First Ray


First light

This Light has three rays.

FIRST RAY: This is the Qur’an’s miraculous eloquence, which originates in its words’ beauty, order, and composition; its textual beauty and perfection; its stylistic originality and uniqueness; its explanations’ superiority, excellence, and clarity; its meanings’ power and truth; and its linguistic purity and fluency. Its eloquence is so extraordinary that its eternal challenge to the most brilliant people of letters of humankind, their most celebrated orators, and the most profoundly learned of them, to produce something like it, even if only a chapter, has yet to be answered. Instead, those geniuses who, in their self-pride and self-confidence, consider themselves so great as to touch the heavens have had to humble themselves before it.

I will now point out its miraculous eloquence in two ways:

FIRST WAY: The people of Arabia were mostly unlettered at that time, and therefore preserved their tribal pride, history, and proverbs in oral poet ry. They attached great importance to eloquence, and so any meaningful, unique expression was memorized for its poetical form and eloquence and then handed down to posterity. Eloquence and fluency were therefore in such great demand that a tribe treated its eloquent literary figures as nation al heroes. Those intelligent people, who would govern a considerable portion of the world after Islam’s advent, were more eloquent than other nations. Eloquence was so esteemed that two tribes would sometimes go to war over a saying of a literary figure and then be reconciled by the words of another. They even inscribed in gold the odes of seven poets and hung them on the wall of the Ka‘ba. They were called the Seven Suspended Poems.

At a time when eloquence was in such demand, the Qur’an of miraculous exposition was revealed. Just as God Almighty had endowed Moses and Jesus with the miracles most suitable to their times—the miracles of Staff and Bright Hand to Moses, and those of raising the dead and healing certain illnesses to Jesus—He made eloquence the most notable aspect of the Qur’an, the chief miracle of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. When it was revealed, it challenged first the literary figures of the Arabian peninsula: If you doubt what We have sent down on Our servant, produce a sura like it (2:23). It defeated their intellectual pretensions and humbled them by continuing: If you cannot, and you certainly cannot, fear the Fire, whose fuel is people and stones, prepared for unbelievers (2:24).

Those self-conceited people could not dispute the Qur’an. Although this was an easy and safe course to obstruct and falsify its message, they chose to fight it with swords, the perilous and most difficult course. If those intelligent people, skilled in diplomacy, could have disputed the Qur’an, they would not have chosen the perilous, difficult course and risked losing their property and lives. Since they could not argue with it verbally, they had to fight it with swords.

There were two powerful reasons for trying to produce something like the Qur’an: its enemies strongly wished to dispute it to refute its claim of Revelation, and its friends had the desire to imitate it. The result was, and continues to be, innumerable books written in Arabic. All people, whether scholars or not, who read such books are forced to admit that they do not resemble the Qur’an. So, either the Qur’an is inferior—friend and foe admit that this is inconceivable—or superior to all of them. There are no other options.

Question: How do we know that people have never dared to dispute it, and that their cooperative effort failed?

Answer: If dispute were possible, some disputants would have appeared. For it was a question of honour, and a matter of life and death. Since so many people have opposed the truth, such an attempt would have found many supporters and been well known. When even an insignificant struggle arouses great curiosity, such a historic, unusual contest could not have been kept secret. Although the most insignificant and detestable objections concerning Islam have been circulated widely, nothing other than a few pieces of Musaylima the Liar have been narrated.138 Whatever his oratorical skills, the historical record of his words show them as utter absurdities when compared with the Qur’an’s infinitely beautiful expressions. Thus the Qur’an’s miraculous eloquence is indisputable.

SECOND WAY: We will now explain in five points the wisdom in the Qur’an’s miraculous eloquence.

First point: There is an extraordinary eloquence and stylistic purity in the Qur’an’s word order or composition. This is explained in my Isharatu’l I‘jaz. Just as a clock’s hands of second, minute, and hour complete and are fitted to each other in precise orderliness, so does every word and sentence—indeed the whole Qur’an—complete and fit each other.

This extraordinary eloquence is visible for all to see. Consider the following examples:

  • From Suratu’l-Anbiya’:

If but a breath from the punishment of Your Lord touches them. (21:46)

To indicate the severity of God’s punishment, the above clause points to the least amount or slightest element of it. As the entire clause expresses this slightness, all of its parts should reinforce that meaning.

The words If but (la-in) signify uncertainty and therefore imply slightness (of punishment). The verb massa means to touch slightly, also signifying slightness. Nafhatun (a breath) is merely a puff of air. Grammatically, it is a derived form of the word used to express singleness, which again under lies the slightness. The double n (tanwin) at the end of nafhatun indicates indefiniteness and suggests that it is slight and insignificant. The partitive min implies a part or a piece, thus indicating paucity. The word ‘adhab (torment or punishment) is light in meaning compared to nakal (exemplary chastisement) and ‘iqab (heavy penalty), and denotes a light punishment or torment. The use of Rabb (Lord, Provider, Sustainer), suggesting affection, instead of (for example) All-Overwhelming, All-Compelling, or Ever-Able To Requite, also expresses slightness.

Finally, the clause means that if so slight a breath of torment or punishment has such an affect, one should reflect how severe the Divine chastisement might be. We see in this short clause how its parts are related to each other and add to the meaning. This example concerns the words chosen and the purpose in choosing them.

  • From Suratu’l-Baqara:

Out of what We have provided for them they give as sustenance. (2:3)

The parts of the above sentence point to five conditions that make alms-giving acceptable to God.

