Extraordinary comprehensiveness of the Qur’an

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What do you mean by saying that the Qur'an has an extraordinary comprehensiveness?

This is the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the Qur’an; it consists of four points.

First point

How comprehensive is The Qur'an in its wording and meaning?

This comes from the comprehensiveness of the Qur’an’s wording. Certainly, this comprehensiveness is apparent in the previous Words, as well as in the verses whose meanings are quoted in this Word.

As pointed out in the hadith, Each verse has outer meanings, inner meanings, limits and a point of comprehension. And it also has boughs, branches and twigs, the wording of the Qur’an is such that each phrase, word and letter, even each diacritical stop, has many aspects. It gives to each of those it addresses his share through a different door.

• For example, And the mountains masts (al-Naba’, 78.7) is a phrase meaning, ‘I have made the mountains like masts and stakes for that earth of yours’.

• The share of an ordinary man in the meaning of this phrase is that he sees the mountains that seem as if driven into the ground, and thinking of the benefits and bounties thereof, offers thanks to his Creator.

• The share of a poet is that he imagines the earth as a ground, on which is pitched in a sweeping ark the dome of the heavens as a mighty blue tent adorned with electric lamps, and he sees the mountains skirting the base of the heavens as the pegs of the tent. He worships his Majestic Creator in amazement.

• The share of a desert-dwelling literary man is that he imagines the face of the earth as a vast desert, and the mountain chains as a great multitude of nomads’ tents: as if the soil layer had been stretched over high posts and the pointed tips of the posts had raised up the ‘cloth’ of the soil, which he sees as the habitation of numerous different creatures looking one to the other. He prostrates in amazement before his Majestic Creator, Who placed and set up so easily those imposing and mighty things like tents on the face of the earth.

• The share of a geographer with a literary bent is that he thinks of the earth as a ship sailing in the ocean of air or of ether, and the mountains as masts driven into the ship for its balance and stability. Before the All-Powerful One of Perfection Who has made that vast earth like a well-built, orderly ship on which He makes us travel through the regions of the universe, he declares: ‘Glory be to You, how magnificent Your creation is!’

• The share of a philosopher or historian of culture is that he sees the earth as a house, the pillar of whose life is animal life in turn supported by air, water, and earth--the conditions of life. Mountains are essential for air, water, and earth, for they are the reservoirs for water, the combs for the air--by precipitating the noxious gases, they purify the atmosphere--and the preserver of earth--they preserve it from being transformed into a swamp, and against the encroachment of the sea. Mountains are also treasuries for other necessities of human life. In perfect reverence he offers praise to the Maker of Majesty and Munificence, Who has made those great mountains as masts for the earth, which is the house of our life, and appointed them as the keepers of the treasuries of our livelihood.

• The share of a naturalist scientist is: The quakes and tremors which occurred as the result of certain formations and fusions in the heart of the earth stabilized with the emergence of mountains. Their emergence was also the cause of the earth’s stability on its axis and in its orbit and its not deviating in its annual rotation as a result of the earthquakes. The wrath and anger of the earth is quietened through its breaking through the vents of mountains. The scientist would come to believe, and would declare: ‘There is a wisdom in everything God does.’

• The heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them. (21:30)

• ‘Of one piece’ in the verse would mean to a learned man who has not studied materialist philosophy that when the heavens were clear and without clouds, and the earth, dry and with no traces of life, and incapable of giving birth, God opened up the heavens with rain and the earth with vegetation, and created all living beings through some sort of marriage and impregnation. He understands that all these things are the work of such an All-Powerful One of Majesty that the face of the earth is merely a small garden of His and the clouds, which veil the face of the skies, are sponges for watering it, and the learned man therefore prostrates before the tremendousness of His Power.

• To an exacting sage it means: while at the beginning of the creation the heavens and the earth were a formless mass, each consisting of matter like wet dough with no produce or creatures, the All-Wise Creator separated them and rolled them out, and giving each a comely shape and a beneficial form, made them the origins of multiform, adorned creatures. The sage is filled with admiration at the comprehensiveness of His Wisdom.

