04 September 2009

The Qur'an

The Qur’an[1] (Arabic: القرآنal-qur’ān, literally "the recitation"; also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran or Al-Qur’ān) is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation of God.[2][3][4][5] Islam holds that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) over a period of 23 years.[2][6][7] The Qur'an purports to be the main miracle of Muhammad, thus its inimitability validates his status as a prophet.[8] Muslims regard the Qur’an as the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with those revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham),[9] the Tawrat (Torah),[10][11] the Zabur (Psalms),[12][13] and the Injeel (Gospel).[14][15][16] The aforementioned books are not explicitly included in the Qur’an, but are recognized therein.[17][18] The Qur’an also refers[19] to many events from Jewish and Christian scriptures, some of which are retold in comparatively distinctive ways from the Bible and the Torah, while obliquely referring to other events described explicitly in those texts.

The Qur'an itself expresses that it is the book of guidance. Therefore it rarely offers detailed accounts of historical events; the text instead typically placing emphasis on the moral significance of an event rather than its narrative sequence.[20] It does not describe natural facts in a scientific manner but teaches that natural and supernatural events are signs of God.[21]

The Qur’an was written down by Muhammad's companions while he was alive, although the prime method of transmission was oral. It was compiled in the time of Abu Bakr, the first caliph, and was standardized in the time of Uthman, the third caliph. The Qur’an in its actual form is generally considered by academic scholars to record the words spoken by Muhammad because the search for variants in Western academia has not yielded any differences of great significance and that historically controversy over the content of the Qur’an has never become a main point. [22][23] Therefore all Muslims, Sunni or Shia, use the same Qur’an.

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