First condition: While giving alms, believers must not give so much that they are reduced to begging. Out of expresses this.

Second condition: They must give out of what they have, not out of what others have. We have provided for them points to this. The meaning is “give (to sustain life) out of what We have provided you with.”

Third condition: They must not remind the recipient of their kindness. We indicates this, for it means: “I have provided you with the thing out of which you give to the needy as sustenance. As you are giving some of that which belongs to Me, you cannot put the recipient under obligation.”

Fourth condition: They must give to those who will spend it only for their livelihood, not in illicit ways. They give as sustenance points to this.

Fifth condition: They must give it for God’s sake. We have provided for them states this. It means: You are giving out of My property, and so must give in My name.

Together with those conditions, the word what signifies that whatever God bestows is part of one’s sustenance or livelihood. Thus believers must give out of whatever they have. For example, a good word, some help, advice, and teaching are all included in the meaning of rizq (sustenance or provision) and sadaqa (alms). What (ma) has a general meaning and is not restricted here. Thus it includes whatever God has bestowed.

This short sentence contains and suggests a broad range of meaning for alms and offers it to our understanding. The word order of the Qur’an’s sentences has many similar aspects, and the words have a wide range of relationships with one another. The same is true for the relationships between sentences, as seen in:

  • Suratu’l-Ikhlas, which is as follows:

Say: He—(He is) God, (Who is) the Unique One. God is the Eternally Besought One. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And comparable to Him there is none. (112:1-5)

This short sura has six sentences, three positive and three negative, which prove and establish six aspects of Divine Unity and reject and negate six types of associating partners with God. Each sentence has two meanings: one a priori (functioning as a cause or proof) and the other a posteriori (functioning as an effect or result). That means that the sura contains thirty-six suras, each made up of six sentences. One is either a premise or a proposition, and the others are arguments for it. For example:

Say: He—(He is) God, because He is the Unique One, because He is the Eternally Besought One, because He does not beget, because He was not begotten, because comparable to Him there is none.


Say: Comparable to Him there is none, because He was not begot ten, because He does not beget, because He is the Eternally Besought One, because He is Unique One, because He—(He is) is God.


He—(He is) God, therefore He is the Unique One, therefore He is the Eternally Besought One, therefore He does not beget, therefore He was not begotten, therefore comparable unto Him there is none.

  • From Suratu’l-Baqara:

Alif Lam Mim. That is the Book: there is no doubt about it—a guidance for the God-revering, pious. (2:1-2)

Each of the four sentences has two meanings. One meaning is a proof for the others, and the other, their result. A composite design of miraculousness is woven from the sixteen threads of relationship between them. This design was demonstrated in my Isharatu’l-I‘jaz. As explained in The Thirteenth Word, it is as if each Qur’anic verse has an eye that sees most of the verses and a face that looks toward them. Given this, it extends to them the immaterial threads of relationship to weave a design of miraculousness. The beauty of composition is elaborated in Isharatu’l-I‘jaz.

Second point: There is a wonderful eloquence in the Qur’an’s meanings. Consider the following examples:

  • From several suras:

All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies God; and He is the All-Glorious and All-Mighty, the All-Wise (57:1, 59:1, 61:1).

To experience the pleasure of eloquence in meanings, imagine that you are living in the desert of pre-Islamic Arabia. At a time when everything is enveloped by the darkness of ignorance and heedlessness and wrapped in the evil of “lifeless” nature, you hear from the Qur’an’s heavenly tongue: All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies God or The seven heavens and the earth and those in them glorify Him (17:44), or similar verses.

You will see how, in people’s mind, those motionless corpse-like entities acquire a purposeful existence at the sound of glorifying, and being so raised, recite God’s Names. At the cry and light of glorifying, the stars, until then life less lumps of fire in the dark sky, appear in their understanding as wisdom-displaying words and truth-showing lights in the sky’s recitation, the land and sea as tongues of praise, and each plant and animal as a word of glorification.

  • From Suratu’r-Rahman:

O company of jinn and humanity! If you are able to penetrate and pass beyond the spheres of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate and pass beyond (them). You will not penetrate and pass beyond them save with an authority. Which then of the blessings of your Lord do you deny? There will be sent on you a flash of fire, and smoke, and no help will you have. Which then of the blessings of your Lord do you deny? (55:33-36)

Indeed, We have adorned the lowest (world’s) heaven with lamps, and We have made (out of) them missiles to drive away devils. (67:5)

Listen to these verses, which are discussed in The Fifteenth Word, and pay attention to their meaning. They say:

O humanity and jinn, arrogant and refractory despite your impotence and wretchedness, rebellious and obstinate despite your weakness and destitution! If you do not obey My commands, pass beyond—if you can—the boundaries of My Kingdom. How dare you disobey a King Whose commands are obeyed by stars, moons, and suns as if they were trained soldiers ever ready to carry out their commander’s commands. You rebel against a Majestic Ruler Who has such mighty and obedient soldiers that, supposing your satans were to resist, they could stone them to death with mountain-like cannonballs. Your ingratitude causes you to rebel in the Kingdom of such a Majestic Sovereign that among His forces are those that could hurl down upon you mountain-sized or even the earth-sized stars or flaming missiles, if you were unbelievers of that size, and rout you. Moreover, you infringe upon a law to which such beings are bound that were it necessary, they could hurl the earth in your face and rain down upon you stars as though missiles by God’s leave.

