The Inimitable Quran: The Mathematical Miracle of Al-Takwir

Not only does the Quran foretell the rise of Western Civilisation, but it also gives the years in which it would happen…


Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’[1]

One of the greatest accomplishments of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, was to demonstrate through persuasive arguments that the Holy Quran is a treasure, ready to enrich its seekers in every age. Through his forceful writings, he informed the world of the truth revealed to him by God, that the Quran is infinite in the depth of its meanings and the breadth of its scope:

Those who do not accept the Holy Qur’an as comprehensive of unlimited eternal truths and insights, do not value the Qur’an as it should be valued. A necessary sign for the recognition of the holy and true Word of God is that it should be unique in all its qualities, for we observe that whatever proceeds from God Almighty is unique and matchless even if it is only a grain of barley, and human powers cannot match it. Being matchless means being unlimited, that is to say, a thing can be matchless only when its wonders and qualities are unlimited and have no end. As we have just stated, this characteristic is found in everything created by God Almighty. For instance, if the wonders of a leaf of a tree are investigated for a thousand years, that period would come to an end, but the wonders of the leaf will not come to an end. That which has come into being through unlimited power, must comprise unlimited wonders and qualities. The verse, “Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help;’” (18:110) supports this, for all creation is the Word of God.”[2]

The effect of such a teaching upon his community – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – has been revolutionary. While other communities in Islam continue to be confined to the narrow interpretations of scholars of medieval times, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community continues to believe that the Quran will, in every age, bring forth new interpretations unknown to previous ages, to fulfil the changing needs of humanity.


The Promised Messiahas himself read the Quran with this spirit of humility and discovery. In doing so, Allah opened the gates of knowledge upon him and upon his followers. One particular chapter he drew attention to in relation to our current age, is Surah Al-Takwir: The Overthrowing. The prophetic beauty of this chapter was further elaborated by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadra, the 4th Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The Prophecy of Al-Takwir

In the beginning of this 81st chapter of the Quran, Allah sets forth prophecies pertaining to events some 1000 years later. These prophecies cover social, military, political and economic changes that would occur as the Islamic empire – the superpower of its day – would be overthrown by a Christian civilisation, bearing very specific hallmarks:

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

When the sun is wrapped up,

And when the stars are obscured,

And when the mountains are made to move,

And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned,

And when the primitive people are gathered together,

And when the seas are filled,

And when people are brought together,

And when the girl-child buried alive is questioned about,

‘For what crime was she killed?’

And when books are spread abroad.

And when the heaven is laid bare,

And when the Fire is caused to blaze up,

And when the Garden is brought nigh,

Then every soul will know what it has brought forward.[3]

In this brief chapter, numerous changes attendant upon the future overthrow of Islamic civilisation are detailed. The chapter firstly opens with two metaphors – that of the wrapping up and obscuring of the sun and the stars, respectively.

In Islamic terminology, the sun represents the Holy Prophet of Islamsa, since he is referred to as the radiant sun in the Quran itself.[4] The ‘stars’ referred to represent his companions, in accordance with his well-known saying that my companions are like stars, whichever of them you use as a guide, you will be rightly guided.[5]

Thus, these verses refer to a time in which the beautiful example of the Prophet of Islam and his companions would be obscured. Indeed, we have seen over the last centuries how Christian orientalists have attacked the character of the Prophet of Islam and his companions so shamelessly that fair-minded Christians like Thomas Carlyle themselves remarked:

“The lies which well-meaning zeal has heaped upon this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only.”[6]

The lies to which
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the proliferation of terrorist atrocities committed in the name of Islam, un-Islamic though they may be, also serve to defame the character of the Prophet of Islam and his companions, arguably more so than the attacks of Christian orientalists of previous centuries.