• A modern philosopher or scientist understands from it that while at first the sun, the earth and other planets which comprise the solar system were all fused together like a mass of dough, the All-Powerful and Self-Subsistent One rolled out the dough and placed the planets in their respective positions. He left the sun where it was and brought the earth here, and spreading soil over the face of the earth and watering it with the rain He poured from the skies, and illuminating it with the light of the sun, He made the world habitable by living forms and placed us in it. The philosopher-scientist is saved from the swamp of naturalism, and declares: ‘I believe in God, the One, the Unique!’

• The sun runs its course to a resting-place for it. (36:38)

• The particle li (written as the single letter lam), translated here as ‘to’, expresses the meanings of ‘toward, in’, and ‘for’. Ordinary readers take it in the meaning of ‘toward’ and understand that the sun, which is a moving lamp providing light and heat for them, will certainly conclude its journeying and, arriving at its place of rest, take on a form which will no longer be beneficial for them. Thinking of the great bounties which the Majestic Creator bestows on them through the sun, they declare: ‘All glory be to God! All praise be to God!’

• A learned person also takes li in the meaning of ‘toward’. However, he thinks of the sun not only as a lamp, but also as a shuttle for the textiles of the Lord to be woven in the loom of spring and summer, as an ink-pot whose ink is light for the letters of the Eternally-Besought-of-All inscribed on the pages of night and day. He also reflects on the order of the world, of which the apparent movement of the sun is a sign and to which it points. Then he would declare before the All-Wise Maker’s art: ‘What wonders God has willed!’, and before His Wisdom: ‘May God bless it!’, and prostrate.

• For a geographer-philosopher li means ‘in’ and suggests: through Divine command and with a spring-like movement on its own axis, the sun orders and propels its system. Before his Majestic Creator, Who created and set in order a mighty ‘clock’ like the solar system, he would exclaim in perfect amazement and admiration: ‘All greatness is God’s, and all power!’, and abandoning materialistic philosophy, embrace the wisdom of the Qur’an.

• A precise and wise scholar considers li as both causal and adverbial in meaning, and understands that since the All-Wise Maker operates behind the veil of apparent causality, He has tied the planets to the sun by a law of His called gravity, and causes them to revolve with distinct but regular motions in accordance with His universal wisdom, and in order to produce gravity, He has made the sun’s movement on its own axis an apparent cause. That is, the meaning of a resting-place is that ‘the sun moves in the place determined for it for the order and stability of its own (solar) system’. For like the Divine laws, that motion produces heat, and heat produces force, and force gravity, the sun’s is a law of Divine Lordship. Thus, on understanding such an instance of wisdom from a single letter of the Qur’an, the wise scholar would declare: ‘All praise be to God! It is in the Qur’an that true wisdom is to be found. Human philosophy is worth almost nothing.’

• The following idea occurs to a thinker of poetic bent from this li and the stability mentioned: ‘The sun is a light-diffusing tree, with the planets being its moving fruits. However, unlike trees, the sun is shaken so that the fruits do not fall. If it was not shaken, they would fall and be scattered.’ He may also imagine the sun to be an ecstatic leader of a circle reciting God’s Names. He recites in ecstasy in the center of the circle and leads the others to recite. In another treatise of mine, I expressed this meaning as follows:

The sun is a fruit-bearing tree; it is shaken so that its traveling fruits do not fall.

If it rested, no longer shaken, the attraction would cease, and those attracted to it would weep through space.

• They are those who will prosper. (2:5)

This verse is general and unspecified, it does not specify in what way they will prosper, so that each person may find what he pursues in it. The sense is compact, so that it may be comprehensive. For the aim of some of those whom it addresses is to be saved from the Fire. Others think only of Paradise, some desire eternal happiness. Yet others seek only God’s good pleasure, while others pursue the vision of God. And so on. In numerous other places also, the Qur’an does not narrow or specify the sense so that it can be inclusive. It leaves certain things unsaid, so that it can express many meanings. Thus it says, who will prosper. By not specifying in what way they will prosper, it means:

• Muslims! Good tidings to you!

