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What is the Quran

The Quran, also anglicized as Qur'an, Quraan or Koran, literally meaning "the recitation" and is the central religious text and source of Islam. The Quran is the Kalaam, speech or word, of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), God, that was revealed by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) through the angel Jibreel , Gabriel(عليه السلام), gradually over a period of approximately 23 years.  The revelation started when Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was 40 and concluded in the year of his death.

Did you know:

  • The Quran is made up of 30 Juz, parts, of the same size, which are composed of chapters, suras, and verses, ayahs.
  • There are 114 Suras of varying lengths in the Quran.
  • The first sura, al Fatiha (The Opening) is recited in every ritual prayer.
  • There are some 6348 Ayahs in the Quran (including Bismillah at the beginning of each Surah).
  • Sūrat at-Tawbah ("The Repentance") also known as al-Bara'ah "the Ultimatum", is the ninth surah of the Quran, with 129 Ayahs. It is the only Sura of the Quran that does not begin with bismillah.
  • The Suras are also classified as Medeenah or Makkah Suras due to the place where they were revealed.
  • The longest Ayah in the Quran is found in Surah Baqarah Ayah 282, which is a whole page long. 
  • The shortest Ayah in the Quran in terms of words is found in Surah Rahman 55:64 which is one word. 
  • The shortest Ayah in the Quran in terms of letters are found at the beginning of Surahs Ta Ha (20), Yaseen (36), and Ha Meem, they comprise of only two letters.

The Quran , is a revelation from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), just like the revelations that came before it (the Zaboor, Psalms, the Torat, Torah, and Injeel, Bible). The revelations that came before it were limited to the people they were sent and for the time they were revealed. The Quran, however, was revealed for all of mankind and for all of time. This is why it is the last and final revelation.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says at the beginning of the Quran: 

Alif, Laam, Meem. This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon (the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)). [Quran: Surah Al-Baqarah 2, Ayah 1-2]

The Quran was revealed by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), as a law and a reference as to what is permissible and prohibited, what is commanded and forbidden, for people to follow, so that they obey its commands and abide by its prohibitions, take what it allows as permissible and take what it prohibits as forbidden. The Quran tells us about what happened before and what is yet to come, and it is a reference for judging between us. The Quranic Ayahs touch upon all aspects of human existence, such that Allah says:

“… We have neglected nothing in the Book…” [Quran: Surah al 'An`am 6, Ayah 38].

The Quran and its text were preserved through memorization and writing during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammed (صلى الله عليه و سلم). It has come to us in a mutawatir form, i.e. its chains of narration and the narrators are so many that it is impossible for them all to have agreed upon an error. That means the Quran with us today is the same as it was during the life time of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم), including the dialect and language.

Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) has guaranteed to preserve the Quran. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: 

“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)” [Quran: Surah al Hijr 15: Ayah 9]

After the Revelation of the Quran was completed, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) revealed:

“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you…” [Quran: Surah al Ma'idah 5: Ayah 3].

Did you know:

  • Most of companions of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were Hafith ul Quran, i.e. knew all or most of the Quran by memory.
  • Zayd ibn Thabit (رضی اللہ عنہ) the personal scribe of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and one of the foremost authorities on the Quran after him wrote down the Quran and compiled it as instructed by Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) during his lifetime. This was not however compiled as a book form.
  • Abu Bakr (رضی اللہ عنہ) the first Caliph after the death of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded Zayd ibn Thabit (رضی اللہ عنہ) to make the first collection of the Quran to be written for safe keeping with himself.
  • Later under the instructions of the third Caliph Uthmaan (رضی اللہ عنہ), Zayd ibn Thabit (رضی اللہ عنہ) along with some other companions produced 5-7 copies of the Quran, from the original given to Abu Bakr (رضی اللہ عنہ); this became known as the Uthmaani Quran and it was written under the supervision of Zayd ibn Thabit (رضی اللہ عنہ); these Qurans were sent out to the Muslim provinces to ensure only one standard authentic text of the Quran existed throughout the Muslim lands.
  • From the time of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) til today there exists only one text of the Quran.

The Sunnah [words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)] came to explain and complement the Quran. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “I have been given the Quran and something like it with it.” The phrase “something like it with it” refers to the Sunnah.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commanded us to refer to these two constitutional references, when He said: “…if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger…” [Quran: Surah an Nisa 4: Ayah 59].

Referring to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) means referring to the Quran, and referring to His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) means referring to the Sunnah. The Quran is the primary source of legislation, then comes the Sunnah.  The Sunnah supports, clarifies and supplements the Quran.