You can compare the force and eloquence in the meaning of other verses and their elevated style with these.

Third point: The Qur’an has unique, original styles that are both novel and convincing. Its styles, which have always preserved and still preserves their originality, freshness, and “bloom of youth,” do not imitate and cannot be imitated. To cite a few examples:

  • The muqatta‘at:

The cipher-like muqatta‘at, the separated, individual letters (e.g., Alif Lam-Mim, Alif-Lam-Ra, Ta-Ha, Ya-Sin, Ha-Mim, and ‘Ayn-Sin-Qaf, with which some suras begin), contain five or six gleams of miraculousness. For example, they comprise half of each category of the well-known categories of letters—emphatic, whispered, stressed, soft, labio-linguals, and qalqala (Ba, Jim, Dal, Ta, Qaf). Taking more than half from the “light” letters and less than half from the “heavy” letters, neither of which are divisible, the Qur’an has halved every category.

Although it is possible to halve all categories, existing together one within the other, in one out of two hundred probable ways, taking half from each category cannot be the work of a human mind. Chance could not have interfered in it. Together with these individual letters at the beginning of certain suras as Divine ciphers displaying five or six further gleams of miraculousness like this, scholars well-versed in the mysteries of letters, as well as exacting, saintly scholars, have drawn many mysterious conclusions and discovered such truths that they consider these letters to form a most brilliant miracle. Since I am unable to discover and demonstrate their secrets clearly, I only refer readers to the five or six gleams of their miraculousness explained in Isharatu’l-I‘jaz.

Now I will discuss briefly the Qur’anic styles followed in its suras, aims, verses, sentences and phrases, and words.

  • Consider Suratu’n-Naba’:

Suratu’n-Naba’ describes the Last Day and the Resurrection, as well as Paradise and Hell, in such an original and unique style that it convinces the heart that each Divine act and the work of Divine Lordship in this world proves the Hereafter’s coming and all its aspects. In the interest of space, I mention only a few points.

At the start of the sura, it proves the Day of Judgment by meaning:

I have made the earth a beautiful cradle spread out for you, and the mountains bulwarks of your houses and lives full of treasures. I have created you in pairs, loving and familiar with each other; I have made the night a coverlet for your repose, the daytime the arena in which to gain your livelihood, and the sun an illuminating and heating lamp, and from the clouds I send down water as if they were a spring producing the water of life. I create easily and in a short time from the one, same water all the flowering and fruit-bearing things which bear all your sustenance. Since this is so, the Last Day, which is the Day of Final Judgment, awaits you. It is not difficult for Us to bring about that Day. (78:6-17—not exactly translated but interpreted [Tr.])

Following in the same strain, the sura implicitly proves that on the Last Day the mountains will be moved and become as a mirage, the heavens rent asunder, Hell made ready, and the people of Paradise given gardens and orchards. It means: “Since He does all these things before your eyes on the earth and mountains, He will do their likes in the Hereafter.” In other words, the mountains mentioned at the sura’s beginning have some relationship with the Hereafter’s mountains, and the gardens with those in the Hereafter that are mentioned toward the end of the sura. Study other points from the same view, and see how elevated its style really is.

  • From Sura Al-i ‘Imran:

Say: O God, Master of all dominion! You give dominion to whom You will and You take away dominion from whom You will, and You exalt whom You will and You abase whom You will. In Your hand is all good. Surely You have full power over all things. You make the night pass into the day and You make the day pass into the night; You bring forth the living out of the dead, and You bring forth the dead out of the living, and You provide whomever You will without measure. (3:26-30)

The Divine acts and operations in this world, the Divine manifestations in the alternation of day and night, the Lordship’s control of the seasons, the Lordship’s acts in life and death and the world’s changes, renewals, transformations, and convulsions are expressed in such a vivid and elevated style that it captivates the minds of the attentive. Since a little attention is enough to see this brilliant, elevated, and comprehensive style, I will go no further.

  • From Suratu’l-Inshiqaq:

When the heaven is split asunder, obeying its Lord, as is expected indeed, and it always does so. And when the earth is leveled, and casts forth all that is in it and becomes empty, obeying its Lord, as is expected indeed, and it always does so. (84:1-5)

These verses express in a most elevated style to what extent the heavens and the earth submit to and obey Almighty God’s command. To accomplish and conclude a war—strategy, fighting, enrolling, and mobilizing soldiers, and so on—a commander-in-chief establishes two offices. After the fighting is over, he turns to change these offices and use them for other business. The offices request him in the tongue of their staffs or suddenly starting speaking, they say through their own tongue: “O commander, let us first clean up and remove the bits and pieces of the former business, and then honor us with your presence.” They do so, and then say to the commander: “Now we are at your command. Do what you wish, for whatever you do is right, good, and beneficial.”

Similarly, the heavens and the earth were built as two arenas of testing and trial. Following the end of this period of trial for conscious beings, the heavens and the earth will expel the things connected with that trial at God’s command. Then will they call: “O Lord, we are at Your command, so use us for whatever You will. Our due is to obey You; whatever You do is right and true.” Based on this understanding, reflect upon the verses’ elevated style and meaning.

