The Eloquence and Beauty of the Quran

This post is based on a video by an Arab ex-muslim.  Video at end.


There are two major points of view as to why the Quran is amazing.  The first is its eloquence and beauty. The second and more modern claim is the scientific claims approach.  A lot of emphasis is put on him being illiterate, as if this means he couldn’t compose the Quran.  Knowledge and skills were passed on orally.

One of the challenges is that the Quran asks for a book to be produced like it.  The problem with this claim is it can’t be judged objectively.  Many works surpass the Quran in Arabic and other languages, but of course Muslims have a different opinion.  If it means that someone has to bring something EXACTLY like the Quran then this is impossible because every book contains a fingerprint of its author.  But then again nobody can bring something exactly like Plato, AlJahiz, AlTawhidy, Dante, or Shakespare, and of course this doesn’t mean they are from God.  Finally, most people can’t speak Arabic so they can’t take up the challenge or even confirm that it is eloquent. They have to take someone’s word for it.

Some places are eloquent, and some places are badly written and akward.  16:06 for example is clumsy and poorly written:

Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief… except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah , and for them is a great punishment;

Or this one which is incoherent and disjointed:

And [remember, O Muhammad], when We told you, “Indeed, your Lord has encompassed the people.” And We did not make the sight which We showed you except as a trial for the people, as was the accursed tree [mentioned] in the Qur’an. And We threaten them, but it increases them not except in great transgression. (17:60)

Or the bizarre jumping around of pronouns in Surah Yunus

It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea until, when you are in ships and they sail with them by a good wind and they rejoice therein, there comes a storm wind and the waves come upon them from everywhere and they assume that they are surrounded, supplicating Allah , sincere to Him in religion, “If You should save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful.” (10:22-23)

Or in Surah An’am

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe. (6:99)

If we wrote this, we would have been called ignorant.  But because its the Quran its hailed as glorious and the grammaticians created a special category called iltifat – sudden transition.

Next, look at this verse and tell me if you find it eloquent

And Mary the daughter of ‘Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants). (66:12, Yusuf Ali translation)

That verse is described as Gabriel blowing into her private part through a hole in her garment.  Despite the Quran being hailed as a masterpiece of eloquence, the Arabs did not greet it as a masterpiece of eloquence. It took a long and violent struggle for them to win.  Khalid bin Walid and Amr bin Al Aas were from the last batch to convert only after they saw Islam was winning.  Not to mention Ikrimah and Abu Sufyan.  These guys did not believe Prophet Muhammad was truly a messenger of God but eventually they became Muslim after seeing the tide turn.

For example Ar-Razi, the brilliant mathematician and philosopher said:

You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.” Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. ,  By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”?! (reference needed)

This post is based on the following video made by an ex-muslim:

Further reading:

6 thoughts on “The Eloquence and Beauty of the Quran

  1. Hi,

    you are stating in the beginning
    “[…]most people can’t speak Arabic so they can’t take up the challenge or even confirm that it is eloquent[…]”
    and then you still go on to explain its “In-eloquency” with translated excerpts. So you are just defaming the translation/translator not the scripture itself.

    1. The excerpts are posted in English so non Arab speakers can understand. The points are valid even in the original Arabic. They are made by Hassan, who is an Arab exmuslim who made the video. The points are not mine but I agree with them.

  2. Thanks. I appreciate all the work you took to make and to post. It really makes me sad to see so many kids who have no choice but to be brought up indoctrinated. I think generally it is regional and is just the way the culture goes. But then, wow, then I see the Palestinian mother holding her son and it sure makes me think of how many there really believe they must raise their sons (& daughters too I guess) to martyr themselves for the cause. I wish more people had the ability to see through things and challenge old beliefs.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is a pity that this religion replaced(read exterminated) the beautiful and diversified cultures of Arabians, Persians, Uighurs, etc.

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