The word Qur’an literally means “the recitation”.
It is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a
revelation from God (Allah).
It is considered the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.
Muslims consider this to be the only book that has been protected
by God from distortion or corruption.
Muslims regard the Qur’an as the most important miracle of
Muhammad, the proof of his prophet hood and the culmination of
a series of divine messages revealed to Adam and ended with
The word Qur'an appears about 70 times in the Qur’an itself, assuming various
meanings. “ He read” or “he recited.”
An important meaning of the word is the “act of reciting”, as reflected in an earlier
Quranic passage: “It is for Us to collect it and to recite it.”
In other verses, the word refers to “an individual passage recited [By Muhammad]”.
It’s liturgical context is seen in a number of passages.
The word may also assume the meaning of a codified scripture when mentioned with
other scriptures such as the Torah and Gospel.
The Qur’an describes itself as “the discernment
or the criterion between truth and falsehood”,
“the mother book”, “the guide", "the wisdom”,
“the remembrance”, and “the revelation”.
History of the Qur’an
Islamic tradition relates that Muhammad received his first revelation in the
Cave of Hira during one of his isolated retreats to the mountains.
Thereafter, he received revelations over a period of 23 years.
According to Muslim history, after Muhammad emigrated to Medina and
formed an independent Muslim community, he ordered many of his
companions to recite the Quran and to learn and teach the laws, which
were revealed daily.
The Quran was originally recorded on tablets, bones, and the wide, flat
ends of date palm fronds.
Whenever Muhammad was alive the Quran did not exist in book form.
To escape the activities of Mecca, Muhammad would often seek solitude of
the mountains where he would contemplate and pray.
Tradition states that the angel Gabriel appeared to him while he was praying in
a mountain cave in 610 AD, when Muhammad was about 40.
Muhammad was given words from Allah that he would recite from memory to
his followers, who compiled them into what became the Quran, the holiest
book of Islam.
Islam brought to the Arab world a new identity, a faith in one god and a set of
values for the individual to live by.
According to tradition, Muhammad was illiterate; he could not read or write.
His supporters were the ones to write his words down and compile them into
the Quran, and to record his traditions.
The Holy Quran
Verses of the Quran
inscribed into the shoulder
blade of a camel.
The Holy Quran’s
Muslims believe the Quran to be the book of divine guidance revealed
from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of 23
years and view the Quran as God’s final revelation to humanity. They also
believe it has solutions to all the problems of humanity regardless of how
complex they may be and in what age they occur.
Revelation in Islamic and Quranic concept means the act of God
addressing an individual, conveying a message for a greater number of
recipients. The process by which the divine message comes to the heart of
a messenger of God is tanzil (to send down) or nuzūl (to come down). As
the Quran says, "With the truth we (God) have sent it down and with the
truth it has come down."
Traditions regarding the Quran
Muslims commemorate annually the beginning of Quran's revelation on the Night of
Destiny (Laylat al-Qadr), during the last 10 days of Ramadan, the month during which
they fast from sunrise until sunset.
The first sura of the Quran is repeated in daily prayers and in other occasions. This sura, which
consists of seven verses, is the most often recited sura of the Quran:
"All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Universe, the Beneficent, the Merciful and Master of
the Day of Judgment, You alone We do worship and from You alone we do seek assistance,
guide us to the right path, the path of those to whom You have granted blessings, those who
are neither subject to Your anger nor have gone astray."
Respect for the written text of the Quran is an important element of religious faith by
many Muslims, and the Quran is treated with reverence. Based on tradition and a literal
interpretation of Quran 56:79 ("none shall touch but those who are clean"), some Muslisms
believe that they must perform a ritual cleansing with water before touching a copy of
the Quran, although this view is not universal. Worn-out copies of the Quran are wrapped
in a cloth and stored indefinitely in a safe place, buried in a mosque or a Muslim
cemetery, or burned and the ashes buried or scattered over water
Surahs and Verses
The Holy Quran is divided into 114 Surahs or chapters and each chapter
consists of individual Ayaat or verses. In total there are 6,348 verses. The surahs
are of varying lengths, consisting of a few lines while others run for many pages.
The longest chapter, Surah al Baqarah, is 287 verses while the shortest, Surah al
Kauthar is only comprised of four.
The text has remained unchanged over the past 1400 years. The millions of
copies of the Quran circulating in the world today are all identical down to a
single letter. This is not strange because God says in the Holy Quran that He
Himself will guard this book:
“Surely it is We Who have revealed the Exposition, and surely it is, We Who are
I would like to say that I am a Christian but I find this video so moving,
touching and there is something just so beautiful and divinely inspired. I
realize very few of you, if any, speak any sort of Arabic but this video helps
give an idea about the importance of the Quran in Islamic Cultures.
Five Pillars of Islam– Some background
The five pillars of Islam create a foundation for the religion of Islam to be
structured around. These basic tenets constitute a framework for the
Prayer is an important part of religion. A Muslim must offer prayer five times
a day: before sunrise, mid-day, mid-afternoon, after sunset, and early
During a time of prayer, a Muslim will face toward the compass direction
Mosques sprang up after Muhammad died and became the center of the
community activities in the Islamic world.
5 pillars of Islam
1) the expression of the basic creed (Shahadah) –There is no god but Allah, and his
messenger and the prophet is Muhammad.
2)Prayer (Salat) – Prayer five times a day.
3) Paying of alms or charity (Zakat) – sharing what you have with people who are less
4)Fasting (Sawm)- During the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk the believer would
abstain from personal needs, drinking or eating as one’s health permits.
5) The Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)- when it is within one’s capacity, every Muslim is
obligated to conduct one pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in their lifetime.
The term “Islam” is the name of the religion. The terms “Muslim” or “Moslem” refer to the
followers of Islam. Both Islam and Muslim are used in reference to the religion of
Influence in Literature
Robert Irwin discusses the influence the Quran has on western literature.
"Al Islam." The Holy Quran. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.
Berglee, Royal. Intro to International Studies. Morehead: Royal Berglee,
"Quran." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 May 2014. Web. 07 Apr.