THE QUR’AN – The Word of God

IZHAR UL-HAQ – Part 4

by

Rahmatullah Kairanvi [1864]


THE QUR’AN

The Only True Container of the Word of God

“And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah , if you should be truthful.”

Al-Baqarah, Ayat 23

From First Divine Quality of the Quran To the Twelfth Divine Quality of the Quran – Predictions

Conclusion

• The Gradual Nature of the Qur’anic Revelation


Section One

The Miraculous Diction and Style of the Qur’an

There are innumerable aspects of the Qur’anic revelation that explicitly or implicitly bring out the miraculous character of the Qur’an. I will confine myself to the description of only twelve such aspects out of many.[2] I will not speak of qualities like its full consciousness of every aspect of a subject when speaking on a particular theme and the moderation and considerateness of its speech. Whether the passage concerned is one of hope or of threat, of reward or of punishment, its speech is always balanced and never over-emotive. This quality is not found in human speech as human expression is always affected by the state of mind of the speaker. When he is unhappy, he shows it in his speech, not showing concern for others who might deserve praise or kindness. Talking of one thing, he does not think and speak of its opposite. For instance when describing the creation, he does not speak of the Hereafter. When he is angry, he often shows it without measuring the amount of anger that is appropriate.[3]

First Divine Quality: The Eloquence of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an maintains throughout the highest possible standard of rhetoric in its speech, to the extent that it is literally impossible to find its parallel in human works. The rules of rhetoric demand that the words chosen for expression should be so exact in conveying the message that they should not express too much or too little for the occasion. The more a description embodies this quality, and the more appropriate the words are to the situation, the more eloquent it is said to be. The Holy Qur’an fulfills all the requirements of rhetoric to the highest standard. We give some examples to prove our claim.

First Argument

Human eloquence,[4] whether from Arabs or non-Arabs, usually concerns the physical phenomena that are closely associated with those people. For instance, the Arabs are considered to be great orators and eloquent in the description of camels, horses, swords and women. Poets, linguists and other writers acquire dexterity and proficiency in some particular field simply because poets and writers of all times have been writing and adding subtleties to the subject, providing food for thought for subsequent writers to open new avenues in it.

However, the Holy Qur’an does not fit this pattern, owing nothing to precedent and being replete with astonishing and unparalleled examples of eloquence that were unanimously acknowledged by all the Arabs.

Second Argument

It is our usual experience that when poets and writers of literature try to adorn their language with eloquent expressions they do not remain truthful. Any one trying to be absolutely true in conveying his message can do so only at the cost of eloquence. It is therefore said that untruth is a main element of a good poetry. The famous poets Labid ibn Rabi’ah and Hassan ibn Thabit could not maintain the high standard of their poetry after embracing Islam. Their pre-Islamic poetry is more forceful and elegant than their post-Islamic compositions. The Holy Qur’an presents miraculous examples of eloquence in spite of being absolutely true in all it says.

Third Argument

Good poetry is considered elegant and beautiful because some of its verses are of a high standard of eloquence. Each and every verse of that poetry is rarely all of the same standard. The Holy Qur’an, however, from beginning to end, is such an example of unabated beauty, elegance and eloquence that human beings of all times have been unable to produce even a small piece of equal standard. Take for example the Surah Yusuf,[5] every word of which is a perfect specimen of beauty and eloquence.

Fourth Argument

Any writer or poet, when he relates the same event more than once, does not manage in the repeated account to be as elegant and beautiful as he was the first time. The Holy Qur’an repeats versions of the same event, and of descriptions of the creation and the end of the world, and of the injunctions and the attributes of God. Each description is different in style and in size, but every one is of so high a standard that one cannot be preferred to another.

Fifth Argument

The Qur’an talks of many things like obligatory rituals, legal pro- hibitions, instigation to virtue, repudiation of worldly desires, and preparation for the Hereafter and other similar themes. The description of these things does not lend itself to elegance and beauty and any poet trying to compose poetry on practical injunctions of this kind would be hard put to produce a passage of literary merit. The Holy Qur’an deals with all these subjects with a high standard of eloquence.

