WHY THE DISCONTINUOUS LETTERS?
We know that at the start of most Surahs of the Holy Quran we will find discontinuous letters, such as Alif,L¡m, M¢m [ALM], ALMR, and Y¡s¢n [YS].
In accordance with some Islamic narrations, God has used these letters to show that one eternal miracle of creation, i.e., the Holy Quran, is simply composed of letters and it is constructed in such a way as readily could be produced even by children. The very fact that such a masterpiece is composed of such simple letters, is a miracle in itself.
Now this question may be raised: How is the Holy Quran a miracle? Is it because of its eloquence and clearness or because of something else?
When the Holy Quran is looked at from different angels, different aspects of its miracle manifest themselves, including the following:
Eloquence and clearness: the words and lexical items in The Holy Quran have their specific attraction.
The content of the verses is extremely magnificent.
The verses are free from superstitions.
Scientific miracles: this means the disclosure of issues which had not been attained in those dark days;
Vivid and explicit prediction of future events (the concealed news of the Holy Quran)
Lack of contradiction and unrelated issues A complete discussion of these five issues would need a large space. However, a short reference to each one of them seems reasonable.
Eloquence and Clarity
We know that every discourse has two aspects: the words and the semantic content.
A discourse is called eloquent and clear when its words and morphemes are chosen in such a way that they show coherence and a lack of ambiguity. When the conditions are fulfilled, the text is deemed attractive.
The Holy Quran possesses these two distinctive features in such a way that up to now no one has ever been able to produce anything as attractive and elegant as its verses and Surahs.
In the previous lectures we read about the story of Wal¢d Ibn Mugh¢rah, the representative of the Arab infidels, who became so excited upon hearing the recitation of the Holy Qur’¡n that he ordered the Quraish leaders to describe the Holy Qur’¡n with the pejorative word “magic” and Mu¦ammad as a “magician.”
They used this expression repeatedly for the Prophet. Although they did so cast aspersions on the Prophet, in fact, it showed their admiration of him.
This is because the word “magic” implied that the Holy Quran had a tremendous effect on the audience.
However, instead of accepting the Holy Quran as a miracle and believing in it, they went astray and call it sorcery.
There are many instances reported in the history of Islam of aggressive unbelievers who converted to Islam upon hearing the Holy Quran recited to them.
This clearly shows that the eloquence and clarity of the Holy Quran was a sign of its miraculousness. For those familiar with Arab literature. The more they read the Holy Quran, the more they became fascinated and enchanted by its verses.
Qur’¡nic expressions are extremely well-arranged, accompanied with an elegant style, vividness, and lack obscurities or ambiguity.
It is worth mentioning that Arab literature in those dark ages was sublime and the poetry which has survived from the pre-Islamic era is still highly accomplished even today.
It is said that each year the most famous literary men of the °ij¡z used to assemble and present the best examples of their poetry in the `Uk¡¨ Market, which was a trade and literary center. The best poem was then regarded as “the poem of the year.” After this, they would write it down and post it in Mecca. When the Prophet started his mission, there had been seven such masterpieces which were collectively termed “the Seven Suspensions.”
However, upon the revelation of the Holy Quran, every one of those seven literary masterpieces lost its fame and were finally forgotten forever.
The interpreters of the Holy Quran elucidated its subtleties in their commentaries on the sacred verses, and one can see a range of such interpretations in related works.(1)
Familiarity with the Holy Quran reveals the complete sincerity and lack of exaggeration in the following statement uttered by the Prophet of Islam:
“The outward aspect of the Holy Quran is elegant and its content is deep. No one can enumerate the number of the miracles of the Holy Quran and its wonders would never be outdated.”
The great student of the school of the Holy Quran, Imam `Al¢(s), regarding this issue writes in the Nahj
“The spring of hearts lies in the Quran; rivers of knowledge spring from it. There is no polish effective for man’s heart and soul than this book.”
THINK AND ANSWER
What is the philosophy behind the use of the discontinuous letters in the Holy Quran?
Is the Holy Quran considered a miracle or a series of miracles?
Why did the opponents of Islam call the Prophet of Islam by the pejorative name “magician”?
What is the difference between eloquence and clarity?
To what era does “the Seven Suspensions” belong and what does this phrase mean?