For what it’s worth, I took the challenge of 10:37-38, 11:13, and 52:34 upon myself. Suffice to say, I was required to RE-read (more accurately: peruse) a few translations of the Koran in order to do this. I even scoured myriad lists of Koranic verses compiled by devout Muslims (namely, verses that they found the most beautiful / moving / profound). That is: I bent over backwards to (once more) give Islam’s holy book the benefit of the doubt.
The outcome was unsurprising. As it turns out, when the authors of the Koran challenge us to make any part of their magnum opus better, merely inserting a single eloquent phrase somewhere, anywhere, would do the trick. (Add a statement articulating the golden rule, for example, and the book becomes PROFOUNDLY better.)
For the life of me, I could not find ANYTHING in Islam’s holy book that a marginally talented, semi-creative teen could not have composed…any day of the week…if handed a thesaurus and assigned the task of glorifying something to the point of distraction.
Three of the most popularly extolled ayah are 3:134, 17:24, and 24:35. Not exactly awe-inspiring stuff. If this is where the bar for profundity is set, then the bar is abysmally low. (Read them and see for yourself.) There is not a single verse in the Koran that could be accurately characterized as “balagha” [eloquent].
The delusive contention that the Koran is the epitome of “balagha” (eloquence), or that its verse is somehow “mu’ajiza” (a miracle), or that it is “i’jaz” (inimitable), is regularly heard from those who fetishize Islam’s holy book. (In fact, it is regularly heard from those who fetishize ANY book.) This stands to reason, as such an illusion must be sustained if one is to be of the mind that Koranic verse is somehow divine. (Lest one cease taking the book at its word, one almost cannot NOT indulge in this illusion.)
In any case, the inimitability of the book is based upon what the book explicitly says ABOUT ITSELF. Consequently, if it is admitted that the book is erroneous on THAT basic point, then the credence of the rest of its claims is brought into question. The entire house of cards can come quickly crashing down.
Those who refuse to fetishize the Koran have no need for said house of cards. It recognizes that the purported “i’jaz” of the Koran is a chimera–nothing more than a figment of the imaginations of Koran fetishists (and of the Koran’s authors).
Koranic text inimitable? Don’t be ridiculous. Most of us who are highly literate would not deign to reproduce Koranic verse simply because we couldn’t bring ourselves to write that POORLY. Assuming a post-primary level of schooling, any creative writing teacher worth his salt would have little choice but to fail a student who turned in the kind of writing found in Islam’s holy book.