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While there is a perpetual miracle like the Qur’an,
searching for further proof appears to my mind as superfluous;
While there is a proof of reality like the Qur’an, would silencing those who deny it weigh heavily on my heart?
[At the start, our intention was to write this Word in the form of five ‘Lights’, but at the end of the First Light, we were compelled to write extremely fast in order to print it in the old [Ottoman] script.1 On some days even we wrote twenty to thirty pages in two or three hours. Therefore, writing three Lights in a brief and concise manner, we have for now abandoned the last two. I hope that my brothers will look fairly and with tolerance at any faults and defects, difficulties and mistakes, which may be attributed to me.]
Most of the verses in this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur’an have either been the cause of criticism by atheists, or have been objected to by scientists, or have been the subject of doubt and misgiving by satans among jinn and men. Thus, this Twenty-Fifth Word has explained the truths and fine points of those verses in such a way that the very points which the atheists and scientists imagined to be faults have been proved according to scholarly principles to be flashes of miraculousness and the sources of the perfections of the Qur’an’s eloquence. In order not to cause aversion, decisive answers have been given without mentioning their doubts. Only, in the first Station of the Twentieth Word their doubts have been stated concerning three or four verses, like, And the mountains [its] pegs,2 and, And the sun runs its course.3
1. According to a law
passed in November 1928, the Arabic (Ottoman) alphabet was banned from the end
of that year, and the Latin alphabet officially adopted. [Tr.]
2. Qur’an, 78:7.
3. Qur’an, 36:38.
Also, although this treatise of The Miraculousness of the Qur’an was written very concisely and with great speed, with regard to the science of rhetoric and sciences of Arabic, it is explained in a way so learned and profound and powerful that it has caused wonder to scholars. Although everyone who studies it will not understand all the matters discussed, there is a significant share for everyone in this garden. In spite of the defects in the phraseology and manner of expression due to its being written very fast and under confused conditions, it explains the truth and reality of most important matters.
The Miraculousness of the Qur’an
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Say: If all mankind and all jinn were to come together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to help and support each other.4
[Of the innumerable aspects of the miraculousness of the All-Wise Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, the treasury of miracles and greatest miracle of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), I have pointed out close on forty in my Arabic treatises, in the Arabic Risale-i Nur, in my Qur’anic commentary called Isharat al-I‘jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), and in the preceding twenty-four Words. Now I shall explain to a degree only five of those aspects and include within them briefly the other aspects, and in an Introduction give a definition of the Qur’an and indicate its nature.]
The Introduction consists of Three Parts.
FIRST PART: WHAT IS THE QUR’AN? How is it defined?
Answer: As is explained in the Nineteenth Word and proved in other Words, THE QUR’AN is the pre-eternal translator of the mighty Book of the Universe; the post-eternal interpreter of the various tongues reciting the verses of creation; the commentator of the book of the Worlds of the Seen and the Unseen; the revealer of the treasuries of the Divine Names hidden in
4. Qur’an, 17:88.
the heavens and on the earth; the key to the truths concealed beneath the lines of events; the tongue of the Unseen World in the Manifest World; the treasury of the post-eternal favours of the Most Merciful and of the pre-eternal addresses of the Most Holy, which come from the World of the Unseen beyond the veil of this Manifest World; it is the sun, foundation, and plan of the spiritual world of Islam; the sacred map of the worlds of the hereafter; the expounding word, lucid exposition, decisive proof, and clear interpreter of the Divine Essence, attributes, Names, and functions; it is the instructor of the world of humanity; the light and water of Islam, the macroanthropos; the true wisdom of mankind; and the true guide and leader urging humanity to prosperity and happiness; it is a both a book of law, and a book of prayer, and a book of wisdom, and a book of worship, and a book of command and summons, and a book of invocation, and a book of thought, and a unique, comprehensive sacred book comprising many books to which recourse may be had for all the needs of all mankind; it is a revealed scripture resembling a sacred library which offers treatises suitable for all the various ways and different paths of the all the saints and the veracious ones and the wise and the learned, which is appropriate for the illuminations of each way and enlightens it, and is suitable for the course of each path and depicts it.
SECOND PART and complement to the definition:
As is explained and proved in the Twelfth Word, since THE QUR’AN has come from the Sublime Throne and the Greatest Name, and from the highest degree of each Name, it is God’s Word in regard to His being Sustainer of All The Worlds; it is a Divine decree through His title of God of All Beings; it is an address in the name of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; it is a conversation in respect of absolute dominicality; it is a pre-eternal discourse on account of universal Divine sovereignty; it is a notebook of the favours of the Most Merciful from the point of view of all-embracing, all-encompassing Divine mercy; it is a collection of addresses at the start of which are certain ciphers in respect of the tremendousness of Divine majesty; and through its descent from the comprehensiveness of the Greatest Name, it is a holy scripture full of wisdom which looks to and inspects all sides of the Sublime Throne.
It is because of this mystery that with complete fitness the title of the Word of God has been given to the Qur’an, and is always given. After the Qur’an comes the level of the books and scriptures of the other prophets. However, those other innumerable Divine Words are each in the form of inspiration made manifest through a special regard, a partial title, a particular manifestation, a particular Name, a special dominicality, a particular sovereignty, a special mercy. The inspirations of the angels and man and the animals vary greatly with regard to universality and particularity.
THIRD PART: THE QUR’AN is a revealed scripture which contains in summary the books of all the prophets, whose times were all different, the writings of all the saints, whose paths are all different, and the works of all the purified scholars, whose ways are all different. Its six aspects are all brilliant and refined of the darkness of doubts and scepticism; its point of support is certain heavenly revelation and the pre-eternal Word; its aim and goal is self-evidently eternal happiness; its inner aspect is clearly pure guidance; its upper aspect is necessarily the lights of belief; its lower aspect is undeniably evidence and proof; its right aspect is evidently the surrender of the heart and conscience; its left aspect is manifestly the subjugation of the reason and intellect; its fruit is indisputably the mercy of the Most Merciful and the realm of Paradise; and its rank and desirability are assuredly accepted by the angels and man and the jinn.
Each of the attributes in these Three Parts concerning the Qur’an’s definition have been proved decisively in other places, or they will be proved. Our claims are not isolated; each may be proved with clear proofs.
This Light consists of three ‘Rays’.
·FIRST RAY: This is the eloquence of the Qur’an, which is at the degree of miraculousness. Its eloquence is a wonderful eloquence born of the beauty of its word-order, the perfection of its conciseness, the marvels of its style, its singularity and pleasantness, the excellence of its expression, its superiority and clarity, the power and truth of its meanings, and from the purity and fluency of its language, which for one thousand three hundred years has challenged the most brilliant men of letters of mankind, their most celebrated orators, and the most profoundly learned of them, and invited them to dispute it. It has provoked them intensely. And although it has invited them to dispute it, those geniuses, whose heads touch the skies in their pride and conceit, have been unable to so much as open their mouths to do so, and have bowed their heads utterly humiliated. Thus, we shall point to the miraculousness in its eloquence in two ‘Aspects’.
First Aspect: It possesses miraculousness and its miraculousness exists for the following reasons. The great majority of the people of the Arabian Peninsula at that time were illiterate. Due to this, rather than in writing, they preserved the sources of their pride, historical events and stories encouraging good morality, by means of poetry and eloquence. Due to the attraction of poetry and eloquence, meaningful sayings would remain in people’s memories and be passed down the generations. In consequence of this innate need, therefore, the goods most in demand in the immaterial market of that people were eloquence and fine speech. A tribe’s poet or orator was like its greatest national hero. It was he who was their greatest source of
pride. Thus, among the peoples of the world, the eloquence and rhetoric of that intelligent people, who due to their intelligence ruled the world after the establishment of Islam, was at the highest and most advanced degree. It was the thing most highly prized among them that they felt greatest need of, and was their cause of pride. They attached such value to eloquence that two tribes would do battle at the word of a poet or orator, and they would make peace at his word. They even wrote in gold on the walls of the Ka‘ba the seven qasidas of seven poets called the al-Mu‘allaqat al-Sab‘a, and took great pride in them. It was at such a time when eloquence was thus most sought after that the Qur’an was revealed. Just as at the time of Moses (Peace be upon him) it was magic that was most sought after and at the time of Jesus (Peace be upon him), it was medicine. The most important of their miracles were in those fields.
The Qur’an, therefore, invited the Arabian orators of that time to reply to even one of the shortest of the Suras. It challenged them with the decree of:
And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a Sura resembling it.5
It also said: “If you do not believe, you shall be damned and shall go to Hell.” It provoked them intensely. It smashed their pride in fearsome manner. It was contemptuous of their arrogant minds. It condemned them firstly to eternal extinction and then to eternal extinction in Hell, as well as to worldly extinction. It said: “Either dispute me, or you and your property shall perish.”
If it had been possible to dispute the Qur’an, is it at all possible that while there was an easy solution like disputing it with one or two lines and nullifying the claim, they should have chosen the most dangerous and most difficult, the way of war? Yes, is it at all possible that that clever people, that politically-minded nation, who at one time were to govern the world through politics, should have abandoned the shortest, easiest, and most light way, and chosen the most dangerous, which was going to cast their lives and all their property into peril? For if their literary figures had been able to dispute it with a few words, the Qur’an would have given up its claim, and they would have been saved from material and moral disaster. Whereas they chose a perilous, lengthy road like war. That means it was not possible to dispute in by word; it was impossible, so they were compelled to fight it with the sword.
Furthermore, there are two compelling reasons for the Qur’an being imitated. The first is its enemies’ ambition to dispute it, the other, its friends’ pleasure at imitating it. Impelled by these, millions of books in Arabic have
5. Qur’an, 2:23.
been written, but not one of them resembles the Qur’an. Whether learned or ignorant, whoever looks at it and at them is bound to say: “The Qur’an does not resemble these. Not one of them has been able to imitate it.“ The Qur’an is therefore either inferior to all of them, and according to the consensus of friend and foe alike, this is completely non-valid and impossible, or the Qur’an is superior to all of them.
If you say: “How do you know that no one has tried to dispute it, and that no one has had sufficient confidence to challenge it, and that no one’s help for anyone else was of any avail?”
The Answer: If it had been possible to dispute it, most certainly it would have been attempted. For it was a question of honour and pride, and life and property were at risk. If it had been attempted, numerous people would have supported such an attempt. For those who obstinately oppose the truth have always been many. And if many people had supported it, they surely would have found fame. For insignificant contests, even, attracted the wonder of people and found fame in stories and tales. So an extraordinary contest and event such as that would never have remained secret. The most ugly and infamous things against Islam have been passed down and become famous, but apart from one or two stories about Musaylima the Liar, no such thing has been related. Musaylima was very eloquent, but when compared with the exposition of the Qur’an, which possesses infinite beauty, his words passed into the chronicles as nonsense. Thus, the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s eloquence is as certain as twice two equals four; and that is how it is.
Second Aspect: We shall now explain in five ‘Points’ the wisdom of the Qur’an’s miraculousness contained in its eloquence.
First Point: There is a wonderful eloquence and purity of style in the Qur’an’s word-order. From beginning to end, Isharat al-I‘jaz (Signs of Miraculousness) demonstrates this eloquence and conciseness in the word-order. The way the second, minute, and hour hands of a clock each complete the order of the others, that is the way all the sentences of the All-Wise Qur’an, and its words, and the order in the relationships between the sentences and words, have been expounded in Isharat al-I‘jaz, from it first page to its last. Whoever wishes may look at that and see this wonderful eloquence in the word-order. Here, we shall mention one or two examples in order to demonstrate the word-order in the parts of a sentence. For example:
But if a breath of your Sustainer’s punishment touches them.6
In this sentence, it wants to point out the punishment as terrible through showing the severity of the least amount. That is to say, it expresses littleness or fewness, and all the parts of the sentence look also to this littleness or fewness and reinforce it. Thus, the words, But if signify doubt, and doubt looks to littleness
6. Qur’an, 21:46.
or fewness. The word touches means to touch lightly and expresses a small amount. And just as the word a breath is merely a whiff, so is it in the singular form. Grammatically it is a masdar marra and signifies once. Also the tanwin indicating indefiniteness in a breathe expresses littleness or fewness and means it is so insignificant that it can scarcely be known. The word of signifies division or a part; it means a bit and indicates paucity. The word punishment points to a light sort of punishment in relation to chastisement (nakal) or penalty (i‘qab), and suggests a small amount. And by alluding to compassion and being used in place of Subduer, All-Compelling, or Avenger, the word Sustainer indicates littleness or fewness. It says, if the small amount of punishment suggested in all this paucity has such an effect, you can compare how dreadful Divine chastisement would be. How much then do the small parts of this sentence look to one another and assist one another! How each reinforces the aim of the whole! This example looks to the words and aim to a small degree.
And spend [in God’s way] out of what We have bestowed on them as sustenance.7
The parts of this sentence point out five of the conditions which make almsgiving acceptable.
First Condition: This is to give only so much alms as will not cause the giver to be in need of receiving alms himself. It states this condition through the division or parts signified by out of in the words out of what.
Second Condition: It is not to take from ‘Ali and give to Wali, but to give out of a one’s own property. The words We have bestowed on them as sustenance express this condition. It means: “Give out of the sustenance that is yours.”
Third Condition: This is not to place an obligation on the recipient. The word We in We have bestowed on them as sustenance states this condition. That is to say: “I give you the sustenance. When you give some of My property to one of My servants, you cannot place them under an obligation.”
Fourth Condition: You should give it to a person who will spend it on his livelihood, for alms given to those who will squander it idly is not acceptable. The word spend points to this condition.
Fifth Condition: This is to give in God’s name. The words We bestow on them as sustenance states this. That is to say: “The property is Mine; you should give it in My name.”
7. Qur’an, 2:3.
These conditions may be extended. That is, the form almsgiving should take, with what goods. It may be given as learning and knowledge. It may be given as words, or as acts, or as advice. The word what in out of what indicates these various sorts through its generality. Furthermore, it indicates this with the sentence itself, because it is absolute and expresses generality. Thus, with the five conditions in this short sentence describing almsgiving, it opens up a broad field before the mind, granting it to it through the sentence as a whole. Thus, in the sentence as a whole, the word-order has many aspects.
Similarly, the word-order between words encompasses a broad sphere and has many aspects. And between phrases. For example, Say: He is God, the One8 contains six sentences. Three of them are positive and three negative. It proves six degrees of Divine unity and at the same time refutes six ways of associating partners with God. Each sentence is both the proof of the other sentences and the result. For each sentence has two meanings. Through one meaning it is the result, and through the other the proof. That is to say, within Sura al-Ikhlas are thirty suras composed of proofs that demonstrate each another to be as well-ordered as the Sura itself. For example:
Say, He is God, because He is One, because He is the Eternally Besought, because He begets not, because He is not begotten, because there is none that is equal to Him.
And there is none that is equal to Him, because He is not begotten, because He begets not, because He is Eternally Besought, because He is One, because He is God.
He is God, so He is One, so He is the Eternally Besought, so He begets not, so He is not begotten, so there is none that is equal to Him.
You can continue in the same way.
A further example:
Alif. Lam. Mim. * This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who fear God.9
Each of these four phrases has two meanings. With one meaning each is a proof of the other phrases, with the other, it is their result. From the sixteen threads of their relationships, a miraculous word-order embroidery is wrought. It is described thus in Isharat al-I‘jaz. Also, as is explained in the Thirteenth Word, it is as though all the Qur’an’s verses have eyes that see most of the other verses and faces that look to them, so that each extends to the others the immaterial threads of relationship; each weaves a miraculous
8. Qur’an, 112:1.
9. Qur’an, 2:1-2.
embroidery. From beginning to end Isharat al-I‘jaz expounds this beauty and eloquence of the word-order.
Second Point: This is the wonderful eloquence in its meaning. Consider this example, which is explained in the Thirteenth Word. For example, if you want to understand the eloquence of the verse,
All that is in the heavens and on the earth extols and glorifies God, for He is the Tremendous, the Wise,10
imagine yourself in the Age of Ignorance in the deserts of barbarism before the Light of the Qur’an. Then, at a time everything is swathed in the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness and enveloped in the lifeless veils of nature, you hear verses from the heavenly tongue of the Qur’an like:
All that is in the heavens and on the earth extols and glorifies God,
The heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him.11
Now look! See how the dead or sleeping creatures in the world are raised to life in the minds of listeners at the sound of extols and glorifies Him; how they become conscious, and rise up and recite God’s Names. And how at the cry and light of extols and glorifies Him the stars, which had been lifeless lumps of fire in the black skies, all appear in the view of those who hear it as wisdom-displaying words in the mouth of the sky and truth-pronouncing lights. The earth, too, rather than being a desolate wasteland is seen to be a head with the land and sea as tongues, and animals and plants as words of glorification and praise.
Now consider this example, which is proved in the Fifteenth Word. Listen to these verses. What do they say?
O you company of jinn and men! If you can pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, pass beyond them! But you will not be able to pass beyond them save with authority [given by God]. * Which then, of the blessings of your Sustainer do you deny? * A flash of fire, and smoke, will be sent on you, and no succour shall you have. * Which then of the blessings of your Sustainer do you deny?12
And We have adorned the skies nearest the earth with lamps, and made them missiles to drive away the evil ones.13
These verses say: “O men and jinn, arrogant and refractory in your impotence and baseness, and rebellious and obstinate in your weakness and poverty! If you disobey My commands and you have the power to do so, pass
10. Qur’an, 57:1;
11. Qur’an, 17:44.
12. Qur’an, 55:33-6.
13. Qur’an, 67:5.
beyond the boundaries of My dominions! How can you dare to oppose the commands of a Monarch Whose commands the stars, moons, and suns obey as though they were soldiers under orders? In your rebelliousness you oppose an All-Wise and Glorious One Who has obedient soldiers which are thus awesome. Suppose your satans were to resist, His soldiers could rain down stones on them like cannon-balls. In your godlessness you revolt in the lands of a Sovereign so Glorious that among His forces are some which, it is not insignificant powerless creatures like you, but supposing the impossible you were infidel enemies the size of mountains or the globe, they could hurl down stars and flaming missiles on you of that magnitude and rout you. You infringe a law which binds beings such as those; if it was necessary, they could hurl the globe of the earth in your face and rain down stars and heavenly bodies on you as though they were missiles, with God’s permission.” You can compare with these the power, eloquence, and elevated manner of expression of other verses and their meanings.
Third Point: This is the wonderful uniqueness of its style. Indeed, the Qur’an’s style is both strange, and original, and wonderful, and convincing. It has imitated nothing and no one. And no one has been able to imitate it. Its style has always preserved the freshness, youth, and singularity it possessed when it was first revealed and continues to preserve it. For instance, the unique style of the cipher-like muqatta‘at, the ‘disjointed letters,’ like, Alif. Lam. Mim., Alif. Lam. Ra., Ta. Ha., Ya. Sin., Ha. Mim. ‘Ayn. Sin. Qaf., at the beginning of some of the Suras. We have described five or six of the flashes of miraculousness they comprise in Isharat al-I‘jaz.
For example, these letters at the start of certain Suras have taken half of each category of the many well-known categories of letters, like the emphatic letters (Kaf, Qaf, Ta, Alif, Jim, Dal, Ta, Ba), the sibilants, the stressed letters, the soft letters, the labiolinguals, and tremolo (qalqala) letters (Qaf, Ta, Dal, Jim, Ba). Taking more than half from the light letters and less than half from the heavy letters, neither of which are divisible, it has halved every category. Although the human mind would be capable of it, halving all those categories overlapping one within the other, hesitant among two hundred possibilities, in the only way possible, which was hidden to the human mind and unknown to it, and organizing all the letters on that way, over that broad distance, was not the work of the human mind. And chance could not have interfered in it. Thus, in addition to these letters at the beginning of the Suras -Divine ciphers- displaying five or six similar flashes of miraculousness, scholars versed in the mysteries of the science of letters and the authorities from among the saints deduced many secrets from these ‘disjointed letters.’ They discovered such truths that they declared that on their own these letters form a brilliant miracle. Since we are not party to their secrets and also we cannot provide proofs clear to everyone, we cannot open that door. We shall therefore suffice with referring
readers to the explanation in Isharat al-I‘jaz of five or six flashes of miraculousness related to them.
Now we shall point out the Qur’anic styles with regard to Sura, aim, verse, phrase, and word.
For example, if the Sura About what are they disputing?14 is studied carefully, it shows the events of the hereafter, the resurrection of the dead, and Paradise and Hell in a style so unique and wonderful that it proves the Divine acts and dominical works in this world as though looking at each of those events of the next world, and convinces the heart. To expound the style of this Sura fully would be lengthy, so we shall merely indicate one or two points, as follows:
At the start of the Sura, to prove the resurrection, it says: “We have made the earth a beautifully decked-out cradle for you, and the mountains masts and poles full of treasure for your house and your lives. We have made you as couples, loving and close to one another. We have made the night a coverlet for your sleep of comfort, the daytime the arena in which you earn your livelihood, the sun a light-giving, heat-supplying lamp, and from the clouds We pour down water as though they were a spring producing the water of life. And We create easily and quickly from the simple water the various flower-bearing and fruit-bearing things which bear all your sustenance. Since this is so, the Day of Resurrection, the day when good and evil shall be separated out, awaits you. It is not difficult for Us to bring about that Day.” In a veiled way it points to proofs that after this at the resurrection, the mountains will be scattered, the skies shattered, Hell readied, and the people of Paradise given gardens and orchards. It says in effect: “Since He does these things related to the mountains and the earth before your very eyes, He shall do things resembling these in the hereafter.” That is to say, the ‘mountain’ at the beginning of the Sura looks to the state of the mountains at the resurrection, and the garden to the gardens and paradises in the hereafter. You may compare other points to this and see what a beautiful and elevated style it has.
And, for example:
Say: O God, Holder of All Power! You grant dominion to whomever You wish and You remove dominion from whomever You wish. You exalt whomever You wish and You bring low whomever You wish. In Your hand is all good. Indeed, You are Powerful over all things. * You enter the night into the day and enter the day into the night, and You bring forth the living from the dead and bring forth the dead from the living, and You grant sustenance to whomever You wish without measure.15
14. The Great News, Sura 78.
15. Qur’an, 3:26-7.
These verses describe the Divine acts in human kind, and the Divine manifestations in the alternations of night and day, and the dominical acts of disposal in the seasons of the year, and the dominical deeds in life and death on the face of the earth and in the resurrections in this world in a style so elevated that it captivates the minds of the attentive. Since its brilliant, elevated, and wide-reaching style is clearly understood with little study, we shall not open that treasury for now.
