What is the Quran?

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The Word of God

The Qur’an is the literal word of God, The Almighty (Allah in Arabic), revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel.

“The revelation of The Book is from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise.”

Qur’an 39:1

Guidance for Mankind

The Qur’an is “a guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” Qur’an 2:185.  It provides direction to help mankind judge between right and wrong, without which, man would surely be in loss.

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.

“O you who have been given the Scripture! Believe in what We have revealed confirming what is (already) with you…”Qur’an 4:47

How was the Qur’an Revealed?

The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and exists only in the language in which it was revealed – Arabic. However, the translation of the meaning of the Qur’an is available in many languages. The Qur’an was not sent down as a complete book in one revelation; rather, the revelation spanned over a period of 23 years. For this reason, it is essential to know in what circumstances the verses were revealed, in order to have a proper understanding of the Qur’an; otherwise, its teachings could be misunderstood.

How do I know that it is from God?

Preservation

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Verses from the Quran

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

Not only has the Qur’an been preserved in written form, but also in the hearts of men, children and women. Today, millions of people have memorized the Qur’an from cover to cover.

Scientific Miracles

The Qur’an does not contradict modern science but rather, supports it. One of the most remarkable aspects about the Qur’an is that it contains many verses which accurately describe 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

“We shall show them Our Signs in the Universe and within their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth.” Qur’an 41:53

In fact, many of the scientific miracles mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered only recently, through the modern advancement of technological equipment. Consider the following:

  • 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.
  • The Qur’an 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 own temperature, density and salinity.

These signs of God were clearly stated in the Qur’an more than 1400 years ago.

Uniqueness

Ever since its revelation, no person has been able to produce a single chapter like that of the Qur’an in its beauty, eloquence, splendour, wisdom, prophecies, and other perfect attributes.

“And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.”

Qur’an 2:23

The people that rejected Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) failed this challenge, even though they were extremely eloquent in the language of the Qur’an. This challenge remains unanswered to this very day.

No Contradictions

When people write, they are bound to make mistakes such as spelling and grammar, contradictory statements, incorrect facts, omission of information, and other various errors.

“Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely, have found in it (the Qur’an) many contradictions.”

Qur’an 4:82

The Qur’an has no contradictions whatsoever – be it in scientific explanations of the water cycle, embryology, geology and cosmology; historical facts and events; or prophecies.

Not Authored by a Man 

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 civilisations mentioned in the Qur’an is also too great to be authored by any man.

“And this Qur’an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah.”

Qur’an 10:37

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

The most important topic mentioned throughout the Qur’an is the belief in the One, True God. God informs us that He has no partner, no son, no equal, and that none has the right to be worshipped except Him alone. Nothing is comparable to God and none of His creation resembles Him. The Qur’an also rejects the notion of attributing human qualities and limitations to God.

To Reject All False Gods

“And worship Allah and associate none with Him.”

Qur’an 4:36

Since Allah alone is the only One worthy of worship, false deities and false gods must be rejected. The Qur’an also rejects the notion of attributing divine qualities to anyone or anything other than Allah.

To Narrate the Stories from the Past

The Qur’an contains many narratives with beneficial lessons, including the true stories of previous Prophets such as, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus and Moses. Of these stories, Allah says,

“Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding.”

Qur’an 12:111

To Remind us of the Day of Judgement

This Noble Book reminds us that everyone will taste death and will be held accountable for all their actions and sayings:

“We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least…”
Qur’an 21:47
To Fulfil the Intended Way of Life 

Importantly, the Qur’an teaches that the purpose of life is to worship God alone, and live one’s life according to the way of life prescribed by Him. In Islam, worship is a comprehensive term that includes all actions and sayings (whether private or public) that Allah loves and is pleased with. Therefore, by doing what Allah commands, a Muslim is worshipping God and fulfilling his purpose in life. The following are examples of worship from the Qur’an:

  • To pray:
“O you who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves and worship your Lord, that you may succeed.”
Qur’an 22:77
  • To give charity:
“…And spend, it is better for your souls; and whoever is saved from the greediness of his soul, these it is that are the successful.”
Qur’an 64:16
  • To be honest:
“Cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know (what it is).” Qur’an 2:42
  • To be modest:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.”
Qur’an 24:30-31
  • To be thankful:
“And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers– you did not know anything– and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks.”
Qur’an 16:78

To be just:

“O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor…”
Qur’an 4:135

To be patient:

“And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.”
Qur’an 11:115
  • To do good:

 

“Allah has promised to those who believe and do good deeds (that) they shall have forgiveness and a mighty reward.”
Qur’an 5:9

Conclusion

In summary, the Qur’an teaches mankind how to worship the One True God, hence fulfilling their true purpose in life, and attaining success in both this world and the next.

“Verily, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book for mankind in truth. So whosoever accepts the guidance, it is only for his own self; and whosoever goes astray, he goes astray only for his own loss.” Qur’an 39:41

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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Contents:

  1. Who is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?
  2. Mission of Mercy
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Equality
  5. Tolerance
  6. Gentleness
  7. Humbleness
  8. The Ideal Husband
  9. The Ideal Example
  10. Comments from Non-Muslims

Who is Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? 

Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final Prophet in the long chain of Prophets sent by Allah. All the Prophets were sent by Allah in order to call people to obey and worship Allah alone. Some of the other Prophets include Prophet Moses, Abraham, Adam, Jacob, Isaac, Solomon, David, Jesus (peace be upon them).

Just as Moses (peace be upon him) was sent with the Torah ( the original uncorrupted revelation sent to Moses) and Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent with the Gospel (the original, uncorrupted revelation – not the present day versions), Muslims believe that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent with the Quran to all of humanity.

The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) wife, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), was once asked to describe the Prophet (peace be upon him), and she replied that ‘his character was a reflection of the Quran’ (Muslim, 40), meaning he implemented the noble teachings of the Quran into his daily life.

Mission of Mercy

“And We (God) have not sent you (Muhammad) except as a mercy for mankind.” (Qur’an 21:107)

As well as calling people to pray, fast and give charity, the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught that one’s faith in God should also affect one’s treatment of others. He said: “The best of you are they who have the best character.”

Many sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasize the relationship between belief and action, for example: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbour, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously, and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep quiet.”

The final Messenger (peace be upon him) taught humans to show mercy and to respect each other: “He who does not show mercy to others, will not be shown mercy.”

Forgiveness 

“Let them forgive and overlook: do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 24:22)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most forgiving of all people and the kindest. If someone abused him, he would forgive him, and the harsher a person was, the more patient he would become. He was extremely lenient and forgiving, especially when he had the upper hand and the power to retaliate.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was all for forgiveness and no amount of crime or aggression against him was too great to be forgiven by him. He was the best example of forgiveness and kindness, as mentioned in the following verse of the Qur’an: “Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Al-Qur’an 7:199)

Equality 

“Indeed the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” (Qur’an 49:13)

In the following sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he taught that all humans are equal in the sight of God:

“All humanity is from Adam and Adam is from clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a black over a white; except through piety.”

“God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and looks into your deeds.”

It is related that once a companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) called another companion in an offensive way, “Son of a black woman!” The Prophet (peace be upon him), became angry and replied, “Do you condemn him because of the blackness of his mother? You still have within you traces of ignorance from the pre-Islamic period.”

Tolerance

“Good deeds and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is best, then he with whom you had enmity shall become as a loyal friend.” (Qur’an 41:34)

“You should not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you should deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” This is how the final Messenger of God (peace be upon him) reacted to personal attacks and abuse.

Islamic sources include a number of instances where the Prophet (peace be upon him) had the opportunity to take revenge upon those who wronged him, but refrained from doing so.

He taught man to exercise patience in the face of adversity: “The strong is not the one who overcomes people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”

Practising patience and tolerance does not mean that a Muslim should be a passivist and not defend himself in case of attack. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) stated that, “Do not wish to meet the enemy, but when you meet (face) the enemy, be patient (i.e. stand firm when facing the enemy).”

Gentleness

“By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been harsh and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you.” (Qur’an 3:159)

A companion who served Muhammad (peace be upon him) for ten years said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was always gentle in his dealings with him. “When I did something, he never questioned my manner of doing it; and when I did not do something, he never questioned my failure to do it. He was the friendliest of all men.”

On one occasion, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) reacted angrily after being insulted by a person.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised her: “Be gentle and calm, O ‘Aisha, as Allah likes gentleness in all affairs.”

He also said: “Show gentleness! For if gentleness is found in something, it beautifies it, and when it is taken out from anything, it makes it deficient.”

Humbleness

“And the servants of The Most Gracious (God) are those who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: ‘Peace.’ ”Qur’an 25:63

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to prevent people from standing up for him out of respect. He used to sit wherever there was a place available in an assembly and never sought a prominent or elevated place. He never wore anything to distinguish himself from his companions or appear in higher rank than them. He used to mix with the poor and the needy; he used to sit with the elderly and support the widows. People who did not know him could not tell him apart from the rest of the crowd.

Addressing his companions, he said: “Allah has revealed to me, that you must be humble. No one should boast over one another, and no one should oppress another.”

Such was his humbleness that he was fearful of being worshipped, a privilege only befitting God:

“Do not exceed bounds in praising me as the Christians do in praising Jesus, Son of Mary. I am only the Lord’s servant; then call me the Servant of Allah and His Messenger.”

The Ideal Husband

“And live with them (your spouses) in kindness.”Qur’an 4:19

The Prophet’s beloved wife, Aa’isha, said of her noble husband: “He used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his clothes and do what ordinary men did in their houses.”

Not only was he a devoted husband, he also encouraged his companions to follow his example: “The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives.”

The Ideal Example

“Indeed you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character.”Qur’an 68:4

What has preceded is only a glimpse of how Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived his life. The examples of kindness and mercy mentioned may come as a surprise to some people given the portrayal of Islam in the media and its constant misrepresentation.

It is important when trying to understand Islam that one goes directly to its sources: The Qur’an, and the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that anyone does not judge Islam based on the errant actions of a few Muslims.

