5The Review of Religions – February 2007 For the general benefit, we proceed to set out the quality by possessing which a writing or a speech qualifies for being held matchless and from God. Then we shall select a Surah of the Holy Qur’an and shall prove that it possesses, in perfection and in completeness, all those qualities of matchlessness which have been set forth in the rule. Then if someone still refuses to accept those qualities of matchlessness the burden would lie upon him to produce some other writing or speech which should possess all those qualities of matchlessness. If a writing or speech fully resembles something which has proceeded from God and is His handiwork, that is to say, it is comprehensive of the external and internal wonders which exist in something that has been fashioned by God, it would be said that that writing or speech is of a rank which cannot be matched by human powers, for if a thing is admittedly matchless and has proceeded from God, then anything else sharing fully its qualities of matchlessness would itself be matchless. For instance, if something is in This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. ESSENCE OF ISLAM: Part 16 – Matchlessness of the Holy Qur’an Illustrated by Surah Fatihah 6 The Review of Religions – February 2007 complete accord with that which is ten yards in length, then it would be established as a certainty that that thing also is ten yards in length. The Rose: a Wonder of Allah’s Creation Now we shall select out of the creations of God a delicate creation, that is to say, a rose, and we shall set out the external and internal wonders by virtue of which it is admitted that it is beyond human power to create its match. We shall then prove that the wonders and excellences of the Surah Fatihah not only match the wonders of the rose, but also exceed them. The reason why I select this illustration is that on one occasion I saw in a vision that I was holding in my hand the Surah Fatihah inscribed on a leaf and it was so beautiful and attractive that it appeared that the paper on which it was inscribed was loaded with soft red roses which were beyond count. When I recited any verse of the Surah, many of the roses flew upwards emitting an attractive sound. Those roses were very large, delicate, beautiful, fresh, and fragrant; and by their ascending upwards the heart and brain were perfumed, ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 7The Review of Religions – February 2007 overpowered, and drawn away from the world and its contents, on account of the matchless delights of the roses. From this vision, I gathered that the rose has a spiritual relationship with the Surah Fatihah and that is why I have selected this illustration. I shall first set out as an illustration the wonders, external and internal, that are found in the rose and shall then describe as a contrast the external and internal wonders of the Surah Fatihah so that a just reader should appreciate that the qualities, external and internal, that are found in the rose by virtue of which it is impossible to create its match, are found in the Surah Fatihah to a higher degree. Thus, I would also fulfil the indication that was conveyed to me in my vision. It will be admitted without hesitation that a rose, like other creations of God, possesses such qualities that a man has not the power to create its match. These qualities are of two types. First, those that are manifested in its appearance. They are that its colour is most attractive, and its smell pleases the heart, and its body is soft, fresh, delicate and clean. Secondly, there are the inner qualities with which it is invested by God, that is to say, the qualities that are inherent in it. These are that it pleases and strengthens the heart, upholds all the faculties and spirits, operates as a laxative, and strengthens the stomach, liver, kidneys, arteries, the womb, and lungs. It is very helpful in a coma and in weakness of the heart, and is useful in many other physical ailments. On account of these two types of qualities, it is believed that the rose is so perfect that it is not possible for any human being to make a flower which should be attractive in colour and in fragrance, and should be fresh and soft and delicate and clear like the rose and in addition should possess all those qualities that are possessed by the rose. If it is asked why is it believed that human power is not able to create ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 8 The Review of Religions – February 2007 its match and why is it not possible that man should be able to produce in an artificial flower all the qualities, external and internal, that are found in the rose, the answer is that this has been proved in practice, and that no philosopher or physician has been able to compound any medicines, or devise a recipe, that would produce a flower possessing the appearance and qualities of the rose. Qualities of Surah Fatihah compared with the Rose It should now be understood that these elements of matchlessness are to be found in the Surah Fatihah, and indeed in the briefest portions of the Holy Qur’an. First observe its external form and appreciate its colourful diction and beautiful exposition and sequence and other qualities which are essential for a good composition and which manifest themselves throughout the Surah Fatihah, a manifestation that cannot be exceeded and which is free from every type of coarseness and wildness of idiom. Every phrase is most eloquent, every form of expression has its proper place, and every type of quality which enhances the beauty of its composition is found in it. The highest grade of eloquence that can be imagined is found in it in perfection and all that is needed to make its meaning clear is present. With all these good qualities, it is filled with the fragrance of truth and there is no exaggeration in it, which might have the slightest trace of falsehood. Its colourfulness is not like that of the poets which smacks of falsehood and is full of idle boasts. As the compositions of poets smell of falsehood and vain verbiage, this composition is full of the delicate fragrance of