First Point: The levels of people in understanding the miraculousness of the Quran.
I f i t i s a s k e d : The miraculousness of the Qur’an lies in its eloquence. But all classes of men have the right to have a share of its understanding, and only one learned scholar out of a thousand can understand the miraculousness in its eloquence?
T h e A n s w e r : The All-Wise Qur’an has a different kind of miraculousness corresponding to the understanding of each class; it indicates the existence of its miraculousness to each in a different way. For example, to the scholars of rhetoric and eloquence, it exhibits the miraculousness of its extraordinary eloquence. To the poets and orators, it shows its exalted, beautiful, and original style, which no one can imitate although it pleases everyone. The passage of time does not cause its style to age, it always remains fresh and new. Its prose and word-order are so well-ordered that it is both elevated and pleasant. To soothsayers and other diviners of the Unseen, it displays its miraculousness in its extraordinary reports concerning the Unseen. To historians, it demonstrates its miraculousness by giving information concerning events of past ages, as well as those of the future, and of the Intermediate Realm, and of the hereafter. To social and political scientists, it shows the miraculousness in its sacred principles. Yes, the Great Shari‘a, which proceeds from the Qur’an, indicates that mystery of miraculousness. To those occupied with knowledge of Allah and cosmic truths, it shows the miraculousness of the sacred Divine truths in the Qur’an, or else it indicates the existence of that miraculousness. To the Sufis and saints, it shows the miraculousness in the hidden mysteries of its verses, which constantly rise and fall like waves in the sea of the Qur’an. And so on. To each of forty classes of men, it opens up a window and shows its miraculousness. The ordinary people even, who only listen to the Qur’an understanding a little of its meaning, confirm that it does not resemble any other book. They say: “The Qur’an is either below all the other books we have heard read, which not even an enemy could claim -just as it is impossible- or it is superior to all of them and is thus a miracle.” Now, in order to help him, we shall explain further the miraculousness which the ordinary man understood by just listening. It is as follows:
When the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition appeared challenging the whole world, it aroused passionate feelings of two kinds in people:
The First: In friends, the desire to imitate it; that is, the desire to resemble the style of their beloved Qur’an, and a wish to speak like it.
The Second: In enemies, the desire to criticize and dispute it; that is, the wish to invalidate its claim of miraculousness by competing with its style.
Thus, because of these two intense emotions, millions of books were written in Arabic, and are to be seen. Now, whoever listens to the most eloquent, the most brilliant, of these books being read together with the Qur’an is bound to say that the Qur’an does not resemble any of them. That means that the Qur’an is not of the same level as them. In which case, it must either be inferior to all of them, which together with being impossible a hundred times over, no one, not even Satan, could claim,1 or the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition is superior to all of them.
Furthermore, the All-Wise Qur’an demonstrates its miraculousness before the uneducated mass of people, who do not understand its meaning, by not wearying them. Indeed, they say: “If I hear the finest and best known poems two or three times, I become bored of them. But the Qur’an never wearies me; even, the more I listen to it, the more it pleases me. It cannot therefore be written by man.”
And to children who try to memorize it, the All-Wise Qur’an shows its miraculousness by settling in their memories with the greatest of ease, despite their small, delicate, weak and simple heads being unable to retain for long a single page of other books, and many of the verses and phrases of that large Qur’an resembling one another, which should cause muddle and confusion.
And even to the sick and the dying, who are disturbed by the slightest sound and noise, the murmuring and sound of the Qur’an makes felt a sort of its miraculousness, by being as sweet and agreeable for them as Zamzam water.
I n S h o r t : The All-Wise Qur’an demonstrates its miraculousness to forty different classes and groups of people, or it indicates to the existence of its miraculousness. It neglects no one. Even for those who can comprehend only what their eyes see and who have no ear to hear with, no heart to feel with, and no knowledge to judge with, the Qur’an alludes to its miraculousness in a fashion.2 It is like this:
In the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition handwritten by the calligrapher Hafiz Osman and later printed, many of the words look to one another. For example, if a needle is passed through the word “dog” in the phrase “they were seven, the dog being the eighth” in Sura al-Kahf (18:22) and through the underlying pages, with a slight deviation it will go through the word “Qitmir” in Sura al-Fatir (35:13), thus establishing the dog’s name. In a similar way, the words “they will be all brought before us” (muhdarun/-in) occur twice in Sura Ya. Sin. (36:53 and 75), the first overlying the second. The same words are again repeated twice in Sura al-Saffat (37:57 and 127), and these look both to each other and to those in Sura Ya. Sin. Also, the phrase “in pairs” (mathnà) occurs only three times in the Qur’an, and two of these corresponding cannot be mere coincidence.3 There are numerous similar examples. One word even coincides with slight deviation on five or six underlying pages. And I have seen a copy of the Qur’an in which passages looking to one another on facing pages were written in red ink. At that time I said that that too indicated another sort of miracle. Some time later I saw that many phrases looked to others on the reverse of pages, corresponding to one another in a meaningful way. Thus, since the arrangement of the Qur’an in the writing and script of printed copies of the Qur’an also is through the guidance of the Prophet and Divine inspiration, it contains the sign of a sort of miraculousness. For it is neither the work of chance, nor of the human mind. Sometimes there are deviations, but that is generally the fault of the printing, and if it had been absolutely in order, the words would have corresponded to one another exactly.
