Islam is the religion of God. It contains the code of life which Allah, the Creator and the Lord of the universe, has revealed for the guidance of mankind.
For a proper reconstruction of Life on this planet man needs two kinds of things, viz. (a) innumerable substances and resources to maintain life and fulfill the material needs of the individual and the society: and (2) knowledge of the principles of individual and social behaviour to maintain justice and tranquility in society and culture. The Lord of the Universe has provided for both these needs in full measure. To cater to the material needs of man He has provided nature with all kinds of resources, which lie at the disposal of man, who can make use of them as he likes. To provide for his spiritual, social and cultural needs He raised His Prophets from among humankind and revealed to them the code of life which can guide man's steps to the Right Path. The Qur'an is the final Book of Divine Guidance, revealed by Allah through His Last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Each and every word of this Book is from Allah, the Creator of the Universe.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT QUR'AN
Qur'an laterally means reading or recitation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not receive the whole of it at one stretch. Revelations came to him in fragments from time to time, covering a period of 23 years. As soon as he received a revelation the Prophet used to communicate it to his companions and asked them not only to learn it by heart, - in order to recite it during the prayers - but also to write it down.
Though the Holy Qur'an was revealed piecemeal, yet the entire revelation is one organic whole. It is the Word of God, revealed to the last of the Prophets, Muhammad (pbuh) through the angel Gabriel.
Whenever there was a revelation, the Prophet got it inserted at its proper place in the text revealed so far. There is indeed perfect evidence, internal as well as external, that every single word or verse or part of a verse, and every chapter that was revealed, has been put where it belonged, by the Prophet himself under divine guidance. The arrangement of the Qur'an was thus a part of the divine scheme. The Holy Qur'an itself says: "Surely on Us devolves the collecting of it and the reciting of it" . The Holy Qur'an thus existed in a complete and ordered form in the memories of numerous companions in the life-time of the Noble Prophet, and had also been reduced to writing on such materials as were available for writing purposes in those days.
The Holy Qur'an is divided into 114 chapters, each of which is called a Surah, meaning literally "eminence" or "high degree". The chapters are of varying length, the longest comprising one twelfth of the entire Book. All the chapters, with the exception of the last thirty-five, are divided into sections (ruku), each section dealing generally with one subject, and the different sections being inter-related to each other. Each section contains a number of verses. The total number of verses is 6,240.
Another important division of the Holy Qur'an relates to the Makki and Madani surahs. The Noble Prophet, after he was raised to the status of prophethood, lived at Mecca for thirteen years. Then he was forced to migrate to Madinah where he spent the last ten years of his life. Those surahs of the Holy Qur'an which were revealed before the Hijrah is called Makki Surahs and they are ninety-two in number, whereas those revealed after the Hijrah are called Madani Surahs and are twenty two in number. Again there are certain Makki verses in Madani Surahs and vice versa.
The Qur'an is addressed to the entire humanity, transcending all barriers and limitations of race, region or time. Further, it seeks to guide man in all walks of life, spiritual, temporal, individual and collective. It contains directions for the conduct of the head of state as well as a simple commoner, of the rich as well as the poor, for peace as well as for war, for spiritual well-being as for commercial and material prosperity.
The Qur'an seeks, primarily, to develop the personality of the individual and then shape them into an ideal society, for ushering in an era when goodness and virtue may flourish and evil and vice-be eliminated. It declares that every human being will be personally responsible to his Creator. The method of the Qur'an is that it not only gives commands, but also tries to educate the people and convince them about the validity and usefulness of its injunctions. That is why the 'illah' (undeclining reason) of a command is often given. It appeals to the reason of man and invites him to exercise his own intellect in order to understand himself, his station and purpose in life, his conduct with his fellow-being and above all his relationship with his Sustainer.
The Qur'an adopts various ways and methods for enabling man to understand the truth. It relates stories and parables and invokes the testimony of history to show what the right course is, and what doomed the nations in the past. It teaches man the Attributes of the Divine Being which are manifest from the 99 Names of the Almighty, such as, the One, the Creator, the Nourisher, the Sustainer, the Powerful, the Just, the Merciful, etc., The Qur'an also points out what the duties of man are with regard to God, to his fellow-beings and to his own self. It lays stress on the fact that man has been created to fulfill the wishes of his creator and lead his individual and collective life in accordance with the instructions contained in the Holy Book and as taught by the Noble Prophet (pbuh).
The Qur'an is a comprehensive code of life covering each and every aspect and phase of human life. This Book of God lays down the best of rules relating to social life, commerce and economics, marriage and inheritance, penal laws and international conduct.
The diction and style of the Qur'an are magnificent and appropriate to its Divine origin. Its recitation stirs the spirit and soars the imagination of even those who are not so well-versed in the niceties of the Arabic language. Above all, the Qur'an has by virtue of its claim of Divine origin, challenged man to produce, even unitedly, just a few lines comparable to those of the Qur'an. The challenge has remained unanswered to this day.
The words of the Allah are: "And if Ye are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed into Our bondman (Muhammad), then produce a surah of the like thereof, and call your witnesses beside Allah if ye are truthful." (ii:23)
What a challenge the like of which man has never seen and shall never see! For all those who deny the Qur'an to be the Word of God, this challenge shall, till eternity, remain as a perpetual source of humiliation and a proof of their ignorance, prejudice, in competency and powerlessness.
(by Begum A.B.Wakf)
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