The chapter goes on to detail significant features of Christian civilisation. The movement of mountains is mentioned first. This occurred for the first time in Christian Europe and America on a grand scale with the creation of the railroad, where mountains were blown out of the way or tunnelled through, using dynamite. Indeed, British Pathé have a video from 1932 of 20 tonnes of dynamite being used to carve out marble from mountains in Italy.[7]

This verse can also be interpreted as referring to tectonic shifts in society that would occur with new inventions. This is also the meaning of the movement of mountains, since mountains in Arabic can also refer to great nations and peoples.[8]

The verse goes on to mention how such a new civilisation would have as its hallmark, new forms of transport, rendering the pregnant she-camel – a most prized possession among the Arabs – defunct: when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned. The Quran elsewhere prophecies that God would, at such a time, bring about new forms of transportation:

And He has created horses and mules and asses that you may ride them, and as a source of beauty. And He will create what you do not yet know.[9]

The Quran goes on to speak of the gathering together of people considered as primitive. The creation of reservations after the colonisation of North America to collect native peoples together, as well as the subsequent integration of aboriginal peoples of various continents into “modern” societies, thus ‘bringing together’ native and modern peoples, fulfil this verse in a dual-manner. These events clearly relate to the expansion of the Christian nations of Europe to North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand that occurred throughout the 15th-20th centuries.

4 2

How this process of colonisation would take place is next described in the words: When the seas are filled. This gives us the image of seas filled with shipping lanes and boats. Indeed, colonial expansion was enabled principally through naval might and the work of trading companies such as the British East India company and the Dutch East Indian company. These companies were the first means of contact with nations such as India and South Africa, which subsequently fell to colonial rule.

Another sign of this age would be the integration of different cultures and civilisations, previously alien to one another. This would be aided by the new means of transport, which would bring about the picture of events as described in the words: And when peoples are brought together. Indeed, the global village has become a reality in our time today, after the aforementioned changes have occurred over centuries, in addition to advances in technology enabling instant communication across continents.

At such a time of liberalisation of culture and communication, the Quran declares that female rights will take centre-stage as an issue in the minds of the world. God says that people will ask, for what crime was the girl-child buried alive, as a reference to the barbaric practice present in many cultures of the world, not least in pre-Islamic Arabia where it could be found among the higher classes.


This change in people’s attitudes towards women’s rights will be intimately related to the spread of education. Thus, the next verse speaks of how, in this age, books will be spread far and wide. This points to the extraordinary proliferation of writing and publication since the 15th century, unprecedented in human history.

In addition to increased understanding of our relationship to one another through education, our understanding of our place in the universe would also be furthered. The Quran speaks of the heavens being laid bare. This refers to the extraordinary advancement wrought by scientists of Christian European background in advancing the fields of astronomy.

This section finally ends with a commentary on the spiritual potentialities of that age: hell will blaze, and Paradise will be brought near. These relate perhaps to the potential of hell-on-earth as a result of atomic warfare, as well as a pervasive anti-religious, materialistic culture that has developed throughout the Western world, in which renunciation of God has become commonplace.

Paradise at this time would be brought close, principally by the advent of the second coming of Jesusas at this time, whom the Quran describes as bringing Paradise with him:

It was said to him, ‘Enter Paradise.’ He said, ‘O, would that my people knew, ‘How graciously my Lord has granted me forgiveness and has made me of the honoured ones!’[10]

Interestingly, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who was the second coming of Jesusas received the following revelations:

I have sent down Paradise with you[11]

Oh Ahmad! Enter Paradise along with your spouse[12]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad c. 1897
His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,
The Promised Messiah & Mahdi,
Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam

A Mathematical Miracle

The Arabic language is extraordinary, not only for its versatility and comprehensiveness, but also for its mathematical features.

Each letter in Arabic has a specific number attributed to it. This system of numerical valuing of letters is known as the Abjad numerical system. The number assigned to each letter is fixed and does not change, regardless of the form, accent or vowel point on the letter. Fig. 1 shows the number linked to each letter.

Figure 1: Abjad numerical values. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The only letter missing from this is the taa marbuta (ـة). This letter appears like an ‘h’ but is pronounced like a ‘t’. Many authorities believe this should be treated in accordance with its form – like an ‘h’, however, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) counted it as a ‘t’ in abjad calculations (Shahadat’ul Quran, p.122). Interestingly, it is in this very same book in which the prophecies of Surah Al-Takwir were first elaborated before the world. We follow his example, finding it also to be more logically consistent; Arabic was a phonetic language for millennia first and foremost.

The beauty of this chapter lies not only in the grand fulfilment of its prophecies – which in themselves constitute a miracle (for who but God could prophecy such features of a single civilisation and age so remarkably?) – but also in the mathematical features of this chapter.

