The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) did not claim himself as the author or the owner of the Quran, but he told us it is an inspiration sent down to him by Jibrîl (PBUH) in portions within twenty-three years. The only authentic source for the truth of revelation in the Qur’an, which was revealed by Allah, and His Messenger to whom was the Qur’an revealed. The Qur’an pointed out that Allah does not speak to humans directly. Allah says:
قُلْ أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً قُلِ اللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ قُل لَّا أَشْهَدُ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ
Say, “What thing (is) greatest (as) a testimony?” Say, “Allah (is) Witness between me and between you, and has been revealed to me this [the] Quran that I may warn you with it and whoever it reaches. Do you truly testify that with Allah (there are) gods other?” Say, “I (do) not testify.” Say, “Only He (is) One God, and indeed, I am free of what you associate (with Him).” (Surah Al-An’am 6:19)
Jibrîl (PBUH) repeatedly descended with the Quran to the prophet (PBUH), within twenty-three years, and the result was the revelation of the whole and holy book. Normally, the prophet (PBUH) used to memorize the verses once they were revealed, then ordered his Sahahabs to write them down, and then taught the revelation to his companions. Some of the Sahabas memorized the whole Quran, and some partially. They memorized the Quran by heart and wrote it down as a book. Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ جِئْنَاهُم بِكِتَابٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
“And certainly We had brought (to) them a Book which We have explained with knowledge – a guidance and mercy for a people who believe.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:52)
The Holy Quran is the 4th and last sacred book of Almighty Allah revealed on Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Quran is the Book of guidance for all mankind. The responsibility of the safety of this Holy Book is taken by Almighty Allah by Himself. Allah says:
سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
“Soon We will show them Our Signs in the horizons and themselves until becomes clear to them, that it (is) the truth. Is (it) not sufficient concerning your Lord, that He (is) over all things a Witness?” (Surah Fussilat 41:53)
Quran is a source of great inspiration, guidance, and wisdom for millions of Muslims all over the world. Quran is the central point of faith, and essential to the foundations of an Islamic society being the basis of its shariah, Islamic legal instructions, and law.
- Purpose of Revelation: To Believe in One True God: “And your God is One God. There is no god but He, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:163)
- Guidance for Mankind: It provides direction to help mankind judge between right and wrong, without which, man would surely be in loss. The Qur’an is “guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” (Qur’an 2:185)
- How do I know that it is from God? The Qur’an is the only religious sacred text that has been in circulation for a lengthy period and yet remains as pure as the day it was revealed. Nothing has been added, removed or modified from it, since its revelation over 1400 years ago. “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will certainly guard it (from corruption).” (Qur’an 15:09)
- Scientific Miracles: The Qur’an does not contradict modern science but rather, supports it. One of the most remarkable aspects of the Quran is that it contains many verses which accurately describe the natural phenomenon in various fields such as embryology, meteorology, astronomy, geology, and oceanography. Scientists have found its descriptions incredibly accurate for a book dating back to the 7th century.
Many of the scientific miracles mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered only recently, through the modern advancement of technological equipment. The Qur’an gives a detailed description of the development of the human embryo. These details were unknown to the scientific community until recent times. Allah says:
وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
“And the Day We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We (will) bring you (as) a witness over these. And We sent down to you the Book (as) a clarification of everything and a guidance and mercy and glad tidings for those-who-submit/Muslims.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:89)
The Quran states that the astronomical objects (stars, planets, moons, etc…) were all formed from clouds of dust. Previously unknown, this fact has now become an undisputed principle of modern cosmology. Modern science has discovered the existence of barriers that allow two seas to meet yet maintain their temperature, density, and salinity.
However Allah Almighty refers to the Holy Qur’an using several other names:
- Al-nur the light. (7:157)
- Al-hukm the judgment. (13:37)
- Al-dhikr the reminder. (15:9)
- Al-Kitab the scripture. (21:10)
- Al-furqan the criterion. (25:1)
- Al-tanzil the revelation. (26:192)
We can say the Holy Quran is a living miracle. The Holy Quran was revealed to Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) in a period that extends to about 23 years. During this time the Holy Quran that we recite today was revealed in bits and pieces and in order not as we see today. In this article, we will discuss the aspect of the Quran by describing its revelation and the measures are taken to preserve it or compilation of Quran over Muslim history.
Manner and Forms of Revelation
The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet (saw) in a variety of different ways.
- In the form of dreams: Prophet Muhammad (saw) would sometimes receive divine revelations of the Holy Qur’an in the form of dreams.
- Revelation revealed directly into the heart: The Holy Prophet (saw) was also used to receive revelation directly into the heart.
