Do You Know This Book?
Of all the acclaimed masterpieces that the world has seen, nothing can be compared to the book known as the Qur’an. Millions have become Muslims upon simply hearing a verse from this amazing book, yet still the majority knows nothing of it. The Qur’an is the Final Revelation from the Creator to humanity. It was revealed in the year 610 CE to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and completed over a period of 23 years. These 23 years of revelation resulted in a book comprised of 114 chapters and over 6000 verses. All of this was to become the primary source of law for the whole of mankind to live and die by.
The impact of this book is such that Allah says:[Had We revealed this Qur’an upon a mountain, surely you would have seen it humble itself and crumble out of the fear of Allah. Such are the parables We put forward to mankind so that they may reflect.](Al-Hashr: 21)
However, it seems as if the hearts of the people have become harder than the mountains which tower above us. When the Qur’an is recited or even mentioned, people turn away with disgust. In the West, this is primarily due to the negative exposure from the media. It has resulted in many non-Muslims not even wanting to hear the name of this amazing book. Muslims too, have become hardhearted because of the cultural influences of the West. Many young Muslims perceive the Qur’an to be nothing more then an old wrapped up book, which comes off the highest shelf once a year during Ramadan!
If people were to truly reflect upon this book, they would realize that nothing in this world is quite the same. So why should this claim be accepted over others? Why should the Qur’an be given precedence over the likes of the Bible, the Gita or the Granth Sahib? The following reasons will inshallah give an indication as to why this book deserves the attention of all humanity.
“There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries with so pure a text”. Writing 200 years ago, these are the words of the famous English critic of Islam, Sir William Muir. But as Muslims we do not need William Muir to tell us this. 1400 years ago, the Muslims accepted this reality when Allah revealed to them:
[Indeed it is We who have sent down the reminder (the Qur’an), and indeed it is Us who shall preserve it.](Al-Hijr: 9)
These words have proved true to this very day. From the moment the first words were revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to this very day, every single letter and word of the Qur’an has remained unchanged.
Before Islam, all the revelations sent were not given this divine assurance. This is why we find that books like the Bible are riddled with corruption and inaccuracies. It is well known that man has tampered with the Bible to the extent that annually different versions are produced to suit trends and desires. In fact, this has been going on for so long that it is almost impossible to see what of the words of the Creator are left, if any!
With the Qur’an it is the exact opposite. The contents of this amazing book are stored in the hearts of millions of Muslims worldwide. Children as young as 12 have memorized the entire book in its original language, Arabic. There is no other religious scripture on earth which is orally preserved in its original language by so many and over such a period of time, without having been tampered somewhere along the line. The Bible is a prime example of this. Many Christians believe that English is the divine language of the Bible. However, Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke Aramaic. From Aramaic, his life-story was translated into Hebrew. From Hebrew it was translated into Greek. From Greek to Latin, and then finally from Latin to English! There has not been a single vicar, priest or layman in recorded history who has even memorized the Bible in English, let alone the Aramaic! As Muslims we believe the Qur’an can only be in the language it was revealed in, i.e. Arabic. Anything else is a translation and not the divine words of the Creator. A true test of this divine preservation would be to burn all the books and manuscripts in existence, to see which can return as it was. The Qur’an would be the only book which would return in its original form, letter for letter, word for word.
Many Christians say that the Qur’anic claim of preservation needs to be backed-up by manuscript evidence. For us this is not a necessary criteria, but in order to quell the doubts, the Muslims have ample proof. Two copies of the Qur’an are in existence which date back to the Third Caliph `Uthman, 20 years after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. These two copies are to be found in the Topkapi museum, Istanbul, Turkey and in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Tashkent copy is thought to have been the personal copy of the Caliph as it still contains stains of his blood, which was shed when he was murdered whilst reading it. Any copy of the Qur’an which is compared to these copies, will show that there is not a single difference between what we have today and what was in existence 1400 years ago. Thus Allah’s promise holds true.
Man as a creature is fallible. For this reason anything which is produced by him will naturally have faults. With the Qur’an, such a notion cannot even be considered as it is from the one who is Infallible. In fact, Allah clarifies this matter beautifully when he says:
[Do they not consider the Qur’an? Had it been from other then Allah surely they would have found much discrepancies within it.](An-Nisaa’: 82)
Throughout history many have tried to scrutinize and search the Qur’an for mistakes and errors. To this day no one has been able to bring a shred of proof showing that this book is not from Allah. Some Christians have even called it the work of the Devil because the book affected them so much when they read it! With other scriptures, contradictions, mistakes and absurdities are constantly present. When people contrast these ambiguities with the Qur’an, it often results in the acceptance of this faultless book.
The Arabic Language
Upon hearing Qur’anic recitation, you may be rather startled. Besides hearing the reciter of the prayer, you often hear people in the background sobbing and wailing heavily. So what is it that makes these people cry so much? It is nothing more than the beauty and eloquence of this book which moves millions to tears. This beauty is expressed in the language of Arabic. Allah says:
[Indeed We have revealed this as an Arabic Qur’an so that you may understand.](Yusuf: 2)
At the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, three modes of expression were used. There was normal speech, the speech of the soothsayer and poetry. The Arabs were the masters of their language, and poetry was their cultural highlight. Arabic poetry is split into 16 categories, each separate from the other. When the Qur’an was proclaimed to the Arabs it amazed them beyond all limits. It was like nothing they had ever heard before. It did not fit into the 16 categories of poetry, nor was it the speech of a soothsayer, and it certainly was not normal speech. If it was not all these, then it could only be the word of Allah.