Verses 1 and 2 set the stage of the decline of the Islamic civilisation and its dominance by a Christian civilisation bearing the hallmarks given in verses 4-12.

The mathematical miracle of this chapter is that the value of the letters of each of the verses 4-12 give the Gregorian year in which that particular verse found fulfilment.

We take up these prophecies from verse 4 therefore, and demonstrate how accurately and remarkably they found fulfilment over the course of history.

When the mountains are made to move

وَاِذَا الۡجِبَالُ سُیِّرَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1445

Historical Fulfilment: In 1445 CE, one of the most profound inventions of all time came to fruition. The Gutenburg printing press was pioneered by Johannes Gutenburg, with the publication of the 42 Line Bible (also known as the Gutenburg Bible) in Mainz, Germany. The Bible was comprised of 1,282 pages, with only 180 copies initially published, 47 of which are still extant.

Gutenburg was a goldsmith by profession. Though wooden blocks had been used for printing in the past, this process was cumbersome and slow. His pioneering work enabled much faster printing of long texts, using metallic letters within a reading frame. Through this process, printing became fast and cheap, thus opening the door of literacy for the majority of humanity. Within 50 years around 100,000 publications had emerged.

Yet how can the Gutenburg printing press be related to the verse in question? A clue can be found in both the name of the printing press and also how it worked. “Gutenburg” is a German word that literally means “good mountain.” Further, the method the Gutenburg press pioneered is known as “moveable type.” The term “moveable” relates to the movement of an under-table with a plane surface, on which paper would be loaded swiftly, thus industrialising the process for mass-production.

The verse when the mountains are made to move thus relates to both the name and method of this remarkable invention.

400px Gutenberg
Johannes Gutenberg (1393–1406)

And when the she-camels ten month pregnant, are abandoned

وَاِذَا الۡعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1819

Historical fulfilment: For the Arabs, the camel was a highly prized source of wealth. A camel represented transportation to safety in a land where death could easily come to those stranded in the desert.  Ten-month pregnant she-camels in this regard were greatly valued, since they would soon give birth to offspring, thereby increasing the wealth of the owner. Their abandonment at ten months pregnancy points to an age in which their use would be utterly undermined and invalidated through new forms of transportation.

The year 1819 is significant in the history of public transport. In this year, a bill was presented to the British parliament for what would ultimately become the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotion. Though the bill was rejected at first, it was eventually accepted in 1821 and opened in 1825. It was known as the Stockton and Darlington Railway. 

It should be noted that prior to this event, railways were usually used for transportation of coal and other resources, rather than people. The verse in question speaks however, of the widespread and general abandonment of animals as forms of transportation, indicating that it is pointing to widespread availability of new transportation mechanisms. In addition, it should be noted that railways prior to 1819 often did not use steam-power, but would utilise horses to draw carts along railway lines. This would not fulfil the verse in question, which specifically speaks of the redundancy new forms of transport would bring to animal-powered transportation.

A pregnant camel was a prized asset in the days of pre-modern Arabia

In short, this verse has found remarkable fulfilment with its Abjad numerical value relating to the first year in many millennia that a new form of transportation came into public use, thereby rendering the use of animals for transportation, useless.

And when the primitive peoples are gathered together

وَاِذَا الۡوُحُوۡشُ حُشِرَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1967

Historical Fulfilment: It is no secret that the native peoples of various continents have been exploited, enslaved and brutalised for many centuries. Whether it be the Native Americans, First Nation people of Canada, the South American tribesman, the Aboriginal peoples of Australia or indeed, the numerous tribes of South and West Africa, atrocities have been committed worldwide under the banner of “civilisation.”

This verse speaks of a time in which native peoples – seen as primitive, uncultured and uncivilised by many European colonisers – would be brought together in some shape or fashion, either with one another, or with the European colonisers. 1967 marks two very significant accomplishments for the native peoples of the Earth, in this regard. 

The Native Americans were long suffering under the American colonisers.

The first relates to the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) of 1967, also known as the Australian Referendum (Aboriginals). This referendum proposed two amendments to the Australian constitution. The first addressed the fact that prior to 1967, the Australian Commonwealth parliament could legislate on matters pertaining to any race except those of the Aborigines. The effect of this was that State laws discriminatory to Aborigines were perpetuated, without being overturned by the Commonwealth Parliament. The second amendment to the constitution meant that Aborigines were counted in census data along with non-Aboriginal individuals as part of the population.

