One of the claims regarding the Quran is there is a checksum on it.
What is a checksum? Well it’s an integrity check, a way for an author to sign or “seal the envelope” in order to indicate that the message has not been tampered with. A very simple checksum would be for example if I put the total word count at the bottom of this article. When you get to the bottom you can see if the number matches the words in this article and you can confirm its correct. However this wouldn’t be very tamper proof as you could change all of the words and maintain the same number in order to still pass the checksum. A better checksum would be to assign each letter a value (A is 1, B is 2 and so on) and then put the total at the end. This would be better, but it’s still very weak as someone could tamper with it as long as they kept the same number of letter uses the same it would still pass the checksum. Nevertheless the point should be clear.
To claim that the Quran has a type of checksum on it is quite weak. Let’s take a look at one particular claim about the Odd/Even Binary Miracle of the Quran as described here:
Also this one by Shabir Ally:
If Allah was intending to make this a checksum or integrity check, wouldn’t there have been far more clear and better ways to do it?
How impressive is this really?
First of all, why doesn’t the Quran simply have half the verses with odd number of ayat and half with even ayat? This would be impressive, especially if it was every other surah being odd/even.
Why do we have to add the Surah Number to the Number of Ayat to get this result (Lets call this “magic numbers”)? Seems arbitrary doesn’t it. Let’s just say it’s because “Allah” wanted us to make sure the correct Surah Number had the Correct # of Ayat, so you have to add them. Are we hunting for something here, or is this really the intention of the author? Not sure how we were expected to figure out that we need to add these two seemingly arbitrary numbers together, but okay, whatever, let’s grant that.
Second of all, there is no rhyme or reason or pattern to the magic numbers.
The first few: 8, 288, 203, 180, 125, 171…. They are not even in a pattern
If this was really Allah trying to give us a message, what would have been impressive is if the verse counts (or “magic numbers”) were in Fibonacci sequence, or the Golden Ratio, or Prime numbers…
Even in nature we are able to find such beautiful patterns appearing.
But instead we see no such thing just arbitrarily scattered numbers, half of which are odd and half of which are even. Given that each magic number must be odd or even and randomly distributed, you would expect approximately 50% to be odd and 50% to be even anyway. It’s not that surprising.
Do you think the supreme creator of the universe couldn’t come up with a better way to sign his final revelation and protect it from corruption? How about sending multiple identical copies to different Prophets – one to Australia, one to China, and one to the Middle East. Checkmate atheists.
Third of all, there is nothing amazing about 6555 and 6236. They are just the totals we come up with. Which means that we don’t have to keep these totals, as long as if we change the ayah counts, the total remains.
The problem is that this so-called checksum is vulnerable to severe modifications.
1. For any of the 57 totals that are even, you can go ahead and change the number of ayat in there to an arbitrary number. So for example for Surah 1, you can change the number of verses from 7 to 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, etc…
You can do the same for Surah 2, but using even numbers: 286, 288, 300, 302, 306, …
When you do this, you will modify the even total and the “checksum” is still intact.
2. You can shuffle around the surahs. Infact there are billions and billions of possible changes you can make to these numbers and still make it work out.
The conditions are that you need to swap the odd totals with other odd totals. For example, if you swapped the ayah count of Surah 1 (Fatiha) with Surah 6 (Al Anam) both the 6555 and 6236 total will still match.
If we break down the data into four groups, we have: odd surahs with odd number ayat, odd with even, even with odd, and even with even. So looking at the total number of swaps we can perform using a basic permutations calculator in excel
|Type||Surahs||Unique Ayah Counts||Possible orderings|
That last column that says E+ means that is how many zeros are in the number.
So the first one is saying there are 2,160,490,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities
So there are billions and billions and billions and billions of possible combinations that would lead to the exact same 6555 and 6236 totals.
This is not what you call a checksum. It’s just begging the question.
You can play along with the included Excel file and change the numbers to see how this works.
And I have published the source for a computer program that you can run that will shuffle the numbers or play around with my results. I have included a list of 1000 results with different ayah counts which still give the exact same 6555 and 6236 total. If someone runs this a million million times they will get a million million different results that still work.
Quran Odd/Even Data:
|Surah||Number of Verses||Surah+Verses||Odd Total||Even Total|
What do you think?