Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Place of Qur'an in the World Literature

The Holy Qur'an occupies a place of such eminence in Arabic literature as is not and cannot be enjoyed by any other piece of literature. The place so occupied by it has not been attained at any time by any other book anywhere. This Book has not only remained admittedly the standard of the language in which it is revealed, but has also originated a world-wide language which became the mother-tongue of vast countries and mighty domains. It produced a literature which is the basis of the culture of powerful nations from one end of the world to the other. There was no literature properly speaking, in Arabic, before the Holy Qur'an. The few pieces of poetry that did exist never soared beyond the praise of wine or woman, or horse and sword, and can hardly be called literature at all. It was with the Qur'an that Arabic literature originated, and through the Qur'an that Arabic became a powerful language spoken in many countries and casting its influence on the literary histories of many others. without the Qur'an, the Arabic language would have been nowhere in the world. There are other considerations which entitle the Holy Qur'an to a place of eminence to which no other book can aspire. This book gives a masterly exposition of the fundamental truths of religion and a complete scheme of life, the existence and unity of God, the principles or reward and punishments for evil, the inevitability of life after death, the existence of heaven and hell, the truth and necessity of revelation, etc., etc.It offers a solution of the most bewildering problems of man's life on this earth, such as: the distribution of wealth; the relationship between individual and society; the question of man's true status and station in life; the balanced relationship between man and woman; whether his freedom is unbridled or he is accountable and answerable for his deeds; and all such other questions on which depends in any degree the happiness and advancement of man, and about which the human intellect cannot present a balanced and satisfactory solution, and which have been a major, rather the only source of all human misery and suffering throughout the long history of mankind. More wonderful still is the effect which the Holy Qur'an produced on the life of the Arab people. The transformation wrought by its influence is unparalleled in the history of mankind. The most revolutionary change was brought about in the lives of an entire people in an incredibility short span of time, that its, a period of not more than twenty-three years. The Qur'an found the Arabs as worshippers of idols, of trees and of heaps of sand; yet in less than a quarter of a century the worship of One God became the creed of the whole land, and polytheism in all its conceivable aspects had been wiped out from one end of the country to the other. It swept away all superstitions, and in their place, gave the most rational code of life the world was thirsty for. The Arabs who had stooped to take pride in ignorance were, as if by a magician's wand, transformed into the lovers of knowledge, drinking deep at every fountain of learning. And this was directly the effect of the teachings of the Qur'an which not only appealed to reason, but also declared man's thirst for knowledge to be insatiable. The Holy Qur'an did not accomplish the transformation of the individual alone. Equally, it brought about a transformation of the family, of society, of the entire peoples. Out of the warring elements of the Arab race, the Holy Qur'an welded a nation, united and full of life and vigour, before whose onward march the greatest kingdoms of the world crumbled! This way the Holy Qur'an effected a transformation of humanity itself, a transformation material as well as moral, an awakening intellectual as well as spiritual. There is no other book which has brought about a change so deep and everlasting in the lives of men. By: Begum A. B. Wakf [From: Islam, An Introduction]

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