• God-fearing one! You will be saved from Hell.

• righteous one! You will enter Paradise.

• one with knowledge of God! You will gain God’s good pleasure.

• lover of God! You will be rewarded with vision of God.

And so on. This is only one of numerous examples of the comprehensiveness of meaning of each of the Qur’an’s phrases, words, and even single letters.

Question

How do you know that the Qur’an contains and intends all those meanings?

Answer: Since the Qur’an is an eternal discourse speaking to, and teaching, all mankind, coming as they do through all ages and of different levels and capacity, it will certainly contain and intend all those numerous meanings according to each capacity and level, and make allusions to them. In Signs of (the Qur’an’s) Miraculousness, it is proved, according to the rules of Arabic grammar and the principles of the sciences of rhetoric and semantics and eloquence, that the words of the Qur’an include and intend various meanings as in the examples above. According to the consensus of Muslim jurists, interpreters of the Qur’an, and scholars of religious methodology, and as their own differences of interpretation bear witness, all the aspects and meanings understood from the Qur’an are acceptable as among the meanings of the Qur’an provided they are in accordance with the rules of the Arabic language and the principles of religion, and in conformity with the sciences of semantics, rhetoric and eloquence. The Qur’an has placed a sign for each of those meanings according to its degree. It is either literal or allusive. If allusive, there is another sign from either the preceding context or the following context or another verse to point to the meaning. Thousands of commentaries on the Qur’an written in volumes from twenty to eighty are decisive evidence for the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the Qur’an’s wording. Anyway, if in this Word we were to show how each type of meaning works according to certain rules, the discussion would be extremely lengthy. Referring the reader to Signs of Miraculousness for a part of such discussion, I will not go into it any further here.

Second point

How comprehensive is The Qur'an in knowledge it contains?

This relates to the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the knowledge the Qur’an includes. Besides having caused to flow forth from the oceans of its own knowledge, the numerous and various sciences of the Shari’a, the many and varied sciences of truth (haqiqa), and the innumerable different sciences of the religious orders (tariqa), the Qur’an also makes flow from itself regularly and prolifically true wisdom and scientific knowledge of the sphere of contingencies (i.e. the material world), and true knowledge of the realm of necessity, that is, true knowledge of the Divine realm, and the esoteric knowledge of the Hereafter. It would need a very large and separate volume to give examples of this gleam. As examples, I refer the reader to the Words so far written. The truths expounded in these twenty-five Words are only twenty-five drops from the oceans of the Qur’an’s knowledge. If there are errors in those Words, they come from my defective understanding.

Third point

How comprehensive is The Qur'an in the subjects it deals with?