Sixth Argument

The eloquence of every poet is confined to a particular subject and when the same poet speaks on other subjects his beauty of expression and his proficiency is distinctly circumscribed. Imru’l-Qais, the famous Arab poet, is known for his description of wine, women and horses. No other poet is as eloquent on this subject. Nabigha is known for his description of fear and awful events, Zuhayr for hope and so on.[6]

The Holy Qur’an, on the other hand, talks on all kinds of subjects with great force of eloquence, beauty and elegance, and is found to be miraculously eloquent in each description.

Seventh Argument

Diversion from one subject to another which in turn has many branches usually makes it impossible for an author to maintain flow and continuity with the same grandeur and majesty and his language usually loses its height of eloquence. The Holy Qur’an is full of such diversions, frequently jumping from one event to another, but miraculously it maintains the same flow and continuity with all the other subjects under discussion.

Eighth Argument

Another distinct feature of the Qur’anic diction is that it encloses a vast range of meaning in a surprisingly small number of words without losing its charm and majesty in the least. Surah Sad’s opening verses are a good example of this. The Holy Qur’an here describes a large number of subjects in very few verses, including a description of the unbelievers  of Makka, their rejection of the Holy Prophet, admonitions to them with reference to historical events of previous people, their distrust and astonishment at the revelation of the Qur’an, a description of their envious nature, threats and instigations, the teaching of patience and a description of events related to the Prophets David, Solomon, Job, Abraham and Jacob. All these diverse subjects been dealt with a force and eloquence that is unique to the Qur’an.

Ninth Argument

Majesty and sweetness, elegance and beauty are counteracting qualities that are rarely found together in a single work. These two opposite qualities are seen divinely combined together throughout the Qur’an in a way unknown to human genius. This again is a strong argument for the miraculous eloquence of the Qur’anic diction, which is absolutely absent from human writings.[7]

Tenth Argument

The language of the Qur’an contains all possible kinds of eloquence, metaphor, similes, comparisons, transitions, inversions etc., but at the same time it is free of any hint of verbiage like false exaggeration, hyperbolical statements and all other defects of falsehood and of the use of strange words etc. Human writing does not usually combine all the aspects of eloquence in one work. People have tried in vain to accommodate all these qualities. The Holy Qur’an, however, does so superlatively.

These ten arguments are enough to prove the claim that Qur’anic language and its intonation are so sublime that they cannot be measured by human genius. The more one is acquainted with the Arabic language, the more he will find the words of the Qur’an burning into his heart, and its thought breathing into his soul.[8]

The Second Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The second quality of the Qur’an that makes it a living miracle is its unique structure and internal arrangement, and, above all, the sub- limity of its thought and contents. The accumulation of all the linguistic perfections in the Holy Qur’an has been a permanent source of astonishment to the great writers, philosophers and the linguists of the world. This acknowledged supremity of the Qur’an saves it from any accusation of being no more than a collection of thoughts and ideas  borrowed from others and serves the purpose of making it so prominent and so distinct from ordinary human writings that the Qur’an by itself is enough argument to prove its divine provenance and its being a living miracle of the Holy Prophet.

The Arabs were arrogant regarding their command over the Arabic language and harboured initially great enmity against the Prophet and his teachings. The perfection of the Qur’anic eloquence did not allow them to find any imperfection in it. On the contrary, they were forced to admit  that the language of Qur’an was comparable neither with the poetry of the poets nor the oratory of the orators. They were astonished at its matchless eloquence. Sometimes they declared it to be magic and sometimes they said that it was something that had been taken from a previous people. They often tried to stop people hearing it by making a noise when the Prophet recited it. They found themselves helpless against the inexpressible attraction of the Qur’anic language.

It is unimaginable that the Arabs who were known to be the masters of the Arabic language would not have met the simple challenge of the Qur’an to produce the like of its smaIlest surah[9], rather than wage war against the Prophet of Islam and lose the best of their heroes in the fighting as well as sacrificing much of their property and possessions, if they had been able to do so. They heard this Qur’anic challenge many times through the prophet. He cried aloud in their face:

Bring then a surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) any one you can, beside God, if it be ye speak the truth. [10]

The Qur’an repeats this challenge in another surah in these words:

And if ye are in doubt, as to what we have revealed to our servant, then produce a surah, like there unto; and call your witnesses and helpers (to your aid) besides God, if you are true. But if ye cannot, and of surety ye cannot, then fear the fire, whose fuel is men and stones. [11]

Again this challenge was thrown at them with full force:

Say, if the whole of mankind and jinn were together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they would not be able to produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other.[12]

The fact that they preferred to fight wars against him and sacrifice their lives is enough to prove that they acknowledged the miraculous   eloquence of the Qur’an and it found impossible to produce any passage comparable to the Qur’an.

