The Qur’an is the revealed book of Allah. It is the foundational book of Islam and contains all the necessary principles to lead an Islamic life. The Qur’an is a unique book that needs to be understood on its own grounds.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel. The Qur’an is the revealed book of Allah. It is the foundational book of Islam and contains all the necessary principles to lead an Islamic life. Like anything in this world, the Qur’an has its own story and history.
In this lesson, we’ll go over some brief facts and pointers on the Qur’an. We will look at where it came from, what its about and what our responsibilities towards it are.
BODY OF TEXT
The Qur’an’s Background
The Qur’an was God’s revelation to the Prophet through the medium of His archangel Gabriel (as). The process of the revelation took a little over two decades. Towards the end of the Prophet’s (s) life, the Qur’an had all been written down.
It was only after the Prophet’s (s) death that, by the order of the Messenger of Allah (s), Imam Ali (as) compiled the Qur’an into a standard edited manuscript.
Imam Ali (as) offered that book to the ruler of his time, Uthman bin Affan. The work was accepted, but Imam Ali’s (as) commentary was not. The rulers took the copy and declared it as their own official copy.
Although the refusal to acknowledge Imam Ali’s (as) hard work was unfortunate, his endeavor made sure that the Qur’an’s message would remain preserved, unaltered and unchanged. This is why the Ahl al-Bayt (as) always accepted what came to be known as the “Uthmanic Codex” for it was really compiled by Imam Ali (as).
How the Qur’an is divided
The Qur’an has 114 chapters called Surahs. The first chapter of the Qur’an is called al-Fatihah and the last one is called al-Nas. It also has 6, 236 verses called Ayat which literally means “signs.” This makes it just about the size of the New Testament in Christianity.
It is a common myth that the Qur’an has 6, 666 verses. This myth was invented by some extremist Christians who were hostile to Islam. What they were trying to do is to associate Islam with the devil given that the devil’s number in the Bible is 666.
The Qur’an has 30 equal sections called Juz. These divisions don’t fall evenly in chapters and they usually break from one another even in the middle of a chapter. The purpose of this is to make reading easier during the month of Ramadan. In other words, we’re encouraged to read the Qur’an every day, and as Ramadan has 30 days, its good that the reading gets divided up evenly.
Why the Qur’an doesn’t follow a chronological order
We all know how books are. They have a beginning, middle and end. They have an introduction and some kind of conclusion. If these aren’t there, at least they have some kind of chronology. One thing that stands out with the Quran is that it doesn’t obey any of these rules.
For someone who just started reading the Qur’an, he or she will notice that there is no beginning and no end. The first chapter was not the first chapter revealed, and the last chapter was not last. While reading the Qur’an, you will notice that while the book is talking about one subject, it will suddenly switch to another one. Although some people will be frustrated, there is actually a reason why the Qur’an is ordered like this.
As the great 20th century Muslim scholar Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khu’i once remarked, not everyone has the luxury to sit and read a whole book in a short time span. The Qur’an is not a story, nor a book of history, like many chapters in the Bible are. (think of the book of exodus for example). It is a book of guidance. This means that the Qur’an must be optimized in order to meet this goal.
The way the Qur’an is structured is that if you read one regular sized Surah, you will find a mishmash of different subjects so that in one sitting, you can really take the gist of what Islam and its fundamentals are really about. If you read just part of one Surah, you will learn that God is one, you will learn about the general moral and social principles of Islam, and you will also learn about some of your duties towards God and how to develop a relationship with Him.
When it comes to other books though, you usually have to read a lot of it until you get what its essence is really about. The Qur’an is structured in such a way where this doesn’t happen, any short reading will give you a very straight idea of what Allah has in mind for us with His revelation.
So What’s in the Qur’an?
The Qur’an was revealed in the Arabic language. Its primary message is tawheed or the absolute unity of God. This means that God is one and undivided and the creator of all the universe. It also teaches us to take the prophets, and especially the Prophet Muhammad (s) as our role models in the religious life.
The Qur’an teaches us how to develop a good relationship with God by trusting Him. It teaches us on how to lead the moral life by being humble and helping the poor and needy. It teaches us not to judge other people and to always be kind to them. It teaches us that nature, and particularly animals are conscious beings who worship God and as such, we are to respect and cherish them.
In short, it is a manual on how to live a life that is pleasing to God.
How to Read the Qur’an
If you don’t know Arabic, you can always read a translation of the Qur’an. A good translation out there is Ali Quli Qara’i’s wonderful work. It’s a simple phrase by phrase translation that is ideal for those who want to memorize the Qur’an after they’ve learnt the Arabic script.
If you want to learn how to recite verses in their proper way, please go to http://www.recitequran.com where you can learn how to recite the Qur’an word by word with translation.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Chapter of the Qur’an
Ayah (pl. Ayaat)
Verse of the Qur’an
Section of the Qur’an, there are 30 Juz in the Qur’an.
Imam Ali’s (as) compilation of the Qur’an which the Caliph Uthman spread to the Islamic world.
Does the Qur’an follow a chronological order?
How many chapters are there in the Qur’an?
How many verses are there in the Qur’an?
Is the Qur’an the words of the Prophet Muhammad (s)?
No, they are the words of God which the Prophet repeated
Did the Qur’an change over time?
No, the Qur’an we have today is the same one that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) with nothing less and nothing added to it.
Who first compiled the Qur’an into a standard book format?
Imam Ali (as)
Equal Sections of the Qur’an
Abu al-Qasim al-Khu’i
how to recite Qur’an
revealed book of Allah