Quran: Can We Squeeze an Ocean into a Swimming Pool?


And if all the trees that are in the earth were pens, and the ocean were ink, with seven oceans swelling it thereafter, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely, Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al Quran 31:27)

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

President Trump has been reported to have boasted, “No one loves the Bible more than me!”  If you are not a hard core Republican then the absurdity and narcissism in the claim is self evident to you and if you are one, no amount of reasoning is likely to convey the silliness in this claim. Nevertheless, just one argument is presented: A long life time, flaunting of all principles of decency by Trump, should make one think that there will be many others, who are far more committed to the Bible.

In the same vein, tall claims or implications by any religious scholar or any sect of Islam to monopolize the understanding of the Quran, literal word of the All-Knowing God, are merely self indulgence.

The verse quoted as the epigraph is about the Quran. God is claiming that like anything else associated with All Knowing and All Powerful God, the Quran, the literal word of God, is studded with countless pearls and infinite wisdom that cannot be captured by one scholar or student of the holy Scripture. Infinite cannot be squeezed into finite and limitless will not fit into limited space or an ocean cannot be squeezed into a swimming pool.

The same subject is repeated once again in the Quran with slightly different emphasis: “Say, ‘If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’” (Al Quran 18:109)

The Quran is the only scripture known to mankind that has been preserved in its very original Arabic text for eternity under Divine guarantee.

It is a miracle!

“Illiterate himself, scarcely able to read or write, he was yet the author of a book which is a poem, a code of laws,” wrote Reginald Bosworth Smith, “A Book of Common Prayer, and a Bible in one, and is reverenced to this day by a sixth of the whole human race as a miracle of purity of style, of wisdom, and of truth. It was the one miracle claimed by Mohammed—his ‘standing miracle’ he called it; and a miracle indeed it is.”[1]

In the 21st century residents of a European country, namely the Swiss voters have backed a ban on building any more mosques with minarets in their country. The Holy Quran, revealed in the desert of Arabia in the seventh century stated that the purpose of defensive warfare is to preserve the sanctity of cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques. The Quran named the place of worship of the Muslims as the last on this sacred list.[2] Is the Quran a miracle or not?

Religious tolerance is not the only teaching wherein the Holy Quran excels all other secular books or religious scriptures. Since 1982 half a million people have died in USA alone in alcohol related traffic accidents, to name only one problem from alcohol.[3] The Holy Quran emphatically forbade alcohol, saving the believers from this mother of many evils. Is it a miracle or not?

Sir Godfrey Higgins wrote, “By the law of Mohamed all games of chance were expressly prohibited: the beneficial tendency of this law surely no one will deny. He is refused all merit for his morality, because it is said that he only copied it from the Bible. I have not observed the prohibition of this vice either in the decalogue or the gospels.”[4] Fifteen million people now display some sign of gambling addiction in USA, and inflict themselves and the society with pain. The Holy Quran nipped the evil in the bud. Is it a miracle or not?

“Mohamedism  is reproached with copying its morality from the gospel;”  Sir Godfrey  Higgins wrote in the defense of the Prophet, “a philosopher, perhaps, may  suspect that when the prophet was availing himself of the excellent moral  precepts of Christianism, he had sense, not only to take the good, but to leave  the evil; to adopt the morality, but to avoid the hired priesthood which, in his  day, had filled the world with bloodshed and misery, and was rapidly reducing it  to a state of the most debasing ignorance.[5][6] Fourteen hundred years later the Catholic  Church is following suit in their negotiation with the Anglican Church.[7][8]  Every time we contrast the Holy Quran with the  Bible, the Quran comes out ahead.  Is it a miracle or not?

The Quran was revealed in a seventh century  tribal society yet it has 800 verses stressing the study of nature.  Is it  a miracle or not? It anticipates both the Big Bang and the fact that all living  things require and contain water, in the same verse, “Do not the disbelievers  see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them  out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then  believe?”[9] Is  it a miracle or not? Read on and in the  words of Francis Bacon, Read not to contradict … but to weigh  and consider.”

I have given only a few examples of the beauty and excellence of the Quran above.  Its scope and effect on human condition is limitless.  It cannot be captured by one person. It is a miracle of infinite proportions and in this age of information, we have to learn and admire its beauty not only through the prism of one author or scholar, but through the concerted effort of the whole of humanity, regardless of their religion, sect or other biases; as the Quran is not only an ocean of knowledge and wisdom, but perhaps all the oceans combined and beyond.

A genuine combined effort by the Muslims to bring out the best in the holy Quran, can yield rich dividends, not the least of which would be their overcoming the sectarian divide and become the brothers and sisters that the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, wished them to be.

Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran


[1] Reginald Bosworth Smith, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, 1889 edition. Page 290.
[2] Al Quran 22:41.
[3] http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html
[4] Godfrey Higgins Esq, An apology for the life and character of the prophet Mohamed or the illustrious. Year of publication 1829. Pages 35. Printed by G. Smallfield, Hackney. The book is available on the Archive.org.
[5] Sir Godfrey Higgins Esq, An apology for the life and character of the prophet Mohamed or the illustrious. Year of publication 1829. Pages 30. Printed by G. Smallfield, Hackney.
[6] Al Quran 58:22.
[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2009/11/091121_anglicans_nh_kv.shtml
[8] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8405437.stm
[9] Al Quran 21:30.

Categories: Qur'an, Quran, The Muslim Times

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