There is a report that Walid ibn Mughirah, the nephew of Abu Jahl, burst into tears when he heard the Qur’an recited. Abu Jahl came to him and admonished him. He replied:

I swear by God, none of you is as conversant and acquainted with poetry as I am and I declare that the words of Muhammad have nothing to do with poetry. [13]

History has recorded that once at the time of Hajj the same Walid gathered together the dignitaries of the tribe of Quraysh of Makka and suggested that they should agree on what to say to the pilgrims if they enquired about Muhammad. Some of them said, We could say that he is a soothsayer.” Walid said, By God, he is not, as is evident from his speech.” Others suggested that he should be called insane. Walid swore by God that he had no trace of insanity. They suggested that he should be called a poet. Walid again rejected the suggestion saying that they were all fully conversant with poetic speech and he would never be accepted as a poet. The Quraysh then said, We shall tell them that he is a sorcerer.Walid said that they knew that he could not be a sorcerer because his speech was far from sorcery and that the only thing that could be said about him was that the magic of his speech had separated sons from their fathers, brothers from brothers and wives from their husbands. After this meeting they posted themselves on the roads of Makka and prevented the pilgrims from listening to the Holy Prophet.

It is also reported that ’Utbah[14] came to the Holy Prophet and discussed with him the opposition of the Quraysh with regard to theHolyQur’an. The Holy Prophet recited the opening verses of Surah 41. He had recited only thirteen verses when ’Utbah, overcome, requested the Prophet not to recite any more of it and hid his face with his two hands.

Another report has said that as the Holy Prophet recited the Qur’anic verses to ’Utbah, he felt so restless that could not sit straight and leant back on his hands until the Holy Prophet recited a verse of prostration and prostrated before Allah. ’Utbah returned to his house in a state of emotional excitement, hid himself from the people until some Quraysh went to him. ’Utbah said to them, ”By God! Muhammad recited verses the like of which I never heard in my life. I was completely lost and could not answer him anything.”

According to a report, the Companion of the Prophct, Abu Dharr, said that he had not seen a poet greater than his brother Anis who had defeated twelve poets in a contest in pre-Islamic days. Once, when he returned from Makka, they asked him the opinion of the Makkans concerning the Holy Prophet. He said that they accused him of being a poet, a soothsayer, and a sorcerer. Then he said that he was fully conversant with the speech of soothsayers and sorcerers and found the words of the Prophet in no way comparable to them. He was neither a poet nor a sorcerer and soothsayer for all of them were liars whereas his words were the truth.

We find in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that Jabir ibn Mut’im[15] reported that he heard the Holy Prophet reciting Surah al- Tur in his prayer of Maghrib (just after sunset). When he recited this verse:

Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the Creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth, Nay, they have no belief. Or are the treasures of thy Lord with them, Or are they the managers (of affairs)?

Jabir said that he found his heart craving for Islam.

The Third Divine Quality of the Qur’an: the Predictions

The Holy Qur’an gives many predictions related to future events.

All the Qur’anic predictions turned out  to be absolutely true. We give  a few specific examples of such predictions.

First Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram), if Allah wills, secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. [16]

This passage from Sura Al-Fath (the Victory), from which this passage is quoted, was revealed before the treaty of Hudaibiyah in the sixth year of Hijrah. In it the Muslims are promised by Allah that they will soon enter the Sacred Mosque of Makka victoriously. Under the prevailing circumstances this was unimaginable. The Muslims captured Makka in the 8th year of Hijrah and entered the Sacred Mosque together with the Holy Prophet exactly as was predicted by the Qur’an, some having shaved their heads and some having cut short their hair.

Second Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Allah has promised to those among you who believe, and do good deeds, that He will surely grant them in the land inheritance of power as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion which He has chosen for them. And that He will change (their state) after fear to one of security and peace. They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. [17]

This Qur’anic verse promises that the Muslims will be made the true viceregents of God and that Allah will grant them and their faith strength and power. The state of fear in which they were would be changed to peace and security. This Qur’anic prediction foretelling Muslim domination did not take long to prove its accuracy.

