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Jumaat, 18 Julai 2008

The Perfection of Quran from the literary aspect

Copy and paste from www.miracleofthequran.com
THE INIMITABILITY OF THE QUR'AN
We have so far considered the miraculous characteristics of the Qur'an from the scientific and historical points of view. In addition to these, the Qur'an also possesses an astounding, inimitable style from the literary perspective.
It first needs to be stated that the exposition in the Qur'an addresses all human groupings from all ages. No matter what the reader's education and cultural level, the Qur'an is written in a clear, comprehensible language which can be understood by everyone. In one verse, Allah reveals the following about the Qur'an:
We have made the Qur'an easy to remember… (Qur'an, 54:22)
Despite having such an easily comprehensible style, it has never been possible to imitate the Qur'an from any point of view. Some of the verses in which Allah draws attention to the inimitable nature of the Qur'an are:
If you have doubts about what We have sent down to Our servant, produce another sura equal to it, and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are telling the truth. (Qur'an, 2:23)
Do they say, "He has invented it"? Say: "Then produce a sura like it and call on anyone you can besides Allah if you are telling the truth." (Qur'an, 10:38)
One of the reasons that the Qur'an is described as miraculous stems from the fact that, as emphasized in the verses above, nothing like it can ever be written by human endeavour: The greater the scale of that impossibility, the greater the size of the miracle which we see before our very eyes. Therefore, the fact that the style of the Qur'an has been incapable of imitation by even one out of the billions of people down the centuries is one of the proofs of its miraculous nature. In his book, The Construction of the Bible and the Qur'an, F. F. Arbuthnot makes the following comment about the Qur'an:
From the literary point of view, the Koran is regarded as a specimen of the purest Arabic, written on half poetry and half prose. It has been said that in some cases grammarians have adopted their rules to agree with certain phrases and expressions used in it, and that though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far elegant writing is concerned, none has as yet succeeded.
The words employed in the Qur'an are exceedingly special, both in terms of meaning and also of fluency and effect of style. However, those who are unwilling to believe that the Qur'an is a holy book in which Allah has revealed His commandments and prohibitions, have come up with a variety of excuses as to why they should not follow it. They have attempted to take refuge from its beauty by turning to denial. Allah reveals the following about the deniers' descriptions of the Qur'an:
We did not teach him poetry nor would it be right for him. It is simply a reminder and a clear Qur'an so that you may warn those who are truly alive and so that the Word may be carried out against the disbelievers. (Qur'an, 36:69-70)
The Superior Nature of the Rhyming Scheme in the Qur'an
Prof. Adel M. A. Abbas' book, Science Miracles
Another of the elements which make the Qur'an inimitable stems from its literary structure. Despite being in Arabic, the Qur'an bears no similarity to the forms used in Arabic literature.
The rhyming system in the Qur'an is known as "rhymed prose" and linguists describe the use of this rhyme in the Qur'an as a miracle. In his book Science Miracles, a work prepared to demonstrate that the Qur'an is a linguistic miracle, the well-known British scientist Professor Adel M. A. Abbas carried out a wide-ranging study of the letters and rhyming scheme used in the Qur'an by means of graphics and diagrams. Some rather striking facts were established in this book with regard to the rhyming system in the Qur'an.
As we know, 29 Suras in the Qur'an begin with one or more symbolic letters. These letters are known as "muqatta'ah-letters" or "initial letters." Fourteen of the 29 letters in Arabic comprise these initial letters: Qaf, Sad, Ta, Ha, Ya, Sin, Alif, Lam, Mim, Kaf, 'Ayn, Nun, Ra, Ha.
Of these letters, when we look at the use of the letter "Nun" in Surat al-Qalam we see rhyming with the letter "Nun" in 88.8% of the verses. 84.6% of Surat ash-Shu'ara', 90.32% of Surat an-Naml and 92.05% of Surat al-Qasas are rhymed with "Nun."
