z Had We sent down unto thee a Book inscribed on parchment, such that they could touch it with their hands, those who do not believe would have said, “This is naught but manifest sorcery.”
7 Although all the prophets are said to have brought evidentiary miracles to support their missions, the Quran often suggests that such miraculous signs have little effect on entrenched disbelievers and that their requests for “signs” of various types are made disingenuously, serving only as excuses for not accepting God’s message. For examples of such requests, see 2:118; 10:20; 13:7; 20:133; 25:21; 29:50. The present verse may be a response to those who expected the Prophet to bring a complete scripture, in writing, as did Moses. See 25:32, where the disbelievers ask why the Quran has not been sent down as a single whole, and 28:48, where they ask why the Prophet was not given the like of that which was given to Moses. Given the Makkan context, this verse may be a response to those disbelievers in Makkah who said to the Prophet, And we shall not believe in your ascension till you bring down unto us a book we can read (17:93; Q). In the Quran such displays of the prophets’ evidentiary miracles often result in accusations of “sorcery” by those who deny their prophethood (see, e.g., 10:2; 21:3; 20:57; 28:36; 37:15; 5:110c).