We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam - Faith - What is the Muslim scripture? - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
Chapter: verse lookup What is This? Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go."
:
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result

What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam What is This? A guide to a wide variety of general questions asked by those looking to learn more about Muslim culture and the Islamic world.

Faith >
What is the Muslim scripture?

Quran (sometimes written Koran) means “recitation” in Arabic. The Quran is the Muslim scripture. Muslims believe it contains the revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad from God through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad, who was illiterate, functioned as God's intermediary; he was told to “recite” the revelation he received. For Muslims, Muhammad was neither the author nor editor of the Quran. Therefore, the Quran is the eternal, literal word of God, preserved in the original Arabic language. Over a period of twenty-three years, from Muhammad's fortieth year until his death in 632, the Quran's 114 chapters (called surahs) were revealed to him.

Muslims believe that the Quran was initially preserved in oral and written form during the lifetime of the Prophet. The entire text was finally collected in an official standardized version some fifteen or twenty years after his death. The Quran is approximately four-fifths the size of the New Testament. Its chapters were assembled according to length, beginning with the longest chapter and ending with the shortest, not edited or organized thematically. This format has proved frustrating to many non-Muslims, who find the text disjointed or disorganized from their point of view. However, it enables a believer to simply open the text at random and start reciting at the beginning of any paragraph, since each represents a lesson to be learned and reflected upon.

Recitation of the Quran is central to a Muslim's life; many Muslims memorize the Quran in its entirety. Recitation reinforces what Muslims see as the miracle of hearing the actual word of God expressed by the human voice. There are many examples throughout history of those who were drawn and converted to Islam upon hearing the Quran recited. Muslims recite passages from the Quran that are included in their five daily prayers; musical and poetic recitations of Quranic verses serve as an introduction to every community event, from weddings and funerals to lectures and business dinners. Quran recitations are performed before stadiums of devout and enthusiastic Muslims in numbers resembling those of American or European audiences at an opera or a concert. Many Muslims experience deep aesthetic pleasure from listening to the rich, resonant, rhyming prose, with its repetitions and subtle inflections.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Look It Up What is This? Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice