On it there are Nineteen (Qur’an 74:30

Ibn Kammuna (Original article at: http://www.faithfreedom.org/articles/quran-koran/on-
it-there-are-nineteen-qur-an-74-30/ )

In this article, I discuss verse 74:30 in the Qur’an. The flow of the article will be as follows: I
will ask the reader to read with me verse 74:30 in the Qur’an. We will try to decipher the
meaning of that verse from the context. Trust me, this verse is clear when read in context. After
that, I will discuss some website that made a big deal out of this verse. I will introduce some of
what this site says, then provide some critical analysis on the claims presented there.

Reading verse 74:30 (from Yusuf Ali translation)
074.024 Then said he: “This is nothing but magic, derived from of old;
074.025 “This is nothing but the word of a mortal!”
074.026 Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire!
074.027 And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is?
074.028 Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone!-
074.029 Darkening and changing the colour of man!
074.030 Over it are Nineteen.
074.031 And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their
number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at
certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People
of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers
may say, “What symbol doth Allah intend by this?” Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He
pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and
this is no other than a warning to mankind.
074.032 Nay, verily: By the Moon,
074.033 And by the Night as it retreateth,
074.034 And by the Dawn as it shineth forth,-
074.035 This is but one of the mighty (portents),
074.036 A warning to mankind,-
074.037 To any of you that chooses to press forward, or to follow behind;-
074.038 Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.
Now that you read the verse, may I ask what do you think it is talking about? When I read such
verses, I may not understand every aspect of them, but it seems very clear that verse 74:30 above
talks about something in hell. This is a very evident fact (note verses 26 and 27 as a prelude to
what Allah is talking about). Major Tafsirs agree with our reading. Below is what Jalalyn and Ibn
abbas say about this verse:

{ َ ¸َ .َ c َ¤َ aْ .ِ . lَ ¡ْ ,َ Iَ c }
There are nineteen [keepers] standing over it, angels, its keepers; a certain disbeliever, who was a
mighty stalwart, said, ‘I will avail you seventeen of them, if you avail me [just] two’. God,
exalted be He, says:

Ibn Abbas:

{ َ ¸َ .َ c َ¤َ aْ .ِ . lَ ¡ْ ,َ Iَ c }
(Above it) above the Fire (are nineteen) angels; they are the keepers of the Fire.

Human creativity is amazing. Below, I provide the reader with two links to a website that made
amazing “discoveries” about verse 74:30. There are people out there who made the number 19 in
the above verse the basis of the claim that the Qur’an is miraculous. I will introduce those links
below followed by some analysis of their claimed “Miracles”. This article was first motivated by
a comment by “The Truth”, an FFI reader, on FFI’s web site. Here is his/her comment:
To Nameless
—-You stated ["Islam claims to be the true religion of God, the burden of proof is on you
++ Islam has already proved itself to be a true religion through the Miracle of the Koran. An
example of a valid proof and solid evidence that can be examined in regard to the “Miracles of
the Quran” and that it is a true religion of God can be found in the links below:
01. http://miraclesofthequran.com/mathematical_02.html
02. http://miraclesofthequran.com/mathematical_03.html
What interests me is how Muslims think. In a previous article, I stated that, by definition, a
miracle has to establish a physical event in the natural world, with at least one violation of one
natural law. Some people believe in miracles. Some people don’t. Some people believe in a
looser definition of miracles. Such people may see an answer to their prayer as a miracle.
However, this does not fit a strict and objective definition to what a miracle is. In this sense,
there is no such thing as mathematical or statistical miracles in the Qur’an. However, the above
reader gave two links. So, I will play her/his game, and see if there is anything unusual (by
definition I can’t with good conscious call such claims miracles or miraculous). The links are
lengthy and detailed when one goes to them. So, I will only copy and paste relevant information.
First Link: here is a table pasted from the first link

When one goes to this site, number 19 is made substantial in their analysis of the above table.
Please note that the order of the letters was made to fit the Muslim scheme. Any Arab will see
that the order of the Arabic letters is wrong. First, Arabic letters start from right to left. Second,
why do we need to follow the Gematrical values of the Arabic letters. Would it not be better to
follow the Arabic order of letters? After all it is an Arabic Qur’an
041.044 Had We sent this as a Qur’an (in the language) other than Arabic, they would have said:
“Why are not its verses explained in detail? What! (a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger an
Arab?” Say: “It is a Guide and a Healing to those who believe; and for those who believe not,
there is a deafness in their ears, and it is blindness in their (eyes): They are (as it were) being
called from a place far distant!”
It is evident that, if anything, the Arabic order of letters, and nothing else, should be followed.
this was not done in the above table. A correct way of giving order values to the Arabic letters is
to order them, from right to left (not like the above table) starting with “Alef”(a) as number 1,
“Ba” (b) as number 2, “Ta”(t) as number 3, “Tha” (th) as number 4, and so on. This order was
not followed. In fact, Gematrical values are not purely Arabic. In addition, in the Qur’an we use
language to convey meaning. Why do we need to insert mathematics into this? and did Allah not
know that most people are not very good in doing complicated mathematics? In any case, let me
do some analysis of the above table. Please note that the above table has no “Hamza” in it (I
provide an example of “Hamza” in the second table below). This is fine if we view the Hamza as
not representing a letter. But look at the next table from the same site:

Please note the sixth letter above. It is what we call “Hamza” in Arabic. It is used as a letter in
the above table. It was included to make things fit by the “miracle expert” of the site. If one
argues that it is a letter, and should be included, then why did it not show up in the first table I
presented to the readers?
Let me provide one more example of the deception of such Islamic miracles sites. Look at the
following table provided by the same website:

There are many problems with the above analysis. Look under the seventh word. This is the
letter “wow” (like “O” in English). There are similar letters like it that are ignored. There is the
letter “B” which comes in first in words numbered 2
and 15
. However, the critical error in the
above analysis is in the 19
word/block. That word above is actually two words! The first two
letters (L and M, pronounced “Lam”) should be a separate word on its own, just like the 18

word in the above table.
What I am trying to say is that Qur’anic miracle experts, with some “flexibility”, will be able to
make things “fit”. Do you blame them?
You see, the job of a Qur’anic “miracle expert” is to “make things fit”. The first table above,
adopts a sequential order of the Arabic letters that is wrong. It does not conform to pure Arabic
language. But, it is a Qur’an revealed in Arabic after all. Consequently, all following analysis on
that site is flawed. The second table shows how “miracle experts” lie. They can get by with that,
since most readers do not know much about the Arabic language. The third table shows that a
miracle expert needs to be trained well to be “flexible” enough to make things “fit”.
After all we need some imagination in our lives. Don’t we?