The Miraculous Quranic Letters & The Concept of Abrogation

One of the funny moments that I will never forget, was my first day at the French Cultural Center in Sana’a (Yemen).

I remember I took my children at that time; they were in elementary school and had simple knowledge in the French language. I wanted to take them, since perhaps their presence comforted me.

What surprised me a lot on the first day was when the French teacher, who had Arabic origins, insisted that everyone in the class should speak French.

I couldn’t stop laughing every time I tried to pronounce difficult French words.

I told the teacher:

How can we speak French when we don’t even know the alphabets?

He said:

Just repeat what I tell you, and learning the letters comes later.

After spending a few weeks learning French in this way, I found myself as a simple, illiterate lady who neither read nor wrote nor knew what the letters of the language were, but simply spoke the language.

This story has a close relationship with answering a common misconception about the Holy Qur’an, which is the presence of some alphabets at the beginning of some Qur’anic Surahs.

I find myself from real experience in front of an answer to this question, which may be a correct answer that contains evidence of the divinity of the source of the Qur’an, which some non-Muslims deny because of the presence of these letters.

The Messenger Muhammad – peace be upon him – does not read or write, nor does he know what the letters of the alphabet are at all, so how can he pronounce these letters?

The illiterate does not know the pronunciation of the “a” , “b” , or any other letters.

The strange thing is that some polytheists claimed that an educated Monk helped with writing the Qur’an, while this Monk was a non-Arabic speaking person, which completely refutes this misconception.

God says in Surat An-Nahl: 103

And We certainly know that they say, “It is only a human being who teaches him [i.e., the Prophet].” The tongue of the one they refer to is foreign, and this [recitation, i.e., Qur’ān] is [in] a clear Arabic language.

Among what the polytheists claimed as well, was that Prophet Muhammad, might be a poet or a madman.

An Indian Protestant said to me one day: I see that the Qur’an is in a high degree of order and accuracy, but the incomprehensible letters in it are evidence of deficiency and defect.

I said to him:

What does MBC mean? And the BBC? They are abbreviations of useful words that have specific meanings, which some may know and many may not know.

The fact is the Qur’an is the word of the Creator. He decided that the Quran will have these letters at the beginning of some surahs for a reason he only knows.

The Arabic letters are two types:

  • The letters of formation from which we can form a sentence: Alif, B, Taa, Ain, Qaf….
  • The letters of meaning ( Prepositions) which are the letters that have connotations. The letter “on” which is used to indicate position, usually indicating that something is on top of something else, for example, and the letter “from” which generally used to express that something originates from something else, that something comes from somewhere, or some person.

Among the letters of meaning: accusative letters, assertive letters, conjunctions, and vowels.

If I tell you for example that Italy is hosting a cooking competition and they are they challenging participants to make the original italian pasta, and they gave all the participants the same ingredients used in the original Italian Pasta, yet none would be able to get the exact taste.

The letters indicate that the Holy Qur’an is a compound of same letters from which the Arabs form their speech, yet they are unable to formulate from them such a Qur’an.

In addition, the letters were mentioned in the beginning of these Surahs, indicating that the Qur’an came in the same style of their speech and the language in which they are addressed.

God Almighty as well, mentiones after these letters directly the remembrance of the Noble Qur’an along with His remembrance. These letters appear as if they are independent entities in their own right.

Alif-Lãm-Mĩm. This is the Book! There is no doubt about it—a guide for those mindful of God . {Al-Baqarah: 1-2}

Alif-Lãm-Mĩm. Allah! There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him—the Ever-Living, All-Sustaining. {Al Imran: 1-2}

Alif-Lãm-Mĩm-Ṣãd. This is] a Book revealed to you, [O Muḥammad] – so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom – that you may warn thereby and as a reminder to the believers. {Al’Araf: 1-2}

Alif, Lām, Rā. These are the verses of the clear Book. {Yunus: 1}

There are also other verses.

Here, God tells the polytheists that this noble messenger did not bring you what you do not know, but he spoke to you in your tongue.

In addition, no one at the time of the revelation objected these letters from non Muslims, or even Muslims.

