Second Aspect

We shall now explain in five ‘Points’ the wisdom of the Qur’an’s miraculousness contained in its eloquence.

First Point: There is a wonderful eloquence and purity of style in the Qur’an’s word-order. From beginning to end, Isharat al-I’jaz (Signs of Miraculousness) demonstrates this eloquence and conciseness in the word-order. The way the second, minute, and hour hands of a clock each complete the order of the others, that is the way all the sentences of the All-Wise Qur’an, and its words, and the order in the relationships between the sentences and words, have been expounded in Isharat al-I’jaz, from it first page to its last. Whoever wishes may look at that and see this wonderful eloquence in the word-order. Here, we shall mention one or two examples in order to demonstrate the word-order in the parts of a sentence. For example:

But if a breath of your Sustainer’s punishment touches them.1

In this sentence, it wants to point out the punishment as terrible through showing the severity of the least amount. That is to say, it expresses littleness or fewness, and all the parts of the sentence look also to this littleness or fewness and reinforce it. Thus, the words, But if signify doubt, and doubt looks to littleness or fewness. The word touches means to touch lightly and expresses a small amount. And just as the word a breath is merely a whiff, so is it in the singular form. Grammatically it is a masdar marra and signifies once. Also the tanwin indicating indefiniteness in a breathe expresses littleness or fewness and means it is so insignificant that it can scarcely be known. The word of signifies division or a part; it means a bit and indicates paucity. The word punishment points to a light sort of punishment in relation to chastisement (nakal) or penalty (i’qab), and suggests a small amount. And by alluding to compassion and being used in place of Subduer, All-Compelling, or Avenger, the word Sustainer indicates littleness or fewness. It says, if the small amount of punishment suggested in all this paucity has such an effect, you can compare how dreadful Divine chastisement would be. How much then do the small parts of this sentence look to one another and assist one another! How each reinforces the aim of the whole! This example looks to the words and aim to a small degree.

Second Example:

And spend in God’s way out of what We have bestowed on them as sustenance.1

The parts of this sentence point out five of the conditions which make almsgiving acceptable.

First Condition: This is to give only so much alms as will not cause the giver to be in need of receiving alms himself. It states this condition through the division or parts signified by out of in the words out of what.

Second Condition: It is not to take from ‘Ali and give to Wali, but to give out of a one’s own property. The words We have bestowed on them as sustenance express this condition. It means: “Give out of the sustenance that is yours.”

Third Condition: This is not to place an obligation on the recipient. The word We in We have bestowed on them as sustenance states this condition. That is to say: “I give you the sustenance. When you give some of My property to one of My servants, you cannot place them under an obligation.”

Fourth Condition: You should give it to a person who will spend it on his livelihood, for alms given to those who will squander it idly is not acceptable. The word spend points to this condition.

Fifth Condition: This is to give in God’s name. The words We bestow on them as sustenance states this. That is to say: “The property is Mine; you should give it in My name.”

These conditions may be extended. That is, the form almsgiving should take, with what goods. It may be given as learning and knowledge. It may be given as words, or as acts, or as advice. The word what in out of what indicates these various sorts through its generality. Furthermore, it indicates this with the sentence itself, because it is absolute and expresses generality. Thus, with the five conditions in this short sentence describing almsgiving, it opens up a broad field before the mind, granting it to it through the sentence as a whole. Thus, in the sentence as a whole, the word-order has many aspects.

Similarly, the word-order between words encompasses a broad sphere and has many aspects. And between phrases. For example, Say: He is God, the One1 contains six sentences. Three of them are positive and three negative. It proves six degrees of Divine unity and at the same time refutes six ways of associating partners with God. Each sentence is both the proof of the other sentences and the result. For each sentence has two meanings. Through one meaning it is the result, and through the other the proof. That is to say, within Sura al-Ikhlas are thirty suras composed of proofs that demonstrate each another to be as well-ordered as the Sura itself. For example:

Say, He is God, because He is One, because He is the Eternally Besought, because He begets not, because He is not begotten, because there is none that is equal to Him.


And there is none that is equal to Him, because He is not begotten, because He begets not, because He is Eternally Besought, because He is One, because He is God.


He is God, so He is One, so He is the Eternally Besought, so He begets not, so He is not begotten, so there is none that is equal to Him.

You can continue in the same way.

A further example:

Alif. Lam. Mim. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who fear God.2

Each of these four phrases has two meanings. With one meaning each is a proof of the other phrases, with the other, it is their result. From the sixteen threads of their relationships, a miraculous word-order embroidery is wrought. It is described thus in Isharat al-I’jaz. Also, as is explained in the Thirteenth Word, it is as though all the Qur’an’s verses have eyes that see most of the other verses and faces that look to them, so that each extends to the others the immaterial threads of relationship; each weaves a miraculous embroidery. From beginning to end Isharat al-I’jaz expounds this beauty and eloquence of the word-order.