The Holy Qur'an, the proof for the Nubuwwah of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba'i
The Holy Qur'an, which is the Divine Book and the proof for the Nubuwwah of the Holy Prophet (S), is the main source of Islamic laws and education. The Holy Qur'an consists of the words of the Almighty Allah and the knowledge descended to the Holy Prophet (S) from the source of Glory and the Position of Divinity and Magnificence through the path of prosperity is shown to man.
The Holy Qur'an presents the human world with a series of practical and scientific matters, through the application of which, man attains prosperity in this world and the world Hereafter.
The Holy Qur'an gradually descended to the Holy Prophet (S) during the twenty-three years of his call and invitation to Islam and responded to the needs of the human society.
In its statements, the Holy Qur'an only aims at leading the people to prosperity. It teaches rightful beliefs, praiseworthy ethics, and decent deeds, all of which are the pillars of the prosperity of man and human society, with an expressive statement: "...And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything...(16:89)."
The Holy Qur'an has described Islamic sciences in brief. For further details, specifically for the explanation of jurisprudential matters, the Holy Qur'an directs the people to Nubuwwah, as the Holy Qur'an states: "...And We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them... (16:44)."
"And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them that about which they differ...(16:64)."
Without inviting the people to follow blindly, the Holy Qur'an talks to them in their own ordinary language and Allah-given logic. It reminds them of a series of known facts which man perceives willy-nilly through his nature. It mentions that man can never avoid accepting and admitting them.
The Almighty Allah states: "Most surely it is a decisive word, and it is no joke (86:13-14)."
As far as the scope of its logic is concerned, the matters stated by the Holy Qur'an are valid and everlasting for all the times and for all the people. They are not like people's ordinary remarks which are judged from only a few points of view within the limited capacity of knowledge and thinking and which can be neglected and disregarded due to other factors of negligence and lack of care. The Holy Qur'an is the "Word of the Almighty Allah" which encompasses every apparent and hidden aspect and is aware of every good intention and mischief.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to use his realistic views, to remember this holy Ayah and consider the "Word of Allah" as enduring and everlasting. He must not be convinced with what others have perceived and said. He must not keep himself dependent on free thinking, which is man's only special virtue and whose use is emphasized by the Holy Qur'an. This is because the Holy Book of Allah is a decisive document and an enduring reason for all times and for all the people. Thus, such a Holy Book will not be limited to the perception of a particular group of people.
The Almighty Allah states: "...And (that) they should not be like those who were given the Book before, but the time became prolonged to them, so their hearts hardened...(57:16)."
The Holy Qur'an asks people to refer to their natures and to accept the truth. That is to say, to prepare themselves primarily for the unconditional acceptance of truth and to admit whatever is true. Their welfare in this world and in the world Hereafter depends on their acceptance of truth without responding to Satanic temptations and the call of carnal desires.
Then the Holy Qur'an asks people to present the intuitive knowledge of Islam to their own commonsense and resign themselves to it if they find it true and if they discover that its acceptance and implementation provides their true welfare and comfort.
Surely in this way, the policy of human life and the religion practised in human society will consist of a series of rules and regulations which man demands through his instinctive desire and natural drives.
Finally, this will be a unified policy whose components and inputs will have complete compatibility with particular human characteristics and will completely refrain from contradiction and inconsistency. It will not be an inconsistent policy that at times originates from spiritualism and at others from materialism and that; in some instances, complies with commonsense, whereas in other cases, it is subordinate to carnal desires.
The Almighty Allah states the following Ayah in description of the Holy Qur'an: "...Guiding to the truth and to a right path (46:30)."
Allah also states: "Surely this Qur'an guides to that which is most upright... (17:9)."
In another verse, the Almighty Allah introduces the reason for this power and rightfulness of Islam to be the conformity of Islam with man's creation, for it is self-evident that a policy and cause meeting the natural demands and true needs of man will make him happy and prosperous in the best possible manner.
"Then set your face upright for religion in the right state the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion...(30:30)."
Again, the Almighty Allah states: "...(This is) a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth men from utter darkness into light... (14:1)."