Let us see how, in surprisingly a short period, this Qur’anic pre- diction and divine promise was fulfilled.

The whole of Arabian peninsula was brought under the Holy Prophet’s domination in his own life and some of the people of Hijr and some rulers of Syria agreed to pay jizyah (a minority tax) to the Holy Prophet.

In the time of the first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr, the boundaries of Islamic domination were greatly widened. The Muslims captured some cities of Persia, and some of the cities of Syria such as Bosra and Damascus.

Then came the second Caliph, ’Umar, who changed history by his faith in the truth of Islam, defeating the world powers of that time. He conquered the whole of the ancient Persian empire and a large part of the Eastern Roman Empire.

In the time of the third Caliph, ’Uthman, the Islamic domination was further expanded. Islamic forces conquered Spain in the West, and part of China in the East. It took only 20 years for the Muslims to have complete control of all these countries which constituted the majority of the known world, thus abundantly fulfilling the Qur’anic prediction. Islam dominated over all other religions of the world and was the major world power of that time.

Third Prediction

The Holy Qur’an declares:

It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance, and the religion of truth, to make it triumphant over all religions.[18]

We have discussed under the second prediction that Islam, the religion of truth, triumphed over the other religions of the world and the perfection of this domination of Islam over the world will be witnessed by the world in the future.[19]

Fourth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore fealty to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts. So He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with a victory (very) near. And many gains (spoils) that they would take. And mighty is Allah and Wise.

Allah has promised you rich booty which you will take.

And He has given you these beforehand, and He has restrained the hands of men from you, so that it may be a sign for the believers and that He may guide you to a straight path. And other gains which are not in your power. And Allah has encompassed: and Allah has power over all things.[20]

The victory promised in this verse is the conquest of Khaybar and the ’many gains’ promised are the spoils and booty of Khaybar and Hijr; similarly the promise of ”other gains” are the booties and spoils to be taken from the conquest of Persia and Rome. All the promises and predictions made in this verse came true exactly as they were foretold.

Fifth Prediction

The Qur’an says:

And other blessings which you desire: help from Allah, and a near victory.[21]

The promise of near victory contained in this verse is, according to some, the conquest of Makka and, according to others, the conquest of Persia and Rome. The prediction, however, is true whatever  the case since Makka, Persia and Rome were all conquered.

Sixth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

When comes the help of Allah and viictory, and you see people enter Allah’s religion in multitudes.[22]

In this verse the promised victory is the victory of Makka. Correct reports place its revelation prior to the conquest of Makka. Besides ’idha’ (when) in Arabic is used for future tense and not for the past tense. Groups of people from Ta’if and Makka came in multitudes to embrace Islam as was predicted by the Holy Qur’an.

Seventh Prediction:

We find in the Holy Qur’an:

Say to those who deny faith, soon you will be vanquished.[23]

This came about exactly as warned by the Holy Qur’an. The unbelievers were all dominated.

Eighth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

(Remember) When Allah promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours, you wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah wanted to establish the truth by his word, and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers. [24]

This is a reference to the battle of Badr and the two parties referred to in this verse are the trade caravan that was returning from Syria and the other that had come from Makka, and the unarmed party was the trade caravan back from Syria. This also happened exactly as was predicted.

Ninth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says to the Prophet:

We are enough to sustain you against those who mock. [25]

When the above verse was revealed to the Prophet, he told his Companions that Allah would protect them against the ill intentions of the idolaters of Makka who were always persecuting him and his Companions. Allah fulfilled this promise.

Tenth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an declares:

The Roman Empire has been defeated, in a land close by; but they, (even) after this defeat, will gain victory in a few years. Allah’s is the command, in the past and in the future. On that day shall the believers rejoice, with the help of Allah,.He helps whom He wills. And He is Mighty and the most merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Allah never departs from His promise: but most men understand not. They crave for the outer (things in the) life of this world, but of the Hereafter they are heedless. [26]

This surah was revealed in Makka when Persia defeated the Romans. The Persians were Magians by faith while the the Romans were Christians. The idolaters of Makka were pleased with this news and argued with the Muslims that they and the Christians claimed to be the People of the Book while the Magians and Makkans were without the Book. As the Christians of the Roman Empire were defeated by the Persians, the Muslims would, likewise, be defeated by the Makkans. The Holy Qur’an, itself, refuted’ their assumption in the above verse and predicted the victory of the Romans.