And for example,
When the sky is rent asunder * Heeding [the command of] its Sustainer, as in truth it must. * And when the earth is levelled * And casts out what is within it and becomes empty * And it heeds [the command of] its Sustainer, as in truth it must.16
This explains in a truly elevated style the degree of submission and obedience to Almighty God’s command of the skies and the earth. It is like this: just as a commander-in-chief opens two offices to accommodate the matters necessary for fighting, like one for strategy and one for the enrollment of soldiers, and when those matters are accomplished and the fighting is over, he addresses himself to the two offices in order to convert them into something else for some other business, they both say, either through the tongues of those employed in them or through their own tongues: “O Chief! Give us a short respite so that we can clean up the bits and pieces of the former business and throw them out, then you may honour us with your presence. There, we have thrown them out, we await your command. Order what you wish. We hear and obey! Everything you do is true, good, and beneficial.”
In the same way, the heavens and the earth were opened as two arenas of obligation, trial, and examination. After the allotted period is finished, they will put aside the things pertaining to the arena of trial and say: “O our Sustainer! The command is Yours, employ us now in whatever You wish. Our right is only to obey You. Everything You do is right.” Consider carefully the majestic style of those sentences!
And for example,
Then the word went forth: “O earth, swallow up your water! And o sky withhold [your rain]!” And the water abated and the matter was ended. The ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: “Away with all those who do wrong!”17
In order to point to a mere drop from the sea of eloquence of this verse, we shall show one aspect of its style in the mirror of a comparison. On the victory being won in a great war, the commander says “Cease fire!” to one
16. Qur’an, 84:1-5.
17. Qur’an, 11:44.
firing army and “Halt!” to another, assaulting, army. He issues the command, and at that moment the firing ceases and the assault is halted. He says: “It is finished, we have beaten them. Our flag is planted at the top of the high citadel at the enemies’ centre. Those mannerless tyrants have met with their reward and been cast down to the lowest of the low.”
In just the same way, the Peerless Sovereign issued the command to the heavens and the earth to annihilate the people of Noah. When they had carried out their duty, He decreed: “Drink up your water, O earth! Cease from your work, O skies! It is finished. Now the waters are receding. The Ark, which is a Divine official performing its duty as a tent, is settled on the top of the mountain. The wrongdoers have received retribution.” See the elevated nature of this style. It is saying: “The heavens and earth obey the command like two highly disciplined soldier.” It is thus alluding to the fact that the universe becomes angry at man’s rebellion. The heavens and the earth become incensed. And with this allusion it is saying: “One Whose commands the skies and the earth obey like two disciplined soldiers may not be rebelled against,” restraining man in awesome fashion. Thus, it describes a universal event like the Flood with all its consequences and truths in a few sentences in a concise, miraculous, beautiful, and succinct manner. You can compare this droplet from the ocean with other drops. Now consider the style displayed by the window of the words.
For example, consider the words like an old date-stalk, withered and curved in,
And the moon We have determined mansions for till it returns like an old date-stalk, withered and curved;18
see what a subtle style it displays. It is like this: one of the moon’s mansions is in the Pleiades. The Qur’an likens the moon when it is a crescent to a withered and whitened old date-stalk. Through this simile it depicts for the eye of the imagination a tree behind the green veil of the skies; one of its white, curved, luminous branches has rent the veil and raised its head; the Pleiades are like a bunch of grapes on the branch and the other stars all luminous fruits of that hidden tree of creation. If you have any discernment, you will understand what an appropriate, graceful, subtle, and elevated style and manner of expression this is in the view of the desert-dwellers, for whom the date-palm is the most important means of livelihood.
And for example, as is proven at the end of the Nineteenth Word, the words runs its course in,
And the sun runs its course to a place appointed19
opens a window onto an elevated style, as follows: with the words runs its
18. Qur’an, 36:39.
19. Qur’an, 36:38.
course, that is, ‘the sun revolves,’ it puts in mind the Maker’s tremendousness by recalling the orderly disposals of Divine power in the alternations of winter and summer and day and night, and directs one’s gaze to the missives of the Eternally Besought One inscribed by the pen of power on the pages of the seasons. It proclaims the wisdom of the All-Glorious Creator.
And with the word lamp in,
And set the sun as a lamp,20
it opens a window onto the style like this: it makes one understand the Maker’s majesty and Creator’s bounty by recalling that the world is a palace and the things within it are adornments, food, and necessities prepared for man and living creatures and that the sun is a subservient candle, demonstrating that the sun is an evidence of God’s unity, and that the idolators’ greatest, most brilliant object of worship is merely a subjugated lamp, an inanimate creature. That is to say, the word lamp calls to mind the Creator’s mercy within the grandeur of His dominicality; it recalls His favours within the breadth of His mercy, and in so doing informs of His munificence within the majesty of His sovereignty, thereby proclaiming Divine unity, and saying indirectly: “An inanimate and subservient lamp is in no way fit to be worshipped.”
And in the course of runs its course it calls to mind the wondrous orderly disposals of Divine power in the revolutions of night and day and winter and summer, and in so doing makes known the grandeur of a single Maker’s power in His dominicality. That is to say, it turns man’s mind from the points of the sun and moon to the pages of night and day and winter and summer, and draws his attention to the lines of events written on those pages. For the Qur’an does not speak of the sun for the sake of the sun, but for the One Who illuminates it. Also, it does not speak of the sun’s nature, for which man has no need, but of the sun’s duty, which is that of mainspring for the order of dominical art, and centre of the order of dominical creativity, and a shuttle for the harmony and order of dominical art in the things the Pre-Eternal Inscriber weaves with the threads of day and night. You can compare others of the Qur’an’s words with these. While all are simple, ordinary words, each performs the duty of a key to treasuries of subtle meanings.
It is because the Qur’an’s style is for the greater part elevated and brilliant in the ways described above that on occasion Arab nomads were captivated by a single phrase, and without being Muslims would prostrate. One nomad prostrated on hearing the phrase:
Therefore proclaim openly what you are commanded.21
20. Qur’an, 71:16.
21. Qur’an, 15:94.
When asked: “Have you become a Muslim?”, he replied: “No. I am prostrating at the eloquence of these words.”
Fourth Point: This is the wonderful eloquence in its wording; that is, in the words employed. Yes, just as the Qur’an is extraordinarily eloquent in regard to its style and manner of exposition, so is there a truly fluent eloquence in its wording. Clear evidence of the existence of this eloquence is the fact that it does not bore or cause weariness; while the testimony of the brilliant scholars of the sciences of rhetoric forms a decisive proof of the wisdom of the eloquence.
Yes, it does not weary even if repeated thousands of times; indeed, it gives pleasure. It is not burdensome for the memory of a small and simple child; children can memorize it easily. It is not unpleasant to the ear, pained by the slightest word, of someone extremely ill; it is easy on it. It is like sherbet to the palate of one in the throes of death. The recitation of the Qur’an gives sweet pleasure to the ear and mind of such a person just like Zemzem water to his mouth and palate. The reason for its not causing boredom, and the wisdom of it, is this: it is food and sustenance for the heart, strength and wealth for the mind, water and light for the spirit, and the cure and remedy for the soul. Everyday we eat bread, yet we do not tire of it. But if we were to eat the choicest fruit every day, it would cause boredom. That means it is because the Qur’an is truth and reality and truthfulness and guidance and wonderfully eloquent that it does not cause weariness and preserves its freshness and agreeableness as though preserving a perpetual youth. One of the Qurayshi leaders even, an expert orator, was sent by the idolators to listen to the Qur’an. He went and listened, then returned and said to them: “These words have such a sweetness and freshness that they do not resemble the words of men. I know the poets and soothsayers; these words do not resemble theirs. The best we can do is mislead our followers and say it is magic.”22 Thus, even the All-Wise Qur’an’s most obdurate enemies were amazed at its eloquence.
It would be very lengthy to explain the sources of the All-Wise Qur’an’s eloquence in its verses and words and sentences, therefore we shall keep the explanation brief and show by way of example the fluency and eloquence of the wording in one sentence obtained through the position of the letters and a single flash of miraculousness that shines forth from that positioning. Take the verse:
Then after the distress He sent down on you a feeling of peace and drowsiness, which overcame a group of you....23 [to the end of the verse]
In this verse, all the letters of the alphabet are present. But, see, although all the categories of emphatic letters are together, it has not spoilt the smooth
22. Suyuti, al-Itqan
fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, ii, 117; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’, i, 264.
23. Qur’an, 3:154.
ness of style. Indeed, it has added a brilliance and harmonious, congruent, eloquent melody issuing from varied strings. Also, note carefully the following flash of eloquence: of the letters of the alphabet, Alif and Ya, since they are the lightest and have been transposed with one another like sisters, they have each been repeated twenty-one times. And since Mim and Nun24 are sisters and have changed places, they have each been mentioned thirty-three times. And since Shin, Sin, and Sad are sisters in regard to articulation, quality, and sound, each has been mentioned three times. And although ‘Ayn and Ghayn are sisters, since ‘Ayn is lighter, it is mentioned six times, while because Ghayn is harsher, it is mentioned half as many, three times. And since Zay, Dhal, Za, and Ta are sisters in regard to articulation, quality, and sound, each is mentioned twice, while Lam and Alif in the form of LA have united and Alif’s share in the the form of LA is half that of Lam, Lam is mentioned forty-two times and as a half of it Alif twenty-one times. Since Hamza and Ha are sisters in regard to articulation, Hamza25 is mentioned thirteen times and being a degree lighter Ha is mentioned fourteen times. And Kaf, Fa and Qaf are sisters; since Qaf has an additional point, it is mentioned ten times, Fa, nine times, Kaf nine times, Ba nine times, and Ta twelve times. Since Ta comes third, it is mentioned twelve times. Ra is Lam’s sister, but according to their numerical value, Ra is two hundred, and Lam thirty, so since it has risen six times more, it has fallen six. Also, since Ra is repeated on pronunciation, it becomes emphatic and is only mentioned six times. And because Dad, Tha, Ha, and Kha are emphatic and gain additional qualities in connection with other letters, they have each been mentioned only once. Since Waw is lighter than Ha and Hamza, and heavier than Ya and Alif, it is mentioned seventeen times, four times more than heavy Hamza and four times less than light Alif.
Thus, the extraordinary positioning of the letters in the passage mentioned here and their hidden relationships, and the beautiful order and fine, subtle regularity and harmony show as clearly as twice two equals four that it would not be within the limits of human thought to have composed it. As for chance and coincidence, it is impossible that it should have interfered. And so, just as the strange and wonderful order and regularity in the position of these letters leads to a fluency and eloquence in the words, so may there be many other hidden instances of wisdom. Since such an order has been followed in the letters, surely in the words, sentences and meanings such a mysterious order, such a luminous harmony, has been observed that should the eye see it, it would declare: Ma’shallah!, and should the reason comprehend it, it would exclaim: Barakallah!
24. Tanwin is also a
25. Pronounced and unpronounced, Hamza is twenty-five, and three more than Hamza’s silent sister Alif, because its points are three.
Fifth Point: This is the excellence in its manner of exposition; that is to say, the superiority, conciseness, and grandeur. Just as there is eloquence in the word-order, the wording, and the meaning, and a uniqueness in its style, so in its manner of exposition is there a superiority and excellence. Indeed, all the categories and levels of speech and address, like encouragement and deterring, praise and censure, demonstration and guidance, explanation and silencing in argument, are at the highest degree in the Qur’an’s exposition.
Of the innumerable examples of its manner of exposition26 in the category of encouragement and urging is that in Sura Has there not been over man a long period of time when he was nothing - [not even] mentioned?;27 this is as sweet as the water of Kawthar and flows with the fluency of the spring of Salsabil, it is as fine as the raiment of the houris.
Of the numerous examples of the category of deterring and threatening is the start of Sura Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming Event?28 Here the Qur’an’s exposition has an effect like lead boiling in the ears of the people of misguidance, and fire burning in their brains, and zaqqum scalding their palates, and Hell assaulting their faces, and like a bitter thorny tree in their stomachs. An official like Hell charged by someone with inflicting torment and torture in order to demonstrate his threats, and its splitting apart with seething rage, and its saying: well-nigh bursting with fury29 certainly show how awesomely dreadful that person’s threats are.
Of the thousands of examples in the category of praise, the Qur’an’s manner of exposition in the five Suras starting al-Hamdulillah is brilliant like the sun,30 adorned like the stars, majestic like the heavens and the earth, lovable like the angels, compassionate like tenderness towards young in this world, and beautiful like Paradise in the hereafter.
Of the thousands of examples in the category of censure and restraint, in the verse, Would any among you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother,31 it censures six times. It restrains from backbiting forcibly six times over. It is like this: as is known, the Hamza at the beginning of the verse is interrogative. This seeps through all the words of the verse like water. Thus, with the first Hamza it asks: Have you no reason, the seat of question and answer, that you do not understand how ugly it is?
With the second, it asks with the word like: Is your heart, the seat of love and hate, so corrupted that it loves the most despicable thing?
26. The style here
has slipped into the clothes of this Sura’s meaning.
27. Qur’an, 76:1.
28. Qur’an, 88:1.
29. Qur’an, 67:8.
30. In these phrases is an allusion to the matters discussed in these Suras.
31. Qur’an, 49:12.
With the third, it asks with the words one of you: What has happened to your social life and civilization, which receives its vitality from the community, that it finds acceptable an act which thus poisons your life?
With the fourth, it asks with the words to eat the flesh: What has happened to your humanity that you tear apart your friend like a savage beast?
With the fifth, it asks with the words your brother: Have you no compassion and fellow-feeling that you unjustly tear with your teeth at the character of the one injured, your brother in so many respects? Have you no reason that you bite at your own limbs like a madman?
And with the sixth it asks with the word dead: Where is your conscience? Is your nature so corrupted that you do the most repulsive thing to the most respected person, your brother, like eating his flesh? That is to say, backbiting is censured and despised by the reason, the heart, humanity, the conscience, human nature, and social and national solidarity. So see! How this verse restrains from this crime in six concise degrees, on six miraculous levels!
Of the thousands of examples of the category of proof and demonstration, is the verse:
So consider the signs of God’s mercy; how He gives life to the earth after its death. Indeed, it is He Who gives life to the dead, for He is powerful over all things.32
Its exposition is such in proving resurrection and banishing doubts that it could not be more clearly demonstrated. It is like this: it says that, as is proved and explained in the Ninth Truth of the Tenth Word and in the Fifth Flash of the Twenty-Second Word, every spring examples of resurrection are provided in three hundred thousand ways in the earth being raised to life with the utmost order and differentiation despite the innumerable species being all mixed up together in total confusion, thus demonstrating to the human observer that the resurrection of the dead would not be difficult for the One who does this. Also, since to write without fault or error with the pen of power hundreds of thousands of species on the page of the earth, all together and one within the other, is the seal of the Single One of Unity; with this verse it both proves Divine unity as the clearly as the sun, and it demonstrates the resurrection of the dead as easily and decisively as the rising and setting of the sun. Thus, the Qur’an demonstrates this truth in regard to manner, as described by the word how, just as it mentions it in detail in many Suras.
And for example, in Sura, Qaf. By the Glorious Qur’an,33 it proves
32. Qur’an, 30:50.
33. Qur’an, 50:1.
resurrection in such a brilliant, fine, sweet, and exalted manner that it convinces as certainly as the coming of spring. Look: in answer to the unbelievers denying the raising to life of decomposed bones and saying: “This is extraordinary; it could not be!”, it decrees:
Do they not look to the skies above them; how we have made them and adorned them and how there is no flaw in them.... until: ... and thus will be the Resurrection.34
Its manner of exposition flows like water and shines like the stars. It gives both pleasure and delight to the heart like dates. And it is sustenance.
And in one of the most subtle examples of the category of demonstration, it says:
Ya. Sin.* By the All-Wise Qur’an * Indeed you are one of the Messengers.35
That is, “I swear by the Wise Qur’an that you are one of the Divine Messengers.” This oath indicates that the proof of Messengership is so certain and true, and its veracity is so worthy of honour and respect, that it is sworn by. By indicating this, it is saying: “You are the Messenger, for you hold the Qur’an in your hand, and the Qur’an is the truth and it is the word of Truth. For it contains true wisdom, and bears the seal of miraculousness.”
And one of the concise and miraculous examples of the category of proof and demonstration is this:
He says: Who will raise to life these bones when they are rotted? * Say: He will raise them Who created them in the first instance, for He has full knowledge of every kind of creation.36
That is, man asks: “Who will resurrect decayed bones?” You say: “Whoever made them in the first place and gave them life, He will resurrect them.” As was depicted in the third comparison of the Ninth Truth in the Tenth Word, if someone reassembles a large army in one day before your eyes, and someone else says: “At a bugle-call that person brought together the members of a battalion who had dispersed to rest; he is able to bring the battalion under order,” and you say, O man: “I do not believe it,” you can see what a foolish denial it would be.
In just the same way, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing One enrolls and unites anew with the command of “Be!” and it is, and with perfect order and the balance of wisdom, the particles and subtle faculties of the battalion-like bodies of all the animals -which are like an army- and other living creatures, and creates every century, and every spring even, all the hundreds of
34. Qur’an, 50:6-11.
35. Qur’an, 36:1-3.
36. Qur’an, 36:78-79.
thousands of army-like species of living creatures on the face of the earth. Can it be questioned then how He can gather together at one blast of Israfil’s trumpet the fundamental parts and particles of a battalion-like body, which are already familiar with one another, through taking them under order? Can it be considered unlikely? If it is considered unlikely, it is a mindless foolishness.
In the category of guidance, the Qur’an’s manner of exposition is so moving and tender, and familiar and gentle that it fills the spirit with ardour, the heart with delight, the mind with interest, and the eyes with tears. Of thousands of examples is this verse:
And yet after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder... to the end of the verse.37
As is proved and explained in the discussion of the third verse in the First Station of the Twentieth Word, it says to the Children of Israel: “What has happened to you that although hard rock shed tears from twelve springs like eyes before a miracle like the Staff of Moses (Peace be upon him), you remain indifferent in the face of all his miracles, with your eyes dry and tearless and your hearts hard and without fervour?” Since this meaning of guidance is explained there, we refer you to that Word, and curtail this here.
Of thousands of examples in the category of making understood and silencing in argument, consider only the following two:
If you have doubts about the Qur’an We have revealed to Our servant Muhammad, then produce a Sura similar to it. And call upon all your helpers besides God to bear witness for you, if what you say is true.38
That is, “If you have any doubts, summon all your elders and supporters to help you and testify for you, then compose the like of a single Sura.” Since this has been explained and proved in Isharat al-I‘jaz, here we shall only point out a brief summary of it. It is as follows:
The Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition says: “O men and jinn! If you have any doubts that the Qur’an is the Word of God and imagine it to be man’s word, then come on, here it is, let’s see! You bring a book like this Qur’an from someone unlettered, who does not know how to read and write like the one you call Muhammad the Trustworthy, and get him to compose it! If you cannot do this, then he need not be untaught, let him be a famous man of letters and learned. And if you are not able to do this, alright, not on his own, take all the finest works of all your orators and men of eloquence, and indeed of all the literary geniuses of the past and all those of the future, and the assistance of all your gods. Work with all your strength, compose the
37. Qur’an, 2:74.
38. Qur’an, 2:23.
like of a single Sura.” Since this has been explained and proved in Isharat al-I‘jaz, here we shall only point out a brief summary of it. It is as follows:
The Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition says: “O men and jinn! If you have any doubts that the Qur’an is the Word of God and imagine it to be man’s word, then come on, here it is, let’s see! You bring a book like this Qur’an from someone unlettered, who does not know how to read and write like the one you call Muhammad the Trustworthy, and get him to compose it! If you cannot do this, then he need not be untaught, let him be a famous man of letters and learned. And if you are not able to do this, alright, not on his own, take all the finest works of all your orators and men of eloquence, and indeed of all the literary geniuses of the past and all those of the future, and the assistance of all your gods. Work with all your strength, compose the like of this Qur’an. And if you cannot do this, leave aside the truths of the Qur’an and its many miraculous aspects, which it is not possible to imitate, and compose a work which is its equal in only the eloquence of its word-order!”
Through the silencing words of
Bring then ten Suras forged, like it,39
it says: “Come on, I do not want its true meaning from you, let it be fabrications and lies and false tales. You will not be able to do this. So it need not be as much as the whole Qur’an, just bring ten Suras like it. You will not be able to do this either, so bring a single Sura. This will be too much as well. So alright, make it the equivalent of a short Sura. You will not be able to do this either, although the need for you to do so is so great. For your honour and self-respect, your dignity and religion, your tribal honour and pride, your life and property, and your lives in this world and the next will all be saved by producing the like of it. Otherwise in this world you will remain in abasement, without honour, dignity, religion, or pride, and your lives and property will be destroyed and will perish, and in the hereafter, as is indicated by the verse,
Then give heed to Hell-fire, whose fuel is men and stones,40
you will be condemned to everlasting incarceration in Hell; together with your idols you will be fuel to its fires. Since your need is thus great, and since you have now understood your impotence in eight degrees, you should be certain eight times over that the Qur’an is a miracle. So either believe in it, or be silent and go to Hell!” So see the way the Qur’an forces them to accept the argument in this category of ‘silencing in argument’ which is within that of ‘making understood,’ and say: “There is no manner of exposition better than that of the Qur’an!” Indeed, after that of the Qur’an no need remains for further exposition.
Here is a second example:
Exhort then [O Prophet], for by your Sustainer’s grace you are neither a soothsayer nor a madman * Or do they say: A poet! - let us wait and see what time will do! * Say: Wait then, I too shall wait with you. * Is it that their faculties of understanding urge them to this, or are they but a people transgressing all bounds. * Or do they say: He fabricated this [Message]? Nay, they do not believe. * Let them then produce a recital like unto it - if they speak the truth. * Or were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators? * Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief. *
39. Qur’an, 11:13.
40. Qur’an, 2:24.
Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them, or are they the managers [of affairs]? * Or have they a ladder by which they can [climb up to heaven and] listen [to its secrets]? Then let [such a] listener of theirs produce a manifest proof. * Or has He only daughters and you have sons? * Or is it that you ask for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt? * Or that the Unseen is in their hands, and they write it down? * Or do they intend a plot [against you]? But those who defy God are themselves involved in a plot! * Or have they a god other than God? Exalted is God far above the things they associate with them.41
Here we shall explain only one of the thousands of truths of these verses as a further example of the category of silencing in argument. It is as follows: with the word, Or....Or..., it silences every group of the people of misguidance with a rhetorical question expressing surprise and stops up all the sources of their doubts. It leaves no satanic chink through which doubts might enter and hide themselves; it closes them all. It leaves no veil of misguidance under which they might creep and lurk; it rends all of them. It leaves not one of their lies; it crushes them. In each sentence it either demolishes the essence of the blasphemous ideas of one group with a short phrase, or since the falsity is obvious, it exposes it by silence, or since it is refuted in detail in other verses, it here alludes to it briefly. For example, the first sentence alludes to the verse:
And We have not instructed him poetry, nor is it meet for him.42
While the fifteenth sentence points to the verse:
Were there gods other than God in the heavens and earth, there surely would have been confusion in both.43
You can make further examples from the other sentences like these. It is like this: it says at the start: Announce the Divine decrees. You are not a soothsayer, for the words of soothsayers are confused and conjectural, while yours are true and certain. And you are not mad; your enemies even attest to your perfect sanity.
