23) What are the factors that make the Qur’an incomparable and
The linguistic style and the descriptive method that have been
employed in the Qur’an are totally different from those seen in human
writings. The following are some of the specialities:
1. In the matter of the subjects that they deal with, the words of
the Qur’an are seen to be concise and free of overt emotions of any
sort. Literature composed by human kind will, undoubtedly, reveal
itself through its contents the underlying mental currents of the
individual. The words of a person in a fit of anger will natuarally betray
the innate anger within himself. Indeed, in that instant no pity or
commendation will be present in those words. Similar will be the case
when it is a joyous mood that he finds himself in! It becomes imperative,
therefore, to explain such statements only on the foundations of the
extreme emotions like anger or joy on which they are based. For in
these statements the domineering presence of the emotional intonations
will be easily seen. Indeed, these emotional underpinning are evident
in the works of all men of letters for the simple reason that they are,
after all, very human and subject to all the accompanying emotions
related to the human nature.
In the verses of the Qur’an, however, it is not possible to detect
at any place the excessive strains of emotion be it in its announcement
of glad tidings, or warnings; in its explanation of laws or in its description
of the blessings of God. This is so because it has been revealed by
God Who is Himself above relativistic emotions of manifest in human
2. Whenever the Qur’an describes any subject irrespective of
its nature, it maintains an eloquence and flow of language reflecting
its divine Origin.
The flow of language of the individual will, ofttimes, be confined
to a few and particular topics. It may even be that in these particular
topics their writings will be of a high standard. However, if they
themselves were to write on other subjects, their writings would hardly
succeed in maintaining even an average standard. The mindset of the
writer, his family environment, emotional trappings and the state of
society all combine to influence his interests and outlook.
While describing the marvels of nature, or while speaking
about the world hereafter or while narrating momentous happenings
of the past, the verses of the Qur’an exhibit an eloquence that is one
and the same.
In the glorification of the greatness of God and in the declaration
of legal decrees, too, they exhibit the same flow and grandeur of
language. This has been so only because they have proceeded from
the Creator Who is Himself above and beyond all the constraints of
space and time.
3. While the verses of the Qur’an are of a high literary standing,
they are, in addition, precise and truthful in their expositions.
It is the general belief that literature can be made beautiful only
in the description of that which is imaginary. It is also said that literature
cannot be beautified without the depiction of half-truths and falsehoods.
That lies must be uttered in order that the poem is made good hasbecome one of the more hallowed sayings of our time. The literary
works that provide often truthful information are seen to be dull and
barren. It has been for the same reason that even the men of letters
who yearn to present the truth must do so only to the accompaniment
of that which is false. The reason behind this can be seen in the notion
that the emotional strata of the human mind can scarcely be satisfied
without dramatisation and exaggeration.
The verses of the Qur’an stand wholly apart from this brand of
mainstream literature. Nothing but the truth is entertained therein. But
they are capable of maintaining a high literary standard while yet
satisfying the intellect of man. Undoubtedly, this has been so because
they proceed from the Omniscient Entity who is best aware of the
carvings of the human mind.
4. The Qur’an keeps up a high literary standard right from the
beginning to the very end.
We say that a poem is beautiful on the basis that a few lines in
it are actually so. All the lines of the poem need not, necessarily, be of
that type. A writer is said to possess a high standing on the basis of a
few of his literary works alone. His other literary works need not,
necessarily, possess that quality. Indeed, each individual will have a
particular age and particular circumstances in which his composed
literary work will be of great merit. This is because the writer is
influenced by age, environment and even climate.
All the verses of the Qur’an consistently maintain a high literary
value. It is impossible for anyone to say with confidence that even one
among the six thousand and more verses of the Qur’an is of a low
standing. The Qur’an was revealed over a long period of twentythree
years of the Prophetic mission under differing circumstances. If
it was, indeed, the work of the Prophet himself, the quality which it
presented would have changed according to the mental state of the
Prophet under the influence of varying circumstances. However, each
verse of the Qur’an actually competes with its every other verse. This
has been so because it is from the Almighty Himself.
5. Even when the Qur’an describes the same subject more
than once, it, nevertheless, maintains a high standard on each occasion.
In ordinary works of literature, when the same subject is
described more than once, the beauy of the first depiction is lost in the
second. It can be seen that an aversion or monotony becomes evident
in the words of the writer as well as in the mind of the one who takes
delight in the work. This is so because man – no matter how great a
man of letters he might be – is constrained by the limitations of a
fundamental nature which are inherent in him.
The Qur’an, however, does repeat a number of times and, that
too, about a number of issues. In fact, the Qur’an repeatedly deals
with topics such as creation, death, life after death, the descriptions of
the greatness of God, the necessity of making all worship due unto
Him alone and the like. But each time that it is repeated it appears to
the listener with a feeling of novelty and with the indicative strains of
change and reminder within his mind. This is so because it has been
revealed by that Highest Entity Who is far above any limitations.