The Holy Qur'an invites the people to follow the path of light which leads them to their ideal goals. It will inevitably be a path which properly responds to man's natural demands that are his very actual requirements. It will also conform to the views of commonsense. This path is the very natural religion called "Islam".
But a policy, which is established on the basis of carnal desires .and the satisfaction of human instincts, namely, lust and wrath of the influential men of the society, which is blindly adopted from the ancestors, and which undeveloped nations adopt from powerful and strong nations unquestionably and without conformity to logic and commonsense, is nothing but plunging into darkness. In fact, it is like travelling in a path which by no means guarantees man the achievement of his goal. The Almighty Allah states: "Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth?..(6:122)."
Finally, from all this, one can discover the importance and magnificence of this Holy Book from the viewpoint of Islam and Muslims. Besides, since its revelation fourteen centuries ago until the present time, the Holy Qur'an has always held an elevated position in various respects in different human societies. It has always drawn the attention of the people of the world.
Indeed, the Holy Qur'an is a Divine Book which supports the universal and everlasting religion of Islam. The generalities of the sublime teachings of Islam have been described in the Qur'an in an eloquent manner. In this regard, it’s worth equals the value of the religion of Allah. Furthermore, the Holy Qur'an is nothing but the words of Allah and is the everlasting miracle of the Holy Prophet (S).
The Holy Qur'an is a Miracle
Certainly, Arabic is a strong and all-embracing language which can express the natural objectives of man in the most clear and precise manner. In this quality, no language can compete with Arabic.
History certifies that the Arabs of the age of "ignorance" (before the advent of Islam), who were mostly nomads and who were deprived of civilization and fully bereft of most privileges of life, held such an elevated place and position in the ability and eloquence of expression in Arabic language that nowhere in history can a competitor be found for them.
In the field of Arab literature, eloquent speech had the highest value. The people maintained a very high respect for elegant and literary speeches. They used to put up the interesting and pleasant poems of their top poets and writers on the walls of Ka'bah just as they erected their idols and gods in the Ka'bah. Although they used a language with such enormity and with all those standards and precise grammatical rules without the least error and mistake, they used to take great pains for the arrangement and embellishment of text of their speech.
In the early days when a few verses of the Holy Qur'an were revealed to the Holy Prophet (S) and were read to people, a tumult got raised among the Arabs and their literati and poets.
The attractive, very sweet, and meaningful statements of the Holy Qur'an imprinted on the hearts and impressed the wise people in such a way that they forgot all eloquent literary works and brought down the lustrous and deep poems of the great poets called "Al-Mu'allaqat" which were pasted on the walls of Ka'bah.
The divine words, with their sweet verses, attracted every heart by their endless beauty and charm and sealed the mouths of all eloquent poets and writers.
But, on the other hand, these divine words were very unpleasant and bitter for polytheists and idol-worshippers, for they clarified and proved the religion of monotheism by their expressive statements and strong reasoning and severely reproached the policy of polytheism and idol-worshipping.
These verses also belittled the idols that were called "gods" by the people who supplicated and offered sacrifice before them and finally worshipped them instead of Allah. The Divine words also introduced the idols as stony and wooden statues that are lifeless, ineffective, and useless.
The Holy Qur'an invited the barbaric Arabs - who were filled with haughtiness and conceit and who had established their lives on the basis of bloodshed and banditry - to the religion of truth and respect for justice and humanity. Thus, Arab idolaters resorted to struggle and alternation and left no stone unturned to put out this luminous torch of guidance. They, however, reaped no benefit out of their wicked efforts except disappointment.
During the earlier days of Al-Bi'that al-Nabawiyyah, the Holy Prophet (S) was taken to meet one of the eloquent men called "Walid" who was a renowned Arab litterateur. The Holy Prophet (S) recited a few Ayat from the beginning of 41st Surah (Ha Mim) of Qur'an. In spite of his pride and haughtiness, Walid listened very carefully, until the Prophet (S) reached the Holy Ayah: "But if they turn aside, then say: I have warned you of a scourge like the scourge of 'Ad and Thamud (41:13)."
