Arabic Literature

Table of contents

Ibn Tufail (Abubacer) and Ibn al-Nafis were pioneers of the philosophical novel. Ibn Tufail wrote the first fictional Arabic novel Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (Philosophus Autodidactus) as a response to al-Ghazali’s The Incoherence of the Philosophers, and then Ibn al-Nafis also wrote a novel Theologus Autodidactus as a response to Ibn Tufail’s Philosophus Autodidactus.

Both of these narratives had protagonists(Hayy in Philosophus Autodidactus and Kamil in Theologus Autodidactus) who were autodidactic feral children living in seclusion on adesert island, both being the earliest examples of a desert island story. However, while Hayy lives alone with animals on the desert island for the rest of the story in Philosophus Autodidactus, the story of Kamil extends beyond the desert island setting in Theologus Autodidactus, developing into the earliest known coming of age plot and eventually becoming the first example of a science fictionnovel. Theologus Autodidactus, written by the Arabian polymath Ibn al-Nafis (1213–1288), is the first example of a science fiction novel. It deals with various science fiction elements such as spontaneous generation, futurology, the end of the world and doomsday,resurrection, and the afterlife. Rather than giving supernatural or mythological explanations for these events, Ibn al-Nafis attempted to explain these plot elements using the scientific knowledge of biology, astronomy, cosmology and geology known in his time.

His main purpose behind this science fiction work was to explain Islamic religious teachings in terms of science and philosophy through the use of fiction.  A Latin translation of Ibn Tufail’s work, Philosophus Autodidactus, first appeared in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke the Younger, followed by an English translation by Simon Ockley in 1708, as well as German and Dutch translations. These translations later inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe, regarded as the first novel in English. Philosophus Autodidactus also inspired Robert Boyle to write his own philosophical novel set on an island, The Aspiring Naturalist.  The story also anticipatedRousseau’s Emile: or, On Education in some ways, and is also similar to Mowgli’s story in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book as well as Tarzan’s story, in that a baby is abandoned but taken care of and fed by a mother wolf. [citation needed] Among other innovations in Arabic literature was Ibn Khaldun’s perspective on chronicling past events—by fully rejecting supernatural explanations, Khaldun essentially invented the scientific or sociological approach to history. citation needed] Islam [100 A. D. to 1500]

God’s revelations were first received around 610 by the prophet Muhammad, whose followers later collected them into the Koran, which became the basis for a new religion and community known today as Islam.
Though most of the pre-Islamic literature of Arabia was written in verse, prose became a popular vehicle for the dissemination of religious learning.
As its title “the Recitation” suggests, the Koran was made to be heard and recited; because it is literally the word of God, Muslims do not accept the Koran in translation from Arabic.
Although Persian literature borrowed from Arabic literary styles, it also created and enhanced new poetic styles, including the ruba’i (quatrain), ghazal (erotic lyric), and masnavi (narrative poem).
More widely known than any other work in Arabic, the Thousand and One Nights is generally excluded from the canon of classical Arabic literature due to its extravagant and improbable fabrications in prose, a form that was expected to be more serious and substantial than verse.

Thousand and One Nights Myths and Legends of the World

Thousand and One Nights, also called The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment or simply The Arabian Nights, is a sprawling, centuries-old collection of tales. In the English-speaking world, it is the best-known work of Arabic stories. The framework of the collection is that a king named Shahriyar, distrustful of women, had the habit of taking a new wife every night and killing her the next day. A resourceful young woman named Shahrazad had a plan to end the deadly tradition. After marrying the king, she told him a story on their wedding night with the promise to finish it the next day. He let her live, and she repeated the trick.

So captivating were her stories that Shahriyar spared her life again and again in order to hear the rest of the narrative. The origins of Thousand and One Nights are unknown. The oldest bit of Arabic text dates from the 800s; the first lengthy text was written in the 1400s. None of the early Arabic-language texts contains exactly the same stories. Scholars have identified Persian, Baghdadian, and Egyptian elements in the work, which seems to have developed over the years as an ever-changing collection of fairy tales, romances, fables, poems, legends about heroes, and humorous stories.

The stories that are best known in the English-speaking world—those of Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves—do not appear in all editions of Thousand and One Nights.

Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights, series of anonymous stories in Arabic, considered as an entity to be among the classics of world literature. The cohesive plot device concerns the efforts of Scheherezade, or Sheherazade, to keep her husband, King Shahryar (or Schriyar), from killing her by entertaining him with a tale a night for 1,001 nights.

The best known of these stories are those of Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor, and Aladdin. Although many of the stories are set in India, their origins are unknown and have been the subject of intensive scholarly investigation. The corpus began to be collected about the year 1000. At first the title was merely indicative of a large number of stories; later editors dutifully provided editions with the requisite 1,001 tales. The present form of Thousand and One Nights is thought to be native to Persia or one of the Arabic-speaking countries, but includes stories from a number of different countries and no doubt reflects diverse source material.

The first European edition was a free translation by Abbe Antoine Galland into French (1704–17). Most subsequent French, German, and English versions lean heavily upon Galland. Among the English translations include the expurgated edition of E. W. Lane (1840), with excellent and copious notes; the unexpurgated edition by Sir Richard Burton in 16 volumes (1885–88); that of John Payne in 9 volumes (1882–84); Powys Mathers’s translation from the French text of J. C. Mardrus (rev. ed. , 4 vol. , 1937); and that of Husain Haddawy (2 vol. , 1990, 1995).

Note: This file is also available as a Word document. Acknowledgements: Al-Muntazir Madrasah, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Importance of the Holy Qur’aan

The first lesson to be learned by all students is about the importance of the Holy Qur’aan. The Qur’aan is the Book of Allah subhaanahu wa ta‘aalaa. Every word in the Qur’aan has come from Allah. That is why we say that it is a Holy Book. The words in the Qur’aan were sent by Allah to Prophet Muhammad sallal-laahu ‘alayhi wa-aalihi wa sallam. The Prophet (s) received the words of Allah through angel Jibra’eel.

This Qur’aan is a Holy Book that was not written by anyone but sent by Allah to Prophet Muhammad (s) through Jibra’eel.