This relates to the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the subjects with which the Qur’an deals. Indeed, while it deals with the extensive topics of man and his duties, the universe and its Creator, the heavens and the earth, the world and the Hereafter, the past and the future, and eternity, the Qur’an explains all essential and important matters related to man’s creation from a sperm, to his whole life till he enters the grave, from correct manners of eating and sleeping to the issues of Divine Decree and Will, from the creation of the universe in six days to the functions of the winds alluded to in such oaths as By the (winds) sent forth (al-Mursalat, 77.1) and By the (winds) that scatter (al-Dhariyat, 51.1); from God’s intervention in man’s heart and free will, (pointed out in (God) stands between man and his heart (al-Anfal, 8.24), and But you will not unless God wills (al-Insan, 76.30) to His grasp of all the heavens, described in the heavens shall be rolled up in His ‘right hand’ (al-Zumar, 39.68); from the flowers, grapes and dates of the earth, mentioned in We made therein gardens of palms and vines (Ya Sin, 36.34) to the astounding event described in When earth is shaken with a mighty shaking (al-Zilzal, 99.1); and from the state of the heaven during the course of creation, mentioned in Then He comprehended in His design the sky when it was smoke (Fussilat, 41.11) to its splitting open and the stars’ being scattered in endless space; from the construction of the world for testing and trial to its destruction; from the grave, the first station of the other world, to the resurrection of the dead, the Bridge, and eternal happiness in Paradise; from the past events including that which is described in, When your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed, and made them testify of themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yes, assuredly. We testify!’—lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Of this, we were unaware’ (al-A‘raf, 7.172), the creation of Adam’s body and the struggle between his two sons, the Flood, the drowning of Pharaoh’s people, and the stories of the Prophets, to what will happen on the Day of Judgment when some faces shall be radiant, gazing upon their Lord (al-Qiyama, 75.22)—the Qur’an explains all the essential important matters such as these in a way befitting an All-Powerful One of Majesty, Who administers the whole of the universe like a palace, opens and closes the world and the Hereafter like two rooms, disposes the earth like a garden and the heavens like a dome adorned with lamps, and in Whose sight the past and future are like day and night or two pages, and eternity like a point of present time.

Like a builder describing the two houses he has built and listing the things he will do, the Qur’an is—if one may express it—a list or program written in a style which is fit for the One Who has built the universe and is administering it. Neither any trace of artifice, pretence and unnecessary trouble, nor any strain of imitation or trickery or deception like pretending to speak in the name of some other is seen in it—like daylight saying, ‘I am from the sun’—rather, in a style absolutely genuine, pure, clear, solemn, original, and brilliant, the Qur’an says: ‘I am the Word of the Creator of the universe’.

To whom other than the Maker, the Bestower of Bounties, Who has decorated this world with the works of most original and invaluable art and filled it with most pleasant bounties, can the Qur’an of miraculous expression belong, which resonates throughout the world with cries of acclamation and commendation and litanies of praise and thanks, and which has made the earth into a house where God’s Names are recited, where God is worshipped and His works of art are studied in amazement; Whose word other than His could it be? Where, if not the sun, can the light illuminating the world be coming from? Whose light other than the Eternal Sun can the Qur’an be, which has unveiled the meaning of the universe and illuminates it? Who could dare to produce a like of it?

It is certainly inconceivable that the Artist Who has decorated this world with the works of His art should not address man, who appreciates and commends that art.

Since He knows and makes, certainly He will speak. Since He speaks, for sure He will speak through the Qur’an. How is it possible for God, the Lord of all dominion, Who is not indifferent to the formation of a flower, to be indifferent to a Word which resonates throughout His dominion? Could He ever allow others to appropriate it, reducing it to futility, to nothing?

Fourth point

How comprehensive is The Qur'an in styles?

This relates to the extraordinary comprehensiveness in the style and conciseness of the Qur’an. It has five beams.

A single sura may contain the whole ocean of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is so wonderfully comprehensive in style that a single sura may contain the whole ocean of the Qur’an in which the whole of the universe is contained. A single verse may comprehend the treasury of that sura. It is as if most of the verses are each a small sura, and most of the suras, each a little Qur’an. This miraculous concision is a great gift of Divine Grace with respect to guidance and easiness. For although everyone always needs the Qur’an, in order that those who (because unaware of the importance of the Qur’an or for some other reasons) do not read the Qur’an, or can find no time or opportunity to read it, should not be deprived of its blessings, each sura may substitute for a small Qur’an and each of the long verses, for a short sura. Moreover, the people of spiritual discovery are agreed that the whole of the Qur’an is contained in sura al-Fatiha, and sura al-Fatiha, in the Basmala (In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.) This is a fact which painstaking scholars have unanimously confirmed.

