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A Muslim Perspective on Revelation and the Word

Basma Elshayyal's picture

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The Qur'an for Muslims is the 'Divine, Eternal, Uncreated, Literal Word of Allah', revealed in the original Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad via the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) over a period of 23 years.

 

The final revelation

 

It is not to be regarded alone, but in the context of a final culmination of a chain of messages and guidance stretching from the start of humanity (Adam) till the present day. Just as Muhammad pbuh is viewed as the seal of Prophets in Islam, the Qur'an is regarded as the perfect completion of a series of revelations sent to humanity – the previous ones being sent to Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Dawud (David) and Isa (Jesus) respectively.

 

It is divided into 114 chapters, with (roughly) the longest dealing with legislative matters, advice, historical proverbs, etc at the start and the shortest dealing with matters of belief, faith and exhortation towards the end.

 

In addition to ritual cleansing before touching the Arabic text -

 

'That this is indeed a Qur'ān Most Honourable, In a Book well-guarded, Which none shall touch but those who are clean.'

(56:77-79)

 

- paper copies of the Qur'an are treated with much physical veneration in certain cultures (notably South Asian – mainly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) being placed on the top shelf above all other books and items, or being wrapped in a special cloth. It is also often to be seen beautifully decorated or gilded; and as passages in calligraphy and Islamic art.

 

Although each and every Muslim will experience and use the Qur'an differently according to their own personal faith, most Muslims will agree that real respect for the Qur'an lies in studying it carefully, implementing its teachings, using it as a source of inspiration in one's intellectual, social, cultural and political life, incorporating it thoughtfully into the five daily prayers – (Salah, please see piece on ritual & celebration), preserving its memory in one's heart and mind, beautifying one's recitation and voice when reading it out loud and referring to it as an ultimate source of authority and guidance. All of this is directly related to the Muslim belief that the Qur'an is the actual speech of God.

 

A person who has committed the entire Book to memory is called a hafiz (reciter or protector) and accorded great respect.

 

Recite the Qur'an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.

(73:4)

 

 

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