It is the most truthful speech: Prophet Muhammad (s) regularly read the words of Allah to Muslims around him. These Muslims were very pleased and excited to receive the words of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: The most truthful speech, the most eloquent advice, and the greatest stories are in the Book of Allah. The Muslims listened carefully to what the Prophet read, memorized the sentences and passages of the Qur’aan, recited them regularly and followed the teachings of the Qur’aan. In order to preserve the words of Allah the Prophet appointed special people known as “Scribes of the Qur’aan” to write down the words of Allah.

 It is in original language: Prophet Muhammad (s) was an Arab and the majority of people in Mecca and Medina spoke Arabic. Therefore the Qur’aan was sent in Arabic. Arabic is written from right to left. It is better to learn to read the Qur’aan in its original language. Therefore, we will put efforts to learn Qur’aan written in Arabic instead of simply reading its translation in other languages.

The Holy Qur’aan contains Allah’s message to all people. It tells people how to act correctly. It guides us to a correct way of life in this world. The Book of Allah also talks about life after death. It tells us that Allah has prepared Paradise for good people and Hell for bad people. The Qur’aan encourages the worship of only one God Who creates and provides for them. The Book forbids people from evil and condemns those who do wrong. It contains stories of the past Prophets and the examples of bad and good people. People are advised in the Qur’aan to be good to others and respect them. It teaches people to live in peace and harmony.

Qur’aan brings happiness in this world and the Hereafter. Following the Qur’aan brings happiness in this world and the world after death. The Prophet (s) said:If you desire the life of the fortunate, the death of a martyr, the salvation on the Day of Regret and the shade on the Day of Extreme Heat, then you should study the Qur’aan because it is the word of the Merciful, a sanctuary from Shaytaan and a causes the tilting of the Balance. In another Hadith we read that the Prophet (s) has said: The recitor of the Qur’an will be spared from the calamities of the Hereafter.

It is the only Divine book that has remained unchanged. Allah sent the Qur’aan to His Prophet. A book sent by Allah to people is known as a Divine Book or a Heavenly Book. Other Divine Books were also sent to previous prophets. These are: Suhoof to Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhis salaam; Zaboor to Prophet Dawood ‘alayhis salaam; Tawraah to Prophet Moosaa ‘alayhis salaam; and Injeel to Prophet ‘Eisaa ‘alayhis salaam. The difference between the Qur’aan and past revealed books is that the Qur’aan is the only Divine Book that has remained unaltered. The Qur’aan we have with us contains exactly the same message that was sent to Prophet Muhammad by Allah through Jibra’eel.

Our supplications get answered if we were to pray after reading the Holy Qur’aan. The Prophet (s) said: One who starts the Qur’an and finishes it, Allah will grant him one answered supplication. It also helps in strengthening our faith. Imam Ali (a) said:  Reciting the Qur’an plants the eed of faith.

The Qur’aan is the best companion. It can be of great help when a child or adult is feeling lonely. Imam Ali Zaynul ‘Aabideen (a) said: If all who live between the East and West perish, I will have no fear as long as I have the Qur’an with me.

Students get wise when they start reading the Qur’aan in their childhood. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: Whoever reads the Qur’an before becoming Baaligh, has indeed been given wisdom as a child. The Holy Book is the best intellectual treasure a student can have.

Prophet Muhammad (s) said: The Qur’an is a wealth with which there is no poverty, and without which there is no wealth. On the other hand not caring to read and study the Qur’aan is a great loss. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: Surely the person in whose heart lacks the trace of the Qur’an is like a ruined house.

Muslims read the Qur’aan to understand the true teachings of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (s) left the Holy Book and the Ahlul Bayt (a) as the most important legacy for Muslims after him. He said: I leave tow weighty things among you: The Book of Allah and my family – the Ahlul Bayt. Indeed these two will never separate until they reach me near the pool of Kawthar.

All Muslims recite some Soorahs in their prayers. However, it is good to memorize more Soorahs and read them in Salaat. Imam Muhammad Al-Baaqir (a) said: Whoever recites the Qur’aan while standing in his prayer, Allah will bestow on him a hundred blessings for every letter; and whoever recites it while sitting in his prayer, Allah will reward him fifty blessings for every letter; and whoever recites it outside of his prayer, Allah will grant him ten blessings for every letter. 1. The Qur’aan is a cure to mental and spiritual diseases: Imam Hasan al-‘Askaree (a) said: The Messenger of Allah (s) said: I advice you to the Qur’aan since it is the beneficial cure, the blessed medicine, the protection (‘Isma) for he who holds fast to it, and the salvation for he who follows it. Neither does it cause crookedness so that it departs (from the truth) nor does it deviate so that it causes trouble. Its marvels do not come to end and the vastness of refutations does not wear it.

Respect and Rnights of the Holy Qur’aan

Now that we know that the Holy Qur’aan is not an ordinary book, but a Divine Book sent by Allah for the guidance of all people, we must show respect to it. Here are some of the points we need to remember.

A part of the Qur’aan carries the same respect as the entire Qur’aan. Allah says: When the Qur’aan is recited, listen to it (7:204). We know that when recitation takes place it is always of a part of the Qur’aan. Even then Allah uses the word Qur’aan for the part that is being recited. Therefore, if you have a Siparah, a binder or a booklet that contains Soorahs and passages from the Qur’aan, you treat it like a Qur’aan.

The Qur’aan should always be carried with proper care. When your Madrasah bag contains the Qur’aan, or a part of it, take extra care of the bag. Keep the bag slowly on the desk or floor instead of letting it fall on its own. Use both hands to remove the Qur’aan from your bag, kiss the cover of the Qur’aan, place it slowly on a desk (or on a wooden carrier specially built for holding the Qur’aan) and open the pages gently.

When the Qur’aan is being recited, listen to it and be attentive (7:204). If you are busy with something else then at least do not disturb the recitation by talking, for example, or making noise. There is reward for listening to the Qur’aan. Imam Ali Zaynul ‘Aabideen (a) said: Whoever listens to a letter of the book of Allah, the Glorious and Almighty, without even reading it, Allah will write down for him one good deed, forgive a sin, and raise him a degree. It was the practice of unbelievers in Mecca to make a lot of noise so that others could not listen to the Qur’aan (41:26). Do not be like them and instead lend your ears to the Qur’aan and give it respect. We often wish that God would talk to us. One way to achieve this is by reading the Qur’aan. Prophet Muhammad (s): said: Lo!

Whoever has longing for Allah should listen to the word of Allah! Also, if you wish to talk to God then do Tilaawa. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: Whenever one of you would like to talk to his Lord, he should read the Qur’an.

 The Qur’aan should be recited regularly. It is disrespect to keep the Holy Qur’aan unread. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: Brighten your homes with reciting Qur’aan; do not turn them into graves. Surely the house in which a lot of recitation takes place enjoys many blessings and the members benefit from it. Such a household shines for the inhabitants of Heaven as stars shine to the inhabitants of the earth.

On the Day of Judgment the Prophet will complain to Allah about some Muslims who had abandoned the Qur’aan (25:30). Another Hadith of the Prophet (s) says: Indeed hearts rust in the same way irons rust. He was asked: “What will polish the hearts? ” The Prophet answered: Reading the Qur’an. The more Qur’aan we read the better it is. We should discipline ourselves to read a good portion of Qur’aan daily. Imam Ali (a) said: He who recites 100 verses daily from the Book in the order it is in, Allah writes for him the reward equal to all the good actions of every one on this earth.

Shaytaan would like us not to read, understand and study the Qur’aan. Let us fight him with all our strength and faith. Imam Ja‘far As-Saadiq (a) said:  There is nothing more unpleasant to Shaytaan than to see a man reading the Qur’an to gain insight.

Children should get familiarized with the Qur’aan early in their lives. Imam as-Saadiq (AS) said: He who recites Qur’aan while he is young, Qur’aan mixes with his flesh and his blood, and Allah places him amongst the blessed and the chosen righteous. On the Day of Judgment, Qur’aan shall become his defender and [pray for him a handsome reward.

It is the right and respect of the Qur’aan that it should be followed. Imam Ja‘far Saadiq (a) said:  Lo! One, who learns the Qur’aan, teaches it and practices according to it, I will guide and lead him to Paradise.

It is also the right and respect of the Qur’aan that those who have the knowledge of the Qur’aan should teach it to others. This is among the noblest acts. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: The best of you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it. 8. Take the interpretations of the Qur’aan from the Holy Prophet (s) and the Imams from his family, i. e. the Ahlul Bayt (a).

Imam Hasan al-‘Askaree quoting Prophet Muhammad said: Recite it (i. e. the Qur’aan) as Allah gives you ten rewards for each letter that you recite from it. Then the Imam (a) said: Do you know who really holds fast to it and reaches to such honor and reward? He is the person who takes Qur’aan and its interpretation from us Ahlul-Bayt (a) or from the deputies that we send to our followers, and takes its (interpretation) neither from the opinions of those who argue (on the speech of Allah) nor form the analogy of those who compare (different parts of the speech of Allah).

Once you have completed reading your lesson or referring to the Qur’aan then close it gently instead of leaving it open.
Do not put another book or any weight above the Qur’aan. The Holy Book should always be kept on the top in a pile of books.
It is Haraam (forbidden) to make Najaasaat (impure things like blood and urine) touch the Qur’aan. In the event where the Qur’aan becomes Najis, for instance if it falls in Najis water, it is Waajib (obligatory) to purify it (make it Taahir).
Old and worn out copies of the Qur’aan should be disposed in safe places.

This includes sending them for recycling, burying them in the earth or casting in rivers.

Manners of Reciting the Holy Qur’aan

By now we know that the Qur’aan is a special book and deserves respect. Now let us look at some of the manners of reciting the Qur’aan. It is the right of the Tilaawa (recitation of the Qur’aan) that we follow the rules when reciting the Qur’aan.

Perform Wudhoo before you prepare to read the Qur’aan. Allah says: None can touch it (the Qur’aan) save the purified ones (56:79). Once Imam Ja‘far As-Saadiq (a) asked his son Ismaa‘eel to read the Qur’aan. The latter said that he was not in Wudhoo. The Imam said in that case he could recite it but should not touch the writings of the Qur’aan. Therefore, it is advisable to use a stick or pen to point to the words or sentences of the Qur’aan you are reading if you are not in Wudhoo.
Read Du‘aa before Tilaawa. Reading of the Du‘aa helps to keep our focus and reminds us of what we need to take from the Holy Book. Ma‘soomeen (a) have recommended a number of Du‘aas. The Du‘aa taught by Imam Ja‘far As-Saadiq (a) appears in this booklet with Qur’aan lessons.
Always say A‘oodhubillaahi minash shaytaanir rajeem  when you begin reading the Qur’aan. It means: I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed Shaytaan. This is what Allah instructs us to do in Aayah 16:98.
Next say Bismillaahir rahmaanir raheem The meaning of this phrase is: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Whenever Imam Moosaa Al-Kaazim (a) wished to make a point to Haroon Rasheed using Aayaat from the Qur’aan, the Imam would begin with A‘oodhubillaah . . . followed by Bismillaah . . .
Sit facing Qiblaah when reciting the Qur’aan. Please note that this is the best direction to face. However where it may be difficult or impossible to face Qiblaah when reading the Qur’aan (for example if your desk is facing another direction) then it is all right not to face the Qiblaah.
Recite the Qur’aan with Tarteel as instructed by Allah in Aayah 73:4. This means that we should recite the Qur’aan in a good voice with rhythm instead of plain reading.
Recite the Qur’aan slowly Allah said to the Prophet do not move your tongue with it (Qur’aan) to make haste therein (75:16). The aayaat of the Qur’aan should be recited in slow tones with each word being pronounced clearly. The Prophet (s) advised Muslims not be concerned about finishing a Soorah when reciting the Qur’aan.
Be Humble when reciting the Qur’aan. The Prophet (s) says that the best recitor is he who is humble when reciting the Qur’aan and realizes his own insignificance. Some people exhibit their insignificance and the awe of talking to Allah through weeping. This is a good sign. Prophet Muhammad (s) said:Eyes that weep when reciting the Qur’an will be shining with delight on the Day of Resurrection.
Try to understand the recitation. Holy Qur’aan is a book of Guidance (2:2). It is necessary for us to understand the message Allah sent all people through Prophet Muhammad (s).
Read from the Qur’aan by looking at the writings instead of reciting from your memory. In a Hadith from one of our Imams it is said that mere looking at the writings of the Qur’aan carries reward.
Interact with the Qur’aan. Imam Ja‘far As-Saadiq (a) says that it is important to react to the aayaat of the Qur’aan when reciting it. When we come across aayaat on Paradise, Mercy and Grace of Allah, Good Outcome in the hereafter, we should hope for these in our hearts. On the other hand if we are reading aayaat that warn us about the punishment, fire, Hell, etc. we should pray to be saved from these.
Open your heart and mind to the Qur’aan and ponder over what you read. Allah often invites us to think and ponder over the contents of the Qur’aan. In 47:24 Allah says: Do they not then think deeply in the Qur’aan, or are their hearts locked up?
Perform Sajdah where required to do so In the entire Qur’aan there are 15 places where performing of Sajdah is required. At 4 places it is Waajib (obligatory) to do Sajdah if we were to read or listen to these sections of the Qur’aan. For the rest of the places it is Mustahab (recommended) to do Sajdah.
Say Sadqallaahul ‘Aliyyul ‘Azeem  every time you end a recitation of the Qur’aan. The meaning of this phrase is: Allah, the Sublime, the Great, is truthful in what He has said
Read one of the Du‘aas after Tilaawa. The Ma‘soomeen have taught a number of Du‘aas, from these two have been included with Qur’aan lessons. In these Du‘aas, amongst other things, we pray to the Almighty to enlighten us through the Qur’aan and make us follow the teachings of the Qur’aan.

