Five Periods of Human History

The particular purpose for which God had sent the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, was to convey the message and guidance he received from God. It was the Prophet’s primary mission. If the Prophet had not undertaken this task, it would have meant that he had failed in discharging his divine duties. Moreover, that being so, his prophethood would have come under the shadow of a doubt. In other words, the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, could only stand proven in the eyes of God after he had completed the dawah mission. Moreover, by not completing the dawah mission, he would have failed to establish his real role and actual position. After the end of the prophethood, the followers of the Prophet—the entire Muslim ummah—must assume the mantle of prophethood. They have to carry out the same task that the Prophet carried out in his lifetime. The very basis of their being called the followers of the Prophet is their performing dawah work on his behalf and their continuing to convey the valid message of the divine religion in its original form. If they failed to perform this mission, the words of the above verse of the Quran would become true, as it could have become true for the Prophet on the non-performance of dawah work. In the eyes of God, they would lose the true position of being called the followers of the Prophet Muhammad; may peace be upon him.

Video Transcript
Video Transcript

There can be several criteria upon which history can be divided. Based on the dawah perspective, I have divided history into five periods.


The first period of history was the one when prophets came in great number to warn mankind. However, people ignored the prophets and considered them unworthy of being recorded. In purely historical sense, all the prophets prior to Prophet Muhammad remained unrecorded. They are considered prophets only according to people’s beliefs and not because they are historically proven.

The second period is that of Prophet Muhammad. Referring to the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran uses the phrase that he was given a position of muqame-e-mehmood, which actually means that Prophet Muhammad is a historically acknowledged prophet.

The preservation of the Book of God was the third period of history. God had sent Books earlier also but they could not remain preserved. In the case of the Quran, God Himself ensured its complete preservation; this happened in the third phase of history.

The fourth period is that of scientific affirmation. This is the period when scientific discoveries and facts will affirm the predictions in the Quran.

The fifth period is the end of history and the arrival of the Day of Judgement.

Today, I would elaborate on the fourth period of history, that is, the period of scientific affirmation.


Last week, I was invited to a meeting of English journalists organised in Delhi. During the discussion, a person raised a question saying that Muslims consider the Quran to be an infallible book; does this concept corroborate with the rational age of today and what are other’s to view it?

Let me make this clear from the start that the term infallibility is not used in the Quran or in the Hadith. This word has arisen in the Muslim theology. The word infallible is mysterious and cannot be judged objectively whereas the Quran is not a mysterious book. The term used by the Quran in this matter is “ikhtilaf na hona or absence of inconsistency.”

The Quran says that there is no inconsistency in it. It is important to note here that the Quran is not a book of science but has casual references pertaining to many scientific phenomena. These, the Quran claims would not collide with the discoveries that shall be made in the later times. That is, the Quran shall always stand strong on rational standards.


The Quran states,

“Do they ponder on the Quran? If it had been from anyone other than God, they would have found much inconsistency in it.” (4:82)

The Quran, therefore, needs to be judged on the basis of the claim of consistency that has been put forth by it, and not by referring it as an infallible book.

In fact judging the Quran on this single point criterion of it being sound on the rational standards, would ultimately lead to its infallibility. But, infallibility cannot be the starting point. The starting point is scrutinising the Quran on the basis of the claim made by it.


A few illustrations of the method used by science to discard a theory would explain the method, which should be used to judge the claim of the Quran. 

1. Geocentric Theory - Since the time of Ptolemy, the geocentric theory was accepted as a model for the solar system. This view was prevalent for about 1000 years. However, in 1609 when Galileo observed the sky through his telescope, he discovered that it was the heliocentric theory and not the geocentric theory, which was the right model for the solar system. Hence from there on it was established that the heliocentric theory was correct.  The consistency of the geocentric theory couldn’t be established by observation and hence it had to be discarded.

