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What they say about the Quran

Without necessarily agreeing with all that they said, we furnish here some opinions of important non-Muslim scholars about the Quran.

1- ”However often we turn to it (the Quran) at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence… Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand, terrible – ever and anon truly sublime – thus this book will go an exercising through all ages a most potent influence.”

Goethe, Quoted in T.P. Hughes’ Dictionary of Islam, p-526.

2- ”The Koran admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. Though the youngest of the epoch-making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politico-religious organisations of the “Muhammadan” world which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon today. ”

G Margoliouth, Introduction to J.M. Rodwell’s The Koran, New York: Everyman’s Library, 1977, p. VII

3- ”A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader – distant as to time, and still more so as mental development – a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind )Editor’s note: The Quran is not the production of the human mind, but a revelation from Allaah Almighty) indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind. ”

Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes’ Dictionary of Islam, pp. 526-7.

4- ”The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by those who see Muhammad as the author of the Quran untenable. How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important “author”, in terms of literary merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human being could possibly have developed at that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject? ”

Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran and Science, 1978, p. 125.

5- ”Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad’s contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well organised body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilised nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history. ”

Dr. Steingass, quoted in Hughes’ Dictionary of Islam, p. 528.

6- ”In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pain to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which – apart from the message itself- constitute the Koran’s undeniable claim to rank amongst the greater literary masterpieces of mankind. This very characteristic feature – that inimitable symphony’, as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book — ‘the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy’ — has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original. ”

Arthur J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, London: Oxford University Press, 1964, p. X.

7- ”A totally objective examination of it (the Quran) in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognise the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad’s time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Quranic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning. ”

Maurice Bucaille, The Quran and Modern Science, 1981. p. 18.

Summarized from: Islam in Concept

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