Channel: Jamal Badawi
Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you. Welcome to another episode of Islamic focus. We're continuing today with our series dealing with the sources of Islam. Today we'll have a third program dealing with the topic of the linguistic miracle of the Quran. I'm your host hammer Rashid and I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Dre now that we have St. Mary's University brother tomorrow Assalamu alaykum Ronnie. Before we get into the meat of today's program, could you very quickly summarize the main points we touched on in our second discussion of this topic last week? Certainly, the first thing that
indicated that it is impossible to say that the failure of the eloquent Arabs to match the Quran was because of any incident or reason.
We also indicated that the fact that the Quran is composed of the same letters and words which were not already in Arabic, doesn't mean that it's not American, because the human body is composed also of minerals, which is in the earth. And what's the big difference?
Thirdly, we indicated that it is true that each writer has its own his own style of writing. But you said that the client did not ask them to produce something of identical style to the Quran. But anything that is even comparable, using the various criteria of intercourse.
It was also indicated that we cannot say that, for example, it's possible for the soon writers to have two different and drastically different styles. So we said that we cannot say for example, the darker iron is one style and the prophetic saying, or what is another style and both emanated from the Prophet. And he analyzed that in some detail to show that this cannot really happen because the Quran was revealed all of a sudden, it wasn't really out of expectation, so there was no time to polish. So it's not that big difference. And usually the difference between these times of the same writers would not be that great or drastic, as we see that you're in quite an uncooperative setting.
And then we started to look briefly into why or what is the secret in the Quran, which made it so captivating.
To the point that its adversaries in conduct magic in
the Quran is unique. And it captivates even sometimes the one who doesn't understand even the language. And the fact that the Quran does not have the same characteristics like poetry, but has the impact of poetry in terms of joy and grace. It has some of the characteristics of pros, but it's not exactly pros. It has rooms, but it's nothing like the lions of the soothsayers or wizards, nothing like that at all. So we said that these are all even just the surface,
behind which there are lots of additional issues, which show the precision in linguistic
linguistic characteristics of the cochlea begin today's program, perhaps with an examination of some of these unique linguistic characteristics. Sure, what to start with, perhaps we can, by way of just
clarifying one issue
is the combination and balance between precision and expression, and comprehensiveness. Let me clarify that a little bit. When we're trying to express an idea.
would have a very difficult dilemma.
If you want to express that idea with a great deal of clarity, and comprehensiveness. Then you've got to use so many words, and sometimes because you want to really make it clear. You go too far in adding words, many of which might be redundant. Sometimes exaggeration would have to take place. It gets, to some extent, boring to be boring.
And if you try to economize in the usage of words and just you know, express things in a more concise way
Against, sometimes you get too too much precision, that the expression becomes dry, and does not express the idea with clarity. Okay.
And it is quite good that whoever writes something any writer, no matter how skillful you might be, if you get what you wrote, a good editor
will always start wondering, even if you review of what you wrote yourself after, why is it well, my goodness, maybe this word should be deleted. Maybe I should elaborate more on this, maybe I should summarize that and a few more, maybe the structure of that sentence could be improved in this way or that way. Maybe the
sequence of this sentence can be changed a little bit to make the idea. Clear.
That's why you find many critics say that the most eloquent of writers or the best of poets cannot really reach the stage of ultimate or real excellence in everything they wrote.
Even in one subject, and say, right, one writer or poet might write best in this particular subject or subjects. But no one can really have excellence in all subjects. In even if you're out in the same subject, some of what you write might be excellent, some might be good, average, maybe even some that's not as good. And the strange thing in the Quran is that so I would say no entire Quran, with a variety of topics and subjects that deal with
all of which are of consistent and excellent quality that cannot be improved upon whatsoever. Dr. dres suggests a very interesting idea said, open the Quran anywhere randomly, on any page, and put your hand on the page, and just count how many words under your hand. And it's a blank, equivalent number of words, from the writings, speeches, or points of the most eloquent of the eloquent
and just compare both texts, and see which one of them can be improved upon. And he says, if you really take any writing of any human being, taking this equivalent number of words, you would say that maybe this could be improved this way, this can be edited that way, in the Quran says, If you search the entire Arabic dictionary, to find a better word than any of these words in the Quran, to express the meaning better, and more effectively, you want to find
the Koran can only be appreciated by those who are who are eloquent.
