By Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi
Translated by Shaykh Ibrahim Amin al-Kuwaiti
Since the issue of rhetorical grandeur in the Qur’an has in recent times captivated the intrigue of many a critic, it seems appropriate to elaborate on the actual import of Qur’anic eloquence here. Imam Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) writes on this point in Barahin Qasimiyyah: “Balaghah (eloquence) is different from fasahah (articulacy). The former constitutes excellence in congruity and the latter excellence in itself. To elaborate, words are but garments for the meanings they contain, and garments differ in that sometimes they suit the wearer and sometimes they do not. Some of them are made from fine fabric and others from inferior material. Some garments are lavishly decorated and embroidered while others are lacking in such supplementary embellishments.
In the above analogy, appropriateness of words with their underlying meanings is what is meant by excellence in congruity, the refined choice of words used in articulacy by excellence in itself and the embroidery and embellishment that is additionally applied on the garment for decorative purposes should be classified as badi’ (innovativeness).
Al-Baydawi’s interpretation of Alif Lam Mim Using the Rules of Tajweed
By Maulana Dr M Mansur Ali | September 10, 2011 2:00am
The Qur’an, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy, invigorated the barren hearts of camel shepherds and transformed them in to guiding stars for humanity. That eternal and unimpeachable writ, which laid the foundation of a civilization that carried the knowledge of late antiquity in its bosoms and brought Europe out of its darkest hours. It had occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, jurists and politicians of yesteryears. It had informed poetry, grammar, arts, aesthetics and belles-lettre. Umar II’s politics, Al-Rumi’s gazals, Al-Razi’s logic, Al-Ghazali’s ethics, al-Hariri’s prose, al-Attar’s poetry and Ibn Al-Arabi’s metaphysics all find their origins in this heavenly mandate. It had inspired the Sufi’s chanting of the souls, the music of the dervish’s reed, the literalism of the Salafi and the speculation of the rationalist. And yet its ultimate reality lies with Allah blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power.
Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a literary miracle. An entire body of literature called ‘ijaz al-Qur’an had been developed to understand this miraculous aspect of the Qur’an. It uses eloquent Arabic language of the highest standard as well as a plethora of literary devices, the hallmark of any magnum opus. At times it employs short and fast paced verses resembling the beatings of the heart, whilst other times slow, meticulous and clear instructive verses are used to lay down points of law. Clear, unambiguous words, similes, alliterations, onomatopoeias, hyperboles, rhetorical questions, imageries, allegories, metaphors, aphorisms, euphemisms and ironies are its common features. Continue reading