produce either sorrow or joy. And sadness is of two sorts. It is either a dark sorrow arising from the lack of friends, that is, having no friends or owner, which is the sorrow produced by the literature of civilization, which is stained by misguidance, enamoured of nature, tainted by heedlessness, or it is the second sorrow. This arises from the separation of friends, that is, the friends exist, but their absence causes a yearning sorrow. This is the guidance-giving, light-scattering sorrow which the Qur’an produces. Joy, too, is of two sorts. One stimulates the desires of the soul. This is the mark of civilization’s literature in the fields of theatre, cinema, and the novel. While the other joy silences the soul, and is subtle and mannerly, innocently urging the spirit, heart, mind, and subtle faculties to attain to sublime matters, to their original home and eternal abode, and their companions of the hereafter; it is the joy the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition produces. It fills man with eagerness for Paradise and eternal happiness and the vision of God’s beauty.
Thus, the vast meaning and mighty truth expressed by the verse,
Say: If the whole of mankind and the jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support1
is imagined by those of scant intelligence to be an impossible supposition for the purposes of uttering an exaggerated piece of eloquence. God forbid! It is not an exaggeration, nor is it an impossible supposition; it is an absolutely truthful piece of rhetoric, and possible and actual.
One aspect of its being in this form is this: if all the fine words of man and jinn which do not issue from the Qur’an and do not belong to it were to be gathered together, they could not imitate the Qur’an. And they have not been able to imitate it, for they have been unable to show that they have. The second aspect is this: civilization, and science and philosophy and European literature, which are the products of the thought and efforts of mankind and the jinn and even satans, remain in the very pits of impotence before the decrees, wisdom, and eloquence of the Qur’an. Just as we showed in the examples.
Third Radiance: It is as though the All-Wise Qur’an is every century turned directly towards all the classes of humanity, and addresses each particularly. Indeed, since the Qur’an summons all mankind with all its classes and instructs them in belief, the highest and most subtle science, and in knowledge of God, the broadest and most luminous branch of learning, and in the laws of Islam, which are the most important and various of the sciences, it is essential that it should instruct every class and group appropriately. What it teaches, however, is the same; it does not differ. In which case, there have to be different levels in the same lesson, and according to its degree, every class takes its share from one of the veils of the Qur’an. We