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  • 1574
  • Date :
  • 10/11/2006

THE INIMITABILITY OF THE QUR"AN

THE INIMITABILITY OF THE QUR'AN

 

In addition to the scientific and historical points of view, the Qur"an also possesses an astounding, inimitable style from the literary perspective.

It first needs to be stated that the exposition in the Qur"an addresses all human groupings from all ages. No matter what the reader"s education and cultural level, the Qur"an is written in a clear, comprehensible language which can be understood by everyone. In one verse, Allah reveals the following about the Qur"an:

We have made the Qur"an easy to remember… (Qur"an, 54:22)

Despite having such an easily comprehensible style, it has never been possible to imitate the Qur"an from any point of view. Some of the verses in which Allah draws attention to the inimitable nature of the Qur"an are:

If you have doubts about what We have sent down to Our servant, produce another sura equal to it, and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are telling the truth. (Qur"an, 2:23)

Do they say, "He has invented it"? Say: "Then produce a sura like it and call on anyone you can besides Allah if you are telling the truth." (Qur"an, 10:38)

One of the reasons that the Qur"an is described as miraculous stems from the fact that, as emphasized in the verses above, nothing like it can ever be written by human endeavour: The greater the scale of that impossibility, the greater the size of the miracle which we see before our very eyes. Therefore, the fact that the style of the Qur"an has been incapable of imitation by even one out of the billions of people down the centuries is one of the proofs of its miraculous nature.

In his book, The Construction of the Bible and the Qur"an, F. F. Arbuthnot makes the following comment about the Qur"an:

From the literary point of view, the Koran is regarded as a specimen of the purest Arabic, written on half poetry and half prose. It has been said that in some cases grammarians have adopted their rules to agree with certain phrases and expressions used in it, and that though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far elegant writing is concerned, none has as yet succeeded.

The words employed in the Qur"an are exceedingly special, both in terms of meaning and also of fluency and effect of style. However, those who are unwilling to believe that the Qur"an is a holy book in which Allah has revealed His commandments and prohibitions, have come up with a variety of excuses as to why they should not follow it. They have attempted to take refuge from its beauty by turning to denial. Allah reveals the following about the deniers" descriptions of the Qur"an:

We did not teach him poetry nor would it be right for him. It is simply a reminder and a clear Qur"an so that you may warn those who are truly alive and so that the Word may be carried out against the disbelievers. (Qur"an, 36:69-70)

Another of the elements which make the Qur"an inimitable stems from its literary structure. Despite being in Arabic, the Qur"an bears no similarity to the forms used in Arabic literature.

The rhyming system in the Qur"an is known as "rhymed prose" and linguists describe the use of this rhyme in the Qur"an as a miracle. In his book Science Miracles, a work prepared to demonstrate that the Qur"an is a linguistic miracle, the well-known British scientist Professor Adel M. A. Abbas carried out a wide-ranging study of the letters and rhyming scheme used in the Qur"an by means of graphics and diagrams. Some rather striking facts were established in this book with regard to the rhyming system in the Qur"an.

As we know, 29 Suras in the Qur"an begin with one or more symbolic letters. These letters are known as "muqatta"ah-letters" or "initial letters." Fourteen of the 29 letters in Arabic comprise these initial letters: Qaf, Sad, Ta, Ha, Ya, Sin, Alif, Lam, Mim, Kaf, "Ayn, Nun, Ra, Ha.

Of these letters, when we look at the use of the letter "Nun" in Surat al-Qalam we see rhyming with the letter "Nun" in 88.8% of the verses. 84.6% of Surat ash-Shu"ara", 90.32% of Surat an-Naml and 92.05% of Surat al-Qasas are rhymed with "Nun."

When applying these studies to the whole Qur"an, 50.08% is rhymed with the letter "Nun." To put it another way, more than half the verses in the Qur"an end with the letter "Nun." In no literary work of comparable length has it been possible to rhyme with a single sound in more than half the text. This applies to all languages, not just to Arabic.

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