Friday, May 22, 2009

The Challenge of the Holy Qur'an

The Challenge of the Holy Qur'an

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allah,  May Allah blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.

 The Qur'an's linguistic style makes it unique and imitable which made impossible for the human power trying to achieve such a miracle. This is called in Arabic as the "i'jaz” which the Qur'an issues a challenge to all of mankind that they could not imitate it, as it is a divine source. A blind faith is unacceptable and the challenge would results in the definite conclusion that the Qur'an is from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta`ala. As for confirming that the Qur'an is revealed by Allah, it is well known that the Qur'an is in Arabic and was conveyed by the Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). Thus it is either from the Arabs, Non-Arabs, Muhammad or Allah (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). It is not possible that the Qur'an came from any source other than these sources. Let us examine these sources in turn. 

1. It is not from the Arabs: It was because the Qur'an challenged them to bring any similar book:

"Say: Then bring ten surahs like unto it" [Surah Hud, 11:13]. If not then: "Say: Then bring one surah like unto it" [Surah Yunus, 10:38]

The Arab Quraish tried to meet the challenge but failed, hence this book is not their speech. Hearing the recitation of the Qur'an, the Arabs would rush, captivated by its dignity, deep insight, perfect arrangement, coherence and eloquence, so much so that Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah said after hearing the Qur'an: 'By God: None of you is more conversant than me with poetry, melodious hymns, and songs, and by God never did I hear anything similar to what it says. It is so sweet and so graceful that it remains at the summit with nothing to surpass it!'

2. It is not from Muhammad (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam): It was because Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), the Arab. is one of the Arabs, and whatever his height of genius he must remain one of the human beings, and one of the community and nation. As the Arabs had themselves failed to bring the like of the Qur'an, this also applies to Muhammad 

Furthermore Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) has left authentic (sahih) and absolutely authentic (mutawatir) traditions whose authenticity is beyond approach. If these traditions are compared with any verse of the Qur'an there is no similarity between them in style, even though the Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) would say the hadith at the same time with difference in style between them. In spite of the fact that whenever anyone attempts to disguise his speech it will remain, nevertheless, similar in style, because style is part of himself. The Qur'an is definitely not Muhammad's speech and it is clear difference between it and Muhammad's speech.

3. Non-Arabs: An allegation was made against Muhammad (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) that he had brought the Qur'an from a Christian youth called Jabir. As a Result Allah s.w.t revealed:

"We know indeed that they say: It is a man that teaches him. The Tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic pure and clear." [Al-Nahl, 16:103]

The Qur'an is therefore definitely from Allah s.w.t and accordingly a Miracle for the one who brought it.

"Lo, We, even we, reveal the reminder, and lo, we verily are its Guardian.” [Al-Hijr, 15:9]

The Qur'an is the meaning denoting Word that was revealed to the Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) Meanings alone do not constitute the Qur'an. And the word alone may not be without meaning because the word was originally written to denote a specific meaning. That is why Allah s.w.t. described the Qur'an through describing its word. It is an Arabic Qur'an.

The language is the description of the word Qur'an but not of its meanings, because these meanings are to humanity not to Arabs alone. Translating some of its meaning into another language cannot be the Qur'an. It is imperative that the word be Arabic. It is the Miracle of the Messenger (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). It is not only a miracle for Arabs but to the whole human race for all times. 

"And We have not sent thee (O Muhammad) save as a bringer of good tidings and a Warner unto all mankind, but most of mankind know not." [Saba, 34:28]

This covers the whole human race, for the verses of challenge are universal:

"Say if the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." [Al-Isrā’, 17:88]

[Excerpted with modification from Islam Web Published on 14/08/2002]

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