What is the secret of Islam’s success throughout history?

For those who want to know the secret of Islam’s success throughout history need look no further than the phenomenon that is the Holy Qur’an. There are few, if any, books in the world that come anywhere close to its enduring spiritual power. 

One of the miraculous properties of the Quran is that the reciter never tires of it and the listener cannot forbear it, and, on the contrary, the delight of the recitation only increases the longer one devotes oneself to it and repeats the words, so that one cannot but love it. Its bloom and its freshness never cease. Other recitations, even if they equal the Quran in beauty and eloquence, finish by producing weariness if constantly repeated. But our Book fills one, as often as one returns to it in seclusion, with enjoyment, and the recitation of it brings happiness even in adversity. This is not found in other writings, so that their admirers have composed melodies for them and devised external means of enlivening their recitation. That is why the Messenger of God described the Quran with words that it does not grow stale no matter how often one recites it, and that is teachings never run dry and its wonders have no end.

Quotation from Qadi Iyad’s Shifa vol. 1 p. 276.  Iyad was a high judge (qadi) in Granada. He died 1149 AD.

The Quran, which created an incredible civilisation, addresses simple people and sophisticated people, philosophers and kings, as well as peasants and shepherds.  That’s one of the attractions and powers of the Quran is that it literally speaks to the highest and the lowest and there is a common ground because it is speaking about the most important things that we deal with. Also worth mentioning is that the Quran spread within a hundred years from China all the way to Spain and all of those various peoples spoke different languages and yet in spite of the fact that the Quran was in Arabic the Quran was able to speak to all of them because it was speaking to their hearts and minds not just to their ears, to their tongue. It was speaking about meanings that human beings share and that is why the Quran is a universal book.     

One of the things if you read some other traditions you will notice that in their scriptures there is a great deal of geographical description, things that really relate to living in the jungle for instance whereas Islam if you look at the Quran its speaking to people who travel on the ocean despite the fact that the Arabs did not travel on the ocean, so it speaks to sailors in the middle of the ocean dealing with massive waves, it also speaks to people travelling in the desert, it speaks to people traveling in the mountains, people who live agricultural lives, pastoralists, its speaks to merchants and it speaks to people who have trades who make things by hand, so everybody will find themselves in the Quran and the Quran does speak to everyone.

From a talk by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf.

I find it remarkable that someone such as myself, an Englishman living in 2019, can find the Quran to contain such inexhaustible riches of wisdom, spiritual insight and truth. It never bores me or grows stale. Truly, an amazing Book! For those who want to know the secret of Islam’s success throughout history and its profound influence upon people’s lives today need look no further than this Book of books.

Categories: History, Qur'an


9 replies

  1. How true this sounds! As a Nigerian who hails from a region which never hosted Arabs until sometimes between the thirteenth and fourteenth century, (who speaks little Arabic), the rhythm of the Quran as well as its indescribable eloquence is one which I have found quite fascinating. There is no book in the world which speaks to the mind in such a profound and intoxicating manner as the Quran. Having read it, listened to it and studied it, I share Raymond Farrin’s sentiment that it is well beyond the capacity of man, much less an illiterate bedouin to produce such a text. If one goes further to consider the truth that its verses were spontaneously revealed (the evidence for this is present within it), things only get more fascinating.

  2. The Quran is a human product.


    Al-Razi (The famous polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medicine. He also wrote on logic, astronomy and grammar.) “By God, we are amazed that you say the Qur’ān is a miracle when it is full of contradictions. It is a narration of ancient myths, it has no benefit, and it is not proof of anything.”

  3. Im from the far east, and my culture and ancestry has little to do with semitic civilization, but reading the Qur’an in Arabic is so intoxicating to me, and I’m blessed that I have the knowledge to understand what it conveys in its original Arabic yes it is speaking to my hearts and minds everytime I recite it.

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