Not necessarily, and that's an aspect of the miraculous nature of the Quran, also something that human beings can't really reach. Why is he you, if you're addressing people who are very educated and highly intelligent, and so on, as if what happened, for example, in academic meetings in amongst specialists or scientists, you speak to them at their level, and then you speak at that level, your words appear to the outsiders as almost like a mystery, something that they can't really follow. Just set in any meeting of academics, it's, it's beyond your understanding if you're not really in that field.
On the other hand, when you want to address people who are perhaps not in the same level of education, just the public, then you got to talk to them again, in a way that they should understand that if you have bad audience at the same time, it's difficult. It's very difficult.
Because if you want to address the the more educated among the audience,
the other public will not be able to follow what you're saying. And if you're gearing your attention to the public, the more educated might feel that you're insulting their intelligence and you're dwelling on the obvious. And that's why people in teaching, for example, or in public
life, find it very difficult to try to combine these two and sometimes we sacrifice a little bit of this for that. Now, in the case of the Quran, we find that in spite of the fact that it discusses so many subjects in so many diverse areas of human life.
It gives complete guidance in various aspects of life. But still, the same Quran can be heard by the simple person, less educated and still make a great sense of it, understand it very clearly. Why and the more educated the scientists are the inoculant can also appreciate
Without changing the style of the Quran, you might recall for example, in the previous segment, dealing with the scientific miracle of the Quran or Quran and modern sciences, you give some examples of this when the Quran says, for example, that the heavens on earth were, or the heavens were, quote, unquote smoke, a simple person can understand smoke a scientist might related For example, to the theory that the universe started as a gaseous mess, with a very simple expression, you both can find a great deal of understanding and appreciation without anybody feeling his intelligence insulted, or things are difficult for him to,
to follow. So that means that the Quran really has the unique characteristic because it came from the Creator who is able to address the entire humanity with all the levels of education or the levels of understanding, without finding it difficult for anyone, and still have the characteristics of moving
the feeling and moving evoking the emotions.
earlier that the Quran evokes feelings, very strong feelings in some instances, does that mean that it addresses the emotional side of the human or appeals mainly to the human side. But when we
actually can regard that as a third aspect of the miracle also of the Quran, again, the difficulty that we as humans would definitely encounter when we try to satisfy two things at the same time. Now, if you want to address people, for example, to evoke their emotions, or to appeal to their feelings,
then sometimes you've got to go too far in this emotions, you don't have to be too rational, I mean, the rational element becomes weaker, it's there, but it becomes a bit weaker, because you want to evoke emotions. That's why, for example, in poetry, you find that plates go in all kinds of directions, exaggerate, and do not really appeal to the mind as much as they do to the to the feelings. And that's why in fact, the Quran
indicates that poetry is dangerous, because it could be a vocation of good feelings, it could also be a vocation of evil.
Just as you can use poetry to contemplate the creation of God, or Allah in the universe, you can use it to encourage people to drink and indulge in all kinds of things. That's why you find for example, then in the Quran, in Surah, 26, in passages 224. It says that the those who follow
are those who are strange, because those points keep wandering in all kinds of values. And the values here means all kinds of subjects, without any, you know.
On the other hand, if you want to address people, on the intellectual level, if you want to appeal to the rational thinking and understanding, then you'd have to sacrifice a great deal of the emotional appeal. For example, if you go back to the writings of philosophers, you find that the emotional element is very limited. But otherwise, what they talk about is philosophy argument to try to rationalize why they hold this particular idea or view and how they defend it. So you have to sacrifice one for the other I have imbalanced in the degree of emphasis on emotion versus rationality, that the students thing about the Quran is that you go through the Quran, and you find
side by side, the emphasis on emotions and rationality, not that one of them was really submerging the other, but there is the proper proportion, to really move individually on the thinking level, as well as the feeling level as well. Could you give us an example, from the Koran as to how the rational and emotional appeals are combined?
one tick, for example, an issue which most philosophers have spent a lot of their time and effort to explain the notion of the existence of Allah or God, capital G. Yes. All right. And the evidence that there's only one and unique creator of this universe, I'm sure many of the viewers are familiar with all kinds of dry philosophical arguments that has been presented throughout history. Look at the Quran, for example, in sort of 21 in passage 22.
It puts it in a very simple way. Now, Ken, if he had been in the law, who never said that there has been a law have been actually I'm not sure who won
Which means that if there were, that is in heaven, and on earth, other gods, beside Allah, there would have been disorder, that is this order in this in this universe in both heavens and has, but Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Throne for what they attribute to him.
