Dr. Josef Horovitz (1874-1931)

Jewish German orientalist and Professor at the University of Berlin

“The Qur’an played a key role in the intellectual development of Muslims. It motivated them to focus upon scholarly research and instigated the creation of knowledge. Even their formidable military advances, that led them to the very heart of Europe, were inspired by the Qur’an.

There, in a time when all of Europe languished in the Dark Ages, the Muslim nation was responsible for lighting the torch of humanity and knowledge. It was then that they rendered such great services to all field of science and learning.

The rejuvenated the ancient sciences and disseminated their wisdom into the East and the West. Philosophy, medicine, astronomy and architecture were a few of the fields kept alive by them. In fact, it was their effort that sent us upon our eventual path towards reformation and renaissance. From this point of view, one cannot resist a feeling of nostalgia for Cordoba, the Muslim capital in Europe, and thus shed a solemn tear in remembrance of its fall.”

Dr. Hartwig Hirschfeld (1854-1934)

Renowned orientalist and lecturer for Judaeo-Arabic studies at the Jews’ College in London

“We must not be surprised to find the Qoran regarded as the fountain-head of all the sciences. Every subject connected with heaven or earth, human life, commerce and various trades are occasionally touched upon, and this gave rise to the production of numerous monographs forming commentaries on parts of the holy book. In this way the Qoran was responsible for great discussions, and to it was also indirectly due the marvellous development of all branches of science in the Moslim world. — This again not only affected the Arabs but also induced Jewish philosophers to treat metaphysical and religious questions after Arab methods. Finally, the way in which Christian scholasticism was fertilised by Arabian theosophy need not be further discussed.

Spiritual activity once aroused within the Islamic bounds, was not confined to theological speculations alone. Acquaintance with the philosophical, mathematical, astronomical and medical writings of the Greeks, led to the pursuance of these studies. In the descriptive revelations Muhammed repeatedly calls attention to the movements of the heavenly bodies, as parts of the miracles of Allah forced into the service of man and therefore not to be worshipped. How successfully Moslem peoples of all races pursued the study of astronomy is shown by the fact that for centuries they were its principal supporters. Even now many Arabic names of stars and technical terms are in use. Mediaeval astronomers in Europe were pupils of the Arabs, and the last Muhammedan astronomer, who was at the same time one of the greatest, only died about twenty years before the birth of Copernicus.

In the same manner the Qoran gave an impetus to medical studies and recommended the contemplation and study of Nature in general. The very necessity for a better understanding of the Qoran itself impelled Moslems and particularly those who were not natives of Arabia to study its language. Renan has shown that the beginning of linguistic research among the Arabs was due neither to Greek influence nor to that of Syrian Christians. These studies resulted in the production of an unrivalled grammatical and lexicographical literature as immense as it is minutely worked out, and upon which our knowledge of the Arabic language is based. Linguistic pursuits were followed by literary pursuits. — Moslim scholars had the good sense not to allow the treasure of songs which had come down from pre-Islamic times to fall into oblivion, but collected them reverently and accompanied compilations with annotations, most welcome to readers of old poems. Not less important were these endeavours to settle questions connected with the forms from which the poems were composed, and they thus produced a most extensive literature on prosody. For many centuries after, Arabic prosody furnished the forms in which the best productions of medieval Jewish poetry both in Hebrew and Arabic were written. Even in the development of Arabic poetry itself the Qoran marks a very important phase. In pre-Islamic Arabic short ditties were the recognised medium for conveying public opinion from mouth to mouth. The forms of poetry had become so firmly established in the minds of the people, that even Islam could not alter them, though it succeeded in revolutionizing all else. As regards the theme of the poems, however, the effect was different.”

“It need hardly be demonstrated that the spread of the art of writing throughout the Moslim world is also greatly due to the Qoran.”

“Our sciences, our languages, certain terms used in daily life show more Arabic, and also Qoranic words than the world at large is aware of. The person of Muhammed himself forms the focus of several universal proverbs.”