  • From Sura Hud:

O earth, swallow up your water! O sky, cease (your rain)! And the water was made to subside, and the affair was accomplished. Then (the Ark) came to rest upon al-Judi, and it was said: “Away with the wrongdoing folk!” (11:44)

To point to a drop from the ocean of this verse’s eloquence, I will show an aspect of its style through the mirror of an analogy. After the victory won in a world war, a commander orders one firing army “Cease fire!” and another, attacking, army “Halt!” The fire ceases and the attack is halted. The commander announces: “The job is well done. The enemy is defeated, and our flag is raised on the highest tower in the enemy’s headquarters. Those aggressive wrongdoers have received their deserts and have gone to the lowest of the low.” Similarly, the peerless Sovereign ordered the heaven and the earth to annihilate Noah’s people. After they did so, He decreed: “O the earth, swallow up your water! O the sky, stop! You have completed your duty. The water subsided. The Ark, which is like the royal tent, came to rest upon the mountain. The wrongdoers received their due.”

Consider how sublime this style is. The verse says that like two soldiers, the sky and the earth heed God’s commands and obey Him. The style suggests that the universe is indignant and that the heavens and the earth are furious with humanity’s rebellion. Moreover, it warns humanity that its rebellion against the One Whose commands the heavens and the earth obey is unreasonable and that people must not rebel. The verse expresses a very powerful restraint. In a few sentences, it describes a global event like the Flood, with all its truths and results, in a concise, miraculous, and beautiful manner. Compare other drops of this ocean to this one.

Now consider the style apparent through the window of the Qur’an’s words:

  • From Sura Ya Sin:

And for the moon We have determined mansions till it returns like an old shriveled date-stalk. (36:38)

Look at like an old shriveled date-stalk. What a fine style it displays: One of the moon’s mansions is the Pleiades. The verse compares the moon in its last quarter—the crescent—to an old shriveled date-stalk. The comparison gives the impression that behind the sky’s dark veil is a tree, one pointed shining stalk of which tears the veil and shows itself with the Pleiades like a cluster hanging from that stalk, and other stars like the glittering fruits of that hidden tree. If you have taste, you will appreciate what a proper, beautiful, fine, and noble style this is, especially for desert-dwellers whose most important means of livelihood is the date palm.

  • Another example from Sura Ya Sin, which was discussed at the end of The Nineteenth Word:

And the sun runs its course to a resting place destined. (36:37)

The expression runs its course opens a window on an exalted style: By reminding us of Divine Power’s systematic, magnificent, free acts and operations in alternating day and night as well as summer and winter, it makes the Maker’s Might and Grandeur understandable, turns one’s attention toward the Eternally Besought One’s messages inscribed on the season’s pages by the Pen of Power, and makes known the Creator’s Wisdom.

By using lamp in He has made the sun a lamp (71:16), the Qur’an opens a window on a particular style, as follows: This world is a palace, and its con tents are humanity’s and other living beings’ adornments, food and other necessities of life. The sun is a lamp illuminating this palace. By making the Maker’s Magnificence and the Creator’s favors comprehensible in this way, the sentence provides a proof for God’s Unity and declares the sun (which the polytheists of that time viewed as the most significant and brightest deity) to be a lifeless object, a lamp subdued for the benefit of living beings.

In lamp, the verse signifies the Creator’s mercy in His Lordship’s might and greatness, reminds us of His favor in His Mercy’s vastness, suggests His munificence in His Sovereignty’s magnificence, and thereby proclaims His Oneness. It also teaches that a lifeless, subjected lamp is unworthy of worship. By indicating Almighty God’s systematic, amazing acts in alternating night and day as well as winter and summer, it suggests the vast Power of the Maker, Who executes His Lordship independently.

Thus the verse deals with the sun and moon in a way to turn our attention to the pages of day and night, summer and winter, and the lines of events inscribed on them. The Qur’an mentions the sun not in its own name but in the name of the One Who has made it shining. It ignores the sun’s physical nature, which does not benefit us, and draws our attention to its essential duties: to function as a wheel or spring for the delicate order of Divine creation and making, and as a shuttle for the harmony of Divine design in what the Eternal Designer weaves with the threads of night and day. When you compare other Qur’anic words with these, you see that each word, even if common, is a key to the treasury of fine meanings.

In sum, the vividness and extraordinariness of the Qur’an’s styles would sometimes entrance a Bedouin with one phrase, who would then prostrate before its eloquence. Once Proclaim what you are commanded openly and in an emphatic manner (15:94) engendered this very reaction. When asked if he had become a Muslim, he answered: “No. I prostrate before the phrase’s eloquence.” Fourth point: The Qur’an’s wording is extraordinarily fluent and pure.

As it is extraordinarily eloquent when expressing meaning, so also it is wonderfully fluent and pure in wording and word arrangement. One proof of this is that it does not bore the senses but rather gives them pleasure, even if it is recited thousands of times. Brilliant scholars of the sciences of rhetoric and grammar also confirm its matchless eloquence with the wisdom it has.

Even a child can memorize the Qur’an easily. Seriously ill people, even if troubled by a few words of ordinary speech nearby, feel relief and comfort upon hearing it. For dying people, it gives their ears and minds the same taste and pleasure as that left by Zamzam water in their mouths and on their palates.

The Qur’an does not bore the senses; rather, it feeds the heart, gives power and wealth to the mind, functions as water and light for the spirit, and cures the soul’s illnesses. We never tire of eating bread, but might tire of eating the same fruit every day. Similarly, reciting or listening to the Qur’an’s pure truth and guidance does not bore us. As it always maintains its youth, it also preserves its freshness and sweetness.

