The Quran: its Revelation and Compilation Part 2 (Islam 1.6)

Beliefs & Sources of Authority

1.6 The Qur’ān (Part 2)

When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) initially received the Revelation of the Qur’ān, he was commanded by Allāh to recite the words of His Lord, and then to convey those words to the people. The disciples of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) memorized the Qur’ān exactly as it was revealed, and it has since been passed on generation after generation for over 1,400 years without any alteration. That is the “unique” nature of the Qur’ān in that it is preserved. Allāh stated:

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will guard it from corruption.” (Al-Hijr 15:9)

Muslims are required to recite every word exactly with perfection as these are the actual Words of Allāh – when one recites these Words, he or she is conveying the Words of Allāh. This is just as Allāh informed the Prophet:

“And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the Words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety..” (At-Tawbah 9:6)

A person who memorizes the Qur’ān by heart is called a Hāfiz.

Case Study

The Imāms in Mosques lead the Muslims in Daily Prayer (Salāt) and recite the Qur’ān loudly in three out of the five Daily Prayers. This recitation is unique to the Qur’ān, since Hadeeth are not recited at this point. During Ramadān, the Imāms in the Grand Mosque of Makkah recite the Qur’ān in the Night Prayers, leading over a million people, who stand behind them and silently listen to the Words of God. There are many reciters who recite beautifully, that cause people to reflect over their lives and their approaching death – many are brought to tears.

Some Muslims recite the Qur’ān in “Qur’ān competitions” to see who see who has the most melodious and moving recital; or at funerals – many earning a comfortable living by such recitals, winning trophies and rights of “commercial recordings”. This is seen by many Muslim scholars as being distasteful because: 1. The Qur’ān should not be used a tool to advance one’s personal worldly and financial ambitions. 2. The Qur’ān should be recited on those occasions wherein the Prophet and Companions recited it, and it is not proven by Hadeeth that he recited it at funerals. So to recite the Quran over the deceased is an innovated practice and forbidden.

It is however, often narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would recite portions of the Qur’ān before performing a marriage, and during the Friday Sermon, and whilst delivering advice and admonition to his Companions.

Questions:

  1. Give four occasions wherein Muslims recite the Qur’ān, stating where it is permitted by Hadeeth, and where it is not.
  2. What benefits may people get from reciting the Qur’ān and listening to it?

The Authority Of The Qur’ān

The Qur’ān is the first source of authority in Islām, then the Hadeeth. Salafis believe that there is no contradiction between the Quranic texts and the Hadeeths – and any apparent contradiction can be understood by the expert Scholars and apparent differences in the minds of the uneducated easily harmonised. It is the Qur’ān itself that gives authority to the Hadeeth as Allāh stated:

“He (Muhammad) does not speak from his own desires. Rather it is Revelation that inspires him.”

The Muslims believe that the Qur’ān can never be wrong. It was revealed in the pure eloquent Arabic language. Many Muslims do not understand Arabic, and even many Arabs do not understand the meanings of the Qur’ān. Scholars of the Qur’ān (called scholars of Tafseer) over the centuries have explained the meanings of the Qur’an (theologians such as At-Tabaree and Ibn Katheer). Salafis believe the most precise explanations are the earliest ones and those those commentaries that are in accordance with the Prophetic Ahādeeth – and these explanations are used as the basis of more modern explanations that do not go outside the guidelines of the early commentaries. The Scholars in this manner work out the Islamic Law (Sharī’ah) and regulations. The various Islamic sects not agree upon the meanings of the Qur’ān which is one of the reasons why different Muslims follow Islam in different ways. Some Muslims do not give the Ahādeeth  and the understanding of the Companions of the Prophet the same importance as the Salafis do – they tend to rely upon personal opinion, or philosophy or current world politics – and this, no doubt, causes much differing.

The Miracle of the Qur’ān

The Qur’ān is seen as a miracle by Muslims for many reasons, amongst them:

a). It cannot be imitated,

b). there are no contradictions in it,

c). it is immensely and uniquely eloquent,

d). it contains guidance for all mankind,

e). it is uniquely monotheistic,

f). it is unchangeable, incorruptible.

“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah” (2:2)

“And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a Surah like it, and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you are truthful.” (2:23)

“[This is] a Book revealed to you, [O Muhammad] – so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom – that you may warn thereby and as a reminder to the believers.” (7:2)

“Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions.” (4:82)

Research Question:

According to tradition, Caliph ‘Umar was converted to Islām just by hearing the Qur’ān. Right up until this day people are still converting to Islam. People who led very different lives, and unIslamic lives are still amazed by the beauty of Islām. Find out about ‘Umar’s conversion, and some modern day converts. Visit www.Islaam.ca for some inspiring conversion stories.


NOTE:

I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who are working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school can also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.

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