This referendum had immense practical and symbolic benefit for the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, and from these amendments, the Commonwealth parliament was able to put in place policies specifically for their benefit. Such laws pertained to inalienable titles to reserve lands; consent requirement for mining and drilling on Aboriginal lands; and entry to Aboriginal lands requiring permits. Discriminatory state laws were also overturned, such as laws in Queensland requiring Aboriginal people to work without payment, or such laws as forbade their cultural practices.

The second remarkable accomplishment in 1967 for the native peoples of Earth occurred in North America. The Civil Rights Act was proposed to the United States House of Representatives in 1967, and passed in 1968. This Act meant that self-governing tribal courts, which managed the affairs and legal disputes of Native Americans, could not act in ways contrary to many of the provisions of the United States Bill of Rights. This included freedom of religion; freedom of speech; freedom to assemble and peaceably protest; security in one’s home against unwarranted intrusion; the right to a fair trial, and many others. As courts had noted, prior to this, “tribes were not arms of the federal government when punishing tribal members for criminal acts and that Indian tribes were exempt from many of the constitutional protections governing the actions of state and federal governments.” The Indian Civil Rights Act remedied this disparity, and extended protection under the law to native peoples.

In both of the above cases, the words of the Quran: when the primitive peoples are gathered together, were remarkably fulfilled in the very year pertaining to the numerical value of the verse. 1967 saw both Aboriginal peoples and Native Americans gathered together under the eyes of the law with the non-native peoples of their country. This gathering together under the law had profound positive effects on the lives of millions of native peoples.

And when the seas are filled

وَاِذَا الۡبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1613

Historical Fulfilment: The conquest of lands such as North America and Australia, resulting in the colonial subjugation of native peoples mentioned above, could not have occurred without the significant use of naval power and transportation.

1613 is remarkable in this regard, as it relates to the very year in which the seeds of naval power and progress were sown by the British empire. The British came to be known as masters of the sea, and though the phrase had been used for previous empires , Britain came to be known in 1773 as a vast empire on which the sun never sets, and whose bounds nature has not yet ascertained. Such accolades were achieved through conquests both in the East (think India) and in the West (think North America), on account of its vast naval power.

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The powerful British Navy remained a force to be reckoned with even up to WWII

This projection of naval power began with the British East India company, a British joint-stock trading company, which was founded to pursue trade with the East Indies initially, but ended up trading with the Indian subcontinent and the Far East. Their vast trading activities led them to eventually account for half of the world’s trade at their peak. The company’s power was such that they came to own their own private armies, on account of which India fell to company rule between 1757 and 1858, giving way to the British Crown’s seizure of Indian territory and the formation of the British Raj from 1858 to 1947.

1613 holds a special position in the history of Britain. The British East India company was formed in 1600, however it faced severe opposition and competition with its Dutch rival, the Dutch East India company. Indeed, through the use of private armies, these companies would regularly engage in hostilities with one another in the Indian ocean.

The British East India company achieved a major victory in 1612 over the Portuguese at the battle of Swally. As a result of this victory, the Mughal emperor of India Nuruddin Salim Jahangir gave Captain William Hawkins of the British East India Company a permit for the construction of a factory in Surat, India in the year 1613. This was the first foothold of the British empire in the land that came to be known as the “jewel in the British crown”. 1613 was therefore the first year in which the British, freed from the competition with the Portuguese, began to seek out exclusive trading rights in India. Further, 1613 was also the first year the British East India company arrived in Japan, and began to establish trading rights in the Far East. Both these events occurred through British naval dominance.

It is clear then that 1613 was a most significant year in the establishment of the British East India company in both India and in the Far East. This maritime trading company filled the seas with ships, as per the prophetic verse.

And when peoples are brought together

وَاِذَا النُّفُوۡسُ زُوِّجَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1351

Historical Fulfilment: When one thinks of instances where people are “brought together,” one naturally begins to think of social media. Through social media, people of different ethnicities and races are brought into contact with one another, and friends from different places in the world can keep in touch.

In the past however, it was through conquest primarily that different cultures and civilisations came to mix with one another. In this regard, 1351 stands out as an exceptionally important year in the history of the world.

