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Questions About Islam Details
9. Can you describe the Qur'an with its general features?
25/01/2010

The Qur’an consists of the rhythmic verses, phrases, sentences, and chapters relayed by the Prophet as they were revealed to him by God, and which he proclaimed as the everlasting miracle testifying to his Prophethood. He challenged the Arabs of his time who doubted its Divine origin, as well as all unbelieving Arabs and non-Arabs who would come later.

Defining the Qur’an

According to most scholars, the word Qur’an is an infinitive form of the verb qa-ra-e (reading or reciting) and so literally means a thing recited by adding letters and words to one another. Others say it comes from another infinitive, qar’ü (to collect), and so the Qur’an means “that which collects.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas narrates that qur’an in: It is for Us to collect it and promulgate it (75:17) means being collected and established in the heart. For this reason, some assert that since the Qur’an collects and contains the “fruit” of all previous Scriptures and all knowledge, it is called Qur’an.

According to Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari and those sharing his opinions, Qur’an is derived from the verb qa-ra-ne (adding and attaching one thing to another) and, since it consists of chapters and verses arranged together, it was named Qur’an. Other scholars, among them Imam Shafi‘i, affirm that qur’an was not derived from any word, but rather is the proper name given to the Book that God revealed to His Last Messenger. 

The Qur’an is the Word of God and therefore eternal (having no beginning in time) and uncreated. But as a book conveyed to the Prophet by Archangel Gabriel and composed of letters and words, recited, touched, and listened to, it is not eternal.1 

The general definition of the Qur’an is as follows: The Qur’an is the miraculous Word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad, written down and transmitted to succeeding generations by many reliable channels, and whose recitation is an act of worship and obligatory in daily prayers.2 

The Qur’an describes some of its features as follows:

The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for humanity and clear proofs of the Guidance and the Criterion. (2:185)

This Qur’an could not have been invented (by anyone) apart from God, but confirms what was (revealed) before it, a fuller explanation of the Book—wherein there is no doubt—from the Lord of the Worlds. (10:37)

We have sent it as an Arabic Qur’an that you may understand and use your reason. (12:2)

This Qur’an guides to that which is most right, and gives good tidings to believers who do deeds of righteousness, that theirs will be a great reward. (17:9)

And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to reflect and take lesson, but will any take heed? (54:17)

That this is a noble Qur’an, in a hidden, guarded Book. (56:77-78)

The Qur’an has other titles, each of which describe one of its aspects and thus can be regarded as one of its attributes, such as: the Book, the Criterion, the Remembrance, the Advice, the Light, the Guidance, the Healer, the Noble, the Book in Pairs, the Mother of the Book, the Truth, the Admonishment, the Good Tiding, the Book Gradually Revealed, the Knowledge, and the Clear. 

The Qur’an is the book that Prophet Muhammad conveyed to humanity as God’s Word and that testifies to his Prophethood. Being his greatest miracle, it challenges the Arabs of that time and all people to come until the Last Day to produce even a single chapter like it. The Qur’an is unparalleled among Divine Scriptures as regards its preservation and transmittal to later generations without the slightest alteration. There is no difference among the copies of the Qur’an that have circulated throughout the world since its first revelation.

Concerning the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad says:

The Qur’an distinguishes between truth and falsehood. It is not for fun, for those who reject it will be punished. It contains the history of previous peoples and tidings of those who will come later, and rules on people’s disagreements. Those who look elsewhere for guidance are led astray by God. It is God’s strong rope, the wise instruction, and the Straight Path. It is a book that desires cannot deviate or tongues confuse, one that does not bore scholars or wear them out due to repetition, and one possessing uncountable admirable aspects. All who hear it say: “We heard a wonderful Qur’an guiding to righteousness, and so we believe in it.” Those who base their words on it speak truly. Whoever judges by it judges justly, and whoever calls to it calls to truth.3

In the same way, each Qur’anic verse is a whole in itself and has an independent existence. It can be located anywhere in the Qur’an without harming either the composition or the meaning. In addition, there is an intrinsic relation among all verses or between one verse and all the others.


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