Meri Soch aur Meri Awaz

The treasure of a fool is in his tongue, so think before you speak

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Divine Challenge For Those Who Doubt the Revelation

In the name of the Merciful, the Beneficent "If you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce one Surah comparable to it and call upon all your witnesses, other than God, if you were truthful. But if you fail, as you will certainly do, then guard yourselves against the fire, fuelled by men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers." [The Cow — "Al-Baqarah" 2: 23-24]
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb — Translated & Edited by Adil Salahi & Ashur Shamis

The Jews of Madinah doubted the truth of Prophet Muhammad’s message, why the hypocrites, like the polytheist Arabs of Makkah, were skeptical and called it into question. Therefore, we find the Qur’an challenging them all, as indeed it challenges mankind in general, into a direct confrontation. It says: "If you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce one Surah comparable to it and call upon all your witnesses, other than God, if you were truthful." [2: 23]The challenge starts off with emphasizing an important fact by identifying Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as the "servant" of God. This description is significant in a number of ways. It is, first, an honor to the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself and an indication that to be a "servant" of God is the highest honor a human being can attain. Second, it affirms the essence of "servitude" to God and renounces all patterns that may be associated with Him. Mankind should also emulate the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who, though highly honored by receiving Divine revelations, is nevertheless referred to simply as a "servant" of God.The challenge is also related to the opening of Surah Al-Baqarah, which points out that the Qur’an was composed of the very same letters the Arabs were familiar with in their language. If they were in any doubt as to its truth or veracity, they were free to produce anything, even one Surah, comparable to it, and they could call any witnesses they wished to testify in their favor; the Prophet’s claim had already been supported by God.This challenge remained valid throughout the Prophet’s life, and has done so ever since. The Qur’anic argument stands just as firmly today as it had through the centuries. The Qur’an remains today the unique work it was on the first day it was revealed, clearly distinguished from anything men can ever produce, in fulfillment of God’s words: "But if you fail, as you will certainly do, then guard yourselves against the fie, fuelled by men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers." [2: 24] It is a remarkable challenge indeed, but what is even more remarkable is the absolute certainly with which it is made. Were any of the unbelieving Arabs able to take up the challenger, they would not have hesitated for a moment. The Qur’anic assertion of the futility of their task, and the endurance of that assertion, are in themselves manifest and irrefutable proof it is superhuman nature.The opportunity remains wide open for anyone to pick up the gauntlet and confound the Qur’anic claims of divinity and superiority. But this has not happened and, according to the Qur’an, will never happen. That is the Qur'an’s final word for posterity.Anyone with the honest knowledge or appreciation of literature, philosophy, psychology, social science or any other science at all will not fail to recognize that whatever the Qur’an has to say in any of these fields is something unique, unlike anything human beings would say. Argument over this fact can only arise from blind ignorance or sheer prejudice.The stern warning to "guard yourselves against the fire, fuelled by men and stones" should, therefore, come as no surprise to those who may fail in their challenge to God but persist, nevertheless, with their rejection of the truth.Use of the word "stones" here is intriguing. It is derived from the fact that the unbelievers, for whom "God has sealed their hearts and ears" and whose "eyes are covered", who have failed to take up God’s challenge, and who have persisted in their rejection of His Message, are effectively stone-like themselves. Hence the connection between humans and stones in his verse. The expression amply conveys the horror of the awesome scene in which people and stones are consumed by fire.

3 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Blogger RaY-ZoR said...

Happy Independence Day!

 
At 1:50 AM, Blogger Unaiza Nasim said...

Hey! Nice eye opening post.

 
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