What Is the Qur’an?

What Is the Qur’an?

Description and Names of The Qur’an

1- How can the Qur’an be defined?

The Qur’an is the proper name of the Divine Word which God, may His Majesty be exalted, revealed to Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. Literally, the word Qur’an can be approached in various ways. According to the most widely accepted view, it is a verbal noun from the Arabic verbal root Qa-Ra-A, and means reading or reciting.

Terminologically, the Qur’an is defined as “the miraculous Divine Word revealed to Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings, written down on sheets and transmitted from the Prophet to succeeding generations via numerous reliable channels, and which is used for worship by means of recitation.”  

As we examine the above description, we should note the following:

  • The Qur’an is the Divine Word revealed to Prophet Muhammad: This means that, no matter how excellent a word is, no word other than that which was revealed by God can be described as the Qur’an.  And even if a word was recited by Prophet Muhammad or by any other person, if it is not the Word of God then it cannot be described as the Qur’an.
  • The Qur’an has been written down on sheets (mus’hafs): This is a feature peculiar to the Qur’an; it was written down by the scribes of the revelation at the time of the revelation on a variety of writing materials of the time, with utmost care and dedication. It was then gathered and copied with the same care and dedication after the Prophet had passed away. It has reached us today without the smallest alteration and this is a distinctive feature of the Qur’an among all the Holy Books.
  • The Qur’an has been transmitted to succeeding generations through numerous reliable channels: A great number of people who were known to be so reliable that they could never agree on falsehood or untruth or make a mistake in conveying the Qur’an transmitted it.  This sound transmission is valid both in its revelation from God to the Prophet and in its transmission from the Prophet to all of humankind. This is also a feature found only with the Qur’an and not with other Heavenly Books, which have been subject to change.

The Almighty Creator has made the Qur’an easy to memorize, as He pointed out in Sura Qamar:

“Indeed We have made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember. Then, is there any that remembers and takes heed? ” (54:22).

This is a feature which has not been given to any other book.  There are numerous people who have memorized the entire Qur’an, learning it from the beginning to the end by heart, without any errors even in the letters. The fact that the Qur’an is actively instructed for memorization to thousands and thousands of young children throughout the world is the distinguishing feature. And, the number of people who have committed the entire Qur’an to memory, instead of decreasing, increases day by day.

  • The reading or recitation of the Qur’an is regarded as a form of worship: The recitation of the Qur’an is itself an act of worship. Moreover, a person who is performing daily prayers is obliged to recite some verses from the Qur’an, in order for the prayer, which is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam, to be accepted.
  • The Qur’an is the peerless miraculous Word of God: The most striking characteristic of the Qur’an is its inimitableness; human beings are incapable of creating any word that is even similar to the Qur’an. The entire Qur’an, be it even the shortest chapter, has this feature; this is the greatest evidence that the Qur’an is the Word of God, as emphasized in the following verses:

Say: “Surely, if humankind and the jinn were to come together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they will never be able to produce the like of it, though they backed one another up with help and support.” (Isra 17:88)

If you are in doubt about the Divine authorship of what We have sent down on Our servant (Muhammad), then produce just a sura like it and call for help to all your supporters, all those (to whom you apply for help apart from God), if you are truthful in your doubt and claim. If you fail to do that – and you will most certainly fail – then guard yourselves against the Fire whose fuel is human beings and stones, prepared for the unbelievers. (Baqara 2:23-24)

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