I also told him: You are like someone who sees a high building with a high degree of order and accuracy, then sees in one of its corners designs that are perceived to be redundant and useless. Then he says: As I didn’t understand it, so it is a defect in the building.

I asked him:

Is the extent of your understanding and comprehension of things a measure of their quality?

Then I said:

Rather, you should say: Whoever built this building with all this grandeur, accuracy and perfect order cannot neglect these things, he must have put them there for a specific wisdom whose existence does not negate my ignorance of it.

It’s also strange that no one objected at the time of the Qur’an revelation to these letters. Indeed, they always praised its miraculousness and uniqueness, even from its enemies.

This book came with the greatest message in existence.

The message of the Noble Qur’an, the seal of the heavenly books, which was brought by the seal of the prophets and messengers, is the message of all the heavenly books that preceded it, which is:

Believing in God (the Creator), that He has no partner or son. He does not incarnate in any of His creations or any idol. Also, humans need to have a direct connection with Him, not through any priest or saint

He said: Why was the Qur’an revealed in Arabic?

I said to him: In what language would you like the Qur’an to be?

You have thousands of languages ​​and dialects in India, so which language would you prefer?

If it was revealed in one of these languages, you would say why not in the other.

I continued: God sends every messenger in the tounge of his people.

God Almighty chose His Messenger Muhammad to be the seal of the messengers.

The language of the Qur’an was in the tounge of his people. God preserved it from distortion until the Day of Judgment.

God also chose the Aramaic – for example – for the book of Christ.

Then the questioner said: God in your book changes His mind. Do you deny the existence of the Nasikh and Manshokh (abrogation)?

I was very amazed by the eloquence of his pronunciation of these two terms in Arabic, even though the dialogue was in English.

I said to him:

This is an evolution of legislation provisions, but not in the historical events or scientific facts.

In fact, The discontinuing of a previous ruling, the replacement of ruling with another, the reinstatement of a later decree, the restriction of a released, and the release of a restricted, are inured and familiar in previous covenants ever since the era of Adam.

Just as the marriage between brothers (males and females) was judicious in the era of Adam, then it became prohibited in all other covenants.

Likewise, permitting work on a Saturday was permitted in the law of Abraham, along with all other laws before him, only to become banned in the law of Prophet Moses.

Likewise, God Almighty had ordered the Israelites to kill themselves after worshiping the calf, then this command was abrogated after that. There are also many other examples

Therefore, replacing one provision with another is commonplace in the same legislation (the same message of the Prophet), or between different legislations (different Prophets).

I added: The doctor who starts treating his patient with a particular drug and over the course of therapy either increases or decreases the doses of the drug in a gradual attempt of treatment, you consider him sage.

I continued: I am surprised by your question, for you have embraced the abrogation made by Saint Paul, which was not in only one commandment, instead he altered the whole creed. From Monotheism to the Trinity. He made you as well violate God’s eternal covenant with to adhere performing the circumcision as mentioned in your books.

Right Words:

In her book “Defending Islam,” Laura Veccia Vagliari says:

“How can this miraculous book be the work of Muhammad, who is an illiterate Arab? Though Muhammad called opponents of Islam to bring a book like his book, or at least a verse from such a Surah.

” And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah(God), if you should be truthful” [Al-Baqarah: 23].

Though the authors of rhetoric and the enchanting statement were not few in the Arab countries, no one was able to come up with any effect comparable to the Qur’an. They fought the Prophet with weapons, but they were unable to match the superiority of the Qur’an.”


The reference of God to Himself as WE or US in many verses of the Qur’an denotes Grandeur and Power in Arabic. In the English language this is known as the royal WE, where a plural pronoun is used to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch. For the avoidance of doubt, the Qur’an has consistently reminded us of the SINGULAR pronoun in reference to God, when called upon by His servants.

The Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Middle East use the word “Allah” to refer to God, which refers to The Only True God ( the Creator). The word “Allah” was mentioned in the earlier version of the Old Testament 89 times. (Refer to Genesis 2:4, Book of Daniel 6:20 Hebrew and Arabic Bible)


Why Religion? A Journey from Memory

Faten Sabri

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