The miracle is the message
Wa rabbaka fa kabbir.
The waw in the beginning is like the English capital letter. In Arabic, the letter waw can be used for 21 things. One of them is to start a new sentence. So think of it as a new sentence. The rest of the ayah says,
Rabbaka fa kabbir.
What’s the first letter you see? Ra. Now look for the last letter: ra. Then look at the second letter: ba. The second last letter is ba. The third letter is kaaf. The third last letter is kaaf. Notice something? It’s spelled backwards and forwards the same way. In English literature, this is called a palindrome.
Allah gave our messenger words that he didn’t write down. Wa ma tukhuttuhu bi yaminik, Allah tells him, “You didn’t write anything down with your hand.” So this is entirely an oral exercise for the messenger. Once he says something, he doesn’t correct it. That’s it. It’s exactly the way Allah instructed him to recite.
The challenge for mankind is… the simple translation of the ayah is, “Declare the greatness only of your lord.” Try to say that in English or French or German or Japanese or Chinese or Urdu. You pick the language. Say it so it spells backwards and forwards orally, and you have one attempt only. No writing down, no looking up in dictionaries. How possible is that?
We can translate the ayah, but we can’t translate the miracle. You get some of the message, but you don’t get the miracle. The miracle of the Quran is in the Arabic language. Every ayah has its own miracle. The tragedy of our times is most people don’t even know the message of the Quran. And for the people who know the message of the Quran, the vast majority of them don’t know the miracle of the Quran. The Quran is two things at the same time: miracle and message. So this is something that’s lost from the general knowledge of the Muslim population. Just imagine, if our children even knew 5 ayat, knew what it meant, and then knew the miracle of those ayat, wouldn’t they have a different kind of iman? It would mean more to them. This is why you see a difference between our iman and the iman of the sahabah. One of the reasons among the many reasons is that when they heard the Quran, they heard the message and miracle at the same time. At the most, we hear one thing. So this is one thing to definitely be a student of the Arabic language. We also want to taste the beauty of the miracle.
[From Why and How to Learn the Arabic Spoken in the Quran by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan]
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