Were the words of Umar (ra) as rhetorical as the Quran?

The Details of the Question

In abridged tafsir of Ibn Kathir, the following is stated in verses 24-25 of the chapter of al-Baqara: “The challenge related to creation applies to both the long and short chapters; and there is no disagreement on this issue between the old and new scholars, as far as I know.” However, I noticed that the Quran contains statements that were also said by Umar (ra).
Umar (ra) said something and then Allah supported Umar’s words by explaining them exactly. I wonder how it could be since the Quran is supposed to be above human speech. However, Allah spoke in the same way as Umar (ra), a human being, had spoken before.
The chapter of al-Kawthar is very short and should also be inimitable. However, there are many other examples in which Allah revealed the same or very similar words as Umar (r.a) had said before:
1) I wonder why Umar’s (ra) words were so eloquent that they were put in the Quran, which is beyond the human capacity for expression? Umar must have spoken normally or casually. How can ordinary speech be included in the Quran?
2) I wonder why Umar’s words that were included in the Quran are longer than a sentence. The chapter of al-Kawthar is actually a sentence long, but Ibn Kathir’s tafsir states that even the shortest chapters are inimitable. Please share your thoughts. Thank you very much.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

The following sentence is not included in the book mentioned in the question: “The challenge related to creation applies to both the long and short chapters; and there is no disagreement on this issue between the old and new scholars, as far as I know.”

a) The topic is about i’jaz in the relevant place in Ibn Kathir’s both long and abridged tafsir. It is about the challenge related to both long and short chapters of the Quran. We wasted a lot of time for something wrong. There is no approach saying, “The challenge related to creation applies to both the long and short chapters; and there is no disagreement on this issue between the old and new scholars, as far as I know.”

b) There is no statement of Umar (ra) that he said anything similar to the Quran regarding hijab. He had a special zeal and jealousy related to the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) and wanted a decree on it. The Prophet (pbuh) did not pay much attention to it. Finally, the relevant verse on hijab was revealed. (see Bukhari, 146) It is perhaps the most well-known issue in Islam. However, citing it as an example of Umar’s analogy on the Quran is something we have heard for the first time.

c) The original statement of Umar (ra) himself regarding the issue is as follows: “I agreed with my Lord in three things:

First: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (pbuh)!  I wish we took the station of Abraham as our praying place,’ and the verse “And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer” (al-Baqara: 125) was sent down.

The second one: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (pbuh)! I wish you ordered your wives to cover themselves, because both the good and the bad talk to them,’ and the verse of hijab (al-Ahzab: 59) was sent down.

The Third: The wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were united in their jealousy toward him. I said to them, “If he divorces you, I hope that his Lord will replace you with other women better than you,” and the following verse (at-Tahrim: 5) was sent down: “It may be, if he divorced you (all), that Allah will give him in exchange consorts better than you,- who submit (their wills), who believe, who are devout, who turn to Allah in repentance, who worship (in humility), who travel (for Faith) and fast,- previously married or virgins.” (see Bukhari, 402)

As it is seen, no expression stating that Umar (ra) said something similar to the Quran is in question in the statements above. It was definitely a great honor for Umar (ra) that the verses came down in a way to meet his desires and wishes. However, understanding his request as a statement similar to the verses of the Quran is a slander against the Quran, incompatible with the consciousness of belief, and a scholarly error.

d) It is very clear that the statement in Ibn Majah attributed to Umar (ra) is weak and munkar (unacceptable) because according to the information there, Umar (ra) supposedly said the following in summary:

“O Messenger of Allah, this is the mosque of our father Ibrahim (Abraham), and Allah said: “And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer” (see Ibn Majah, 1008).

The last sentence shows that Umar was referring to the verse that had already been sent down. In fact, Nasiruddin al-Albani states that “this hadith narration is weak and munkar.” (see Ibn Majah/Taliq, ibid.)

- Ibn Majah also gave the same information as Bukhari in the hadith he narrated from Umar (ra). (see Ibn Majah, 1009)

Answer 2:

In our opinion, the answer to this second question is included in the answer to the first question.

Such questions are not really accurate. As it is mentioned above, one narration of Ibn Majah is as in Bukhari while another narration is reported to be “weak and munkar/unacceptable”.

To sum up: If we can look at the Quran in line with the following statement of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, we will understand that it is a miracle in all six aspects and that there is nothing equal or similar to it:

“If you look at the Quran with the eyes of a sound heart, you will see that its six aspects are so brilliant and transparent that no darkness, no misguidance, no doubt or suspicion, no trickery could enter it or find a fissure through which to enter and violate its purity. For;

- above it is the stamp of miraculousness;
- beneath it, proof and evidence;
- behind it, its point of support, pure dominical revelation;
- before it, the happiness of this world and the next;
- on its right, questioning the reason and ensuring its confirmation;
- on its left, calling on the conscience to witness and securing its submission;
- within it is self-evidently the pure guidance of the Most Merciful;
- its outside observedly consists of the lights of belief;
- and its fruits, with all certainty the purified and veracious scholars and saints,
who are adorned with all the human perfections and attainments. If you fasten your ear to the breast of that tongue of the Unseen, you will hear from afar a most familiar and convincing, an infinitely serious and elevated heavenly voice equipped with proof

which repeats لاَ اِلهَ اِلاَّ هُوَ: There is no god but God.” It states this so certainly it is at the degree of ‘absolute certainty’, and illuminates you with a ‘knowledge of certainty’ resembling ‘vision of certainty’.” (Sözler, p. 309)

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