6. Even though the topics dealt with in the Qur’an are such as
cannot be handled by literary efforts alone, it has successfully managed
to preserve that high standard, so characteristic of it, in every such
issue while maintaining intact the ever accompanying beauty and
grandeur of depiction.
From the viewpoint of the man of letters issues like life after
death, the existence of God, rituals, legal decrees, prohibitions and
commands, the encouragement of virtues, truthful historical
documentation are all dry and barren topics. The general notion,
therefore, is that literature does not become meaningful when used to
deal with such and similar topics. For, indeed, these are not the subjects
in which the fanciful flights of imagination can he given a free hand.
It is for this reason that all literary works that have dealt with such
issues have not been known to possess an international reputation.
Indeed, it is again the limitations of man that becomes evident here.
The subject matter of the Qur’an, on the other hand, chiefly consists
of such topics. Nevertheless, they maintain a lofty standard and are
able to provide the one, who takes delight in them , with contentmentof mind. This is so becuase it has been revealed by the Lord Creator
Who is above, and beyond, all matter itself.
7. The Qur’an is able to sustain its linguistic beauty even when
it shifts from one subject to another.
Even when in a single literary work, there occurs a shift from
one subject to another, it is oftentimes not possible to maintain the
same standard as was done upto the portion when the shift occurred.
The clarity and charm with which the ideas form in the mind of the
writer of literature when he deals with one subject is, however, dimmed
when he begins to talk about the next subject. This is because new
ideas take time to form and shine forth. In fact, this is like entrusting a
man, who had been performing one task efficiently, suddenly with
another task. This, too, is a general shortcoming of human beings.
In the Qur’an, too, there is a constant and persistent shift from
one subject to another throughout its pages. Nevertheless, there is
evident, therein, neither a loss in its clarity nor any damage to its beauty
and majesty of presentation. This is so because it is from the Almighty
8. The Qur’an is a book which presents ideas pregnant with
meaning and that too, with an economy of words that does not, in any
way result in the loss of beauty and eloquence of description.
The ordinary works of literature contain oceans of words ; the
pearls of ideas are, however, very few indeed. As for the works that
were written to highlight lofty concepts, they constitute a virtual jugglery
with words. Every writer will have his own idea as to the variety of
methods by which the concepts in his mind are to be conveyed to the
reader. As this idea is the writer’s very own, the reader might feel that
many of the expressions used are unnecessary. An expression which
is felt to be unnecessary by one reader will be seen as indispensable in
the view of another. In order to please everybody, therefore, he will be
forced to employ a large number of words. The reason for this is
man’s own inability in reading the thoughts of others.
As for the Qur’an, only the most indispensable of words have
been used. The idea that it wishes to convey to the one who recites it is
amply communicated with the use of these words alone. The Qur’an is
thus a book that employs the most limited number of words to express
even the grandest of ideas and that too in a fashion which leaves any
reader – no matter which type – fully satisfied. This is so because it has
been revealed by Him Who is best aware of the intricacies of the human
9. Judging by any of the standards in literary appreciation, the
Qur’an remains a work of literature that is in the highest category.
All works of literature are meant to appease one or the other of
man’s emotions, like sorrow, joy, pity, mercy, hatred, opposition and
the like. Similarly, it is difficult to find radiance, sweetness, beauty
and majesty of presentation, together in a single work of literature. It
is only through any one of the aspects of literature that literary works
may be judged and appreciated.It is not possible to create a work of
literature that includes, within itself, in equal measure, all ingredients
of the ideal. This, too, is the limitation of man.
The Qur’an, however, touches all the chords of human emotion.
It contains verses that serve to make one happy as well as sorrowful;
to make of man one with compassion and mercy; the verses in it are
capable of generating hatred and opposition. Furthermore, it prompts
the human intellect into a position of functional efficiency. The
aesthetic peculiarities of literature like radiance, sweetness, beauty
and charm are combined together in a potent form in the Qur’an.
Conforming to the lofty literary style in which it is composed, it can be
seen to have achieved the highest standard indeed.
10. The style, usages, method, and concepts in the Qur’an have
not been borrowed from any.
No matter how fundamental a work any literature may turn out
to be, the style and wordings of other writers will be seen to have
influenced it. This is but natural. For it is impossible for a person to
produce a work of literature without being influenced by the writings
of the predecessors However, it must be noted that plagiarism or direct
copying is not that which is meant here. It is only the influence of styleand ideas that is indicated here. And without that no writing, whatsoever,
is possible. This is the limitation of the human mind. Indeed, man is he
who learns from his predecessors and then develops upon that learning.
The Qur’an, on the other hand, is completely free of this
borrowing. The Qur’an has not borrowed for itself the style, form,
method or ideas of any in the world of Arabic literature. In fact, there
is no influence, whatsoever, of the writings of any other on the Qur’an.
The Qur’an is, by all standards, a work of the most fundamental kind.
This is so because it has been revealed from the Owner of all knowledge
Who is Himself free of the confines and limitations of any kind.