truth. This fragrance is accompanied by a beauty of exposition, propriety of diction, colourfulness, smoothness and, as in the rose, its fragrance is accompanied by the beauty of its colour and clearness. These are its external qualities. From the point of view of its internal qualities, the Surah Fatihah comprises remedies for ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 9The Review of Religions – February 2007 great spiritual illnesses, and makes provision for the perfection of intellectual power and the power of action. It reforms great disorders and sets forth great insights and fine points which have been hidden from the eyes of thinkers and philosophers. The heart of a seeker is strengthened by its perusal and is healed of the ills of doubt and suspicion and error. Many high verities and fine realities which are needed for the perfection of the soul are furnished by its contents. Obviously, these excellences are such that they cannot be combined in the writing or speech of any human being. This impossibility is not mere inference, but is obvious. God Almighty has manifested the perfection of its external and internal qualities by setting out, in eloquent words, the fine points and high insights at the time of their need and in accordance with the requirements of truth. He has carried both sides, the external and the internal, to the highest grades of perfection. First, it sets out those necessary high insights the signs of which had disappeared from previous teachings, and no thinker or philosopher had set them forth. These have not been set out without need and in vain, but they have been set out at a time when they were absolutely necessary for the reform of the conditions of the age and without their being set out the age would have faced ruin and destruction. They have not been set out imperfectly or incompletely, and are perfect in themselves. The wisdom of a wise person cannot cite a religious verity which has been left out of them. Nor is there any doubt which troubles the mind of a worshipper of falsehood that has not been set at rest. To express all these verities and fine points, of which there was great need, at the highest level of eloquence, is a great undertaking which is obviously above the capacity of human faculties. Man is so bereft of merit that it is not possible for him to express truthfully average matters, which are not connected with high ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 10 The Review of Religions – February 2007 verities, in colourful and eloquent words, adhering all the time to truth and accuracy of statement. For instance, it is impossible for a shopkeeper, who is a high-grade poet and writer, to carry on his conversation with diverse types of customers elo- quently and in colourful words, confining himself to whatever is appropriate on every occasion. Where economy of words is needed, he should speak less and where long speeches are appropriate, he should hold forth at length. When a discussion should ensue between him and his customer, he should adopt a method which should support his thesis. Or take the case of a magistrate whose duty it is to take down accurately the statements of parties and witnesses and to make appro- priate comments on them and to put questions and to record answers which are appropriate for the investigation of the matter in dispute, and to set down legal arguments accurately according to the law, and to set forth the facts in their proper order and to record his opinion and the reasons in support thereof accurately. He would find it impossible to do all this at a level of eloquence which it would not be possible for another human being to exceed. The case of human compositions is such that without vain, unnecessary and irrelevant matters, their authors cannot take a step and cannot set out anything without falsehood and idle statements. If they make an attempt it is defective like a picture which if it depicts a nose, it leaves out ears and if it depicts ears, it leaves out eyes. If truth is adhered to, eloquence has to be sacrificed, and if eloquence has to be pursued, falsehood and idle statements are piled up like an onion which is all leaves and has no substance. Thus, sane reason determines that it is impossible to set out average matters in colourful and eloquent words while adhering to truth and the requirements of the occasion. Then it is easy to understand that to set out high insights according to the requirements of truth in colourful and eloquent language, better ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 11The Review of Religions – February 2007 than which cannot be imagined, is a supernatural task which is beyond human power and is as impossible of achievement as it is impossible to create a flower which should completely resem- ble a rose in its external and internal qualities. Experience testifies and sane nature accepts that in ordinary matters it becomes impossible for a person to set forth something which is necessary and true, whether it relates to a matter of buying and selling or relates to judicial procedure, and it is desired to perform this task in the best manner, in the most appropriate and suitable language at the highest degree of eloquence. Then how is it possible for a human being to set forth in a writing truthfully and accurately insights and high verities according to need, comprising Divine truths, without omitting anything that is needed for the reform of the times and for conclusive argument and for repelling the objections of opponents while observing all the rules of debate and discussion, and comprising all necessary arguments, proofs of teachings, and the requisite questions and answers? The difficulties would be multiplied a hundred fold beyond those that we have set out in the first case, and yet it would be necessary that the beauty of the compo- sition should be matchless and peerless, and that it should not be possible to express the subject matter in more eloquent language. These are the qualities found in the Surah Fatihah and in the Holy Qur’an, which are in accord with the qualities of match- lessness of a rose. But another great quality