In 1351 the Turkish Ottoman empire first crossed the Dardanelles into Europe. In 1352, Turkish mercenaries were permitted the small fortress of Tzympe near Gallipoli, after several years of plundering Byzantine Thrace. There, they bided their time, hoping to make headway through Gallipoli and into Europe.

In 1354, a deadly earthquake struck Gallipoli, destroying hundreds of villages and much of the infrastructure on the peninsula. The Greek inhabitants vacated their buildings in their droves. Capitalising on the situation, Sulayman Pasha, the second ruler of the newly formed Ottoman empire, proceeded quickly to Gallipoli and occupied the peninsula within a month. He was offered money by John VI, however Pasha replied that he had not taken the city by force, but had been gifted it by Allah; thus, he said, he could not be ungrateful by returning such a gift.

The Fall of Gallipoli is noted in history as a major point of meeting between the East and the West, and it was the entry of the Ottoman Turks into Europe via the Dardanelles in 1351 that laid its foundation. As a result of taking Gallipoli, within ten years the Ottoman Turks overran most of Byzantine Thrace. They thereafter conquered Thessaloniki, the Balkans, before achieving their crowning glory of ending the Byzantine empire with their conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The Ottoman empire would remain as a trans-continental empire, bridging East and West for the next six hundred years until the beginning of the 20th century, thus fulfilling the remarkable prophecy of a time when peoples would be brought together.

Port de Gallipoli
The port of Gallipoli, C. 1880

And when the girl-child buried alive is questioned about…

وَاِذَا الۡمَوۡءٗدَۃُ سُئِلَتۡ

Number of letters: 15

Value of letters: 1681

Historical Fulfilment: It should be noted that this and the next verse form a pair, both of which address the same topic – the question of women’s rights. These verses speak of a future Christian civilisation, in which female equality with men would be addressed and raised as a prominent social issue.

This verse and the next speak specifically of so-called honour killings. These shameful acts perpetrated particularly in pre-Islamic Arabia involved the killing of a female infant at birth or shortly after birth, out of a sense of shame for not having a male child. Such practices still continue secretly in certain parts of the world, notably in China and the Indian sub-continent.

Though the next verse correlates to a specific year, this verse does not seem to do so. However, an interesting connection can still be found. Resolution 1681 in 2009 of the European Parliament focussed on the urgent need to combat so-called honour crimes. The Parliamentary assembly sought to draw the attention of the world to the suffering of women of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It specifically called on the European member nations to draw up national action-plans to combat such crimes both home and abroad. These action-plans are encouraged to range from the preventative stage of educating children in schools as to the rights others possess, all the way through to strengthening laws against so-called honour crimes.


This is significant, because so-called honour crimes are specifically being referred to in this verse, insofar as the crime of burying new-born girls alive was out of a sense of “shame” at the birth of a female. Thus, though this Abjad value of this verse does not refer to a specific year, it nevertheless draws our attention powerfully to a resolution made by some of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on earth, seeking to put a stop and end to such horrific crimes.

For what crime was she killed?

بِاَیِّ ذَنۡۢبٍ قُتِلَتۡ

Number of letters: 11

Value of letters: 1735

Historical Fulfilment: In this verse, the value of the letters corresponds powerfully to a particular year. In 1735, long before the beginning of the Suffragette movement, the importance of female education was beginning to be raised.

In May 19 1735, John Peter Zenger, an American journalist in New York, published an article of Joseph Addison, likely originally published in the Guardian, entitled Arguments for Educating Women. In this seminal piece, Addison argued that the education of women should be given attention, since women had more spare time than men, had a natural gift for speech, and were involved heavily in the education of children. He particularly argued that women shared with men the ability to learn and perfect their minds, stating that this quality was not different between the sexes, but unique to our species as a whole:

Learning and Knowledge are Perfections in us, not as we are Men, but as we are reasonable Creatures, in which Order, of Beings the Female World is upon the same level with the Male. We ought to consider in this Particular, not what is the Sex, but what is the Species to which they belong.

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Arguments for Educating Women (1735)

In making this argument, Addison was directly answering the rhetorical question posed by this Quranic verse. The Quranic verse asks why some men consider women so inferior that the birth of a female is considered to be humiliating. Addison’s article makes the argument that in ability to learn and develop, women are not inferior to men but equal, and that the nurturing of their minds is essential and important for a healthy society.

