In his Fawz al-Kabeer, Shah Waliullah (rh) gives a brief overview of some of the beauties of the style of the Qur’an. Here are 13 stylistic beauties of the Qur’an:
1. The originality of the style of literature does not fit any of the known fields of literary Arab eloquence – sermons, odes, messages or idioms.
2. The Qur’an does not apply to the rules, scales or standards of any known type of poetry – allowing for an emphasis on the shared universal beauty in words by all cultures across all time periods, as opposed to that which is suited to specific tastes.
3. The arrangement of the Qur’an is not by topic or theme, but one that is based on facilitating a greater repetition of reminders, horrors and beauties. However, the surahs and ayahs all seem to be perfectly interlinked.
4. The various surahs vastly differ in length – each with their own structural forms and manners of expressions in the beginnings, middles and endings.
5. The lengths of the ayahs vary, allowing for the exercising of the breath in various ways – adding to its audible beauty. This is further highlighted by the fact that certain ayahs can be portioned into parts. Often, both long and short ayahs are even mixed together for a better flow in recitation.
6. There are certain words that can be pronounced with a choice of lesser syllables – thus, adding to both its beauty and flow.
7. Some surahs continuously focus on ending on a particular letter or a sound without compromising on its content. Furthermore, some surahs change this form back and forth in order to keep hold of the reader’s attention.
8. Sometimes there is a transposition of words from that which should have been at the end, to the beginning, and vice-versa.
9. Often, the choice of word is different to that which may normally be assumed for that context – allowing for greater depth in understanding the full reasons as to what is being conveyed.
10. There is a repetition of the same messages over and over again, in order to emphasise that the Qur’an has a purpose first and foremost. However, these repetitions themselves are done via multiple different modes of expressions and styles – thus, increasing both the pleasure of its recital, as well as working as a constant reminder of that which is most important to the reader.
11. The Qur’an uses multiple linguistic features in order to emphasise and clarify the points that it makes – often layer upon layer, to the level which is not found elsewhere. All of this is done without compromising on its content.
12. Some of these features include daring historical facts about peoples of the past in vivid detail, as well as audacious predictions of events in the future – both near and far.
13. Despite its high level of eloquence – some of which requires deep analysis by the greatest of scholars, it can still be understood by the most simple-minded person – allowing him to be well acquainted with its aims and messages fairly easily. Thus, combining two polar opposites within the same literary form.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and yet, it is just referring to the ‘style’ of the Qur’an without going into the intricacies of its content.
Compiled by Abdul Aleem