Dr. Mozammel Haque
Allah revealed the Noble Qur'an, the Final revelation for all mankind of all times, to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through angle Jibrael. The Qur'an is the greatest miracle given to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Noble Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan (Al-Qur’an, 97:1-3.). The Qur’an was sent down in the month of Ramadan on the Night of Power Lailatul Qadr. (Al-Qur’an, 91:1-3.).
The Qur’an represents the culmination of all other earlier Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the last of the Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the first religious book in the world, which requires the belief in other revelations, a part of its Faith. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan. Allah Himself said in the Qur’an: “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to Mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).” (2:185). Allah the Most High has especially mentioned the exact date and month of the revelation: “We have indeed revealed This (Message) in the Night of Power.” (97:1) So the purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an was for guidance of Mankind.
The Qur’an is emphatic in proclaiming that Islam is the religion of Jesus, Moses, Abraham (peace be upon them all) and the Prophets Jesus and Moses were not Jews but Muslims. "Surely those who believe (in that which is revealed to Muhammad peace be upon him) and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans – whoever believes in Allah, and the Last Day and does good, surely their reward is with their Lord, and there is no fear for them nor shall they grieve."(2:62). "A Guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and judgement (between right and wrong)." This is the most important characteristic of the Qur’an, the Book that Allah has revealed in the month of Ramadan. It is guidance for mankind. It is clear proof, clear proof of guidance and of judgement.
Divinity of the Qur’an
The Noble Qur’an is the heart and soul of Islam, the Wisdom of God. It is the Word of Allah, the Kalamullah. The Qur'an is the concrete tangible Word of God. It identifies itself to us and tells us that God is its Author, as God tells us: "God Most Gracious has taught the Qur'an.” (55:1-2).
The disbelievers used to allege that it was "Tales of the animals, which he (Muhammad) has written down and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” 25:5). The wicked persons went on ceaselessly putting on peoples' ears that the Qur'an was not a true revelation: "This (the Qur'an) is nothing but a lie that he (Muhammad) has invented, and others have helped him at it.”(25:4) They claimed: "It is only a human being who teaches him.”(16:103); they also raised many other baseless and superficial objections.
Allah challenged the disbelievers in various parts of the Qur'an. “And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our servant (Muhammad, peace be upon him), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful. But if you do it not, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.”(2: 23-24)
Allah also said in Surah Al-Qasas, "Say (to them, O Muhammad, pbuh): Then bring a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than these two (the Torah and the Qur'an), that I may follow it, if you are truthful.” (28:49)
Allah said in Surah Al-Isra, "Say: If Mankind and the Jinn were together to produce the like of the Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.” (17:88)
Allah again said in Surah Hud, "Or they say, "He (Prophet Muhammad, pbuh) forged it (the Qur'an). "Say: "Bring you then ten forged Surahs (chapters) like it, and call whatsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth.” (11:13)
In Surah Yunus, Allah challenged, "And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah (Lord of the heavens and the earth), but it is a confirmation of (the revelation) which was before it (i.e. the Torah and the Injil), and a full explanation of the Book (i.e. Laws decreed for mankind) - wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of all that exists. Or do they say: "He (Muhammad - peace be upon him) has forged it?” Say: "Bring then a Surah (chapter) like it, and call upon whomsoever you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.” (10:37-38)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that among the Prophets he was given a revelation, meaning, he was especially entrusted with the miraculous Qur'an that challenged mankind to produce something similar to it. The Qur'an is the greatest miracle given to the Prophet (pbuh). The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Every Prophet was given a miracle, the type of which brings mankind to faith. What I was given is a revelation that Allah sent down to me. Yet, I hope that I will have the most following on the Day of Resurrection.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:619 and Muslim 1:134).
The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a historical event, a part of history. Every smallest detail of his life was recorded. It is a known fact that the Qur'an is not written by him, but rather revealed by Allah through His angle Jibrael. Angle Jibrael used to come to him with revelation. This fact of coming of Angel Jibrael with revelation was certified by no less a person than a very wise man of the time.
Aishah narrated an account of Prophet's first revelation, "Prophet was trembling with fear. At this stage, he came back to his wife Khadijah and said, "Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him until he restored security. He informed Khadijah of the incident of the Cave and added that he was frightened. His wife tried to soothe him and reassured him saying, “Allah will never disgrace you. You unite uterine relations. You bear the burden of the weak; you help the poor and the needy. You entertain the guests and endure hardships in the path of truthfulness.”
She took the Prophet (pbuh) to her cousin Waraqah bin Asad bin Abdul-uzzah, who had embraced Christianity in the pre-Islamic period, and a scholar with good knowledge of Arabic, Hebrew and the Bible. He was an old blind man. Khadijah said, "My cousin! Listen to your nephew!” Waraqah said, "O my nephew! What did you see?” Allah's Messenger told him what happened to him. Waraqah replied, "This is Namus,” i.e. (the Angel who is entrusted with Divine Secrets) that Allah sent to Moses. I wish I were younger. I wish I could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Muhammad asked, "Will they drive me out?” Waraqah answered in the affirmative and said, "Anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should be alive till that day, then I would support you strongly.”
This hadith is related in both of the two most authentic collections of the Prophet's traditions prepared by al-Bukhari and Muslim, and also related by Imam Ahmad in his collection.
This angel Jibrael used to visit Allah's messenger sometimes in the form of human being and speak to him directly. This would enable him to fully understand what the angel said. The Angel was sometimes seen in the form of one of the Prophet's companions.
When there was no revelation coming from Allah for few days, the Prophet (pbuh) became depressed and worried. Ibn Sa'd narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Revelation paused for a few days. The Prophet was caught in a sort of depression coupled with astonishment and confusion. In the Book of Dreams, Al-Bukhari recorded that the Divine inspiration paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad, as we have heard, that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains. Every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Jibrael would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Messenger in truth,” whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and return home.
