May 6, 2013, 11:00 AM
Taking these factors into consideration, no truth-loving individual can conceive of an origin other than Divine revelation for the Quran which is not only a book, but also a proof of messengerhood and a manifestation of the miraculousness that supported the Prophet. The Quran thus came to be the profound, brilliant and eternal miracle of God’s Messenger enabling the teachings and laws of Islam to retain their validity through time. The Divine commands and instructions were made manifest in phrases and sentences that were marked by miraculousness, thus implementing God’s will for the preservation of religion when faced with the assaults of rancorous enemies and for the frustration of their conspiracies. Through the permanence and stability of the mould in which God’s Commands are uniquely set, these enemies who would reach out against them in order to change and distort them are permanently prevented from attaining their goal; the eternal teachings and laws of God will last throughout time, immune from change or distortion.
Another aspect of the miraculousness of the Quran which has had great effect is the revolutionary transformation it brought about in human civilization. A matter calling for serious attention in the study of Islam is the fact that it received no assistance from factors external to itself when it began to create the nucleus of a universal society out of a scattered and disunited people that lacked all science and free thought and did not even seek to unify its constituent tribes; and when it began, moreover, to found a uniquely, vast and spiritual civilization. All the factors for changing the world, for putting forward an international law with the slogan of unity among races, peoples and social classes for creating a movement for the liberation of thought and the ennobling knowledge, were derived from the very text of the Quran, from the culture that emerged from the Quran and from the Islamic order.
Islam never relied on a government or a power situated outside the society it had itself brought into being. Even the aggressors who attacked the Islamic lands and triumphed over the Muslims, thanks to their military superiority, lost their dominance in the end when they were confronted with the spiritual power of Islam, and they adopted the religion of the people they had conquered. This history of nations does not record any other example of a victorious aggressor adopting the religion of the people it had defeated.
THE DEMAND OF THE QURAN FOR A DIRECT CONFRONTATION
The Noble Quran was revealed in the Arabic language, one of the richest languages in the world from the point of view of firmness of structure and abundance of vocabulary. It descended like a flash of lightning in the darkness of the Age of Ignorance, and in the manner in which it conveyed various types of subject matter in the most concise of sentences it had nothing in common with the conventional language of the Arabs. At the time that the Quran was revealed, the literary talent and eloquence of the Arabs was at its peak. Works created by poets and orators commanded the attention and admiration of everyone, and literature constituted the only art cultivated by the Arab elite. The Quran, which constituted the documentary proof of the messengerhood of the Prophet of Islam and the raw materials of which its constituent letters and words, was revealed over a period of twenty-three years in accordance with the particular needs that emerged over time. Thus it guided the Prophet and his companions step by step toward their exalted goals.
The words and expressions of the Quran are harmonious and its words are set together pleasingly and with the utmost beauty, and in complete accord with the subtle meanings they express. This unique combination of wording and meaning is a special feature of the Quran and another aspect of its miraculousness. With the revelation of the Quran, the Arabs made the acquaintance of a fresh and new form of speech which was neither prose nor poetry, but the melody of which was more beautiful and attractive than that of poetry and the discourse of which was more eloquent and effective than that of prose. Whoever, heard it was drawn toward it and transformed by it. It was utterly different from all forms of human speech by virtue of the superiority of its concepts, the eloquence of its style and outward form, and its exposition of meanings in the most concise way.
The firm laws and clear logic of the Quran showed human beings the way to correct religion and living, and inspired them with the determination to create an epic unparalleled in history. The Quran destroyed utterly the superstitions that the oppressors and their helpers had elaborated throughout history. The Quran established a mode of thought leading to the truth, which is identified as thought that eschews all obstinacy, caprice and fanaticism. From the very first day that the Prophet began preaching his message of monotheism, he summoned people also to a realistic vision of the world.
When inviting them to faith, he addressed their wisdom and intelligence and called on them to use their eyes and their ears to perceive the truth. He unshackled them from custom and usage, from obstinately clinging to ancient heritages, and strove to convince them that they should not perversely insist on retaining the beliefs and loyalties that had been born of polytheism. Although these efforts earned him bitter harassment, he was not dismayed, and he did not give up before fulfilling the role that the Creator had given him in improving men’s lives.
Many of the polytheists did not permit themselves to listen to the Quran for they were well aware of its remarkable effect and afraid that its profound and astonishing influence might conquer their hearts as well, drawing them ineluctably towards it. Ibn Hisham writes in his life of the Prophet: “So strong was the heartfelt desire of the people to hear the Quran that even some of the unbelievers of the Quraysh would stealthily go near the Prophet’s house at night, remaining there until dawn, in order to listen throughout the night to the pleasing melody of the Quran as recited by the Messenger of God. This happened many times.” When the revelation of the Quran began, the Most Noble Messenger clearly proclaimed the Quran to be the Word of God, and said it was impossible for any human being to duplicate it; if anyone disagreed, he ought to make an attempt to copy it, and should feel free to seek help from any source in doing so.
None was able to take up this challenged and produce even a short surah similar to the Quran. Still more remarkable is the fact that the utterances of the Prophet, whose tongue would recite the Quran, bore no resemblance whatsoever to the Quran. This is in itself a convincing proof that the Quran originated from a source other than the mind of the Prophet.
To be continued