Only has been divinely revealed
They chose, as it happened, a non-Muslim who is a professor of embryology at the University of Toronto. His name is Keith Moore, and he is the author of textbooks on embryology - a world expert on the subject. They invited him to Riyadh and said: “This is what the Quran says about your subject. Is it true? What can you tell us?” While he was in Riyadh, they gave him all of the help that he needed in translation and all of the cooperation for which he asked. And he was so surprised at what he found that he changed his textbooks. In fact, in the second edition of one of his books called "Before We Are Born...", about the history of embryology, he included some material that was not in the first edition because of what he found in the Quran. Truly this illustrates that the Quran was ahead of its time and that those who believe in the Quran know what other people do not know.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Keith Moore for a television presentation, and we talked a great deal about this - it was illustrated by slides and so on. He mentioned that some of the things that the Quran states about the growth of the human being were not known until thirty years ago. In fact, he said that one item in particular - the Quran's description of the human being as a "leech-like clot" ('alaqah) at one stage - was new to him; but when he checked on it, he found that it was true, and so he added it to his book.
He said: "I never thought of that before," and he went to the zoology department and asked for a picture of a leech. When he found that it looked just like the human embryo, he decided to include both pictures in one of his textbooks. Dr. Moore also wrote a book on clinical embryology, and when he presented this information in Toronto, it caused quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages of some of the newspapers across Canada, and some of the headlines were quite funny. For instance, one headline read: "SURPRISING THING FOUND IN ANCIENT BOOK"! It seems obvious from this example that people do not clearly understand what it is all about. As a matter of fact, one newspaper reporter asked Professor Moore, "Don't you think that maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe there were not scientists, but maybe they did something crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things."
The professor immediately pointed out to him that he [i.e., the reporter] had missed a very important point - all of the slides of the embryo that had been shown and had been projected in the film had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He said: "It does not matter if someone had tried to discover embryology fourteen centuries ago, they could not have seen it!" All of the descriptions in the Quran of the appearance of the embryo are of the item when it is still too small to see with the naked eye; therefore, one needs a microscope to see it. Since such a device had only been around for little more than two hundred years, Dr. Moore taunted, "Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever. Do you believe that? You really should not unless you bring some proofs because it is such a ridiculous theory." In fact, when he was asked: "How do you explain this information in the Quran?" Dr. Moore's reply was: "It could only have been divinely revealed."
Although the aforementioned example of man researching information contained in the Quran deals with a non-Muslim, it is still valid because he is one of those who is knowledgeable in the subject being researched. Had some layman claimed that what the Quran says about embryology is true, then one would not necessarily have to accept his word. However, because of the high position, respect, and esteem man gives scholars, one naturally assumes that if they research a subject and arrive at a conclusion based on that research, then the conclusion is valid.
One of Professor Moore's colleagues, Marshall Johnson, deals extensively with geology at the University of Toronto. He became very interested in the fact that the Quran's statements about embryology are accurate, and so he asked Muslims to collect everything contained in the Quran which deals with his specialty. Again people were very surprised at the findings. Since there are a vast number of subjects discussed in the Quran, it would certainly require a large amount of time to exhaust each subject. It suffices for the purpose of this discussion to state that the Quran makes very clear and concise statements about various subjects while simultaneously advising the reader to verify the authenticity of these statements with research by scholars in those subjects.
As illustrated, the Quran has clearly emerged authentic. Undoubtedly, there is an attitude in the Quran which is not found anywhere else. It is interesting how when the Quran provides information, it often tells the reader: "You did not know this before." Indeed, there is no scripture that exists which makes that claim. All of the other ancient writings and scriptures that people have, do give a lot of information, but they always state where the information came from.
For example, when the Bible discusses ancient history, it states that this king lived here, this one fought in a certain battle, another one had so many sons, etc. Yet it always stipulates that if you want more information, then you should read the book of so and so because that is where the information came from. In contrast to this concept, the Quran provides the reader with information and states that this information is something new. Of course, there always exists the advice to research the information provided and verify its authenticity. It is interesting that such a concept was never challenged by non-Muslims fourteen centuries ago. Indeed, the Makkans who hated the Muslims, time and time again they heard such revelations claiming to bring new information; yet, they never spoke up and said: "This is not new. We know where Muhammad got this information. We learned this at school."
For instance, the telephone book is accurate, but that does not mean that it is divinely revealed. The real problem lies in that one must establish some proofs of the source the Quran's information. The emphasis is on the reader. One cannot simply deny the Quran's authenticity without sufficient proof. If, indeed, one finds a mistake, then he has the right to disqualify it. This is exactly what the Quran encourages. Once a man came up to me after a lecture I delivered in South Africa. He was very angry about what I had said, and so he claimed: "I am going to go home tonight and find a mistake in the Quran." Of course, I said: "Congratulations. That is the most intelligent thing that you have said." Certainly, this is the approach Muslims need to take with those who doubt the Quran's authenticity, because the Quran itself offers the same challenge.
An inevitably, after accepting its challenge and discovering that it is true, these people will come to believe it because they could not disqualify it. In essence, the Quran earns their respect because they themselves have had to verify its authenticity. An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough concerning the authenticity of the Quran is that one's inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon's existence or another person's explanation of it.
Specifically, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else's explanation. However, the person's refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Quranic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says: "I do not believe it." At the onset of refusal, one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others' answers are inadequate. In fact, in one particular Quranic verse which I have always seen mistranslated into English, Allah mentions a man who heard the truth explained to him. It states that he was derelict in his duty because after he heard the information, he left without checking the verity of what he had heard. In other words, one is guilty if he hears something and does not research it and check to see whether it is true.
One is supposed to process all information and decide what is garbage to be thrown out and what is worthwhile information to be kept and benefited from at a later date. One cannot just let it rattle around in his head. It must be put in the proper categories and approached from that point of view. For example, if the information is still speculatory, then one must discern whether it's closer to being true or false. But if all of the facts have been presented, then one must decide absolutely between these two options. And even if one is not positive about the authenticity of the information, he is still required to process all of the information and make the admission that he just does not know for sure.
Although this last point appears to be futile, in actuality, it is beneficial to the arrival at a positive conclusion at a later time in that it forces the person to at least recognize, research and review the facts. This familiarity with the information will give the person "the edge" when future discoveries are made and additional information is presented. The important thing is that one deals with the facts and does not simply discard them out of empathy and disinterest.