The Holy Qur'an
One of the fundamental beliefs in Islam is that God deputed Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as His final messenger and prophet and revealed to him the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is the verbatim word of God, and is a book of guidance for mankind from the time of Prophet Muhammad until the end of time in this world.
"And verily, you (O Muhammad) are given the Qur’an from the All-Wise, All-Knowing."
The words of God were delivered by the Archangel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Thereafter, by the command of God to “Read (O Muhammad)”, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) spoke these words to the people in the Arabic language, exactly as they were delivered to him by Gabriel. The Qur’an consists of 114 “chapters” called “Surah”. A Surah is made up of a number of “ayat” (meaning: signs of God).
These words were memorised and written down, then compiled into a book during the life of the Prophet. The Qur’an we have before us today is the same as that original Qur’an that was compiled at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). Every word, letter, and sentence is exactly the same. Even the Surahs and ayat were arranged in their current order during the life of the Prophet (pbuh).
Proving the Authenticity of the Qur'an
Authentic - what does that mean?
Authentic simply means something true and therefore reliable. In this case, when we want prove the Qur’an is authentic, we mean we want to prove that it really is the unchanged Word of God.
Proofs for the Authenticity of the Qur’an:
1. Unmatchable Eloquence
At the time of the deputation of Prophet Muhammad in the Arabian Peninsula, the society was known for excellence in poetry and eloquence in speech. The power and influence of language was something easily appreciated by that community. This is part of the reason that God Almighty gave the Holy Prophet (pbuh) the Quran as his miracle.
When the Prophet (saw) spoke the holy words of the Qur’an, the beauty and eloquence of these words and their powerful meanings left poets and laymen amazed to the extent that some people claimed that the Holy Qur’an was some kind of magic.
The Holy Qur’an itself challenges the skilled Arab poets and anyone who comes after them to produce even one chapter similar to the chapter of the Qur’an in eloquence. This challenge was put forward multiple times. Of course, no one was able to meet such a challenge until today.
2. Unchanged through history
All Muslims - despite the numerous differences of opinion on many issues within Islam - believe in the same book. As much as different groups of Muslims may disagree on theological or historical issues, all, without exception, refer to the same book that is the Holy Qur’an, in the exact same form. This is very different to other religions, where a number of different ‘versions’ of the religious scripture may exist.
The Qur’an has remained unchanged and this is why 1400 years after the Prophet (pbuh) died, we still have only one copy of the Qur’an, used by Muslims of all sects, nationalities and races. A Muslim in Indonesia, for example, will read from the exact same text of the Qur’an as a Muslim in Turkey. Wherever in the world they are, Muslims have the same Qur’an: the same surahs, ayat, words and letters.
If this were a book written by a human, it would be easy to change and alter, and there would have been different ‘editions’ or ‘versions’ of it. However, this is a Divine Book, and is protected from any change or alteration by Allah (SWT) and thus remains unchanged till today. This is one of the miracles of the Qur’an and one of the proofs for its being the Word of God.
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” (Q 9:15)
3. The Qur'an is a Tightly-Woven Book
The Holy Qur’an refers to itself as ‘Hakeem’. One meaning of this is ‘wise’. Another meaning is that it is tightly knit together, or well woven. This means that the different parts of the Qur’an complement one another, and never contradict. It also means that there are some miraculous aspects to the wording and structure of the Holy Qur’an.
The following video describes a number of instances of the miraculous wording and structure of the Holy Qur’an, to help us better understand the miracle of the eloquence of the Qur’an:
4. Scientific Miracles
The Holy Qur’an contains a lot of information that could only be known through modern scientific instruments. It is a miracle then that this Book contained such information 1400 years ago.
Expansion of the Universe
“And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it” (Q 51:47)
For a very long time, scientists and philosophers thought of the universe as constant in nature, meaning that it is always the same in size, and that it has always been around i.e. had no beginning.
By the beginning of the 1900s, famous scientists such as the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann, the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble and the German-born Albert Einstein, all had seemingly proved, in one way or another, that the universe was constantly (continuously) expanding.
Amazingly, we have a passage in the Qur’an which seemingly refers to this phenomenon. This is incredible, considering that the Qur’an was revealed at a time when telescopes and such advanced scientific understandings of the cosmos were not present at all.
