Core Book. What is the Qur’an?
Al-Qur’an – Literally translates to English as “The Revelation.” To start, it is a poetic work of art. If you listen to the recitation of it’s verses you will quickly discover that.
(Video recitation of Qur’anic Chapter: The Benificent)
It is comprised of “only the words of God” relayed through the angel Gabriel in a “1st person conversation” to the Prophet Muhammad about situations happening “in his lifetime 1424 years ago.” The words of Muhammad are not in the Quran, only the words of God. Muhammad did not write the Quran, nor author it. He was illiterate. He relayed it from the Angel Gabriel who is the angel in charge of relaying God’s many revelations to mankind throughout history (including the Torah of Moses and Gospel of Jesus; probable other faiths as well). As Muhammad relayed it, it was written down by many hundreds of companions and memorized by many thousands more. It was put in its current form 18 years after his death by his personal secretary Zaid ibn Thabit and original copies of that version dating to that time exist in museums today for us to identify that it has been preserved as authorized by the Prophet Muhammad.
For example, if you read your Bible, you may read this verse, Exodus 3:11-12, which says “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” The words of the narrator and of Moses do not count as the words of God. The only words of God here is “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” So, you must learn context to understand the real meaning of this verse or it may be misunderstood.
Likewise the Quran. Historical context isn’t a suggestion, it is “imperative” to learn in order to understand its verses and is not always evident in it because “there is no third party narration” in it’s text. It is not written in the 3rd person as a set of stories like the Bible. It is not a “User’s Manual” for Muslims like you would get with your new TV set. It is “not an instruction book” for every aspect of our lives. It is a guide that we interpret meaning from in order to find a way to live righteous lives using example of the historical context the situations that the Prophet dealt with 1400 years ago. It is subject to a variety of interpretations like any other ancient text because it is an ancient text.
It is our primary authoritative source of understanding Islam and extrapolating information that defines the 5 pillars of our faith (actions of a Muslim), six basic beliefs (beliefs of a Muslim) and us as Muslim people (characteristics of a Muslim; ihsan; working towards perfection).
Article by BrJimC © 2016