Unmatched Eloquence

Site Team

Article translated to : Deutsch Español


Unmatched Eloquence

One of the most well-known stories of how the Qur’an’s miraculous eloquence effectedindividuals is the story of al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah, who was the most eloquent andhighly esteemed poet of Makkah at the time of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings beupon him)


Al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah passed by Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be uponhim) and heard him reciting the Qur’an and this had a visible effect upon him. He wasshaken and startled by what he had heard. The news of this incident spread throughoutMakkah.


Abu Jahl (the arch enemy of Islam) afraid that the people of Makkah might be affected by the news and convert to Islam, rushed to al-Waleed and told him “Oh my uncle! Say something (against Muhammad) so that the people will know that you are against him and hate (his message)”



Al-Waleed replied, “And what can I say? For I swear by Allah, there is none amongst you who knows poetry as well as I do, nor can any compete with me in composition or rhetoric-not even in the poetry of the jinns! And yet, I swear by Allah, Muhammad’s speech (meaning the Qur’an) does not bear any similarity to anything I know and I swear by Allah, the speech that he says is very sweet, and is adorned with beauty and

charm. Its first part is fruitful and its last part is abundant (meaning that it is full of deep meaning) and it conquers (all other speech) and remains unconquered! It shatters and destroys all that has come before it (because of its eloquence)



Abu Jahl responded “Your people will not be satisfied until you speak against him!” Al- Waleed therefore requested Abu Jahl “Leave me for a few days, so that I may think of an appropriate response to give the Qur’aish”


After a few days, Abu Jahl came back to him and asked him what he had prepared. Al Waleed, during this time could not think of any explanation to give except “This (theQur’an) is a type of magic that has an effect on its listeners.”

Biography of Prophet Muhammad, Ibn Hishaam p. 225


In response to this God Revealed in the Qur’an:


Nay! Verily, he (al-Waleed) has been stubborn and opposing our signs….verily he thought and plotted; so let him be cursed, how he plotted! And once more let him be cursed; how he plotted! Then he thought! Then he frowned and was irritated; then he turned back and was proud! Then he said, ‘This is nothing but magic from old; this is nothing but the word of a magician!’ I will cast him into the Hell- Fire [Qur’an 74:16-26]


This was the testimony of the greatest poet alive during the time of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him)


Orientalist Author Arthur Arberry, who studied and became fluent in the Arabic language while studying in Egypt recognized the beauty of the Qur’an.


He said: “…the rhetoric and rhythm of the Arabic of the Qur’an are so characteristic, so powerful, so highly emotive, that any version whatsoever is bound by the nature of things to be but a copy of the glittering splendor of the original” Arthur Arberry, The Koran Interpreted p. 24


Many other non-Muslims have also confirmed the Qur’an’s unmatched eloquence. Hamilton Gibb, the famous University of Oxford Arabist said:



...the Meccans still demanded of him a miracle, and with remarkable boldness and self confidence Mohammad appealed as a supreme confirmation of his mission to the Koran itself. Like all Arabs they were the connoisseurs of language and rhetoric. Well, then if


the Koran were his own composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evident miracle

H A R Gibb, Islam - A Historical Survey, 1980, Oxford University Press, p. 28


Alfred Guillaume wrote:

The Qur’an is one of the world's classics which cannot be translated without grave loss. It has a rhythm of peculiar beauty and a cadence that charms the ear. Many Christian Arabs speak of its style with warm admiration, and most Arabists acknowledge its excellence. When it is read aloud or recited it has an almost hypnotic effect that makes the listener indifferent to its sometimes strange syntax and its sometimes, to us, repellent content. It is this quality it possesses of silencing criticism by the sweet music of its language that has given birth to the dogma of its inimitability; indeed it may be affirmed that within the literature of the Arabs, wide and fecund as it is both in poetry and in elevated prose, there is nothing to compare with it Alfred Guillaume, Islam, 1990 (Reprinted), Penguin Books, pp. 73-74


It is a miracle in itself that for over one thousand, four hundred years, this challenge to match the Qur’an’s is still stands unmet today despite many failed attempts to do so.

Previous article Next article

Related Articles with Unmatched Eloquence

Knowing AllahIt's a beautiful day