“To answer u straight from the Quran, no there is no evidence in the Quran that the Book is from God. The question u r asking is hinted at and the answer (only) is already given. Here it is from Surah 41:52”
Akbar Ali says that there is NO evidence IN the QURAN that that Book is from God. Then he goes on to quote FROM the Quran the verse 41:52 and alludes that the Quran only HINTS that it is from God.
I had posted on his comment section that there are evidences in the Quran that the Quran is from God and that he should correct his error. This comment of mine was not published (censored) by him. I just called him requesting him on the phone to correct his error (inadvertent, I am sure) and he replied that he did not like my describing it as an error. He is a dear friend of mine and I have known him for more than 10 years. We actually came to know each other because of our respective interest in the Quran.
Friends though we may be, an error of such nature need to be corrected in the spirit of mutual learning and mutual reminders. Hence this article. I am mindful of what Allah says in the Quran:
“And remember God took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made! (Quran: 3.187)
I will be guilty of hiding the verses from the Quran if I refrain from writing this article in the name of friendship.
Any student of usul-al-fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) will know that generally there are two kinds of dalil (proofs/evidence) internal or textual evidence and external evidence. This means that there are evidence in the Quran (internal) and evidence extrinsic to it (external). For example, when someone asks you the question, is there any evidence from the Quran that the Quran is from God? Our answer is, yes and we can refer him to any one of the following internal or textual evidence from the Quran:
“It is He Who sent down to you (gradually), in truth, the Book, confirmingwhat went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus)before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)”.(Quran: 3.3)
“And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it: that you may warn the motherof cities and all around her. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in this (Book),and they are constant in guarding their prayers”. (Quran: 6:92)
“Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than God? - when He it is Who has sent to you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We havegiven the Book, that it has been sent down from your Lord in truth. Never be then ofthose who doubt”. (Quran: 6:114)
“And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy” (Quran: 6:155)
There are many more such textual evidence (dalil) IN the Quran that says that the Quran is from God.
Whether a person believes in them or not is a separate matter (which can be addressed) but this is nevertheless evidence from the Quran about itself. Like every other evidence, it can be tested, challenged or cross examined by the doubter or cynic. To me, this possibility of cynicism is addressed by God in the following verse:
“Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy”. (Quran: 4:82)
There you go. That is another evidence from the Quran requiring the skeptic to examine the Quran. It simply challenges the reader to find contradictions in the Quran. I also understand this verse to mean this: that whatever the Quran says about nature or the world should not contradict the scientific reality. For example, if the Quran says that there is no such thing as gravity or that human beings do not need to eat in order to live – if so, then there are discrepancies. In fact, in my evaluation and assessment of the Quran more than 25 years ago, I even sought to find out, inter alia, if there are any inconsistencies as to what the Quran says about the psyche and what expert findings confirm. I was very interested in human psychology then. To do these things, you have to look at the external evidence or the signs of God. It is a gross error to confuse the internal evidence (or worse, denying its existence) with the external evidence.
Further, the Quran itself requires the person to inquire, analyse, verify and understand the facts before accepting them. This is lucidly clear from the following verse:
“And follow not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)”. (Quran: 17:36)
Once again, you examine the signs of God (external evidence) and what the Quran says and try to arrive at a conclusion as objectively as possible. In this regard, Syed Akbar Ali correctly quoted a verse from the Quran that asks us to look at the external evidence or the signs of God.
"We will show them our proofs in the horizons, and within themselves, until they realize that this is the truth.* Is your Lord not sufficient as a witness of all things?" (Quran: 41:53).
In conclusion, it is my understanding (and I believe the understanding of learned jurists) that there is evidence IN the Quran that the Book is from God.
If I have erred in my understanding or reasoning, please point it out. I have absolutely no problems in accepting an error that I may have made. More important than me or Syed Akbar Ali is the true verses of Allah.
(Syed Akbar Ali, I hope this will bring our friendship closer to the love of Allah).