The Qur’an

The Qur’an is the Holy Scripture of the Islamic faith. According to the Qur’an, the word of God was first revealed in the Torah to Moses, the Pslams to David, and the Gospels to Jesus. Muslims believe that these books have been corrupted and that Jews and Christians believe a corrupted version of God’s word.

The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad to correct the errors that were introduced to the original revelations from God. Thus, the Qur’an is final revelation from God and Muhammad is the “seal of the prophets”.

The first revelation to Muhammad was given in 610 A.D. and the last in 622 A.D. The Qur’an includes many stories that are found in the Bible (with variations), traditions and fables from Judaism, heretical Christina folklore, and instructions for daily life in an Islamic community. The message of the Qur’an was recited orally and written down on various materials, including palm leaves, animal skins, and bones.

Today’s officially recognized Qur’an was codified in 652 A.D. when the caliphate of ‘Uthman (the Islamic leader) ordered that all the revelations be collected, the reliable ones retained, and the rest burned. Today’s Qur’an is composed of 114 chapters (suras), 6,616 verses (ayas) and 77,934 words.

The Qur’an itself proclaims that its words are preserved on an eternal tablet in heaven and its words are uncreated. The angel Gabriel revealed the Qur’an in the Arabic language and so Arabic is said to be the language of God.

Many non-Arabic-speaking Muslims memorize passages from the Qur’an in the original Arabic for recitation during daily prayer. Muslims believe that a translated Qur’an is not a true Qur’an, so translations are often called “commentaries” instead.

However, the Qur’an itself uses words borrowed from other languages such as Persian, Syriac, Egyptian, Hebrew, and Greek. There are also historical inaccuracies in the Qur’an.

One historical inaccuracy is the confusion of Miriam (the sister of Aaron and Moses) with Mary (the mother of Jesus) who lived 1570 years after the former. Since the Qur’an is considered the exact words of God, scholarly criticism is considered unacceptable.