Or do they say: A poet - let us wait and see what time will do!44
Do they call you a poet, like the unreasoning, common infidels? Are they waiting for you to perish? You say to them: “Wait! I shall wait with you!” Your vast and brilliant truths are free of the imaginings of poetry and independent of their fancies.
41. Qur’an, 52:29-43.
42. Qur’an, 36:69.
43. Qur’an, 21:22.
44. Qur’an, 52:30.
Or is it that their faculties of understanding urge them to this?45
Or like unreasoning philosophers who rely on their reasons, do they hold back from following you, saying: “Our faculties of reason are sufficient.” But reason commands that you are followed, because everything you say is reasonable. But again the reason on its own cannot reach it.
Or are they but a people transgressing all bounds?46
Or is the reason for their denial their not submitting to Almighty God like wicked tyrants? But the ends of the Pharaohs and Nimrods, who were the leaders of arrogant oppressors, are known.
Or do they say: He fabricated this [Message]? Nay, they do not believe.47
Or like lying dissemblers without conscience do they accuse you saying: “You have made up the Qur’an!”? But up to this time they have known you to be the most truthful among them and have called you Muhammad the Trustworthy. It means that they have no intention to believe. Otherwise let them find the like of the Qur’an among the works of men.
Or were they created of nothing?48
Or like the absurd philosophers who believed the universe to be without purpose and in vain, do they suppose themselves to be aimless and without wisdom, purpose, duty, or Creator? Have they become blind that they do not see that the universe is adorned from top to bottom with instances of wisdom and bears the fruit of aims, and that beings from particles to the suns are charged with duties and are subjugated to the Divine commands?
Or were they themselves the creators?49
Or do they imagine like the pharaoh-like Materialists that “They came into being by themselves, feed themselves, and themselves create everything they need,” so that they hold back from believing and worship? That means they all suppose themselves to be the Creator. Whereas the Creator of one thing has to be the Creator of everything. That is to say, their pride and conceit have made them so utterly stupid they imagine to be a Possessor of Absolute Power one who is absolutely impotent and may be defeated by a fly or a microbe. Since they have abdicated their reason and humanity to this degree and have fallen lower than the animals and even inanimate beings, do not be saddened at their denial. Consider them to be a variety of harmful animal and filthy matter! Ignore them and give them no importance!
45. Qur’an, 52:32.
46. Qur’an, 52:32.
47. Qur’an, 52:33.
48. Qur’an, 52:35.
49. Qur’an, 52:35.
Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief!50
Or, like the mindless, confused Mu‘attila, who denied God all attributes and denied the Creator, do they deny God so that they do not heed the Qur’an? In which case, let them deny the existence of the heavens and the earth, or let them say: “We created them!” Let them lose their minds altogether and begin uttering the frenzied ravings of lunacy. For in the heavens as many proofs of Divine unity are apparent and are recited as the stars, and on the earth as many as the flowers. That means they have no intention of acquiring certain knowledge and finding the truth. Otherwise how do they suppose to be without inscriber the book of the universe, in one word of which is written a whole book, although they know that a letter cannot exist without the one who wrote it.
Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them?51
Or, like one group of misguided philosophers who denied Almighty God the power of choice, or like the Brahmans, do they deny the source of prophethood so that they do not believe in you? In which case, let them deny all the traces of wisdom and purpose, all the order and fruits which are apparent in all beings and demonstrate will and choice, let them deny all the works of mercy and grace, and all the miracles of all the prophets! Or let them say: “All the treasuries of the bounties given to creatures are with us and under our control.” Let them prove they are not fit to be addressed! Do not be grieved at their denial, say: “God’s unreasoning animals are many!”
Or are they the managers [of affairs]?52
Or, like the arrogant Mu‘tazilites, who made the reason dominant, do they imagine themselves to be rivals to and inspectors of the Creator’s works, and want to hold the All-Glorious Creator responsible? Beware, do not lose heart! Nothing can come of the denials of self-centred people like that! You do not be deceived either!
Or have they a ladder by which they can [climb up to heaven and] listen [to its secrets]? Then let [such a] listener of theirs produce a manifest proof!53
Or, like the spiritualists and phony soothsayers, do they follow Satan and the jinn and suppose they have found another way to the World of the Unseen? In which case, have they a ladder by which to ascend to the heavens which
50. Qur’an, 52:36.
51. Qur’an, 52:37
52. Qur’an, 52:37.
53. Qur’an, 52:38.
are closed to the satans? Do they imagine that they can give the lie to your news from the heavens? The denials of such charlatans are worth nothing!
Or has He only daughters and you have sons?54
Or, like the polytheist philosophers who ascribed partners to God under the name of ‘the ten intellects’ and ‘the masters of the species,’ and the Sabeans, who attributed a sort of godhead to the stars and the angels, do they ascribe offspring to Almighty God? Like the heretics and misguided, do they ascribe a son to Him, which is contrary to the necessary existence, unity, eternity, and absolute self-sufficiency of the Single and Eternally Besought One? Do they ascribe femininity to that offspring, which is opposed to the angels’ worship, purity, and kind? Do they suppose it to be an intercessor for them, so that they do not follow you? Generation is the means of multiplying, mutual assistance, perpetuation, and life for creatures like man, who is contingent, transitory, and in need of perpetuating the species, is corporeal and divisible, capable of multiplying, impotent and needy for an heir to help him. So to ascribe offspring -and a sort of offspring that those impotent, contingent, wretched men did not themselves like and could not equate with their arrogant pride, that is, female offspring- to the All-Glorious One, Whose existence is necessary and perpetual, Who endures from pre-eternity to post-eternity, Whose essence is utterly remote from and exalted above corporality, Whose being is free of and exempt from division and multiplication, and Whose Power is far above and beyond all impotence, is indeed such a delirium, such a lunatic raving that the lies and denials of those wretches who subscribe to such an idea are worth nothing. You must not be deceived. The scatter-brained nonsense, the delirious ravings of every crazy lunatic, should not be heeded!
Or is it that you ask for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt?55
Or, like the rebellious, overweening worshippers of this world, who have made a habit of greed and miserliness, do they find what you propose burdensome, so that they flee from you? Do they not know that you seek your wage and recompense from God alone? Is it a burden to give to their own poor one fortieth of the property given to them by God Almighty, or a part of it, and as a consequence both receive plenty, and be saved from the envy and curses of the poor? Do they consider the command to give zakat burdensome and therefore hold back from Islam? Their denials have no importance, and what they deserve is a slap, not an answer...
54. Qur’an, 52:39.
55. Qur’an, 52:40.
Or is it that the Unseen is in their hands, and they write it down?56
Or, like Buddhists, who claim to be familiar with the Unseen, or the pseudo-intellectuals, who imagine their conjectures about its affairs to be certain, does what you said about the Unseen not appeal to them? That means they imagine that the World of the Unseen, which is disclosed to no one apart from the Divine Messengers, who receive revelation, and which no one has the ability to enter, is present and laid open before them, and that they obtain information from it and write it down. So do not be disheartened by the lies of these arrogant braggarts who have overstepped their mark to an infinite degree! For in a short while your truths will completely overturn their imaginings!
Or do they intend a plot [against you]? But those who defy God are themselves involved in a plot!57
Or, like two-faced dissemblers and cunning atheists whose natures are corrupted and consciences rotted, do they want to deceive the people and turn them away from the guidance which they cannot obtain, to trick them, and so call you either a soothsayer, or possessed, or a sorcerer? Do they want to make others believe what they do not believe themselves? Don’t think of these insidious charlatans as human beings, don’t be saddened at their wiles and denials, and lose heart. Rather, increase your efforts! For they only deceive their own souls and harm themselves. And their successes in evil are temporary; it is a Divine stratagem, drawing them to perdition by degrees.
Or have they a god other than God? Exalted is God far above the things they associate with Him!58
Or, like the Magians, who imagined two separate gods called the Creator of Good and the Creator of Evil, or like the idolators and worshippers of causes, who attribute a sort of godhead to different causes and imagine each of them to be a source of support for them, do they rely on other gods and contest you? Do they consider themselves free of any need of you? That means they have become blind and do not see the perfect order and flawless harmony throughout the universe, which is as clear as day. For in accordance with the decree,
Were there gods other than God in the heavens and the earth, there surely would have been confusion in both,59
if there are two headmen in a village, or two governors in a town, or two kings in a country, order is turned upside down and harmony spoilt. But from a fly’s wing to the lamps in the heavens, such a fine order has been observed that it leaves not so much space as a fly’s wing for partners to be
56. Qur’an, 52:41.
57. Qur’an, 52:42.
58. Qur’an, 52:43.
59. Qur’an, 21:22.
associated with God. Since the above act in a manner so opposed to reason, wisdom, feeling, and what is obvious, don’t let their lies put you off proclaiming the Message!
Thus, of the hundreds of jewels of these verses, which constitute a series of truths, we have briefly explained only a single jewel of the Qur’an’s manner of exposition in the category of ‘giving to understand’ and ‘silencing in argument.’ If I had had the power and shown a few more jewels, you too would have said: “These verses are a miracle just on their own.” But the Qur’an’s manner of exposition in making understood and instruction is so wonderful, subtle, and fluent that the most simple ordinary person easily comprehends a most profound truth from the way it explains it. Yes, the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition simply and clearly teaches most abstruse truths in a way that caresses the view of people in general, and neither hurts their feelings, nor irritates their minds, nor tires them. Just as when speaking with a child, childish words are used, in the same way the Qur’anic styles come down to the level of those it addresses -called in the terminology of the scholars of theology, ‘Divine condescension to the mind of man’- it addresses them in that way; through comparisons in the form of allegories, it makes an illiterate common person understand abstruse Divine truths and dominical mysteries which the minds of the most learned philosophers cannot rise to.
For example, by means of a comparison, the verse,
The Most Merciful One on the Throne established60
depicts Divine dominicality as a kingdom, and the degree of that dominicality as that of a King seated on the throne of his sovereignty and exercising His rule. Indeed, as the speech of the All-Glorious Creator of the universe, the Qur’an proceeds from the ultimate degree of His dominicality, passes over all the other degrees guiding those who rise to them, and passing through seventy thousand veils, it looks to each and illuminates it. It scatters its radiance and spreads its light to the thousands of levels of those it addresses, the understanding and intelligence of whom are all different. Although it has lived through ages and centuries whose capacities are all different, and has broadcast its meaning to this great extent, it has not lost an iota of its perfect youth and juvenility, and retaining its total freshness and delicacy, it teaches every ordinary person in a most easy, skilful, and comprehensible manner. Whatever aspect of a wonder-displaying book which thus teaches, convinces, and satisfies with the same lesson, the same words, numerous levels of people whose understanding and degrees are all different - whatever aspect of such a book is studied, a flash of miraculousness will surely appear.
60. Qur’an, 20:5.
In Short: Just as when some words of the Qur’an like “All praise and thanks be to God” are recited, they fill a cave, which is the ear of a mountain, in the same way that they fill the tiny ears of a fly, so too the Qur’an’s meanings satisfy ears like mountains in the same way that with the same words they teach and satisfy tiny simple minds, like a fly. For the Qur’an calls to belief all the levels of men and jinn. It teaches the sciences of belief to all. In which case, the most lowly of the common people kneels shoulder to shoulder with the most elevated of the elite, and together they listen to the Qur’an’s teachings and benefit from them. That is to say, the Holy Qur’an is a heavenly repast at which the thousands of different levels of minds, intellects, hearts, and spirits find their nourishment. Their desires are fulfilled and their appetites are satisfied. In fact, numerous of its doors remain closed and are left to those who will come in the future. If you want an example of this category, from beginning to end the Qur’an forms examples of it. All the Qur’an’s students and those who listen to its teachings, like the interpreters of the law, the veracious ones, the Islamic philosophers, the sages, the scholars of jurisprudence and scholars of theology, the saintly guides of those seeking knowledge of God, the spiritual poles of the lovers of God, the learned and exacting scholars, and the mass of Muslims, unanimously declare: “We understand thoroughly what the Qur’an teaches us.” In short, flashes of the Qur’an’s miraculousness sparkle in the category of ‘making understood and instruction’ just as they do in the other categories.
This Ray is the Qur’an’s extraordinary comprehensiveness. It consists of five ‘Flashes’.
The First Flash is the comprehensiveness in the words. This comprehensiveness is clearly apparent from the verses mentioned both in all the previous Words, and in this Word. As is indicated by the Hadith “Each verse has an outer meaning, an inner meaning, a limit, and an aim, and each has roots, and boughs, and branches,”61 the words of the Qur’an have been positioned in such a way that all its phrases, words even, and even letters, and sometimes even an omission, has many aspects. It gives to all those it addresses their share from a different door.
Take, for example, the verse,
And the mountains [its] pegs,62
a phrase which says, “I made the mountains as stakes and masts for that earth of yours.” An ordinary person’s share from this phrase would be this: he sees the mountains which appear like stakes driven into the ground, thinks of the benefits and bounties in them, and offers thanks to his Creator.
61. Ibn Hibban,
Sahih, i, 146; al-Manawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 54.
62. Qur’an, 78:7.
A poet’s share from this phrase: he imagines the earth as the ground, on which is pitched in a sweeping arc the dome of the heavens like a mighty green tent adorned with electric lamps, and he sees the mountains skirting the base of the heavens to be the pegs of the tent. He worships the All-Glorious Maker in wondering amazement.
A tent-dwelling literary man’s share of this phrase: he imagines the face of the earth to be a barren desert, and the mountain chains as the multifarious tents of nomads, as if the soil layer had been cast 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 wonder before the Glorious Creator, Who placed and pitched so easily these august and mighty beings like tents on the face of the earth.
The share of a geographer with a literary bent from this phrase: he thinks of the globe of the earth as a ship sailing the oceans of either the air or the ?ther, and the mountains as masts and posts driven into the ship to balance and stabilize it. He declares: “Glory be unto You! How sublime is Your glory!” before the All-Powerful One of Perfection, Who makes the mighty globe as an orderly ship, places us on it, and makes it voyage through the far reaches of the world.
A sociologist and philosopher of human society’s share of this phrase; his thoughts would go like this: the earth is a house, and the supporting post of the life of that house is animal life, while the supporting post of animal life are water, air, and earth, the conditions of life. And the supporting post of water, air, and earth are the mountains. For the mountains are the reservoirs for water, the combs for the air: they precipitate the noxious gases and purify it; they are the earth’s preserver: they preserve it from being transformed into a swamp, and from the encroachment of the sea. They are also the treasuries for other necessities of human life. In utter reverence he offers praise and thanks to the Maker of Glory and Kindness, Who made these great mountains as posts for the earth -the house of our life- in this way, and appointed them as the keepers of the treasuries of our livelihood.
The share of a scholar of natural science from this phrase would be this: he would think of the earthquakes and tremors which occur as the result of upheavals and fusions in the heart of the earth being calmed with the upthrust of mountains; that the emergence of mountains is the cause of the earth’s stable rotation on its axis and in its orbit and its not deviating in its annual rotation as a result of the convulsions of earthquakes; and that the anger and wrath of the earth is quieted through it breathing through the vents in the mountains. He would come to believe completely, and would exclaim: “All wisdom is God’s!”
The heavens and the earth were joined together before We clove them asunder.63
A scholar untainted by the study of philosophy would explain the words joined together like this: while the skies were shining and cloudless, and the earth dry and without life and incapable of giving birth, the skies were opened up with rain and the earth with vegetation, and all living beings were created through a sort of marriage and impregnation. To do this was the work of One so Powerful and Glorious that the face of the earth is merely a small garden of His, while the clouds veiling the face of the skies, sponges for watering it. The scholar understands this and prostrates before the tremendousness of His power.
A searching philosopher would explain the same words in this way: while at the start of creation the heavens and earth were a formless mass, each consisting of matter like wet dough without benefit, offspring, or creatures, the All-Wise Creator both rolled them out and expanded them into a beautiful, beneficial form, and made them the source of adorned and numerous creatures. The philosopher would stand in wonder before the breadth of His wisdom.
A modern philosopher would explain the words thus: at first, our globe and the other planets which form the solar system were fused together in the form of an undifferentiated dough. Then the All-Powerful and Self-Subsistent One rolled out the dough, and placed each of the planets in its position; leaving the sun where it was and bringing the earth here, He spread earth over the globe of the earth and sprinkled it with rain from the skies, scattered light over it from the sun, and inhabited it placing us on it. The philosopher would pull his head out of the swamp of nature, and declare: “I believe in God, the One, the Unique!”
And another example:
And the sun runs its course to a place appointed.64
The Lam, translated here as ‘to’, expresses also the meaning of ‘in’. Thus, ordinary believers see it as meaning ‘to’ and understand that the sun, which is a mobile lamp providing light and heat for them, will certainly conclude its journeying and reach its place of rest, then take on a form which will no longer be beneficial. And pondering over the great bounties the All-Glorious Creator has attached to the sun, they declare: “Glory be to God! All praise and thanks be to God!”
A learned scholar would also show the Lam as meaning ‘to’, but he would think of it not only as a lamp, but also as a shuttle weaving the
63. Qur’an, 21:30.
64. Qur’an, 36:38.
tapestries of the Sustainer on the loom of spring and summer, as an ink-pot whose ink is light for the letters of the Eternally Besought One written on the pages of night and day. And thinking of the order and regularity of the world, of which the apparent movement of the sun is a sign and to which it points, he would exclaim before His wisdom: “What wonders God has willed!”, and declare before the All-Wise Maker’s art: “How great are His blessings!”, and he would bow in prostration.
A geographer and philosopher would explain the La\m as meaning ‘in’, like this: through the Divine command and with a spring-like motion on its own axis, the sun orders and propels the solar system. Exclaiming in wonder and amazement before the All-Glorious Maker Who thus creates and sets in order this mighty clock: “All mightiness is God’s, and all power!”, he would cast away philosophy and embrace the wisdom of the Qur’an.
A precise scholar would consider this Lam as both causal and adverbial, and would explain it like this: “Since the All-Wise Maker has made apparent causes a veil to His works, through a Divine law of His called gravity, He has tied the planets to the sun like stones in a sling, and causes them to revolve with different but regular motions within the sphere of His wisdom; and He has made the sun’s spinning on its own axis an apparent cause giving rise to the gravity. That is, the meaning of (to) a place appointed, is ‘it is in motion in its own appointed place for the stability of the solar system.’ For it is a Divine rule, a dominical law like motion apparently giving rise to heat, and heat to force, and force to gravity.” Thus, on understanding this from a single letter of the Qur’an, the philosopher would declare: “All praise and thanks be to God! It is in the Qur’an that true wisdom is to be found. I consider philosophy to be worth virtually nothing!”
And the following idea would occur to a thinker of poetic bent from this Lam and the stability mentioned above: “The sun is a luminous tree, and the planets are its mobile fruits. But contrary to trees the sun shakes itself so the fruits do not fall. If it did not shake itself, they would fall and be scattered.” Then he would think to himself: “The sun is an ecstatic leader of a group reciting God’s Names. He recites in ecstasy in the centre of the circle and causing others to recite.” In another treatise, I described this meaning as follows:
Yes, the sun is a fruit-bearing tree; it shakes itself, so that the planets fall not, its fruits.
If it rested in silence, the attraction would cease; and they would weep through space, its ecstatics.
A further example:
It is they who shall prosper.65
65. Qur’an, 2:5.
This verse is general and unspecific, it does not specify in what way they shall be successful, so that each person may find what he wants in it. Its words are few, so that they may be lengthy. For the aim of some of those it is addressing is to be saved from the Fire. Others think only of Paradise. Some desire eternal happiness. Yet others seek only God’s pleasure. While others know their aim and desire to be the vision of God; and so on. In numerous places, the Qur’an leaves the words open in this way, so that they may be general. It leaves things unsaid, so that it can express many meanings. It makes it brief, so that everyone may find his share. Thus, it says, who shall prosper. It does not determine how they shall prosper. It is as if with this omission it is saying: “O Muslims! Good news! O you who fear God! You shall find prosperity through being saved from Hell. O righteous one! You shall find prosperity in Paradise. O you who seeks knowledge of God! You will attain God’s pleasure. O lover of God! You will experience the vision of God.” And so on.
Thus, out of thousands we have offered one example of each of the phrases, words, letters, and omissions demonstrating the comprehensiveness of the Qur’an’s words. You may make analogies and compare its verses and stories with these.
Another example, the verse,
Know then that there is no god but God, and ask forgiveness for your fault.66
This verse contains so many aspects and degrees that all the levels of saints have found their needs from it in all their spiritual journeyings and in all their degrees, and have found spiritual sustenance and a fresh meaning from it appropriate for their own level. For, since the Name of ‘Allah’ is a comprehensive Name, there are aspects of Divine unity within it to the number of the Most Beautiful Names: “There is no provider but Him! There is no creator but Him! There is no merciful one but Him!” And so on.
And, for example, among the stories of the Qur’an, the story of Moses (Peace be upon him) contains thousands of benefits, just like the Staff of Moses. There are numerous aims and aspects in the story, like consoling and comforting the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), and threatening the unbelievers, and censuring the dissemblers, and rebuking the Jews. For this reason it is repeated in many Suras. Although it expresses all the aims in every place it is repeated, only one is the main aim and the others are secondary.
If you say: How can we know all the meanings in the examples you have given, which the Qur’an intends and points to?
66. Qur’an, 47:19.
We would reply: Since the Qur’an is a pre-eternal address, and sitting above and beyond the centuries, which, layer upon layer, are all different, addresses and instructs all of mankind lined up within them, certainly it will include and intend numerous meanings according to those varying understandings, and will make allusions to what it intends. The numerous meanings contained in the Qur’an’s words similar to those mentioned here have been proved in Isharat al-I‘jaz (Signs of Miraculousness) according to the rules of Arabic grammar, and the sciences of rhetoric, semantics, and eloquence and their rules. According to the consensus of those qualified to interpret the Shari‘a and the Qur’anic commentators and scholars of theology and jurisprudence, and according to the testimony of their differences, on condition they are considered correct by the sciences of Arabic and the principles of religion, all the aspects and meanings which are found acceptable by the science of semantics, and appropriate by the science of rhetoric, and desirable by the science of eloquence, may be considered among the meanings of the Qur’an. The Qur’an has placed allusions to each of those meanings according to its degree. They are either literal or significative. If significative, they are allusions to them in either the preceding context or the after context or in other verses. Some of them have been expounded in Qur’anic commentaries of twenty, thirty, forty, sixty, and even eighty volumes, written by exacting scholars, which are clear and decisive proofs of the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the Qur’an’s words. However, if in this Word we were to point out the allusions indicating alll the meanings together with their rules, the discussion would become extremely prolonged. So we cut it short here, and for part of it, refer you to Isharat al-I‘jaz.
