The positioning of the verse’s phrases:
The sentence “And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed, step by step, to Our servant” has fallen into place most aptly, for when the Qur’an commands worship, it is as though it is asked: “How can we know that it’s Allah’s command, that we have to comply with it?” And it replies: “If you doubt it, try [to produce something similar] yourself; then you’ll be certain that it’s Allah’s command.”
Another aspect of the verse’s positioning is this: the Qur’an, having praised itself with the sentence “That is the Book concerning which is no doubt, guidance sure for those who fear Allah,”(2:2) and followed this with praise of the believers, and having gone on from this to censure the disbelievers and dissemblers and then proceeded to command worship and the affirmation of divine unity, it now returns to the beginning and directs attention to “concerning which is no doubt.” That is, no doubts can be levelled at the Qur’an; if you have doubts, they arise from your diseased hearts and sickly characters.
One denied the sunlight due to disease of the eyes;
And felt disgust at the taste of water due to sickness.
The positioning of the phrase: “then produce a Sura like thereunto:” this is the apodosis [of the protasis (condition) “if you are in doubt”], and the apodosis has to be the consequence of the conditional verb. And since the command [“then produce a Sura...”] is provocative (ta‘jīzī), it necessitates the implied command “make the attempt to! (tashabbathū).” And since the command expresses something new (inshā’), and this cannot be a consequence, the consequence of the command has to be something other than the apodosis. And this is the necessity that is one of the basic meanings of the command. Now, the necessity of attempting also does not appear to be the consequence of their doubting, so this requires implied sentences concealed beneath the verse. The implied sentences are these: “If you doubt that this is Allah’s word, you should study its miraculous nature, for something miraculous cannot be human and Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) is human. If you want its miraculousness to be evident, try yourself [to produce something similar] and that you’re incapable will become clear. That means you are obliged to attempt to produce a sura similar to it.”
How excellent is Allah’s Revelation! How concise! How miraculous!
Now for the positioning of “and call your witnesses [and helpers if