The Case of the Quran

Similarly if scientific evidence disproves any claim of the Quran then it will be discarded; the Quran claims scientific affirmation, that is, it does not contradict new discoveries made in the field of science. There is no other book or person who has claimed so and even those who have done so, have been later proved wrong.

2. Karl Marx Prediction that the Red Revolution would begin from Paris - Let us take another example, that of Karl Marx. He said, alluding to the communist revolution that the dawn of the Red Revolution would be in Paris. However, history is a witness that this did not happen. So Marx’s prediction was disproved.

Examples from the Quran

Let us now take a parallel example from the Quran. At the time of Prophet Muhammad, Romans and Iranians had a fierce battle in which the latter defeated the former. At this point, Quran revealed that the Romans shall rise again:

“The Romans have been defeated in a nearby land. They will reverse their defeat with a victory within a few years:” (30:1-4)

Quoting this, Gibbon writes, that during the time, when Muhammad said so ‘boastfully’, it was quite unthinkable that Romans could win. But in about four years’ time, this prediction of the Quran came true. This was the historic affirmation of Quran being the Book of God. The Quran stands this test as it has come from God who knows the present and the future.

3. The Claimed Shroud of Jesus - Let us take another example to understand this better. In the city of Turin in Italy, there is a big cathedral. A cloth kept here was said to bear an image of a man on it. The people of the Church believed it to be the image of Jesus. Legend had it that after the crucifixion of Christ, his body was covered with a piece of cloth. Due to chemical reactions with the dead body, the cloth developed an image of Christ over it. This piece of cloth therefore, came to be regarded as the historical proof of the crucifixion of Jesus. But in the 19th century when some researchers applied carbon-14 dating technology on the cloth, it revealed startling facts. It was discovered that the cloth, which the Church claimed as a Jesus’ funeral cloth, turned out to be only 250 years old rather than being 2,500 years old. Therefore the claim that the cloth was of the time of Jesus was disproved by scientific technology.

Now consider a parallel example of the Quran

According to the Quran, when the Pharaoh, the contemporary king of Moses’ was drowning in the river Nile, God said,

“So We shall save your body this day, so that you may serve as a sign for those who come after you.” (10:92)

This incident occurred at the time of Prophet Moses. Neither at that time nor even in the Arabia of 7th century, was anyone aware about such a preservation of the body of a Pharaoh. It was only during the 19th century when some Orientalists set out to study the pyramids of Cairo in Egypt that they discovered many mummified bodies. It was found out that the Egyptians preserved bodies of their Kings by way of mummification. One of the bodies, through dating, turned out to be of the contemporary of Moses. This is yet another example of how the claim of the Quran has been affirmed by scientific developments.


There are many other examples from the Quran that affirm its verses with respect to science. Let us take a look at some of them.

1. Women in Quran

Earlier, people were of the view that the position of women in Islam is on of degradation. This idea was totally opposite to the concept of gender equality that was prevalent in Europe. A verse in the Quran says that as witnesses in judicial cases, two men are required and if there is only one man, then he along with two women should be considered as witnesses. The verse is as follows:

“Call in two of your men as witnesses. But if two men cannot be found, then call one man and two women out of those you approve as witnesses, so that if one of the two women should forget the other can remind her.” (2:282)

Many people cite this verse of the Quran to claim that Islam degrades women by equating two women to a man in a judicial case.

However, science has now discovered that the biology of a woman is different from that of a man. While a man’s mind is single-focused, a woman’s mind is multi-focused. Hence in a situation, a man is able to perceive things with a greater level of concentration and focus. Whereas, a woman may be in a situation at the physical level but at the same time she might be thinking about other things and hence her concentration will not be acute. Therefore, two women should be present so that if one forgets something then the other reminds her. So the Quranic verse which says that two women as witnesses are required in place of one man as a witness is affirmed by the biological studies today. As far as respect is concerned, both men and women are equal. However, when it comes to being witnesses then there is a difference due to difference in their biology.