New Researches into the Composition and Exegesis of the QorÁn, Hartwig Hirschfeld, pg. 9, 12, 13; Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1902

Jules La Beaume (1806-1876)

The French thinker, intellectual and writer

“The people of the world came to acquire science and knowledge from the Muslims, who acquired them from the Qur’an, which is an ocean of knowledge, and caused streams (of knowledge) to flow from it in the world, for mankind…”

Le Koran Analysé: d’après la traduction de M. Kasimirski et les observations de plusieurs autres savants orientalists (as quoted within “One Hundred and Eighty Questions, Vol. 1 by Nasir Makarim Shirazi)

Rev. John Medows Rodwell (1808-1900)

English scholar and Christian clergyman

“It must be acknowledged, too, that the Koran deserves the highest praise for its conceptions of the Divine nature, in reference to the attributes of Power, Knowledge, and universal Providence and Unity–that its belief and trust in the One God of Heaven and Earth is deep and fervent.

It is due to the Koran, that the occupants in the sixth century of an arid peninsula, whose poverty was only equaled by their ignorance, become not only the fervent and sincere votaries of a new creed, but, like Amru and many more, its warlike propagators. Impelled possibly by drought and famine, actuated partly by desire of conquest, partly by religious convictions, they had conquered Persia in the seventh century, the northern coasts of Africa, and a large portion of Spain in the eighth, the Punjaub and nearly the whole of India in the ninth. The simple shepherds and wandering Bedouins of Arabia, are transformed, as if by a magician’s wand, into the founders of empires, the builders of cities, the collectors of more libraries than they at first destroyed, while cities like Fostât, Baghdad, Cordova, and Delhi, attest the power at which Christian Europe trembled. And thus, while the Koran, which underlays this vast energy and contains the principles which are its springs of action, reflects to a great extent the mixed character of its author, its merits as a code of laws, and as a system of religious teaching, must always be estimated by the changes which it introduced into the customs and beliefs of those who willingly or by compulsion embraced it. In the suppression of their idolatries, in the substitution of the worship of Allah for that of the powers of nature and genii with Him, in the abolition of child murder, in the extinction of manifold superstitious usages, in the reduction of the number of wives to a fixed standard, it was to the Arabians an unquestionable blessing, and an accession, though not in the Christian sense a Revelation, of Truth; and while every Christian must deplore the overthrow of so many flourishing Eastern churches by the arms of the victorious Muslims, it must not be forgotten that Europe, in the middle ages, owed much of her knowledge of dialectic philosophy, of medicine, and architecture, to Arabian writers, and that Muslims formed the connecting link between the West and the East for the importation of numerous articles of luxury and use.”

The Koran, Translated By Rev. J.M. Rodwell, Introduction By Rev. G. Margoliouth, Pg. 27-28; A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication, 2004

Paul Casanova (1861-1926)

The famous French scholar, professor at the prestigious Collège de France and orientalist

“Whenever Muhammad was asked a miracle, as a proof of the authenticity of his mission, he quoted the composition of the Qur’an and its incomparable excellence as proof of its Divine origin. And, in fact, even for those who are non-Muslims nothing is more marvelous than its language which with such a apprehensible plenitude and grasping sonority with its simple audition ravished with admiration those primitive peoples so fond of eloquence. The ampleness of its syllables with a grandiose cadence and remarkable rhythm have been of much momentum in the conversion of the most hostile and the most skeptical”.

L’Enseignement de I’Arabe au College de France (The Arab Teaching at the College of France), Paul Casanova, Leçon d’ouverture, 26th April 1909

Prof. Rev. Harry Gaylord Dorman Jr. (1906-1991)

An American Christian missionary and orientalist

“In the defense of Islam the Qur’an’s position is primary. It is the literal revelation of God, dictated to Muhammad by Gabriel, perfect in every letter. It is an ever-present miracle witnessing to itself and to Muhammad, the Prophet of God. Its miraculous quality resides partly in its style so perfect and lofty that neither men nor jinn could produce a single chapter to compare with its briefest chapter, and partly in its content of teaching, prophecies about the future, and amazingly accurate information such as the illiterate Muhammad could never have gathered of his own accord.”

Towards Understanding Islam – Contemporary Apologetics of Islam and Missionary Policy, Harry Gaylord Dorman, pg. 111; Bureau of Publications, Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York, 1948

Page 4 of 41234