Qur’an – The Message

Summary – (read online)

Allah has revealed His Books to various Prophets for the guidance of their nations. The big Books are called KITAABS whilst the small ones are called SAHIFAS. The four main Books that were revealed to the Prophets are:

  • TOURAAT (Old Testament) to Prophet Musa (Alayhis-Salaam)

  • ZABOOR (Psalms) to Prophet Dawood (Alayhis-Salaam)

  • INJEEL (New Testament) to Prophet Isa (Alayhis-Salaam)

  • QURAN, the final Book of Allah was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Besides these there were many more smaller Kitaabs known as Sahifas, revealed to Prophet Adam (Alayhis-Salaam), Prophet Shees (Alayhis-Salaam), Prophet Idris (Alayhis-Salaam) and Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhis-Salaam) (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon all of them). None of these exist anymore, in any shape and form.

Quran The Criterion

All the other Books besides Quran were revealed at once. The Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years. All the other Books are no more in their original form. Changes, alterations and additions have been made to them. The Quran has been memorised by thousands from the beginning of ISLAM right to the present day. The Quran was the final book of Allah, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the last Prophet of Allah. The Quran is still pure, clear and free from any change or alteration. Allah has promised to safeguard the text of the QURAN, which is miraculous.

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption). [Al-Quran 15:9]

The Quran, well-regarded as the Word of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) by Muslims the world over, is the same Quran as the one revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was authenticated and written under his personal supervision.

The Prophet (PBUH) himself supervised and authenticated the written texts of the Quran. Whenever the Prophet received a revelation, he would first memorize it himself and later declare the revelation and instruct his Companions (R.A). The Prophet would immediately ask the scribes to write down the revelation he had received, and he would reconfirm and recheck it himself. The Prophet (PBUH) was an “Ummi” who could not read and write. Therefore, after receiving each revelation, he would repeat it to his Companions. They would write down the revelation, and he would recheck by asking them to read what they had written. If there was any mistake, the Prophet would immediately point it out and have it corrected and rechecked. Similarly he would even recheck and authenticate the portions of the Quran memorized by the Companions. In this way, the complete Quran was written down under the personal supervision of the prophet (PBUH).

Order and Sequence of Quran – Divinely Inspired

The complete Quran was revealed over a period of 22.5 years portion by portion, as and when it was required. The Quran was not compiled by the Prophet in the chronological order of revelation. The order and sequence of the Quran too was divinely inspired and was instructed to the Prophet by Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) through angel Jibraeel. Whenever a revelation was conveyed to his companions, the Prophet would also mention in which surah (chapter) and after which ayat (verse) this new revelation should fit.

Every Ramadan all the portions of the Quran that had been revealed, including the order of the verses, were revised and reconfirmed by the Prophet with angel Jibraeel. During the last Ramadan, before the demise of the Prophet, the Quran was rechecked and reconfirmed twice.

It is therefore clearly evident that the Quran was compiled and authenticated by the Prophet himself during his lifetime, both in the written form as well as in the memory of several of his Companions.

Quran copied on one common material

The complete Quran, along with the correct sequence of the verses, was present during the time of the Prophet (PBUH). The verses however, were written on separate pieces, scrapes of leather, thin flat stones, leaflets, palm branches, shoulder blades, etc. After the demise of the prophet, Abu Bakr (Radhi-Allahu Anhu) the first caliph of Islam ordered that the Quran be copied from the various different materials on to a common material and place, which was in the shape of sheets. Zayd Ibn Thabit (Radhi-Allahu Anhu) gathered the Quran in one book. These were tied with strings so that nothing of the compilation was lost. It was kept at the residence of Hafsah Bint Umar, (one of the Prophet’s wives).

Uthman (Radhi-Allahu Anhu) made copies of the Quran from the original manuscript

Many Companions of the Prophet used to write down the revelation of the Quran on their own whenever they heard it from the Prophet. However what they wrote was not personally verified by the Prophet and thus could contain mistakes. All the verses revealed to the Prophet may not have been heard personally by all the Companions. There were high possibilities of different portions of the Quran being missed by different Companions. This gave rise to disputes among Muslims regarding the different contents of the Quran during the period of the third Caliph Uthman (Radhi-Allahu Anhu).

In his reign, the Quran was rewritten in several perfect copies from the main copy of the Quran gathered during the era of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq. Uthman (Radhi-Allahu Anhu) asked the following four companions led by Zayd Ibn Thabit to make several copies of the Quran:

  • Zayd Ibn Thabit.
  • Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubair.
  • Said Ibn Al-`As.
  • Abdul-Rahman Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Hisham.

These perfect copies of Quran were sent to main centres of Muslims by Uthman (Radhi-Allahu Anhu).

There were other personal collections of the portions of the Quran that people had with them. These might have been incomplete and with mistakes. Uthman (Radhi-Allahu Anhu) only appealed to the people to destroy all these copies which did not match the original manuscript of the Quran in order to preserve the original text of the Quran. Two such copies of the copied text of the original Quran authenticated by the Prophet are present to this day, one at the museum in Tashkent in former Soviet Union and the other at the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Diacritical marks were added for non-Arabs

The original manuscript of the Quran does not have the signs indicating the vowels in Arabic script. These vowels are known as fatah, damma and qasra in Arabic. The Arabs did not require the vowel signs and diacritical marks for correct pronunciation of the Quran since it was their mother tongue. For Muslims of non-Arab origin, however, it was difficult to recite the Quran correctly without the vowels. These marks were introduced into the Quranic script during the time of the fifth Umayyad Caliph, Malik-ar-Marwan (66-86 Hijri/ 685-705 C.E.) and during the governorship of Al-Hajaj in Iraq.

Some people argue that the present copy of the Quran that we have along with the vowels and the diacritical marks is not the same original Quran that was present at the Prophets time. But they fail to realize that the word Quran means a recitation. Therefore, the preservation of the recitation of the Quran is important, irrespective of whether the script is different or whether it contains vowels. If the pronunciation and the Arabic is the same, naturally, the meaning remains the same too.