Abu Bakr Siddiq, the devoted friend and companion of the Holy Prophet, told the Makkan idolaters that the Romans would gain victory over the Persians in a few years. Ubayy Ibn Khalaf accused him of making a false claim. It was decided that a specific period be fixed for the confirmation of this prediction. Both of them offered ten camels to be given to the winner and a period of three years was fixed. Abu Bakr told the Holy Prophet of this and the Holy Prophet said that the prediction contained the word bid’a (a few) which signifies a period from three years to nine years, and suggested that he should increase the number of years by adding to the number of camels. Abu Bakr went to Ubayy and it was decided that a hundred camels would be given by each of them and the period of nine years was fixed.

Ubayy died when he was returning from the  battle of Uhud in 3 AH. Exactly seven years after this event the Byzantines gained a great victory over Persia, as was predicted by the Holy Qur’an. Abu Bakr, having won his wager, received hundred camels from Ubayy’s heirs. The Holy Prophet said that the camels received by him should be given away in charity.

These are just a few of many such predictions in the Holy Qur’an all of which have been fulfilled precisely as foretold

The Fourth Divine Quality of the Qur’an: Knowledge of Past Events

The fourth miraculous quality of the Qur’an lies in its description of past events. The Holy Prophet was unlettered and did not know how to read or write. He had no teachers nor did he ever keep company with scholars. On the contrary, he was brought up among illiterate idol worshippers, devoid of any knowledge of the scriptures. The Holy Prophet remained among these people throughout his life, except for two trading journeys to Syria which were too short to admit any possibility of his having acquired knowledge from anyone there.

There are many past events that the Holy Qur’an describes differently from other sources. This difference is deliberate and intentional, as can be seen in the Qur’anic reference to the crucifixion. The Holy Qur’an avoids details that were to be proved untrue in the accounts of previous books, such as the Pentateuch and the Gospels. Our claim is supported by the following Qur’anic verse:

Verily this Qur’an does explain to the Children of Israel most of the things about which they disagree.

The Fifth Divine Quality of the Qur’an

One of the miraculous qualities of the Qur’an is that it unveiled and disclosed all the ill intentions of the hypocrites of Madina. They used to conspire against Islam and the Muslims in their secret meetings. All their decisions and secret plans were made known to the Holy Prophet through divine revelation. He used to inform the Muslims of the intentions of the hypocrites. All such expositions of the Holy Prophet were found to be true.

Similarly the Holy Qur’an exposed the ill intentions of the con- temporary Jews.

The Sixth Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an contains branches of knowledge that were not in vogue in Arabia at its time of revelation and with which the Prophet himself was totally unacquainted. These include inductive and deductive logic with regard to religious doctrines, exhortation, matters relating to the Hereafter and other things. In fact there are two kinds of sciences, the religious sciences and the other sciences. The religious sciences are obviously higher in value than the other sciences. They include the knowledge of metaphysical realities like knowledge about the Creator of the universe and His attributes, knowledge of His Prophets, angels and knowledge of the Hereafter. The branch of knowledge covering all these aspects of religion is called ilmu’l- ‘aqa’id (the science of beliefs). Then comes the knowledge of the practical injunctions, that is, the law. This science is known as fiqh (jurisprudence). The science of fiqh in Islam is a great science. All the jurisprudents of Islam have derived their law from the Qur’an. Then comes the science related to the purification of the inner self which is called tasawwuf.

The Holy Qur’an gives simple and practical guidance on all the above branches of knowledge, and this is unique to the Qur’an as compared with other revelations of past peoples. This demonstrates that the Qur’an is a collection of all the sciences. In addition it is a collection of rational arguments, and refutes all heretical ideas with reason and logic.

The Holy Qur’an provides humanity with perfect guidance in the fields of morality, ethics, religion, politics, culture, and economics.

The Seventh Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an, in spite of being a copious and voluminous book, is absolutely free of any contradiction, inconsistency or incompatibility which would not possible for any human work of this size. No other book in the world can claim to be so free from all defects as the Qur’an. This distinct feature of the Qur’an is in itself an argument of its being divine. The Qur’an itself invites people towards this incomparable feature in these words:

Will they not ponder on the Qur’an? Had it been from other than God they could have surely found in it many contradictions.[27]

There is no doubt that a text like the Qur’an having all these divine features cannot but be from Allah, the All-Knowing, who has knowledge of the unknown future as well as the past and present.