•The Qur’an gives everyone whatever he needs

Together with containing references to all the categories of explanation, and aspects and varieties of true knowledge, and human needs, like commands and prohibitions, promises and threats, encouragement and deterrence, restraint and guidance, stories and parables, Divine knowledge and commandments, natural sciences, and the rules and conditions of life, personal, social, spiritual, and other-worldly, the Qur’an gives everyone whatever he needs, so that Take from the Qur’an whatever you wish, for whatever need you have has been approved among verifying scholars. The verses of the Qur’an are so comprehensive that you can find in them the cure for every ailment and the answer for every need. This must really be so for the Book that is absolute guide of all the perfected among mankind who each day take a step forward in the way of God must be of that quality.

The Qur’anic expressions are so concise and yet all-inclusive

The Qur’anic expressions are so concise and yet all-inclusive that sometimes it mentions the first and last terms of a long series in a way to show the whole of it and sometimes it includes in a single word many proofs of a cause either explicitly or implicitly or allusively or suggestively.

Examples:

► In And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth and the variety of your tongues and colors (al-Rum, 30.22), by mentioning the two terms of the series of the creation of the universe (the creation of the heavens and the earth and the varieties of mankind in languages and races) it suggests the creation and variety of all beings, animate or inanimate, as the signs of the Divine Unity. In the series of creation which testify to the existence and Unity of an All-Wise Maker, the creation of the heavens and earth come first, followed by the other links in the series—from the adornment of the heavens with stars to the population of the earth with animate creatures; from by making the sun, earth, and moon move regularly in a fixed system, the alternation of the seasons and day and night, to differentiation and individualization of speech and complexion where creation displays extreme multiplication. Since there is an amazing purposeful system in the differentiation of complexions and countenances which one may suppose to be determined by chance more probably than all other things in existence, for sure the other links of creation, which clearly manifest a deliberate order, will point to their Designer. Since, again, the creation of the vast heavens and the earth explicitly displays certain artistry and purposes, for sure, the artistry and purpose of a Maker Who founded the palace of the universe on the heavens and earth will be much more explicit in other parts of His creation. Thus, by manifesting what is concealed and concealing what is manifest, the verse in question displays an extremely beautiful conciseness.

The series of evidence beginning six times with ‘Of His signs’ from so glory be to God both in your evening hour and in your morning hour (al-Rum, 30.17), to His is the highest comparison in the heavens and the earth; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise (al-Rum, 30.27), is a series of jewels, a series of lights, a series of miracles, and a series of miraculous conciseness. However much I desire to show the ‘diamonds’ in those treasures, I must, in the present context, postpone doing so to another occasion.

► Then said the one who had been delivered, remembering after a time, ‘I will myself tell you: its interpretation; so send me forth.’ ‘Joseph, you truthful man...’ (12:45–6) Between so send me forth and Joseph, you truthful man, there are a number of events, which the narrative omits: [So send me forth] to Joseph so that I may ask him about the interpretation of the dream. They sent him. He came to the prison and said: [Joseph ...]

By omitting these events, the Qur’an narrates briefly and exactly to the point without any loss of clarity which might make it difficult to understand.

...Who has made for you out of the green tree fire... (36:80)

In the face of the rebellious man’s denial of the Resurrection Who shall revive the bones when they are rotted away? (36:78), the Qur’an says: ‘He shall revive them, Who originated them the first time. The One Who creates knows each thing with all its aspects. Moreover, the One Who has made for you fire out of the green tree is able to quicken the bones when they are decayed.’ The part of the verse quoted deals with the Resurrection from different viewpoints and proves it.

• It reminds man of Divine favors to him. Since the Qur’an mentions these favors in detail in other places, it alludes to them here summarily, and actually means: ‘You cannot escape or hide from the One Who, together with making for you fire out of trees and causing them to give you fruits, and providing you with grains and plants from earth, has made the earth a lovely ‘cradle’ for you in which are all of your provisions, and the world a beautiful palace containing all the necessities of your life. As you have not been created in vain and without purpose, and you are not free in the world with no duties, so also you will not be able to sleep in the grave eternally without being woken up.’