Second Flash: This is the extraordinary comprehensiveness in its meaning. Yes, together with bestowing from the treasuries of its meaning the sources for all the interpreters of the Shari‘a, the illuminations of all those seeking knowledge of God, the ways of all those seeking union with God, the paths of all the perfected from among mankind, and the schools of all the scholars, the Qur’an has at all times been the guide of all of them and directed them in their progress, and it is verified unanimously by all of them that it has illuminated their ways from its treasuries.
Third Flash: This is the extraordinary comprehensiveness in its knowledge. The Qur’an has caused to flow forth from the oceans of its own knowledge, the numerous and various sciences of the Shari‘a, the multifarious sciences of reality (haqiqat), and the innumerable different sciences of sufism (tariqat). Similarly, it has caused to flow forth in abundance and good order the true wisdom of the sphere of contingency, the true sciences of the sphere of necessity, and the enigmatic knowledge of the sphere of the hereafter. One would have to write a whole volume to provide examples of this Flash, and so as mere samples, we point to the twenty-five Words so far
written. Yes, the veracious truths of all twenty-five Words are only twenty-five droplets from the ocean of the Qur’an’s knowledge. If there are errors in those Words, they spring from my defective understanding.
Fourth Flash: This is the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the subjects it puts forward. Together with bringing together the extensive subjects of man and his duties, the universe and the Creator of the universe, the heavens and the earth, this world and the hereafter, the past and the future, and pre-eternity and post-eternity, the Qur’an explains all the essential and important topics from man’s creation from seminal fluid till when he enters the grave; from the correct conduct of eating and sleeping to the matters of Divine Decree and Determining; from the creation of the world in six days, to the duties of the wind blowing, indicated by the oaths of,
By the [winds] that
By the [winds] sent forth;68
from His intervention in man’s heart and will, indicated by,
comes between a man and his heart,69
But you will not except as God wills,70
And the heavens rolled up in His right hand,71
that is, to His holding all the heavens within His grip; from the flowers, and grapes, and dates of the earth described in,
And We produce therein gardens of date-palms and vines,72
to the strange truth expressed by,
When the earth is shaken to its utmost convulsion;73
from the state of the skies in,
Then He directed [His will] towards the skies and they were smoke,74
to their being rent with smoke and the stars falling and being scattered in infinite space; from the world’s being opened for test
and examination, to its closing; from the grave, the first dwelling of the hereafter, and then from the
67. Qur’an, 51:1.
68. Qur’an, 77:1.
69. Qur’an, 8:24.
70. Qur’an, 76:30.
71. Qur’an, 39:67.
72. Qur’an, 36:34.
73. Qur’an, 99:1.
74. Qur’an, 41:11.
Intermediate Realm, the resurrection, and the Bridge, to eternal happiness; from the events of the past, and the creation of the body of Adam and the dispute of his two sons, to the Flood, and the drowning of the people of Pharaoh, and the major events of most of the prophets; and from the pre-eternal circumstance alluded to by,
Am I not your Sustainer?75
to the post-eternal occurrence expressed by,
Some faces that day will beam in brightness * Looking towards their Sustainer;76
all these fundamental, important subjects are explained in a way befitting the All-Glorious One Who administers the whole universe as though it was a palace, and opens and closes this world and the hereafter like two rooms, and regulates the earth as if it was a garden and the heavens as though they were a roof adorned with lamps, and beholds the past and the future as though they were two pages present in His sight like a single night and day, and looks on pre-eternity and post-eternity as though they were yesterday and tomorrow, in a form in which the two sides of a chain of events are joined together and touching in present time. Just as a master builder speaks of two houses he has constructed and arranged, and makes out the programme and list and index of the matters involved, so the Qur’an is fitting for the One Who makes the universe and arranges it, and writes out and displays the list and index and -if one may say so- the programme of the matters concerned with it. There is no sign of any artificiality or false display. And just as there is no trace of imitation or hint of any fraud, like speaking on behalf of someone else or supposing itself to be in someone else’s place and speaking, so too with all its seriousness, all its purity, all its sincerity, the Qur’an’s pure, shining, brilliant exposition declares: “I am the word and exposition of the Creator of the world,” just as the light of day declares: “I came from the sun.”
Indeed, apart from the Maker Who adorns this world with antique arts and fills its with delicious bounties and scatters bountifully over the face of the world together with these wonders of His art so many valuable gifts, and setting them in orderly lines spreads them out over the face of the earth, apart from this Bestower of Bounties, who else could the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition be fitting for - the Qur’an which fills the world with this clamour of salutation and acclaim, this resounding praise and thanks, and transforms the earth into a place for the recitation of God’s Names, a mosque, and place for gazing on the Divine works of art? Whose speech could it be apart from His? Who can claim ownership of it apart from Him?
75. Qur’an, 7:172.
76. Qur’an, 75:22-3.
Whose word could it be other than His? Whose light could the exposition of the Qur’an be, which solves the talisman of creation and illuminates the world, other than the Pre-Eternal Sun’s? Who has the ability to produce the like of it, and imitate it? In truth, it is impossible for the Artist Who adorns this world with His arts not to speak with man, who appreciates His art. Since He makes and knows, He surely speaks. And since He speaks, it is surely the Qur’an which is appropriate to His speech. How should a Lord of All Dominion Who is not indifferent to the way a flower is ordered remain indifferent to a discourse which brings all His dominion to a clamour of salutation and praise? Would He permit it to be attributed to others and be made as nothing?
Fifth Flash: This is the wonderful comprehensiveness of the Qur’an’s style and conciseness. It consists of five ‘Glows’.
First Glow: The Qur’an’s style has a comprehensiveness so wonderful that a single Sura contains the ocean of the Qur’an, which in turn contains the universe. A single of its verses contains the treasury of the Sura. And most of the verses are each a short Sura, while most of the Suras are short Qur’ans. Thus, this is a great favour and guidance and facilitating arising from its miraculous conciseness. For although everyone has need of the Qur’an all the time, either due to foolishness or for some other reason, they do not have the time to read all of it, or they do not have the opportunity. So in order that they should not to be deprived of it, each Sura is like a short Qur’an, and each long verse even has the rank of a Sura. Those who penetrate to the inner meaning of things agree that the whole Qur’an is contained in the Sura al-Fatiha, even, and the Fatiha in the Bismillah. The proof of this fact is the consensus of the scholars who have investigated it.
Second Glow: The verses of the Qur’an are comprehensive through their denoting and indicating all the categories of speech and true knowledge and human needs, like command and prohibition, promise and threat, encouragement and deterring, restraint and guidance, stories and comparisons, the Divine ordinances and teachings, the sciences related to the universe, and the laws and conditions of personal life, social life, the life of the heart, spiritual life, and the life of the hereafter. So that the truth of the saying, “Take whatever you want from the Qur’an for whatever you want” has become accepted to such a degree by the people of reality that it has become proverbial among them. There is such a comprehensiveness in the verses of the Qur’an that they may be the cure for every ill and the sustenance for every need. Yes, they have to be like that, because it is essential that the absolute guide of all the levels of the people of perfection, who continually rise in the degrees of progress, possesses this property.
Third Glow: This is the Qur’an’s miraculous conciseness. It sometimes
happens that the Qur’an mentions the two ends of a long chain in such a way that it shows clearly the whole chain. And sometimes it happens that it includes explicitly, implicitly, figuratively, and allusively in one word many proofs of an assertion. For example, in the verse:
And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your tongues and in your colours,77
by mentioning the beginning and end of the chain of the universe’s creation, which forms a chain of signs and indications of Divine unity, the verse shows the second chain. It makes the first chain read it out. Yes, the first degree of the pages of the world which testify to an All-Wise Maker is the origin of the heavens and the earth, their creation. Next is the heavens being adorned with stars and the earth made to rejoice with living beings. Then the change of the seasons through the subjugation of the sun and the moon. Then is the alternation of day and night, and the chain of events within these. And so it goes on as far as the characteristics and distinguishing individual features on faces and in voices, the most widely spread loci of multiplicity. Thus, since there is an astonishing and wise order in the characteristics of individual faces, which are the furthest from order and most subject to the interference of chance, if it is shown that the pen of a most wise craftsman works there, surely the other pages, whose order is clear, will themselves be understood and display their Inscriber. And since the works of art and wisdom of a Maker are apparent in the original creation of the vast heavens and earth, Who positions them purposefully as the foundation stones of the palace of the universe; the works of His art and the impress of His wisdom will surely be most clear in His other beings. Thus, by exposing the concealed and concealing the obvious, this verse expresses a most beautiful succinctness.
Similarly in the verses from:
So give glory to God when you reach eventide .... till
And to Him belongs the loftiest similitude in the heavens and the earth; for He is Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom,78
the chain of proofs which begins six times with the words, And among His signs..., And among His signs, is a sequence of jewels, a sequence of light, a sequence of miraculousness, a sequence of miraculous conciseness. I wish from the heart to display the hidden diamonds in these treasuries, but what can I do?, the discussion here does not support it. So postponing it to another time, I am not opening that door for now.
And for example:
77. Qur’an, 30:22.
78. Qur’an, 30:17-27.
...Send me therefore * O Joseph! O Man of truth!79
Between ..send me therefore and O Joseph! are these words: ...Joseph, that I may ask him to interpret the dream. So I sent him, and he went to the prison and said to Joseph... That is to say, although five sentences have been abbreviated and summarized in one sentence, it does not mar the clarity or hinder the understanding.
And, for example:
Who produces for you fire from the green tree.80
Here the Qur’an is saying in the face of rebellious man’s denials, who is as though challenging the Qur’an by saying, “Who will raise to life rotten bones?”, “Whoever created them in the first place, He will raise them to life. And that Creator knows every single aspect of every single thing. Furthermore, He who provides fire for you from the green tree, is able to give life to dry bones.” Thus, this sentence looks in numerous ways to the claim that man will raised to life, and proves it.
Firstly, with these words the Qur’an starts off the chain of bounties it lays before man, moves its forward, and calls it to mind. Having described it in detail in other verses, it cuts short the description here, and refers it to the intelligence. That is, “You cannot flee from the One Who gives you fruit and fire from trees, sustenance and seeds from plants, cereals and grains from the earth, and makes the earth a fine cradle for you filled with all your sustenance, and the world a palace in which is found all your needs - you cannot be independent of Him, or disappear into non-existence and hide there. You cannot enter the grave without duties to sleep in comfort not to be awoken.
Then it points out an evidence of the claim. With the words, the green tree, it implies: “O you who deny resurrection! Look at the trees! One Who raises to life and makes green in spring numberless bone-like trees which have been dead throughout winter, and in every tree even demonstrates three examples of resurrection through the leaves, blossoms, and fruit - the power of such a One cannot be challenged through denial or by considering resurrection improbable.”
Then it points out another evidence, saying: “How do you deem it unlikely that One Who extracts for you out of dense, heavy, dark matter like a tree, subtle, light, luminous manner like fire should give fire-like life and light-like consciousness to wood-like bones?”
Then it states another evidence explicitly; it says: “One Who creates the famous tree which while green produces fire for nomads in place of matches when two of its branches are rubbed together, and combines two opposites
79. Qur’an, 12:46.
80. Qur’an, 36:80.
like the green and damp and the dry and hot, and makes them the source of the fire - everything, even the fundamental elements, looks to His command and acts through His power. It cannot be considered unlikely of the One Who demonstrates that none of these is independent and acts of its own accord that He should raise up man from the earth once again, who was made from earth and later returned to the earth. He may not be challenged with rebellion.”
Then, through recalling Moses’s (Peace be upon him) famous tree, it shows that this claim of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) is also that of Moses (PBH). Lightly alluding to the consensus of the prophets, it adds one more subtle point to the phrase.
Fourth Glow: The Qur’an’s conciseness is so comprehensive and wonderful that when studied carefully it becomes apparent that sometimes, through some simple detail or particular event, it compassionately shows to simple, ordinary minds most extensive, lengthy, universal rules and general laws, like showing an ocean in a ewer. We shall point out only two examples of this out of thousands.
First Example: This is the three verses expounded in detail in the First Station of the Twentieth Word, which describe under the name of ‘the teaching of the Names’ to the person of Adam, the teaching of all the sciences and branches of knowledge with which the sons of Adam have been inspired. Through the angels prostrating before Adam and Satan not prostrating, they state that most beings from fish to angels are subjugated to human kind, just as harmful creatures from snakes to Satan do not obey man and are hostile to him. And through the people of Moses (Peace be upon him) slaughtering a cow, they state that the concept of cow-worship -which was taken from the worship of cows in Egypt and showed its effect in ‘the event of the calf’- was slaughtered by Moses’ knife. And through water gushing forth from the rock and springs flowing out and spreading, they also state that the rock layer which is under the soil layer acts as the source of both water springs and the soil.
Second Example: This is the whole and the parts of the story of Moses (Peace be upon him), which is frequently repeated in the Qur’an, and each of the repetitions of which is shown as the tip of a universal rule, with each repetition stating the rule in question. For example:
O Haman! Build me a lofty palace.81
Pharaoh is commanding his minister: “Build me a high tower so that I can take a look at the heavens and observe them. I wonder if there is a God who governs in the skies like Moses claims, who can be seen from their
81. Qur’an, 40:36.
disposition?” Thus, through the word ‘palace’ and this minor incident, it states a strange rule dominant in the traditions of the Egyptian Pharaohs, who, because they lived in the desert with no mountains, wanted mountains, and because they did not recognize the Creator, were worshippers of nature and claimed godhead; and worshipping fame, through displaying the works of their dominion perpetuated their name and constructed the famous mountain-like pyramids; and agreed to magic and metempsychosis, and had their corpses mummified and preserved in their mountain-like tombs.
And, for example:
This day We shall save you in your body.82
By saying to Pharaoh, who is drowning: “Today I am going to save your body which will drown,” it is expressing a death-tainted, exemplary rule of the Pharaohs’ lives, which was, as a consequence of the idea of metempsychosis and mummifying the bodies of all of them, to take them from the past and send them to be viewed by the generations of the future. And this present century a body was discovered which was the very body of Pharaoh, thrown up on the seashore where he drowned. The verse thus states a miraculous sign of the Unseen, that the body was to be borne on the waves of the centuries and cast up from the sea of time onto the shore of this century.
And, for example:
They slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live.83
With an event in the time of a Pharaoh, the slaughtering of the sons of the Children of Israel and the sparing of their women and daughters, it mentions the numerous massacres which the Jewish nation has suffered every age, and the role their women and girls have played in dissolute human life.
And you will indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life.84 * And you see many of them racing each other in sin and rancour, and their eating of things forbidden. Evil indeed are the things they do.85 * But they [ever] strive to do mischief on earth. And God loves not those who do mischief.86 * And We gave [clear] warning to the Children of Israel in the Book, that twice they would do mischief on the earth.87 * And do no evil nor mischief on the earth.88
These two statements of the Qur’an directed at the Jews, comprise the two fearsome general rules, that that nation hatches plots in human social life
82. Qur’an, 10:92.
83. Qur’an, 2:49; 14:6.
84. Qur’an, 2:96.
85. Qur’an, 5:62.
86. Qur’an, 5:64.
87. Qur’an, 17:4.
88. Qur’an, 2:60.
with their trickery, which shake human society. They say that just as it was that nation which made labour contest with capital; and through usury and compounded interest, made the poor clash with the rich, and caused the banks to be founded, and amassed wealth through wiles and fraud; so it was again that nation who, in order to take their revenge on the victors and governments under which they always suffered deprivation and oppression, were involved in every sort of corrupting covert organization and had a finger in every sort of revolution.
And, for example:
Then seek ye for death89
That is, “If what you say is true, seek death, but you won’t seek it!” Thus, through a minor incident in a small gathering in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH), it points out that the Jewish nation, which is most famous among the nations of mankind for its greed for life and fear of death, will not, according to its tongue of disposition, seek death till Doomsday, and will not give up its greed for life.
And, for example:
Thus they were stamped with humiliation and indigence.90
With this, it describes generally that nation’s future destiny. It is because of these fearsome rules governing the destiny and character of this nation that the Qur’an acts so severely against them. It deals them awesomely punishing slaps. From these examples draw analogies with the other stories and passages about Moses (Peace be upon him) and the Children of Israel. Now, there are very many flashes of miraculousness like the flash in this Fourth Glow behind the simple words and specific subjects of the Qur’an. A hint is enough for the wise.
Fifth Glow: This is the extraordinary comprehensiveness of the Qur’an in regard to its aims and subjects, meanings and styles, and its subtle qualities and fine virtues. Indeed, if the Suras and verses of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition are studied carefully, and especially the openings of the Suras, and the beginnings and ends of the verses, it will be seen that although it gathers together all the categories of rhetoric, all the parts of fine speech, all the classes of elevated styles, all the sorts of fine morality, all the summaries of the sciences relating to the universe, all the indexes of Divine knowledge, all the beneficial rules for individual and human social life, and all the luminous laws of the exalted physical sciences, not a trace of confusion is apparent. In truth, to gather together in one place this many different categories of knowledge and not to cause any dispute or difficulty can only be the work of an overwhelming miraculous order.
89. Qur’an, 2:94.
90. Qur’an, 2:61.
Then together with the order within this comprehensiveness, as is expounded and proved in the previous twenty-four Words, to rend the veils of the habitual and commonplace, which are the source of compounded ignorance, and to draw out the wonders concealed beneath them and display them; to smash with the diamond sword of proof the idol of nature, which is the source of misguidance; to scatter with thunderous trumpet-blasts the dense layers of the sleep of heedlessness; and to uncover and reveal the obscure talisman of being and the strange riddle of the creation of the world, before which human philosophy and science have remained impotent, is most surely only the wondrous work of a wonder-worker like the Qur’an - the Qur’an, which sees reality, is familiar with the Unseen, bestows guidance, and shows the truth.
If the Qur’an’s verses are considered carefully and fairly, it will be seen that they do not resemble a gradual chain of thought, following one or two aims, like other books. For the Qur’an’s manner is sudden and instantaneous; it is inspired on the moment; its mark is that all its aspects arrive together but independently from distant places, a most serious and important discourse which comes singly and concisely.
Yes, who is there apart from the universe’s Creator that could give a discourse concerned to this degree with the universe and the Creator of the universe? Who could step beyond his mark to an infinite degree and make the All-Glorious Creator speak according to his own whims, then make the universe speak the truth? Yes, in the Qur’an, the universe’s Maker is seen to be speaking and making others speak most seriously and truthfully and in elevated and true fashion. There is no sign at all to suggest imitation. He speaks and makes speak. If, to suppose the impossible, someone like Musaylima was to step beyond his mark to an infinite degree, and by way of imitation make the All-Glorious Creator, the Sublime and Majestic One, speak according to his own ideas, and the universe as well, there certainly would be thousands of signs of imitation and indications of falsehood. For when the contemptible assume the manner of the lofty, their every action shows up their pretence. So consider carefully these verses, which proclaim this fact with an oath:
By the star when it
goes down! * Your companion is neither astray nor being misled * Nor does he say
[aught] of [his own] desire * It is no less than revelation inspired!91
This is the miraculousness of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition which is its giving news of the Unseen, preserving its youth in every age, and being appropriate to every level of person. This Ray has three ‘Radiances’.
91. Qur’an, 53:1-4.
• First Radiance: This is its giving news of the Unseen. It consists of three ‘Glistens’.
The First Glisten is its telling about the past, one part of the Unseen. Indeed, the All-Wise Qur’an mentions through the tongue of one whom everyone agreed was both unlettered and trustworthy the important events and significant facts concerning the prophets from the time of Adam till the Era of Bliss in a way which, confirmed by scriptures like the Torah and the Bible, tells of them with the greatest power and seriousness. It concurs with the points on which the former Books were agreed, and decides between them on the points over which they differed, pointing out the truth of the matter. That is to say, the Qur’an’s view which penetrates the Unseen sees the events of the past in a way over and above all the previous scriptures, and pronounces them right and confirms them in the matters on which they are agreed, and acts as arbiter between them, correcting in matters about which they are at variance.
However, the facts the Qur’an relates about the events of the past are not things that could have been learnt through the exercise of reason that they were communicated by it; they were rather transmitted knowledge, dependent on the heavens, on revelation. And as for transmitted knowledge, it is the domain of those who know how to read and write, and these were revealed to one known by friend and foe alike as knowing neither how to read nor how to write, and as being trustworthy; someone described as unlettered.
Also, the Qur’an tells of those past events as though it had actually seen them. For it takes the spirit and vital point of a lengthy event, and makes them the introduction to its aim. That is to say, the summaries and extracts which the Qur’an contains show that it sees all the past together with all its events. For just as someone who is an expert in some science or craft shows his skill and proficiency through some succinct words or a concise statement, so the summaries and spirits of events mentioned in the Qur’an show that the one who said them comprehends all the events and sees them, and, if one may say so, relates them with extraordinary skill.
The Second Glisten is its giving news of the future, which is another part of the Unseen. There are many sorts of this. The first sort is particular, and special to the saints and those seek the truth through illumination. For example, Muhyiddin al-‘Arabi discovered numerous instances of the Qur’an’s giving news of the Unseen in the Sura,
Alif. Lam. Mim. * The Roman Empire has been defeated.92
And Imam-i Rabbani saw many signs of the events of the Unseen and the
92. Qur’an, 30:1-2.
communicating of them through the ‘disjointed letters’ at the start of some Suras, and so on. For scholars of the Batiniya School, the Qur’an consisted from beginning to end of information about the Unseen. We, however, shall indicate some which are general. These too have many levels, one of which we shall discuss. Thus, the All-Wise Qur’an says to God’s Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him):93
So patiently persevere, for God’s promise is true.94 * You shall enter the Sacred Mosque if God wills, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear; * He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, so it should prevail over all religion.95 * But they, after this defeat of theirs will soon be victorious, * within a few years. With God is the decision.96 * Soon will you see, and they will see * which of you is afflicted with madness.97 * Or do they say: “A poet! We await for him some calamity [hatched] by time?” * Say: “Wait, then. And I shall wait with you!”98 * And God will defend you from men.99 * But if you cannot, and of a surety you cannot.100 * But they will never seek it.101 * We shall show them Our signs on the furthest horizons and in their own selves, so that it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth.102 * Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinns were to come 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.103 * God will produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him, lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of God, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault.104 * And say: Praise be to God, Who will show you His signs, so that you shall know them.105 * Say: He is the Most Merciful; we have believed in Him, and in Him have we put our trust. Soon you shall know which [of us] it is that is in manifest error.106
93. Since these
verses which give news of the Unseen have been expounded in numerous Qur’anic
commentaries, and also due to the haste imposed on the author by his intention
to have this work printed in the old [Ottoman] script,* they have not been
explained here and those valuable treasuries have remained closed. [*See, page
375, footnote 1 above. -Tr.]
