Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
Reply #3 - June 05, 2010, 03:21 PM
Chapter 4 (cont...)
Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an (cont...)
Despite all this they want us to believe that the Qur'an; "Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy" (4:82) but the patching-up of the Wafflers is a guarantor by which every conflict is reconciled and the reply to every objection and bestows on the Qur'an a fluent, harmonious unity free from defects so they can produce in front of them: "An Arabic Qur'an without any crookedness" (39:28).
We shall discuss all that in the widest scope possible as well as detailing, clarifying and illustrating as the situation permits so we can open covered hearts and deaf ears and remove the veil over eyes (NB: Ironic references to Qur'an) that cannot see other than what they want to see, and let loose the tongues so that they do not say anything about the truth except the truth and express nothing but the truth.
In this regard, and whatever our verdict on the Qur'an, it does contain bouquets of masterpieces and marvels that the fair-minded - regardless of where their loyalties lie or what their beliefs and convictions are - cannot fail to be moved by them and bow in prostration. But is the whole Qur'an like that? No and a thousand times no! For indeed these verses and those that surround them are spectrums of light and rings of radiance that captivate the mind, heart and emotions. But because of the ink they caused to be shed, pens they aroused, energies they let loose and passions they stirred - I say because of spotlights they were put under - these verses hid another portion of verses from sight and cast them into the dark. As a result we only see that which catches the sight and are blind to anything else. But if we remain in this state - whether we realise it or not - we will pass the same verdict on them both and how foolish is that! Thus we would put the dull verses in the same category as the glittering verses and be oblivious to the huge gap between them simply because they share the same name; Qur'an. Just like one who puts mud ( الثرى ) in the same category as the Pleiades stars cluster ( الثريا ) because they share he same root ( ث ر ي ).
So never think that the whole Qur'an is of the same quality, cast in the mold of these outstanding verses that we presented in the previous pages - certainly not. These are instances of pearls and gems being found amongst earth and pebbles. Like neighbouring pieces of land with a sprinkling of grape vines here and there while in other places grow poisonous shrubs, gum trees, flowers and date palms between sand dunes that are scattered with weeds, cane stalks, and harmful herbs. Are these the same, for example?
This is what the Qur'an is like. It is - as we mentioned before and as we shall see in more detail - not on one level of quality, brilliance or splendour. but contains the poor as well as the rich and all that lies in-between that. Such a mixture of things that it is very difficult for the mind to see how to reconcile them. But they are reconciled by force and coercion and when concoction and waffling (of the mufassirin) gets involved in sewing together the tears, mending the cracks and plugging the holes, some of them easy to accomplish and some so intractable they require huge effort and resources and some are enigmatic mysteries as though the mind was fettered by them. We shall remove from you your covering, oh reader, so that your vision tomorrow will be sharp! (NB: Ref to Qur'an 50:22) and tomorrow is near for he who envisages it! (NB: Ref to a line of poetry that has become a saying).
1. Look at this wonderful pearl where the Qur'an describes uncovering the secrets of the wrong-doers and exposing their affair in front of God who makes their body-parts speak on the day of Judgment. So that they bear witness against them about what they have committed of sins that they thought were been brushed under the carpet, never to return but they were recorded and able to articulate the truth:
"On the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered together to the Fire, they will be marched in ranks. At length, when they reach the (Fire), their ears and their eyes and their skins testify against them as to what they used to do. They will say to their skins: "Why are you bearing witness against us?" They will say: "Allah who makes everything speak has made us speak: He created you for the first time, and to Him you are returned. You did not hide yourselves lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should bear witness against you, but you thought that Allah did not know much of what you did. But this thought of yours which you did entertain concerning your Lord, has brought you to destruction, and (now) have you become of those utterly lost!" (41:19-23)
So if this is a "divine" masterpiece is of inimitable style, the like of which cannot be achieved - and that is true, then is it possible to achieve the same as this "human" masterpiece by al-Jahiz? (781-868) which he states in his unique and delightful style, in his book; "Squaring the Circle", which overflows with style, eloquence, clarity and illumination:
