English-24

24) It is said that literature becomes truly meaningful when the winds
of change blow hard within the mind of the listener. From this
perspective can it be said that the Qur’an is a work of great literary
merit?

If the yardstick that literature should be that which is able to so
transform the individual as to become the reason for all social change
itself is used as the basis of an examination, it can be said that the
Qur’an is indeed, a faultless work. Along with providing the intellect of
its listener with contentment and his mind with peace, the verses of
the Qur’an initiates changes in his heart also. Indeed, the ability of the
Qur’an to influence the mind of man and to induce in it the powerful
waves of change is but one of its specialities which makes it unequalled.
Prophet Muhammad () was once reciting the Qur’an near
the Ka`aba. There were Muslims and non-Muslims amongst the
listeners. As he came to the aayat of the prostration while reciting
Sura Najm, the Prophet, forthwith, prostrated himself as instructed by
Allah. All the other people present – whether Muslim or otherwise –
too were compelled by themselves to bow down in postration along
with the Prophet,except for the arrogant Ummayath bin Khalaf. How
strong was the influence of the Qur’an! Even the hardest of its
opponents bowed to its commands!!
Labeed bin Rabia was one of the greatest exponents of Arabic
literature during the time of the Prophet (). On a certain occasion
one of his more beautiful poems was hung on the doors of the Ka`aba.
The call was made to challenge this poem by producing another of
greater merit. However so perfect was the poem that not one among
the other poets who was present, even so much as dared to lay another
poem by its side. The companions of the Prophet had, in the meantime,
sought to hang a few verses of the Qur’an near it. It was with contempt
which he explicitly showed for him who had challenged his poem that
Labeed came over to read the verses of the Qur’an. He had read just
a few of the verses before he became intensely attracted by the rhetoric
of the Qur’an and embraced Islam. It was the ability of the Qur’an to
create a transformation even in the mind of the one who had held it in
contempt that was displayed there.
The entry of Umar bin al Khattab (r) into the fold of Islam is of
historical importance.. Indeed, it had been the elegance and majesty
of the topics that it dealt with, which made Umar (r), who had
proceeded, sword in hand, to take the life of Prophet Muhammad
(), to change his mind, upon reading a few verses of the Qur’an
from the parchments in his sister’s possession.
Once Jubair bin Makthoom, who was a polytheist, passed by
while Prophet Muhammad () was reciting surah Toor in the course
of his Maghrib prayer. This he happened to overhear. Each one of its
verses left a deep imprint upon his heart. Its beauty greatly influenced
him. He wondered at its marvellous power to transform his attitude.
Thereupon, he embraced Islam. How many, indeed, are the incidents
of such nature!
The Meccan polytheists were fully conscious of the eloquence
and rhetorical style of the Qur’an. They knew that it was this
magnificence which had caused the people to drift away from their
traditional faith and practice. The Meccans had told Ibn Dughuna,
who had stopped and brought back Abu Bakr (r) who was on the
verge of leaving his native land, thus: “It should not happen that Abu
Bakr recites the Qur’an aloud and our wives and children should chance
upon hearing it themselves. For it will be only then that we shall allow
Abu Bakr to reside here.”It was, in fact, this power of the Qur’an to influence and persuade
that had attracted people greatly to Islam. The simple truth has been
that it was this supernatural aspect of the Qur’an which was the primary
reason behind the transformation of a people, steeped, as they were,
in the depths of darkness, into becoming the torch bearers of an
exemplary civilization and culture within a short span of just twentythree
years. Indeed, this was what R.V.C. Bodley had in mind when
he wrote:
“This book transformed the simple shepherds, the
merchants and nomads of Arabia into warriors and empire
builders.” (R.V.C Bodley, The messenger: The life of Mohammed,
New York, 1943, Page 239)
Of the Qur’an’s surpassing ability to influence and persuade,
Morgan wrote:
“The Qur’an succeeded so well in captivating the mind of
the audience that several of the opponents thought it the effect
of witchcraft and enchantment.” (K.W. Morgan, Islam interpreted
by Muslims, London, 1955, Page 27)

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