The Holy Quran

Islam appeared in the form of a book: the Quran.Muslims, consider the Quran (sometimes spelled “Koran”) to be the Word of God as transmitted by the Angel Gabriel, in the Arabic language, through the Prophet Muhammad. The Muslim view, moreover, is that the Quran supersedes earlier revelations; it is regarded as their summation and completion. It is the final revelation, as Muhammad is regarded as the final prophet – ‘the Seal of the Prophets. ” In a very real sense the Quran is the mentor of millions of Muslims, Arab and non-Arab alike; it shapes their everyday life, anchors them to a unique system of law, and inspires them by its guiding principles.

Written in noble language, this Holy Text has done more than move multitudes to tears and ecstasy; it has also, for almost fourteen hundred years, illuminated the lives of Muslims with its eloquent message of uncompromising monotheism, human dignity, righteous living, individual responsibility, and social justice. For countless millions, consequently, it has been the single most important force in guiding their religious, social, and cultural lives. Indeed, the Quran is the cornerstone on which the edifice of Islamic civilization has been built.

The text of the Quran was delivered orally by the Prophet Muhammad to his followers as it was revealed to him. The first verses were revealed to him in or about 610, and the last revelation dates from the last year of his life, 632. His followers at first committed the Quran to memory and then, as instructed by him, to writing. Although the entire contents of the Quran, the placement of its verses, and the arrangement of its chapters date back to the Prophet, as long as he lived he continued to receive revelations.

Consequently, the Holy Text could only be collected as a single corpus – “between the two covers” – after the death of Muhammad. This is exactly what happened. After the battle of al-Yamamah in 633, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, later to become the second caliph, suggested to Abu Bakr, the first caliph, that because of the grievous loss of life in that battle, there was a very real danger of losing the Quran, enshrined as it was in the memories of the faithful and in uncollated fragments.

Abu Bakr recognized the danger and entrusted the task of gathering the revelations to Zayd ibn Thabit, who as the chief scribe of the Prophet was the person to whom Muhammad frequently dictated the revelations in his lifetime. With great difficulty, the task was carried out and the first complete manuscript compiled from “bits of parchment, thin white stones – ostracae – leafless palm branches, and the memories of men. Later, during the time of ‘Uthman, the third caliph, a final, authorized text was prepared and completed in 651, and this has remained the text in use ever since. The contents of the Quran differ in substance and arrangement from the Old and New Testaments. Instead of presenting a straight historical narrative, as do the Gospels and the historical books of the Old Testament, the Quran treats, in allusive style, spiritual and practical as well as historical matters.

The Quran is divided into 114 surahs, or chapters, and the surahs are conventionally assigned to two broad categories: those revealed at Mecca and those revealed at Medina. The surahs revealed at Mecca – at the beginning of Muhammad’s mission – tend to be short and to stress, in highly moving language, the eternal themes of the unity of God, the necessity of faith, the punishment of those who stray from the right path, and the Last Judgment, when all man’s actions and beliefs will be judged.

The surahs revealed at Medina are longer, often deal in detail with specific legal, social, or political situations, and sometimes can only be properly understood with a full knowledge of the circumstances in which they were revealed All the surahs are divided into ayahs or verses and, for purposes of pedagogy and recitation, the Quran as a whole is divided into thirty parts, which in turn are divided into short divisions of nearly equal length, to facilitate study and memorization. The surahs hemselves are of varying length, ranging from the longest, Surah 2, with 282 verses, to the shortest, Surahs 103, 108, and 110, each of which has only three. With some exceptions the surahs are arranged in the Quran in descending order of length, with the longest at the beginning and the shortest at the end. The major exception to this arrangement is the opening surah, “al-Fatihah,” which contains seven verses and which serves as an introduction to the entire revelation: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds;

The Merciful, the Compassionate; Master of the Day of Judgment; Thee only do we worship, and Thee alone we ask for help. Guide us in the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favored; not the path of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. Non-Muslims are often struck by the range of styles found in the Quran. Passages of impassioned beauty are no less common than vigorous narratives. The sublime “Verse of the Throne” is perhaps one of the most famous: God – There is no god but He,  The Living. the Everlasting;

Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; To Him belongs all that is In the heavens and the earth; Who is there that can intercede with Him Save by His leave? He knows what lies before them And what is after them, Nor do they encompass anything of His knowledge Except such as He wills; His Throne extends over the heavens and earth; The preserving of them wearies Him not; He is the Most High, the All-Glorious. Muslims regard the Quran as untranslatable; the language in which it was revealed – Arabic – is inseparable from its message and Muslims everywhere, o matter what their native tongue, must learn Arabic to read the Sacred Book and to perform their worship. The Quran of course is available in many languages, but these versions are regarded as interpretations rather than translations – partly because the Arabic language, extraordinarily concise and allusive, is impossible to translate in a mechanical, word-for-word way. The inimitability of the Quran has crystallized in the Muslim view of i’jaz or “impossibility,” which holds that the style of the Quran, being divine, cannot be imitated: any attempt to do so is doomed to failure.

