The Qur’an is the very word of God that descended upon the Prophet Muhammad.The first verses of the Qur’an were revealed on the Night of Decree (i.e. Lailatul Qadr) during the month of Ramadan. The revelation of the Qur’an was completed during a period of about twenty-three years. Al Qur’an (or Koran), Arabic for “the Recitation” is the holy book of Islam.Although it is frequently referred to as the “Bible of Muslims,” this appellation is inappropriate.Unlike the Bible, the Qur’an is the actual word of God not the inspired word of God as is generally held to be the case with the Holy Bible.Another difference is that the Prophet’s Companions memorized and wrote down the words of the Qur’an in his lifetime.It was written on pieces of leather, shoulder blades of camels, leafstalks, stones and other items.This writing was reinforced by the memory of the Muslims.Not only were the words written and memorized but also the followers of Islam preserved the accent, inflection, intonation and articulation of the entire Qur’an during the lifetime of the Prophet.The Qur’an, from God to Gabriel to Muhammad to the world, is the very same book, unchanged, as it is read and spoken to this very day.
In the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the Arabs were quite talented in verse and prose.Although illiteracy was rampant and claimed almost every single person including the Prophet, the poets of the Arabian Peninsula were able to construct some of the finest lyrical compositions.When the verses from the Qur’an began to be revealed it humiliated the skills of the Arab poets.Its depth of meaning, matchless level of morality that it prescribed to its listeners and its excellent literary style astounded even the most eloquent of Arab poets.The Qur’an, unlike the poets who were absorbed with materialism, focused on a moral message that would bring humanity together and guide them eternally.Their consorted effort was put to shame in a challenge put forward by the Qur’an itself, which was never met.The Arabs – with all the arrogance and pride of their eloquence and command over speech – had to submit that the message of the Qur’an is inimitable both in language and character, flawless and supreme in construction and incontrovertible in composition.‚ ‚ Its brilliance dimmed the poets’ glimmer and rendered their boisterous speech silent and unmoving.
Though revealed in fragmentary fashion its seemingly disjointed materialization perfectly administered to society’s circumstances as they appeared.‚ ‚ Throughout the revelation, an evolutionary process was taking place.A uniformed cohesive entity began to emerge from the intermittent manifestations that brought a clear message and guidance to humanity.The Qur’an, just as in the nature of a flower blooming or the life cycle of a butterfly, matured in volume to become the Book of God.It was arranged, bound and completed during the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Al Ma’idah 5:3)
It is the Furqan (Criterion) for humankind to discern between good and evil.It is the Tanzeel (Descended) word of God as a gift to His beloved creatures and the Dhikr (Reminder) for the relationship of humanity to God as well as their ultimate return to Him.These are some of the names that the Qur’an designates itself.‚ ‚ No book has ever claimed itself to be the word of God yet the Qur’an speaks of itself:
This is undoubtedly the book (of God.) (Al Baqarah 2:2)
So powerful are the words of the Qur’an that it leaves an indelible impression upon the spirit of anyone who hears its melodic tones. Its harmonious nature and tranquil appeal softens the hardest of hearts and its captivating seriousness stirs the emotions of its listeners.It is this mesmerizing appeal that brings so many adherents to the message of God.