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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

The miracle of 19 in the Quran

This was first posted in the 90’s, when the “miracle of 19” in the Quran was a big hype, following the publication of research by Rashad Khalifa, and the publicity that his assassination gave to his ideas. I am responding to a list of items showing a pattern of 19, that was presented by an advocate of this theory


> One of the Great Miracles”
> 1. The first verse (1:1),known as “Basmalah,” consists of 19
> letters.

Yes, counting
b s m hamza+alif L L h alif L r H m n alif L r H y m
you do get 19.

If I wanted to prove that the Qur’an was based on patterns of
21, I would count the doubled letters twice.
b s m hamza+alif L L L h alif L r r H m n alif L r r H y m

If I wanted to prove that the Qur’an was based on patterns of
11, I would count each letter that appears only once
b s m hamza+alif L h alif r H n y

To make patterns of 10, I would consider hamza+alif and alif as the

> 2. The Quran consists of 114 suras, which is …………..19 x 6.

Except that not all versions of the Qur’an do consist of 114
surahs. In the version of Ubayy. b. Ka’b (who was
Muhammad’s secretary), Surah 104, the Scandal-monger
(humaza) continued straight on into surah 105, the Elephant.
But he didn’t have 113 surahs, because he had 2 other surahs
that are not in the present Qur’an, so I suppose he had 115 in
all. But that is not certain, because many of the early Qur’ans
did not have the fatiha (surah 1) and/ or the last two surahs, or
they had them but did not count them as Surahs. so:
1) The present structure of the Egyptian 1923 standard edition
of the Qur’an, which is now used almost everywhere, is the
outcome of history, chance and the work of men, and cannot
be counted as a miracle, and
2) anyway, what is miraculous about 19 x 6 = 114? Most
numbers have factors. 19 x 5 = 95. 20 x 6 = 120.

> 3. The total number of verses in the Quran is 6346, or ….19 x
> 334. > [6234 numbered verses & 112 un-numbered verses
> (Basmalahs) 6234+112 = > 6346]

These verse numbers are a recent addition: medieval Qur’an
commentators never refer to them because they hadn’t been
thought of then. Even today, German Islamologists use a
different numbering system to French Islamologists. Pakistani
Muslims have different numbers to Egyptian Muslims. etc.
You can confirm this by looking at the 1934 intro to Yusuf Ali’s
translation of the Qur’an, which is widely distributed, on page
iv he says “The different qiraats (versions) sometimes differ as
to the punctuation stops and the numbering of the verses. … It
is important that at least in Islamic countries one system of
numbering *should be adopted.* ” So in 1934, people in the
Islamic world were well aware of the inconsistencies. By 2004
those people are largely dead, and the 1923 Egyptian edition
has been so massively successful that people all over the
world are beginning to think that that is the way the Qur’an
has always been. Quranic experts of course know better, but
if they say anything in public in Muslim countries they are
likely to be called heretics, and then to be assassinated by
ignorant dogs who claim to speak for Islam and the Quran, or
they have their marriages annulled and have to flee to the west
for safety.

Moreover you will notice that, to achieve a multiple of 19, the
unnumbered verses have to be counted . If 6234 had itself
been a multiple of 19, they would not have been added. That
already gives a 2 out of 19 probability of being able to find a
multiple – simply by choosing which counting method is used.
But there are more than 2 possible counting methods: you
could for instance decide not to count the initial detached
letters, and see if that worked out. The general mathematical
principle is that probabilities are only significant if the event (in
case, the count of verses) is not itself selected or manipulated.

> 4. The Basmalah occurs 114 times, despite its conspicuous
> absence from
> Sura 9 (it occurs twice in Sura 27) & 114= 19×6.

Except that the early versions of ar-Rabi’ b. Khuthaim , Ibn
Mas’uud, Talha and perhaps some others I can’t name at the
moment do have a Bismallah at Surah 9. Morover, all you have
shown here is that if we take a number, add one and subtract
one, we get the same number. This is a miracle ??

> 5. From the missing Basmalah of Sura 9 to the extra Basmalah
> of Sura 27, there are precisely ……………19 suras.

If you count both 9 and 27, there are 19, if you count the
surahs between 9 and 27 there are 17, if you subtract 9 from
27 there are 18. For any random phenomena, if you have 3
different counting methods, there are 3 chances out of 19 that
you can show the phenomena is a multiple of 19.


Imagine you have a text, say Winnie the Pooh, and a set of 20
different things you can count in all or part of the text (number
of words, number of letters, number of sections between
things, sum of things, …) and another 3 rules you can apply to
massage the count (leave out chapter names, include chapter
names, count paragraph breaks (tabs) as a letter symbol…),
and that you want to prove that Winnie the Pooh has a
miraculous pattern of sevens. You go to work and produce a
set of 10,000 numbered phenomena, being all the phenomena
you can count in the whole book, and for 3/7ths of them you
will have been able to find a pattern of 7’s. Now just forget the
ones that don’t show this pattern, and present a list of the 428
different counts that do show the pattern of 7. Amazing. A
miracle! Four Hundred And Twenty Eight proofs that there is a
pattern of sevens in Winnie the Pooh. How clever he is !

Rather, how gullible and ignorant the people have become, to
be deceived by such tripe. To disprove it, simply go to one
short surah of the Qur’an yourself and look for phenomena that
fit the pattern of 19. Is the number of verses a multiple of 19?
How many verses have 19x number of letters? Between the
first verse with 19 letters and the last verse with 19 letters,
how many verses are there? And so on. Record each one
that does *not* produce a 19. If you keep going, you will
eventually find something that does have a factor of 19. But I
will lay odds on that you will find roughly 18 things to count
that don’t fit, for every 1 that does produce a 19. If you allow
yourself some choice in rules, like counting the Bismallah or
not, or counting the detached letters as one word together or
as separate words, you will be able to raise your success rate.

The miracle of the Qur’an is not in its form, but in its spirit. If
you want to discover the miracle, close your eyes to the
world, and your ears to the yapping of its dogs, and open
them to the spirit, and understand what the Word is saying to

Then read the Gospels and the Hidden Words with the same
eyes and ears. truly, “… the favor is complete, the argument
fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it
now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detachment
will reveal.”


Postscript, February 2016.

I took Pride and Prejudice in the Gutenberg edition as an example, and looked for patterns of eight. The word “year” occurs 64 times, which is exactly 8 squared. The word twelvemonth, which means a year, occurs 7 times. 7 + 64 = 71, and the numerical root of 71 ( 7 + 1) is 8. The chimney piece in chapter 16 cost 8 hundred pounds, and the word “eight” occurs 8 times, (disregarding “eight and twenty” which is really 28). The first occurrence of the letters e-i-g-h-t is in chapter 8 of the book.

The same can be done with any number, and any text in any language. It is only a question of how much time you want to spend on finding patterns – and on not reporting the possible patterns you looked for and didn’t find.

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