May 12, 2009, 7:23 AM
Can this unique comprehensiveness of the Quran be explained by attributing it to the mind of a man who had never studied and who lived in an age of darkness and in one of the most backward of all countries- the Arabian Peninsula? Does anyone exist, even in today’s world, who is capable of drawing up such a detailed and comprehensive program as that which Islamic law provides, a program moreover which is not purely abstract and theoretical but includes among its effects the spiritual ascent of the human being and the moral purity of society? When we speak of the miraculousness of the Quran, we are not speaking on the basis of speculation or mere personal opinion nor are we talking of something legendary or of purely historical significance. We base ourselves on scientific, rational and logical criteria for the miraculousness of the Quran is a palpable truth comprehensible to any person of intelligence who has at his disposal the necessary information. Such a person will easily see the Quran is connected to a power superior to that of the human being.
Can all these unique properties and features of the Quran, which have retained their scientific significant and value for many centuries after the revelation, be regarded as something natural or common place? Or are they on the contrary, a clear proof that the Quran possessing these attributes to an infinite degree as it does, is to be ascribed to the Creator Who possesses Himself infinite existence? Bartholeme Heller, a French Orientalist, discusses the comprehensiveness of the Quran in the following terms: “Just as we are obliged to appreciate the beauty and eloquence of the Quran by means of a translation, we also appreciate the beauty of the Psalms and the Vedas by means of a translation. There is however, this differenece: the Psalms do not contain a code of civil laws for the Jews, nor the Vedas for the Hindus, whereas the Quran contains an unparalleled variety of subject matter. The Quran is both a hymn in praise of God and a code of civil law; it is both prayer and supplication and a warning and exhortation. It teaches both the methods of warfare and those of debate, and it is a book of history and stories.” In 1951, the College of Law in Paris organized a week a long seminar on Islamic jurisprudence in which the views of Islamic law on a variety of subjects examined. The following communiqué was issued at the end of the seminar. “Islamic jurisprudence undoubtedly deserves to be regarded as one of the principal sources of law in the world. The views and opinions of the different schools of Islamic law contain abundant resources which are truly astounding and which can be drawn on by Islamic jurists to furnish answers to all the questions of modern life.”
THE PERMANENT ATTRACTION EXERTED BY THE QURAN
Another aspect of the Quran which serves to indicate its unique and exceptional nature is the remarkable and inexhaustible attraction that it exerts. Take the best poems or pieces of literature, and read them several times. You will come to see that for all the interest you have in reading of them and all the pleasure they give you, a repeated reading of them will tire and even bore you in the end. The effectiveness and attractiveness of the best writings produced by geniuses of the past and present is not something fixed, immutable, and permanent. For a time, they can hold the reader under their sway but they gradually forfeit their attractiveness so that in the end they can neither command attention nor cause any pleasure. However, if we examine the Quran, this transcript of a heavenly archetype from this point of view, we will see that those who are acquainted with the Quran and have acquired some of the riches contained in its teaching are well aware that there is a direct relationship between the repeated reading of the Quran and the attraction that it exerts. They read or recite God’s verses hundreds of times, and each time the Quran acquires a different aspect for them, an aspect that conquers and overwhelms their soul and their spirit.
Their experience of spiritual pleasure is in direct proportion to their comprehension of the exalted concepts for the Quran, and indeed anyone can satisfy his spiritual needs by referring constantly to the Quran and benefiting from it to the degree of his capacity to know and perceive. The rays of attraction exerted by the Quran spread outwards from Mecca together with the movement of the Muslims. They shone in the Christian court of Ethiopia, thanks to the recitation of Ja’far b. Abi Talib, despite the unfavorable situation prevailing there and the pressure brought to bear by the opponents of Islam. Equally, they shone in Medina, the base for the formation of a new society where the Quran was recited by Mus’qab b. Umaryr. Active people such as these were dedicated to destroying false values and bringing into being a movement that would result in fundamental changes in the way of life and thought and society. They sought to spread awareness among human beings and to encourage them to adopt a realistic attitude towards the truths of the Quran. With its message, the Quran provided human beings with the means needed for making a choice between falsehood, on the one hand, and the new values that were enabling human beings to refashion their lives on the other hand. For the life of the human being has no meaning unless he adheres to a certain worldview, a vision of existence and history and a concept of the aim of creation.
Today, more than fourteen centuries after the revelation of the Quran, the captivating sound of the recitation of the Quran can still be heard in different parts of world. From buildings in cities and villages, from tents in the desert, from places of temporary lodging, along the routes where people travel, at every hour and minute of the day and in the heart of the night when all things are veiled in a profound and meaningful silence, the profoundly moving sound of the Quran being recited arises, leaving its impression on hearts and minds that have been attuned to its message and transforming fundamentally the spirits of all who listen to it. This happens continually without the Quran losing any of its freshness
To be continued