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I love muhammed » holy quran » Qur’an: The Unique Book (3/3)

Qur’an: The Unique Book (3/3)

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1 Qur’an: The Unique Book (3/3) on Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:56 am


The Challenge
The Qur’an is not only unique in the way in which it presents its subject matter, but it is also unique in that it is a miracle itself.

By the term miracle we mean the performance of supernatural or extraordinary even which cannot be duplicated. It has been documented that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) challenged the Arabs to produce a literary work of a similar caliber as the Qur’an, but they were unable to do so, in spite of their well-known eloquence and literary powers. The challenge to reproduce the Qur’an was presented to the Arabs and mankind in three stages:
1. The Whole Qur’an: In the Qur’an, Allah commanded the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to challenge all of creation to create a book of the stature of the Qur’an,
“Say: even if all of mankind and the Jinn gather together to produce something like this Qur’an, they will not be able to do so in spite of their cooperation with each other.” (Soorah al-Israa’ (17):88)[1]

2. Ten Soorahs (Chapters): Shortly after the previous challenge, Allah again commanded His Messenger (Peace be upon him) to dare those of the Arabs who claimed that the Qur’an was Muhammad’s invention to produce ten chapters like any ten of the Soorahs of the Qur’an:
“Or if they say that he invented it, say (to them), ‘Bring ten invented Soorahs like it. And you may call on whosoever besides Allah that you are able (to help you) if you are (really) truthful (in what you say). If they do not answer your (request for help), then know all of you that it was only revealed by Allah’s knowledge.’” (Soorah Hood (11):13-14)[2]

3. One Soorah: In the very next Soorah, which was revealed, Allah brought the challenge to its utmost peak by asking those who denied its divine origin to imitate even a single Soorah, the shortest of which consisted of only three verses, Soorah al-Kawthar.
“Or if they say that he has invented it, say (to them), ‘Bring a single Soorah like it.’” (Soorah Yoonus (10):38)[3]

This final challenge was repeated some time later as follows:
“And if you all are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant, bring a single Soorah like it.” (Soorah al-Baqarah (2):23)[4]

These challenges were not just empty words with no one caring to prove them wrong. Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) call to monotheism, to the abolition of idolatry in all of its forms, and to the equality of slaves and their masters threatened the whole socio-economic framework of Makkan society in general, and the position of the ruling Qurayshee tribe, from which Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came, in particular. Makkah, the trading center of Arabia, as well as its spiritual center, desperately wanted to stop the spread of Islam. The challenge was straight forward, all that the Prophet’s opponents had to do to crush the movement was to make up a single Soorah like any one of those which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers were reciting to the people. A number of Qurayshee orators and poets tried to imitate the Qur’an, but of course they failed. Unable to match the Prophet’s challenge, the Quraysh looked for other methods of crushing the Islamic movements. They resorted to offering Prophet Muhammad vast amounts of wealth, the position of king over them, and the most noble and beautiful of their women in exchange for his promise to stop inviting people to Islam.

However, his only reply was that even if the sun were placed in his right hand and the moon in his left, he would not cease to call others to Islam.[5]

The Quraysh also resorted to torturing their slaves and relatives who had embraced Islam in a vain attempt to cause them to revert to paganism. Later they organized an economic boycott against the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the members of his clan, Banoo Hashim, in an attempt to starve them into submission. But even this plan eventually failed.

Finally, the plotted to kill him in his home by sending armed young men from each of the clans of Quraysh in order that the guilt of his murder be shared by all and revenge by the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) can be made impossible.

However, Allah enabled the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers to flee Makkah and join a new band of converts who had arisen among the tribes of a city to the north called Yathrib.

Islam spread rapidly through the calms of Yathrib, and within a year Muslims became the city’s majority. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was then made the ruler and the name of the city was changed to Madeenah. Over the next eight years the clans of Makkah and its neighboring lands mounted a series of unsuccessful battle campaigns against the emerging Muslim state in Madeenah, ending with the Muslim invasion of Makkah itself. All of this bloodshed could have been avoided if only the Quraysh and their allies had been able to produce a mere three lines of poetry or flowing prose similar to the shortest Soorah of the Qur’an. Hence, there can be no doubt about the inimitability of the Qur’an’s literary style, about the miracle of its rhyme and the extraordinary nature of its rhythm.

It has been suggested that the inimitability of the Qur’an is not necessarily unique, for great poets like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or great poets in any language tend to have distinctly different styles, which set them apart from their contemporaries. However, if some leading poets of today were to make an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s writings and write a sonnet in Shakespeare’s style in old ink and on old paper, then claim that he had discovered a lost poem of Shakespeare’s literary world, his claim would probably be accepted, even after careful study. Even the greatest poets could be imitated, no matter how unique their style was, just as the famous painters have been imitated.[6]

The Qur’an, however, is far above this level, as attempts to forge chapters have been made throughout the ages, yet none have withstood close scrutiny. And, as was mentioned before, the incentive to imitate the Qur’an existed during the time of its revelation more so than at any other time at a time when literary skills were at their peak, yet there was no successful attempt.

[1] Soorah al-Israa’ was the 50th Soorah revealed.
[2] Sooraah Hood was the 52nd Soorah revealed.
[3] Soorah Yoonus was the 53rd Soorah revealed.
[4] Soorah al-Baqarah was the 87th Soorah revealed.
[5] Islamic Online University. The Foundations of Islamic Studies 101
[6] In fact, some English scholars consider much of what has been attributed to Shakespeare to have been written by his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe.

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