"Nay why do their sayings concern you or or their dispute weigh upon you? Those of understanding and who speak from knowledge, know that the abundance of your width detracts from the height of your stature and what shows of your width absorbs what shows of your height. Although they differ about your height, they agree about your width, and since they spitefully concede to you a part and unjustly deny from you a part, you have gained what they conceded, while you stand by your claim regarding what they didn't concede. I swear that the eyes make mistakes and the senses lie and there is no conclusive verdict other than that given by intellect and no true enlightenment except by way of the mind since it is the rein for the limbs and the measure for the senses." (43)
One cannot mention the princes of speech without mentioning Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi (923–1023). For he wrote comprehensive works, and on his tongue wisdoms gushed forth and deep meanings swarmed, yet his age deprived him the acclaim he deserved. I present to you here this text which is from the beginning of (his book) "Enjoyment and Conviviality" in which he describes the world, in the most briefest of ways, so full of meaning and in concise expressions as though he is describing his burning soul and faltering fortune:
"Indeed this fleeting (world) is beloved, it's luxury sought after, and a place amongst those of high council is solicited by any means and manner. For this world is sweet and verdant, delectable and lush. He who is timid, his task will be arduous, while he who's pressing is passionate, his coming and going will advance continually, while he who is held captive by his expectations, his hardship will be long and his misfortune great, while he who's greed and desire are inflamed, his impotence and deficiency will be exposed." (44)
Badi' al-Zaman (al-Hamadani) (967 - 1007) was intricate just as al-Jahiz and al-Tawhidi were (NB: Their work had layers of meaning), he was a master at delighting (the reader), words in his hands were obedient and compliant, redolent with fragrance and aroma, diffusing the scent of perfume. A great deal of his work has reached us that one never finishes contemplating. They are no less excellent and eloquent than many of the verses of the "Reminder of the Wise" (The Qur'an). But many of the readers take it (the writings of al-Hamadani) for granted. Let us read this beautiful artistic piece where he describes his hunger during a year of famine in Baghdad, and how all his hopes of obtaining food evaporated, and he ended up with nothing but pain and grief. He uses the (fictional character) 'Isa ibn Hisham to relate it:
"'Isa ibn Hisham related to us and said: I was in Baghdad the year of famine, and so I approached a group, huddled like the stars of Pleiades, in order to ask something of them. Amongst them was a youth with a lisp in his tongue. He asked: 'What do you want?' (NB: Qur'anic ref to 20:95). I replied: 'There are two conditions in which a man prospers not; that of a beggar wearied by hunger, and that of an exile to whom return is impossible.' The boy then said: 'Which of the two gaps would you like me to fill first?' I answered: 'Hunger, for it has become extreme with me.' He said: 'What would you say to a loaf of bread on a clean table, picked herbs with sour vinegar, fine almonds with strong mustard, roast meat ranged on a skewer with a little salt, brought to you now by one who will not procrastinate with promises nor torture you with waiting, and who will afterwards follow it up with golden goblets of grape? Is that preferable to you, or a large company, full cups, variety of dessert, spread carpets, brilliant lights, and a skilful minstrel with the eye and neck of a gazelle? 'If you don't want this or that, then what do you say about some fresh meat, river fish, fried aubergines, the wine of Qutrubbul, freshly harvested apples, a soft bed on a high apartment, opposite a flowing river, a bubbling fountain, and a garden with streams in it?' 'Isa ibn Hisham related: So I said: 'I am the slave of all three (options you have given me).' The boy said: 'And so am I their servant, if only we had them!!' I said: 'May God not bless you! You have revived desires which despair had killed, then you snatched away the object of its relish?!"
Can you see this captivating beauty that the Qur'an does not have a monopoly over? Al-Jahiz, al-Tawhidi, Badi' al-Zaman and many other greats of prose and poetry such as Ibn Muqaffa', Abu Nuwas, Abu al-'Ala al-Ma'arri from the classical literati and al-Mazini, al-Rafi'i, al-Aqqad, and Ta Ha Hussein from the moderns - they and their like have left us masterpieces that are as good as - if not better, at times, than some of the verses of the Qur'an. They left us a massive legacy full of profound wisdoms and clear signs (NB: Ref to the words for 'clear verses' in the Qur'an). But which one of them claimed that he is speaking under heavenly inspiration or that he encompasses the secrets of the Divine?
(43) "Squaring the Circle", edited by Charles Pellat, p 5
(44) "Enjoyment and Conviviality", edited by Ahmad Amin and Ahmad al-Zayn, Cairo, p 13.
(To be cont...)