The Creation of Human Beings from Water
“Allah has created every moving (living) creature from water…” (Q 24:45)
It is commonly believed in modern science that water is the main component of organic (living) matter. It is accepted that 50-90% of living things consist of water. Simply put, without water, there is no life. We regularly hear nowadays of scientists sending space probes to other planets in space such as Mars to search for any signs of water. If water is present, then life is possible. Water is the precursor to life, and hence this could be another meaning for the verse from the Qur’an that we mentioned above. This knowledge about water was definitely not available 1400 years ago and has only been discovered through modern scientific instruments such as microscopes.
The fact that this scientific information, which has only been discovered very recently, was in the Qur’an 1400 years ago, indicates that the Qur’an is not the word of a man, but the Word of God.
The following video discusses some of the important scientific miracles found in the Holy Qur’an:
The following video discusses a miracle that is both scientific and numerical:
5. Number Miracles
The words of the Qur’an have some interesting numerical patterns. These interesting patterns form part of the miracle of the eloquence of the Qur’an. We can call these “Number” or “Mathematical” Miracles. Some examples are:
The statement of "seven heavens" is repeated seven times. "The creation of the heavens" is also repeated seven times.
The word “day” is repeated 365 times in singular form, while its plural and dual forms "days” together are repeated 30 times. The number of repetitions of the word "month" is 12.
There exist many more such examples that we are aware of, and there are possibly hundreds more which we haven’t yet discovered. How could an unschooled man who verbally recited the words of the Qur’an over 23 years keep track of such delicate calculations? Surely, this is not the word of a human but the Word of God.
The Qur’anic Style
Most books, including the Bible and the Old Testament, are set out in a narrative format. The stories within them are told as narratives, from beginning to end. In contrast, the Qur’an tells stories based on themes. Often, the Qur’an discusses one story in many different places, each time emphasising a certain point and teaching a certain lesson. To pick one example we see that the story of Prophet Noah is told in detail in Chapter 11 (Surat Hud), the emphasis being on the historical trend of conflict between truth and falsehood. The story is also told in Chapter 71 (Surat Nuh) in a different way, this time emphasising the many different approaches that Prophet Nuh took in preaching to his people.
The Content of the Holy Qur’an
What does the Qur’an talk about? The Holy Qur’an introduces itself as a Book of Guidance, and so the answer we should probably give is that the Holy Qur’an talks about the reality of the world and how we should live our lives the right way.
What do we mean by ‘the reality of the world?’ We mean that the Qur’an answers the main questions in life, like: ‘Is there life after death?’, ‘Is there a God?’, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ By discussing these topics, the Holy Qur’an shows us the world as it really is. This is part of what we call ‘theology’, and most of the Qur’an deals with theology.
Once we know the reality of the world and the answers to all the above questions, we then need to know how to put all that knowledge into practice and to find out how we should live in this world in the best way possible. This is the other major issue the Qur’an discusses. The Qur’an speaks about many social and jurisprudential rules and laws and teaches people how to live life in the best way possible.
Understanding the Holy Qur’an
Since the Holy Qur’an is a Book of Guidance and teaches us how to live, we have to be able to understand it. Firstly, we should do our very best to learn the Arabic language so that we can understand the direct and literal meanings of the Qur’an. The words of the Holy Qur’an often have layers of meaning. Allah (SWT) has made the surface meanings of the words of the Qur’an very easy to understand:
“And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember” (
However, we should also learn how to ‘study’ the Qur’an and understand the deeper layers of meaning. In other words, when we read an ayah or its translation, we have to be careful not to misunderstand that ayah, and to make sure we have understood it in the right context. So sometimes we are looking for the deeper meanings of the words of the Qur’an. In this case, there are certain rules to follow before we can come to know the real meaning of the words.
Firstly, we refer to the Holy Qur’an itself to find out:
The context of the words and reason for revelation
The timing of revelation
The usages of the particular words within the Qur’an
Other parts of the Qur’an that deal with the same topic. In this way, we can get an idea of what the Qur’an says about this topic as a whole, and not make mistakes because we have looked at only one part.
Secondly, we refer to the dependable narrations of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Ahlul Bayt (as). The Qur’an itself refers us to them when it comes to understanding the true, deeper meanings of the Holy Qur'an:
“He it is Who raised among the inhabitants of Mecca a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom.” (Q 62:2)
The Qur'an is the Ultimate Reference
The Holy Qur'an is the ultimate reference for Muslims. All other sources of information need to be examined against the Holy Qur'an. That which agrees with the Qur'anic principles is acceptable, and that which contradicts the Qur'an is rejected.