Scientific facts led to the affirmation of the Quranic verse.

2. The Embryo inside a mother’s womb

According to a verse in the Quran,

“He creates you stage by stage in your mothers’ wombs in threefold darkness.” (39:6)

During the time of the Prophet or till much later, no one knew about this fact of the embryo being covered in three protective membranes. It was only after the field of surgery developed that researchers could discover this. Upon discovering that the Quran has such a verse, an American doctor was compelled to say that the Quran indeed is the Book of God.

Scientific facts led to the affirmation of the Quranic verse. 

3. The Big Bang Theory

According to a verse in the Quran,

“Do not those who deny the truth see that the heavens and the earth were joined together and that We then split them asunder?” (21:30)

It was only in the first quarter of the twenty-first century that the Big Bang Theory was propounded. It was discovered that billions of years ago, the universe existed in the form of one compact ball. This ball then exploded and as the particles flew apart, it led to the formation of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies.

Scientific facts thus led to the affirmation of the Quranic verses once again.

4. Purified water

The Quran says,

“and We have sent down from the sky blessed water” (50:9)

When the above verse of the Quran was revealed, nobody knew about the meaning of “blessed” water. However, today we know that a universal process of desalination is at work. We are all aware of this property of water that when left stagnant at a place, water gets polluted. In order that water in the oceans gets preserved, it contains 10% salt as a preservative. This however makes the water salty and renders it useless for drinking purposes. In order that man gets palatable water, an entire desalination industry has been put in process. This begins with the evaporation that takes place to separate salt from water. As the sunrays fall upon a water body, water, as it is light, quickly evaporates leaving behind the heavy salt. This leads to pure water vapour rising into the air leading to the formation of clouds. And through the clouds we get fresh water in the form of rain that can be easily consumed.

Again, this instance proves that the discoveries, which would be made later, would only fortify the Quranic ideology.

5. Revolutionary Thoughts

The Quran says,

“So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.

Verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.” (94: 5-6)

According to this verse, with every problem, there is ease. That means every problem must be looked at as if it were a challenge. This is a revolutionary thought in itself as it activates your mind and awakens your conscience. This is so because challenge the paves way for intellectual development.

Another verse in the Quran says,

“Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better and you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.” (41:34)

According to this verse of the Quran, in this world there is no Mr. Enemy, every person is Mr. Nature and we must discover this nature of the other person and address it. When we do that, we shall see that the other person has become our dearest friend.

History has upheld these teachings of Quran. We have the example of Tataaris becoming friends of Muslims.


According to a verse in the Quran,

“We shall show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth.” (41:53)

This verse of the Quran is indicating to the scientific affirmation of the Quranic verses. It is referring to this period of history in which scientific facts will be discovered which will one by one affirm the verses of the Quran. As a result, the Quran will become infallible.

I am reminded here of how some extremist elements began claiming that Quran is a book of science. This is completely absurd. Quran is not a book of science; it is a book of dawah. It aims to make man aware about the Creation Plan of God. But since the Quran provides logic and reasoning for everything, therefore it makes several casual references about various natural phenomena.

We must strive to increase our study for dawah work and also to strengthen our knowledge. If we do not give scientific arguments then people will not get addressed. 

A verse to this effect in the Quran is as follows,

“and speak to them in such terms as will address their minds.” (4:63)

We have to know the framework and address our madu accordingly. On increasing our study we will be able to increase our imaan as it would convince us of our belief, on the one hand, and also enable us to do effective dawah work.

The Quran says,

“It was He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers, to add faith to their faith.” (48:4)

The religious scholars, ulema have often debated this topic of growth in faith. In my view, I think faith certainly increases but there is nothing mysterious about it. It is entirely scientific and happens through intellectual awakening. New discoveries make room for enhanced conviction and prove that the Quran indeed is indeed the Book of God.

May God make our faith grow!

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