93. Please tell us
a little more about the Holy Quran which you have mentioned
and quoted throughout this booklet while explaining the
teachings of Islam.
94. How did God
communicate His messages and words to the Holy Prophet?
In the physical world, we find that messages have to be carried by various media, such as the air which carries sound, or radio waves which carry radio and television signals. Similarly the word of God is brought to the Prophet through the spiritual beings called angels. (See the earlier section dealing with Angels.)
The revelations in the Holy Quran were brought to the Holy Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in the form of clear words of the Arabic language. (According to Muslim belief, God spoke to all the other Prophets, such as Moses and Jesus, in the same manner in their languages.)
95. How did the
Holy Quran come down to us?
During the Holy Prophet's life, whenever a revelation came to him, he would proclaim it to people, then many of his followers would learn it by heart, and it would also be put into writing at the same time. As the Holy Quran was recited aloud in public prayers, and also read frequently at other times, every Muslim was quite familiar with its contents, and many knew it completely by heart.
About six months after the Holy Prophet's death, which took place in 632 C.E., work was undertaken to collect a complete copy of the Quran consisting of all the writings made in the Holy Prophet's presence. This was done on the instructions of the first ruler of the Muslims, Abu Bakr, and with the help of the scribes and the Companions of the Holy Prophet. In this way, a master copy of the Quran was collected.
Some 15 years later, when Muslim rule had spread far and wide, the third ruler of the Muslims after the Holy Prophet, called Uthman, ordered further copies to be transcribed from this master copy. These copies were sent to the big cities of the then Muslim world to be kept as standard copies. Muslims also kept up the practice of memorizing parts of the Holy Book, many learning the whole of it by heart. In this way, the Holy Quran was passed down the ages, in both written and oral form, remaining intact in its original form. Because the Quran was recited aloud everyday in public prayers and gatherings, everyone recognized the same Quran.
96. Do all Muslims
have the same Quran, then?
"Surely We have revealed the Reminder (the Quran), and surely We are its Guardian." (15:9)
All Muslims, whatever their sect, country or language, have always had exactly the same Arabic Quran, just as it was in the Holy Prophet Muhammad's time. No two copies of the Holy Quran anywhere in the world differ in any way.
97. Please mention
some features of the Holy Quran which give it a unique place
among the scriptures of the world.
As mentioned above, the Holy Quran has not undergone any loss or alteration since it first came into the world so many centuries ago, and all the followers of Islam have the same Quran.
The Holy Quran is still available to us today in the original language in which it was revealed.
Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran, is still a living language spoken and written by over 100 million people, and has changed very little over the centuries. Therefore, any person today can learn it like any other modern language, and read and understand the Holy Quran directly.
The history of the revelation and the collection of the Holy Quran is known fully and clearly, not being shrouded in mystery or uncertainty.
We should add briefly, without being disrespectful, that other scriptures have suffered much loss and alteration in the course of history. Their original languages have died out, so that only a few specialist scholars have the knowledge to study the text directly, and even they are unsure of the meanings of many words in the translations they have produced. The origin and history of these scriptures is largely unknown, and no reliable information is available about their authors or persons to whom they were revealed.
98. Is there any
other notable distinction of the Holy Quran?
The Holy Quran refers to itself by several names which show its qualities and the work it came to do. For instance, al-furqan: which distinguishes between right and wrong, al-Hakim: full of wisdom, al-nur: the Light, al-huda: the guidance, etc.
The unique features mentioned here and in the answer to the last question concern just the text of the Holy Book. There are many distinctive points about the Holy Quran as regards its teachings, and these will be found throughout this booklet.
99. How is the Holy
100. Is the Holy
Quran arranged in order of the sequence in which its various
passages were revealed to the Holy Prophet?
101. It is said
that the Holy Quran is not arranged in an orderly form, but
deals with various subjects in a disorganized manner. Please
comment on this.
102. Is there an
arrangement of topics in the Quran?
103. What sort of
subjects does the Holy Quran deal with?
104. Does the Holy
Quran give any evidence to back up its claim that it is the
word of God, and not the thoughts of a man?
The Holy Quran contains such grand principles and deep points of knowledge as could not have been known to any person in the seventh century, when it was revealed. They certainly could not have been known to, or discovered by, a man like Muhammad (peace be upon him) who could not read or write, and lived in a country which was very backward and cut off from the civilization of the time.
The Holy Quran's moral teaching brought about a complete and astonishing change for the good in the people of a whole country, a reform which appeared impossible to do through human teachings.
Prophecies in the Holy Quran that the Holy Prophet Muhammad shall be triumphant over his opponents, made at a time when he hardly had any followers or friends, all came true in a short period of time. And many prophecies in the Quran about the distant future have come true in modern times.
The language and literary style of the Holy Quran was so excellent that the Holy Prophet's opponents, who included great poets and masters of the Arabic language, could not match it even though they had been challenged to do it.
For all these reasons, the Quran has thrown a challenge, standing open for all time, to those who think it is not the word of God, to produce a writing like it even one chapter long.
105. What position
does the Holy Quran hold for Muslims?