Second Radiance: The continuing youth of the Qur'an in every age; its rules and laws are ageless; a comparison between the civilization of the Qur'an and human civilization.

• Second Radiance: This is the Qur’an’s youth. It preserves its freshness and youth every age as though newly revealed. In fact, the Qur’an has to have perpetual youth since as a pre-eternal address, it addresses at once all the levels of mankind in every age. And that is how it has been seen and is seen. Even, although all the centuries are different with regard to ideas and capacity, it as though looks to each particularly, and teaches it. Man’s works and laws grow old like man, they change and are changed. But the rulings and laws of the Qur’an are so firm and well-founded that they increase in strength as the centuries pass. Indeed, this present age and the People of the Book this age, who have more than any other relied on themselves and stopped up their ears to the words of the Qur’an, are so in need of its guiding address of,

O People of the Book! O People of the Book!

that it is as if it addresses this age directly, and the phrase O People of the Book! comprises also the meaning of O People of the Modern Science Books!1 It delivers its shout of,

O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you2 to the ends of the world with all its strength, all its freshness, all its youth.

For example, modern civilization, which is the product of the thought of all mankind and perhaps the jinn as well, has taken up a position opposed to the Qur’an, which individuals and communities have failed to dispute. With its sorcery it impugns the Qur’an’s miraculousness. Now, in order to prove the claim of the verse:

Say: if the whole of mankind the jinns were to gather together...,3

we shall compare the foundations and principles which civilization has laid in the form of dispute, with the principles of the Qur’an.

At the First Degree: The comparisons and balances which form all the Words from the First to the Twenty-Fifth, and the verses at their heads which form their truths, all prove with the certainty that two plus two equals four the Qur’an’s miraculousness and supremacy in the face of civilization.

At the Second Degree: Like the proofs in the Twelfth Word, it is to summarize a number of principles. By reason of its philosophy, present-day civilization accepts ‘force’ as the point of support in the life of society. It takes as its aim ‘benefits,’ and considers the principle of its life to be ‘conflict.’ It considers the bond between communities to be ‘racialism and negative nationalism.’ While its aim is to provide ‘amusements’ for gratifying the appetites of the soul and increasing man’s needs. However, the mark of force is aggression. And since the benefits are insufficient to meet all needs, their mark is that everyone tussles and jostles over them. The mark of conflict is contention, and the mark of racialism, aggression, since it thrives on devouring others. Thus, it is because of these principles of civilization that despite all its virtues, it has provided a sort of superficial happiness for only twenty per cent of mankind and cast eighty per cent into distress and poverty.

The wisdom of the Qur’an, however, takes as its point of support ‘truth’ in stead of force, and in place of benefit has ‘virtue and Allah’s pleasure’ as its aims. It considers ‘the principle of mutual assistance’ to be fundamental in life, rather than conflict. In the ties between communities it accepts ‘the bonds of religion, class, and country,’ in place of racialism and nationalism. Its aims are to place a barrier before the illicit assaults of the soul’s base appetites and to urge the spirit to sublime matters, to satisfy man’s elevated emotions and encourage him towards the human perfections. And as for the truth, its mark is concord, the mark of virtue is mutual support, and the mark of mutual assistance, hastening to help one another. The mark of religion is brotherhood and attraction. And the result of reining in and tethering the evil-commanding soul and leaving the spirit free and urging it towards perfection is happiness in this world and the next. Thus, despite the virtues present-day civilization has acquired from the guidance of the Qur’an in particular, and from the preceding revealed religions, in point of fact it has thus suffered defeat before the Qur’an.

Third Degree: Of thousands of matters, we shall point out only three or four by way of example. Since the Qur’an’s principles and laws have come from pre-eternity, they shall go to post-eternity. They are not condemned to grow old and die like civilization’s laws. They are always young and strong. For example, despite all its societies for good works, all its establishments for the teaching of ethics, all its severe discipline and regulations, civilization has been unable to contest the All-Wise Qur’an on two of its matters, and has been defeated by them. These two matters are:

Be steadfast in performing the prayers, and givezakat,4

and,

Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury.5

We shall describe them, this miraculous victory, by means of an introduction. It is like this:

As is proved in Isharat al-I‘jaz, just as the source of mankind’s revolutions is one phrase, so another phrase is the origin of all immorality.

