The Holy Quran
It is called "Koran" (not a preferred term) in English. This is the Holy Scripture, the word of God that the angel Gabriel brought to Muhammad. Muhammad repeated these verses to his followers, who memorized them and also wrote them down. The divine messages came over a period of 23 years.
To date, the text of the Qur’an has remained intact in its original language, Arabic, unaltered by man or time. The Qur’an contains laws and commandments governing all aspects of the life of a Muslim. It also contains narrations of the life histories of the earlier Prophets, and parables to guide the reader. The Qur’an and the traditions or sayings of the Prophet (pbuh&p) constitute the guiding light for the Muslim in his/her day-to-day life.
The two most often recited Chapters or Surahs of the Holy Quran are: (1) The Opening Chapter, referred to as Fatihahand (2) The Unity Chapter, referred to as Ikhlas. They are listed below.
Fatihah (Opening Chapter)
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful. Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone we worship and Thee alone we ask for help. Show us the straight way. The way of those whom Thou has favored. The way of those who did not earn Thy anger, and who did not go astray.
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful. Say: He is God, the One and the only. God, the Eternal, the Absolute. He begetteth not, nor was He begotten; And there is none equal unto Him.
Some of the proofs that the Quran was divinely revealed are:
Many Jewish and Christian scholars at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&p) recognized the Holy Scripture as the true word of God and acknowledged Prophet Muhammad as a true Prophet of God, and embraced Islam.
It is to be noted that:
Muhammad was untutored and unlettered. He received no formal instruction in reading or writing.
The wisdom, the knowledge, and the literary eloquence contained in the Qur’an are unmatched and beyond the scope of human endeavor.
The statements made in the Qur’an about sciences such as physics, biology, astronomy, etc. reveal knowledge which did not exist with mankind at the time of Muhammad. Those statements have been verified hundreds of years later through the discoveries of modern science.
Since the time of Muhammad to the present day, Islam continues to be accepted by more and more people in all parts of the world. Today Islam is the faith of one-fifth of the population of the world. Islam offers to mankind dignity, equality, and justice.
God, according to the Qur’an, guarantees direct access to Himself. He says in the Qur’an: "I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls unto Me." (2:186)
The authenticity of the Qur’an is undisputed. The Qur’an holds a unique place among the scriptures because only one version existed from the very beginning. Many faithful Muslims have continued the tradition of memorizing the entire scripture, thus guarding it against any change. Even a single letter of the original Arabic text has not been changed.
The Qur’an is free from any discrepancies or contradictions. This is particularly amazing, considering the fact that the messages were revealed in stages over a period of twenty-two years!
Western scholars’ views on the Qur’an
"A work, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader -- distant as to time and still more so as mental development. A work which not only conquers the repugnance which the reader may feel as he begins its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration. Such a work must be a wonderful production of the 'human mind' indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind." - Dr. Steingass in T.P. Hughes’s Dictionary of Islam, p.526.
"The hypothesis advanced by those who see Muhammad as the author of the Quran is untenable. How a man, from being “illiterate” (untutored), could become the most important author, in terms of literary merit in the whole of Arabia? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human being could possibly have developed at that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?" - Maurice Bucaille in "The Bible, the Quran and Science," p.125.
Some of the verses in the Qur’an, which came in response to criticism by the unbelievers and the skeptics, are as follows:
"And if ye are in doubt concerning that we reveal unto our servant (Muhammad) then produce a Chapter of the like thereof..." (2:23)
"And before this was the book of Moses, as a guide and a mercy. And this Book confirms (it) in Arabic, to admonish the unjust, and as glad tidings for the righteous." (46:12)
The Qur’an confirms that the earlier prophets, including Moses and Jesus, were true messengers of God. The previous scriptures, the Torah and the Bible, in their original forms were the true messages from God. The true purpose of the Qur’an is to restore and safeguard the message of God in its totality.
Commandments. This term is not specifically used in the Qur’an. However, after reading the Qur’an one learns the injunctions contained therein. A partial list is given below:
1. To believe in one God.
2. To honor and respect parents.
3. To honor the human rights of all people, regardless of their religion.
4. Be charitable, but do not be ascetic.
5. Do not kill except for justifiable cause.
6. Do not commit adultery or fornication.
7. Safeguard the possessions of orphans.
8. Deal with others with justice.
9. Be pure in heart and mind.
10. Be humble and unpretentious.
11. Do not backbite.
12. Do not be a scandalmonger.
13. Do good deeds for the love of God.
14. God loves those who forgive.
15. God is with those who patiently persevere.
16. Help your neighbor.
By: Dr. Syed Hasan Akhtar . Austin, Texas,USA