Imru‘ al-Qais and a verse of the Holy Quran

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Last Updated on 15th January 2021

The Promised Messiahas states:

“These kinds of evil-minded people have always existed in the past, who did not hesitate to raise objections against the Word of God [the Holy Quran], and despite their lack of knowledge, they did not shy away from finding faults.

“For instance, some mischievous people have objected that some of the verses of Surah [al-Qamar] of the Holy Quran, [e.g.] اقۡتَرَبَتِ‭ ‬السَّاعَةُ‭ ‬وَانۡشَقَّ‭ ‬الۡقَمَرُ, are an excerpt from a qaseeda [poem] of Diwan Imru‘ al-Qais, i.e. those verses are plagiarised from it. 

“They should have given some thought to all those accounts of the old scriptures mentioned in the Holy Quran in a very elegant way and also to those divine pearls of wisdom and knowledge which are described within it in an extraordinary manner and then [let us know] if those verses were plagiarised from the works of any Arab poet. Hence, these people are not enlightened but blind; they do not recognise the expressiveness that flows like a river and try to cast doubts by seeing coincidental correspondence in a couple of verses. 

“These people are men of the same nature as the person from whose mouth [the phrase] فَتَبٰرَكَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬اَحۡسَنُ‭ ‬الۡخٰلِقِيۡنَ came out and spontaneously, the same verse was revealed, but he renounced [Islam doubting] that his words were [deliberately] added in the Holy Quran.” (Nuzul-ul-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, pp. 32-33)

Referring to the above mentioned extract, opponents of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, claim that some ignorant person attributed the phrase اقۡتَرَبَتِ‭ ‬السَّاعَةُ‭ ‬وَانۡشَقَّ‭ ‬الۡقَمَرُ to Imru‘ al-Qais because neither the Mu‘allaqa (one of the seven long eloquent Arabic poems hung on the Ka‘bah from the pre-Islamic era) ofImru‘ al-Qais, nor his Diwan (collection of poetry) contain this phrase. In their view, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat did not know whether this phrase was part of Imru‘ al-Qais’ poetry, but still mentioned it in his book.

Above all else, we will look into the pages of history to evaluate the authenticity of the aforementioned allegation and show who those people are who attributed the said phrase to Imru‘ al-Qais. Our research finds that apart from a well-renowned Islamic scholar, this phrase has been attributed to Imru‘ al-Qais by Christian researchers as well.

The mujaddid [reformer] of the 9th century AH, Hazrat Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyutirh authored a hadith collection called, Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir fi Ahadith al-Bashir al-Nadhir, which also contains a couple of ahadith about Imru‘ al-Qais. He states:

امرؤ‭ ‬القيس‭ ‬صاحب‭ ‬لواء‭ ‬الشعراء‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬النار

“Imru‘ al-Qais will be the flag-bearer [of that group] of poets who are bound for Hell.”

 Hazrat Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyutirh further states:

امرؤ‭ ‬القيس‭ ‬قائد‭ ‬الشعراء‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬النار‭ ‬لانّه‭ ‬اول‭ ‬من‭ ‬احكم‭ ‬قوافيها

“Imru‘ al-Qais will be the leader of the poets destined for Hell because he is the first to introduce metres in poetry.” (Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir fi Ahadith al-Bashir al-Nadhir, Part 1, p. 102, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2004)

An Egyptian Islamic scholar, Imam Abdul Rauf al-Maanawirh has written a commentary on Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir fi Ahadith al-Bashir al-Nadhir, which carries the title, Faidh al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami al-Saghir. Referring to the above mentioned ahadith in his commentary, he states:

وقد ‬تكلم‭ ‬امرؤ‭ ‬القيس‭ ‬بالقرآن‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬ان‭ ‬ينزل، فقال‭ ‬اقتربت‭ ‬الساعة‭ ‬وانشق‭ ‬القمر من‭ ‬غزال‭ ‬صاد قلبی ونفر

“Before the Holy Quran was revealed, Imru‘ al-Qais said, ‘That special hour approached and the Moon was rent asunder because of that deer-like beloved, whose existence has taken hold of my heart and has now run away.’” (Faidh al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami al-Saghir, Vol. 2, p. 187)

Imam Abdul Rauf Al-Manaawirh was born in 952 AH and passed away in 1031 AH in Egypt. He could not have attributed the phrase اقتربت‭ ‬الساعة‭ ‬وانشق‭ ‬القمر to Imru‘ al-Qais without hearing it from the literary scholars of his age. 

Moreover, Christian scholars have likewise raised objections of plagiarism against the Holy Quran by citing the said phrase in relation to Surah al-Qamar. This also authenticates the statement of the Promised Messiahas mentioned in the excerpt at the outset. 

A Christian, Rev William St Clair Tisdall, wrote a book in the Persian language, which was translated into English by William Muir and published under the title, The Sources of Islam. In this book, he objects: 

“It is interesting also to note that some verses of the Quran have, without doubt, been taken from poems anterior to Muhammad’s assumption of the prophetic office, in proof of which two passages in the Sab‘aa Mu‘allaqat of Imru‘ al-Qais etc. are quoted, in which several verses of the Quran occur, such as, ‘The hour has come, and shattered is the moon.’ It was the custom of the time for poets and orators to hang up their compositions upon the Ka‘bah and we know the Seven Mu‘allaqaat were so exposed. 

“We are told that Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, was one day repeating as she went along, the above verse. Just then she met the daughter of Imru‘ al-Qais, who cried out, ‘O that’s what your father has taken from one of my father’s poems and calls it something that has come down to him out of Heaven’; and the story is commonly told amongst the Arabs until now. 

“The connection between the poetry of Imru‘ al-Qais and the Quran is so obvious that the Muslim cannot but hold that they existed with the latter in the Heavenly Table from all eternity! What then will he answer? That the words were taken from the Quran and entered in the poem, – an impossibility. Or that their writer was not really Imru‘ al-Qais, but some other who, after the appearance of the Quran, had the audacity to quote them there as they now appear; – rather a difficult thing to prove!” (The Sources of Islam, pp. 9-10) 

Hence, these examples vividly prove the reliability of the statement of the Promised Messiahas and also substantiate that the opponents are ones who are ignorant and not the scholars of Islam.

Time after time, the opponents try to damage the reputation of the Promised Messiahas by raising similar baseless allegations, but Allah the Almighty always preserves the honour and glory of His Prophet Ahmadas and fulfills the following promise of His on every occasion:

اِنِّيْ‭ ‬مُهِيْنٌ‭ ‬مَّنْ‭ ‬اَرَادَ‭ ‬اِهَانَتَكَ

“I shall humiliate him who seeks to humiliate you [the Promised Messiahas].”

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