Even a layman can find the difference between the language and linguistic style of the Noble Qurán, the Kalamullah and the Hadith, the traditions of the Prophet.
Read more and more the Qur’an
In its month of revelation
It is the month of Ramadan that Allah has honoured by revealing the Qur’an. Because of this strong relation between the Qur’an and the month of Ramadan, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to read the Qur’an to Archangel Jibreel every Ramadan. I think this is the right place to discuss the purpose and objective of the revelation of the Qur’an, its importance, the campaigns against it and the do’s and don’ts of the Qur’an.
First of all, Allah the Most High, created mankind and gave him the gift of expression. For the guidance of mankind Allah sent Prophets (peace be upon them all) to every single community. In the words of the Qur’an, "There has been no community to which God’s messengers have not come" and "Muslims should make no distinctions between them." So it is the duty of a Muslim to honour all the prophets equally. The Qur’an represents the culmination of all other earlier Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the last of the Revealed Books.
Before the revelation of the Qur’an, it was preserved and guarded from corruption in the "Mother of the Book". Allah Himself said: "Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved" (85:21-22). When Allah wanted to give this Trust to someone, the Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains, i.e. other creatures of Allah, besides man, refused to undertake this Trust or responsibility. They preferred to submit their will entirely to Allah’s Will, which is All-Wise and Perfect, and which would give them far more happiness than a faculty of choice, with their imperfect knowledge. Allah says in the Qur’an: "We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it: He was indeed unjust and foolish." (33-72).
So it is the human beings who took the responsibility of the Trust without realising its importance. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an is the revealed book of God which has been in existence for more than four hundred years and the Word of Allah is available in its original form. There has not been an iota of change in this unique historic record. Its originality and authenticity has been guaranteed by no other than Allah the Almighty who challenges in the Qur’an itself.
As mentioned earlier, Allah said, "This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah: on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelation) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds." (10:37). In another verse of the Qur’an Allah challenges, "Or do they say, "He forged it?" Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it; and call (to your aid) anyone who can, beside Allah if it be you speak the truth!" (10:38). "Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring you then ten Suras forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever you can, other than Allah! – if you speak the truth!" (11:13).
Allah said in the Qur’an, "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant then produce a Sura like thereunto, and call your witness and helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if you are truthful." (2:23) Allah places many verses before you. Can you produce one like it?
The world is challenged to produce a Book like it and has not produced one. It is the only Revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today. Allah said, "Say: "if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." (17:88)
Since the revelation of the Qur’an, the enemies of Islam have been trying to distort it. Firstly, they said, it is not revelation, it is written by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then they started attacking its authenticity and originality. In spite of their conspiracy, the Qur’an has been preserved in its original form.
The Qur’an is the only Book in the world which has remained for the past fourteen centuries pure without any interpolation or change and will remain so till the Last Day as Allah has guaranteed its purity. (15:9).
Purity, preservation and propagation of the Qur’an
The purity, preservation and propagation of the Qur’an were maintained by two methods: memorization of Qur’an in Qur’anic schools and the recitation of the complete Qur’an in Ramadan. In the month of Ramadan every year the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by Archangel Jibreel to recite the whole of it twice. It was a Muzakira between the two. Abu Huraira reported that Jibreel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur’an with the Prophet once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away. The Qur’an was recited in the Taraweeh for the first time during the era of Caliph Omar.
So far as the memorization of the Qur’an in Qur’anic schools is concerned, many Huffaz and Islamic scholars have been killed in different parts of the world at different times. But still there is no dearth of Islamic scholars who can recite the complete Qur’an from memory. Severe campaigns have been launched against the Qur’anic schools, which teach the study, recitation and memorization of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the main Book of the Muslims; it is the duty of the Muslims to learn Qur’an, which contains their code of life and ethical values whose benefits have been experienced by mankind throughout the ages.
I have already mentioned the objective and importance of the Qur’an and how its originality and purity have been maintained. Our Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions dedicated their days and nights for worship. Their lives revolved completely around the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, reciting it in and out of Salah.
The Qur’an is the basis of the religion of Islam, and on the preservation and propagation of the Qur’an depends the very existence of this Faith. Hence the virtue of learning and teaching the Qur’an is self-evident and does not need further elucidation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Bukhari, Daud and Tirmidhi).
A great Islamic scholar wrote in his book entitled Toward Understanding of the Qur’an: “The present arrangement of the Qur'an is not the work of later generations, but was made by the Prophet under God's direction. Whenever a Surah was revealed, the Prophet summoned his scribes, to whom he carefully dictated its contents, and instructed them where to place it in relation to the other Surahs. The Prophet followed the same order of Surahs and verses when reciting during ritual Prayer as on other occasions, and his Companions followed the same practice in memorizing the Qur'an. It is therefore a historical fact that the collection of the Qur'an came to an end on the very day that its revelation ceased. The One who was responsible for its revelation was also the One who fixed its arrangement. The one whose heart was the receptacle of the Qur'an was also responsible for arranging its sequence. This was far too important and too delicate a matter for anyone else to dare to become involved in.”
“Not even the most skeptical person has any reason to doubt that the Qur'an as we know it today is identical with the Qur'an which Muhammad (peace be on him) set before the world; this is an unquestionable, objective, historical fact, and there is nothing in human history on which the evidence is so overwhelmingly strong and conclusive. To doubt the authenticity of the Qur'an is like doubting the existence of the Roman Empire, the Mughals of India, or Napoleon! To doubt historical facts like these is a sign of stark ignorance, not a mark of erudition and scholarships,” he added.