First Phrase: “So long as I’m full, what is it to me if others die of hunger.”

Second Phrase: “You work so that I can eat.”

Yes, the upper and lower classes in human society, that is, the rich and the poor, live at peace when in equilibrium. The basis of that equilibrium is compassion and kindness in the upper classes, and respect and obedience in the lower classes. Now, the first phrase has incited the upper classes to practise oppression, immorality, and mercilessness. And just as the second has driven the lower classes to hatred, envy, and to contend the upper classes, and has negated man’s tranquillity for several centuries, so too this century, as the result of the struggle between capital and labour, it has been the cause of the momentous events of Europe well-known by all. Thus, together with all its societies for good works, all its establishments for the teaching of ethics, all its severe discipline and regulations, it could not reconcile these two classes of mankind, nor could it heal the two fearsome wounds in human life. The Qur’an, however, eradicates the first phrase with its injunction to pay zakat, and heals it. While it uproots the second phrase with its prohibition on usury and interest, and cures that. Indeed, the Qur’anic verse stands at the door of the world and declares usury and interest to be forbidden. It reads out its decree to mankind, saying: “In order to close the door of strife, close the door of usury and interest!” It forbids its students to enter it.

Second Principle: Civilization does not accept polygamy. It considers the Qur’an’s decree to be contrary to wisdom and opposed to man’s benefits. Indeed, if the purpose of marriage was only to satisfy lust, polygamy would have been contrary to it. But as is testified to by all animals and corroborated by plants that ‘marry’, the purpose and aim of marriage is reproduction. The pleasure of satisfying lust is a small wage given by Divine mercy to encourage performace of the duty. Since in truth and according to wisdom, marriage is for reproduction and the perpetuation of the species, since women can give birth only once a year, and can be impregnated only half the month, and after the age of fifty fall into despair, and men can impregnate till a hundred years old, and thus one woman is insufficient for one man, civilization has been compelled to accept numerous houses of ill-repute.

Third Principle: Unreasoning civilization criticizes the Qur’anic verse which apportions to women one third [in inheritance]. However, most of the rulings concerning social life are in accordance with the majority, and mostly a women finds someone to protect her. As for the man, she will be a burden on him and will have to combine efforts with someone else who will leave her her means of subsistence. Thus, in this form, if a woman takes half of the father’s legacy, her husband makes up her deficiency. But if the man receives two parts from his father, one part he will give to maintaining the woman he has married, thus becoming equal with his sister. The justice of the Qur’an requires it to be thus. It has decreed it in this way.6

Fourth Principle: Just as the Qur’an severely prohibits the worship of idols, so it forbids the worship of images, which is a sort of imitation of idol-worship. Whereas civilization counts the representation of forms as one of its virtues, and has attempted to dispute the Qur’an in this matter. But represented forms, whether pictorial or concrete, are either embodied tyranny, or embodied hypocrisy, or embodied lust; they excite lust and encourage man to oppression, hypocrisy, and licentiousness. Moreover, the Qur’an compassionately commands women to wear the veil of modesty so that they will be treated with respect and those mines of compassion will not be trodden under the feet of low desires, nor be like worthless goods for the excitement of lust.7 Civilization, however, has drawn women out of their homes, rent their veils, and corrupted mankind. For family life continues through the mutual love and respect of man and wife. But immodest dress has destroyed sincere respect and affection, and has poisoned family life. While worship of the human form in particular has shaken morality in appalling fashion, causing the abasement of man’s spirit. This may be understood from the following: to look lustfully and with desire at the corpse of a beautiful woman who is in need of pity and compassion destroys morality; so too, to look lasciviously at the representations of dead women, or of living women, for they are like little corpses, shakes to their very roots the elevated human emotions, and destroys them.

