22) What is it that makes the Qur’an a supernatural sign?
The content, style and language of the Qur’an are all, in
themselves, wonderful. It was into the midst of the greatest exponents
of Arabian literature that the Qur’an was revealed. The poetry of
fourteen centuries past are, to this day, hailed as the masterpieces of
Arabian literature. It was through an illiterate person from amongst
them that the world first heard of the Qur’an. As for him, he was one
who had shown not the slightest inclination towards literature upto the
age of forty. There were also no questions raised about the undoubtedly,
excellent quality of the style of the Qur’an by the society into which it
was revealed. Whether believer or unbeliever, the Arabs were all
unanimous in their recognition of the lofty standard of the style and
language of the Qur’an. The unbelievers, for their part, had only
refrained from accepting its divine nature by resorting to allegations
that it was sorcery and the words of the Devil himself.
It is pertinent, here, to note the words of Waleed bin Mughira,
a leader of the Quraysh and himself the greatest authority in Arabian
literature, who, on being asked by Abu Jahl to make a public
proclamation against the Qur’an, said: “What can I say? Whether it
be in prose or in poetry, the poems of the Jinns or in any other
branch of Arabian literature, I possess greater knowledge than
you. By God! The words brought forth by this man, are such as to
be incomparable with any of the others. By God, his words possess
a charming sweetness and a particular beauty all of themselves.
Moreover, its branches are laden with fruit while its roots are
firmly entrenched in the soil whence it proceeds. Most certainly,
therefore, it is superior to all other dicourses. Furthermore, it
is not possible for any other discourse to show it in poor light.
It is certain that it will conquer anything comes under its
It must be remembered that this has been the comment of a
non-Muslim. Indeed, a finer endorsement of the level of the style and
language of the Qur’an need not be called for.
The style of the Qur’an is inimitable. This has been attested by
even the most modern of the non-Muslim Arab scholars. Observe the
writing of the orientalist G. Sale.
“The style of the Qur’an is beautiful, it is adorned with bold
figures after the eastern taste, enlivened with florid and
sententious expressions and in many places where the majesty
and attributes of God are described, sublime and magnificient”
(G. Sale, The Koran: Commonly called Al-Qur’an, with a preliminary
discourse, London, 1899, Vol.1, page 47).
A.J. Arberry, another orientalist, writes thus:
“The complex prosody, a rich repertory of subtle and
complicated rhymes had been completely perfected. A vocabulary
of themes, images, and figures extensive but nevertheless
circumscribed, was firmly established” (A.J. Arberry, The Qur’an
interpreted, London 1955, page 11).
The style, language and content of the Qur’an are all unparalleled;
all beyond imitation; are all in their refined beauty, exquisite. Anyone
conversant with Arabic will easily grasp this. Each verse of the Qur’an
possesses an extreme attraction and a potential so great as to cause a
transformation in the mind of its listeners. This has been admitted by
several medieval and modern critics with a reasonable knowledge of
A thing becomes a supernatural manifestation when it remains
unconquered by man. When Prophet Moses let fall his staff upon the
ground, it turned into a writhing serpent. Moreover, it swallowed the
staffs and ropes of the magicians of the day who had come to contest
the sign of God. This has been described in the Qur’an and the Bible.
(Qur’an 26:38-45, Exodus 7:11-13).
It is the contention and claim of the Qur’an itself that it remains
unmatched in its style, structure, breadth of vision and loftiness of co
ntent and that it is impossible for any man or groups of men to evercompose a script that will, in any way, equal it. “And if ye are in
doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our
servant then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your
witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, If ye are
truthful. But if ye cannot-and of a surety ye cannot-then fear
the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, which is prepared for
those who reject Faith. ” (2:23,24). That this is, in fact, true will be
admitted by all those who are learned in the language.
It has not yet been possible for any one in the world of Arab
letters to answer the challenge posed by the Qur’an when it dared its
detractors to bring forth even a single chapter like its own. The fact of
the matter then is that even the critics who are well versed in Arabic
have not been able to either defend or make a convincing reply as
regards their own contemptuous refutation of the claim that the Qur’an
remains the supernatural sign that was revealed to Prophet