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An early manuscript of the Quran likely dated within Muhammad's lifetime between c. 568–645

The Qur'an (Arabic: القرآن) is the central holy book of Islam. The Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be "The Word of Allah (God)". This book is believed to have been revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Some Muslims call it the Final Testament.

For Muslims, the Qur'an is Allah's last revelation, the last in a chain of many revelations such as the Tawrat (Torah), the Zabur (Psalms), the Injeel (Gospel), the Scrolls of Abraham, and the Scrolls of Moses. It has been written and read only in Arabic for more than 1,400 years. But, because many Muslims around the world do not understand Arabic, the meaning of the Qur'an is also given in other languages, so that readers can understand better what the Arabic words in the Qur'an mean. These books are like dictionaries to the Qur'an - they are not read as part of the religion of Islam, to replace the Arabic Qur'an. Muslims believe that these translations are not the true Qur'an; only the Arabic copy is the true Qur'an.[1]

For most self-identified Muslims, the Qur'an is used with the hadith to interpret Sharia law (Islamic holy law). It is by far the most important and authoritative document, however, and supersedes hadiths and all earlier revelations, such as the Torah and the Bible. Saudi Arabia holds that the Qur'an is the country's constitution, although it is supplemented by more recent documents in modern Arabic.

For Shi'a Muslims, the Qur'an is used together with interpretations by special imams, especially such being a descendant from Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt. Others use the Islamic methodology of tafsir al-Qur'an bi-l-Kitab (Arabic: تفسير القرآن بالكتاب), which refers to interpreting the Qur'an with/through the Bible.[2] This approach adopts canonical Arabic versions of the Bible, including the Tawrat and the Injil, both to illuminate and to add exegetical depth to the reading of the Qur'an. Notable Muslim mufassirun (commentators) of the Bible and Qur'an who weaved biblical texts together with Qur'anic ones include Abu al-Hakam Abd al-Salam bin al-Isbili of Al-Andalus and Ibrahim bin Umar bin Hasan al-Biqa'i.[2]

History[change | change source]

The first chapter of the Qur'an. This page is written in Arabic

Muslims believe the Qur'an was first revealed to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel in a cave on the mountain of Hira in Mecca, and then over a period of twenty-three years until his death.

The Qur'an was not written all together in book-form while Muhammad was alive; it was kept by oral communication and brief written records. The prophet did not know how to read nor write, but according to Muslims, the prophet's cousin Ali ibn abi Talib, among others, used to write the texts down when Muhammad was alive. After prophet Muhammad died, Omar ibn Khattab, one of the khulafa u rashidan, compiled the quran into a single book.

The elements, suras, verses, revelations[change | change source]

There are 30 parts in the Qur'an, which make 114 "suras" (chapters). Each sura has a different number of verses.

According to the Muslim teachings[source?], 87 of these suras revealed in Mecca, 27 of these suras revealed in Medina. The suras which took place in Medina are Al-Baqara, Al Imran, Al-Anfal, Al-Ahzab, Al-Ma'ida, An-Nisa, Al-Mumtahina, Az-Zalzala, Al-Hadid, Muhammad, Ar-Ra'd, Ar-Rahman, At-Talaq, Al-Bayyina, Al-Hashr, An-Nasr, An-Nur, Al-Hajj, Al-Munafiqun, Al-Mujadila, Al-Hujraat, At-Tahrim, At-Taghabun, Al-Jumua, As-Saff, Al-Fath, At-Tawba, Al-Insan.

Verses[change | change source]

The verses of the Qur'an speak about many different topics. For example, the verses of chapter 80 (Abasa) speak about the evils of ableism, also called able-bodyism or ablecentrism. Or verse 2:15 speaks about the evils of being two-faced.[3]

The first and last verse[change | change source]

The first verse revealed is:

(5) اقرَأ بِاسمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذي خَلَقَ (1) خَلَقَ الإِنسانَ مِن عَلَقٍ (2) اقرَأ وَرَبُّكَ الأَكرَمُ (3) الَّذي عَلَّمَ بِالقَلَمِ (4) عَلَّمَ الإِنسانَ ما لَم يَعلَم

Read (commencing) with the Name of Allah, Who has created (everything). He created man from a hanging mass (clinging) like a leech (in the mother’s womb). Read and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught man (reading and writing) by the pen, Who (besides that) taught man (all that) which he did not know.[4]96 : 1

The last verse revealed is:

Who believe! fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals. Dead meat, blood, pig, any food which has been blessed by a (false) god other than Allah; an animal whose death resulted from strangulation, bludgeoning, arrows, falling, or bloodloss; an animal which was partly consumed by a wild animal or an animal which is sacrificed on a stone altar are forbidden. However, if faced with starvation, exceptions are allowed.

Earliest surviving fragments[change | change source]

Probably the world's oldest fragments of the Koran have been found in the library of the University of Birmingham, in England.[5]Radiocarbon dating showed with a probability of more than 95%, the parchment was from between 568 and 645 AD. So the manuscript is at least 1,370 years old. It is the earliest, or among the earliest, in existence. The fragments are written in ink on sheep or goat skin. They are mounted on a modern paper to help preserve them.[5]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Qur'an, retrieved on 8 January 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 McCoy, R. Michael (2021-09-08). Interpreting the Qurʾān with the Bible (Tafsīr al-Qurʾān bi-l-Kitāb). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-46682-1.
  3. Jamilah, Jamilah. "Interrelatedness Of Legal Verses In Surah Al-baqarah." De Jure: Jurnal Hukum dan Syar'iah 1.2 (2009).
  4. This can also be found in the Quran (chapter 96:1 - 5 Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Coughlan, Sean 2015. Oldest Koran fragments found in Birmingham University. BBC News Education. [1]

Other websites[change | change source]