By Zarmeen Ghoor
The Quran is revered for its eloquence, wisdom, and spiritual depth. Within its pages lie verses that possess a unique beauty, inspiring awe and stirring the hearts of believers. This post describes some of the most beautiful verses in the Quran, verses that encapsulate the essence of divine beauty – offering solace, guidance, and profound insights into the human condition.
1. Allah is always near
If My servants ask you about Me, well, I am near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls to Me. Let them then respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may follow the right way.
[Surah Baqarah 2:186]
There are many comforting verses of the Quran that describe Allah’s closeness to us, his creation – but this verse stands out among the rest. It addresses the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but unlike elsewhere in the Quran where Allah then instructs Muhammad (pbuh) to “Tell them,” or “Say,” here Allah chooses to respond to His servants directly.
Allah conveys to us without an intermediary “I am near” – and then informs us that He answers the prayers of those who supplicate to Him, leaving a door to Him always ajar, and perhaps suggesting that we may be just as direct by praying to Him without intermediaries either.
After establishing the intimacy of our relationship with Allah, this verse goes on to urge us to respond to Allah and believe in Allah, so that we may follow the right way. In one beautifully succinct line, Allah answers some of the biggest questions that have always perplexed and agonized humankind –
“Why are we here? What is the purpose of my life? How can I attain happiness?”
The Quran is the universal, timeless guide to “the right way” – and it is ever-relevant in a time where “right” no longer has a clear meaning and societies each create their own relative truth. This verse shows us that it is through believing in God and responding to His commands that we may unlock true guidance, which in turn is the surest way to a contented, purposeful life.
2. Beyond knowledge
With Him are the keys to what lies beyond the reach of human perception: none knows them but Him. He knows all that the land and sea contain; not a leaf falls but He knows it; and neither is there a grain in the earth’s deep darkness, nor anything fresh or dry but is recorded in a clear book.
[Surah An’am 6:59]
This verse powerfully describes the extent of Allah’s knowledge with expansive imagery, while emphasizing two different ways in which Divine knowledge is incomparably superior to human knowledge:
Firstly, there is much that humans cannot perceive at all that Allah alone is the gatekeeper of – no matter how we may try to uncover it, this knowledge will remain veiled from us (the Arabic word used here is ghayb, from the root gha-ya-ba (غ ي ب) which denotes “absence, disappearance, hiding, shielding from people’s senses and understanding).
Secondly, Allah’s awareness of the universe covers the greatest distances and encompasses the smallest details – every single incident and occurrence, down to each falling leaf, is recorded for eternity.
Equally emphatic and enigmatic, this sweeping verse is mesmerizing when one simply tries to fully grasp the sheer extent of Allah’s knowledge and awareness – which of course cannot be accomplished.
Humans often think themselves the owners of the earth – and yet would any human be interested in every falling leaf, or every grain of sand?
But the Sovereign of the entire universe has recorded every last detail because everything in the universe, large or small, visible or hidden, apparent or unknown, distant or close, is part of His dominion and, as such, is accounted for.
The human mind, and what has been achieved through it, is perhaps mankind’s greatest pride. And yet our knowledge is pitifully inferior to the One who is the originator of all knowledge. This overpowering verse simultaneously inspires awe in the incomprehensible knowledge of our Creator and humility in our own deficient and dependent grasp of knowledge.
While it is astounding that Allah would keep a record of perceived trifles such as grains of sand, it also inspires hope – that there is nothing too small or trivial in our own lives’ for Allah to overlook.
This verse teaches us that Allah is indeed aware of every difficulty, struggle and need we have – and that nothing is insignificant or unworthy of His attention.
3. Selflessly compassionate
(They are the ones) who give food – even though they need it themselves – to the needy, the orphan and the captive, (saying within themselves) ‘We feed you for the sake of God alone. We desire neither recompense from you, nor thanks.’
[Surah Insan 76:8-9]
The Quran in many places describes the characteristics of those who truly believe, but few verses showcase the earnest selflessness of a righteous believer better than these verses.
They are a beautiful reminder that despite all the bitterness and difficulty in this world, people who are selflessly kind and have no ulterior motives do indeed exist.
The Quran was revealed to a community living in a desert, where food was scarce and the prevailing social norms favored looking after those in one’s own tribe over looking after the general needy.
And yet the power of revelation turned the harsh, dry landscape into a place where compassion and generosity grew and thrived, where believers were encouraged to save themselves from the fire “by giving as little as half a date in charity” (Sahih al-Bukhari).
In Islam the act of charity is one of the ways to save ourselves from punishment in the next life; it is a means to purify and improve ourselves. The beauty of the Islamic view of charity is that it’s the intention with which it is given which determines its worth, not the monetary value: “for the sake of God alone. We desire neither recompense from you, nor thanks.”
This cultivates a culture of giving no matter how little one has, and promises that the reward of charity is not limited to only those who are wealthy and affluent.
Beyond charity, these verses highlight the virtue in the general outlook that the righteous have when trying to do any good deed – it is always for the sake of Allah. Earning the gratitude of others, or being good to others only to repay someone else’s kindness, is not the main motivation that drives them.
Thinking practically, this can apply to almost anything one does in life: being a good husband or wife, an honest employee or a well-mannered child. If we always live out our various roles in the best way for the sake of pleasing Allah, and not with the aim of getting someone else’s praise, love or a reward, we are more able to live authentically and with contentment.
The Quran is full of verses that inspire and uplift. The more we interact with and come to learn the Quran, the more relevant, meaningful and beautiful it will become to us. Each person’s journey to and through the Quran is unique, and different verses may resonate differently depending on each person’s individual circumstances. The only way to find out just how indispensable the Quran is to our lives is to dive into it – sincerely and with an open mind, ready to learn whatever Allah is about to teach us.
What is the most beautiful verse in the Quran to you? Share your reflection below!
- Translation and commentary: Sayyid Qutb (2015). In the Shade of the Qur’an (Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an). Islamic Foundation.
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book 24, Hadith 498