Hashim Amir-Ali, The Message of the Qur’an: Presented in Perspective (1974)


Once begun, there need be no end to a study of the Qur’an.

As a child I had Been made to go through the entire Scripture in Arabic as most Muslim children are expected to do. But, of course, I had understood not a word! In 1938, when I was 35, I came to know Mirza Abul Fazl, who, my late friend Jaisoorya told me, had translated the Qur’an in a chronological order. Why did that suddenly arouse my interest?

A few years later, (it was in the holy month of Ramadan, which corresponded to August 1944) at Abul Fazl’s insistence I read through a very halting Urdu translation of the Qur’an. Whether I reached the last Sura Nas I do not remember. But what I do remember is that I had found the translation irksome. The subject matter appeared to be inchoate, disconnected, repeti- tious, dealing over and over again with stories and situations which did not concern or interest me. I swore never again to waste my time in trying to discover the glory of the Qur'an. But I had sufficient courage to tell him of my impression when he asked me, more than once, whether I had read through it.

To my surprize, he smiled — a smile that used to light up his dark complexion — and went over with me, in the original Arabic, some of the passages that I had found particularly annoying. That smile had lighted a thin candle somewhere in the interstices of my mind. What exactly I was able to see in the Qur'an with its faint glimmer I cannot recall. But, like a moth going round and round a candle, I have been encircling that dim light ever since.
Many others have had a like experience. If such a light has not been kindled in the mind of the present reader it will be no fault of the Qur’an it will be because I am not Abul Fazl. But the chances are that the present reader too will, of himself, come back to the text over and over again for solace, guidance, and encouragement in times of elevation or perplexity.

So, let us, for the time being, gather together the threads and see if we can together formulate a pattern that can be preserved in memory until you are again drawn to the magic attraction of the Qur’an.

The Preambles at the commencement of this volume will be more comprehensible if one reads them again after a perusal of the entire text

Cite this page

Hashim Amir-Ali, The Message of the Qur’an: Presented in Perspective, Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc. of Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 01 Oct. 2022: http://quran-archive.org/explorer/hashim-amir-ali/1974?page=652