The eloquence and majesty of the early chapters of the Qur’an moved many to tears, and the beautiful Qur’anic Arabic converted millions of Arabs in the Middle-East. Not only did the Qur’an affect the lives of these Arabs, but it also transformed their culture. Even today, no serious study of the Arabic language is possible without reference to this book.
The reaction of some pagans was that they accused Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, of being a soothsayer and a madman. In order to silence them, Allah issued a challenge. At first he asked them to produce a book like the Qur’an. When it could not be done, Allah asked them to produce ten chapters like it. When this too could not be done Allah finally stated:
[And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our slave, then produce a chapter like it.](Al-Baqarah: 23)
The smallest chapter in the Qur’an is only 3 verses long (Chapter 108). The pagans at the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, could not even produce something as small as this, and since then no one else has completed this impossible task. All of this is in light of the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, could not read or write, thus refuting those who say that the Qur’an was his own handiwork.
The Qur’an is the Final book of revelation. After it there will be no more. However, many have tried to deny this by producing their own new versions of the Qur’an. Among them have been the two false prophets, Musailama and Ghulam Ahmad. Many Chapters in the Qur’an are named after animals, such as the Ant, Spider etc. Musailama tried to copy this, and went about creating a chapter in his book called the Weasel! In Arabic it is called Al-Wabl and it hardly causes people to be struck in awe! On the other hand, Ghulam Ahmad, the ‘British stooge’, claimed to receive revelation in cockney English!! Such foolishness could never compare to the beauty of the Qur’an with its clear and beautiful Arabic language.
Over the past few decades much interest has been shown in the scientific content of the Qur’an. Scientific data which has been discovered in recent times, has been existent in this book for 1400 years. In fact, the very common origin of this universe is stated clearly by Allah, the Most High:
[Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We parted them. And We made from water every living thing. Will they then not believe?](Al-Anbiya’: 30)
This parting of the heavens and the earth is more commonly known to scientists as the ‘big bang’. It is also a fact that life originated from water and that every living cell is composed of 85% water. Without water life is impossible.
The mountains of the earth, like icebergs, have roots going deep into the ground. This ensures that they will not topple with their extreme heights – this is known as ‘isostasy’. In this way the mountains are like the stakes which are used to anchor a tent. But this fact is already known to us when Allah says:
[Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?](An-Naba`: 6-7)
and[Allah has cast into the ground mountains standing firm so that it does not shake with you.](Luqman: 10)
The embryological data which is found in the Qur’an is astounding. Allah describes the formation of a baby inside the womb from the very moment the sperm reaches the ovum, to its formation into a human. This data, which was only discovered about 30 years ago, has amazed many western scientists. Amongst them is Dr Keith Moore from the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr Moore is a recognized authority in embryological circles, with his university text book being set as a standard text in many universities throughout the world. When Dr Moore was asked as to how this information in the Qur’an could be explained, he replied: “It could only have been divinely revealed”.
The Qur’an is a book of historical accuracy. One accuracy which has corrected the mistakes of many Christians and historians, is the fate of the pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea whilst pursuing Moses. The Biblical story would have us believe that the matter ended when the pharaoh drowned. But the Qur’an explains further. When he was drowning the pharaoh confessed his faith in Allah. But it was too late, and Allah promised him:[This day We shall preserve you in your body, so that you may be a sign for those who come after you. But indeed many of mankind are heedless of Our signs.](Yunus: 92)
In 1898 the tombs of various pharaohs were discovered in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. In 1975 Dr. Maurice Bucaille, an eminent French surgeon was allowed to examine the mummified bodies of Rameses II and the pharaoh who had pursued Moses – Merneptah. Dr Bucaille discovered that Merneptah had received very violent blows to several parts of his body and had suffered a massive heart attack. Amazingly, these are the results which occur when someone dies from drowning! Thus Allah had saved the body of the transgressing pharaoh as a sign for all humanity.
For those who say that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, knew his history and wrote it in the Qur’an, the following shall prove otherwise. In the year 615 CE the Roman army was defeated by the Persians. About this event Allah revealed:[The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but in a few years they shall be victorious again, within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after, is only with Allah.](Ar-Rum: 2-4)
The words of Allah proved true as the Persians were defeated, 7 years later in 622 CE. There is no possible way that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, could have known (if he wrote the Qur’an) that the Romans would be victorious. In fact he also did not know that the ‘lowest land’ at which the battle was fought was literally that. The battle in 615 CE was fought on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point below sea level on earth, at 1300 ft.
A book with these credentials could only be from the Creator of the heavens and the earth. A book which we need to acquaint ourselves with. A book[…which has been revealed to you (O’ Muhammad) so that you may lead mankind out of the darkness and into the light.] (Ibrahim: 1)