Thus, together with assisting human happiness in this world, all of thousands of matters of the Qur’an like the above three examples also serve eternal happiness. You can compare other matters to these.

Just as present-day civilization stands defeated before the Qur’anic principles concerning human social life and in reality is bankrupt in the face of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, so too it has been proved decisively in the previous twenty-five Words through the comparisons between European philosophy and human science, which are the spirit of civilization, and the wisdom of the Qur’an that philosophy is impotent and the wisdom of the Qur’an miraculous. The impotence and bankruptcy of philosophy and miraculousness and wealth of Qur’anic wisdom have been proved in the Eleventh and Twelfth Words; you may refer to those.

Furthermore, just as present-day civilization is defeated before the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s wisdom in regard to learning and actions, the same is true for literature and rhetoric. The comparison of the literature and rhetoric of civilization and those of the Qur’an is that of the dark grief and hopeless wailing of a motherless orphan and the low and uproarious song of a drunkard, and the yearning, hopeful sorrow of an elevated lover arising from a temporary separation and patriotic songs urging victory or war and high self-sacrifice. For in regard to the effects of its styles, literature and rhetoric produce either sorrow or joy. And sadness is of two sorts. It is either a dark sorrow arising from the lack of friends, that is, having no friends or owner, which is the sorrow produced by the literature of civilization, which is stained by misguidance, enamoured of nature, tainted by heedlessness, or it is the second sorrow. This arises from the separation of friends, that is, the friends exist, but their absence causes a yearning sorrow. This is the guidance-giving, light-scattering sorrow which the Qur’an produces. Joy, too, is of two sorts. One stimulates the desires of the soul. This is the mark of civilization’s literature in the fields of theatre, cinema, and the novel. While the other joy silences the soul, and is subtle and mannerly, innocently urging the spirit, heart, mind, and subtle faculties to attain to sublime matters, to their original home and eternal abode, and their companions of the hereafter; it is the joy the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition produces. It fills man with eagerness for Paradise and eternal happiness and the vision of Allah’s beauty.

Thus, the vast meaning and mighty truth which the verse,

Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support8

expresses, is imagined by those of scant intelligence to be an impossible supposition for the purposes of uttering an exaggerated piece of eloquence. God forbid! It is not an exaggeration, nor is it an impossible supposition; it is an absolutely truthful piece of rhetoric, and possible and actual.

One aspect of its being in this form is this: if all the fine words of man and jinn which do not issue from the Qur’an and do not belong to it were to be gathered together, they could not imitate the Qur’an. And they have not been able to imitate it, for they have been unable to show that they have. The second aspect is this: civilization, and science and philosophy and European literature, which are the products of the thought and efforts of mankind and the jinn and even satans, remain in the very pits of impotence before the decrees, wisdom, and eloquence of the Qur’an. Just as we showed in the examples.

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1. Ehl-i Mekteb, those educated in modern secular schools, as opposed to Ehl-i Kitab. [Tr.]
2. Qur’an, 3:64.
3. Qur’an, 17:88.
4. Qur’an, 2:43, etc.
5. Qur’an, 2:275.
6. This is part of my court defence, which was the supplement for the Appeal Court and which silenced the court. It is appropriate as a footnote for this passage. I told the court of law: Surely if there is any justice on the face of the earth, it will reject and quash an unjust decision which has convicted someone for expounding a most sacred, just Divine rule which governs in the social life of three hundred and fifty million people in the year one thousand three hundred and fifty, and in every century, relying on the confirmation and consensus of three hundred and fifty thousand Qur’anic commentaries, and following the beliefs of our forefathers of one thousand three hundred and fifty years.
7. The Twenty-Fourth Flash of the Thirty-First Letter about the veiling of women has proved most decisively that Islamic dress is natural for women, and that to cast it aside is contrary to women’s nature.
8. Qur’an, 17:88.

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Third Radiance: The wondrousness of the Qur'an in giving the same lesson particularly to each class of humanity in every age.

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