Once the Quraysh139 sent one of its eloquent leaders to listen to the Qur’an. When he returned, he remarked: “The Qur’an is so sweet and pleasing that no human tongue can resemble it. I know poets and soothsayers very well. The Qur’an is not like any of their work. We could only describe it as magic in order to deceive our people about it.” Even its most hardened enemies admired its fluency and eloquence.

It would take too long to explain the sources of the fluency and purity of language in the. One who looks at the arrangement of the letters in:

Then, after grief, He sent down peace and security for you: a slumber overtook a party of you; and another party being concerned about themselves, were entertaining false notions about God—notions of (the pre Islamic) Ignorance—and saying: “Do we have any part in the affair?” Say: “The affair wholly belongs to God.” Indeed, they concealed within themselves what they would not reveal to you, and were saying: “If only we had had a part in the affair, we would not have been killed here.” Say: “Even if you had been in your houses, those for whom killing had been ordained would indeed have gone forth to the places where they were to lie (in death).” (All of this happened as it did) so that He may test what is in your bosoms, and purify and prove what is in your hearts. God has full knowledge of what lies hidden in the bosoms. (3:154)

will see the miraculousness brought about by the letters’ extraordinary arrangement. Such an arrangement, subtle relationship, delicate harmony and composition show that the verse is not the work of a person or chance. Such an order may be for other unknown purposes. Since the letters are arranged according to a certain system, there must be a mysterious order and illustrious coherence in the choice and arrangement of words, sentences, and meanings. Those who notice and understand it will remark: “What wonders God wills. How wonderfully God has made them.”

Fifth point: The Qur’an’s expressions contain a superiority, power, sublimity, and magnificence. Its fluent, eloquent, and pure composition and word order, as well as eloquent meanings, and original and unique styles, lead to an evident excellence in its explanations. Truly, in all categories of expression and address such as encouragement, dissuasion, praise, censure, demonstration, proving, guidance, explanation and overcoming in argument, its expositions are of the highest degree. For example: The expressions in Suratu’l-Insan (76), one of many examples of exhorting and encouraging good deeds, are most pleasing, like the water of a river of Paradise, and as sweet as the fruits of Paradise.

Aimed at dissuasion and threat, its explanations at the beginning of Suratu’l-Ghashiya (88) produce an effect like lead boiling in misguided people’s ears, fire burning in their brains, Zaqqum scalding their palates, Hellfire assaulting their faces, and a bitter, thorny tree in their stomachs. That Hell, an “official” charged with torturing, tormenting, and demonstrating the Divine Being’s threats, roars to the extent that the Divine Being says about it, It nearly bursts with rage and fury (67:8), shows how great and powerful that Being’s dissuasion is.

In the category of praise, the Qur’anic explanations in the five suras beginning with All praise and gratitude are for God140 are brilliant like the sun, adorned like stars, majestic like the heavens and the earth, lovely like angels, full of the tenderness and compassion shown to the young in this world, and beautiful like Paradise.

As for censure and restraint, consider what follows:

  • Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? (49: 12).


It censures backbiting in six degrees of censure, and restrains the back biter with six degrees of severity.

The initial hamza (in the original Arabic) is interrogative. This sense penetrates all the phrases of the verse. So through the initial hamza it asks: “Do you have no reason or intelligence, the faculty of asking and answering, that you do not perceive how abominable this thing is?” Like asks: “Is your heart, with which you love and hate, so corrupted that you love such a repugnant thing?” Any of you asks: “What has happened to your sense of social relationship and civilization, which derive their liveliness from collectivity, that you accept something so poisonous to social life?”

To eat the flesh asks: “What has happened to your sense of humanity, that you tear your friend to pieces with your teeth like a wild animal?” Of his brother asks: “Do you have no human tenderness, no sense of kinship? How can you sink your teeth into an innocent person tied to you by numerous links of brotherhood? Or do you have no intelligence, and so senselessly bite into your own limbs?” Dead asks: “Where is your conscience? Is your nature so corrupt that you can do the most repulsive thing like eating his flesh to your brother who is now in the position where he must be shown the greatest respect?”

Thus slander and backbiting are repugnant to one’s intelligence, heart, humanity, conscience, human nature, and religious and national brother hood. See how this verse condemns backbiting in six degrees very concisely, and restrains people from it in six miraculous ways.

As for proving and demonstration, consider the following from among numerous examples:

  • Look upon the imprints of God’s Mercy, how He revives the earth after its death. He it is Who will revive the dead [in a similar way]. He has full power over everything. (30:50)

This verse is such a wonderful proof of the Resurrection that no better proof is conceivable. As discussed in The Tenth Truth of The Tenth Word and in The Fifth Gleam of The Twenty-second Word, the annual spring resurrection of countless plants and animals that died during the previous autumn and winter contains uncountable examples of the Resurrection.

Referring to the utmost order and differentiation in the revival of innumerable species that exist all mixed up together in total confusion, the verse states that the One Who does these things can raise the dead with ease after destroying the world. As it is the stamp of the One of Unity to inscribe on the page of the earth countless species with the Pen of His Power, one with in the other without confusion, together with proving Divine Oneness like the sun, the verse shows the Resurrection as evidently as sunrise and sunset. As the Qur’an refers to this truth with the adverb how in this verse, it describes it in detail in many other suras.

