If we wish we can say the like of this Qur’an
Describing His Ever-Glorious Book, Allah Almighty says:
Say, “If the whole of mankind and jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support
(Al-Isra’ 17: 88)
Yet, the pagans of Quraish arrogantly claimed that they could say the like of this Qur’an; to them it was nothing more than the tales of the ancients:
And when Our Ayat (of the Qur’an) are recited to them, they say, “We have heard this (the Qur’an); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients
(Al-Anfal 8: 31)
One of those transgressors who pushed the Words of Allah out of their lives and embraced error was An-Nadr bin Al-Harith. He had gone to Al-Hirah Kingdom where he learned the tales of the kings of Persia and people like Rustum and Asphandiar, as a way to counteract the words of the Prophet (pbuh) and attract people away from the Qur’an with lies and myths.
Whenever the Prophet (pbuh) rose from a gathering in which he (pbuh) reminded people of Allah and warned them of the punishment that befell the previous nations, An-Nadr would sit in his place and say, “O people of Quraish! By Allah, my talk is better than his. Come to me and I will tell you a tale better than his.” Then he would relate to them tales of the kings of Persia, Rustum, and Asphandiar.1
Ibn ‘Abbas t also narrated that An-Nadr bought a songstress, and whenever he heard that someone wanted to embrace Islam, he would hastily take him to his songstress and say, “Give him food and drink and sing to him. This is better than that to which Muhammad is calling you.”
An Ayah concerning him was revealed,2 saying:
Of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (people) from the Path of Allah
(Luqman 31: 6)
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: The Harm An-Nadr bin Al-Harith Inflicted on the Messenger of Allah r, vol. 1; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): The Diverse Tactics Used In Fighting the Islamic Call.
- Jalal Ad-Din As-Suyuti, Ad-Durr Al-Manthur, interpretation of Surat Luqman [31:6]; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): The Diverse Tactics Used In Fighting the Islamic Call.