The Third Beam of the Second Light: The superiority of the Qur'an in terms of its speaker, the addressee, purpose and form.

·THE THIRD BEAM of The Second Light

The Qur’an cannot be compared with other words and speech. This is because speech is of different categories, and in regard to superiority, power, beauty and fineness, has four sources: one is the speaker, another is the person addressed, another is the purpose, and another is the form. Its source is not only the form as literary people have wrongly shown. So in speech one should consider, “Who said it? To whom did they say it? Why did they say it? In what form did they say it?” One should not consider the words only and stop there. Since speech draws its strength and beauty from these four sources, if the Qur’an’s sources are studied carefully, the degree of its eloquence, superiority, and beauty will be understood. Indeed, since speech looks to the speaker, if it is command or prohibition, it comprises also the speaker’s will and power in accordance with his position. Then it eliminates resistance; it has an effect like physical electricity and increases in proportion to the speech’s superiority and power. Take, for example, the verse:

O earth! swallow up your water. And O sky! withhold [your rain].1

That is, “O earth! Your duty is completed, swallow your water. O skies! No need now remains, cease giving rain.” And for example:

And He said to it and to the earth: Come together willingly or unwillingly. They said: We do come [together] in willing obedience.2

That is, “O earth! O skies! Come whether you want to or not, you are anyway submissive to my wisdom and power. Emerge from non-being and come to the exhibition-place of my art in existence.” And they replied: “We come in perfect obedience. Through Your power, we perform every duty that You have shown us.” Consider the power and elevatedness of these true, effective commands, which comprise power and will, then look at human words like the following nonsensical conversation with inanimate beings:

“Be stationary, O earth! Be cleft, O skies! O resurrection, break forth!”

Can the two commands be compared? Yes, is there are any comparison between wishes arising from desires and officious commands issuing from those wishes, and the command of a commander of real authority? Can there be any comparison between such words and the effective command, “Forward march!” of a supreme commander of a vast army? For if a command such as that is heard from a common soldier, while the two commands are the same in form, in meaning they differ as greatly as a common soldier and the commander of an army.

And for example the verses:

Indeed, His command when He wills a thing is “Be!,” and it is,3

and,

And on Our saying to the angels: Prostrate before Adam.4

Look at the power and elevatedness of these two verses, then look at man’s speech in the form of commands. Is the latter not like a fire-fly in relation to the sun? In order to describe his act to both eye and ear, a true owner describes his act while performing it, and a true artist explains his art as he works it, and a true bestower explains his bounties as he bestows them, that is, in order to combine both word and act, each says: “Look! I have done this and I am doing this in this way. I did that for this reason, and this will be thus, and I am doing this so it will be like that.”

And for example:

Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? * And the earth, We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth [in pairs], * As an insight and reminder for all [Allah’s] servants who turn unto Him. * And We send down from the sky rain charged with blessing, and We produce there with gardens and grain for harvests; * And tall [and stately] palm-trees, with shoots of fruit-stalks, piled one over another; * As sustenance for [Allah’s] servants; And We give [new] life therewith to land that is dead: thus will the coming-forth [from the grave].5

Can there be any comparison between these descriptions, these acts, which shine like the starry fruits of Paradise in the constellation of this Sura in the skies of the Qur’an, and this mentioning many levels of proofs within them by means of the order of rhetoric, and this proving the resurrection of the dead, its conclusion, with the phrase thus will be the coming-forth, thus silencing those at the start of the Sura who deny resurrection - can there be any comparison between this and the discussions of men about meddlesome acts which have little connection with them? It is not even the comparison of pictures of flowers by way of copying, and real living flowers. To fully explain the meaning from Do they not look to Thus will be the coming-forth would be very lengthy, so we shall just pass over it with a brief indication, like this:

Since, at the start of the Sura, the unbelievers deny resurrection, the Qur’an gives a long introductory passage in order to compel them to accept it. It says: “Do you not look at the skies above you, which we have constructed in such magnificent, orderly fashion? Do you not see how We have adorned it with stars and the sun and the moon, and how We have allowed no fault or defect? Do you not see how We have spread out the earth for you and with what wisdom We have furnished it? We have fixed mountains on it and protected it from the encroachment of the sea. Do you not see how We have created every variety of plant and growing thing on the earth, beautiful and of every colour, and how We have made beautiful every part of it with them. And do you not see how we send down bounteous rain from the skies, and with it create gardens and orchards, and grains, and tall, fruit-bearing trees like the delicious date, and how I cause them to grow and send My servants sustenance with them? And do you not see that I raise to life the dead country with the rain? I create thousands of worldly resurrections. Just as I raise up with My power these plants out of this dead country, that is how your coming-forth will be at the resurrection. At the resurrection, the earth will die and you will come forth alive.” Can there be any comparison between the eloquent explanations these verses set forth in proving resurrection, only one thousandth of which we have been able to allude to, and the words man puts forward to support a claim?

