26) Is not the Qur’an a literary creation like every other incomparable
work of literature that form the magnum opus of each language?
Is not the challenge in the Qur’an as futile as every other challenge
that calls for the creation of another like it?
There is not, in the English language, another body of dramatic
literature that can vie with the plays of shakespeare. In the German
language, the works of Goethe and Schillec are at the very pinnacle of
German literature. In Persian, Hafiz and Rumi are without equal. In
Sanskrit it is the Rigveda which is peerless in its own right. Indeed,
there have been masterpieces in each and every language. In the
Arabic language, too, has there been the highest works of literature
but it is into a wholly different class that the form, style and contents
of the Qur’an falls. The dramas of Shakespeare, the works of Goethe
and Homer; all fall into the category of fiction and entertainment
literature. They have merely served to appease the human aesthetic
The verses of the Qur’an, while providing for aesthetic fulfillment,
also serve to create transformation. Along with joy it provides peace;
through parables it conveys lessons. The Qur’an`s is not the way of
compulsion from without. It is more the way of impulsion from within;
of persuasion in the way of deeds. The verses of the Qur’an seek to
provide satisfaction of emotions, thereby, making people the very
personifications of sound, decisive actions. The verses pertaining to
the prohibition of intoxicants (5:90-91) is a case in point. Those who
first heard of these verses had straightaway sought to put those
commandments into practice in their very lives. Indeed, this was the
reason why rivulets of wine flowed red in the streets of Madinah. This
was truly a transformation which would never have been achieved by
the literary works accomplished by man. This was not the case of one
individual; nor yet of a thousand. To so change the lives of hundreds of
thousands in such alway as to penetrate into the very core of their
hearts and to make of them a people who follow the same rites in
unison, is to achieve what is well and beyond the means of human
ability. It is for the Lord Creator alone, Who is best aware of the
rhythm, and subtleties of the human mind to author such a book.
Examine the works of literature that is extant in any language.
It is only against the backdrop of the language and knowledge that
prevailed in the age in which it was written that we speak of the literary
nature of the work. However, the languages of none among them are
living languages today. The English of Shakespeare as well as the
Sanskrit of the Rigveda: both are not living languages today. These
languages were, in fact, subject to several stages of the evolutionaryprocess. The language and beauty of the Qur’an is, however, wholly
different from these. Even after the passage of fourteen centuries
since its revelation the Arabic of the Qur’an has continued to exist as
the standard language among the Arabs. That the divine language,
like the divine law, withstood the ravages of fourteen centuries is, in
itself, a superhuman sign. Indeed, it will be only those, who are learned
in the evolution of languages and in the changes to which other
languages have been subject over the past fourteen centuries, will
truly grasp this unique and astonishing feature of the Qur’an.
In truth, other works of literature are in no way worthy of
comparison with the Qur’an. They were all the creations of particular
circumstances; all were the works of compromise with the prevailing
situation of time; works that were written with the sole purpose of
entertaining people. As for the Qur’an it was revealed to move the
masses. That such a book should entertain is but a remote possibility.
The verses of the Qur’an adapt themselves, at one and the same
time, to the conditions prevailing at the time of its revelations as also
with the conditions that may prevail in any other age. To entertain in
a supeficial way has never been the objective of the Qur’an. However,
the Qur’anic verses do offer contentment and peace to the mind even
while the mind is wonderstruck by the sheer majesty of its contents.
What makes the Qur’an distinct from all the other books is the
challenge that it poses to all and sundry. The writers of other books
never had the courage to challenge all to bring forward a book like
their own; nor will they ever have it in future either. Who can ever
judge the ability of another? It is simply because none can do so that
such a challenge can be issued by none other than the Almighty Creator
Himself. Indeed, no other literary work of an international standing
has ever issued such a challenge.
In short, therefore, none of the other books of literature are
worthy even of comparison with the Qur’an.