Also, in Sura Qaf (50), the Qur’an proves the Resurrection in so brilliant, beautiful, lovely, and elevated a manner of expression that it gives as great certainty as the coming of spring. Replying to the unbelievers’ denial that decomposed bones can come to life once again, it declares:

  • Do they, then, never observe the sky above them, how We have constructed it and adorned it, and that there are no rifts in it? And the earth—We have spread it out, and set therein firm mountains, and caused to grow thereon every lovely pair of vegetation. (All this is a means of) insight and reminder for every servant (of God) willing to turn to Him in contrition. And We send down from the sky blessed water with which We cause to grow gardens and grain to harvest, and tall and stately date-palms with ranged clusters, as a provision for the servants. And We revive with it a dead land: even so will the dead be raised and come forth (from their graves). (50:6-11)

Truly, the manner of its exposition flows like water, glitters like stars and, just as dates give to the body, gives pleasure and nourishment to the heart.

Among the most delightful examples of proof and demonstration is:

  • Ya Sin. By the wise Qur’an. Certainly you are among those sent (as Messengers of God). (36:1-3)

This oath points out that the proof of Muhammad’s Messengership is so certain and true and the truth of his Messengership is so worthy of respect that an oath can be sworn upon it. In other words: “You are the Messenger, for you hold the Qur’an in your hand, and the Qur’an is the truth and Word of God. For it contains true wisdom and bears the seal of miraculousness.”

Another concise and miraculous example of this type is:

  • ... he says: “Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away?” Say: “He Who produced them in the first instance will revive them. He has full knowledge of every (form, mode and possibility of) creation.” (36:78)

As explained in the third comparison in The Ninth Truth of The Tenth Word, if one assembles a huge, dispersed army in a day and someone says, “That person can certainly gather, through a trumpet call, a battalion dispersed for rest and line the soldiers up in their previous positions,” and you reject him, this would certainly be a foolish denial.

Similarly, an All-Powerful, All-Knowing One assembles all living beings’ atoms, regardless of their location, by the command of “Be!” and it is (2:117) with perfect orderliness and the balance of wisdom, and make from them bodies having the most delicate senses and keenest faculties. Each spring He creates innumerable army-like animate species on the earth. Can it be questioned then how He can reassemble at a blow of Israfil’s Trumpet the fundamental parts and atoms of a formerly battalion like living body, which are already familiar with one another?

As for guidance, the Qur’an is so affective, penetrating, tender, and touching that its verses uplift the spirit with ardor, the heart with delight, the intellect with curiosity, and the eyes with tears. Just one example shows this:

  • Yet after all this your hearts were hardened and became like rocks, or even harder: For there are rocks from which rivers gush, and some from which, when they are cleft, water issues; and some which fall down for awe of God. God is not unaware of what you do. (2:74)

As mentioned in The First Station of The Twentieth Word, this verse, addressed to the Children of Israel, means: “While even a hard rock cried tears like a spring from its twelve “eyes” before Moses’ miracle of the Staff, what has happened to you that you remain indifferent in the face of all his miracles, with your eyes dry and your hearts hard and unfeeling?” Since the verse’s meaning was elaborated elsewhere, I will not go further here.

As for silencing and overcoming in argument, consider what follows from among uncountable examples:

  • If you are in doubt about (the Divine authorship of) what We have been sending down on Our servant (Muhammad), then produce just a sura like it and call for help from all your supporters, all those (to whom you apply for help apart from God), if you are truthful (in your doubt and claim). (2:23)

The verse, directed to humanity and jinn, briefly means: If you have doubt about the Divine authorship of the Qur’an and think a human being is writing it, let one of your unlettered people, as Muhammad the Trustworthy is unlettered, produce something similar. If he cannot, send the most famous of your writers or scholars. If he cannot either, let all of them come and work together and call upon all their history, “deities,” scientists, philosophers, sociologists, theologians, and writers to produce something similar. If they cannot, let them try—leaving aside its inimitable truths and the miraculous aspects of its meaning—to produce a work of equal eloquence in word order and composition.

By: Then produce ten suras like it, contrived (11:13), the Qur’an means: What you write does not have to be true; let it be fabrications or false tales. Neither need it match the Qur’an’s length, just produce the like of its ten chapters. If you cannot do that either, produce only the like of one chap ter. If you cannot do that, produce only the like of a short chapter. If you cannot do that—which you cannot although you direly need to do it because such inability will put your honor, religion, nationality, lives, and property at risk, and you will die humiliated—then fear the Fire, whose fuel is people and stones (2:14). You and your idols will spend eternity in Hell. Having understood your eight degrees of inability, what else can you do but admit eight times that the Qur’an is a miracle? Either believe or be silent!

See how the Qur’an silences the opponents as well while making truths understandable by all and say: “There cannot be and is no need for any other exposition after that of the Qur’an.”

  • Another example:

So preach and remind; by God’s grace, you are not a soothsayer, nor a madman. Or do they say (of him): “A poet (jinn-possessed). We await for him some calamity ahead”? Say: “Wait on; I am also waiting with you (though I hope for a different outcome).” Or do their minds urge them to such (falsehoods), or are they a rebellious people? Or do they say, “He forges it?” No, indeed. Rather, they have no will to believe. If not, let them produce a Discourse like it, if they are truthful (in their claims). Or were they created in vain and without anyone being before them? Or are they creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they have no certain knowledge. Or are the treasures of your Lord with them? Or have they been given absolute authority? Or do they have a ladder by which they overhear? Then let their eaves dropper produce some clear authority. Or are there for Him daughters, while for you there are sons? Or do you ask them for a wage so that they are crushed under debt? Or do they have the knowledge of the Unseen, so that they copy from it? Or do they intend a plot (to entrap you)? Yet it is those who disbelieve who are entrapped. Or do they have a deity other than God? All-Glorified is He, above what they associate as partners with Him. (52: 29-43)