From the beginning of this treatise up to here, in endeavouring to make an obstinate enemy accept the Qur’an’s miraculousness by way of impartial reasoning, known as ascertaining the truth, we have left secret many of the Qur’an’s rights. We have brought that Sun in among candles and drawn comparisons. We have carried out the duty of ascertaining the truth, and have proved its miraculousness in brilliant fashion. Now, in one or two words, not in the name of ‘ascertaining the truth,’ but in that of ‘reality,’ we shall point to the Qur’an’s true station, which is beyond comparison.

Indeed, the comparison of other speech to the Qur’an is that of minuscule reflections of stars in pieces of glass. How can the Qur’an’s words, each of which depict and show a constant truth, be compared with the meanings man depicts through his words in the minute mirrors of his thoughts and feelings? How can the angelic, living words of the Qur’an, which inspire the lights of guidance and are the speech of the All-Glorious Creator of the sun and the moon, be compared with man’s biting words with their bewitching substance and sham subtleties for arousing base desires? Yes, the comparison of poisonous vermin and insects, and blessed angels and luminous spirit beings, is that of man’s words and those of the Qur’an. The Twenty-Fifth Word together with the previous twenty-four Words have proved these truths. This claim of ours is not unsubstantiated; its proof is the above-mentioned conclusion. Indeed, how can the words of the Qur’an, which are all the shells of jewels of guidance, and sources of the truths of belief and springs of the fundamentals of Islam, and have come directly from the Throne of All-Merciful One, and above and beyond the universe look to man and descend to him, and comprise Divine knowledge, power, and will, and are the pre-eternal address - how can its words be compared with man’s vain, fanciful, futile, desire-nurturing words?

Yes, how can the Qur’an, which is like a tree of Tuba, and spreads in the form of leaves the world of Islam with all its qualities, marks, and perfections, all its ordinances and principles, and displays as fresh and beautiful through its water of life its purified scholars and saints, each like a flower, and produces all perfections and cosmic and Divine truths as fruits, and again like a fruit-bearing tree produces numerous seeds within its fruits each like a principle and programme for actions and displays truths in continuous succession - how can this be compared with man’s speech, which we know about? Where is the ground and where are the Pleiades?

Although for one thousand three hundred and fifty years, the All-Wise Qur’an has set forth and displayed all its truths in the market of the universe, and everyone, all nations, all countries have taken some of its jewels and its truths, and they do take them, neither the familiarity, nor the abundance, nor the passage of time, nor the great changes have damaged its valuable truths and fine styles, or caused it to age, or desiccated it, or made it lose its value, or extinguished its beauty. This on its own is an aspect of miraculousness.

If someone was to come forward now and put some of the truths the Qur’an brought into a childish order according to his own fancies, and if he was to compare these with some of the Qur’an’s verses in order to contest them, and say “I have uttered words close to the Qur’an’s,” it would be utterly foolish, like in the following example: there is a common man, a builder of ordinary houses, incapable of understanding the elevated inscriptions of a master who has built a splendid palace the stones of which are various jewels, and has decorated it with harmonious adornments which look to the elevated inscriptions of all the palace and their relation to the stones. If the common man, who had no share in any of the jewels and adornment of the palace, was to enter the palace, destroy the elevated inscriptions in the valuable stones and give it a form, an order, similar to that of an ordinary house in accordance with his childish desires and tack on a few beads pleasing to his juvenile view, and then say, “Look! I have greater skill and wealth and more precious adornments than the builder of the palace,” in comparison, it would be the art of a crazy, raving forger.

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1. Qur’an, 11:44.
2. Qur’an, 41:11.
3. Qur’an, 36:82.
4. Qur’an, 2:34.
5. Qur’an, 50:6-11.

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Third Light, First Gleam: The order, harmony and wondrousness of the Qur’an’s exposition concerning the reality of the realm of living beings and Divine names, acts and attributes.

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