94. Qur’an, 30:60.
95. Qur’an, 48:27-28.
96. Qur’an, 30:3-4.
97. Qur’an, 68:5-6.
98. Qur’an, 52:30-1.
99. Qur’an, 5:67.
100. Qur’an, 2:24.
101. Qur’an, 2:95.
102. Qur’an, 41:53.
103. Qur’an, 17:88.
104. Qur’an, 5:54.
105. Qur’an, 27:93.
106. Qur’an, 67:29.
God has promised to those among you who believe and act righteously that He will of a surety grant them inheritance [of power] in the land, as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion, which He has chosen for them; and that He will change [their state] after their fear, to one of security and peace.107
The information about the Unseen which many verses like these give turned out to be exactly true. Because it was given by one who was subject to many criticisms and objections and could have lost his cause through the tiniest mistake, and was spoken unhesitatingly, and with absolute seriousness and confidence in a way that confirmed its authenticity, this news of the Unseen demonstrates with certainty that the one who gave it had received instruction from the Pre-Eternal Master, and then he spoke.
The Third Glisten is its giving news of the Divine truths, cosmic truths, and the matters of the hereafter. The Qur’an’s expositions of the Divine truths, and its explanations of the cosmos, which solve the talisman of the universe and riddle of creation, are the most important of its disclosures about the Unseen. For it is not reasonable to expect the human reason to discover those truths about the Unseen and follow them without deviating amid innumerable ways of misguidancå. It is well-known that the most brilliant philosophers of mankind have been unable to solve the most insignificant of those matters by use of the reason. Furthermore, it is only after the Qur’an has elucidated those Divine truths and cosmic truths, which it points out, and after man’s heart has been cleansed and his soul purified, and after his spirit has advanced and his mind been perfected that his mind affirms and accepts those truths, and he says to the Qur’an: “How great are God’s blessings!” This section has been in part explained and proved in the Eleventh Word, and there is no need to repeat it. But when it comes to facts concerning the hereafter and Intermediate Realm, the human mind certainly cannot rise to them and see them on its own. However, it can prove them to the degree it sees them through the ways shown by the Qur’an. It is explained and proved in the Tenth Word just how right and true are these disclosures of the Qur’an about the Unseen.
• Second Radiance: This is the Qur’an’s youth. It preserves its freshness and youth every age as though newly revealed. In fact, the Qur’an has to have perpetual youth since as a pre-eternal address, it addresses at once all the levels of mankind in every age. And that is how it has been seen and is seen. Even, although all the centuries are different with regard to ideas and capacity, it as though looks to each particularly, and teaches it. Man’s works and laws grow old like man, they change and are changed. But the rulings and laws of the Qur’an are so firm and well-founded that they
107. Qur’an, 24:55.
increase in strength as the centuries pass. Indeed, this present age and the People of the Book this age, who have more than any other relied on themselves and stopped up their ears to the words of the Qur’an, are so in need of its guiding address of,
O People of the Book! O People of the Book!
that it is as if it addresses this age directly, and the phrase O People of the Book! comprises also the meaning of O People of the Modern Science Books!108 It delivers its shout of,
O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you109 to the ends of the world with all its strength, all its freshness, all its youth.
For example, modern civilization, which is the product of the thought of all mankind and perhaps the jinn as well, has taken up a position opposed to the Qur’an, which individuals and communities have failed to dispute. With its sorcery it impugns the Qur’an’s miraculousness. Now, in order to prove the claim of the verse:
Say: if the whole of mankind the jinns were to gather together...,110
we shall compare the foundations and principles which civilization has laid in the form of dispute, with the principles of the Qur’an.
At the First Degree: The comparisons and balances which form all the Words from the First to the Twenty-Fifth, and the verses at their heads which form their truths, all prove with the certainty that two plus two equals four the Qur’an’s miraculousness and supremacy in the face of civilization.
At the Second Degree: Like the proofs in the Twelfth Word, it is to summarize a number of principles. By reason of its philosophy, present-day civilization accepts ‘force’ as the point of support in the life of society. It takes as its aim ‘benefits,’ and considers the principle of its life to be ‘conflict.’ It considers the bond between communities to be ‘racialism and negative nationalism.’ While its aim is to provide ‘amusements’ for gratifying the appetites of the soul and increasing man’s needs. However, the mark of force is aggression. And since the benefits are insufficient to meet all needs, their mark is that everyone tussles and jostles over them. The mark of conflict is contention, and the mark of racialism, aggression, since it thrives on devouring others. Thus, it is because of these principles of civilization that despite all its virtues, it has provided a sort of superficial happiness for only twenty per cent of mankind and cast eighty per cent into distress and poverty.
The wisdom of the Qur’an, however, takes as its point of support ‘truth’ in stead of force, and in place of benefit has ‘virtue and God’s pleasure’ as
108. Ehl-i Mekteb, those educated
in modern secular schools, as opposed to Ehl-i Kitab. [Tr.]
109. Qur’an, 3:64.
110. Qur’an, 17:88.
its aims. It considers ‘the principle of mutual assistance’ to be fundamental in life, rather than conflict. In the ties between communities it accepts ‘the bonds of religion, class, and country,’ in place of racialism and nationalism. Its aims are to place a barrier before the illicit assaults of the soul’s base appetites and to urge the spirit to sublime matters, to satisfy man’s elevated emotions and encourage him towards the human perfections. And as for the truth, its mark is concord, the mark of virtue is mutual support, and the mark of mutual assistance, hastening to help one another. The mark of religion is brotherhood and attraction. And the result of reining in and tethering the evil-commanding soul and leaving the spirit free and urging it towards perfection is happiness in this world and the next. Thus, despite the virtues present-day civilization has acquired from the guidance of the Qur’an in particular, and from the preceding revealed religions, in point of fact it has thus suffered defeat before the Qur’an.
Third Degree: Of thousands of matters, we shall point out only three or four by way of example. Since the Qur’an’s principles and laws have come from pre-eternity, they shall go to post-eternity. They are not condemned to grow old and die like civilization’s laws. They are always young and strong. For example, despite all its societies for good works, all its establishments for the teaching of ethics, all its severe discipline and regulations, civilization has been unable to contest the All-Wise Qur’an on two of its matters, and has been defeated by them. These two matters are:
Be steadfast in performing the prayers, and give zakat,111
God has permitted trade and forbidden usury.112
We shall describe them, this miraculous victory, by means of an introduction. It is like this:
As is proved in Isharat al-I‘jaz, just as the source of mankind’s revolutions is one phrase, so another phrase is the origin of all immorality.
First Phrase: “So long as I’m full, what is it to me if others die of hunger.”
Second Phrase: “You work so that I can eat.”
Yes, the upper and lower classes in human society, that is, the rich and the poor, live at peace when in equilibrium. The basis of that equilibrium is compassion and kindness in the upper classes, and respect and obedience in the lower classes. Now, the first phrase has incited the upper classes to practise oppression, immorality, and mercilessness. And just as the second has driven the lower classes to hatred, envy, and to contend the upper classes, and has negated man’s tranquillity for several centuries, so too this century,
111. Qur’an, 2:43,
112. Qur’an, 2:275.
as the result of the struggle between capital and labour, it has been the cause of the momentous events of Europe well-known by all. Thus, together with all its societies for good works, all its establishments for the teaching of ethics, all its severe discipline and regulations, it could not reconcile these two classes of mankind, nor could it heal the two fearsome wounds in human life. The Qur’an, however, eradicates the first phrase with its injunction to pay zakat, and heals it. While it uproots the second phrase with its prohibition on usury and interest, and cures that. Indeed, the Qur’anic verse stands at the door of the world and declares usury and interest to be forbidden. It reads out its decree to mankind, saying: “In order to close the door of strife, close the door of usury and interest!” It forbids its students to enter it.
Second Principle: Civilization does not accept polygamy. It considers the Qur’an’s decree to be contrary to wisdom and opposed to man’s benefits. Indeed, if the purpose of marriage was only to satisfy lust, polygamy would have been contrary to it. But as is testified to by all animals and corroborated by plants that ‘marry’, the purpose and aim of marriage is reproduction. The pleasure of satisfying lust is a small wage given by Divine mercy to encourage performace of the duty. Since in truth and according to wisdom, marriage is for reproduction and the perpetuation of the species, since women can give birth only once a year, and can be impregnated only half the month, and after the age of fifty fall into despair, and men can impregnate till a hundred years old, and thus one woman is insufficient for one man, civilization has been compelled to accept numerous houses of ill-repute.
Third Principle: Unreasoning civilization criticizes the Qur’anic verse which apportions to women one third [in inheritance]. However, most of the rulings concerning social life are in accordance with the majority, and mostly a women finds someone to protect her. As for the man, she will be a burden on him and will have to combine efforts with someone else who will leave her her means of subsistence. Thus, in this form, if a woman takes half of the father’s legacy, her husband makes up her deficiency. But if the man receives two parts from his father, one part he will give to maintaining the woman he has married, thus becoming equal with his sister. The justice of the Qur’an requires it to be thus. It has decreed it in this way.113
Fourth Principle: Just as the Qur’an severely prohibits the worship of
113. This is part of
my court defence, which was the supplement for the Appeal Court and which
silenced the court. It is appropriate as a footnote for this passage. I told the
court of law: Surely if there is any justice on the face of the earth, it will
reject and quash an unjust decision which has convicted someone for expounding a
most sacred, just Divine rule which governs in the social life of three hundred
and fifty million people in the year one thousand three hundred and fifty, and
in every century, relying on the confirmation and consensus of three hundred and
fifty thousand Qur’anic commentaries, and following the beliefs of our
forefathers of one thousand three hundred and fifty years.
idols, so it forbids the worship of images, which is a sort of imitation of idol-worship. Whereas civilization counts the representation of forms as one of its virtues, and has attempted to dispute the Qur’an in this matter. But represented forms, whether pictorial or concrete, are either embodied tyranny, or embodied hypocrisy, or embodied lust; they excite lust and encourage man to oppression, hypocrisy, and licentiousness. Moreover, the Qur’an compassionately commands women to wear the veil of modesty so that they will be treated with respect and those mines of compassion will not be trodden under the feet of low desires, nor be like worthless goods for the excitement of lust.114 Civilization, however, has drawn women out of their homes, rent their veils, and corrupted mankind. For family life continues through the mutual love and respect of man and wife. But immodest dress has destroyed sincere respect and affection, and has poisoned family life. While worship of the human form in particular has shaken morality in appalling fashion, causing the abasement of man’s spirit. This may be understood from the following: to look lustfully and with desire at the corpse of a beautiful woman who is in need of pity and compassion destroys morality; so too, to look lasciviously at the representations of dead women, or of living women, for they are like little corpses, shakes to their very roots the elevated human emotions, and destroys them.
Thus, together with assisting human happiness in this world, all of thousands of matters of the Qur’an like the above three examples also serve eternal happiness. You can compare other matters to these.
Just as present-day civilization stands defeated before the Qur’anic principles concerning human social life and in reality is bankrupt in the face of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, so too it has been proved decisively in the previous twenty-five Words through the comparisons between European philosophy and human science, which are the spirit of civilization, and the wisdom of the Qur’an that philosophy is impotent and the wisdom of the Qur’an miraculous. The impotence and bankruptcy of philosophy and miraculousness and wealth of Qur’anic wisdom have been proved in the Eleventh and Twelfth Words; you may refer to those.
Furthermore, just as present-day civilization is defeated before the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s wisdom in regard to learning and actions, the same is true for literature and rhetoric. The comparison of the literature and rhetoric of civilization and those of the Qur’an is that of the dark grief and hopeless wailing of a motherless orphan and the low and uproarious song of a drunkard, and the yearning, hopeful sorrow of an elevated lover arising from a temporary separation and patriotic songs urging victory or war and high self-sacrifice. For in regard to the effects of its styles, literature and rhetoric
Twenty-Fourth Flash of the Thirty-First Letter about the veiling of women has
proved most decisively that Islamic dress is natural for women, and that to cast
it aside is contrary to women’s nature.
produce either sorrow or joy. And sadness is of two sorts. It is either a dark sorrow arising from the lack of friends, that is, having no friends or owner, which is the sorrow produced by the literature of civilization, which is stained by misguidance, enamoured of nature, tainted by heedlessness, or it is the second sorrow. This arises from the separation of friends, that is, the friends exist, but their absence causes a yearning sorrow. This is the guidance-giving, light-scattering sorrow which the Qur’an produces. Joy, too, is of two sorts. One stimulates the desires of the soul. This is the mark of civilization’s literature in the fields of theatre, cinema, and the novel. While the other joy silences the soul, and is subtle and mannerly, innocently urging the spirit, heart, mind, and subtle faculties to attain to sublime matters, to their original home and eternal abode, and their companions of the hereafter; it is the joy the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition produces. It fills man with eagerness for Paradise and eternal happiness and the vision of God’s beauty.
Thus, the vast meaning and mighty truth which the verse,
Say: If the whole of mankind and the 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 support115
expresses, is imagined by those of scant intelligence to be an impossible supposition for the purposes of uttering an exaggerated piece of eloquence. God forbid! It is not an exaggeration, nor is it an impossible supposition; it is an absolutely truthful piece of rhetoric, and possible and actual.
One aspect of its being in this form is this: if all the fine words of man and jinn which do not issue from the Qur’an and do not belong to it were to be gathered together, they could not imitate the Qur’an. And they have not been able to imitate it, for they have been unable to show that they have. The second aspect is this: civilization, and science and philosophy and European literature, which are the products of the thought and efforts of mankind and the jinn and even satans, remain in the very pits of impotence before the decrees, wisdom, and eloquence of the Qur’an. Just as we showed in the examples.
• Third Radiance: It is as though the All-Wise Qur’an is every century turned directly towards all the classes of humanity, and addresses each particularly. Indeed, since the Qur’an summons all mankind with all its classes and instructs them in belief, the highest and most subtle science, and in knowledge of God, the broadest and most luminous branch of learning, and in the laws of Islam, which are the most important and various of the sciences, it is essential that it should instruct every class and group appropriately. What it teaches, however, is the same; it does not differ. In which case, there have to be different levels in the same lesson, and according to its degree, every class takes its share from one of the veils of the Qur’an. We
115. Qur’an, 17:88.
have given many examples of this, and they may be referred to. Here we shall only indicate one or two minor points, and the share of understanding of one or two classes. For example:
He begets not, nor is He begotten * And there is none like unto Him.116
The share of understanding of this of the ordinary people, which forms the most numerous class: “Almighty God is above having mother and father, relatives or wife.” While the share of a middle class: “It is to deny the divinity of Jesus (Peace be upon him), and the angels, and anything which has been born.” For although denying something impossible is apparently purposeless, according to the rules of rhetoric, a necessary statement is intended, which gives it purpose. Thus, the purpose of denying son and begetter, which are particular to corporality, is to deny the divinity of those who have offspring and parents and equals; and it is to show that they are not worthy of being worshipped. It is because of this that Sura al-Ikhlas is beneficial for everyone all the time. The share of a more advanced class: “Almighty God is above all relations which suggest giving birth and being born. He is exempt from having any partners, helpers, or fellows. His relations with all beings are those of Creator. He creates through His pre-eternal will with the command of “Be!,” and it is. He is far beyond having any relation which is contrary to perfection, or is compelling, necessitating, or involuntary.” And the share of understanding of a higher class still: “Almighty God is pre-eternal and post-eternal, He is the First and the Last. Neither in His essence, nor in His attributes, nor in His actions, has He in any way any equal, peer, like, or match, or anything similar, resembling, or analogous to Him. Only, in His acts, there may be comparisons expressing similarity:
And God’s is the highest similitude.”117
You can draw analogies with the above for other classes, which all receive different shares, like those who have attained knowledge of God, the lovers of God, and the truly sincere.
A Second Example:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men.118
The share of understanding from this of the first class: “Zayd, the servant of God’s Noble Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him), whom he also addressed as ‘my son,’ divorced his stately wife because he did not find himself equal to her. On God’s command, the Messenger (PBUH) took her. The verse says: ‘If the Prophet calls you son, it is in respect of his Messengership. In regard to his person, he is not your father, so that the women he takes should be unsuitable for him.’”
116. Qur’an, 112:3-4.
117. Qur’an, 16:60.
118. Qur’an, 33:40.
The second class’s share is this: “A great ruler looks on his subjects with paternal compassion. If he is a spiritual monarch ruling both outwardly and inwardly, then since his compassion goes a hundred times beyond that of a father, his subjects look on him as a father and on themselves as his real sons. A father’s view cannot be transformed into that of a husband, and a daughter’s view cannot be easily transformed into the view of a wife, so since the Prophet’s taking the believers’ daughters would seem inappropriate, the Qur’an says: ‘The Prophet (PBUH) acts kindly towards you with the eye of Divine compassion, and treats you in a fatherly manner. In the name of his Messengership, you are like his children. But with regard to his human person, he is not your father so that his taking a wife from you should be unfitting.’”
The third group would understand it like this: “You should not claim a connection with the Prophet (PBUH), and relying on his perfections and trusting in his fatherly compassion, commit errors and faults.” Yes, many people are lazy because they lean on their elders and guides. They even sometimes say: “Our prayers have been performed.” (Like some ‘Alawis)
The Fourth Point. Another group would understand a sign from the Unseen from this verse, as follows: The Prophet’s male children would not remain at the degree of ‘men’ [rijal]; in consequence of some wise purpose, his descendants would not continue as men. Since through the use of the term ‘rijal’ it indicates that he is the father of women, his line would continue through women. And, Praise be to God, Fatima’s blessed descendants, like Hasan and Husayn, the radiant moons of two luminous lines, continued the physical and spiritual line of the Sun of Prophethood.
O God, grant blessings to him and his Family.
(The First Light here reaches a conclusion with Three Rays.)
The Second Light comprises Three Beams.
·FIRST BEAM: According to the testimony of thousands of brilliant scholars of rhetoric and the science of rhetorical style like Zamakhshari, Sakkaki, and ‘Abd al-Qahir Jurjani, there is in the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition as a whole a pleasant fluency, a superior correctness, a firm mutual solidarity, and compact proportionateness, powerful co-operation between the sentences and parts, and an elevated harmony between the verses and their aims. And yet, while there are seven or eight significant factors that might mar or destroy the harmony, co-operation, and mutual support, and the fluency and correctness, they do not mar them, indeed, they give strength to the fluency, correctness, and proportionateness. Only, those causes have exerted an influence to some extent and taken others out of the veil of the order and fluency. But just as a number of bumps and
cences appear on a tree, not to spoil the harmony of the tree, but to produce fruit which will be the means for the tree reaching its adorned perfection and beauty; in just the same way, these factors stick out their knobbly heads in order to express meanings which will enhance the Qur’an’s fluent word-order. Thus, although the Perspicuous Qur’an was revealed part by part like stars over twenty years in response to the circumstances and needs, it possesses such a perfect harmony and displays such a proportionateness that it is as though it was revealed all at once.
Furthermore, although the circumstances which prompted the Qur’an’s revelation were all different and various, its parts are so mutually supportive that it is as though it was revealed in response to only one of them. And although the Qur’an came in response to different and repeated questions, it displays the utmost blending and unity, as though it was the answer to a single question. And although the Qur’an came to explain the requirements of numerous diverse events, it displays such a perfect order that it is as though it explains a single event. And although the Qur’an was revealed through Divine condescension in styles appropriate to the understanding of the innumerable people it would address, whose circumstances were different and diverse, it displays such a fine correspondence and beautiful smoothness of style that it is as though the circumstances were one and the level of understanding the same; it flows as smoothly as water. And although the Qur’an addresses numerous classes distant from one another, it possesses such an ease of exposition, such an eloquence in its word-order, such a clarity in its manner of expression that it is as though it is addressing a single class. Even, each class supposes that it alone is being addressed. And although the Qur’an was revealed in order to guide and lead to various aims, it possesses such an perfect integrity, such a careful balance, such a fine order that it is as though the aim was one.
Thus, while these are all causes of confusion, they have been employed in the Qur’an’s miraculous manner of exposition, in its fluency and proportionateness. For sure, everyone whose heart is without disease, whose mind is sound, whose conscience is not sick, whose taste is unimpaired sees in the Qur’an’s manner of exposition a beautiful smoothness of style, a graceful harmony, a pleasing proportionateness, a unique eloquence. All the clear-sighted see that the Qur’an possesses an eye that sees the whole universe together with its outer and inner aspects clearly before it as though it was a page; that it turns the page as it wishes, and tells the page’s meanings as it wishes. Several volumes would be necessary if we were to explain the meaning of this First Beam together with examples, so sufficing with the explanations and proofs of this fact in my Arabic treatises and in Isharat al-I‘jaz, and in the twenty-five Words up to here, I have only pointed out here these features of the Qur’an in it as whole.
This concerns the miraculous qualities in the Qur’an’s unique style in the summaries and Most Beautiful Divine Names, which it shows at the ends of its verses.
REMINDER: There are many verses in this Second Beam. These are not only examples for the Second Beam, but for all the preceding examples and Rays. It would be extremely lengthy to explain them all giving them their due, so for now I am compelled to be brief and succinct. I have therefore indicated very concisely all the verses which form examples of this mighty mystery of miraculousness, and have postponed detailed explanation of them to another time.
Thus, the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition mostly mentions summaries at the conclusion of its verses which either contain the Divine Names or their meanings; or refer the verse to the reason in order to urge it ponder over it; or they comprise a universal rule from among the aims of the Qur’an in order to corroborate and strengthen the verse. Thus, in the summaries are certain indications from the Qur’an’s exalted wisdom and certain droplets from the water of life of Divine guidance, and certain sparks from the lightning of the Qur’an’s miraculousness. Now I shall mention briefly only ten of those numerous indications, and point out a concise meaning of only one of numerous truths, which are all one example out of many. Most of these ten indications are found together in compact form in most verses and form a true embroidery of miraculousness. Furthermore, most of the verses we give as examples are examples of most of the indications. We shall point out only one indication for each verse, and shall just point lightly to the meanings of those verses given as examples in the preceding Words.
• First Quality of Eloquence: With its miraculous exposition, the All-Wise Qur’an lays out, spreads out before the eyes, the acts and works of the All-Glorious Maker. Then it extracts the Divine Names from those works and acts, or it proves the basic aims of the Qur’an like the resurrection of the dead and Divine unity. An example of the first meaning is this:
He it is Who has created for you all things that are on the earth, then He turned His will to the heavens and ordered them as the seven heavens, for He has knowledge of all things.119
And an example of the second part:
Have We not made the earth as a resting place * And the mountains as pegs? * And [have We not] created you in pairs? * .... until, Verily the Day of Sorting Out is a thing appointed.120
119. Qur’an, 2:29.
120. Qur’an, 78:6-17.
In the first verse it describes the Divine works, and sets out the mightiest of them, which testify through their order and aims to knowledge and power, like the premises of a conclusion, or a momentous aim. Then it extracts the Name of All-Knowing. In the second verse, as is explained briefly in the Third Point of the First Ray in the First Light, it mentions Almighty God’s mighty acts and works, then concludes the resurrection of the dead, which is the Day of Sorting Out.