As soon as the Holy Prophet (S) recited this Ayah, Walid became upset and began to shudder in such a manner that he lost his consciousness, the meeting was disturbed and the people then dispersed.
Afterwards, a group of people came to Walid and began complaining, that he made them ashamed and disgraceful in front of Muhammad (S). Walid said: "No, by Allah, you know that I fear none and that I have no greed. You know that I am a man of letters and a litterateur. The words I heard from Muhammad (S) bore no resemblance with the words of other people.
His words are attractive and charming. They could neither be called poetry nor prose. They are meaningful and deep-rooted. I am forced not to say anything about this matter until I have made my judgment. Give me three days' time to think it over". When the people came to Walid after the lapse of three days, he said that the words of Muhammad (S) were magic and sorcery which fascinate the hearts of people.
Mushrikin, led by Walid, called the Holy Qur'an magic and sorcery and avoided hearing it. They prohibited people from listening to it too. At times when the Holy Prophet (S) used to read the Holy Qur'an in Al-Masjid al-Haram (Ka'bah), mushrikin used to shout and start clapping in order to prevent the people from hearing the voice of the Holy Prophet (S).
Nevertheless since they had been fascinated by the eloquent and heart-ravishing statements of the Holy Qur'an, they often took advantage of the darkness of night and gathered behind the walls of the house of the Holy Prophet (S) in order to listen to the recital of the Holy Qur'an. Then whispering to one another, they used to say that these words could not be attributed to any human being. The Almighty Allah, referring to this point, states: "We know best what they listen to when they listen to you, and when they take counsel secretly, when the unjust say: You follow only a man deprived of reason (17:47)."
Sometimes when the Holy Prophet (S) recited the Holy Qur'an and invited the people near Ka'bah, Arab litterateurs, while passing by him, used to bend down so as not to be seen and recognized. As the Almighty Allah states: "Now surely they fold up their chests that they may conceal (their enmity) from Him ... (11:5)."
Accusing the Holy Prophet (S)
Kafirin and mushrikin not only used to call the Holy Qur'an but also the invitation of the Holy Prophet (S) as sorcery. Whenever the Holy Prophet (S) invited people to follow the path of Allah, informed them the truths, or gave them some advice, they used to say that he is practicing sorcery, even though he explained to them matters whose authenticity was perceived by their commonsense and Allah-given nature.
The Holy Prophet (S) also showed them the right path and clear policy through which they could clearly view the prosperity and happiness of human society.
They had no excuse for not accepting it, and such matters could not be called sorcery.
Is it sorcery to say, "Don't worship stones and woods carved by yourself, don't offer sacrifice of your children for them, and don't believe in superstitions?" Could praiseworthy ethics such as truth, honesty, benevolence, human friendship, peace, justice, and respect for human rights be called sorcery?
In His words, the Almighty Allah refers to this point and states: "...And if you say, surely you shall be resurrected after death, those who disbelieve would certainly say: 'This is nothing but clear magic' (11:7)."
The Holy Qur'an Challenges the Mushrikin
Kafirin and mushrikin, in whose hearts the superstitious rites of idol-worshipping had taken roots, were never prepared to accept the invitation to accept Islam and to submit themselves to the truth and reality. They did not accept the Holy Prophet (S) and contradicted him and said that he was a liar and that the Holy Qur'an, which he attributed to Allah, was nothing but composed of his own words.
For remedy of this accusation, the Holy Qur'an challenged them by calling a group of people, who were the forerunners and sole contenders of eloquence, to bring statements similar to those of the Holy Qur'an in case they were truthful in their non-acceptance of the Holy Prophet (S), thereby proving that the Islamic call was unfounded.
The Almighty Allah states: "Or do they say: 'He has forged it'? Nay! they do not believe. Then let them bring an expression like it if they are truthful (52:33-34)."
The Almighty Allah also states: "Or do they say: 'He has forged it'? Say: 'Then bring a Surah like this and invite whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful (10:38)."