It must also be remembered that the Quran was originally transmitted orally to the faithful and that the Holy Text is not meant to be read only in silence. From the earliest days it has always been recited aloud or, more accurately, chanted. As a result, several traditional means of chanting, or intoning, the Quran were found side by side. These methods carefully preserved the elaborate science of reciting the Quran – with all its intonations and its cadence and punctuation.

As the exact pronunciation was important – and learning it took years – special schools were founded to be sure that no error would creep in as the traditional chanting methods were handed down. It is largely owing to the existence of these traditional methods of recitation that the text of the Quran was preserved without error. As the script in which the Quran was first written down indicated only the consonantal skeleton of the words, oral recitation was an essential element in the transmission of the text.

Because the circumstances of each revelation were thought necessary to correct interpretation, the community, early in the history of Islam, concluded that it was imperative to gather as many traditions as possible about the life and actions of the Prophet so that the Quran might be more fully understood. These traditions not only provided the historical context for many of the surahs – thus contributing to their more exact explication – but also contained a wide variety of subsidiary information on the practice, life, and legal rulings of the Prophet and his companions.

This material became the basis for what is called the sunnah, or “practice” of the Prophet – the deeds, utterances, and taqrir (unspoken approval) of Muhammad. Together with the Quran, the sunnah, as embodied in the canonical collections of traditions, the hadith, became the basis for the shari’ah, the sacred law of Islam. Unlike Western legal systems, the shari’ah makes no distinction between religious and civil matters; it is the codification of God’s Law, and it concerns itself with every aspect of social, political, economic, and religious life.

Islamic law is thus different from any other legal system; it differs from canon law in that it is not administered by a church hierarchy; in Islam there is nothing that corresponds to a “church” in the Christian sense. Instead, there is the ummah – the community of the believers – whose cohesion is guaranteed by the sacred law. Every action of the pious Muslim, therefore, is determined by the Quran, by precedents set by the Prophet, and by the practice of the early community of Islam as enshrined in the shari’ah.

No description, however, can fully capture the overwhelming importance of the Quran to Muslims. Objectively, it is the central fact of the Islamic faith, the Word of God, the final and complete revelation, the foundation and framework of Islamic law, and the source of Islamic thought, language, and action. It is the essence of Islam. Yet it is, in the deeply personal terms of a Muslim, something more as well. In innumerable, almost indescribable ways, it is also the central fact of Muslim life.

To a degree almost incomprehensible in the West it shapes and colors broadly, specifically, and totally the thoughts, emotions, and values of the devout Muslim’s life from birth to death.

Arabic Literature

The Quran, the primary document of the Islamic faith, is the first Arabic book. Its style, at once vigorous, allusive, and concise, deeply influenced later compositions in Arabic, as it continues to color the mode of expression of native speakers of Arabic, Christian as well as Muslim, both in writing and in conversation. The Quran also largely determined the course of Arabic literature.

The earliest Arabic prose came into being not from literary motives, but to serve religious and practical needs, above all the need to fully understand the Islamic revelation and the circumstances of the first Muslim community in the Hijaz. The sayings and actions of the Prophet and his Companions were collected and preserved, at first by memory and then by writing, to be finally collected and arranged by such men as al-Bukhari and Muslim in the ninth century. This material, the hadith, not only provided the basic texts from which Islamic law was elaborated, but also formed the raw material for historians of the early Muslim community.

Since each hadith, or “saying,” is a first-person narrative, usually by an eyewitness of the event described, they have an immediacy and freshness that has come down unimpaired through the centuries. The personalities of the narrators – Abu Bakr, Umar, Aishah, and a host of others are just as vivid as the events described, for the style of each hadith is very personal. The hadith also determined the characteristic form of such works as Ibn Ishaq’s Life of the Messenger of God, originally written in the middle of the eighth century.

In this book, hadith dealing with the life of the Prophet are arranged in chronological order, and the comments of the author are kept to a minimum. Events are seen through the eyes of the people who witnessed them; three or four versions of the same event are often given, and in each case the “chain of transmission” of the hadith is given, so that the reader may judge its authenticity. During Umayyad times, a number of historians wrote monographs on specific historical, legal, and religious questions, and in each case these authors seem to have adhered to the hadith method of composition.

Although few of the works of these writers have survived in their entirety, enough has been preserved by later incorporation in such vast works as the Annals of al-Tabari to give us an idea not only of their method of composition, but also of their wide-ranging interests. The practice of prefacing a chain of authorities to each hadith led to the compilation of vast biographical dictionaries, like the Book of Classes of the early ninth century author Ibn Said, which includes a biography of the Prophet and a great deal of information on notable personalities in Mecca and Medina during his lifetime.

Works such as this allowed readers to identify and judge the veracity of transmitters of hadith; later, the content of biographical dictionaries was broadened to include poets, writers, eminent reciters of the Quran, scientists, and the like. These biographical dictionaries are often lively reading, and are a mine of information about social and political circumstances in the Islamic world. The spread of Islam naturally found chroniclers, such as al-Waqidi, who wrote in the late eighth and early ninth centuries, and al-Baladhuri, who composed his well known Book of the Conquests in the ninth century.

These books, like the hadith, were written for practical motives. Al-Waqidi was interested in establishing the exact chronology of the spread of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and adjoining areas, while al-Baladhuri was interested in legal and tax problems connected with the settlement of new lands. Their books nevertheless are classics of their kind and, aside from containing much interesting information, they have passages of great descriptive power.

By the ninth century, the method of compiling history from hadith and carefully citing the authorities for each tradition – a process which had resulted in books of unwieldy length – was abandoned by some authors, like al-Dinawari and al-Ya’qubi, who omitted the chains of transmitters and combined hadith to produce a narrative. The result was greater readability and smaller compass, at the sacrifice of richness and complexity. The works of al-Dinawari and al-Ya’qubi, unlike those of their predecessors, aimed to entertain as well as instruct; they are “literary” productions.

This form of light history reached its apogee in the tenth century in al-Mas’udi’s brilliant and entertaining Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems, a comprehensive encyclopedia of history, geography, and literature. The literary productions of these men would not, however, have been possible without the careful collections of historical hadith made by their predecessors. Just as the writing of history began from practical rather than literary motives, so the collection and preservation of Arabic poetry was undertaken by scholars with, at first, little interest in its artistic merit.

