What is the Quran?

The Qur”an is the religious text of Islam and is widely regarded as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language. The Qur”an is the verbal divine guidance and moral direction for mankind and the final revelation of God! The final Testament!

The Qur”an was repeatedly revealed from Allah (God) to Muhammad (pbuh) verbally through the Arch Angel Jibril (Gabriel) over a period of approximately twenty-three years, beginning in 610 CE, when he was forty, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.

The Qur”an was memorized, recited and written down by Muhammad”s (pbuh) companions after every revelation dictated by Muhammad. Most of Muhammad”s (pbuh) tens of thousands of companions, called Sahabas, learned the Qur”an by heart and repeatedly recited in front of Muhammad (pbuh) for his approval or the approval of other Sahabas. Muhammad approved these recitations and also compiled the Qur”an in written form while he was alive.

The Qur”an is the main miracle of Muhammad (pbuh), as proof of his prophethood, and as the culmination of a series of divine messages. These started with the messages revealed to Adam, the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Book of Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus. The Qur”an assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in Jewish and Christian scriptures, summarizing some, dwelling at length on others, and, in some cases, presenting alternative accounts and interpretations of events.

The Qur”an is a book of divine guidance and direction for humanity and its text is in its original Arabic form. The Qur”an is the literal word of God, revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) through the Angel Gabriel.

The text of the Qur”an consists of 114 chapters of varying lengths, each known as a sura. Chapters are classed as Meccan or Medinan, depending on when (before or after Hijra) the verses were revealed.

Chapter titles are derived from a name or quality discussed in the text, or from the first letters or words of the sura. Muhammad (pbuh), on God”s command, gave the chapters their names.

Generally, longer chapters appear earlier in the Qur”an, while the shorter ones appear later. The chapter arrangement is thus not connected to the sequence of revelation. Each sura except the ninth starts with Bismillah, an Arabic phrase meaning (“In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”). There are, however, still 114 occurrences of Bismillah in the Qur”an, due to its presence in verse 27:30 as the opening of Solomon”s letter to the Queen of Sheba.

Each sura is formed from several ayat (verses), which originally means a sign or portent sent by God. The number of verses differ from chapter to chapter. An individual verse may be just a few letters or several lines. The verses are unlike the highly refined poetry of the pre-Islamic Arabs in their content and distinctive rhymes and rhythms, being more akin to the prophetic utterances marked by inspired discontinuities found in the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. There is a crosscutting division into 30 parts of roughly equal division, ajza, each containing two units called ahzab, each of which is divided into four parts (rub “al-ahzab). The Qur”an is also divided into seven approximately equal parts, manazil, for it to be recited in a week.

The Qur”an speaks well of the relationship it has with former books (the Torah and the Gospel) and attributes their similarities to their unique origin and saying all of them have been revealed by the one God.