• Second Point of Eloquence: The Qur’an unrolls the woven fabrics of Divine art and displays them to the human gaze. Then, in the summaries it passes over the weaving within the Divine Names, or else refers them to the reason.
The first example of these:
Say: who is it that sustains you from the sky and from the earth? Or who is it that has power over hearing and sight? And who is it that brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? And who is it that rules and regulate all affairs? They will say, “God.” Say: Will you not then show piety [to Him]? * This is God, your Sustainer, The Truth..121
Thus, at the start it asks: “Who is it that readies the skies and the earth as though they were two storehouses for your sustenance, and causes one to produce rain and the other, seeds? Is there anyone other than God Who could make them two subservient storekeepers? In which case, thanks should be offered to Him alone.”
In the second phrase, it asks: “Who is the owner of your eyes and ears, the most precious of your members? From which workbench or shop did you obtain them? It is only your Sustainer that could give you them. It is He Who creates and raises you, and gave you them. In which case, there is no Sustainer but He, and the only one fit to be worshipped is He.”
In the third phrase, it says: “Who is it that resurrects the dead earth and raises to life hundreds of thousands of sorts of dead beings? Who could bring this about apart from the True God and Creator of all the universe? It is surely He Who brings it about, He raises them to life. Since He is Truth, He will not violate rights; He will send you to a Supreme Tribunal. He will raise you to life just as He raises to life the earth.”
In the fourth phrase, it asks: “Who other than God can administer and regulate this vast universe with perfect order as though it was a palace or a city? Since it can be none other than God, the power which administers with extreme ease the vast universe and all its heavenly bodies is so faultless and
121. Qur’an, 10:31-2.
infinite it can have no need of partner or associate, assistance or help. The One Who directs the vast universe will not leave small creatures to other hands. That means you will be obliged to say: ‘God.’”
Thus, the first and fourth phrases say “God,” the second, “Sustainer,” and the third, “Truth.” So understand how miraculously apt are the words: This is God, your Sustainer, The Truth.. It mentions Almighty God’s vast disposals, the meaningful weavings of His power. Then through mentioning the Names of “God,” “Sustainer,” and “Truth,” it shows the source of those vast disposals of Divine power.
An example of the second:
Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the oceans for the profit of mankind; in the rain which God sends down from the skies, and the life He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the disposal of the winds and the clouds subjugated between the sky and the earth, indeed are signs for people who think.122
First this enumerates the manifestations of Divine sovereignty in the creation of the heavens and the earth, which demonstrates Almighty God’s perfect power and the vastness of His dominicality, and testifies to His unity; and the manifestation of dominicality in the alternation of night and day, and the manifestation of Divine mercy in the subjugation of the ships in the sea, the most important means of transport in human social life; and the manifestation of the immensity of Divine power, which sends the water of life to the dead earth from the skies and raises to life hundreds of thousands of species and makes it like a exhibition of wonders; and the manifestation of mercy and power in the creation of infinite numbers of different animals on the earth from simple soil; and the manifestation of wisdom and mercy in the employment of the winds in important duties like assisting in the pollination and respiration of plants and animals and in the impelling and regulating of them so as to make them suitable to perform those duties; and the manifestation of dominicality in the subjugation and gathering together of the clouds, the means of mercy, suspended between the skies and the earth in great strange masses, and dispersing them, as though dispersing an army for rest and then summoning them back to their duties. Then, in order to urge the mind to ponder over their details and essential truths, it says: Indeed are signs for people who think. In order to rouse people’s minds with it, it refers it to their faculties of reason.
• Third Quality of Eloquence: Sometimes the Qur’an explains Almighty God’s acts in detail, then sums them up with a summary. It convinces with
122. Qur’an, 2:164.
the details and commits it to the memory and fixes it there by summarizing it. For example:
Thus will your Sustainer choose you and teach you the interpretation of events and perfect His favour to you and to the posterity of Jacob - even as He perfected it to your fathers Abraham and Isaac aforetime; indeed, your Sustainer is All-Knowing, All-Wise.123
With this verse, it points out the bounties bestowed on the Prophet Joseph and his forefathers. It says: “Out of all mankind Divine favour has ennobled you with the rank of prophethood; tied all the lines of prophethood to your line and made it the chief of all lineages among mankind; it has made your family a cell of instruction and guidance in the Divine sciences and dominical wisdom, and united in you through that knowledge and wisdom, prosperous worldly dominion and the eternal happiness of the hereafter; and it has made you both a mighty ruler of Egypt, and a high prophet, and a wise guide, and has distinguished you and your forefathers with knowledge and wisdom.” It enumerates these Divine bounties, then it says: Indeed, your Sustainer is All-Knowing, All-Wise. “His dominicality and wisdom require that He made manifest in you and your fathers and forefathers the Divine Names of All-Knowing and All-Wise.” Thus, it sums up those detailed bounties with this summary.
And, for example:
O God! Lord of All Dominion, You give power to whom You will.124
This verse shows Almighty God’s disposals in mankind’s social life in such a way that it ties glory and abasement, poverty and riches directly to Almighty God’s will and wish. It means, “Even the disposals most dispersed through the levels of multiplicity are through Divine will and determining. Chance and coincidence cannot interfere.” After making this statement, it mentions the most important matter in man’s life, his sustenance. This verse proves with one or two introductory phrases that man’s sustenance is sent directly from the True Provider’s treasury of mercy. It is like this: “Your sustenance is tied to the earth’s life, and the earth’s being raised to life looks to the spring, and the spring is in the hands of the One Who subjugates the sun and the moon, and alternates the night and the day. In which case, only the One Who fills the face of the earth with all the fruits can give an apple to someone as true sustenance. Only He can be his true Provider.” Then it says:
And You give sustenance to whom You please without measure.125
123. Qur’an, 12:6.
124. Qur’an, 3:26.
125. Qur’an, 3:27.
It summarizes and proves those detailed acts in this sentence. That is, “The One Who gives you unlimited sustenance is He Who performs these acts.”
• Fourth Point of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that the Qur’an mentions the Divine creatures with a particular arrangement of the sentence, then through showing that the creatures are within an order and balance and that they are its fruits, affords a sort of transparency and brilliance. This transparency and brilliance then show the Divine Names, the manifestation of which is through that mirror-like arrangement. It is as though the above-mentioned creatures are words, and the Names are their meanings, or the seeds of the fruits, or their essences. For example:
Man We did create from quintessence of clay * Then We placed him as [a drop of] sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; * Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a [foetus] lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be God, the Best of Creators!126
Thus, the Qur’an mentions in order those wonderful, strange, amazing, well-ordered and balanced stages of man’s creation in such a mirror-like fashion that
So blessed be God, the Best of Creators!
appears of itself from within them, and makes itself exclaimed. A scribe who was writing out this verse uttered the words before coming to them, and wondered to himself: “Has revelation come to me as well?” Whereas it was the perfection of the order and transparency of the preceding words and their coherence which had showed up the final words before coming to them.
And for example:
Your Sustainer is God, Who created the heavens and the earth is six days, and is firmly established on the Throne [of authority]; He draws the night as a veil over the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession; He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, [all] subject to His command. Is it not His to create and to command? Blessed by God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds!127
In this verse, the Qur’an points out the sublimity of Divine power and the sovereignty of dominicality. It shows an All-Powerful One of Glory established on the throne of His dominicality, Who, with the sun, moon and stars like soldiers under orders awaiting his command, rotates the night and day one after the other like two lines or two ribbons, one white and one black
127. Qur’an, 7:54.
and writes the signs of His dominicality on the pages of the universe. This he does in such a way that when a spirit hears the verse, it feels the desire to exclaim: “Blessed be God! What wonders God has willed! So Blessed be God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds!” That is to say, Blessed be God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds is like the summary, the seed, the fruit, and water of life, of what has preceded it.
• Fifth Quality of Eloquence: The Qur’an sometimes mentions material, particular matters which are subject to change and are the means of various circumstances, then in order to transform them into the form of constant truths, summarizes them with constant, luminous, universal Divine Names, and ties them up. Or it concludes with a summary which encourages thought and the taking of lessons. An example of the first meaning:
And He taught Adam the Names, all of them, then placed them before the angels, and said: “Tell me the Names of these if you are right.” * They said: “Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing , All-Wise!”128
First of all this verse mentions a particular matter, which is, “In the question of Adam’s succession, it was knowledge that gave him superiority over the angels.” Then within this event it mentions that of the angels’ defeat before Adam in respect of knowledge. Then it summarizes these two events with two universal Names: Indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise. That is: since You are All-Knowing and Wise, You instructed Adam and he prevailed over us. And since You are All-Wise, You treated us according to our abilities and gave him preference in accordance with his abilities.
An example of the second meaning:
And verily in cattle you will find an instructive sign. From what is within their bodies, between excretions and blood, We produce for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable for those who drink it...
Wherein is healing for men; indeed in this is a sign for a people who thinks.129
These verses point out that Almighty God makes creatures of His like sheep, goats, cattle, and camels into springs of pure, delicious milk for man, and artefacts like grapes and dates into cauldrons and trays laden with deliciously sweet bounties for him, and tiny miracles of His power like the honey-bee into makers of a sweet, health-giving sherbet, and then conclude with the words, Indeed in these are signs for a people who thinks,
128. Qur’an, 2:31-2.
129. Qur’an, 16:66-9.
thus urging man to think and take lessons and compare these with other things.
• Sixth Quality of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that a verse spreads out dominical decrees over a great multiplicity of things, then it unifies them with a tie of unity resembling an aspect of unity, or it situates them within a universal rule. For example:
His Throne does extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Supreme.130
Thus, together with proving with ten phrases in Ayat al-Kursi ten levels of Divine unity in varying hues, with the phrase,
Who is there that can intercede in His presence except as He permits?,
it rejects utterly and vehemently the associating of partners with God and interference of others, and casts them away. Also, since this verse manifests the Greatest Name, its meanings related to the Divine truths are at a maximum degree, so that it demonstrates the dominical acts of disposal at a maximum level. Furthermore, after mentioning the Divine regulation of all the heavens and the earth and a preservation encompassing all things at the maximum degree, a tie of unity and aspect of unity summarize the sources of those maximum manifestations with the phrase,
For He is the Most High, the Supreme.
And, for example:
It is God Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the skies, and with it brings out fruits therewith to feed you; made subject to you the ships, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers [too] He has made subject to you; * and He has made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day has He [also] made subject to you; * And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of God, never will you will able to number them.131
These verses describe how Almighty God created the huge universe as a palace for man, and sending the water of life from the skies to the earth, made the skies and the earth two servants producing food for him. Similarly, He made ships subject to men so that they might benefit from the fruits of the earth found in every part of it, and also exchange the fruits of their labours and secure their livelihoods in every respect. That is, He made the winds as whips, ships as horses, and the seas as a desert beneath their hooves. And besides connecting man with every region of the earth by means of ships, He
130. Qur’an, 2:255.
131. Qur’an, 14:32-4.
subjugated the rivers, great and small, to him by making them means of transport. And causing the sun and moon to travel, the True Bestower of Bounties alternates the seasons and makes them two obedient servants whereby He offers man His multicoloured bounties which change with the seasons; He created them also as two steersmen turning that mighty wheel. And He made the night and day subject to man; that is, He made the night as a veil for his sleep and repose, and the day a place of trade for winning his livelihood.
After enumerating these Divine bounties, with the summary:
And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of God, never will you will be able to number them,
it points out the vast extent of the bounties bestowed on man, and their abounding profusion and abundance. That is, whatever man asks for through the tongue of his capacity and innate needs, they have all been given him. An end can never be reached in counting the Divine bounties bestowed on man nor can they be exhausted. Certainly, since the heavens and the earth are a table of bounties for man, and things like the sun and the moon and night and day some of the bounties on the table, the bounties directed towards man are most surely beyond count and calculation.
• Seventh Mystery of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that in order to disallow apparent causes the ability to create and to demonstrate how far they are from this, a verse points out the aims and fruits of the effects so that it may be understood that causes are only an apparent veil. For to will that most wise and purposeful aims are followed, and important results are obtained, is of necessity the work of one who is most Knowing and Wise. Whereas causes are lifeless and without intelligence. So by mentioning the aims and results, such verses show that although causes are superficially and as beings joined to and adjacent to their effects, in reality there is a great distance between them. The distance from the cause to the creation of the effect is so great that the hand of the greatest causes cannot reach the creation of the most insignificant effects. Thus, it is within this long distance between cause and effect that the Divine Names each rise like stars. The place of their rising is this distance. To the superficial glance mountains on the horizon appear to be joined to and contiguous with the skirts of the sky, although from the mountains to the sky is a vast distance in which the stars rise and other things are situated; so too the distance between causes and effects is such that it may be seen only with the light of the Qur’an through the telescope of belief. For example:
Then let man consider his sustenance. * For that We pour forth water in abundance. * And We split the earth into fragments. * And We produce therein corn, * And grapes and nutritious plants, * And olives
and dates, * And enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees, * And fruits and fodder, * For use and convenience to you and your cattle.132
By mentioning miracles of Divine power in a purposeful sequence, this verse ties causes to effects and with the words, For use and convenience to you points to an aim at its conclusion. This aim proves that within the sequence of all the causes and effects is a hidden disposer who sees and follows the aim, to whom the causes are a veil. Indeed, with the phrase, For use and convenience to you and your cattle, it disallows all the causes the ability to create. It is in effect saying: “Rain comes from the sky in order to produce food for you and your animals. Since water does not possess the ability to pity you and produce food, it means that the rain does not come, it is sent. And the earth produces plants and your food comes from there. But lacking feelings and intelligence, it is far beyond the ability of the earth to think of your sustenance and feel compassion for you, so it does not produce it itself. Furthermore, since it is remote from plants and trees to consider your food and compassionately produce fruits and grains for you, the verse demonstrates that they are strings and ropes which One All-Wise and Compassionate extends from behind the veil, to which He attaches His bounties and holds out to animate creatures.” Thus, from this explanation numerous Divine Names rise, like All-Compassionate, Provider, Bestower, and All-Generous.
And another example:
Do you not see that God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap? - then will you see rain issue forth from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountain [masses of clouds] wherein is hail; He strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of His lightning well-nigh blinds the sight. * It is God Who alternates the night and the day; indeed in these things is an instructive example for those who have vision. * And God has created every animal from water; of them are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills; for verily God has power over all things.133
This verse explains the wondrous disposals in the formation of clouds and causing of rainfall, which is one of the most important miracles of dominicality and strangest veil of the treasury of mercy. Like soldiers who have dispersed to rest gather together at the call of a bugle, clouds gather and form at the Divine command when their parts have been dispersed and hidden in the atmosphere. Then, like an army is formed of small groups, the
133. Qur’an, 24:43-5.
pieces of cloud come together and form masses -which are vast and towering, moist and white, and contain snow and hail like the moving mountains at the resurrection- from which the water of life is sent to living beings. But in its being sent a will and purpose are apparent; it comes in accordance with need. This means it is sent. While the skies are clear and empty, the mountainous pieces of cloud do not gather together of their own accord into a great gathering of wonders, they are sent by One Who knows the living creatures. In this distance, then, Divine Names rise, like All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Disposer, Designer, Nurturer, Succourer, and Giver of Life.
• Eighth Quality of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that in order to impel the heart to accept Almighty God’s wondrous works in the hereafter and make the mind affirm them, the Qur’an mentions His amazing works in this world by way of preparation, or it mentions the wondrous Divine works of the future and hereafter in such a way that we acquire firm conviction about them through similar things which we observe here. For example:
Does man not see that We created him from sperm, and behold, he stands forth an open adversary?134... to the end of the Sura.
In this discussion of the resurrection of the dead, the Qur’an proves the resurrection in seven or eight different ways. Firstly it draws attention to the first creation, saying: “You see your creation from sperm to a blood-clot, from a blood-clot to a foetus lump, and from that to the human creation, so how is it that you deny the second creation, which is like it or even easier?”
And with the words:
Who produces for you fire out of the green tree,132
Almighty God indicates the mighty favours He bestows on man, saying: “The One Who bestows such bounties on you will not leave you at liberty to enter the grave and sleep never to rise again.” And by allusion it says: “You see the dead trees come to life and grow green, but you draw no conclusions from their bones springing to life when like dry fire-wood, and so deem man’s rising again unlikely. Also, could the One Who creates the heavens and the earth remain impotent before the life and death of man, the fruit of the heavens and the earth? Would the One Who administers the mighty tree attach no importance to its fruit and allow others to claim it? Do you suppose that He would abandon the result of all the tree, thus making purposeless and vain the tree of creation, which together with all its parts is kneaded with wisdom?” It says: “The One Who will raise you to
134. Qur’an, 36:77.
135. Qur’an, 36:80.
life at the resurrection is such that the whole universe is like a soldier under His orders.” It is utterly submissive before His command of “Be!,” and it is. It is as easy for Him to create the spring as to create a flower. He is One for Whose power it is as easy to create all animals as to create a fly. Such a One may not be challenged with the words:
Who can give life to [dry] bones?,136
and His power belittled. Then, with the phrase:
So glory be unto Him in Whose hand is the dominion of all things,137
it says: “He is an All-Powerful One of Glory in Whose hands are the reins of all things, with Him are the keys to all things; He alternates winter and summer as easily as turning the pages of a book, and opens and closes this world and the hereafter as though they were two houses.” Since it is thus, the conclusion of all these evidences is:
And to Him will you all be brought back.138
That is, “He will raise you to life from the grave and bring you to the resurrection;there you will be called to account in the presence of the Almighty.”
Thus, all these verses have prepared the mind to accept the resurrection, and so have they prepared the heart, for they have pointed out similar deeds in this world.
It sometimes happens also that the Qur’an mentions Almighty God’s deeds of the hereafter in such a way that man may understand similar things in this world. Then no possibility remains to deny them or deem them unlikely. An example are the Suras which begin:
When the Sun is folded up;139 * When the sky is cleft asunder;140 * When the sky is rent asunder.141
In these Suras it mentions the mighty revolutions and dominical acts of disposal in the resurrection and Great Gathering in such a way that, since man sees things similar to them in this world, for example, in the autumn and spring, he accepts those revolutions easily, which cause dread to the heart and cannot be comprehended by the mind. To provide even a summary of the meaning of these three Suras would be very lengthy, so for now we shall point out a single phrase by way of example.
136. Qur’an, 36:78.
137. Qur’an, 36:83.
138. Qur’an, 36:83.
139. Sura 81, al-Takwir.
140. Sura 82, al-Infitar.
141. Sura 84, al-Inshiqaq.
For example, the phrase:
When the pages are laid open142
expresses the following: at the resurrection all the deeds of everyone will be published written on pages. Being very strange on its own, the mind cannot grasp this matter. But as the Sura indicates, the same way as in the resurrection of the spring are things similar to other points, the things similar to this laying open of the pages are quite clear. For all fruit-bearing trees or flowering plants perform deeds, acts, and duties, and in whatever way they display the Divine Names and glorify God, they perform worship. All these deeds are written in their seeds together with their life histories, and emerge in another spring in another place. Just as they mention most eloquently the deeds of their mothers and stock through the tongues of the shapes and forms they display, so they publish the pages of their deeds through their branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Thus, the One Who carries out this Wise, Preserving, Planned, Nurturing, Benevolent work, is He Who says:
When the pages are laid open.
You can make analogies with other points from this and deduce them if you can. To help you, I shall say the following: the phrase:
When the sun is folded up
is a brilliant metaphor meaning ‘rolling up’ and ‘gathering up’; so too it alludes to things similar to it.
The First: Almighty God drew back the veils of non-existence, the ether, and the skies, and taking from the treasury of His mercy a lamp like a sparkling brilliant to illuminate the world, displayed it to the world. When the world is closed, He shall rewrap that brilliant in its veils and remove it.
The Second: The sun is an official charged with spreading out the wares of its light and wrapping the head of the earth alternately in light and darkness. Every evening it gathers up its wares and conceals them, and sometimes it does scant business due to the veil of a cloud, and sometimes the moon draws a veil over its face and somewhat hinders its transactions, then it adjusts the account books of its wares and transactions. Similarly, a time will come when this official will resign from its post. Even if there is no cause for its dismissal, due to the enlargement of the two black spots on its face, as has begun, with Divine permission the sun will take back the light that it spreads at a dominical command and wrap it around its own head. It will be told: “No work remains for you on earth. Go to Hell and burn those who worshipped you and insulted an obedient official like yourself by inferring you were disloyal!” It will read out the decree of When the Sun is folded up through its black-spotted face.
142. Qur’an, 81:10.
• Ninth Point of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that the All-Wise Qur’an mentions certain particular aims, then in order to impel the mind by means of them, confirms, establishes, verifies, and proves the aims through the Divine Names, which are like universal rules. For example:
God has indeed heard the statement of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and carries her complaint to God; and God [always] hears the arguments between both sides among you; for God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.143
Here the Qur’an is saying: “Almighty God is absolutely All-Hearing; He hears everything, even, through the Divine Name of Truth, a wife arguing with you and complaining about her husband, a truly insignificant matter. And since women manifest the subtlest manifestations of mercy and are mines of self-sacrificing compassion, He hears through the Name of Most Compassionate the rightful claim of a woman and her complaint to Him, and through the Name of Truth takes it seriously, affording it the greatest importance.” Thus, in order to make this particular aim universal, One outside the sphere of contingency of the universe Who hears and sees a minor incident among creatures, must of necessity hear and see all things, and One Who is Sustainer of the universe of necessity sees the suffering of insignificant creatures within the universe who are wronged, and hears their cries. One who does not see their suffering and does not hear their cries for help cannot be the Sustainer. In which case, it establishes two mighty truths with the phrase,
For God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
And, for example:
Glory be to [God] who did take His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our signs, for He is indeed All-Hearing, All-Seeing.144
Here, after mentioning the Noble Messenger’s (Peace and blessings be upon him) journey from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem, which was the start of his Ascension, the Qur’an says: for He is indeed All-Hearing, All-Seeing. The pronoun He refers to either Almighty God or to the Prophet. If it refers to the Prophet, it is like this: “There was within this particular journey a general journey and universal ascension, during which, as far as the Farthest Lote-tree and distance of two bow-strings, he heard and saw the dominical signs and wonders of Divine art which were apparent to his eyes and ears in the universal degrees of the Divine Names.”
143. Qur’an, 58:1.
144. Qur’an, 17:1.
It shows that that particular and insignificant journey was like a key to a journey which was universal and an assembly of wonders.
If the pronoun refers to Almighty God, it is like this: “He invited one of His servants to journey to His presence; and in order to entrust him with a duty, sent him from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, where He caused him to meet with the prophets who were gathered there. Then after showing that he was the absolute heir to the principles of all their religions, conveyed him through His realms in their inner and outer aspects as far as ‘the distance of two bow-lengths.’”
