03 Nov Sūratu’l-An‘ām [Cattle]: (6:124).Part6
اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ
God knows best upon whom (and where, when and in what language) to place His Message.(Al-An‘ām 6:124)
3. Linguistic aspect of the Divine Message
Just like the verse,
“God knows best upon whom (and in what language) to place His Message,”
there exists many verses throughout the Qur’ān stating clearly that the Qur’ān was revealed in Arabic. This fact proves the exceptional position of the Arabic language, especially in that era. Arabic was living its golden age when the Qur’ān was revealed.
Actually, there is a golden age for every language. For instance, the Elizabethan era or the present age can be considered to be the golden age of English. They did not commit the error that we did in language by alienating ourselves against our past and narrowing down our vocabulary. English has remained open to borrowing words from other languages and interaction with various other cultures. The English people have always been respectful of the Elizabethan era.
Likewise, the era of Qur’anic revelation may be considered the golden age of the Arabic language, when its grammatical, semantic, lexical, and stylistic dimensions were established, and even the simplest expressions were almost wonders of art. The Qur’ān was revealed in the dialects of the Mudar Clan and the Quraysh Tribe. Yet, it was open to various other dialects as well.
A great number of people to date have worked on the literary aspect of the Qur’ān. Also, many great scholars have come out in this area. Abdu’l-Qāhir al-Jurjāni, as-Sakkāki, az-Zamakhshārī, Muhammad Sādiq ar-Rāfi‘ī, Sayyed Qutb, and Bediüzzaman Said Nursi—the author of Ishārātu’l I‘jāz (Signs of Miraculousness)—are only a few among those great scholars.
Since the time of its revelation, the Qur’ān has always challenged its opponents with its eloquence and miraculousness.
Many litterateurs and people of eloquence have tried to imitate the Qur’ān, yet all of them have been bitterly frustrated. On the other hand, many friends of the Qur’ān have beautified their words, poems, and articles with its verses, yet those people have never achieved the exact beauty of the Qur’ān. Recited today by hundreds of millions, the Qur’ān smiles at us from the highest point of the heaven of Revelation like a most shiny star and tells us the inimitability of its way of expression.
A lot of poets and litterateurs during the years of its Revelation were enchanted by the words of the Qur’ān and submitted to it by listening to it only once. Many others such as Walid ibn Mughīrah, Utba ibn Walid, and Abū Jahl were charmed by it despite their severe antagonism, and they could not attempt to compete with even one of its verses.
‘Umar, who once said,
“I can read a thousand couplets from memory from the literary legacy of the (pre-Islamic) Age of Ignorance without stopping,”
was fascinated by the Qur’ān when he heard Sūrah Tā-Hā recited in his sister’s house when he was on his way to kill the Prophet, and he went to the Prophet ready to believe. According to the reports, everyone in Makkah was so familiar with poetry that if one stopped any person on a street and asked them, they could recite poems from memory for hours.
While the Qur’ān was being sent down as the Book of a new Religion, it was being revealed in such an immensely rich language with literary beauty and profundity. It had such a literary style and layers of meaning that it satisfied everyone with all levels of knowledge and understanding from an ordinary desert person to the experts of literature and sciences. Together with a desert person pasturing their camels, the most outstanding people of literature and sciences used to recite the Qur’ān with an indescribable enthusiasm and pleasure.
As it is stated in the verse under discussion, it is absolutely true that God is He Who knows best upon whom and in what language to place His Message.
The Qur’ān was revealed in such a language and literary style that if a jurist refers to it, they suffer no troubles in achieving their goal. Likewise, an administrator, a theologian, or a commentator can easily find the fine points of their own specialized area in the Qur’ān and are enlightened.
This is so despite the fact that each science—whether it is law or literature or theology or physics or the Qur’anic commentary and exegesis—has its own language. The Qur’ān considers all of these at the same time without injuring even their finest points, principles, and rules. Here we find the history of Islam, Islamic jurisprudence, schools of law, schools of literature, schools of thought, schools of the Qur’anic commentary and exegesis, and schools of other sciences, which have brought up thousands of specialists and experts. All of these schools have had their sources in the Qur’ān and have produced plenty of works because of it.
Indeed, God, the Almighty, is He Who
“knows best upon whom, where, and in what language, to place His Message.”
Actually it is most fitting here to say,
“God is the only One Who knows upon whom, where, and in what language, to place His Message.”
Besides Him nobody has the right to decide on this matter. It is, as the verse continues, abasement in this world and a severe punishment in the Hereafter that await those who want to interfere in God’s choice.