is found in the Surah Fatihah and the Holy Qur’an, which is peculiar to them, and that is that to read them with attention and sincerity purifies the heart, and removes the veils of darkness, and expands the mind, and drawing the seeker after truth to God, manifests such lights and effects in him which are found only in those who are close to God and which cannot be acquired by any other means. We have given ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 12 The Review of Religions – February 2007 proof in this book of this spiritual effect, and if a seeker after truth should so desire we can satisfy him and furnish fresh proof. Internal and External Qualities of Surah Fatihah It should also be remembered that the matchlessness and peerlessness of the Holy Qur’an has not only arguments of reason to establish it, but is confirmed by experience over a long period. For 1,300 years the Holy Qur’an has been putting forward its qualities as a challenge to the whole world that in its external and internal qualities it is matchless and peerless and that no man can produce its equal, and yet no one has come forward to take up the challenge, not even with regard to one Surah, for instance the Surah Fatihah. Now what could be a clearer miracle than that not only this Holy Word is beyond the reach of human faculties on the basis of reason, but experience over a long period also testifies to its miraculous nature. If someone should be dissatisfied with both these types of testimony and should take pride in his knowledge and ability, or should believe that some other writer can compose something like the Holy Qur’an, we shall proceed, as we have promised, to set forth a sample of the verities and fine points comprehended in the Surah Fatihah. Such a person should put forth some composition of his own as a rival to the external and internal qualities of the Surah Fatihah. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp.394-403, footnote 11) Like the Holy Qur’an, the Surah Fatihah comprises two types of qualities which are matchless, one external and the other internal. As we have repeatedly set forth, its external quality is that its text is so colourful, bright, fine, delicate, eloquent, sweet and smooth, and its statements and sequence are so beautiful that it is not possible to set forth its meaning in an equal or more eloquent composition. If the writers and poets of the whole world should seek to expound its subject matter on ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 13The Review of Religions – February 2007 their own in another text, which should be equal to or better than the text of the Surah Fatihah, they would find it impossible to do so, as the Holy Qur’an has put forward its claim of match- lessness before the whole world over a period of 1,300 years without a response … The silence of its opponents over the centuries has furnished the Holy Qur’an with a degree of proof of matchlessness not possessed by the rose, for the thinkers and artisans of the world have never been invited to match anything else in this manner, nor have they been warned that in the case of their inability to do so they would be subjected to diverse types of ruin and destruction …. Now we repeat the inner qualities of the Surah Fatihah so that they are duly appreciated by those who reflect. Be it known, therefore, that as the All-Wise has placed diverse types of benefits for the human body in the rose, such as that it strengthens the heart and fac- ulties and souls, and is helpful in the case of several diseases, in the same way, God Almighty has placed in the Surah Fatihah, and indeed in the whole of the Holy Qur’an, healing for spiritual ills and a cure for inner diseases, not to be found anywhere else, inasmuch as it is filled with those verities which had disappeared from the world without leaving any trace …. It was in truth a rain of mercy which descended from heaven to save the lives of the extremely thirsty. The spiritual life of the world depends upon the descent from heaven of that life-giving water and not a drop of it is such that it is not a remedy for some ill. The condition of the world through centuries had proved that it could not remedy these diseases on its own, without the descent of this light, and could remove its darkness without a heavenly light which should illumine the world with its rays of truth, and should cause those to see who had never seen, and should cause those to understand who had never understood. This heavenly light not only presented such true insights as had ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 14 The Review of Religions – February 2007 disappeared from the world, but filled many minds with these jewels of truth and wisdom, and drew many hearts to its beau- teous countenance, and carried many to high stages of know- ledge and action through its powerful effect. Both these types of qualities which are found in the Surah Fatihah and in the Holy Qur’an are such bright arguments for proving the matchlessness of the Word of God, as the qualities of the rose are admitted by everybody to be beyond human power. Indeed the truth is that as these qualities of the Holy Qur’an are obviously extraordinary and beyond the reach of human power, such qualities are not to be found in the rose. The greatness and glory and matchlessness of these qualities is fully appreciated when they are considered together collec- tively. First, it should be considered that the text should be so eloquent, sweet, pure, attractive and colourful that if any human being should desire to compose such a text, which should be comprehensive of all the meanings to be found in this eloquent text, he would find it impossible to do so. Secondly, it should be considered that the subject matter of this text should be comprehensive of such verities and fine points which should be of a very high order and no phrase or word or letter should lack wisdom. Thirdly, it should be considered that those verities should be such as are sorely needed by this age. Fourthly, it should be considered that those verities should be so matchless that no thinker or philosopher should have discovered