the Quran Only For Arabs?
Abul A`la Mawdudi
Translated by Mushfiqur Rahman
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.”
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.
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.
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