So now, doesn’t what you have witnessed up to here recite to you the verse with its taunting command: “...then produce a Sura like thereunto ... But if you cannot, and of a surety you cannot...”?
Now consider this: the verse “And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed” indicates that because some people are heedless of what the Lawgiver (al-Shāri‘) intends in guiding the mass of people and are ignorant of the necessity of offering guidance commensurate with their mental capacity, they fall into doubt, the source of which is three matters:
The First: They say: “The existence of allegorical verses and obscurities in the Qur’an is contrary to it miraculousness, which is based on eloquence (al-balāgha), and eloquence is based on clarity of expression.
The Second: They say: “The Qur’an is vague and general concerning the truths of creation and the physical sciences (funūn al-kā’ināt), but this is contrary to its way and method (maslak), which is to teach and guide.
The Third: They say: “Some of the Qur’an’s literal meanings tend to be contrary to rational proof so may be opposed to reality, and this is contrary to its veraciousness.
The Answer: Success is from Allah alone. O you doubters, listen to this! What you suppose to be causes of defect, in reality are truthful witnesses to the mystery of the Qur’an’s miraculousness.
Answer to the first doubt, which is the existence of allegories and obscurities:
The Qur’an’s guidance is for all people, and most of them are common people. In [matters] of guidance, the minority follows the majority, for when the common people are addressed, the educated classes can benefit from it and receive their share. But if the reverse is true, the common people are deprived [of their share]. The mass of people cannot free their minds from what they are accustomed to and imaginary things, and are therefore unable to apprehend sheer truths and abstract ideas except through the telescope of their imaginations and by depicting things familiar to them. However, [when doing this] they should not fix their attention on the apparent forms [of those things] lest it necessitates something impossible like their embodiment or having ‘sides;’ they should look beyond [the form] to the truths [behind them].
For example, the masses can conceive of the reality of divine disposal over the universe in the form of a king seated on the throne of his power holding sway over his dominions. It is for this reason that [the Qur’an] chooses [to use] a metonymy in the verse: “the Most Gracious, established