When applying these studies to the whole Qur'an, 50.08% is rhymed with the letter "Nun." To put it another way, more than half the verses in the Qur'an end with the letter "Nun." In no literary work of comparable length has it been possible to rhyme with a single sound in more than half the text. This applies to all languages, not just to Arabic.
Distribution of verses ending with the letter "Nun" from those suras beginning with initial letters:
Verse number
Name of Sura
Number of letter “Nun”



2
al-Baqara
196
3
al ‘Imran
121
7
al-A‘raf
193
10
Yunus
98
11
Hud
56
12
Yusuf
93
13
ar-Ra‘d
5
14
─░brahim
6
15
al-Hijr
81
19
Maryam
5
20
Ta Ha
0
26
ash-Shu‘ara’
192
27
an-Naml
84
28
al-Qasas
81
29
al-‘Ankabut
59
30
ar-Rum
54
31
Luqman
7
32
as-Sajda
27
36
Ya Sin
71
38
Sâd
18
40
Ghafir
32
41
Fussilat
30
42
ash-Shura
6
43
az-Zukhruf
78
44
ad-Dukhan
44
45
al-Ghashiyya
30
46
al-Ahqaf
26
50
Qaf
0
68
al-Qalam
42
The above table shows the distribution of verses ending with the letter “Nun” in those Suras beginning with initial (symbolic) letters.
When a general examination of the rhyme scheme in the Qur'an is made, we see that around 80% of the rhymes consist of just three sounds (n, m, a) consisting of the letters Alif, Mim, Ya and Nun. Excluding the letter "Nun," 30% of the verses are rhymed with "Mim," "Alif" or
"Ya."
The four most frequently employed sounds in rhymes:
Letter
Total
Sounds
a
a
m
n
Verse number
949
246
666
3123
4984
Proportion (%)
15.22
3.94
10.68
50.03
79.92
The above table shows the proportional distribution of the four letters comprising 79.92% of the rhyme system in the Qur’an.
The following verses are just a few of the many examples of rhymes using these four letters.
Surat al-Muminun
1. Qad aflaha almu/minoona
2. Allatheena hum fee salatihim khashiAAoona
3. Waallatheena hum AAani allaghwi muAAridoona
4. Waallatheena hum lilzzakati faAAiloona
5. Waallatheena hum lifuroojihim hafithoona
6. ... aw ma malakat aymanuhum fa-innahum ghayru maloomeena
7. ... faola-ika humu alAAadoona
8. Waallatheena hum li-amanatihim waAAahdihim raAAoona
9. Waallatheena hum AAala salawatihim yuhafithoona
10. Ola-ika humu alwarithoona
11. ... hum feeha khalidoona
12. Walaqad khalaqna al-insana min sulalatin min teenin
13. Thumma jaAAalnahu nutfatan fee qararin makeenin
14. ... fatabaraka Allahu ahsanu alkhaliqeena
15. Thumma innakum baAAda thalika lamayyitoona
16. Thumma innakum yawma alqiyamati tubAAathoona
17. ... wama kunna AAani alkhalqi ghafileena
Surat an-Nahl
1. ... wataAAala AAamma yushrikoona
2. ... annahu la ilaha illa ana faittaqooni
3. ... taAAala AAamma yushrikoona
4. ... fa-itha huwa khaseemun mubeenun
5. ... wamanafiAAu waminha ta-kuloona
6. Walakum feeha jamalun heena tureehoona waheena tasrahoona
Surat al-An'am
1. ... thumma allatheena kafaroo birabbihim yaAAdiloona
2. ... thumma antum tamtaroona
3. ... wayaAAlamu ma taksiboona
4. ... illa kanoo AAanha muAArideena
5. ... fasawfa ya/teehim anbao ma kanoo bihi yastahzi-oona
6. ... waansha/na min baAAdihim qarnan akhareena
7. ... in hatha illa sihrun mubeenun
8. ... thumma la yuntharoona
9. ... walalabasna AAalayhim ma yalbisoona