Comments from Non-Muslims

Mahatma K Gandhi, a major political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, remarked: “It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”

George Bernard Shaw, the British playwright, declared: “The world is in dire need of a man with the mind of Muhammad; religious people in the Middle Ages, due to their ignorance and prejudice, had pictured him in a very dark way as they used to consider him the enemy of Christianity. But after looking into the story of this man I found it to be an amazing and a miraculous one, and I came to the conclusion that he was never an enemy of Christianity, and must be called instead the saviour of humanity. In my opinion, if he was to be given control over the world today, he would solve our problems and secure the peace and happiness which the world is longing for.”

Alphonse de Lamartine was a French writer, poet and politician.  This is what he said about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his book “Histoire de la Turquie” (1854):

“As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”

Source:

Islamic Pamphlets

Belief in Allah

Muslims believe in Tawheed. ’Tawheed’ means believing in Allaah alone as God and Lord and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of Lordship and divinity.

Allah is the Most Powerful and Most Wise. He Created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. Muslims believe that only He (Allah) deserves to be worshipped alone without any partner.

In the Quran, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

1. “Say (O Muhammad): He is Allaah, (the) One [Ahad].

2. Allaah‑us‑Samad [Allaah — the Self‑Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].

3. He begets not, nor was He begotten.

4. And there is none co‑equal or comparable unto Him”

[Quran 112:1-3]

Every Nation was Sent a Prophet

Prophets in islam

Muslims believe that thousands of prophets were sent periodically by God, at least one to every nation, as a mercy to mankind for their guidance. Some of the Prophets sent include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

In certain circumstances, the message of the Prophets was lost, corrupted, forgotten, neglected, or denied by the people. These were some of the reasons why a new Prophet would be sent to re-convey Allah’s message.

Muslims believe in and respect every Prophet sent by God. Muslims also believe in all of the divine books which were revealed to the Prophets, mindful of the fact that none of these books exist today in their original form, aside from the Quran.

“It is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.” Quran 3:3

Characteristics of Prophets

All Prophets have common characteristics which make them exceptional human beings.

The main difference between an ordinary human being and a Prophet is that a Prophet receives revelation from God (Allah).

Prophets never sought personal benefits such as wealth, high status or power – rather, they only sought the approval of God.

Prophets were the best examples amongst their people in character and righteousness. They lived in obedience to God, with excellent morals and were always truthful in speech and conduct. For this reason, Muslims reject totally the false attribution of major sins to the Prophets, as appears in some scriptures of other religions.

Prophets are not divine

While Prophets are chosen by Allah Almighty, they are in no way divine and should not be worshipped. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded to say:

“I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God.” Quran 18:110

It is clear even from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, that the Prophets were not divine, and would worship and prostrate to the One True God.

“And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” Matthew 26:39

“And they [Moses and Aaron] fell upon their faces…” Numbers 16:22

“And Abram [i.e. Abraham] fell on his face: and God talked with him…” Genesis 17:3

The Message of the Prophets

Since all Prophets were sent by the One True God, they all conveyed the same message and had the same mission – to remind and educate their people of the purpose of life.

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Tâghût besides Allâh).””  Quran 16:36

The main focus of all the Prophets was to clarify the concept of God: that He has no partners or equals, and that all worship should be directed exclusively toward Him. In the Quran, there are numerous examples of Prophets proclaiming this message:

Noah (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:59],

“O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other gods besides Him.”

Abraham (peace be upon him) said [Quran 21:66],

“Do you worship besides Allah, things that can neither bring you benefit nor cause you harm?”

Moses (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:140],

“What! Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah even though He has made you excel (all) created things?”

Jesus (peace be upon him) said [Quran 3:51],

“Indeed Allah is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him (alone): this is the Straight Way.”

Muhammad (peace be upon him) said [Quran 18:110],

“It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So whoever expects to meet his Lord then let him do good deeds and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

This message was consistent throughout the generations, and highlights the importance of having the correct belief in God.

The Final Prophet

As mentioned earlier, Muslims believe that thousands of Prophets were sent periodically by Allah to specific groups of people.

“And for every nation there is a messenger.” Quran 10:47

Over time, the messages with which the Prophets came were lost or corrupted.

However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not sent to a specific people, but to mankind as a whole, and his message has been preserved both in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah. Since the Quran and Sunnah are preserved and easily accessible, there is no need for another Prophet.

“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets.” Quran 33:40

The Quran is the spoken word of Allah, and is free of any corruption, errors or contradictions. It is a book of “guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” Quran 2:185

God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. Allah says in the Quran,

“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Quran 15:9

The Sunnah is a collection of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as recorded by his companions and their students. The fact that there are thousands of these recorded and rigorously authenticated makes it very easy for anyone to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) correctly.

The message of Prophet Muhammad is in complete harmony with the teachings of the previous Prophets, and reaffirms their message.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet for all mankind from his time up until the end of time, including current and future generations. He was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful and brave human being. He, like other Prophets before him, did not have any evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of Allah.

Sources:

  • “Prophethood in Islam” Pamphlet by islamicpamphlets.com
  • A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A Ibrahim, Second Edition, Darussalam