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The Qur'an This chapter explains the origin, format, purpose and presentation of the scriptures of Islam. The Qur'an is the Holy Book of Islam. Muslims treasure the text in its original Arabic as the literal word of God, the last of God?s books revealed to humanity, transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad, section by section, through the angel Jibril (Gabriel) over a period of almost 23 years (610-32). It lays down the guidelines within which they may order their lives in keeping with God?s will, should they choose to do so. Arches of the Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. did you know? One of the most famous reciters of the Qur'an was the Abyssinian slave Bilal, who was rescued by Abu Bakr, the Prophet's chief caller to prayer. It was said that his voice was so ethereal and mesmeric that people would stop in their tracks to hear him. The ‘Mother of Books’ (Umm al-Kitab) The Qur'an is not a book written by Muhammad, a product of his own mind or talents. Not one word was actually written by the Prophet's own hand. It is often claimed that he could not read or write, although this is disputed. In his time, writing was considered something wealthy people paid scribes to do. It most certainly is not a collection of the sayings of Muhammad - which were also highly revered. These were recorded meticulously, kept quite separate, and are known as the hadiths. The Qur'an is about the same length as the Christian New Testament, but the hadiths run to many volumes and fill bookshelves. The Qur'an cannot be broken down into a work compiled from various source-materials. The entire content is prophecy in the true sense of the word: transmitted through a prophet. It is a difficult book for non-Muslims to read and appreciate properly, for several reasons: There is no real beginning or end, and it does not flow in a chronological sequence. It was revealed in Arabic, and therefore needs translating, but its form of Arabic is so loaded that it is virtually impossible to grasp its full meaning. Credo Reference Print .. 1 of 8 1/11/2010 10:14 AM
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It only makes full sense if one knows the background to the verses, when and why they were revealed, the range of possible meanings, etc. A reader therefore needs copious footnotes or a commentary. must know A single verse of the Qur'an is an ayah (meaning ‘sign’ or ‘miracle’), and a chapter is a surah (‘something enclosed or surrounded by a fence or wall’). There are 114 surat of varying lengths. All except the ninth start with the words ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful’. Ninety-two surat were revealed before the Hijrah, while the Prophet still lived in Makkah, and 22 much longer chapters were revealed in Madinah (although there are some Makkah verses in Madani surat and vice versa). A juz is one section of 30 parts of roughly equal length, into which the Qur'an is divided for the purpose of reciting the entire text in a month, as during
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2010 for the course ARTS ATOC 230 taught by Professor Henson during the Spring '10 term at McGill.

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