Excerpt from Chapter 9 – “THE GLORIOUS QURAN”

Published March 25, 2018

The fact that the Quran deeply moves its followers (which,
admittedly, it does) cannot be decisive, for they may just be so
conditioned. After all, is it not a fact that the Quran fails to have
the same impact on non-Muslims, who are moved by other
literature that the Muslims find quite ordinary, just as one man’s
national anthem fails to touch another? The issue thus needs to be
assessed more objectively. We shall therefore focus on the ideas
the Quran embodies, the expression it employs, and the clarity with
which it communicates with the readers.

One learns that good literature turns in no small measure on
the idea it embodies—whether the thought it expresses is capable
of good rendition. But this is perhaps where the Quran is at its
weakest. Amongst the ideas it incorporates, innumerable are
simply incapable of literary articulation. Take the mass execution
of Bani Qurayzah that we just discussed. Can that be presented in
an artistic manner? Take then the Sword Verses, or Muhammad’s
marriage to Zaynab, or the quarrel between Muhammad and his
wives, or the inelegant distribution of inheritance shares, or the
Prophet’s entitlement to the spoils of war. One could go on, but
the question would remain much the same: Are these capable of
being described pleasingly?