The linguists and exegetes of Kufa and Basra began collecting this poetry in the eighth century because of the light it threw on unusual expressions and grammatical structures in the Quran and the hadith. Editions and commentaries were prepared of the poems of ‘Antarah, Imru al-Qays, and many others, and thus the works of the early poets were preserved for later generations. The Quran a part, poetry has always been considered the highest expression of literary art among the Arabs. Long before the coming of Islam, Bedouin poets had perfected the forms of panegyric, satire, and elegy.

Their poetry obeys strict conventions, both in form and content, which indicates that it must have had a long period of development before it was finally committed to writing by scholars. The principal form used by the desert poets was the qasidah or ode, a poem of variable length rhyming in the last syllable of each line. The qasidah begins with a description of the abandoned encampment of the poet’s beloved and goes on to an account of his anguish at her absence and his consuming love for her. The poet then describes an arduous journey across the desert nd ends the qasidah with an appeal to the generosity of his host. Although the subject matter is almost invariable, the language is very complex and of great precision. In the Hijaz during the first century of Islam, contemporary with the first hadith scholars, a group of poets broke with the past and introduced new forms and subjects. Men like ‘Umar ibn Abi Rabi’ah wrote realistic and urbane verse, and a school of poetry which expressed the themes of Platonic love grew up around the poet Jamil ibn Muiammar, better known as Jamil al-‘Udhri.

The lives and works of these poets of the Umayyad period are preserved in the entertaining tenth-century anthology by Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani, the Book of Songs. The Umayyad court in Damascus patronized poets and musicians. It was also the scene of the development of the type of Arabic literature called adab. Adab is usually translated as “belles-lettres,” which is slightly misleading. This literature, at least in its inception, was created to serve the practical end of educating the growing class of government ministers in the Arabic language, manners and deportment, history, and statecraft.

Works in Sanskrit, Pahlavi, Greek, and Syriac began to find their way into Arabic at this time. ‘Abd al-Hamid ibn Yahya al-Katib, an Umayyad official, and the creator of this genre, defined its aims as follows: “Cultivate the Arabic language so that you may speak correctly; develop a handsome script which will add luster to your writings; learn the poetry of the Arabs by heart; familiarize yourself with unusual ideas and expressions; read the history of the Arabs and the Persians, and remember their great deeds. ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Muqaffa’, a contemporary of ‘Abd al-Ham id ibn Yahya, translated the history of the ancient kings of Persia into Arabic, as well as Kalilah wa-Dimnah, an Indian book of advice for princes cast in the form of animal fables. His works are the earliest surviving examples of Arabic art prose and are still used as models in schools throughout the Middle East. By the ninth century, Arabic literature had entered its classical age. The various genres had been defined – adab, history, Quranic exegesis, geography, biography, poetry, satire, and many more.

Al-Jahiz was perhaps the greatest stylist of the age, and one of the most original personalities. He wrote more than two hundred books, on every conceivable subject; he was critical, rational, and always amusing. His Book of Animals is the earliest Arabic treatise on zoology and contains very modern-sounding discussions of such things as animal mimetism and biological adaptation. He wrote one of the earliest and best treatises on rhetoric and a large number of amusing essays.

By the time of his death at the age of ninety-six he had shown that Arabic prose was capable of handling any subject with ease. The most gifted of al-Jahiz’s contemporaries was probably Ibn Qutaybah, also a writer of encyclopedic learning and an excellent stylist. His Book of Knowledge, a history of the world beginning with the creation, is the earliest work of its kind and later had many imitators. The tenth century witnessed the creation of a new form in Arabic literature, the maqamat. This was the title of a work by al-Hamadhani, called Badi’ al-Zaman, “The Wonder of the Age. His Maqamat (“Sessions”) is a series of episodes written in rhymed prose concerning the life of Abu al-Fath al-Iskandari, a sort of confidence trickster, who takes on a different personality in each story and always succeeds in bilking his victims. These stories are witty and packed with action, and were immediately popular. Al-Hamadhani was imitated by al-Hariri a hundred years later. Al-Hariri was a linguistic virtuoso, and his Maqamat is filled with obscure words, alliteration, puns, and wild metaphors.

He too was extremely popular, and many learned commentaries were written on his Maqamat. This purely Arab form can most closely be compared with the Spanish picaresque novels, which it may have influenced. Rhymed prose, which had come to be used even in government documents, was employed by Abu al-‘Ala al-Ma’arri in his Message of Forgiveness, one of the best known of Arabic prose works. Al-Ma’arri lived in the eleventh century, leading an ascetic life in his native Syrian village. Blind from the age of four, he possessed a prodigious memory and great intellectual curiosity and skepticism.

The Message of Forgiveness is cast in the form of a journey to paradise; the narrator there interrogates the scholars and poets of the past regarding their lives and works, receiving surprising and often ironic responses. The book is an extended critique of literature and philology, and represents a high point of classical Arabic culture. One of the other great figures of late classical literature was the poet al-Mutanabbi, whose skill in handling the complex meters of Arabic poetry was probably unsurpassed.

His verbal brilliance has always been admired by Arab critics, although it is difficult for those whose native tongue is not Arabic to appreciate it fully. The period between the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258 and the nineteenth century is generally held to be a period of literary as well as political decline for the Arabs. It is true that during these five hundred years Arabic writers were more preoccupied with the preservation of their literary heritage than with the development of new forms and ideas.

This is the age of encyclopedias, commentaries, and lexicons. Faced with the massive destruction of books by the invasions of Genghis Khan and Hulagu and later of Tamerlane, scholars compiled digests and abridgments of works that had survived in order to ensure their continued existence. There were also some original works, however. Ibn Battutah, the greatest traveler of the Middle Ages, lived in the fourteenth century, and his Travel provide a fascinating picture of the Muslim world, from the islands of the Indian Ocean to Timbuktu.

Ibn Khaldun, like Ibn Battutah a native of North Africa, lived in the later fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. His Prolegomena is a work of brilliance and originality; the author analyzes human society in terms of general sociological laws and gives a lucid account of the factors that contribute to the rise and decline of civilizations. Ibn Khaldun’s style is innovative, simple, and very personal, and perfectly suited to the expression of his often difficult ideas.