Now, in very few words here, we are given a very strong and powerful intellectual, if you want to kind of discern intellectual or rational reason to believe in the existence of the one and only Creator of the universe. And if you look at it carefully, it says that, if there were other gods would have been disorder, for a person who was scientist to an ecologist, who was educated, perhaps, you can see that quite clearly in terms of the ecological balance in the creation of Allah, in the balance between the Earth and the other components of the solar system, and the balance generally speaking between the various heavenly bodies, the balance between water and dry land, the balance
between oxygen and carbon monoxide and all that. In other words, for a scientist, you can see a treasure of expression here of this unity of the orders and the pattern, which is followed in on this earth and in the universe at large. And this is a very powerful rational reason, because it shows that if there is that consistency, if there is that tie between all of these elements in creation, then there must be one source of that creation, because if you have two wills, two minds, it will not have that beautiful consistency and harmony. So on version 11, you can can write volumes, on the implication of this expression. On the other hand,
you find a similar expression, for example, on this, that even if you assume that there is more than one will or one God or one component of God in this universe, then the Quran respond to that, for example, in passage 91 of Surah 23
when it says Macaca Mohammed,
Mohammed Allah is another had a coup in Argentina, HELOC one.
That is, if they were more than one God, one creators in this universe, then each God would have taken away what he had created. And some would have learned that it's over others, everyone tries to prove superior to the other, and then it continues again Glory be to Allah. Now, in both of these passages, there is a very clear evidence, very clear understanding about the Unity or the oneness of the Creator, which can be understood by the simple person as well as by the highly educated person. So there's food for thought. However, the amazing thing about both passages is that beside this rational appeal that you mentioned in the previous question, this rational,
clear evidence, it takes us to the heart, for example, the first passage that is the one quoted in 2122, but ends by saying papaya and out of the large amounts of food, that is glory, to the Lord of the Throne, from what they attribute to him, so often get this conclusion mentally, or intellectually, it evokes your feeling. It makes a receptive reader of the Quran almost utterance with the Quran, glory to the Creator, from what they attribute to him, the same thing applies to the other verse. In other words, it's a unique combination, not just a spoke, to speak philosophically, not just to speak emotionally, but to combine both animals and appeal at the same time, to the
heart, and to the mind, and still in proportion that no human being was ever able to put them in this beautiful harmony.
Very interesting examples. You know, also, however, that the Quran also deals with legal aspects. And generally when we think of legal language, it's customarily quite precise. What is the style of the call when dealing with with the last one? Let's give an example of this and analyze it perhaps that would make the point. That example was given by Dr. Rogers, the basic source of this
segment of the program.
Take an issue like the law and Islam with respect to the penalty for murder.
Okay, that appears for example, in Surah, two in passage 188
And when you analyze the contents of it, even though it deals with the legal aspect, you know what happens when somebody
commits premeditated murder?
The beginning of the passage in the Quran, it says, Yeah, you have Medina manual that is, or you will believe, you have to say it doesn't say, article, so and so the last one. So yeah, you know, all you have to do. And that is almost like appealing to the heart, evoking the emotions appealing to people who comply with the will of Allah by their face. That's a very powerful beginning to start with.
And as if, again, when it talks about a man of faith and Allah is to really soften the hearts of both the murderers and the family or the the merger. See, even in this very severe, you know, game that they are going through. And then you find that the passage goes on to describe the law of equality. As it says, The,
the law of equality is prescribed to you in cases of murder. And then it goes on to clarify, you know, that there was capital punishment for the deliberate or premeditated murder.
Okay, after indicating the legal part, in the very same passage, you find it, it goes, again, to provide something which is unique to Islamic law, both in content and the way it's expressed also. And that is only an Islamic law, you find that if the family of the deceased of the murdered person, forgive the murderer,
he may be exempt from the capital punishment, which is something unique, really, it solves problems, it makes the person really come back to his senses, if he's forgiven by the family of the deceased. And again, sometimes this might be accompanied by some kind of monetary compensation, just to help them with a difficult period, because of the loss of their breadwinners, let's say.
So that's why you find for example, diverse continuous, or the passage from an official model.
And that is, if
a person or if remission is made by the brother of the slave and brother, he does not mean necessarily just his brother, because all believers in the Quran are regarded as brothers, which means if the one who's responsible, the guardian
of the family of the deceased, forgets,
if this commission is made by the brothers of the slain,
then grant any reasonable demand and compensate with handsome gratitude. That's an interesting thing. Because while it provides a way for forgiveness, and some degree of financial compensation, which uses very tender terms, an athlete, his brother, which was again, that's right, even though the there was a case of murder, but after all, to appeal to the feelings of the family of the deceased, that it's not just a matter of revenge, that you are all brothers also, that you still have the opportunity to forgive.