The Eighth Divine Quality: the Eternality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an rightly claims to be the only divine revelation that is everlasting, preserving its originality and genuineness beyond all reasonable doubts. This living miracle of the Holy Prophet is unique in that it continued beyond his death unlike the miracles of the previous Prophets that lasted only as long as they lived. The texts of other Prophets and their signs all disappeared with them and no trace of them can now be found in the world. The Holy Qur’an made a simple challenge to humanity to produce the like of it or any of its parts. Centuries have passed and it remains as incomparable today as it was on the day it was revealed and will remain so up to the Day of Judgement.

According to this Qur’anic challenge, every individual surah of the Holy Qur’an, indeed any part equal to its smallest surah, is in itself a separate miracle making the Qur’an a collection of nearly two thousand separate miracles.

The Ninth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Those who have recited the Holy Qur’an in Arabic are fully acquainted with its strange quality of involving the reciter and with the entrancing influence of its melody. The more you recite it the more you are charmed by it. This strange phenomenon is experienced by all who recite the Qur’an regularly

The Tenth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is that it combines in itself the claim and its arguments both at the same time. That is to say, its   divine eloquence provides the proof of its divinity while its meanings convey the divine message of obligations and prohibitions. This applies to all its contents. It presents arguments for what is being said at the same time as it says it.

The Eleventh Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another distinct divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is its capability of being memorised, even by those who do not know the Arabic language. The Qur’an refers to this feature in this verse:

We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. [28]

This divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is frequently demonstrated throughout the world by those young boys who have memorised the whole of it. They can recite the whole of the Qur’an by heart. Millions of such hafiz’s (preservers of the Qur’an) are always present in the world and they can recite the whole of the Qur’anic text with absolute accuracy from memory alone. They memorize not only the text but also its annotations and pronunciation exactly corresponding with the way the Prophet conveyed it.

The few people in the Christian world who memorize the Bible or even just the Gospels are seldom able to do so with such miraculous accuracy. This feature alone is so obviously an argument for the divine nature of the Qur’an that it cannot be overlooked easily.

The Twelfth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another inherent divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is the awe and fearfulness that enters into the hearts of its listeners. It is even more strange that this sensual experience of awe is equally felt by those who do not understand its meanings. There are many examples recorded by history that people were so moved by listening to the Qur’an when they heard it for the first time that they converted to Islam simply by listening to it. [29]

It has been reported that a Christian passed by a Muslim who was reciting the Holy Qur’an. Listening to the Qur’an, the Christian was so struck and moved that he burst into tears. He was asked why he was he weeping. He said, ”I do not know, but as soon as I heard the word of God I felt greatly frightened and my heart filled with tears.”

Qadi Noorullah Shostri wrote in his commentary on the Holy Qur’an that when the great scholar Ali Al-Qaushji set out for Greece, a Jewish scholar came to him to discuss about the truth of Islam. He had a long debate with him on different aspects of Islam. He did not accept any of the arguments forwarded by Ali Al-Qaushji. This debate lasted for one month with no definite result. One morning when Ali Al-Qaushji was busy reciting the Holy Qur’an on the roof of his house, the Jew came to him. Though Ali Al-Qaushji did not have a good voice, as soon as the Jew listened to the Holy Qur’an, he felt his heart fill with fear and the Qur’anic influence found its way through to his heart. He came to Ali Al-Qaushji and asked him to convert him to Islam. Ali asked him of this sudden change. He said, “In spite of your bad voice the Qur’an captured my heart and I felt sure that it was the word of God.”

The above examples clearly show the miraculous character of the Holy Qur’an.

Conclusions

To conclude this section we must recapitulate that it is part of divine custom that the Prophets are usually given miracles in those fields that are popular among the people of that age. The superhuman demonstrations in that particular field make people believe in the truth of the Prophet and his access to divine power. Sorcery and magic were common in the time of Moses. As soon as Pharaoh’s magicians saw Moses’ staff transforming into a living serpent and devouring their illusory snakes they instantly believed in Moses as being the Prophet of God and straightaway embraced his faith.