• In pointing to a proof of the Resurrection, it suggests in the phrase, the green tree: ‘O you who deny the Resurrection! Look at trees! In sheer denial and deeming it unlikely, you cannot challenge the Power of the One Who quickens in spring innumerable trees that have died and become hardened in winter, and Who, by causing them to blossom and come into leaf and produce fruits, exhibits on each tree three examples of the Resurrection.’

• It points to another proof and means: ‘How can you deem it unlikely for One Who makes for you out of trees hard, dark and heavy, a substance like fire which is refined and light-giving, that He cannot give to bones like wood a life like fire and a consciousness like light?’

• It explicitly points out another proof, and says: ‘All things in the universe, including the essential elements of existence and their basic qualities, are subject to, and dependent on, the decrees of the One Who for the desert dwellers creates fire when the two green branches of a tree well-known to them are rubbed against each other, and reconciles opposing natures to produce new things. It is therefore improper to oppose that One and deem it unlikely that He can bring man forth from earth again after He created him out of it and restored him into it.’

• It alludes to the well-known tree near which the Prophet Moses, upon him be peace, received the first Revelation, and suggests that the cause of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was also the cause of Moses. By doing so, it makes an indirect reference to the agreement of all the Prophets on the same essential points, and adds another meaning to the compact treasures of meaning of that word.

• The conciseness of the Qur’an is of a kind like offering the ocean in a pitcher.

The conciseness of the Qur’an is of a kind (as can be seen with a little care) like offering the ocean in a pitcher, by way of courtesy to what ordinary human minds can hold. It shows the most comprehensive and universal principles and general laws through a particular event on a particular occasion. Out of numerous examples of this aspect of its conciseness, the following are only a few:

Examples:

He taught Adam the names, all of them. (2:31)

When We said unto the angels, Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. (2:34)

When Moses asked for water for his people, We said: ‘Strike the rock with your staff.’ Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs (so that) each tribe knew their drinking place. (2:60).

God commands you to sacrifice a cow. (2:67)

Through the three verses which were explained in detail in the First Station of The Twentieth Word, it suggests, through the teaching of the names to mankind who were thereby given the potential to obtain all knowledge and sciences, and through the prostration of angels before Adam and the refusal of Satan to do so, it signified that most of the creatures from fish to angels have been subjugated for the use and benefit of mankind while the harmful beings like Satan and snakes will not be so docile before him. By mentioning the slaughtering of a cow by the people of Moses, upon him be peace, the Qur’an means that the concept of cow-worship (borrowed from Egypt, and shown in the Israelites’ adoration of the calf which the Samaritan had made for them while Moses was on Mount Sinai (20.85, was destroyed by Moses’ knife. And by mentioning that from some stones rivers come gushing, and others split, so that water issues from them, and still others crash down in the fear of God (2.74), it states implicitly that the rock strata under the layer of earth allow the subterranean veins of water to pass through them and also have a role in the origin of the earth.

► Each of the phrases and sentences of the story of Moses, upon him be peace, points to a universal principle and expresses it.

For example, in ‘Haman, build for me a tower’ (al-Mu’min, 40.36), the Qur’an means: ‘Pharaoh ordered his minister, Haman: ‘Build for me a high tower. I will observe the heavens and try to find out through heavenly events whether there is a god who is as Moses has claimed.’ Through this particular event and by the word ‘tower’, the Qur’an alludes to a curious custom prevailing among the rulers of ancient Egypt (the Pharaohs). They lived in a vast desert land with no mountains and worshipped nature; they believed in sorcery and reincarnation because of unbelief in God; therefore they cherished a deep desire for mountains and claimed absolute sovereignty like that of Divine Lordship over people. In consequence, to eternalize their names and fame, they used to have mountain-like pyramids built, in which they kept their mummified bodies.

