These are the famous opening words of “The Raven”, authored by Baltimore’s most famous poet -- Edgar Allan Poe. The Baltimore Ravens rocked the SF 49ers (quoth the raven, 'Nevermore'!) tonight, looking neither weak nor weary, so hats offs!
Curiously enough, ravens are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an when Allah sends a raven to Cain after he murdered his brother Abel (do resist the Harbaugh analogies please :). The raven showed him how to bury his brother, and Cain then felt bad.
“Then Allah sent a raven which scratched in the ground, that He might show him how to hide the corpse of his brother. He said, ‘Woe is me! Am I not able to be even like this raven so that I may hide the corpse of my brother?’ And then he became regretful.” -- Surah Al Ma’aidah Ch 5 vs 32 (Hadrat Maulwi Sher Ali translation):
Coincidental finding. But what’s no accident, however, is the author of The Raven’s enthusiasm for the Holy Qur’an.
Edgar A. Poe, familiar with George Sale’s ‘Koran’, was known to have made references and allusions to The Qur’an in his poems. It is believed The Pit and the Pendulum was inspired by Surah Burooj’s mention of The Pit. In his beautiful poem entitled (in latinized Arabic) “Israfil”, he himself left this footnote regarding this Islamic angel: "And the angel Israfel, or Israfeli whose heart-strings are a lute, and who is the most musical of all God's creatures". Similarly, he entitled a long poem “Al Araaf”, the very name of one of the heavenly chapters of the Holy Qur’an.
Now you tell me. Why did this American -- born into Victorian times, with no Muslim loyalties or family -- find the Qur’an so captivating? What did this literary critic find so appealing about the Holy Qur’an? What fascinated him about it? Do YOU know enough about the Holy Qur’an to write about it passionately? Are YOU moved to emotions which will inspire poems of longing and yearning?
The Holy Qur’an is a magnificent book. Take what’s always been yours all along and recognize it for the beautiful thing that it is.