Sunday, March 24, 2013

لشِعْر العَرَبي The Quran is a Book of Poetry

Sample of Arabic Poetry
Pre-Islamic men of the Arabian Peninsula dictated epic tales, heart-rending poetry, and eloquent prose. Oral poetry predates 6th century BC. Arabic poetry (Arabic: الشِعْر العَرَبي ) is the earliest form of Arabic literature. The ancient Arabs placed a great value on being able to tell an eloquent, palpitating tale with a delicate stanza.

The Quran, like all other forms of poetry at that time, was designed to inspire. Muhammad was a poet. Aided by what appeared to be temporal lobe epilepsy, he became one of the greatest poets during that time period. As he was mostly illiterate, he simply did what all the other poets of that time did - Muhammad narrated them, and recited them. 

Arabic poetry is categorized into two parts:

1. Rhymed/Measured. This type falls within fifteen different basic rhythmic structures, otherwise known as meters. The rhymed poetry falls within fifteen different meters collected and explained by al-Farahidi in The Science of `Arud. Al-Akhfash, a student of al-Farahidi, later added one more meter to make them sixteen. The meters of the rhythmical poetry are known in Arabic as "seas" (بحور). The measuring unit of the "seas" is known as "taf`ila" (تفعيلة) with every sea containing a certain number of taf’ilas that the poet has to observe in every verse (bayt بيت) of the poem. The measuring procedure of a poem is very rigorous. Sometimes adding or removing a consonant or a vowel can shift the bayt from one meter to another. Also, in rhymed poetry, every bayt has to end with the same rhyme (qafiya) throughout the poem.

2. Prose. Prose is a form of language which applies ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure (as in traditional poetry). While there are critical debates on the construction of prose, its simplicity and loosely defined structure has led to its adoption for the majority of spoken dialogue, factual discourse as well as topical and fictional writing. It is commonly used, for example, in literaturenewspapersmagazinesencyclopediasbroadcastingfilmhistory,philosophylaw and many other forms of communication.

There are several characteristics that distinguish pre-Islamic poetry from the poetry of later times. One of these characteristics is that in pre-Islamic poetry more attention was given to the eloquence and the wording of the verse (البيت) than to the poem as whole. This resulted in poems characterized by strong vocabulary and short ideas but with loosely connected verses. A second characteristic is the romantic or nostalgic prelude with which pre-Islamic poems would often start. In these preludes, a thematic unit called nasib, the poet would remember his beloved and her deserted home and its ruins. This concept in Arabic poetry is referred to as “الوقوف على الأطلال” ("standing at the ruins") because the poet would often start his poem by saying that he stood at the ruins of his beloved, a kind of ubi sunt.

So How Do We Know that the Quran is a book of poetry? he Qur’an is in the dialect and style of the tribe of Quraysh of the sixth and seventh centuries Arabia, and therefore, does not reflect an independent heavenly source (Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 228).Although Arabia’s pre-Islamic history ended with the country still on the fringes of civilization, the sixth century AD saw the birth of Arabic literature, which was associated with the short-lived kingdom of Kinda (from about 480 to about 550 AD). Poetic talent flourished in the sixth and seventh centuries AD. The most famous poems were known as the seven golden odes. In fact, it was the custom of poets and orators of that time to hang up their compositions on the Kaaba in Mecca for every one to read and recite. That is why they were known as the hangings (al-Muallaqat). A famous poem of the poet Imru’ al-Qais (d. 540) was published in that way. Several lines of that poem are found in the Qur’an (al-Qamar 54: 1, 29, 31; ad-Duha 93: 1, 2; al-Anbiya 21: 96; al-Saffat 37: 61). In addition, words, thoughts and style of known poets and orators contemporary with Muhammad are found in the Qur’an. A few examples of those are Qus ibn Sa’idah al-Ayadi (d. 600), Qamaia ibn Abi al-Salat (d. 624), al-Haseen ibn Hamam (d. 611) [al-A’raf 7: 8, 9], Waraqa ibn Nofal (d. 592), and Antara al-Abasi (d. 610). Not only some of the works of contemporary poets and orators are found in the Qur’an, but also men like Nadir ibn Haritha (Canon Sell, Studies, p. 208), Hamzah ibn Ahed, and Musailama (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia, V:152) produced works like, and qualitatively better than, the Qur’anic text in eloquence. In addition, according to the Qur’an, the jinn (al-Hijr 15: 27 tells about creating the jinn from fire) contributed almost a whole chapter (Surah) into the Qur’an. It is Surah 72, and it is called by their name: Surah al-Jinn. Most of the verses in this Surah are words of the jinn, but the style is that of the Qur’an. Furthermore, Satan contributed into Surah al-Najm his satanic verses (al-Najm 53: 19-23), which were subsequently deleted.

1 comment:

Renungan Malam said...

I happened to read this article of yours on Syi'r and its influence on the Qur'anic verses. You quote from western sources a lot, but not a single quote from Arab Muslim sources who unarguably know much more about their language, and their Quran. They would have left Muhammad if they had thought the way you're now arguing this case. Let me requote your source "McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia, V:152" who claim that Musailama had better and more eloquent verses than "those of Muhammad". I'm sure you've never read what Musailama produced. His "verse" (he claimed himself to be a prophet) entitled "the Elephant" for instance has no even something worth reading, not in message neither in eloquence. I wish you had read and delved into Arabic before copying and pasting a one-sided story. On the top of that your accusation of Muhammad producing the Quranic verses in the state of temporal epilepsy is an old song that no sound mind will entertain. How come laws that govern humankind and spark light of knowledge on earth, west and east of it,assumed to be a "work" of unconsciousness, and worse a sick man? Unless you don't read the Quran at all and just try to make old accusations anew. I was told that people in the West like to reason and live with that. Now I've to think twice about it.

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