He was certainly a servant and he journeyed on an ascension that was particular, but he held a trust that was related to the whole universe, and a light which would change the universe’s colour. Since he had with him a key to open the doors of eternal happiness, Almighty God described this Being with the attributes of hearing and seeing all things. For in this way he could demonstrate the world-embracing purposes and instances of wisdom of the trust, the light, and the key.
And, for example:
Praise be to God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, two, three, or four [pairs]: He adds to creation as He pleases, for God is Powerful over all things.145
In this Sura, the Qur’an says: “By adorning the heavens and the earth in this way and displaying the works of His perfection, their All-Glorious Creator causes innumerable spectators to extol and praise Him. He decks them out with uncountable bounties so that the heavens and the earth praise and extol unendingly the Most Merciful Creator through the tongues of all the bounties and those who receive them.” After this it points out that since the Creator has given men and the animals and birds members and wings with which to travel through the towns and lands of the earth, and since that All-Glorious One has also given wings to the angels, the inhabitants of the realm of the heavens, in order to fly through the celestial palaces of the stars and lofty lands of the constellations, He is certainly powerful over all things. The One Who gives wings to a fly, to fly from fruit to fruit, and wings to a sparrow to fly from tree to tree, is the One Who gives wings to the angels to fly from Venus to Jupiter. Furthermore, the angels are not restricted to particularity like the dwellers of the earth; they are not confined by a specific place. With the words: two, three, or four [pairs], it suggests that at one time they may be present on four or more stars; it gives details. Thus, through describing “the arraying of the angels with wings,” which is a particular event, it points to a universal, general workshop of Divine power and its immensity, and
145. Qur’an, 35:1.
verifies and establishes it with the summary: For God is Powerful over all things.
• Tenth Point of Eloquence: It sometimes happens that a verse mentions man’s rebellious acts, then restrains him with severe threats. Then, so that the severity of the threats should not cast him into despair and hopelessness, it concludes with some Divine Names which point to His mercy and console him. For example:
Say: if there had been [other] gods with Him -as they say- behold they would certainly have sought out a way to the Lord of the Throne! * Glory be to Him! He is high above all that they say! - Exalted and Great [beyond measure] * The sevens heavens and the earth, and all beings therein declare His glory; there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet you understand not how they declare His glory! Indeed, He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving!146
This verse says: “Say: if, like you say, God had had partners in his sovereignty, there would surely have been some signs of disorder, caused by the hand that stretched up to the throne of His dominicality and interfered. However, through the tongues of the manifestations and inscriptions of the Divine Names which they manifest, all creatures, universal or particular, great or small, from the seven levels of the heavens to microscopic organisms, glorify the All-Glorious One signified by those Names, declaring Him to be free of partners or like.
Yes, just as the heavens declare Him to be All-Holy through the light-scattering words of the suns and stars, and through the wisdom they display and their order, and testify to His unity, so the atmosphere glorifies and sanctifies Him through the voice of the clouds and words of the thunder, lightning, and rain, and testifies to His unity. The earth too glorifies and declares to be One the All-Glorious Creator through its living words known as animals, plants, and other beings; and so does it glorify Him and testify to His unity through the words of its trees and their leaves, blossoms, and fruits. Similarly, despite their tiny size and insignificance, the smallest creatures and most particular beings glorify the All-Glorious One signified by the numerous universal Names they display, and testify to His unity through the inscriptions they bear.
Thus, since man is the summary and result of the universe, and God’s vicegerent on earth, and its delicate fruit, this verse points out how ugly and deserving of punishment is his unbelief and associating partners with God. For it is counter and contrary to the whole universe, which altogether glorifies unanimously, with one tongue, its All-Glorious Creator and testifies in
146. Qur’an, 17:42-4.
its own way to His unity, and performs the duty of worship with which it is charged, carrying it out in perfect submission. But in order not to cast man into despair, and to show the wisdom in the All-Glorious Subduer’s permitting such an infinitely ugly rebellion and not destroying the universe around mankind, it says:
Indeed, He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving!
It shows with this summary the wisdom in His postponing it, and leaves a door open for hope.
Thus, you may understand from these ten indications of miraculousness that in the summaries at the conclusions of verses are numerous sprinklings of guidance and flashes of miraculousness. The greatest geniuses among the scholars of rhetoric have bitten their fingers in absolute wonder and admiration at these unique styles, and declared: “THIS IS NOT THE WORD OF MAN,” and have believed with absolute certainty that
·THE THIRD BEAM of The Second Light
The Qur’an cannot be compared with other words and speech. This is because speech is of different categories, and in regard to superiority, power, beauty and fineness, has four sources: one is the speaker, another is the person addressed, another is the purpose, and another is the form. Its source is not only the form as literary people have wrongly shown. So in speech one should consider, “Who said it? To whom did they say it? Why did they say it? In what form did they say it?” One should not consider the words only and stop there. Since speech draws its strength and beauty from these four sources, if the Qur’an’s sources are studied carefully, the degree of its eloquence, superiority, and beauty will be understood. Indeed, since speech looks to the speaker, if it is command or prohibition, it comprises also the speaker’s will and power in accordance with his position. Then it eliminates resistance; it has an effect like physical electricity and increases in proportion to the speech’s superiority and power. Take, for example, the verse:
O earth! swallow up your water. And O sky! withhold [your rain].148
That is, “O earth! Your duty is completed, swallow your water. O skies! No need now remains, cease giving rain.” And for example:
It is no less than revelation inspired.147
This means that together with the above-mentioned indications, numerous further facets not included in our discussion are contained in other verses in the arrangement of which such an impress of miraculousness is apparent that even the blind may see it...
147. Qur’an, 53:4.
148. Qur’an, 11:44.
And He said to it and to the earth: Come together willingly or unwillingly. They said: We do come [together] in willing obedience.149
That is, “O earth! O skies! Come whether you want to or not, you are anyway submissive to my wisdom and power. Emerge from non-being and come to the exhibition-place of my art in existence.” And they replied: “We come in perfect obedience. Through Your power, we perform every duty that You have shown us.” Consider the power and elevatedness of these true, effective commands, which comprise power and will, then look at human words like the following nonsensical conversation with inanimate beings:
“Be stationary, O earth! Be cleft, O skies! O resurrection, break forth!”
Can the two commands be compared? Yes, is there are any comparison between wishes arising from desires and officious commands issuing from those wishes, and the command of a commander of real authority? Can there be any comparison between such words and the effective command, “Forward march!” of a supreme commander of a vast army? For if a command such as that is heard from a common soldier, while the two commands are the same in form, in meaning they differ as greatly as a common soldier and the commander of an army.
And for example the verses:
Indeed, His command when He wills a thing is “Be!,” and it is,150
And on Our saying to the angels: Prostrate before Adam.151
Look at the power and elevatedness of these two verses, then look at man’s speech in the form of commands. Is the latter not like a fire-fly in relation to the sun? In order to describe his act to both eye and ear, a true owner describes his act while performing it, and a true artist explains his art as he works it, and a true bestower explains his bounties as he bestows them, that is, in order to combine both word and act, each says: “Look! I have done this and I am doing this in this way. I did that for this reason, and this will be thus, and I am doing this so it will be like that.”
And for example:
Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? * And the earth, We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth [in pairs], * As an insight and reminder for all [God’s] servants who turn unto Him. * And We send down from the sky rain charged with blessing, and We produce there
149. Qur’an, 41:11.
150. Qur’an, 36:82.
151. Qur’an, 2:34.
with gardens and grain for harvests; * And tall [and stately] palm-trees, with shoots of fruit-stalks, piled one over another; * As sustenance for [God’s] servants; And We give [new] life therewith to land that is dead: thus will the coming-forth [from the grave].152
Can there be any comparison between these descriptions, these acts, which shine like the starry fruits of Paradise in the constellation of this Sura in the skies of the Qur’an, and this mentioning many levels of proofs within them by means of the order of rhetoric, and this proving the resurrection of the dead, its conclusion, with the phrase thus will be the coming-forth, thus silencing those at the start of the Sura who deny resurrection - can there be any comparison between this and the discussions of men about meddlesome acts which have little connection with them? It is not even the comparison of pictures of flowers by way of copying, and real living flowers. To fully explain the meaning from Do they not look to Thus will be the coming-forth would be very lengthy, so we shall just pass over it with a brief indication, like this:
Since, at the start of the Sura, the unbelievers deny resurrection, the Qur’an gives a long introductory passage in order to compel them to accept it. It says: “Do you not look at the skies above you, which we have constructed in such magnificent, orderly fashion? Do you not see how We have adorned it with stars and the sun and the moon, and how We have allowed no fault or defect? Do you not see how We have spread out the earth for you and with what wisdom We have furnished it? We have fixed mountains on it and protected it from the encroachment of the sea. Do you not see how We have created every variety of plant and growing thing on the earth, beautiful and of every colour, and how We have made beautiful every part of it with them. And do you not see how we send down bounteous rain from the skies, and with it create gardens and orchards, and grains, and tall, fruit-bearing trees like the delicious date, and how I cause them to grow and send My servants sustenance with them? And do you not see that I raise to life the dead country with the rain? I create thousands of worldly resurrections. Just as I raise up with My power these plants out of this dead country, that is how your coming-forth will be at the resurrection. At the resurrection, the earth will die and you will come forth alive.” Can there be any comparison between the eloquent explanations these verses set forth in proving resurrection, only one thousandth of which we have been able to allude to, and the words man puts forward to support a claim?
From the beginning of this treatise up to here, in endeavouring to make an obstinate enemy accept the Qur’an’s miraculousness by way of impartial reasoning, known as ascertaining the truth, we have left secret many of the
152. Qur’an, 50:6-11.
Qur’an’s rights. We have brought that Sun in among candles and drawn comparisons. We have carried out the duty of ascertaining the truth, and have proved its miraculousness in brilliant fashion. Now, in one or two words, not in the name of ‘ascertaining the truth,’ but in that of ‘reality,’ we shall point to the Qur’an’s true station, which is beyond comparison.
Indeed, the comparison of other speech to the Qur’an is that of minuscule reflections of stars in pieces of glass. How can the Qur’an’s words, each of which depict and show a constant truth, be compared with the meanings man depicts through his words in the minute mirrors of his thoughts and feelings? How can the angelic, living words of the Qur’an, which inspire the lights of guidance and are the speech of the All-Glorious Creator of the sun and the moon, be compared with man’s biting words with their bewitching substance and sham subtleties for arousing base desires? Yes, the comparison of poisonous vermin and insects, and blessed angels and luminous spirit beings, is that of man’s words and those of the Qur’an. The Twenty-Fifth Word together with the previous twenty-four Words have proved these truths. This claim of ours is not unsubstantiated; its proof is the above-mentioned conclusion. Indeed, how can the words of the Qur’an, which are all the shells of jewels of guidance, and sources of the truths of belief and springs of the fundamentals of Islam, and have come directly from the Throne of All-Merciful One, and above and beyond the universe look to man and descend to him, and comprise Divine knowledge, power, and will, and are the pre-eternal address - how can its words be compared with man’s vain, fanciful, futile, desire-nurturing words?
Yes, how can the Qur’an, which is like a tree of Tuba, and spreads in the form of leaves the world of Islam with all its qualities, marks, and perfections, all its ordinances and principles, and displays as fresh and beautiful through its water of life its purified scholars and saints, each like a flower, and produces all perfections and cosmic and Divine truths as fruits, and again like a fruit-bearing tree produces numerous seeds within its fruits each like a principle and programme for actions and displays truths in continuous succession - how can this be compared with man’s speech, which we know about? Where is the ground and where are the Pleiades?
Although for one thousand three hundred and fifty years, the All-Wise Qur’an has set forth and displayed all its truths in the market of the universe, and everyone, all nations, all countries have taken some of its jewels and its truths, and they do take them, neither the familiarity, nor the abundance, nor the passage of time, nor the great changes have damaged its valuable truths and fine styles, or caused it to age, or desiccated it, or made it lose its value, or extinguished its beauty. This on its own is an aspect of miraculousness.
If someone was to come forward now and put some of the truths the Qur’an brought into a childish order according to his own fancies, and if he was to compare these with some of the Qur’an’s verses in order to contest them, and say “I have uttered words close to the Qur’an’s,” it would be utterly foolish, like in the following example: there is a common man, a builder of ordinary houses, incapable of understanding the elevated inscriptions of a master who has built a splendid palace the stones of which are various jewels, and has decorated it with harmonious adornments which look to the elevated inscriptions of all the palace and their relation to the stones. If the common man, who had no share in any of the jewels and adornment of the palace, was to enter the palace, destroy the elevated inscriptions in the valuable stones and give it a form, an order, similar to that of an ordinary house in accordance with his childish desires and tack on a few beads pleasing to his juvenile view, and then say, “Look! I have greater skill and wealth and more precious adornments than the builder of the palace,” in comparison, it would be the art of a crazy, raving forger.
The Third Light consists of three Gleams.
·FIRST GLEAM: An important aspect of the Qur’an of Miraculous Expositions’s miraculousness was explained in the Thirteenth Word. It has been included here so that it might take its place among the other aspects of miraculousness, its brothers. It is as follows: if you want to see and appreciate how, like shining stars, all the Qur’an’s verses scatter the darkness of unbelief by spreading the light of miraculousness and guidance, imagine yourself in the age of ignorance and desert of savagery where everything was enveloped in lifeless veils of nature, under the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness. Then suddenly from the elevated tongue of the Qur’an, you hear verses like:
Whatever is in the heavens extols and glorifies God, for He is the Mighty, the Wise.153 * Whatever is in the heavens and earth extols and glorifies God, the Sovereign, the Most Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise.154
See how those dead or sleeping creatures of the world spring to life at the sound of extols and glorifies in the minds of those listening, how they awake, spring up, and mention God’s Names! And at the sound of,
The seven heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him,155
153. Qur’an, 57:1;
154. Qur’an, 62:1.
155. Qur’an, 17:44.
the stars in those black skies, each a lifeless piece of fire, and the wretched creatures on the face of the earth present the following view to those listening: the sky appears as a mouth and the stars as wisdom-displaying words and truth-uttering lights. The earth appears as a head, the land and sea as tongues, and all animals and plants as words of glorification. Otherwise you will not appreciate the subtleties of the pleasure at looking from this time to that. For if you look at each verse as having scattered its light since that time, and having become like universally accepted knowledge with the passage of time, and as shining with the other lights of Islam, and taking its colour from the sun of the Qur’an, or if you look at it through a superficial and simple veil of familiarity, you will not truly see what sort of darkness each verse scatters or how sweet is the recital of its miraculousness, and you will not appreciate this sort of its miraculousness among its many sorts. If you want to see one of the highest degrees of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition’s miraculousness, listen to the following comparison:
Let us imagine an extremely strange and vast and spreading tree which is concealed beneath a veil of the unseen and hidden in a level of concealment. It is clear that there has to be a relationship, harmony, and balance between a tree and all its members like its branches, fruits, leaves, and blossom, the same as between man’s members. Each of its parts takes on a form and is given a shape in accordance with the nature of the tree. So if someone appears and traces a picture on top of the veil corresponding to the members of the tree, which has never been seen, then delimits each member, and from the branches to the fruit, and the fruit to the leaves draws a form proportionately, and fills the space between its source and extremities, which are an infinite distance from one another, with drawings showing exactly the shape and form of its members, certainly no doubt will remain that the artist sees the concealed tree with an eye that penetrates and encompasses the unseen, then he depicts it.
In just the same way, the discriminating statements of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition concerning the reality of contingent beings (that is, concerning the reality of the tree of creation which stretches from the beginning of the world to the farthest limits of the hereafter, and spreads from the earth to the Divine Throne and from minute particles to the sun) have preserved the proportion between the members to such a degree and have given each member and fruit a form so suitable that at the depictions of the Qur’an, all exacting scholars have declared at the conclusion of their investigations: “What wonders God has willed! How great are God’s blessings!” They have said: “It is only you who solves and unravels the talisman of the universe and riddle of creation, Oh All-Wise Qur’an!”
And God’s is the highest similitude156 -and there is no error in the comparison- let us represent the Divine Names and attributes, and dominical acts and deeds as a Tuba-tree of light, the sphere of whose grandeur stretches from pre-eternity to post-eternity, and the limits of whose vastness spread through infinite, endless space and encompass it, and the limits of whose deeds stretch from,
It is God Who splits
the seed-grain and date-stone,157
and, Comes between man and his heart,158
Who created the heavens and the earth in six days,159 and, And the heavens rolled up in His right hand.160
The All-Wise Qur’an has described that luminous reality, the truths of those Names and attributes, and acts and deeds, together with all their branches and twigs and aims and fruits, in a way so harmonious, so fitting for one another, so appropriate for one another, without marring one another or spoiling the decree of one another, or their being remote from one another, that all the people of illumination and those who have penetrated to the realities, and all the wise and the sage who have journeyed in the realm of the inner dimension of things, have declared: “Glory be to God!” in the face of that Discriminating Exposition, and have affirmed it, saying: “How right, how conformable with reality, how fine, how worthy!”
Take, for example, the six pillars of belief, which are like a single branch of those two mighty trees which look to the entire sphere of contingency and sphere of necessity: it depicts all the branches and boughs of those pillars -as far as the furthest fruits and flowers- observing such a harmony and proportion between them, and describes them in a manner so balanced, and illustrates them a way so symmetrical that the human mind is powerless to perceive it and stands astonished at its beauty. And the proof that a beauty of proportion and perfect relation and complete balance have been preserved between the five pillars of Islam, which are like one twig of the branch of belief, down to the finest details, smallest point of conduct, furthest aims, most profound wisdom, and most insignificant fruits, is the perfect order and balance and beauty of proportion and soundness of the Greater Shari‘a of Islam, which has emerged from the decisive statements, senses, indications, and allusions of the comprehensive Qur’an; they form an irrefutable and decisive proof and just witness that cannot be doubted. This means that
156. Qur’an, 16:60.
157. Qur’an, 6:95.
158. Qur’an, 8:24.
159. Qur’an, 7:54.
160. Qur’an, 39:67.
the expositions of the Qur’an cannot be attributed to man’s partial knowledge, and particularly to the knowledge of someone unlettered. They rest rather on a comprehensive knowledge and are the word of One Who is able to see all things together and observe in one moment all truths between pre-eternity and post-eternity. In this we believe...
·SECOND GLEAM: Since just how far the human philosophy which challenges Qur’anic wisdom has fallen in the face of that wisdom has been explained and illustrated with comparisons in the Twelfth Word and proved in the other Words, we refer readers to those treatises and for now offer a further comparison from another point of view. It is as follows:
Human science and philosophy look at the world as fixed and constant. And they discuss the nature of beings and their characteristics in detail; if they do speak of their duties before their Maker, they speak of them briefly. Quite simply, they speak only of the decoration and letters of the book of the universe, and attach no importance to its meaning. Whereas the Qur’an looks at the world as transient, passing, deceptive, travelling, unstable, and undergoing revolution. It speaks briefly of the nature of beings and their superficial and material characteristics, but mentions in detail the worshipful duties with which they are charged by the Maker, and how and in what respects they point to His Names, and their obedience before the Divine creational commands. We shall therefore look at the differences between human philosophy and Qur’anic wisdom in regard to this matter of looking at things either briefly or in detail, and shall see which is pure truth and reality.
A watch in our hand appears to be constant, but its inside is in perpetual upheaval through the motion of the workings and the constant anguish of the cogwheels and parts. In just the same way, together with its apparent stability, this world, which is a huge clock of Divine power, is perpetually revolving within upheaval and change, transience and evanescence. Indeed, since time has entered the world, night and day are like a two-headed hand counting the seconds of that huge clock. The years are like a hand counting its minutes, while the centuries count its hours. Thus, time casts the world onto the waves of death and decline. It assigns all the past and the future to non-existence, leaving in existence only the present.
Together with this form which time gives the world, with regard to space also it is like an unstable clock undergoing revolution. For since the space of the atmosphere changes swiftly and quickly passes from one state to another through being filled and emptied with clouds sometimes several times a day, it causes change like a hand counting the seconds. And the space of the earth, which is like the floor of the house of the world, since with life and death and
the animals and plants its face changes very rapidly, like a minute-hand it shows that this aspect of the world also is transient. And just as the earth is like this in regard to its face, so through the revolutions and upheavals within it, and the mountains emerging as a result and disappearing, this aspect of the world is slowly passing also, like an hour-hand. And through change like the movements of the celestial bodies, the appearance of comets, the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses, and falling stars, the space of the heavens too, which is like the ceiling of the house of the world, shows that the heavens also are not stable and constant, but are progressing towards old age and destruction. Their change is slow and tardy like the hand counting the days in a weekly clock, but in every respect it demonstrates that it is transient and passing and heading for destruction.
Thus, the world, in regard to the world, has been constructed on these seven pillars. These pillars perpetually shake it. But when the world which is thus in motion and being shaken looks to its Maker, the motion and change is the working of the pen of power writing the missives of the Eternally Besought One. And those changing states are the mirrors of the Divine Names, which, being constantly renewed, display with ever-differing depictions the manifestation of the Names’ qualities.
And so, in respect of the world, the world is both transient and hastens towards death, and is undergoing revolution. Although in reality it is departing like flowing water, to the heedless eye it appears to be frozen; due to the idea of nature, it has become dense and turbid, and become a veil concealing the hereafter. Thus, through philosophical investigation and natural science, and the seductive amusements of dissolute civilization and its intoxicated passions, sick philosophy has both increased the world’s frozen state and inaction, and made denser heedlessness, and increased its opaqueness and turbidity, and caused the Maker and the hereafter to be forgotten. Whereas, with its verses,
By the Mount [of Revelation]. * By a Book inscribed.161 * When the Event Inevitable comes to pass.162 * The [Day of] Noise and Clamour, * What is [the Day of] Noise and Clamour?,163
the Qur’an cards the world in regard to the world like cotton, and casts it away. Through its expositions like,
Do they see nothing in the government of the heavens and the earth?164 * Do they not look at the sky above them? - How We have made it.165
161. Qur’an, 52:1-2.
162. Qur’an, 56:1.
163. Qur’an, 101:1.
164. Qur’an, 7:185.
165. Qur’an, 50:6.
* Do the unbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, before We clove them asunder?,166
it gives the world a transparency and removes its turbidity. Through its light-scattering illuminations like,
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.167 * What is the life of this world but play and amusement?,168
it melts the frozen, inactive world. Through its death-tainted expressions like,
When the sun is folded up.169 * When the sky is cleft asunder.170 * When the sky is rent asunder.171 * And the trumpet will be sounded, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth will fall down senseless, except such that it pleases God [to exempt],172
it smashes the delusion that the world is eternal. Through its thunderous blasts, like,
He knows what enters
within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from the skies
and what mounts up to them. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And God
sees all that you do.173
* And say: Praise be to God, Who will show you His signs, so that you shall
know them. And your Sustainer is not unmindful of all that you do,174
it scatters the heedlessness born of the notion of ‘nature’.