them by his own observation or reflection. Fifthly, it should be considered that those verities should have appeared as a fresh bounty and that before their appearance the people of that age should have been wholly unaware of them. Sixthly it should be considered that the text should possess a heavenly blessing in that, by following it, a seeker after truth should be able to establish a true relationship with God Almighty, and a true affection for Him; and that such ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 15The Review of Religions – February 2007 lights should begin to shine in him as ought to shine in men of God. When they are considered collectively, sane reason unhesitatingly confirms that it is impossible and beyond the power of a human being to produce a text which should comprise all these perfect qualities. One is filled with awe by the contemplation at one time of all these overt and covert excellences, and a wise person is assured that it is beyond human reason and imagination to produce such a combination. A rose does not inspire such awe. The Holy Qur’an possesses this speciality that its qualities that have been mentioned as proof of its matchlessness are self- obvious. When an opponent finds that not one letter of it is out of place and not in accord with wisdom and appropri- ateness, and that not a single phrase of it is such as is not sorely needed for the reform of the age together with such perfection of eloquence that it is not possible to replace one line of its text with another, his heart is overcome by a great awe. An ignorant person who has never considered these matters might perhaps ask what is the proof that all these qualities are to be found in the Surah Fatihah, and indeed in the whole of the Holy Qur’an. The proof is that those who considered the matchless excellences of the Holy Qur’an and found its text possessing such eloquence that they failed utterly to produce its like, and found its verities and fine points of such high degree that they did not find their match in the whole world, and observed such wonderful effects in it as are not to be found in human words, and observed this holy quality in it that it was not revealed without purpose, but descended at a time of true need, they at once admitted its matchless greatness. Those who on account of their eternal misfortune were deprived of the bounty of faith were yet so overawed by this matchless composition that in their confusion they announced that it was plain magic. A just person ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 16 The Review of Religions – February 2007 finds it a strong argument in support of the matchlessness of the Holy Qur’an and a bright proof, that despite the fact that for 1,300 years the Holy Qur’an has incited its opponents to produce its match and called those who failed to do so, and yet continued in their opposition, wicked, contaminated, cursed and condemned to hell; yet the opponents chose all the humiliation and dishonour and disgrace for themselves and submitted to being called false, contemptible, shameless, wicked, mischievous, faithless and condemned to hell, but could not produce even a short Surah for comparison with the Holy Qur’an. Nor were they able to find fault with the merits, qualities, greatnesses and verities which the Word of God presents. They were under challenge, and still are, that if they do not wish to give up their disbelief and lack of faith, they should produce the like of one Surah of the Holy Qur’an and should confront us with a text which comprises all those external and internal qualities which are to be found in the briefest Surah of the Holy Qur’an. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 403-410, footnote 11) To bring our argument to its completion, we will set forth some fine points and verities of Surah Al-Fatihah. First we will write Surah Al-Fatihah and then write about its profound verities. The Surah Fatihah runs as follows: In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, the Gracious, the Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgement. Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help. Guide us in the right path – the path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, those who have not incurred displeasure, and those who have not gone astray. (Ch.1:Vs.1-7) Given below are a few points of wisdom and verities in the ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH 17The Review of Religions – February 2007 commentary of this Surah by way of illustration. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful… (Ch.1:V.1) is the first verse of this Surah and of all other Surahs of the Holy Qur’an and also occurs in the Holy Qur’an at another place. It is repeated in the Holy Qur’an more often than any other verse. It has become a practice among the Muslims that at the beginning of every action in which good and blessing is sought, this verse is recited as a sign of blessing and as a supplication for help. Thus it has become well known among enemies and friends and among old and young, so much so that even if a person is entirely unaware of all other verses of the Qur’an, there is a strong hope that he would not be unaware of this verse. Of the perfect verities that this verse comprises, one is that the purpose of this verse is to teach the humble and unaware servants of God that there are many attributes of the Great name of God which is Allah, and which in the Divine idiom of the Qur’an is comprehensive of all perfect qualities, and is free from all defects, and is used for the True God, One without associate, and is the fountainhead of all grace, and that two of those attributes which are set out in the verse Bismillah, namely Rahmaniyyat and Rahimiyyat, demand the revelation of the Word of God and the spread of its lights and blessings. (to be continued) ESSENCE OF ISLAM – MATCHLESSNESS OF THE HOLY QUR’AN ILLUSTRATED WITH SURAH FATIHAH
Dedication of one of the companions of the Promised Messiah (as) to the service of Ahmadiyyat and to spreading the message of Islam in India, UK and USA: an inspiring example of committment to faith over worldly matters.