So today We shall deliver you with your body. (10:92)

With this verse about Pharaoh, who was drowning, the Qur’an suggests: Since all Pharaohs believed in reincarnation, they mummified their bodies to ‘eternalize’ themselves. This is why their bodies have come down to the present day after hundreds of generations. Although unmummified, the body of Pharaoh, who lived during the Prophet Moses, upon whom be peace, and drowned in the water while pursuing Moses with his army, was found prostrate beside the Nile in the closing years of the last century. This is an explicit miracle of the Qur’an, which foretold it several centuries ago in the verse in question.

...the folk of Pharaoh who were visiting you with evil chastisement, slaughtering your sons, and sparing your women [to use them]. (2:49)

Although this verse mentions the evils and cruelties done to the Children of Israel during the reign of the Pharaohs, it also implicitly refers to the mass murders to which the Jews have been subject in many countries through the centuries and the notorious part some of their women and girls have played in history.

You shall find them the most eager of men for life. (2:96)

You see many of them lying in sin and enmity, and how they consume the unlawful; evil is the thing they have been doing. (8:62)

They hasten about the earth, to do corruption there; and God loves not the workers of corruption. (5:64)

We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book: You shall do corruption in the earth twice. (17:4)

Do not make mischief on the earth, doing corruption. (2:60)

These verses concerning the Jews express the two general disastrous intrigues which they have made against the social life of mankind. As they are the Jews who through multiplied usury which has shaken the social life of mankind, and putting labor in a fierce contest with capital, driven the poor to struggle against the rich, have caused the building of banks and accumulated wealth through unlawful ways, so too, they have usually been the same nation who in order to take vengeance on the states or governments for either the injustices inflicted upon them or the defeats they have tasted at their hands, have entered all kinds of seditionist committees or taken part in all sorts of revolutions.

► The verses, You of Jewry, if you assert that you are the friends of God, apart from other men, then do you long for death, if you speak truly. But they will never long for it... (62:6-7), which were revealed to refute an assertion of the Jewish community in Madina, state that the Jews, who are most renowned among mankind for love of life and fear of death, will never give up their greed for life and long for death till the Last Day.

►Again, Humiliation and misery were stamped on them (2:61), states the general fate of the Jews.

It is because of such general and awful aspects of the nature and fate of the Jewish people that the Qur’an deals with them severely, and expresses harsh criticism of them. Thus, you may compare with these the other aspects of the story of Moses and the Children of Israel mentioned in the Qur’an. You will see numerous gleams of miraculousness behind simple words and particular topics of the Qur’an like the gleam of miraculous conciseness described in this Fourth Beam.

Question

In the verses of the Sura Qaf,

Not a word he utters, but by him is an observer ready. And the agony of death comes in truth; that is what you were shunning! And the trumpet is blown; that is the Day of the Threat. And every soul comes, along with it a driver and a witness. ‘You were heedless of this. Now We have removed from you your covering, and so your sight today is piercing.’ And his comrade says, ‘Cast, you twain, into Hell each rebel ingrate! (50:18-24)

where is the fluency and coherence, considering the great gaps between them? It jumps from the throes of death to the destruction of the world, and from the blowing of the Trumpet to the end of the Reckoning and therefrom to throwing the sinful into Hell?

Answer

One of the most fundamental elements of the miraculousness of the Qur’an is its eloquence and precision. There are so many instances of that miraculous precision in the Wise Qur’an that observant critics have been filled with wonder and admiration. For example, some eloquent people have prostrated themselves before the verse,

And it was said: ‘O earth! Swallow your water and, O sky! abate!’ And the water was made to subside. And the commandment was fulfilled, and the Ark settled in al-Judi, and it was said: ‘Away with the people of the evildoers!’ (11:44)

which tells of the might of so great an event as the Flood so precisely and miraculously within a few short sentences.

Also, in the following few short verses,

Thamud denied in their rebellious pride when the most wretched of them rose up; then the Messenger of God said to them, ‘The She-Camel of God; let her drink!’ But they denied him, and hamstrung her, so their Lord doomed them for their sin, and leveled them. He fears not the issue thereof, (91:11-15)

the Qur’an recounts the story of the people of Thamud, including what finally befell them, precisely and clearly, and in a way that does not detract from comprehensibility.