- Revelation disclosed upon the sound of a bell
- Revelation Brought by an Angel in the form of a Man
- Revelation Through an Angel in his True Form
- Revelation Directly from God
- Revelation in stages also created a constant link between Allah (SWT) and His beloved Prophet (saw) giving moral support in times of need and distress: “Thus (it is revealed), that We may strengthen thy heart..” (Al-Furqan, 25:106)
According to its testification, the Holy Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadhan on the night of power. At first glance, these verses appear to be at odds with Islamic history suggesting the Holy Qur’an was revealed in one go on the night of Laila Al Qadr, the night of power, rather than in stages. Allah says:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“Month (of) Ramadhaan (is) that was revealed therein the Quran, a Guidance for mankind and clear proofs of [the] Guidance and the Criterion. So whoever witnesses among you the month, then he should fast in it, and whoever is sick or on a journey then prescribed number (should from days other. Intends Allah for you [the] ease and not intends for you [the] hardship, so that you complete the prescribed period and that you magnify Allah for [what] He guided you so that you may (be) grateful..” (Surah Al Baqara 2:185)
The Qur’an was revealed in one go from lauh al-mahfuz, ‘the tablet of destiny’ to the lower heaven, bait al izzat, ‘house of honour on the night of Qadri (power). It was from this lower heaven that the Qur’an was revealed in stages onto the earth, the first revelation had taken place on the night of power. Allah says:
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ وَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا
“And said those who disbelieve, “Why not was revealed to him the Quran all at once?” Thus, that We may strengthen thereby your heart, and We have recited it (with distinct) recitation.” (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:32)
Quran is the book of guidance, mercy and glad tidings. Other than that we as Muslims should believe the Quran is the Book free of doubts. The authenticity of the Quran in terms of its preservation is concerned. So, we can say that the Quran in its present form is the same as it was revealed and there can be no doubt regarding its being Divine and a source of guidance without any doubt or reservation.
Revelation Period and Division of Quranic Surahs
As stated earlier the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an took place on the 16th Ramadhan, A.D 610. The period of revelation spanned 22 years, 2 months and 22 days. There is a traditional division of the surahs between those that were revealed in the city of Makkah, (Makki surahs) and those that were revealed in the city of Madinah (Madani surahs). Out of the 114 surahs revealed, the majority of them were revealed in the city of Makkah. Allah says:
قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَىٰ أَن يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا
Say, “If gathered the mankind and the jinn to [that] bring the like (of) this Quran, not they (could) bring the like of it, even if we’re some of them to some others assistants.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:88)
The Makki Surah’s were revealed over a period approximately lasting 12-13 years, from the first call of Islam up until the Hijrah, migration to the city of Madinah. Most of the Makki Surah’s are shorter in length and deal with concepts regarding Tauheed, the oneness of God; good morals and conduct and life in the Hereafter – heaven and hell. Allah says:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“Indeed, We have sent down the Reminder, and indeed, We of it (are) surely Guardians.” (Surah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
The Makki ayah’s also contained passages regarding the Christian and Jewish scriptures, detailing which Prophets have been sent by Allah (SWT) in the past. Allah says:
هَٰذَا بَصَائِرُ لِلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ
“This (is) enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain.” (Surah Al-Jathiyah 45:20)
A ‘Madani’ Surah is characterized as those Surah’s which have their beginning passages revealed in Madinah. According to Imaam Zarkashi, 29 Surah’s were revealed in Madinah. Other commentators give a figure of 28 whilst others have given a slightly higher figure. The Madani Surah’s were revealed over nine to ten years beginning from the Hijrah, to the eventual demise of the Prophet (saw).
The Almighty Allah (God) described the Quran as a Revelation:
- “It is for us to collect and recite it.” (Quran 75:17)
- “A detailed exposition of everything.” (Quran 12:11)
- “It is but a revelation revealed.” (Surah Al-Najm, verse 4)
- “So we sent this inspiration to the mother of Musa.” (Quran 28:7)
- “This is the book: it is guidance sure, without a doubt.” (Quran 2:2)
- “only follow that which is revealed unto me.” (Surah Yunus, verse 15)
- “I but follow what is revealed to me from my Lord.” (Surah Al-Araf, 203)
- “We have indeed revealed this (message)in the Night of Power.” (Al-Qadr 97:1)
- “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): I am with you.” (Quran 8:12)
- “Nor does He say (ought) of his desire. It is no less than inspiration sent to him.” (Quran 53:3-4)
Although other books that claim to be divinely revealed are also read and recited, the Holy Qur’an has a specific characteristic, superiority, and individuality compared to them. This is because it is the most widely read book in the world. Millions of Muslims all over the world recite it in their daily prayers 5 times a day. The Qur’an is read and recited daily in what is called ‘tilawat’ where Muslims read the Qur’an whenever they have some spare time to get the Blessings of Almighty Allah.
Couldn’t Muhammad have authored it?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was known in history to be illiterate; he could not read nor write. He was not educated in any field that could account for neither the scientific and historical accuracy nor the literary beauty of this magnificent Book. The precision of historical recounts of previous peoples and civilizations mentioned in the Qur’an is also too great to be authored by any man. Allah says:
وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَن يُفْتَرَىٰ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“And not is this the Quran, that (it could be) produced by other than Allah, but (it is) a confirmation (of that) which (was) before it and a detailed explanation (of) the Book, (there is) no doubt in it, from (the) Lord (of) the worlds.” (Surah Yunus 10:37)
The Final Revelation
The Qur’an is the last scripture revealed by Almighty Allah (God), confirming what little truth remains in parts of previous scriptures and refuting and correcting fabrications and additions which have crept into current-day versions of such scriptures. Allah says:
وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيلًا
“And the Quran We have divided, that you might recite it to the people at intervals. And We have revealed it (in) stages.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:106)
Despite Allah Almighty, Himself took the responsibility of preserving the Quran, however, He had the work done by humans where different rulers in different times made efforts to make sure that the Quran was preserved and it was in a form that was universal with no deviation whatsoever in terms of its textual content which we have nowadays from which we recite.