4.5 More About the Koran
Like most people at that time, Mohamed could not read. When he told the angel, "I cannot read," he was stating a fact. The Arabs loved poetry and often extemporized spontaneous verse, but Mohamed was no poet, he never composed spontaneous verse or wrote or read anything, therefore these verses were something very strange and precious to him. The very fine language together with their Origin made them a priceless treasure. Every verse that came down after that he memorized very, very carefully as something very precious that would be completely lost if he did not capture it then and there. This continued for some time until the holy verses descended assuring him that no word, no letter would be lost unless it was the will of Allah. He was admonished not to repeat immediately after Gabriel, as he used to do out of fear lest he forget, but to listen and he would be instructed in how to read the words of Allah and then on the background, meaning, and implications of the words. The holy verses say,
"We have sent down the Word, and We shall preserve it."
After this reassurance the Messenger began to relax and learn in an unhurried manner.
The Arabs are poets by instinct and that age was the golden age of their poetry, but the language of the Koran surpasses anything that the masters of poetry and oratory have produced in any age. It has the smooth rhythmic flow of verse, though it is not verse, and the stately majesty of the best prose, though it is not prose. The style is grand without being pompous, accurate and clear without being harsh or artificial. The Arabic language is an exceedingly fine language, but in the Koran it attains an excellence never reached before or since. It is not strange that those of literary bent find great joy in it while the spiritual are moved to tears, for, beyond its literary splendor, it has a nameless spiritual quality that affects people in different ways. It is said that Umar ibn AI-Khattab, who had towering rages, used to calm down immediately on hearing any verse of the Koran. Quraysh felt that in the Koran Mohamed had a weapon beyond anything they could produce and in envy and malice they accused him of being a “magician of words”, who took away people's senses by the sheer beauty of his utterances. Nothing could be further from the truth for the Koran appeals to the mind as well as the heart, moreover it urges man to think and reason to find out the truth.