And then the use of the term at that when in turn, is gratitude. Even in that legal language, you're introducing this elements of feelings and compassion, rather than the dry language we are used to in the legal proceeding. And then the verse continues, that valley courtesy from Arabic America, this is a concession from your Lord and mercy unto you. And then it ends with a third note again, that whoever commits a crime or whatever exceeds the limits afterwards, then he would have to have a severe or grave punishments. So you see the various shades of meaning the various episodes that are made, even though you're speaking basically on a law and a lot of even a
question of law. And you see the precision combined with the you know, the beauty of presentation, given the law.
Well, this raises another you got another question. When x men expression is precise, it means that it gives only one meaning. However, we often hear of scholars discovering new meanings of the Quran, how do we how does that reconcile with with precision?
In fact, you can consider that another aspect also of the miracle of the Quran, why? If you check the writing of any writers, if the writer is writing in the seventh century or eighth or 12th century
You find that after a few 100 years, you know, it doesn't sound as fresh doesn't sound as relevant, for example, to the state or the expressions we use in a given time. On the other hand,
if a person is writing precisely, then it means only one thing. But to say that there could be different meanings to be discovered over hundreds and hundreds of years. And the text is exactly the same as something that is beyond human capability. If it can be done for a few meanings, or a few 100 years or a few years, it cannot just continue for hundreds and hundreds of years. And the same kind of validity even though you have diverse or different, I should say different angles or meanings. And the text is exactly the same. Doctor just explained that very nicely. And he says, for example, if you read the passage in the Quran,
you will see
that it's so precise and so clear, that the idea presented is so vivid, as if you're seeing pictures in front of you, rather than words, it's so clear and vivid. On the other hand, if you come back at some other time, to the same passage, and read it and really think about it, many times people will think deeply about the meaning of the Quran, we'll be able to see, well, I could see some other meaning here also, the same thing that you read before and that could repeat so many times, I can say from firsthand experience that happened to me and happened to many people who regularly recite the Quran, you know, the same passage with all the clarity, different shades of meaning. And this is
something that definitely is beyond human reach. Because like we said before, if you want to be so precise, you explicit in such a way that it means only one thing. But to have the same text without editing without modification, that people find new meanings as time goes on, is something which is quite unique,
does present any kind of problems with with consistency when it when you read the same passage, and it carries or gives where you come away breakfast, with different meanings of different times, even whether those meanings could be contradictory or something else. Not really. And that's another interesting aspect of it. Because the meanings are the various shades, maybe the term shades of meaning that one can see in the very same passage in different times in different places by different people even is not necessarily contradictory. In fact, it is complimentary and cooperative.
Just to give you similar to the very nice similarity with the doctor just mentioned, he said, if you look at a document, for example, each side of retirement might give you a kind of shade of life or some kind of Spark.
But if you look at the time as a whole, also, you would be amazed again with the variety of colors. In other words, they're not contradictory. They're all complimentary, just like different sides are different angles that you're focusing on. Grab that becomes easier when we look into an analysis of one passage that Dr. vas mentioned in his book, which is really interesting. In a very concise and very brief passage in the Quran, it ends actually standing of it, it says for Allah bestowed his abundance
on whom he will without measures.
without merit just take that ending of the passage without measures.
At the beginning, when you look at it, it's so obvious, so clear that God can give bounties to whoever he wishes without measures, so clear, obvious. But if you look at it, you find that there are five interrelated meanings. And that is still permissible within this miraculous expression of this towards one that God gives whoever he wishes without measure that God does not
stop giving for fear that what he has or possesses would not be enough. So without measure could apply to Allah. Secondly, it could be without measure, that means he gives abundantly and generously without measures stayed within the same meaning. Certainly, it could be without his hat, except also means accountability. That's again, the difficulty of translation, he said means accountability, which means he gives the human without holding him accountable in this life at least, because he has given him so much. Letting the person can make the choice. Firstly,
that is without expecting again, or without looking into an account, that is without the person expecting
tab without expecting or predicting that this bounty were given to him that the words come all of a sudden given individual
50 It could also mean
without counts because the bounces of Allah are plenty. You notice here that you get a number of shades of meaning in this single simple expression. There is a in two words, all of them are interrelated. All of them fit together just again like the different shades of life in this environment.
A very interesting program tomorrow. We want to thank you for watching, we've exhausted our time for this week. We want to invite you back next week we'll continue with our series and discussion of the topic of the linguistic miracle of the Quran Assalamu alaikum. Peace be unto you