It should be considered that this essay was one of the first examples of the intelligentsia of Europe considering the importance of paying attention to female education and empowerment.

And when books are spread abroad

وَاِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتۡ

Number of letters: 13

Value of letters: 1867

Historical Fulfilment: During the period of the British East India company’s rule over India, printing presses developed rapidly. The result was that books, periodicals and leaflets multiplied enormously, on every conceivable topic. The British East India company felt the need to archive these publications, not least to gauge the sentiment in India regarding British rule. Initially they simply encouraged the British local authorities to send to India House in London a copy of each publication. Encouragement however, was insufficient, and only a small percentage of the total publications ever made it to London’s India House through voluntary registrations.

As such, the need was strongly felt for legislation to make mandatory the sale of three copies for every published work in India, to the government. This legislation was known as The Press and Registration of Books Act, enacted in 1867 – the same value of the letters in the verse: and when books are spread abroad

As a result of this legislation, millions of books were shipped from India to London, for archival purposes, thus literally fulfilling the verse above in the most remarkable of ways. In this way, the practice of archiving all publicly printed books was established in the Western world.

British Museum Great Court London UK Diliff
The exterior of the reading room of the British Library, a repository of printed media

And when the heaven is laid bare

وَاِذَا السَّمَآءُ کُشِطَتۡ

Number of letters: 14

Value of letters: 1570

Historical Fulfilment: Muslim scientists advanced astronomy to an extraordinary extent. It was through the work of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi and others in the time of Caliph Al-Mamun in 830 CE for example, that some of the most accurate and detailed maps of both the stars and the earth of their time were drawn up. His work corrected Ptolemy’s calculations to a great extent and his work reveals an extraordinary wealth of observational detail.

However much the early Muslims contributed to the science of astronomical charts, a device for peering deep into the heavens and discerning the structures and contours of planets, lay beyond their reach. The invention of the telescope was needed – a lens configured in such a way as to magnify structures thousands of miles away.

The invention of the telescope ultimately has been credited to Hans Lippershey, a German-Dutch spectacle maker. On the 2nd October 1608, Lippershey applied for a patent for an instrument, which was “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby.” Though he did not receive his patent due to similar claims by other spectacle makers at the same time, it was his patent application that was mentioned in a diplomatic report authored by the Siamese King Ekathotserot. This report was subsequently distributed across Europe, with details of Lippershey’s design. Scientists across Europe, attempting to reproduce Lippershey’s design, found that it worked. The famous Gallileo, whose work is famous for popularising the fact that the Earth travels around the sun, later improved upon Lippershey’s design.

The connection to the year 1570 is simple: Lippershey was born in 1570. This in itself is interesting, as the Quran does not advocate commemoration of the birthdates of individuals. However, this is not a birthdate, but rather, a birth year. Further, it should be noted that Lippershey’s invention itself enabled greater accuracy in charting and plotting years, seasons and days. Thus, it is appropriate that this verse should connect itself to the year of birth of the individual whose invention enabled the future remarkable discoveries of structures and phenomena, deep in the heavens above.

The invention of the telescope has enabled us to peer into space like never before

Chance or Design?


The fulfilment of the above prophecies is indeed remarkable. However, it may be argued by some who ponder only cursorily on the issue that this is a matter of coincidence rather than design.

Given that the poetic verses of the Quran are often of similar lengths within the same chapter, it could be said that the sentence lengths of the verses in this chapter Al Takwir, merely correspond to that period of time in which many of these verses found fulfilment, and that any other combination of letters of the same sentence length would hit other years in which fulfilment could be interpreted through convoluted interpretations.

This is a serious point and must be tackled head on. To test whether this is the case, we noted the sentence length for each of the verses above. They are given in Table 1 below:

And when the mountains are made to move,14
And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned,14
And when the primitive people are gathered together,14
And when the seas are filled,14
And when people are brought together,14
And when the girl-child buried alive is questioned about,15
‘For what crime was she killed?’11
And when books are spread abroad.13
And when the heaven is laid bare,14

Table 1: The verses of Surah al-Takwir and the length of each verse.

