Sirri Pasha (rahmatullahi ’alaih), the Governor of Baghdad, wrote in his book entitled Sirr-i furqân, on the seventy-fifth page of the first volume of its third edition, which was printed in Istanbul in 1312 A.H.:A year before writing this book of mine, on a Friday, in Diyâr-i Bekr, we were sitting with the notables of the city. The famous priest of Kaldânî, Abd-i Yasű’, well-known for his profound learning of the Arabic language and of the knowledge of religion, was among us. As I introduced those who were with me to Mehmed Rashid Pasha, the governer of Mosul, my guest, I said about Abd-i Yasű: “He is very deep in Arabic literature.” So, eloquence became the major topic of our conversation. Later, the subject was changed from language to nationalism. On that occasion, I narrated the conversation which once had taken place between me and a Christian from Beirut. I said that I had asked him, “Everybody boasts about the great personalities of his nation. You are of Arabic origin. If they asked you who was the greatest man of your nation with respect to knowledge, art, and eloquence in establishing a great state, how would you answer?” The Christian from Beirut had immediately answered, “We have to say, Muhammad [alayhissalâm].” Then, turning to Abd-i Yasű’ I asked, “What would you say if I asked you?”
Abd-i Yasű’ said, “Yes, I agree that he is the greatest and the most famous man from among the Arabs with respect to establishing are great state and serving a civilization. But I do not agree that [Hadrat] Muhammad is the most eloquent of the Arabs because he does not have a work to demonstrate this. If you should put forward the Qur’ân, well, you say that the Qur’ân is not his word. That the Qur’ân is very literary and very eloquent does not mean that he is very literary and eloquent. Yes, he was literary and eloquent. But there were others, too. For example, [Hadrat] Alî’s sayings show us the fact that he was like [Hadrat] Muhammad in possessing literary talent and eloquence. We all know about the fame of Umruul Qays and Qus bin Sâ’îda before Islâm. Even [Hadrat] Muhammad liked the khutba performed by Qus bin Sâ’îda.”
Those who listened to his statements began to talk with one another, making some noise. So I got up and said, “For the time being, I will not ask anybody to help me. Easy, please.” Everybody was silent. I answered him as follows:
S.P .– At this time, let us put our religious feelings and our bigotry aside, and talk seriously with knowledge! What do you say about the Qur’ân! Whose word is the Qur’ân al-kerîm?
A.Y. – Muhammad [alayhissalâm] made the Qur’ân together with his friends.
S.P. – Recently, after the written order about my governorship was read, you recited an Arabic prayer. If they tell you that somebody else wrote that prayer and gave it to you, will you keep silent?
A.Y. – I will not; I will say that I prepared it.
S.P. – Why?
A.Y. – Because I prepared that prayer.
S.P. – You are right. If a person who wrote a lyrical poem of only five couplets finds out that one of this couplets has been stolen, he will want the thief to be punished. Every person boasts about his own work; isn’t it right?
A.Y. – Yes.
S.P. – Is it possible to make a prayer better than that of yours?
A.Y. – Yes, it is.
S.P. – Is there a difference between your prayer and the Qur’ân al-kerîm with respect to literature and eloquence?
A.Y. – Sure. There is a great deal.
S.P. – Shouldn’t great honor be bestowed upon those who wrote a Qur’ân with expressions that Arabic men of letters and all men of knowledge, whether they are friends or enemies, cannot convey as the Qur’ân al-kerîm does, though they strive so hard?
A.Y. – Yes, it should!
S.P. – Does the owner of such a superior work donate it to someone else? Muhammad (alayhissalâm) used to say, “This Qur’ân is the word of Allah. If you do not believe it, try to express yourself as well as one of its verses! You cannot!” They were not able to do so, despite their great enmity and their cooperative efforts. Some of them believed it as soon as they saw its literary superiority and its eloquence. And some others admitted it willy-nilly by saying that man could not express it. If Hadrat Muhammad had done it together with a few persons, the enemies also would have assembled together and done the same, for there were literary and eloquent people among the disbelievers as there were among the Muslims. Furthermore, while challenging them with it, how can he be said to have silenced his assistants with his property, rank or government, since he did not have any of these? The Qur’ân al-kerîm was not put forward as a whole as the Tawrât, the Zabűr, and the ’Injîl were. Then, how can one say that his assistants could not know that this work of theirs would be so valuable, and that later they would repent, but it would be too late? The Qur’ân descended slowly over twenty-three years. When each verse was revealed everybody admired it. If he had had assistants, could they have kept silent for twenty-three years while seeing that their own work won so much fame and honour, no matter how patient, how devoted they were?”
A.Y. – “The correct statement is that Muhammad [alayhissâlam] wrote the Qur’ân by himself.”
S.P. – “How do you find the Qur’ân al-kerîm?”
A.Y. – “Very elequent, very literary and full of great wisdom.”
S.P. – “Then he who wrote it should be a sage.”
A.Y. – “Yes.”
S.P. – “This means to say that Hadrat Muhammad was a sage.”
A.Y. – “No doubt, he was.”
S.P. – “Can a liar be a sage?”
A.Y. – “No.”
S.P. – “You say that Muhammad (alayhisslâm) was a sage, and also say that he who is a sage will tell the truth. Besides, all Christians must know him as true, because in the big church named Dair-i Za’faran in one of the villages of Mardin, I read the statement, ‘Everybody called [Hadrat] Muhammad the trustworthy Muhammad before his prophethood, for he was well-known for being truthful’, in one of the Arabic copies of The Divine History of Christians. Here, that trustworthy Muhammad told us, “The Qur’ân is not a human word. It is the word of Allah.’ What do you say about that? If you say, ‘No, I do not believe it,’ you will be disbelieving also the fact that he was a sage. If you abide by your word of saying that he was a sage, you will have to believe what he said, too.”
A.Y. – “To be more exact, [Hadrat] Muhammad was the Prophet. But he was the Prophet of the Arabs only.”
S.P. – “Thank you. The clouds of doubt are slipping away and the light of the truth is beginning to shine. You said that he who is divine does not lie. Does a prophet ever lie? Surely he never does. Then, you have to believe that Hadrat Muhammad is the Prophet for all people and all nations, for he communicates to us, ‘I am the Prophet for all human beings and all genies.’ What do you say about that?”
Pausing for a few seconds, he got up and went out, and he never came close to me again.