Thursday, 17 January 2013
Can Anyone Reproduce the Qur'an?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is from Mawlana Waffie Mohammed’s response to the question, “Can anyone produce a book like the Holy Qur’an?”
No one can produce a Book like the Holy Qur’an. The Merciful Lord Gave to mankind a challenge; and that is:
… “Bring then a surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!” (Surah Yunus:38)
The Holy Qur’an is special, and cannot be produced by any creature, including man for the following reasons. It is the last of the Revealed Sacred Scriptures from the Lord of the Worlds. It was Revealed in the Arabic language. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
We have Sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that ye may learn wisdom. (Surah Yusuf:2)
Only the Book in the Arabic language is considered to be the Qur’an. Translations are not the Qur’an for many reasons. The Arabic words have many meanings; and in the translations, only one meaning is put. For example, the word ‘swabr’ when used in the Qur’an is normally translated as patience; but this word has the following meanings: thoroughness, perseverance; constancy; steadfastness; firmness of purpose; systematic; resignation and understanding in sorrow, defeat or suffering, as opposed to murmuring and rebellion, but saved from mere passivity. These are from Shaykh ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali’s (r.a.) translation footnotes. So when Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Did ye think that ye would enter Heaven without Allah Testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and remained steadfast? (Surah Ali ‘Imran:142)
The ‘swabr’ has been translated as ‘remained steadfast’ but it could mean many more things than mere patience.
The Arabic sentences, the verses, are so constructed that many meanings can be deduced from each one of them; and one meaning will not contradict the other. The experts of commentaries of this Great Book can narrate endless examples of the numerous meanings in the verses.
The Qur’an accurately records events and history of the past; and what will happen in the future; for example, when the Prophet (s.a.w.) was questioned about Joseph (a.s.), the son of Jacob (a.s.), Allah (s.w.t.) Revealed the whole Chapter about him, Chapter 12, Surah Yusuf; and to the surprise of the questioners, what is contained in that Chapter about Joseph (a.s.) is more than what they ever knew about him.
The Holy Qur’an has drawn the attention of man to the process of knowing more about himself and the universe, through scientific and philosophical methodologies; but all the time keeping in mind the fact that these processes are based on conjectures, and conjectures cannot arrive at the whole truth, to know much about Allah (s.w.t.) or to define Who He is. Some of the verses are:
Soon will We Show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth Witness all things? (Surah Fuswswilat:53)
… They follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against Truth. Therefore, shun those who turn away from Our Message and desire nothing but the life of this world. That is as far as knowledge will reach them ... (Surah an-Najm:28-30)
In other words, the finite will not be able to grasp perfect knowledge of the Infinite through investigative means. Besides the literal and spiritual meanings contained in the Words of the Holy Qur’an, there are also vibrations which can be used in many ways. For example, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Had We Sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah ... (Surah al-Hashr:21)
We Send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy ... (Surah al-Isra’:82)
Unlike the other “sacred texts” which were originally Revealed but cannot be found today, the Holy Qur’an does not contain a single defect, in expression, grammar, punctuation, intonation or in any manner whatsoever. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Praise be to Allah Who hath Sent to His Servant the Book, and hath Allowed therein no crookedness: (Surah al-Kahf:1)
Because the Qur’an is the unadulterated Word of Allah (s.w.t.), there is the universal challenge for all times to come.
Say: “If the whole of mankind and jinn 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.” (Surah al-Isra’:88)
The Qur’an does not have any variations, any versions, or any editions. All Muslims all over the world, since the time of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) until this day and up to the end of the world read the same text and will continue to read and recite the original text that was Revealed by Allah (s.w.t.) to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). This is because Allah (s.w.t.) Gives mankind the undertaking that it is He Who Revealed it, and He Who will Protect it from any form of adulteration. He Says:
We have, without doubt Sent down the Message; and We will Assuredly Guard it (from corruption). (Surah al-Hijr:9)
Even the intonation and pronunciation of the words were Taught to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) by Allah (s.w.t.) through the angel Gabriel (a.s.). In this connection Allah (s.w.t.) Orders all believers to recite the Qur’an as was Revealed. He Says:
… and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones. (Surah al-Muzzammil:4)
It is He Who has Sent amongst the Unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom … (Surah al-Jumu’ah:2)
There are verses of the Holy Qur’an that contain laws and principles for correct guidance. These are ayat al-muhkamat. And there are verses of the Holy Book in which the meanings will always be understood with the discovery of new knowledge. These are ayat al-mutashabihat. The meanings are not clear to the reader, scientists and philosophers at any particular time. Take for example, the word, ‘dzarrah’. It was translated as ‘mustard seed’, and later on it was translated as ‘atom’.
Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (Surah az-Zalzalah:7-8)
There are words called huruf al-muqathat, sometimes known as signs and symbols, with powerful meanings, and vibrations which the ordinary people will not know. Only those endued with special knowledge know something about the meanings and messages contained in these words which are written only as letters of the Arabic alphabet. In reference to such people Allah (s.w.t.) Calls them Rasikhuna fi al-‘Ilm and Ulul al-Bab.
The original text of the Holy Qur’an is always Preserved in the Divine Tablet. In this connection, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved! (Surah al-Buruj:21-22)
One of the attributes of the Holy Qur’an is al-Furqan, which is normally translated as the Criterion. It points the mistakes now found in the present texts of previous Scriptures that were Revealed to some of the Messengers before Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).
From what we have discussed it is clear that that detractors of the Qur’an do not really know much about this Holy Book; and they base their opinions from translations they may have read. We need to keep in mind one important thing and that is the Qur’an explains itself, and so, there may be a particular text found in one chapter, and the explanation of it will be found in another chapter. No one is permitted to give a personal opinion or meaning of any verse of the Qur’an.
All are invited to study and understand this Great Revelation, as it truly is, with sincerity of purpose and intention; and the Merciful Lord will Bestow on them wisdom. May Allah (s.w.t.) Bless and Guide us all.