Theodor Nöldeke (1836-1930)

Nöldeke was a renowned German university professor, orientalist, philologist and expert on Islamic history

“The Qur’an (Kor’an) is the foundation of Islam. It is the sacred book of more than a hundred millions of men, some of them nations of immemorial civilization, by all of whom it is regarded as the immediate word of God. And since the use of the Qur’an in public worship, in schools and otherwise, is much more extensive than, for example, the reading of the Bible in most Christian countries, it has truly been described as the most widely-read book in existence. This circumstance alone is sufficient to give it an urgent claim on our attention, whether it suit our taste and fall in with our religious and philosophical views or not. Besides, it is the work of Muhammad, and as such is fitted to afford a clue to the spiritual development of that most successful of all prophets and religious personalities.”

“But by far the greatest part of the book is undoubtedly the result deliberation, touched more or less with emotion and animated by a certain rhetorical rather than poetical glow. Many passages are based upon purely intellectual reflection.”

“Hence the style of the Qur’an is not poetical but rhetorical; and the powerful effect which some portions produce on us is gained by rhetorical means. Accordingly the sacred book has not even the artistic form of poetry; which, among the Arabs, includes a stringent meter as well as rhyme. The Qur’an is never metrical, and only a few exceptionally eloquent portions fall into a sort of spontaneous rhythm. On the other hand, the rhyme is regularly maintained; although, especially in the later pieces, after a very slovenly fashion.”

The Qur’an: An Introductory Essay, Theodor Nöldeke, pg. 3, 5-6, 11, 12; Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1992