I will discuss only one of the countless truths found in these verses to show how the Qur’an makes truths understandable by all and silences the opponents: Through fifteen questions introduced by or, which express a rejection and impossibility, it silences all opponents, ends all doubt, and closes all ways to misguidance. It rends all veils under which the misguided may hide and discloses their fallacies. It crushes whatever lie they may fabricate. Each sentence either exposes and demolishes the fallacy of a group of unbelief, or remains silent where a fallacy is evident, or makes a short reference to an assertion of unbelief, which it refutes elsewhere in detail. For example, it refers their assertion that the Prophet is a poet to: We have not taught him poetry; it is not seemly for him (36:69), and their claim in the last section finds its answer in: Were there deities in them (the earth and the heavens) other than God, they would surely go to ruin (21:22).

In the beginning, it says: “Relay the Divine Commandments. You are not a soothsayer, for their words are confused and consist of conjecture. You speak the truth with absolute certainty and are not possessed. Even your enemies testify to your perfect intellect.”

Or do they say: “A poet (jinn-possessed). We await for him some calamity ahead”? Say to them: “Wait on; I am waiting, too.” The great and brilliant truths you bring are free of poetic fancy and artificial embellishment.

Or do their minds urge them to such (falsehoods)? Or, like senseless philosophers, do they consider their own intellects sufficient and so refuse to follow you? Any sound intellect requires following you, for whatever you say is reasonable. However, human intellect is unable to produce a like of it.

Or are they a rebellious people? Or, like rebellious wrongdoers, is their denial due to their non-submission to truth? Everybody knows the end of such leaders of mutinous wrongdoers as Pharaoh and Nimrod.

Or do they say, “He forges it?” No, indeed. Rather, they have no will to believe. Or, like lying and unscrupulous hypocrites, do they accuse you of inventing the Qur’an? Until this time, however, they knew you as the most trustworthy among them and even called you Muhammad the Trustworthy. In fact, they have no intention to believe. Otherwise they must find a human work similar to the Qur’an [if they are sincere in their claims].

Or were they created in vain and without anyone being before them? Or, like those philosophers who see existence as absurd and purposeless, do they regard themselves as purposeless, without a Creator, and left to themselves? Are they blind? Do they not see that the universe is embellished throughout with instances of wisdom and fruitfulness, that everything has duties and obeys Divine commandments?

Or are they creators? Or, like materialists who are each like a Pharaoh, do they imagine themselves self-existent and self-subsistent, able to create whatever they need? Is this why they refuse belief and worship? It seems that they consider themselves creators. But one who creates one thing must be able to create everything. Self-conceit and vanity have made them so foolish that they suppose such an impotent one defeated by even a fly or a microbe to be absolutely powerful. They are so devoid of humanity and reason that they have fallen lower than animals and even inanimate objects. So do not be grieved by their denial.

Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they have no certain knowledge. Or, like those who deny the Creator, do they deny God and so ignore the Qur’an? If so, let them deny the existence of the heavens and the earth or claim to be their creators, so that all can see their complete lack of reason. The proofs of Divine Existence and Unity are as numerous as stars and as many as flowers. Such people have no intention of acquiring sure belief and accepting the truth. Otherwise, how can they say that this Book of the Universe, in each letter of which is inscribed a book, has no author when they know that a letter must have an author?

Or are the treasures of your Lord with them? Or, like some misguided philosophers and Brahmans who deny Almighty God’s free will, do they deny Prophethood and therefore belief in you? If so, let them deny all prints of wisdom, purpose, order, purposeful results, favors, and works of mercy seen throughout the universe, as well as all the Prophets’ miracles. Or let them claim to possess the treasuries of favors bestowed on all creatures, and so show that they are not worthy of address. If this is so, do not feel sorrow for their denial.

Or have they been given absolute authority? Or, like the Mu‘tazilis who made reason the absolute authority in judging matters, do they consider themselves overseers and inspectors of the Creator’s work and desire to hold Him responsible? Never be disheartened and do not mind their denial, for it is vain.

Or do they have a ladder by which they overhear? Then let their eavesdrop per produce some clear authority. Or, like the soothsayers and spiritualists who follow jinn and Satan, do they imagine that they have discovered another route to the Unseen? Do they therefore think they have a ladder by which to ascend to the heavens, which are closed to their satans? Is this why they deny your heavenly tidings? The denial of such people means nothing.

Or are there for Him daughters, while for you there are sons? Or, like philosophers who associate partners with God (e.g., the Ten Intellects and the Masters of Species), the Sabaeans (who ascribe a sort of divinity to heavenly objects and angels), or those who attribute sons to God Almighty, do they assert that angels are His daughters, despite the fact that such is contrary to the necessary Existence of the Unique, Eternally Besought One, to His Unity and absolute Independence, to His being the Eternally Besought One, and to the innocence and servanthood of the genderless angels? Do they consider angels their intercessors with God and therefore not follow you? Reproduction is the means of multiplication, cooperation, and continuance of all contingent and mortal entities. A great example is humanity, who has biological existence and whose members are impotent, mortal, enamored with the world, needy of help and want to be succeeded by children. Therefore, it is sheer foolishness to ascribe fatherhood to God, Who necessarily and eternally exists and with respect to His Essence is absolute free from all physical qualities, and in regard to His Nature is absolutely exempt from multiplication and division, and has Power absolutely free from impotence. Even more amazing is their saying that God has daughters, when they regard their own daughters as sources of shame. Given this, do not mind the denial of such people.