Similarly in the time of the Prophet Jesus the science of medicine was a common practice. The people had acquired perfection in it. When the experts of medicine watched Jesus healing the lepers and reviving the dead, they instantly knew through their experience that such things were beyond the access of the science of medicine, and believed that it could be nothing but a miracle of Jesus.

The same holds true with the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He was sent to the Arabs who arrogantly claimed to be the best elocutionists of the world. They invested all their effort to achieve perfection in elocution and used to challenge others in public contests. They had great pride in their linguistic achievements. The famous seven poems [30] were hung in the House of Allah, the Ka’ba, as a constant challenge. They presented a practical challenge to the Arabs in general to produce a piece similar to them by whoever claimed eloquence. As soon as they heard the Qur’an they knew from their experience that it was far beyond the limits of humanly conceivable perfection. They instantly realized that such superhuman eloquence could not exist in a human work.

The Gradual Nature of the Qur’anic Revelation

The Holy Qur’an was not revealed all at once. It came in pieces gradually over a period of almost 23 years. There are many reasons for this gradualness.

(1) Had it been revealed all at once, it might have been difficult for the Holy Prophet to retain the voluminous text of the Qur’an as a whole, particularly given the fact that he was unlettered.

(2) Had the whole of the Qur’anic text come in written form, it might have obviated the interest and necessity of memorising it. The short passages, as they were revealed, were memorised more easily. In addition, it established a valuable tradition among the Muslims of memorising the Qur’anic text verbatim.

(3)     It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the Arabs to follow all the injunctions of the Qur’anic law at once. In this case, gradualness was more practical and wise and facilitated the practical realisation of these injunctions.

One of the Companions of the Holy Prophet reported that it was divine consideration for them that they were obligated by the Qur’an gradually. Otherwise it would have been difficult for them to embrace Islam. He said, “In the beginning, the Holy Prophet invited us to tawhid (pure monotheism) only. After we had accepted and imbibed its tender and sweet essence, then, very gradually and practically we were asked to follow various Qur’anic injunctions until the whole law was completed.

(4) This gradual revelation necessitated the frequent visitation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Holy Prophet which was obviously a source of great strength to him, enabling him to carry on his mission with certitude, and to bear the hardships of prophethood with fortitude.

(5) The small pieces of the Qur’anic revelation, claiming to possess miraculous eloquence, provided opponents with more time to meet the challenge to produce a text equal to the smallest surah of the Qur’an. Their complete lack of success and the inability of the Arabs to accomplish it is again an argument for the divine nature of its eloquence.

(6) The Qur’anic revelation provided guidance to the Muslims according to the changing circumstances, and responded to the objections raised by opponents. This helped increase their understanding and nourished their certitude as they came to realise the truth of the Qur’anic predictions and divinely revealed knowledge of the unknown future.

(7) Being a messenger of Allah is the highest of all honours. The Archangel Gabriel enjoyed this honour by carrying the divine word to the Holy Prophet for a great period which would not have been possible had it been revealed all-at-once.

Repetitions in the Qur’anic Text

The Qur’anic revelation contains repeated descriptions, especially concerning tawhid (the unity of God), the Resurrection and the lives of the earlier Prophets. This repetition is unique to the Qur’anic revelation. These repetitions do certainly show divine wisdom to the readers. The Arabs were generally idolaters, totally ignorant of monotheism and the Day of Judgment, etc. Similarly some of the non-Arab nations like the Indians and Chinese were also idol-worshippers. The people of the revealed religions like the Jews and the Christians had corrupted their original revelations, specially the truth with regard to the principles of faith like the unity of God, the Resurrection and the missions of the earlier Prophets. The Holy Qur’an repeatedly describes these things using a variety of styles to attract attention. The events of the earlier Prophets were described in repeated passages always using a different style, demonstrating divine eloquence in each instance. This has eliminated any possible claim that the presence of superhuman eloquence in its text was incidental. This linguistic perfection is demonstrated repeatedly in variegated styles.

Besides this, the Holy Prophet sometimes felt depressed in the face of the antagonistic activities of his opponents. A short passage of the Qur’an would then be revealed describing an event in the life of a certain Prophet relevant to the situation in which the Holy Prophet found himself. This had a highly consoling effect on him. The Holy Qur’an attests to cause and resolution separately in the following two verses:

We know that you are vexed by what they say.[31]

For the consolation of the Holy Prophet, the Holy Qur’an has:

And all that we relate to you of the accounts of the (earlier) Messengers is (meant) to put courage into your heart, and through this the truth is revealed to you, along with exhortation and admonition for the believers.[32]

The same applies to the believers who were teased and vexed by the unbelievers. The repeated consolation of newly revealed passages gave them heart to bear their sufferings.