In the same way, in the verse,

And Dhu l-Nun—when he went forth in anger and was convinced that We would not straiten him: then he called out in the layers of darkness, ‘There is no god but You. Glory be to You! I have been a wrong-doer,’ (21:87)

there is much that is not said between We would not straiten him and he called out in the layers of darkness. Those few words re-tell the story of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) with its chief points in such a way as not to diminish comprehensibility or mar the eloquence, leaving what is not stated directly to the understanding of the person addressed.

Also, in Sura Yusuf, seven or eight sentences are omitted between so send me forth and Joseph! O you truthful one!, which come at the end of verse 45 and at the beginning of verse 46 respectively. This also does not affect comprehensibility, nor does it mar the eloquence of the Qur’an.

There are many other instances of miraculous precision in the Qur’an like those mentioned above. As for the verses in question from Sura Qaf, the precise description they make is still more beautiful and miraculous. They point to the future of unbelievers which is so long that each day of it is equal to fifty thousand earthly years, and draw attention to the fearful events which will befall them through the dreadful upheavals of that future. They bring before the mind of the reader (or the listener) the whole span of those upheavals, and bring that long time readily before the eyes like a lightning stroke, and, compressed into a single page, present before us. They leave as understood the unmentioned events and thus achieve and manifest a sublime fluency.

When the Qur’an is recited, give you ear to it and pay heed, that you may obtain mercy. (7:204)

To conclude:

When studied attentively, the suras and verses of the Qur’an of miraculous expression, particularly the opening sections of its suras and the beginnings and ends of its verses, it will clearly be seen that, although the Qur’an contains all types of eloquence, all varieties of fine speech, all categories of elevated style, all examples of good morals and virtues, all principles of natural sciences, all indexes of knowledge of God, all beneficial rules of individual and social life, and all enlightening laws of the exalted reasons and purposes of creation, no trace of confusion and perplexity is found in it. Indeed, it can only be the work of an all-powerful, miraculously systematic thinking that it does not give rise to any confusion or contradiction among so many multifarious topics. Again, it can only be the extraordinary work of a source of miracles like the Qur’an, which sees and shows the truth, is familiar with the Unseen, and bestows guidance, to tear up with its penetrating expressions the veil of the commonplace over things and events, which is the cause of compound ignorance leading to such trends of unbelief as atheism and materialism, and to show the extraordinariness behind that veil, and also, with the diamond sword of proof, to cut to pieces naturalism which is the source of misguidance, and to remove with its thunder-like cries the thick layers of the sleep of heedlessness, and to uncover the hidden meanings of existence and the mysteries of creation, which philosophers and scientists have been unable to do.

When approached with a fair, attentive mind, it will clearly be seen that unlike other books, the verses of the Qur’an do not pursue a series of arguments gradually unfolded on certain interrelated subjects. Rather, they give the impression that each, or each group of them, was sent from afar separately at one time as if codes of an extremely solemn and important communication made ‘public’ in steps. Indeed, who else other than the Creator of the universe can carry on such a communication so much concerned with the universe and its Creator as the Qur’an; who could dare to come forward and, as he wishes, make the Majestic Creator speak and cause the universe to ‘speak’ so truly? In fact, the Owner of the universe speaks and makes the universe speak in the Qur’an most seriously, most truthfully and in the most elevated style, so that no one can find in it any signs of imitation. Supposing the impossible, if someone like Musaylima the Liar, were to appear and go so far as to make the All-Mighty, All-Compelling and Majestic Creator of the universe speak as he wishes and make the universe speak to Him, there would certainly be thousands of signs of imitation and pretence. For every manner of those who put on great airs even in their basest states shows their pretence. Consider the following verses which declare this truth with an oath:

By the star when it plunged, your comrade is not astray, neither errs, nor speaks he out of caprice. This is naught but a Revelation revealed. (53:1-4)

 

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