Alfred Guillaume (1888-1966)

A famous British orientalist, Arabist and Islamic researcher, he was a professor of Arabic and the Head of the Department of the Near and Middle East at the University of London. He also taught at several other prestigious universities in Europe and America

“The Qur’an is one of the world’s classics which cannot be translated without grave loss. It has a rhythm of peculiar beauty and a cadence that charms the ear. Many Christian Arabs speak of its style with warm admiration, and most Arabists acknowledge its excellence. When it is read aloud or recited it has an almost hypnotic effect that makes the listener indifferent to its sometimes strange syntax and it’s sometimes, to us, repellent content. It is this quality it possesses of silencing criticism by the sweet music of its language that has given birth to the dogma of its inimitability; indeed it may be affirmed that within the literature of the Arabs, wide and fecund as it is both in poetry and in elevated prose, there is nothing to compare with it.”

Islam, Alfred Guillaume, pp. 73-74; Penguin Books, 1990