It can be seen from the above that most of these verses are 14 letters long, with an average length between all verses of 13.6. Using this information, we then sought to test the hypothesis in the following manner:


We looked at 60 other 13 and 14–letter string sentences from the Quran. The selection of these sentences were randomised by taking the first 13 or 14 letters of the same verse number across sequential chapters of the Quran. So, for example, we took the first thirteen letter sentence string from the 25th verses of chapters 11 to 30. We repeated this across these chapters. Thus:

  • The first 13 letters were taken from the 25th verses of chapters 11 – 30, giving 20 verses.
  • The first 14 letters were taken from the 35th verses of chapters 11 – 30, giving 20 verses.
  • The first 14 letters were taken from the 40th verses of chapters 11 – 30, giving 20 verses.

In this systematic fashion, the process of selecting 13 or 14 letter string sentences was randomised across 60 other sentences.


The Abjad values of each of these 60 sentence strings were calculated using the same method above. The values can be found in Tables 2, 3 and 4 below.

Ch 11 v 251681
Ch 12 v25645
Ch 13 v25435
Ch 14 v251814
Ch15 v25462
Ch16 v251664
Ch17 v251625
Ch18 v25437
Ch19 v251045
Ch20 v251147
Ch21 v251899
Ch22 v25145
Ch23 v25361
Ch24 v25921
Ch25 v25642
Ch26 v25848
Ch27 v25587
Ch28 v251273
Ch29 v25350
Ch30 v25793
RANGE350 – 1899

Table 2: 13 letter sentences and their Abjad values from the 25th verses of chapters 11-30

Ch 11 v 35515
Ch 12 v35959
Ch 13 v35988
Ch 14 v35710
Ch15 v351192
Ch16 v35801
Ch17 v35857
Ch18 v351093
Ch19 v351243
Ch20 v371149
Ch21 v35892
Ch22 v35771
Ch23 v351150
Ch24 v35340
Ch25 v351475
Ch26 v35313
Ch27 v351410
Ch28 v351068
Ch29 v35347
Ch30 v35851
RANGE313 – 1475

Table 3: 14 letter sentences and their Abjad values from the 35th verses of Chapters 11-30. NB: Chapter 20 verse 35 did not contain 14 letters, and so the nearest verse above it that did (v.37) was utilised instead.

Ch 11 v 40923
Ch 12 v40467
Ch 13 v40454
Ch 14 v40896
Ch15 v401843
Ch16 v401528
Ch17 v40898
Ch18 v402261
Ch19 v401154
Ch20 v401469
Ch21 v401394
Ch22 v402118
Ch23 v40777
Ch24 v401215
Ch25 v401216
Ch26 v40803
Ch27 v401134
Ch28 v40769
Ch29 v40786
Ch30 v401221
RANGE769 – 2261

Table 4: 14 letter sentences and their Abjad values from the 40th verses of Chapters 11-30.


From the above we can see that random 13 and 14 letter sentences do not give predictable ranges of years. In fact, the differences between Table 2 and 3 are particularly instructive in this regard. Table 2 looking at 13 letter sentences produces a higher average and a higher range of years than Table 3, which looks at 14-letter sentences. This demonstrates that random sentence length cannot be taken as a determinant of general age range.

When we look at the Standard Deviation (SD) between all the three tables – a measure of the spread of the data around the average – we find that the spread is predictably similar for each of the three tables. In the case of the first table, the SD is 551, meaning that around 68% of the values in Table 1 lie between the Abjad values 387 and 1489, demonstrating how widely spread the data is. This further highlights how impossible a task it is for a 13 letter or 14 letter sentences to produce values within a reliable range.

In reality, this objection can easily be answered by simply looking at the original Abjad values of the verses in Surah Al Takwir. The range of these values stretch from 1351 with the entry of the Ottoman Turks into the Dardanelles, to 1967 when the Australian referendum took place. Interestingly, the verses that give the values of 1351 and 1967 are both 14-letters long.

It may be argued that though the data is spread out over a vast timescale, the selection of any year in such a large range could turn up such events that could be interpreted in a manner which fits any of the verses, since the verses are sufficiently ambiguous. Is this true?