10. ... ma kanoo bihi yastahzi-oona
Surat ar-Rum
6. ... walakinna akthara alnnasi la yaAAlamoona
7. ... wahum AAani al-akhirati hum ghafiloona
8. ... wa-inna katheeran mina alnnasi biliqa-i rabbihim lakafiroona
9. ... walakin kanoo anfusahum yathlimoona
10. ... an kaththaboo bi-ayati Allahi wakanoo biha yastahzi-oona
11. ... thumma ilayhi turjaAAoona
12. ... yublisu almujrimoona
13. ... wakanoo bishuraka-ihim kafireena
14. Wayawma taqoomu alssaAAatu yawma-ithin yatafarraqoona
15. ... fahum fee rawdatin yuhbaroona
Surah Yunus
26. ... ola-ika as-habu aljannati hum feeha khalidoona
27. ... ola-ika as-habu alnnari hum feeha khalidoona
28. ... waqala shurakaohum ma kuntum iyyana taAAbudoona
29. ... in kunna AAan AAibadatikum laghafileena
30. ... wadalla AAanhum ma kanoo yaftaroona
31. ... faqul afala tattaqoona
32. ... faanna tusrafoona
33. ... annahum la yu/minoona
34. ... faanna tu/fakoona
Surat al-‘Ankabut
6. ... inna Allaha laghaniyyun AAani alAAalameena
7. ... walanajziyannahum ahsana allathee kanoo yaAAmaloona
8. ... faonabbi-okum bima kuntum taAAmaloona
9. ... lanudkhilannahum fee alssaliheena
10. ... awa laysa Allahu bi-aAAlama bima fee sudoori alAAalameena
11. ... walayaAAlamanna almunafiqeena
12. ... innahum lakathiboona
13. ... walayus-alunna yawma alqiyamati AAamma kanoo yaftaroona
14. ... faakhathahumu alttoofanu wahum thalimoona
Surat an-Naml
12. ... innahum kanoo qawman fasiqeena
13. ... hatha sihrun mubeenun
14. ... faonthur kayfa kana AAaqibatu almufsideena
15. ... min AAibadihi almu/mineena
16. ... inna hatha lahuwa alfadlu almubeenu
17. ... fahum yoozaAAoona
18. ... sulaymanu wajunooduhu wahum la yashAAuroona
19. ... waadkhilnee birahmatika fee AAibadika alssaliheena
Surat an-Nisa’
23. ... inna Allaha kana ghafooran raheeman
24. ... inna Allaha kana AAaleeman hakeeman
25. ... waAllahu ghafoorun raheemun
26. ... waAllahu AAaleemun hakeemun
27. ... an tameeloo maylan AAatheeman
Surat al-Ma’ida
22. ... fa-in yakhrujoo minha fa-inna dakhiloona
23. ... fatawakkaloo in kuntum mu/mineena
24. ... inna hahuna qaAAidoona
25. ... faofruq baynana wabayna alqawmi alfasiqeena
26. ... fala ta/sa AAala alqawmi alfasiqeena
27. ... qala innama yataqabbalu Allahu mina almuttaqeena
28. ... innee akhafu Allaha rabba alAAalameena
29. ... wathalika jazao alththalimeena
30. ... faqatalahu faasbaha mina alkhasireena
31. ... faasbaha mina alnnadimeena
Surat al-A'raf
2. ... wathikra lilmu/mineena
3. ... qaleelan ma tathakkaroona
4. ... fajaaha ba/suna bayatan aw hum qa-iloona
5. ... ith jaahum ba/suna illa an qaloo inna kunna thalimeena
6. ... walanas-alanna almursaleena
7. ... wama kunna gha-ibeena
8. ... faola-ika humu almuflihoona
9. ... bima kanoo bi-ayatina yathlimoona
10. ... qaleelan ma tashkuroona
11. ... lam yakun mina alssajideena
Surat at-Tawba
7. ... inna Allaha yuhibbu almuttaqeena
8. ... waaktharuhum fasiqoona
9. ... innahum saa ma kanoo yaAAmaloona
10. ... waola-ika humu almuAAtadoona
11. ... wanufassilu al-ayati liqawmin yaAAlamoona
12. ... laAAallahum yantahoona
13. ... ahaqqu an takhshawhu in kuntum mu/mineena
14. ... wayashfi sudoora qawmin mu/mineena
Surat al-Baqara
62. ... wala khawfun AAalayhim wala hum yahzanoona