Or do you ask them for a wage so that they are crushed under debt? Or, like the rebellious and insolent, miserly and ambitious, do they find the commandments you convey unbearable and so avoid you? Do they not know that you expect your wage only from God? Is it unbearable to give to the poor among them one-tenth or one-fortieth of the wealth God has given them and as a consequence, both to receive plenty and be saved from the envy and curses of the poor? Do they consider to pay the Zakah burdensome and therefore hold back from Islam? Their denial is not worth answering, and their due is only punishment.

Or do they have the knowledge of the Unseen, so that they copy from it? Or, like those who claim to have knowledge of the Unseen and those pseudo intellectuals who imagine their guesses of future events to be certain, do they not like your tidings of the Unseen? Do they have books of the Unseen that they refute your Book of the Unseen? If so, they fancy that the Unseen, which is only open to Messengers receiving Divine Revelation and cannot be entered by anyone on his or her own, is open to them and that they are just writing down the information they obtain from it. Do not be disheartened by the denial of such conceited people, for the truths you bring will destroy their fancies in a very short time.

Or do they intend a plot (to entrap you)? Yet it is those who disbelieve who are entrapped. Or, like hypocrites and intriguing heretics, do they encourage others to join them in their unbelief or do they want to deceive the people and turn them away from the guidance which they cannot obtain, ad so call you a soothsayer, a magician, or one possessed? They are not truly human, and so do not be disheartened by their denial and tricks. Rather, be more vigorous and strive harder, for their trickery only deceives themselves. Their apparent success in evil-doing is temporary, a gradual perdition prepared for them by God.

Or do they have a deity other than God? All-Glorified is He, above what they associate as partners with Him. Or, like the Magians (Zoroastrians) who believe in two deities (a creator of goodness and a creator of evil), and those who attribute divinity to every physical cause and make causality a point of support for them, do they rely on false deities and argue with you? Do they consider themselves independent of you? If they do, they are blind to the universe’s perfect order and delicate coherence: Were there deities in them (the heavens and the earth) other than God, they would surely go to ruin (21:22). Two headmen or elders in a village, two governors in a town, or two sovereigns in a country would make order impossible. From a fly’s wing to the lamps in the heavens, there is such a fine order that there is left no room for any partners to be associated with God. Since such people act completely contrary to reason, wisdom, common sense, and evident realities, do not let their denial cause you to abandon communicating the Divine Message.

Out of hundreds of jewels in such truth-laden verses, I have sought to summarize only one which concerns clarification and silencing opponents. If I could show a few more of their jewels, you would conclude: “Each verse is a miracle.”

The Qur’anic expositions in teaching and explaining are so wonderful, beautiful, and fluent that anyone can understand easily the most profound truths. The Qur’an of miraculous exposition teaches and explains many profound and subtle truths so clearly and directly that it neither offends human sensibility nor opposes generally held opinions. Rather, such exposition con forms with what is familiar to us. Just as one uses appropriate words when addressing a child, the Qur’an, described as “the Divine address to the human mind,” uses a style appropriate to its audience’s level. By speaking in allegories, parables, and comparisons, it makes the most difficult Divine truths and mysteries easily understood by even the most common, unlettered per son. For example: The All-Merciful has established Himself on the Supreme Throne (20:5) shows Divine Lordship as though it were a Kingdom, and the aspect of His Lordship administering the universe as though He were a King seated on His Sovereignty’s throne and exercising His rule.

The Qur’an, the Word of the All-Majestic Creator of the universe issuing from His Lordship’s highest degree of manifestation, surpasses all other degrees. It guides those who rise to those degrees, and passes through seventy thousand veils to illuminate each. Although it has been radiating enlightenment to all levels of understanding and intelligence for so many centuries and still continues to pour out its meaning, regardless of people’s ability and scientific level, it maintains its infinite freshness and delicacy. It continues to teach all people in an easy yet most skillful and comprehensible way, and convinces them of its truth. Wherever you look in it, you will find a gleam of its miraculousness.

In short, when a Qur’anic phrase like All praise and gratitude are for God is recited, it fills up the ear of a tiny fly as well as that of a mountain (a cave). Likewise, just as its meanings fully saturate the greatest intellects, the same words also satisfy the most simple intellects. The Qur’an calls all levels of humanity and jinn to belief and instructs them in the sciences of belief. Given this, the most unlettered person as well as the most distinguished member of the educated elite will follow its lessons together and benefit from them.

The Qur’an is such a heavenly table spread with intellectual and spiritual foods that beings of all levels of intellect, reason, heart, and spirit can find their sustenance and satisfy their appetites therein. Moreover, the Qur’an has many more treasures of meaning and truths that will be opened by future generations. The whole Qur’an is an example of this truth. All students of the Qur’an—the greatest scholars of Islamic law, those distinguished with truthfulness, Muslim sages and philosophers, saints distinguished with knowledge of God and the spiritual poles distinguished with love of God, and the mass of Muslims—declare: “The Qur’an teaches us in the best way.”

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

138 Musaylima the Liar claimed that he had been made a partner with the Prophet in authority and composed some “suras.” However, he was ridiculed. (Tr.)

139 The Quraysh was the Prophet’s tribe. (Tr.)

140 Namely, al-Fatiha, al-An‘am, al-Kahf, as-Saba’, and al-Fatir. (Tr.)