This argument holds no weight when we consider that it is made with retrospective bias. At the time of the revelation of the Quran between 610 C.E – 633 C.E, none of the events pertaining to new forms of transportation; the movement and blowing up of mountains; the inventing of the printing press; the development of women’s rights; the dissemination of literature; the plying of the seas for immense amounts of trade; the invention of the devices to lay bare the heavens etc., could be foreseen. By what power did all these phenomena come to pass? In what way then, can the verses be called “unspecific” in the nature of their prophecy, when even a layman can understand the social and scientific changes they clearly point towards? If the changes prophesied in these words are recognisable to specific changes, then they are specific enough.

Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, when we studied the above 60 sentences, we marked out all verses that could be related to the fulfilment of the verse: And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned. If the prophecies in these verses are sufficiently ambiguous, such that any year would provide a pseudo-fulfilment, then we should see an abundance of events amongst our 60 letter sentences that could be interpreted as relating to this prophecy.

Among the 60 verses only one qualified sufficiently: Chapter 14, verse 25, which gives the year 1814. Ironically however, this gives the year in which the first steam locomotive was built by George Stephenson, for the Stockton and Darlington railway – the first public railway proposed to parliament in 1819, and which the verse of Surah Al Takwir gives the corresponding Abjad value for. This highlights the paucity of events over the past 1400 years that could be related to the abandonment of the camel as a means of transportation for the general public. Some may argue that the years corresponding to Chapter 21 verse 25 (1899) and Chapter 15 verse 40 (1843) should similarly be counted, however, neither of these years correspond to the time when camels were abandoned and a new means of transportation began, rather, trains were already in frequent use by these years.

However, even if we were to include all three years as examples of fulfilment of the verse: And when the she-camels, ten-month pregnant, are abandoned, then we find that the hit rate of successful Abjad values is 3/60 = 0.05. This corresponds neatly to the p-value threshold used in standard scientific journals, ie: the probability below which an event is regarded as unlikely to have occurred by chance. When we consider, however, that this 0.05 probability corresponds to only the fulfilment of 1 out of 9 verses, we see that the total probability of all 9 verses finding fulfilment, according to this method of reasoning – simple though it is – stands at 0.059. The long form of this value is: 0.000000000000195 or, 1.95 x 10-12. An extraordinarily small number, which almost certainly underestimates the probability involved in the fulfilment of these verses, since they do not take into account at all the extreme improbability of these verses finding fulfilment at all, let alone fulfilment in specific years.

The beauty of the Quran is unsurpassed


The miracle above is two-fold. It is firstly in the fulfilment of the verses of Surah Al Takwir in the first place. These verses flowed from the lips of an illiterate dweller of the desert in the early 7th century. Prophecies of future means of transportation, of printing presses, of the dissemination of books abroad, of the rise of the Women’s Liberation movement, and others. How could the Prophet of Islam, on whom be peace, have foreseen such events? Without doubt, this is sufficient a miracle to compel a thoughtful person to realise that these prophecies were dictated by God Himself.

The second miracle gives the lie to those who would claim that such events could have been foretold. Even if we accept such a ridiculous position, we ask, could the specific years in which the events would find fulfilment, have been foretold? There can be no refutation to such a question. 

The above calculations should not be taken as statements of fact. They are merely demonstrations, through simple models, of the extreme unlikelihood that prophecies made 1400 years ago should find fulfilment in the years corresponding to the Abjad values of the sentence string. This indeed, should be obvious to anyone who ponders carefully on the matter. We have, nevertheless, provided the above model to leave no way of escape or argumentation to those who would seek to dismiss such a mathematical miracle.

“O ye people, a manifest proof has indeed come to you from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light.”

Al Qur’an 4:175

[1] Qur’an 18:110

[2] Essence of Islam, Vol. 1

[3] Qur’an 81: 2-15

[4] Qur’an 33:46-47

[5] Al Ibana al-Kubra; Ibn Batta

[6] Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History

[7]; accessed 08/11/16

[8] Lane’s Arabic Dictionary under جبل :

[9] Qur’an 16:9

[10] Qur’an 36:27-28

[11] Badr, vol. 6, no. 33, August 15, 1907, p. 4; al-Hakam, vol. 11, no. 29, August 17, 1907, p. 5; Tadkhirah, Aug 13 1907, p.962

[12] Arba‘in, no. 3, pp. 23–29, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 17, pp. 410–418 and Appendix Tohfah Golarhviyyah, pp. 14–19, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 17, pp. 59–65; Tadhkirah 1900, p.494

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