Furthermore, on every page of the Qur’an’s Suras of long and medium length which were revealed in Madinah, the word “Allah” has been repeated in the most wondrous manner. In addition to being repeated mostly five, six, seven, eight, nine or eleven times on the same page, the repetitions of the two sides of the same page or on facing pages display beautiful and significant numerical relationships.4, 5, 6, 7
1. The important First Topic of the Twenty-Sixth Letter forms an explanation and elucidation of this sentence.
2. Here the mention of the aspect of its miraculousness directed to those without ear, heart and knowledge, and who see only with their eyes, is extremely concise, abbreviated, and even deficient. But it has been demonstrated most clearly and brilliantly in the Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Letters,• so that even the blind can see it. We have had written a copy of the Qur’an which shows this aspect of miraculousness, which, Allah willing, will be published, then everyone will be able to see it.
*The Thirtieth Letter had been planned and intended, but it gave up its place to Ishara\t al-I‘jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), while itself never materialized.
3. The phrase occuring towards the end of Sura al-Saba’ (34:46) corresponds to the same phrase as the beginning of Sura al-Fatir (35:1).
4. Also, for those who practise the recitation of the Divine Names and praises and supplicate Allah, the Qur’an’s adorned and rhymed words, and eloquent and artistic style, and the many virtues of its eloquence, which draw attention to itself, afford an elevated seriousness and sense of the Divine presence, and a collectedness of mind; they do not mar or spoil these. Whereas, rhetoric, artistic wording, rhyme and poetic composition of that sort usually weaken seriousness, make their elegance felt, disturb the sense of Allah’s presence, and distract attention. In fact, I frequently used to recite Imam al-Shafi’i’s famous supplication, which is the most subtle and serious of supplications, is composed in the most elevated versified form, and once caused the end of dearth and famine in Egypt. On reading it, I observed that since it was in verse and rhymed, it spoilt the elevated seriousness of the supplication. I recited it constantly for eight or nine years, and I was unable to reconcile the verse and rhyme with its serious nature. I understood from this that there is a sort of miraculousness in the rhyming and ordering and qualities of the Qur’an’s words, which are particular and natural and original to it, that preserves completely the seriousness and sense of the Divine presence, not spoiling them. Thus, even if those who recite supplications and the Divine Names and praises do not understand this sort of miraculousness with the mind, they perceive it with the heart.
5. Another aspect of the miraculousness of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition is that it expresses the most elevated and brilliant degree of the Prophet’s (PBUH) belief, who manifested the Greatest Name.
It also expresses and instructs in a natural manner the religion of truth, which, being most vast, extensive, and lofty, sets forth the elevated truths of the worlds of the hereafter and of dominicality like a sacred map.
And it conveys in all His infinite glory and majesty, the address of the Creator of the Universe, in respect of His being the Sustainer of all beings. Certainly, in the face of the Qur’an’s exposition which is thus, if, in accordance with the verse,
Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce its like (17:88), all the minds of mankind were to unite and become a single mind, they could not contest it or oppose it. How could they? They are as distant from the Qur’an as the earth is from the Pleiades. For in view of the three above principles, it is certainly not possible to imitate the Qur’an, nor to compose its like.
6. At the bottom of every page of the Qur’an, the verses are complete, and they end rhyming in a fine way. The reason is this: when the verse called Muda\yana (2:292) provides the standard for the pages, and the Suras Ikhlas and Kawthar, the standard for the lines, this fine quality of the All-Wise Qur’an and sign of its miraculousness become apparent.
7. Because of unfortunate haste, we had to content ourselves in this section with some slight indications and brief instances and small signs of a highly important and magnificent wonder, one which from the point of view of the Risale-i Nur’s success is beautiful, illuminating, and encouraging. Now, that important truth and encouraging wonder -under the name of ^coincidence’ (tawa\fuq), and five or six sorts at that- forms a chain of wonders of the Risale-i Nur, and flashes of a visible sort of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, and a source of signs to the ciphers of the Unseen. Later, we had a copy of the Qur’an written which showed in gilded letters a flash of its miraculousness which appeared from the ‘coinciding’ of the word ‘Allah.’ And I wrote eight short pieces, called the Eight Symbols (Rumûzat-i Semaniye), which explain the subtle relationships evident in the coinciding of the Qur’an’s letters, and their allusions concerning the Unseen. I also wrote five treatises, one about the wonders of ‘Ghauth al-Gilani,’ three about those of ‘Ali, and one called Indications of the Qur’an (Ishârât-i Kur’aniye), which by means of tawa\fuq or ‘coincidences’, confirm, commend, and applaud the Risale-i Nur. That is to say, that important truth was perceived and written in summary fashion in the writing of the Miracles of Muhammad, but unfortunately the author saw and described only a tiny part of it; he continued without further pursuing it.