Status of ‘Poetry’ in Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Many people are fascinated by religious poetry. Some by-gone religious heavy weights in people’s eyes were poets. However, the Quran does not speak highly of the poets and does not make distinction between type of poetry. Therefore, we cannot say that what Quran says about poetry, excludes such and such type of poetry. For those who may have great fascination with poetry and poets especially religious poetry, this may be a strong Ilah (which hinders to act on Allah’s command) and they may devise some justification to cover/reject below ayahs. The ayahs below describe that Quran is not poetry; poetry is not worthy for the messenger (pbuh); Instigators descend on poets and the poets follows their instigators.

26:221- 226

هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ عَلَىٰ مَن تَنَزَّلُ الشَّيَاطِين تَنَزَّلُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ

يُلْقُونَ السَّمْعَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ كَاذِبُونَ

وَالشُّعَرَاءُ يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُونَ  أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّهُمْ فِي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَهِيمُونَ

وَأَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفْعَلُونَ

“Shall I give you the news on whom the Shayateen/satans descend? They descend on every liar, wicked person. They pour forth in the hearing and the majority of them are liars. And on poets (The satans descend), who follow their strayers. Don’t you see that they wander distracted in every valley? And that they say what they do not practice?”

This Quran is not poetry nor its should be accompanied by the saying of a poet. But many will not believe that:

69:41 وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَاعِرٍ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تُؤْمِنُونَ

“It is not with the saying of a poet: little it is you believe!”

Poetry is not worthy of the Messenger (pbuh);

36:69   وَمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ الشِّعْرَ وَمَا يَنبَغِي لَهُ ۚ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ وَقُرْآنٌ مُّبِينٌ

“We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it worthy of him, this is no less than a Message and a Qur’an making things clear.”

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