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Why is the Qur’an Superior to All other Speeches, Whether Divine or Undivine?


Parables to understand why the Qur’an is superior to all the other Divine Scriptures and why it is supreme over all speech and writings:

  • A king has two forms of speech, two forms of address. One is that he speaks on his private telephone to a common subject regarding some minor matter, some private need. The other is that he speaks, on account of being the supreme sovereign, supreme head of the religious office and the supreme ruler of people, to an envoy or high official of his with the aim of promulgating his commands; he speaks through an exalted decree manifesting his majesty.
  • A man holds a mirror towards the sun. He receives, according to the capacity of the mirror, light containing the seven colors by which he establishes a connection with the sun. When he directs the light-filled mirror towards his dark house and his roof-covered garden, he will benefit from the sun, not in accordance with the quality of sun’s light, but according to the capacity of the mirror to reflect it.

Another man, however, opens up broad windows out of his house or out of the roof of his garden, thus securing the way for a direct benefit from the sun. He gets the light of the sun directly and continuously and speaks to it in gratitude as if to say: ‘O fine sun, beauty of the world and beauty of the skies who gilds the earth with your light and makes the flowers smile! You have furnished my little house and garden with your heat and light the same as you have done for them—the skies, earth and flowers.’ Whereas the man with the mirror cannot speak to the sun like that. He has to be content with the light and heat the sun reflects through his mirror.

So, look at the Qur’an through the lens of these two parables and see its miraculousness and understand its holiness. The Qur’an declares: ‘If all the trees on the earth were to become pens and all the seas ink, and if they were to write the words of Almighty God, they would never finish them.’ The reason why the Qur’an has been given the greatest rank among infinite words of God is this:

The Qur’an has originated in the Greatest Name of God and in the greatest level of every Name. That is, each Name of God has infinitely different levels of manifestation.3 It is the Word of God an account of His being the Lord of the Worlds. It is God’s decree on account of His being the Deity of all creatures. It is a Divine address on account of God’s being the Creator of the heavens and the earth. It is a speech of God in regard to His absolute Lordship. It is an eternal address in regard to His universal Divine Sovereignty. It is a ledger of the favors of the All-Merciful One from the point of view of His all-embracing, comprehensive Mercy. It is a collection of communications at the beginnings of which are sometimes ciphers in respect of the sublime majesty of His Divinity. It is a wisdom-infusing Holy Scripture which, having originated from the all-comprehensive ‘field’ of the Divine Greatest Name, looks to and examines the all-embracing domain of the Supreme Throne of God. It is for these reasons that the title of Word of God has been given to the Qur’an as it deserves it perfectly.

As for the other Divine Words, some of them are of the kind of Divine speech which is manifested for a particular regard under a minor title and through the particular manifestation of a particular Name; it results from a particular manifestation of Divine Lordship, or of Divine Sovereignty, or of Divine Mercy. The Divine Words vary in degrees with respect to particularity and universality. Most inspiration is of this kind, but it varies greatly in degrees. For example, the most particular and simple is the inspiration God sends to animals. Then comes the inspiration occurring to ordinary people. Then the inspirations coming to ordinary angels, to saints and to greater angels, respectively. It is for this reason that a saint who offers supplications without mediation directly through the telephone of the heart ‘connected to God’, says: ‘My heart reports to me from my Lord’. He does not say: ‘It reports me from the Lord of the Worlds’. Also, he can say: ‘My heart is a mirror, a Throne, of my Lord’. Never does he say, ‘My heart is the Throne of the Lord of the Worlds’. This is because a saint can receive of the Divine address according to his capacity and to the degree of how many of the seventy thousand veils between a man and God he has been able to remove.

Thus, just as the decree of a king which he issues on account of his being the supreme sovereign is higher and more exalted than his insignificant conversation with a common man; and just as directly benefiting from the sun in the sky is very much greater than benefiting from its reflection in a mirror; so in the same degree is the glorious Qur’an superior to all speech and all books. After the Qur’an, at the second level, other Divine Scriptures—Divine Books and Pages—are superior to all other speech and books, each according to its own degree. They have their shape from the same point of superiority as the Qur’an has. If all the fine words—epigrams, wise sayings—of all men and jinn which do not issue from the Qur’an were to be collected, they still could not attain to the sacred rank of the Qur’an.