 

1 Holy Qur’an 2:23.  

[2] In the beginning of this section we should note that the author has devoted it mostly to demonstrating the astounding and miraculous eloquence of the Qur’an, the majesty and elegance of its style, the incomparable excellence of its language. All these marvels of Qur’anic diction and style can only really be measured and appreciated by those who read it in its original language. It is difficult to translate any book written in any language. Much more so with the Qur’an whose miraculous language simply defies translation. The meaning of the words can be conveyed in part, but their charm, beauty and elegance cannot. The Holy Qur’an rightly claims to be a living miracle of the Holy Prophet. Its miraculous quality resides partly in its style which is so perfect and lofty that, “….neither men nor Jinn could produce a single chapter to compare with its briefest verse,” and partly in its contents and guidance. According to Eduard Montet, “The Coran…. its grandeur of form is so sublime that no translation into any language can allow it to be properly appreciated.” Therefore, if readers fail to appreciate what our author is demonstrating in this section, this is due to the fact that even the best translation cannot transmit the beauty of the lan- guage. I am translating it because forms an integral part of the book. (Raazi) [3] The author is referring to the unparalleled quality of the Qur’anic language which at such         occasions chooses words that are appropriate and exact for its subject and also in its implications for other occasions. (Raazi)  

[4] Rhetoric, Balaghah in Arabic, signifies use of language that is eloquent as well as appropriate for both the people and subject addressed. The use of high-flown and difficult words for the ignorant, and inelegant and simplistic expression for a learned audience is against rhetoric. [5] Surah Yusuf, the twelfth chapter of the Qur’an which describes the life of the Prophet Joseph. (Raazi)  

[6] .Similarly in English literature Wordsworth is known for the description of nature, Keats for human sentiments etc. (Raazi)

[7] . The best example of this is the Surah Takwir of the Qur’an, that is Surah 81, where all the above qualities can be seen side by side in each verse.

[8] It was this miraculous quality of the Qur’an that made many Arab idolaters embrace Islam as soon as they heard its words. [9] Qur’an 10:38.  

[10] Qur’an 10 :38  

[11] Qur’an 2: 23, 24  

[12] . Qur’an 17:88.  

[13]Al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi from Ibn ’Abbas in Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra vol. l. page 113  

[14] ’Utbah ibn Rabi’ah was one of the chiefs of the Quraysh, and was held as great authority on Arabic literature.  

[15]. Jabir ibn Mut’im, a famous Companion of the Prophet (peace be on him). (Raazi)  

[16] Qur’an 48:28  

[17] . Qur’an 24:55.  

[ 18] Qur’an 9:32.  

[19] That is after the descent of the Prophet Jesus in the last age  

[20] Qur’an 48:18-21.  

[21] Qur’an 61:13  

[22] Qur’an 110:1-  

[23] Qur’an 3:12.  

[24] . Qur’an 8:7.  

[25]Qur’an 15:95.  

[26] Qur’an 30:1-7. It refers to the remarkable defeat of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius. It was not merely an isolated defea. The Eastern Roman Empire lost most of her Asiatic territory. The defeat “in a land close by” must refer to Syria and Palestine. Jerusalem was captured shortly before this surah was revealed in 614-615 AD. [27] Qur`an 4: 82.  

[28] Qu’ran 55:22.  

[29] 1. The second caliph ’Umar came out of his home with a sword in his hand, say- ing, “I will kill Muhammad today.” On his way, being informed that his sister had accepted Islam, he became mad with anger and went to her home where a Muslim companion was reciting the Qur’an to her. ’Umar listened to it, was so moved by it that his eyes filled with tears. He went to the Prophet and accepted Islam. (Raazi) [30] . The book containing these phenomenal literary poems is entitled Al- Mu’allaqat al-Sab’ah, the Seven Hangings. Zozni said that they were hung in the Ka’ba’ as a challenge to the Arabs. They are, in fact, excellent specimens of elo- quence.  

[31]Qur’an 15:97

[32] Qur`an 11:20.
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