Palindrome in the Quran
This article analyses the supposed palindrome in the Quranic verse 74:3.
Verse 74:3 in the Quran
74:1 يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ O you who covers himself [with a garment],
74:2 قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ Arise and warn
74:3 وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ And your Lord glorify
74:4 وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ And your clothing purify
74:5 وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ And uncleanliness avoid
The verse 74:3 consists of two words:
- وَرَبَّكَ - wa-rabba-ka - "and your lord" (literally and-lord-yours)
- فَكَبِّرْ - fa-kabbir - "glorify" (literally and/then-glorify)
The (non-existing) palindrome
A palindrome is a text that is spelled exactly the same when read backwards. For example the word "rotator":
r o t a t o r (spelled forwards)
r o t a t o r (spelled backwards)
Here is the Arabic text spelled forward and backwards:
w a r a b b a k a f a k a b b i r (spelled forwards)
r i b b a k a f a k a b b a r a w (spelled backwards)
The verse is NOT a palindrome.
Apologetic mental gymnastics
Dropping the first letter
The "reason" is that maybe in this verse و (wa) doesn't mean "and" and it is only an indicator for starting a sentence. Even if this was true, it would still not be a palindrome:
r a b b a k a f a k a b b i r (spelled forwards)
r i b b a k a f a k a b b a r (spelled backwards)
This failed on the second letter.
Besides that, most translators translate the و as "and" and the translation "and" fits into the context of the verse.
The "problematic" vowels a and i are indicated by diacritics. If we now, after deleting the letter و ignored the diacritics we would have only the Arabic letters:
ر ب ك ف ك ب ر
r b k f k b r
But this is no longer a word. Every Arabic word has diacritics and when they are not written the reader is supposed to know them by heart.
And this is the supposed "miraculous" palindrome. Three letters r-b-k around f. So it's similar to the example "rotator" except that the word rotator is a real palindrome and doesn't require mental gymnastics.
There are many websites which contain long palindromic sentences. For example:
- Non-Muslims can make long palindromic sentences
- Author of the Quran supposedly managed to make a short palindrome