Other reasons why the Qur’an cannot be compared with other words and speeches

This is because speech is of different categories, and in regard to superiority, power, beauty and fineness, has four sources:

  • the speaker
  • the person addressed
  • the purpose
  • the occasion on which it is spoken.

Its source is not only the occasion as some literary people have wrongly supposed. So consider in speech, ‘Who said it? To whom did they say it? Why did they say it? On what occasion did they say it?’ Do not consider only the speech itself. Since speech derives 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. Since speech is first considered according to the speaker, if it is in the form of command and prohibition, it contains a will and power proportional to the rank of the speaker. Then it may be irresistible, and have an effect like electricity, increasing in superiority and power. For example:

‘O earth! Swallow your water and, O sky! be cleared of clouds and stop the rain!’ (11:44)

‘O heaven and O earth! Come both of you, willingly or unwillingly! They said: “We come obedient!”’ (41:11)

That is: ‘O heaven and O earth! Come willingly or unwillingly, and submit yourselves to My Wisdom and Power. Come out of non-existence; appear as places where my works of Art will be exhibited!’ They answered: ‘We come in perfect obedience. We will carry out by Your leave and Power all the duties You have assigned to us.’ Thus, consider the sublimity and force of those compelling commands which bear an irresistible power and will, and think about whether man’s conversation with inanimate objects in the form of commands like, ‘O earth, stop! O heaven, rent asunder! O world, destroy yourself!’ can be comparable with them! Indeed, how can wishes and insensible commands originating from man be comparable with the compelling commands of a supreme ruler owning all the essential qualities of rulership? The difference between the compelling command of ‘March!’ which a supreme commander gives to a mighty, obedient army and that of an ordinary private is as great as the difference between the commander and the private themselves. Consider first the force and superiority of the commands in the verses, His command, when He wills a thing, is to say to it ‘Be!’ and it is (Ya Sin, 36.82), and When We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam (al-Baqara, 2.34), and then the human words in the form of orders, and see whether the difference between them is not like that between a firefly and the sun!

Consider a master’s description of his work while doing it, and an artist’s explanation of his artistry while at work, and a benefactor’s exposition of his goodness while doing it, that is, while in a position of combining actions and words, if each says in order to describe his work both to the eye and the ear, ‘Look! I have done this, I am doing it this way. I have done it for this purpose. I have done it the way it must be’, you may see its difference from the mere words without actions.

For example:

Have they not then observed the sky above them, how We constructed it and adorned it: there are no rifts therein. And the earth We have spread out, and have flung firm hills therein, and have caused of every lovely kind to grow thereon. A matter of insight and reflection, and a teaching and reminder for every servant who always turns to God in penitence and worship. And We send down from the sky blessed water whereby We give growth unto gardens and the grain of crops, and lofty date-palms with ranged clusters. Provision for the servants; and therewith We quicken a dead land. So will be the raising of the dead. (50:6-11)

The descriptions in the verses, which are like illustrious fruits of Paradise sparkling like stars in the ‘skies’ of the Qur’an, introduce with perfect eloquence many proofs of the Resurrection derived from the observable part of the universe which is in action, and concluding with So will be the raising of the dead, silence those whom the sura reports at the beginning as denying the Resurrection. How different this is from the people’s discussion of the happenings with which they have little concern? The difference is greater than that between living flowers and imitations of them. Since it would be too lengthy to explain the verses mentioned, I will interpret them very briefly:

The sura begins by reporting the unbelievers’ denial of the Resurrection. In order to convince them of the truth of the Resurrection, the sura says:

