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Is the Quran Only For Arabs?

By Abul A`la Mawdudi

 May 10, 2005

Translated by Mushfiqur Rahman

Question

A Sikh friend of mine was given some literature to read. While reading it, he raised this objection: “You say that Allah speaks to the prophets and through these special people He sent a universal way of life for all mankind. The question is, why is such an important way of life prescribed in this one particular language [Arabic], which is used only in one particular geographic location? Why could not that Almighty Allah create one universal language for all of mankind so that all people could benefit from that equally? Arabic Qur'an is certainly beneficial for the Arabs only.”

Answer

Had your Sikh friend who raised this objection pushed his imagination a bit further, he could have also asked “Why did God not send a copy of the Qur'an directly to every human being? Since He is the Almighty, He could have done this too!”

These people actually do not try to understand one basic point: For guiding the humanity, Allah Almighty does not adopt a method that would require an alteration in the natural workings and systems of the universe. The variety of languages, and due to that the emergence of various small and large ethnic groups—all this is but a natural phenomenon which came into existence by the will of Allah. And in this are lots of benefits and goodness that Allah would not want to destroy. Yes, He is the Almighty, but He is also the Wise. In His universe, things are running under a perfect set of laws and principles. Due to these principles, variance between languages, cultures, and traditions emerges. Even if Allah had created some separate type of language, that still could not have been the mother tongue of all nationalities, nor could the literature in that language affect and influence the minds of all people on earth. They would not have appreciated the beauty of that language [as one appreciates one’s mother tongue]. If Allah—by some supernatural way—eliminated all the mother tongues of all people and then imposed, supernaturally, one language on the entire humanity, then that is a different matter. However, since one action of Allah does not come to nullify another action of His, He has sent guidance to humanity while sustaining the natural systems and frameworks of all languages.

Arabic Qur'an can only be beneficial for the Arabs—this allegation could have been true had Allah only sent a book. But the reality is that Allah sent the book together with a guide. That guide first addressed a particular nation in whose language the book came. Then, according to the prescriptions laid in the book, he educated them, purified them, gave them practical training, and completely reshaped their lives in a full social revolution. Then he charged them with this responsibility that they, on his behalf, would transmit this guidance to other nations, educate them, purify them, train them, and reshape their lives the same way as he had done to them. Thus, once one nation adopts this ideal, it would bear the responsibility of taking it to other nations. This was the natural way for universalizing that teaching and guidance. Every great movement of the world that wanted to universalize its teaching has adopted this same method, be that a movement to establish God’s way or any other type of movement.

If one accepts the argument that a book is only beneficial for the particular nation in whose language it is written, then one will have to consider the history of all the sciences of the world as wrong. All the books of the world will need to be divided and segregated according to language. All the benefits of translations and various mediums of international mass communications will have to be denied. Yet, it is through these mediums that the messages of great world movements and the words of great leaders are reaching the far corners of the earth. Then what crime did the book of Muhammad commit that it has to be considered confined only for the Arabs just because it is in Arabic?

If one is still not assured after this and he thinks that Allah should have done things as he thought He should have, then he has the right to remain firm in his opinion. But the question is, if by putting up such questions as hindrance one does not benefit from a book or a message, then whose loss is it? This is not the policy of the truth seekers. They search for the ray of light everywhere and from all sources. If one closes one’s mind with one objection or another against every book or teaching, then one will not be able to make even a single step on life’s simple and straight path.


* Excerpted, with some modifications, from Welcome Back, Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi, Rasael wa Masael. Originally published in Tarjumanul Qur’an, July-October, 1944.

Source  http://www.islamonline.net/english/Quran/2005/05/article01.shtml

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