The Qur’ân is the name given to Allah’s speech that He revealed to His Servant and Messenger Muhammad pbuh; speech that is recited as an act of worship, is miraculous, and cannot be imitated by man. It is the name of Allah’s Book, and no other book is called by this name. The most common names for Allah’s Book are Al-Qur’ân (the Recital) and Al-Kitâb (the Book). This is an indication of how much care has been taken in its preservation, both in the memories of people as well as in written form, each way of preserving it reinforcing the other.
The Qur’an comprehends the complete code for the Muslims to live a good, chaste, abundant and rewarding life in obedience to the commandments of Allah, in this life and to gain salvation in the next. It is the “chart of life” for every Muslim, and it is the “constitution” of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
The Qur’an is the eternal contemporary of the Muslims. Each generation of Muslims has found new sources of strength, courage and inspiration in it. It is also, for them, a “compass” in the turbulent voyage of life, as it has explained itself in the following verses:
. . . Indeed, there has come to you light and a clear book from Allah; With it Allah guides him who fill follow His pleasure into the ways of safety and brings them out of utter darkness into light by his will and guides them to the right path. (Quran: 15-16)
It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It deserves the highest praise for its conceptions of Divine nature in reference to the attributes of Power, Knowledge, and Universal Providence and Unity–that its belief and trust is one God, creator of Heaven and Earth is deep and fervent, and that it embodies much of a noble and moral earnestness. It is Qur’an which transformed the simple shepherds and wandering Bedouins of Arabia into the founders of empires, the builders of cities, the collectors of libraries. If a system of religious teachings is evaluated by the changes which it introduces into the way of life, the customs and beliefs of its follower, then Qur’an as a code of life is second to none. It is not strange then, that more translations and more commentaries of the Holy Qur’an have been published than that of any other book claimed to be the Divine Revelation.
It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the world. There are no second versions, any mistakes or errors in the Qur’an. There are Billions of Qur’ans in the world and all have the same Chapters and verses, word for word, and letter for letter. This in itself is a miracle, in over 1,400 years it has never been altered nor changed, although many have tried, but failed miserably.
How has it not changed in over 1,400 years?
Allah Promised to Protect the Qur’an
One of the Qur’an’s most important attributes is that it reached us in the very same form in which it was revealed to our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). In: [We have sent down the Reminder, and We will preserve it.] (Quran 15: 9), Allah promised to protect it.
The Divine Scriptures that were revealed before Islam lost their original forms over time; they are either incomplete or not fully accurate. In the case of the Qur’an, however, Allah placed the revelations into our Prophet’s memory. In addition, after he received each revelation, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told his numerous Companions to write them down, thereby ensuring the Qur’an’s preservation in its original textual form. Caliph Abu Bakr (632-634) had the Qur’an compiled into a single copy, and Caliph Uthman (644-656) had copies of it sent to important Islamic cities. The following verses explain how our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) tried to remember the revelations, and how Allah helped him do so:
[Do not move your tongue trying to hasten it. Its collection and recitation are Our affair. So when We recite it, follow its recitation. Then its explanation is Our concern.] (Quran75: 16-19)
As the verses maintain, our Prophet (pbuh) remembered the Qur’an in a unique way, for Allah implanted its verses in his mind. As his Companions wrote it all down while he was still alive, in compliance with His promise, each of its letters has remained unaltered since the beginning of its revelation over 1,400 years ago. Therefore, Allah’s revelation has survived intact to our day.
The Qur’an’s lack of any internal contradiction and discrepancy also shows that it is from Allah and is immune to change. The Qur’an is internally consistent and in full agreement with historical developments and scientific discoveries. This attribute is so certain and explicit that our Lord stated:
[Will they not ponder the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it.] (Quran 4: 82)
Many contradictions can be found in regular books. However, every word of the Qur’an is in full agreement with the others. In addition, the Qur’an provides information about previous generations, communities, different forms of administration, military strategies, and many other subjects, as well as about past and future events. The Qur’an is also in absolute agreement with historical facts as well as all developments that occurred after its revelation. For instance, the first verses of Surat Al-Rome (the Byzantine Empire) state that the Byzantine Empire would suffer a great defeat, but nevertheless would be victorious shortly thereafter, as follows:
[Alif, Lam, Mim. The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but after their defeat they will be victorious in a few years’ time. The affair is Allah’s from the beginning to the end.] (Quran 30: 1-4)
These verses were revealed around 620 CE, almost 7 years after the idolatrous Persians vanquished the Christian Byzantines. In fact, Byzantium had been so severely defeated that its very survival was in question. Thus, its predicted victory seemed impossible to many, including the Arab polytheists.
In December 627 CE, the Byzantine and Persian empires fought a decisive battle at Nineveh . This time, the Byzantines unexpectedly defeated the Persians. A few months later, the Persians had to make an agreement with Byzantium, which obliged them to return Byzantine territory. In the end, “the victory of the Romans” that Allah promised, miraculously came true. This one example alone provides evidence that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah.
Another attribute of the Qur’an is that it contains key facts about many subjects (for example, astronomy, physics, and biology), at a time when people knew very little about such things. The Qur’an was revealed to the inhabitants of seventh-century Arabia , whose society contained many superstitious and groundless beliefs that were considered “scientific”. Lacking the technology to examine the universe and nature, they believed in legends inherited from past generations. For example, they thought that the mountains supported the sky, that the Earth was flat and had high mountains at both ends, and that these mountains served as pillars to keep the vault of heaven high over their heads. The Qur’an removed such superstitions, as we read in:
[Allah raised up the heavens without any support – you can see that… ] (Quran 13: 2)
Several scientific truths only recently uncovered by technology were stated in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago. Such facts are further evidence that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah.
The Qur’an is written in a language of such surpassing beauty and richness of reference that it transcends ordinary speech. At the time of its revelation, the poets of Arabia competed with each other to produce the best literary works. However, the Qur’an’s uniquely beautiful style earned their admiration, and they could not help themselves from accepting its wondrous nature in the literary sense.
This aside, an intricate mathematical code, far beyond the ability of human intelligence, is imbedded in the Qur’an’s fabric. Some related words are repeated the same number of times throughout the Qur’an. For instance: day is repeated 365 times, days is repeated 30 times, month is repeated 12 times, satan and angel are repeated 88 times, world and hereafter are repeated 115 times, summer-hotness and winter-coldness are repeated 5 times, punishment is repeated 117 times, forgiveness is repeated 234 times (twice as much as punishment), wealth is repeated 26 times, and poverty is repeated 13 times.
Such facts clearly show the Qur’an is the Word of Allah, not of humanity. It is Allah’s revelation to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and has remained unaltered since it was revealed.
Allah expresses this superior attribute as follows: [If you have doubts about what We have sent down to Our servant, produce another surah equal to it, and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are telling the truth. If you do not do that – and you will not do it – then fear the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, made ready for the unbelievers. ] (Quran 2: 23-24)
[Say: “If both humanity and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up.” ] (Quran 17: 88)