be revealed. So when something was revealed, he would call for someone who could write, and say: "Put these Ayat in the Surah which mentions this and that in it." When an Ayah was revealed, he would say: "Put this Ayah in the Surah which mentions this and that in it." Now Al-Anfal was among the first of those revealed in Al-Madinah, and Bara'ah among the last of those revealed of the Qur'an, and its narrations (those of Bara'ah) resembled its narrations (those of Al-Anfal), so we thought that it was part of it. 'Then the Messenger of Allah ﷺ died, and it was not made clear to us whether it was part of it. So it is for this reason that we put them together without writing Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim between them, and we put that with the seven long (Surahs).'"

Al Tirmidhi 3086

If the 9th sura is a continuation of the 8th sura, then we have only 113 suras and not 114. So how can we base anything on the number of suras?

The number of suras 114 can also make an anti-miracle. Because 114 can be re-arranged as 114, 141 and 411 and when we add 114 + 141 + 411 we get 666, which is not a good sign in the Abrahamic tradition.

### Number of verses

The number of verses in the Quran is not established among Islamic scholars:

The reason for this disagreement is that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) used to stop after reading the verse as to teach his companions the beginning and end of the verses. Some of them would consider any stop a beginning of a verse. Others would consider the stop only a breath and would link what preceded it to what follows it. Another reason for these differences is the lack of agreement on whether the Basmalah (Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim) is a verse of every Surah (chapter) or whether it was put there for its Baraka (blessing). al-Shafia consider it a verse of every Surah.

It's not even clear if basmala is a verse or not. So how can we base anything on the number of verses?

### Number of words

There are many versions of the Arabic Quran. For example, in the verse 57:24, there is a phrase "indeed (فإن, fa-inna), Allah (الله, Allah) is the Free of need (الغني, al-ghani), the Praiseworthy (الحميد, al-hameed).". Some versions of the Arabic Quran add the word هو (huwa), which means "he":

فإن الله الغني الحميد (one version)

فإن الله هو الغني الحميد (a different version)

There are 10 readers (qari) of the Quran and each reader has its transmitters (rawi).

These 7 qari included هو:

• Ibn Kathir al-Makki
• Abu 'Amr Ibn al-'Ala'
• Aasim ibn Abi al-Najud - a famous rawi Hafs transmitted from him
• Hamzah az-Zaiyyat
• Al-Kisa'i
• Ya'qub al-Yamani
• Khalaf

ِ But these 3 didn't include هو:

• Abu Ja'far
• Nafi‘ al-Madani - a famous rawi Warsh transmitted from him

The meaning of the verse doesn't change much whether the word "he" (هو) is present or not. But it presents a big problem for the concept of miraculous number of words in the Quran. Because it proves that we can't clearly say how many words are in the Quran.

### Number of letters

There are many differences between all the Arabic versions of the Quran. We don't have to go very far in the Quran. The first letter inconsistency is the the verse 1:4, "Sovereign (in some Qurans مالك, in other Qurans ملك) of the Day of Recompense". Should we count the letter ا or not?

These qari say مالك (maalik) with ا (a):

• Aasim ibn Abi al-Najud - a famous rawi Hafs transmitted from him
• Al-Kisa'i
• Ya'qub al-Yamani
• Khalaf

But these say only ملك (malik):

• Ibn Kathir al-Makki
• Abu 'Amr Ibn al-'Ala'
• Hamzah az-Zaiyyat
• Abu Ja'far
• Nafi‘ al-Madani - a famous rawi Warsh transmitted from him

So how can we base anything on the number of letters in the Quran, when the number cannot be established?

And with regards to counting specific letters: A few verses later in the same sura, we have the word al-siraat (in some Qurans الصراط, in other Qurans السراط), which is translated as "the path" and there are different versions of the first letter "s". ص (saad) is more popular, but there are two versions that use س (siin):

• Ibn Kathir al-Makki, transmitted by Qunbul
• Ya'qub al-Yamani, transmitted by Ruways

In some printed versions of the Quran the letter ص in الصراط (al-siraat) has a small letter س above it, to indicate the other variant. How do we count this?

In the version of Hamzah az-Zaiyyat, the letter is even read as ز (z), so the word becomes ziraat [1].

## Preservation of the Quran

Before we count things in the Quran(s) we have today, we should also consider that there might be some contents that were lost.