Thus, from beginning to end the Qur’an’s verses which are turned towards the universe proceed according to this principle. They reveal and display the reality of the world as it is. Through showing just how ugly the ugly world is, it turns man’s face from it, and points out the beautiful world’s beautiful face, which looks to the Maker. It fastens man’s eye on that. It instructs in true wisdom and knowledge, teaching the meanings of the book of the universe, and looking infrequently at the letters and decorations. It does not cause the meaning to be forgotten like drunken philosophy, nor make man enamoured of the ugly and waste his time on meaningless things due to the decoration of the letters.
166. Qur’an, 21:30.
167. Qur’an, 24:35.
168. Qur’an, 6:32.
169. Qur’an, 81:1.
170. Qur’an, 82:1.
171. Qur’an, 84:1.
172. Qur’an, 39:68.
173. Qur’an, 57:4.
174. Qur’an, 27:93.
·THIRD GLEAM: In the Second Gleam we pointed to the fall of human philosophy before Qur’anic wisdom and to the miraculousness of Qur’anic wisdom. Now, in this Gleam, we shall show the degree of the wisdom and science -before Qur’anic wisdom- of the purified scholars, the saints, and the enlightened among philosophers, the Ishraqiyyun, who are all students of the Qur’an, and shall make a brief indication to the Qur’an’s miraculousness in this respect.
A most true indication of the All-Wise Qur’an’s sublimity, and a most clear proof of its truth and justice, and a most powerful sign of its miraculousness is this: preserving all the degrees of all the areas of Divine unity together with all their necessities, and expounding them, it has preserved their balance and not spoilt it; and it has preserved the balance of all the exalted Divine truths; and it has brought together all the ordinances dictated by the Divine Names and preserved their mutual proportion; and it has brought together the dominical and Divine acts with perfect balance. Thus, this preserving and balance and bringing together is a characteristic which is certainly not present in man’s works nor in the products of the thought of the eminent among mankind. It is to be found nowhere in the works of the saints who have penetrated to the inner face of beings, which looks to their Creator, nor in the books of the Ishraqiyyun, who have passed to the inward, hidden meaning of things, nor in the knowledge of the spiritual who have penetrated the World of the Unseen. As though they have practised a division of labour, it is as if each group adheres to only one or two branches of the mighty tree of reality; each busies itself with only its fruit or its leaves. They either know nothing of the others, or else do not concern themselves with them.
Absolute reality cannot be comprehended by restricted views. A universal view like the Qur’an is necessary in order to comprehend it. For sure they are instructed by the Qur’an, but with a particular mind they can only see completely one or two sides of universal reality, are preoccupied with them, and imprisoned in them. They spoil the balance of reality through either excess or negligence and mar its proportion and harmony. This truth was explained with an unusual comparison in the Second Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word, and now we shall point to the matter with another comparison.
For example, let us suppose there is some treasure under the sea, full of innumerable jewels of various kinds. Divers are plunging the depths to search for the jewels of the treasure. Since their eyes are closed, they understand what is there through the dexterous use of their hands. A longish diamond comes into the hand of one of them. The diver assumes that the whole treasure consists of a long, pillar-like diamond. When he hears of other jewels from his companions, he imagines that they are subsidiary to the diamond he
has found, and are facets and embellishments of it. Into the hand of another passes a round ruby, while another finds a square piece of amber, and so on, each of them believes that the jewel he sees with his hand is the essential, major part of the treasure, and supposes that the things about which he hears are additional parts and details of it. So then the balance of the truths is spoilt, and the mutual proportion too is marred. The colour of many truths changes, and in order to see the true colour of reality they are obliged to resort to forced interpretation and elaborate explanations. Sometimes even they go as far as denial and rejection. Anyone who studies the books of the Ishraqiyyun philosophers and the works of sufis who rely on illuminations and visions without weighing them on the scales of the Sunna will doubtless confirm this statement of ours. That is to say, although their works concern truths similar to those of the Qur’an and are taken from the Qur’an’s teachings, because they are not the Qur’an, they are defective in that way. The Qur’an’s verses also, which are oceans of truths, are divers for that treasure under the sea. But their eyes are open and encompass the treasure. They see what there is in the treasure and what there is not. They describe and expound it with such harmony, order, and proportion that they show the true beauty and fineness. For example, just as they see the vastness of dominicality expressed by the verses,
And the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His hand.175 * The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books [completed],176
so too they see the all-encompassing mercy expressed by these:
God, there is nothing hidden from Him on the earth or in the heavens * He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases.177 * There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock.178 * How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is God who feeds [both] them and you.179
And just as they see and point out the vast extent of the creativity expressed by,
Who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light,180
so too they see and show the comprehensive disposal and encompassing dominicality expressed by,
But God has created you and what you do.181
175. Qur’an, 39:67.
176. Qur’an, 21:104.
177. Qur’an, 3:5-6.
178. Qur’an, 11:56.
179. Qur’an, 29:60.
180. Qur’an, 6:1.
181. Qur’an, 37:96.
They see and point out the mighty truth expressed by,
He gives life to the earth after its death,182
and the magnanimous truth expressed by,
And your Sustainer inspired the bee,183
and the sovereign and commanding vast truth expressed by,
The sun and the moon and the stars subjugated to His command.184
They see and show the compassionate, regulating truth expressed by,
o they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in? None can uphold them except the Most Merciful; indeed He sees all things,185
and the vast truth expressed by,
His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in preserving them,186
and the guarding truth expressed by,
And He is with you wherever you may be,187
and the all-encompassing truth expressed by,
He is the First and the Last and the Outward and the Inward, and He is Knowing of All Things,188
and the proximity expressed by,
It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him; for We are nearer to him that his jugular vein,189
and the elevated truth indicated by,
The angels ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years,190
and the all-embracing truth expressed by,
God commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion.191
The Qur’an’s verses see and show in detail each of the six pillars of belief in
182. Qur’an, 30:50.
183. Qur’an, 16:68.
184. Qur’an, 7:54.
185. Qur’an, 67:19.
186. Qur’an, 2:255.
187. Qur’an, 57:4.
188. Qur’an, 57:3.
189. Qur’an, 50:16.
190. Qur’an, 70:4.
191. Qur’an, 16:90.
respect of this world and the hereafter, action and knowledge. They see and show intentionally and seriously each of the five pillars of Islam, and all the principles which ensure happiness in this world and the next. They preserve their balance, perpetuate their proportion, and a form of the Qur’an’s miraculousness comes into being from the source of the beauty which is born of the mutual proportion of the entirety of those truths.
It is due to this great mystery that although the scholars of theology (kalâm) are students of the Qur’an and one section of them has written thousands of works of ten volumes each on the pillars of belief, because like the Mu‘tazilites they preferred the reason to revelation, they have not been able to express with clarity so many as ten of the Qur’an’s verses, or prove them decisively, or convince persuasively concerning them. It is quite simply as though they have dug tunnels under distant mountains, taken pipes with the chains of causes to the ends of the world, there cut the chains, and then demonstrated knowledge of God and the existence of the Necessarily Existent One, which are like the water of life. The Qur’an’s verses, however, can all extract water from every place like the Staff of Moses, open up a window from everything, and make known the All-Glorious Maker. We have actually proved and demonstrated this fact in the Arabic treatise Katre, and in the other Words, which flow forth from the ocean of the Qur’an.
It is also due to this mystery that since all the leaders of the heretical groups who have passed to the inward nature of things (batin), who, not following the Sunna of the Prophet (PBUH) but relying on their visions, have returned having gone half way, and becoming leaders of a community have founded sects, have been unable to preserve the proportion and balance of the Qur’anic truths, they have fallen into innovation and misguidance and driven a community of people down the wrong road. Thus, the complete impotence of all these demonstrates the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s verses.
Two flashes of the Qur’an’s miraculousness mentioned in the Fourteenth Drop of the Nineteenth Word are its repetitions, which are imagined to be a fault, and its brevity concerning the physical sciences, both of which are sources for flashes of miraculousness. Also, a flash of the Qur’an’s miraculousness which shines on the miracles of the prophets in the Qur’an is demonstrated clearly in the Second Station of the Twentieth Word. Similarly to these, numerous flashes of miraculousness have been mentioned in the other Words and in my Arabic treatises. Therefore, deeming those to be sufficient, here we shall only say this, that a further miracle of the Qur’an is that just as all the miracles of the prophets display an impress of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, so with all its miracles, the Qur’an is itself a miracle of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). And all the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are a miracle of the Qur’an which demonstrate its relation with Almighty God. And with the appearance of that relation all of its words become miracles. For then a single of its words may contain the meaning of a tree of truths, like a seed; and may be connected with all the members of a mighty truth, like the centre of the heart; and since its relies on an all-encompassing knowledge and infinite will, it may look to innumerable things together with their letters, totalities, situations, and positions. It is because of this that the scholars of the science of letters claim that they have found a pageful of secrets in a single of the Qur’an’s letters, and they prove what they claim to adepts of that science.
Now, gather together in your mind’s eye all the Lights, Rays, Flashes, Beams, and Gleams from the start of this treatise up to here and consider them all together! As a decisive conclusion, they recite and proclaim in resounding tones the claim made at the beginning, that is,
Say: If all mankind and the 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.192
192. Qur’an, 17:88.
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.193
O our Sustainer! Do not call us to task if we forget or do wrong.194 * O my Sustainer! Expand for me my breast, * And make easy for me my task, * And remove the impediment from my speech, * So that they may understand what I say.195
O God! Grant blessings to our master Muhammad that will be pleasing to You and will be fulfilment to his truth, and to his Family, his Companions, and his brothers, and grant them peace.
O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts deviate after you have guided us, and grant us mercy from Your Presence, for You are the Granter of bounties without measure.196 * And the close of their prayer will be, All praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds.197 Amen. Amen. Amen.
193. Qur’an, 2:32.
194. Qur’an, 2:286.
195. Qur’an, 20:25-28.
196. Qur’an, 3:8.
197. Qur’an, 10:10.
[Of the Addenda added to the Twenty-Fifth Word, this First Addendum consists of the Seventeenth Degree of the First Station of the Seventh Ray, The Supreme Sign, on account of its Station.]
Knowing the aim of life in this world, and the life of life, to be belief, the tireless and insatiable traveller through the world who was questioning the universe concerning his Sustainer then said to himself: “Let us refer to the book called the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, which is known as the word and speech of the One we are seeking, and is the most famous, brilliant, dominant book in the world, challenging everyone in every century who does not submit to it. But first we must prove that it is the book of our Creator.” And he started to search.
Since the traveller lived at this time, he looked first at the Risale-i Nur, which consists of flashes of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, and saw that its one hundred and thirty parts are fine points and lights of the verses of that Distinguisher between Truth and Falsehood, and authentic explanations of them. Although through striving and endeavour the Risale-i Nur has spread the Qur’anic truths everywhere in an age as obstinate and atheistic as this, the fact that no one has opposed it successfully proves that the Qur’an, which is its master, source, authority, and sun, is heavenly and revealed, and not man’s word. Only one proof of the Qur’an out of the hundreds of the Risale-i Nur, the Twenty-Fifth Word together with the last part of the Nineteenth Letter, has proved so decisively that the Qur’an is miraculous in forty aspects that everyone who has seen them, rather than criticizing or objecting to them, has been full of wonder at their proofs, appreciating and praising them. So referring it to the Risale-i Nur to prove the Qur’an’s miraculous aspects and its being the Word of God, the traveller only noted with brief indications several points demonstrating its greatness.
• First Point: Just as with all its miracles and all its truths, which are an indication of its veracity, the Qur’an is a miracle of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), so too with all his miracles and the evidences of his prophethood and perfections of his knowledge, Muhammad (PBUH) is a miracle of the Qur’an, and a decisive proof that it is the Word of God.
• Second Point: The Qur’an caused a transformation in social life in this world in so luminous, happy, and truthful a fashion, and brought about such a revolution in both men’s souls, and hearts, and spirits, and minds, and in their personal lives, social lives, and political lives, and continued and directed that revolution, that every minute for fourteen centuries its six thousand six hundred and sixty-six verses have been recited with deep reverence by the tongues of at least one hundred million men, and it has trained men, purified their souls and cleansed their hearts, and has caused spirits to unfold and progress, given direction and light to minds, and vitality and happiness to life. For sure, such a book has no like; it is a wonder, a marvel, a miracle.
• Third Point: The eloquence the Qur’an has demonstrated from that age till now is illustrated by the following: it caused Labid’s daughter to remove from the walls of the Ka‘ba the famous verses written in gold of the most celebrated poets called the Seven Hanging Poems, and to declare while doing so: “Beside the verses of the Qur’an these no longer have any value!”
Also, when a bedouin poet heard the verse,
Therefore expound openly what you are commanded1
being recited, he bowed down in prostration. When asked if he had become a Muslim, he replied: “No, I was prostrating before the eloquence of this verse.”
Also, thousands of brilliant scholars and learned literary figures like the geniuses of the science of rhetoric, ‘Abd al-Qahir Jurjani, Sakkaki, and Zamakhshari, all reached the conclusion that, “The Qur’an’s eloquence is beyond man’s power, he could not achieve it.”
Also, although from that time it has continuously issued a challenge provoking conceited and egotistical orators and poets, proclaiming in a way which will sting their pride: “Produce the like of one single Sura or be resigned to ignominy and ruin in this world and the next!”, the obdurate orators of that time gave up disputing it verbally, the short way of producing the like of one Sura, and chose the way of the war, which was lengthy and threw their lives and property into peril, thus proving that it was not possible to take the short way.
Also, millions of Arabic books are in circulation, written since that time by the Qur’an’s friends through the desire to resemble and imitate it, and by its enemies, driven to combat and criticize it, and such works are being written and have improved through the meeting of minds and ideas, but if even the most common man should listen to them, he would declare that none of them have reached it, saying: “The Qur’an does not resemble these and is not of their level. It is either lower than all of them or higher. No one in the world, no unbeliever, nor an idiot even, can say that it is lower, which means
1. Qur’an, 15:94.
that the degree of its eloquence is above all of them.”
One time, a man recited the verse,
All that is in the heavens and the earth extols and glorifies God,2
and said: “I can’t see the eloquence in this, although it is considered wonderful.” So it was said to him, “You return to that time like the traveller, and then listen to it.” So imagining himself to be there before the Qur’an was revealed, he saw the beings of the world to be lifeless, without consciousness and duties, wretched and obscure in an unstable, transitory world in the middle of limitless, empty space. Suddenly, listening to this verse from the tongue of the Qur’an, he saw that it drew back a veil from the universe and face of the world, illuminating it. He saw that this pre-eternal address and eternal decree instructs the conscious beings lined up in the centuries, revealing the universe to be like a huge mosque, and foremost the heavens and the earth, and all beings, to be employed in the glorification and remembrance of God, enthusiastically performing their duties with joy and eagerness. He appreciated the degree of eloquence of this verse, and comparing the others to it, understood one of the thousands of instances of wisdom in the recitation of the Qur’an’s eloquence overspreading half the earth and a fifth of mankind, and, being held in utter veneration, perpetuating its sublime sovereignty for fourteen centuries without break.
• Fourth Point: The Qur’an displays an agreeableness so true that for those who recite it, its many repetitions, which are the cause of even the sweetest things being wearied of, do not cause weariness, rather for those whose hearts are not corrupted and taste spoilt, the repetitions increase its agreeableness. Since early times this has been accepted by everyone and become proverbial. Furthermore, it demonstrates such a freshness, youth, and originality that although it has lived for fourteen centuries and has been freely available to everyone, it has preserved its freshness as though newly revealed. Each century has seen it to be young as though it was addressing that century in particular. And although in order to benefit from it all the time, all the branches of scholars have always had copies of it present with them in large numbers and have followed and emulated its style and manner of expression, it has preserved the originality in its style and manner of exposition exactly.
• Fifth Point: One wing of the Qur’an is in the past, and one is in the future, and just as its root and one wing are the agreed truths of the former prophets, and it confirms and corroborates them, and they too confirm it with the tongue of unanimity, so too all the true sufi paths and ways of sainthood whose fruits, the saints and purified scholars, who receive life from the
2. Qur’an, 57:1, etc.
Qur’an, show through their vital spiritual progress that their blessed tree is living, effulgent, and the means to truth. They grow and live under the protection of its second wing, and testify that the Qur’an is pure truth and the assembly of truths and in its comprehensiveness, is a matchless wonder.
• Sixth Point: The Qur’an’s truthfulness and veracity show that its six aspects are luminous. Indeed, the pillars of argument and proof beneath it; the flashes of the stamp of miraculousness above it; the gifts of happiness in this world and the next before it, its goal; the truths of heavenly revelation, its point of support behind it; the assent and evidence of innumerable upright minds to its right; and the true tranquillity, sincere attraction, and submission of sound hearts and clean consciences on its left all prove that the Qur’an is a wondrous, firm, unassailable citadel of both the heavens and the earth.
Similarly, the universe’s Disposer, Who has made it His practice to foremost always exhibit beauty in the universe, protect good and right, and eliminate imposters and liars, has set His seal on its being sheer truth and right on six levels, and not being man’s word, and its containing no error; and by giving it the most acceptable, highest, and most dominant place of respect and degree of success in the world, has confirmed and endorsed the Qur’an.
So too, the one who is the source of Islam and interpreter of the Qur’an - his believing in it and holding it in greater respect than everyone else, and being in a sleep-like state when it was revealed, and other words and speeches not resembling or coming near it, and that Interpreter’s describing without hesitation and with complete confidence through the Qur’an true cosmic events of generally the past and the future from behind the veil of the Unseen, and no trickery or fault being observed in him while being under the gazes of the sharpest eyes, and his believing and affirming every pronouncement of the Qur’an with all his strength and nothing shaking him, is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is revealed and true and the blessed Word of his own Compassionate Creator.
Also, a fifth of mankind, indeed the greater part of it, being drawn to the Qur’an and bound to it in religion and giving ear to it eagerly desirous of the truth, and according to the testimony of many indications and events and illuminations, the jinn, angels, and spirit beings also gathering around it in truth-worshipping fashion like moths whenever it is recited is a stamp confirming the Qur’an’s acceptance by all beings and that it occupies an elevated position.
Also, all the classes of mankind from the most stupid and lowly to the cleverest and most learned taking their full share of the Qur’an’s instruction and their understanding its profoundest truths, and all branches of scholars
like the great interpreters of the Greater Shari‘a in particular, and hundreds of Islamic sciences and branches of knowledge, and the brilliant and exacting scholars of theology and the principles of religion extracting from the Qur’an all the needs and answers for their own sciences, - this is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is a source of truth and mine of reality.
Also, although the Arab literary figures, who were the most advanced in regard to literature, -those of them who were not Muslims- had the greatest need to dispute the Qur’an, their avoiding producing the like of only a single Sura and its eloquence, eloquence being only one aspect of the seven major aspects of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, as well as the famous orators and brilliant scholars up to the present who have wanted to gain fame through disputing it being unable to oppose a single aspect of its miraculousness and their remaining silent in impotence, - this is a stamp confirming that the Qur’an is a miracle and beyond the powers of man.
Yes, the value, superiority, and eloquence of a speech or word is apparent through knowing, “from whom it has come and to whom, and for what purpose;” the Qur’an then can have no like, and none can reach it. For the Qur’an is the speech and address of the Sustainer of all the worlds and Creator of the whole universe and a dialogue in no way hinting of imitation and artificiality. It is addressed to the one sent in the name of all men, indeed of all beings, the most famous and renowned of mankind, the strength and breadth of whose belief gave rise to mighty Islam and raised its owner to the level of ‘the distance of two bow-strings’ and returned him as the addressee of the Eternally Besought One. It describes and explains the matters concerning happiness in this world and the next, the results of the creation of the universe, and the dominical purposes within it. It expounds also the belief of the one it addresses, which was the highest and most extensive, and bore all the truths of Islam. It turns and shows every side of the huge universe like a map, a clock, or a house, and teaches and describes it in the manner of the Craftsman Who made them - to produce the like of this Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition is not possible; the degree of its miraculousness cannot be attained to.
Also, thousands of precise and learned scholars of high intelligence have all written commentaries expounding the Qur’an, some of which are of thirty, forty, or even seventy volumes, showing and proving through evidence and argument the innumerable qualities, fine points, characteristics, mysteries, elevated meanings, and numerous indications concerning every sort of hidden and unseen matter in the Qur’an. And the one hundred and thirty parts of the Risale-i Nur in particular, each of which proves with decisive arguments one quality, one fine point of the Qur’an, - all its parts, such as the Miraculousness of the Qur’an, and the Second Station of the Twentieth Word, which deduces many things from the Qur’an concerning the wonders of civilization
like the railway and the aeroplane, and the First Ray, called Signs of the Qur’an, which divulges allusions of verses to the Risale-i Nur and electricity, and the eight short treatises called The Eight Signs, which show how well-ordered, full of meaning, and mysterious are the words of the Qur’an, and the small treatise proving in five aspects the miraculousness of the verses at the end of Sura al-Fath in regard to their giving news of the Unseen - each part of the Risale-i Nur shows one truth, one light of the Qur’an. All this forms a stamp confirming that the Qur’an has no like, is a miracle and a marvel, and that it is the tongue of the World of the Unseen in the Manifest World and the Word of One All-Knowing of the Unseen.
Thus, due to these qualities and characteristics of the Qur’an indicated above in six points, six aspects, and six levels, its sublime, luminous sovereignty and sacred, mighty rule have continued in perfect splendour illuminating the centuries and the face of the earth for one thousand three hundred years. Also, on account of these qualities of the Qur’an, each of its letters has gained the sacred distinction of yielding at least ten rewards, ten merits, and ten eternal fruits, and the letters of certain verses and Suras yielding a hundred or a thousand fruits, or even more, and at blessed times the light, reward, and value of each letter rising from ten to hundreds. The traveller through the world understood this and said to his heart: “The Qur’an, which is thus miraculous in every respect, through the consensus of its Suras, the agreement of its verses, the accord of its lights and mysteries, and the concurrence of its fruits and works, so testifies with its evidences in the form of proofs to the existence, unity, attributes, and Names of a Single Necessarily Existent One that it is from its testimony that the endless testimony of all the believers has issued forth.”
Thus, in brief indication to the instruction in belief and Divine unity that the traveller received from the Qur’an, it was said in the Seventeenth Degree of the First Station:
There is no god but God, the One and Unique Necessary Existent, to Whose Necessary Existence in Unity points the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, the book accepted and desired by all species of angel, men and jinn, whose verses are read each minute of the year, with the utmost reverence, by hundreds of millions of men, whose sacred sovereignty over the regions of the earth and the universe and the face of time is permanent, whose spiritual and luminous authority has run over half the earth and a fifth of humanity, for more than fourteen centuries, with the utmost splendour. Testimony and proof is also given by the unanimity of its sacred and heavenly Suras, the agreement of its luminous, divine verses, the congruence of its mysteries and lights, the correspondence of its fruits and effects, by witnessing and clear vision.