63. ... waothkuroo ma feehi laAAallakum tattaqoona
64. ... lakuntum mina alkhasireena
65. ... faqulna lahum koonoo qiradatan khasi-eena
66. ... wamawAAithatan lilmuttaqeena
67. ... aAAoothu biAllahi an akoona mina aljahileena
68. ... faifAAaloo ma tu/maroona
69. ... baqaratun safrao faqiAAun lawnuha tasurru alnnathireena
Surat al ‘Imran
130. ... waittaqoo Allaha laAAallakum tuflihoona
131. Waittaqoo alnnara allatee oAAiddat lilkafireena
132. ... laAAallakum turhamoona
133. ... oAAiddat lilmuttaqeena
134. ... waAllahu yuhibbu almuhsineena
135. ... walam yusirroo AAala ma faAAaloo wahum yaAAlamoona
136. ... waniAAma ajru alAAamileena
137. ... faonthuroo kayfa kana AAaqibatu almukaththibeena
138. ... wamawAAithatun lilmuttaqeena
139. ... waantumu al-aAAlawna in kuntum mu/mineena
140. ... waAllahu la yuhibbu alththalimeena
Surat al-Anbiya’
5. ... falya/tina bi-ayatin kama orsila al-awwaloona
6. ... afahum yu/minoona
7. ... in kuntum la taAAlamoona
8. ... wama kanoo khalideena
9. ... waahlakna almusrifeena
10. ... afala taAAqiloona
11. ... waansha/na baAAdaha qawman akhareena
12. ... hum minha yarkudoona
Surat an-Nur
47. ... wama ola-ika bialmu/mineena
48. ... fareequn minhum muAAridoona
49. Wa-in yakun lahumu alhaqqu ya/too ilayhi muthAAineena
50. ... bal ola-ika humu alththalimoona
51. ... waola-ika humu almuflihoona
52. ... faola-ika humu alfa-izoona
53. ... inna Allaha khabeerun bima taAAmaloona
54. ... wama AAala alrrasooli illa albalaghu almubeena
55. ... faola-ika humu alfasiqoona
Surat al-Hijr
5. ... wama yasta/khiroona
6. ... innaka lamajnoonun
7. ... in kunta mina alssadiqeena
8. ... wama kanoo ithan munthareena
9. ... wa-inna lahu lahafithoona
10. Walaqad arsalna min qablika fee shiyaAAi al-awwaleena
11. ... kanoo bihi yastahzi-oona
12. Kathalika naslukuhu fee quloobi almujrimeena
13. ... waqad khalat sunnatu al-awwaleena
14. ... feehi yaAArujoona
15. ... nahnu qawmun mashooroona
The formation of rhymed prose with just two or three sounds in a poem of 200-300 lines may give that work an important quality, sufficient for it to be described as a masterpiece by literary critics today. However, bearing in mind the length of the Qur'an, the information it contains and its wise exposition, the extraordinary manner in which its rhymed prose system is used becomes even clearer and more beautiful. The Qur'an indeed contains an ocean of information relating to a wide variety of subjects. They include: religious and moral guidance, lessons from the lives of the peoples of the past, the message of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, the physical sciences and historical accounts of important events. But all of this, although wonderful in itself, is delivered with the most fantastic literary rhythm and excellence. It is simply not possible for so much rhymed prose by use of so few sounds in the Qur'an, with its varied and knowledgeable subject matter, to be achieved by human endeavour. From that point of view, it is not surprising that Arab linguists describe the Qur'an as "very definitely inimitable."

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