There is not, in the English language, another body of dramatic literature that can vie with the plays of shakespeare. In the German language, the works of Goethe and Schillec are at the very pinnacle of German literature. In Persian, Hafiz and Rumi are without equal. In Sanskrit it is the Rigveda which is peerless in its own right. Indeed, there have been masterpieces in each and every language. In the Arabic language, too, has there been the highest works of literature but it is into a wholly different class that the form, style and contents of the Qur'an falls. The dramas of Shakespeare, the works of Goethe and Homer; all fall into the category of fiction and entertainment literature. They have merely served to appease the human aesthetic sense.
The verses of the Qur'an, while providing for aesthetic fulfillment, also serve to create transformation. Along with joy it provides peace; through parables it conveys lessons. The Qur'an`s is not the way of compulsion from without. It is more the way of impulsion from within; of persuasion in the way of deeds. The verses of the Qur'an seek to provide satisfaction of emotions, thereby, making people the very personifications of sound, decisive actions. The verses pertaining to the prohibition of intoxicants (5:90-91) is a case in point. Those who first heard of these verses had straightaway sought to put those commandments into practice in their very lives. Indeed, this was the reason why rivulets of wine flowed red in the streets of Madinah. This was truly a transformation which would never have been achieved by the literary works accomplished by man. This was not the case of one individual; nor yet of a thousand. To so change the lives of hundreds of thousands in such alway as to penetrate into the very core of their hearts and to make of them a people who follow the same rites in unison, is to achieve what is well and beyond the means of human ability. It is for the Lord Creator alone, Who is best aware of the rhythm, and subtleties of the human mind to author such a book.
Examine the works of literature that is extant in any language. It is only against the backdrop of the language and knowledge that prevailed in the age in which it was written that we speak of the literary nature of the work. However, the languages of none among them are living languages today. The English of Shakespeare as well as the Sanskrit of the Rigveda: both are not living languages today. These languages were, in fact, subject to several stages of the evolutionary process. The language and beauty of the Qur'an is, however, wholly different from these. Even after the passage of fourteen centuries since its revelation the Arabic of the Qur'an has continued to exist as the standard language among the Arabs. That the divine language, like the divine law, withstood the ravages of fourteen centuries is, in itself, a superhuman sign. Indeed, it will be only those, who are learned in the evolution of languages and in the changes to which other languages have been subject over the past fourteen centuries, will truly grasp this unique and astonishing feature of the Qur'an.
In truth, other works of literature are in no way worthy of comparison with the Qur'an. They were all the creations of particular circumstances; all were the works of compromise with the prevailing situation of time; works that were written with the sole purpose of entertaining people. As for the Qur'an it was revealed to move the masses. That such a book should entertain is but a remote possibility.
The verses of the Qur'an adapt themselves, at one and the same time, to the conditions prevailing at the time of its revelations as also with the conditions that may prevail in any other age. To entertain in a supeficial way has never been the objective of the Qur'an. However, the Qur'anic verses do offer contentment and peace to the mind even while the mind is wonderstruck by the sheer majesty of its contents.
What makes the Qur'an distinct from all the other books is the challenge that it poses to all and sundry. The writers of other books never had the courage to challenge all to bring forward a book like their own; nor will they ever have it in future either. Who can ever judge the ability of another? It is simply because none can do so that such a challenge can be issued by none other than the Almighty Creator Himself. Indeed, no other literary work of an international standing has ever issued such a challenge.
In short, therefore, none of the other books of literature are worthy even of comparison with the Qur'an.