This post classical period also saw the composition of popular romances, such as the Romance of ‘Antar, based on the life of the famous pre-Islamic poet; the Romance of the Bani Hilal, a cycle of stories and poems based on the migration of an Arabian tribe to North Africa in the eleventh century; and many more. These romances could be heard recited in coffee shops from Aleppoto Marrakesh until very recently. The most famous popular work of all, The Thousand and One Nights, assumed its present form during the fifteenth century.

A revival of Arabic literature began in the nineteenth century, and coincided with the first efforts of Arabic speaking nations to assert their independence of Ottoman rule. Napoleon, during his brief occupation of Egypt in the late eighteenth century, introduced a printing press with fonts of Arabic type, and Muhammad ‘Ali, ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848, initiated a series of projects to modernize Egypt. He encouraged the use of Arabic in schools and government institutions, and established a printing press.

Selected Egyptian students were sent to study in France, and on their return assigned to undertake translations of Western technical manuals on agriculture, engineering, mathematics, and military tactics. These works, together with many of the classics of Arabic literature, were printed at the government press at Bulaq and had a profound impact on intellectuals in the Arab East. Another factor in the literary revival was the swift growth of journalism in Lebanon and Egypt. Starting in the late 1850s, newspapers were soon available through the Middle East.

By 1900 well over a hundred and fifty newspapers and journals were being published. These journals had a great influence on the development and modernization of the written Arabic language; their stress on substance rather than style did much to simplify Arabic prose and bring it within the comprehension of everyone. One of the first leaders of the Arabic literary renaissance was the Lebanese writer and scholar Butrus al-Bustani, whose dictionary and encyclopedia awakened great interest in the problems of expressing modern Western ideas in the Arabic language.

His nephew Sulayman translated Homer’s Iliad into Arabic, thus making one of the first expressions of Western literature accessible to the Arabic-reading public. Other writers, such as the Egyptian Mustafa al-Manfaluti, adapted French romantic novels to the tastes of the Arab public, as well as writing elegant essays on a variety of themes. The historical novel, in the hands of Jurji Zaydan, proved immensely popular, perhaps because of the intense interest Arabs have always had in their past, and because of the novelty of a new form.

But the first Arabic novel that can rank with European productions is Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s Zaynab, set in Egypt and dealing with local problems. Perhaps the greatest figure in modern Arabic literature is Taha Husayn. Blind from an early age, Taha Husayn wrote movingly of his life and beloved Egypt in his autobiography, al-Ayyam, “The Days. ” Taha Husayn was a graduate of both al-Azhar and the Sorbonne, and his voluminous writings on Arabic literature contributed a new critique of this vast subject.

The novel was not the only new form introduced to the Arabic-reading public. The drama, first in the form of translations of Western work, then of original compositions, was pioneered by Ahmad Shawqi and came to maturity in the hands of Tawfiq al-Hakim. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s long career and devotion to the theater did much to make this one of the liveliest arts of the Middle East. The history of modern Arabic poetry, with its many schools and contending styles, is almost impossible to summarize. Traditional forms and subjects were challenged by ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad,

Mahmud Shukri, and Ibrahim al-Mazini, who strove to introduce nineteenth-century European themes and techniques into Arabic, not always with success. Lebanese poets were in the forefront of modernist verse, and one of them, Gibran Kahlil Gibran, proved very popular in the West. Poets are now experimenting with both old and new techniques, although discussions of form have given way to concern for content. The exodus of Palestinians from their native land has become a favorite theme, often movingly handled.

In Saudi Arabia, it was not until well into the twentieth century that literary movements in neighboring lands made themselves felt. Poetry, of course, has been cultivated in Arabia since the pre-Islamic period, and it has lately been influenced by new forms and subjects. Hasan al-Qurashi, Tahir Zamakhshari, Hasan Faqi, and Mahrum (the pen name of Amir ‘Abd Allah al-Faysal) have won renown for their poetry throughout the Arab world. Hasan Faqi’s poetry is introspective and philosophical, while the verse of the three others is lyrical and romantic.

Ghazi al-Gosaibi is distinguished by a fresh, fecund imagination that expresses itself in both Arabic and English verse. Two novels by the late Hamid al-Damanhuri have been well received. They are Thaman al-Tadhiyah, “The Price of Sacrifice,” and Wa-Marrat al-Ayyam, “And the Days Went By. ” With the rapid increase in education and communications, presses are now beginning to publish more and more works by writers, and it can certainly be expected that the great social changes that are taking place will eventually be reflected in equally far-reaching developments in the Arabic literature. Introduction “Read in the Name of your Lord”. [1] These were the first few words of the Qur’an revealed to the  Prophet Muhammad over 1400 years ago. Muhammad, who was known to have been in retreat and  meditation in a cave outside Mecca [2], had received the first few words of a book that would have a  tremendous impact on the world of Arabic literature. [3] Not being known to have composed any piece  of poetry and not having any special rhetorical gifts, [4] Muhammed had just received the beginning of a  book that would deal with matters of belief, legislation, international law, olitics, ritual, spirituality, and  economics [5] in an ‘entirely new literary form’. Armstrong states, “It is as though Muhammad had created an entirely new literary form…Without this experience of the  Koran, it is extremely unlikely that Islam would have taken root. ” [6] This unique literary form was the cause of the dramatic intellectual revival of desert Arabs [7], and after  thirteen years of the first revelation, it became the only reference for a new state in Medina. [8] This new  form of speech, the Qur’an, became the sole source of the new civilisation’s political, philosophical,  and spiritual outlook.

It is well known amongst Muslim and Non-Muslim scholars that the Qur’anic discourse cannot be  described as any of the known forms of Arabic speech; namely Poetry and Prose. [9] Taha Husayn, [10] a prominent Egyptian Litterateur, during the course of a public lecture summarised  how the Qur’an achieves this unique form: “But you know that the Qur’an is not prose and that it is not verse either. It is rather Qur’an, and it cannot  be called by any other name but this. It is not verse, and that is clear; for it does not bind itself to the  bonds of verse.

And it is not prose, for it is bound by bonds peculiar to itself, not found elsewhere;  some of the binds are related to the endings of its verses and some to that musical sound which is all  its own. It is therefore neither verse nor prose, but it is “a Book whose verses have been perfected the  expounded, from One Who is Wise, All-Aware. ” We cannot therefore say its prose, and its text itself is  not verse. It has been one of a kind, and nothing like it has ever preceded or followed it. ” [11] Any expression of the Arabic language falls into the literary forms of Prose and Poetry.