The Kafirin and mushrikin of Arabia, who were the masters of literature and eloquence, refrained from accepting this challenge despite their pride and haughtiness in eloquence and avoided the competition on. Thus, inevitably, they turned the literary contest into a bloody combat. Thus getting killed was easier for them than being disgraced and defeated in literary contest. The Arab litterateurs became helpless against the challenge of the Qur'an.
Neither those who lived at the time of the Holy Qur'an's revelation, nor the people born after its divine descension could do anything against this Holy Book in spite of testing of their utmost-strength. They were thus forced to retreat after exerting utmost efforts.
Man's nature always tends to oblige a group of people to imitate or excel other people's masterpieces or crafts which attract the attention, even if, like boxing and tug of war, these might not have the slightest direct impact on their social lives.
Thus, it becomes clear that a group of people has always been lurking for the Qur'an and if they had found a way to meet the challenge of this Divine Book, they would not have hesitated for an instant to accept this challenge. These people could not meet the challenge and by offering an excuse of magic and sorcery, they could not say that the Holy Qur'an is a magic and sorcery; for magic is an action which, according to its characteristics, displays the truth as false or the false as truth; that is to say, it displays lies as truth and the truth as lies.
The Holy Qur'an captivates the hearts by its graceful tone and eloquent Ayat because of its natural elegance and not as a result of its relation with the world of magic. It invites people towards a series of objectives through its words and introduces them various sciences whose actuality and rightfulness is understood by their commonsense and Allah-given nature. It persuades people to adopt a series of behaviors and deeds such as gratitude, benevolence, justice, and human friendship from which commonsense cannot escape and must accept and praise them.
All these facts indicate that the Holy Qur'an is nothing but an expression of truth. Thus the enemies of the Holy Qur'an became helpless and were unable to say that Qur'an is an expression at the climax of human speech and does not have any rival in its beauty, charm, eloquence, and pleasantness. This is the best proof that the Holy Qur'an is the Word of Allah.
In other words, for every attribute and ability, such as bravery, courage, reading, writing, and likewise which could be developed, there will naturally be a genius in man's history who will occupy the first position. What could be the objection if the Holy Prophet (S) occupies the most leading position of eloquence in Arabic oratory with a particular style? In this case, since his speech is that of a man, it could be challenged. The contemporary orators of the Holy Prophet (S) did not admit this fact.
None of the enemies of the Holy Qur'an could say or substantiate it, because any attribute or ability that reaches the peak of progress by a genius originates from human capability and talent and originates from human nature. It is, therefore, possible for others to pursue the path opened up by the genius.
With due effort, people can make achievements similar to those of the genius. They can also make achievements of the same kind by similar and even better methods than those used by the genius, even if such attempts fail to compete with the achievements of the genius. Thus the aforesaid genius who is the first to open this way is regarded only as a pioneer and forerunner.
For example, no one can surpass Hatam al-Ta'i in generosity, but might be able to do something similar to what he did. One may not be able to excel Mir in calligraphy or Mani, the painter, in painting; however, after considerable effort and endeavor, one may be able to write a word in the style of Mir or to paint a small portrait in the style of Mani.
According to this general principle, if the Holy Qur'an was the most eloquent work of a man (not Allah's words), it would have been possible for others, specifically for the renowned litterateurs of the world, to prepare a book or at least a Surah similar to, and identical with one of the Suwar of the Holy Qur'an by using their expertise in this style. In a challenge, the Holy Qur'an asked the people to produce statements similar to, and not better than those of, the Holy Qur'an.
"Then let them bring an announcement like it...(52:34)."
"...Then bring a chapter like this...(10:38)."
"..Then bring ten forged chapters like it...(11:13)."
"... They could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others (17:88)."
At the end of the discussion, it must be noted that the Holy Qur'an has rendered others ineffective not only by having a remarkable eloquence and order, but also by providing actual answers for man's requirements. By its revelations and the expression of realities and from other aspects manifested in this Divine Book, the Holy Qur'an challenges the enemies and announces to all mankind that they will not be able to produce such a book.