‘Do you not observe the sky above you, how We have constructed it; how ordered, how magnificent it is? Do you not also see how We have adorned it with the sun, the moon, and stars, with no rifts therein? Further, do you not notice how We have spread out the earth for you and how wisely We have furnished it? Having fixed the mountains on it, We protect it against the invasion of the oceans. Moreover, do you not see how We have created on it all kinds of multi-colored and beautiful pairs of vegetation and pasturage? We have embellished the whole of the earth with such beautiful things. Do you not see again how We send blessed water from the sky and We give growth thereby to gardens and orchards, grains and lofty trees like date-palms bearing delicious fruits, with which We provide Our servants? Also, do you not notice that We quicken the dead earth with that water and bring about thousands of resurrections? It is the way We cause that vegetation to grow on that dead earth that We will raise you from the dead on the Day of Judgment, when the earth will die and you will rise out of it alive.’ Thus, how exalted is the eloquence those verses display in proving the Resurrection—only one out of numerous aspects of which I have been able to point to—above the words which human beings use in proving a claim!

In order to convince refractory opponents of the Qur’an of its miraculousness through objective reasoning and verification, from the beginning of this treatise I have left many excellencies of the Qur’an unmentioned. I have been weighing that sun against ‘candles’. I hope there is no further need to discuss its miraculousness. From now, therefore, I will point out its incomparable rank in the name not of verification, but of truth.

  • When compared with the Qur’an, all other words are like the tiny reflections of stars in a glass in comparison with the stars themselves. In fact, how far are the meanings which human minds picture in the mirrors of their thoughts and feelings, from the words of the Qur’an, each of which describes an unchanging truth! How great is the distance between the angel-like, life-giving words of the Qur’an, which is the Word of the Creator of the sun and moon, and diffuses lights of guidance, and the stinging words originated by ‘bewitching’ souls and affected manners, which incite the desires of people! When compared with the Qur’an, the words of human beings are like stinging insects in comparison with blessed angels and other luminous spirit beings. This is not a mere assertion; rather, as is apparent in our discussions in the Words written so far, it is a conclusion based on evidences.
  • Indeed, how far are the words of human beings full of fancies and fantasies, from the words and phrases of the Qur’an, the eternal Divine address, which originated from the Supreme Throne of the Most Merciful One and came in consideration of man as an independent being superior to all other creatures in the universe, and is founded upon the Knowledge, Power and Will of God. Its words and statements are each the source or shell of a pearl of guidance, and the source of truths of faith, and the mine of an Islamic principle. How great is the distance between the words of human beings, with which we are all familiar, and the Qur’an which, like a blessed tree under which the whole universe lies, has produced the leaves of all Islamic spiritual values and moral perfections, and public symbols and rules, and principles and commandments, and opened into the flowers of saints and purified scholars, and yielded the fruits of the Divine truths and the truths and realities concerning the Divine laws of the creation and operation of the universe, and the seeds or stones in the fruits which have grown into ‘trees’ as principles of conduct and programs of practical life!
  • All the peoples and all the lands of the world have benefited from the gems of truth which the wise Qur’an has exhibited in the market of the universe for fourteen centuries. During this long history, neither too much familiarity with it, not the abundance of its truths, nor the passage of time, nor the great changes and upheavals in the life of mankind, has been able to make people indifferent to its invaluable truths and authentic forms, nor has it been able to damage and devalue them or extinguish its beauty and freshness. This is miraculous by itself.
  • If someone were to appear with a claim to have produced a likeness of the Qur’an, and arranged some of the Qur’anic truths into a book on his own, and then claim to have brought about a book similar to the Qur’an, it would be an act of stupidity like the following:
  • Suppose there were a master-builder who constructed a magnificent palace of diverse kinds of jewels which he positioned all symmetrically with one another, and embellished it proportionally to the particular position of each jewel and the general design of the palace. If one whose occupation is to build ordinary buildings and who knows nothing of the jewels, design, and embellishments of the palace, were to enter it, and destroying the arrangement of the jewels and the design and embellishment of the palace, give it a new form like those of ordinary buildings and hang on it some beads which would please children, and then announce, ‘Look! I am more skilful than the builder of that palace, and have more wealth and more valuable adamants than him!’, it would be an infinite nonsense, even a delirium.


This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.