There are other  ‘sub’ forms that fall into the above categories. Kahin, which is a form of rhymed prose, is one of these  ‘sub’ forms; but all literary forms can be described as prose and poetry. Poetry Arabic Poetry is a form of metrical speech with a rhyme. [12] The rhyme in Arabic poetry is achieved by  every line of the poem ending upon a specific letter. [13] The metrical aspect of Arabic poetry is due to  its rhythmical divisions, these divisions are called ‘al-Bihar’, literally meaning ‘The Seas’ in Arabic. This term has been used to describe the rhythmical divisions as a result of the way the poem moves  according to its rhythm.

In Arabic poetry there are sixteen rhythmical patterns, which all of Arabic poetry adheres too or is  loosely based upon;

al-Munsarih 1
al-Mujtath 1

Each one of the al-Bihar have a unique rhythmical division. [14] The al-Bihar were first codified in the  8th century by al-Khalil bin Ahmad and have changed little since. The al-Bihar are based on the length  of syllables.

A short syllable is a consonant followed by a short vowel. A long syllable is a vowelled  letter followed by either an unvowelled consonant or a long vowel. A nunation sign at the end of a word  also makes the final syllable long. In Arabic poetry each line is divided into two halves. Below are basic scansions of the metres commonly found in Arabic poetry, showing long (—) and  short (^) syllables. They represent pairs of half-lines and should be read from left to right. The patterns  are not rigidly followed: two short syllables may be substituted for a long one.

 An example of an Arabic poem, is the ancient Arabian poem called ‘Abu-l-‘Ata of Sind’: Of thee did I dream, while spears between us were quivering And sooth, of our blood full drop had drunken the tawny shafts! I know not, by heaven I swear, and true is the word I say This pang, is it love sickness, or wrought by a spell from thee. If it be a spell, then grant me grace of my love-longing If other the sickness be, then none is the guilt of thine. [15] This poem, in the original Arabic, falls into the rhythmical pattern of Tawil, one of the al-Bihar shown  above. 16] A literary analysis on any Arabic Poem will conclude that it adheres too or is based upon  the rhythmical patterns. This is supported by Louis Cheikho who collected pre-Islamic and Islamic  poetry and concluded that all of the poems conformed and were based upon the al-Bihar. [17] Prose Arabic Prose can be called non-metrical speech, meaning it does not have a rhythmical pattern like  poetry mentioned above. Arabic prose can be further divided into two categories; Saj’ which is rhymed  prose and Mursal which is straight prose or what some may call ‘normal speech’. [18] An apt description of Saj’ is, in the words of Von Deffer: A literary form with some emphasis on rhythm and rhyme, but distinct from poetry. Saj’ is not really as  sophisticated as poetry, but has been employed by Arab poets, and is the best known of the pre- Islamic Arab prosodies. It is distinct from poetry in its lack of metre, i. e. it has not consistent rhythmical  pattern, and it shares with poetry the element of rhyme, though in many cases some what irregularly  employed. ” [19] Mursal can be defined as a literary form that goes on and is not divided, but is continued straight  throughout without any divisions, either of rhyme or of anything else. 20] Mursal is meant as a way of  expression close to the everyday spoken language, examples can be seen in speeches and prayers  intended to encourage or motivate the masses. The Qur’ans Literary Form The Qur’anic discourse cannot be described as any of the known literary forms. The most predominant  opinion is that it doesn’t adhere to any of the rules known to poetry and prose. Another opinion is that  the Qur’an combines metrical and non-metrical composition to create its own literary form. Some  scholars disagree with the above opinions and claim that the Qur’an is a form of rhymed prose, saj’.

This opinion has arisen mainly due to the similarities of pre-Islamic prose and early Meccan chapters  of the Qur’an. However, the scholars who carry this opinion do not contend that the Qur’an is unique by  its use of literary and stylistic elements that render it inimitable. This unique use of literary elements  has not been found in any Arabic Prose, past or present. Below is an explanation, with reference to the main opinions above, on how the Qur’an achieves its  unique inimitable form. Non-compliance to the Rules of Prose or Poetry

The Qur’anic literary form differs as it does not fit in to any of the literary categories explained above,  [21] it is not like the prose of Saj’ or Mursal and it doesn’t fit into any of the al-Bihar. This can be seen by  the following example: Wad Duha wal laili idha saja Ma waddaka Rabbuka wa maa qala Wa lal akhiraatu khairul laka minal oola Wa la sawfa ya teeka Rabbuka fa tarda… By the morning hours and by the night most still Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you And indeed the hereafter is better for you than the present And verily your Lord will give you so that you shall be well pleased… [22]

The examination of the whole chapter with reference to the above literary forms indicates that it is not  Saj’ or Mursal as this verse has an internal rhythm, whereas Saj’ does not have a consistent rhythm  and Mursal has no rhythm or rhyme. Also it cannot be described as poetry; the totality of this chapter, or  any other chapter for that matter, does not adhere to any of the al-Bihar. Unique Fusion of Metrical and non-Metrical Speech Some parts of the Qur’an follow the rules of poetry, that is, some verses can be described as one of  the al-Bihar. 23] When the totality of a Qur’anic Chapter, that contains some these verses is analysed,  it is not possible to distinguish its literary form. “The Qur’an is not verse, but it is rhythmic. The rhythm of some verses resemble the regularity of saj’ …But it was recognized by Quraysh critics to belong to neither one nor the other category. ” [24] The Qur’an achieves this unique literary form by intermingling metrical and non-Metrical speech in  such a way that the difference can not be perceived. [25] This intermingling of metrical and non- metrical composition is present throughout the whole of the Qur’an.

The following examples illustrate  this, “But the righteous will be in Gardens with Springs – ‘Enter in Peace and Safety! ’ – and We shall  remove any bitterness from their hearts: [they will be like] brothers, sitting on couches, face to face. No  weariness will ever touch them there, nor will they ever be expelled. [Prophet] tell My servants that I am  the Forgiving, the Merciful, but My torment is the truly painful one. Tell them too about Abraham’s  guests: when they came to him and said “Peace,” he said, ‘We are afraid of you’” [26]

When reading the original Arabic of the above verse the reader moves from metric composition to  prose with out experiencing the slightest change of style or mode.

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