Holy Qur’an : The Final Revelation
The Qur’an is the last scripture that has been revealed to mankind by the Lord Creator and Protector.
It was through the last messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), that the world first heard of it. It certainly the Divine scripture that is to be accepted by all, up to the very last man. The term ‘Qur’an’ has the meanings of ‘the recitation’, or ‘that which is to be recited’ and of ‘that which is recited.’ Indeed, the Qur’an itself has employed the connotation ‘the scripture that is recited’ in connection with this term (13:31). Unlike the earlier scriptures, the Qur’an is never a compilation of legal pronouncements or code of laws (Taurat), or hymns (Zaboor) or a collection of Gospel of good news (Injeel). It is highly probable that the Qur’an has been named as the last scripture because each one of its words is to be repeatedly read by thousands upon thousands of its believers and is to be so etched into their hearts as to mould their very lives according to its guidelines. As for the actual reason, it is the Lord Who sent it Who knows the answer thereof.
As far as its believers are concerned, the Qur’an is but the criterion to distinguish truth from falsehood. They understand that all that has been commanded therein constitute the good and all that has been prohibited therein constitute evil. In fact, the Qur’an introduces itself as Furqaan (2:53, 2:185, 3:4, 25:1) which means ‘the criterion to distinguish between truth and falsehood.’ The Qur’an also describes itself as Kitab (book), Dhikr (guidance), Burhaan (evidence), Shifa (cure), Kayyim (that which is pure), Muhaymin (that which preserves the previous scriptures) and the like. Through these attributes the reader of the Qur’an is exposed to the clear picture of the morality enshrined within.
The theme of the Qur’an is the salvation of man. As the only creation capable of independent action, man is to follow certain laws for his very survival and progress. All things in the universe follow the Divine laws of their own accord. Indeed, they do not possess the option of straying from this set course. In fact, the systemic functioning of the human body itself compulsorily follows the Divine laws. However, man has been granted freedom of action in certain limited domains. Even in these spheres he can attain salvation if, and only if, he obeys the Divine commandments.
It is to mankind that the Qur’an speaks. It is to his salvation that the Qur’an beckons. It convinces him of the existence of the Lord Creator by turning his attention to the varied and incredible phenomena of nature. It speaks to him of the impermanence of the life of this world and of the utter meaninglessness of wasting an entire lifetime in pursuit of the comforts herein. It makes clear to him the path which must be followed in order that he be of that blessed group which becomes worthy of the entry into Paradise as of the safety from the confines of Hell.
It invites his attention to the history of those who purchased the punishment of Hell in exchange for the comforts of this world. It tells him of those who were granted the entry into Paradise for having led a life of purity.
Briefly put, the Qur’an prepares man for attaining salvation both in this world and the next through obedience to the Divine commandments.
The Qur’an contains within itself the words of the Lord Creator. Mankind is the subject of its exhortation and address. It is not the discursive style of the other ordinary books which the Qur’an adopts. The style the Qur’an does adopt is not merely the assertive style of scientific books or the discursive style of the history books or the expressive style of the books of literature. However, the Qur’an does accept all of these styles. The Qur’an does not assert the required point by elaborating on the branches and sub-branches of a selected central topic. The Qur’an’s has not been a method in which the subject is first determined on the foundations of which is then divided the various chapters and sub-tittles. It is in a very haphazard manner that a varied assortment of subjects are dealt within its pages.
It can be safely said that the style of the Qur’an is one by which it successfully communicates with those who are being addressed by it. The Qur’an teaches man the path of salvation. To that end, it does employ the lessons of science and history. Glad tidings as well as stern warnings – both find their way in between its other verses. It convinces one of the reward which is to be had in following the true path and of the dire consequences that ensue from going against it. It calls for man’s recognition of the truth of its message by way of his casting his eyes over his surroundings and of employing the faculties of his intelligence and reasoning. It is in an entirely mixed form that all of these injunctions have come together. It is in the interest of those who are addressed that the Lord Himself has adopted this style. Indeed, this style has proved effective in making its appeal felt within the human society which consists of both the intellectuals as well as the ordinary people. To approach the Qur’an as one would a book of science or history, without proper appreciation of this special and particular style, would be to do little justice to the satisfactory comprehension of its contents.
Chapters And Wordings
The Qur’an consists of 114 chapters. A chapter is called a Surah. Each chapter has been given a different name. The first wordings of certain chapters have been used to name the chapter itself. Other surahs derive their name from a particular reference somewhere in its middle portion. There are yet other surahs which are named after the main theme therein. Some other surahs have names which highlight the basic issue discussed in them.
There is also much difference in the size of each surah. Indeed, there are surahs which vary in length from three small verses to lengthy surahs which have nearly three hundred.
Each verse of the surahs is called an aayath. In the length of the aayaths, too, there exists much disparity. The aayaths range from very short ones, which comprise a combination of a few sounds, to very lengthy ones indeed. Many aayaths are in themselves complete words. Then there are other aayaths which form full sentences only if put together. Similarly, there are aayaths which are a combination of complete words. The structure and length of the aayaths have all been decided by God Almighty Himself.
Given below is a list of some of the evidences in support of the Divine nature of the Qur’an:
1. It , itself, declares that it is a Divine Scripture
2. It remains unchanged up to the Last Day.
3. The path of right conduct that it prescribes is faultless.
4. It is practicable.
5. The history that it teaches is unadulterated and honest.
6. Its literature is incomparable.
7. The prophecies made in it can be seen to have come true.
8. The references in it to the varied phenomena of nature, as representing the signs of God, are free of controversies.
9. There is no reference, whatsoever, of an unscientific nature in it.
10. It is free of all contradictions.
11. None has been able to face the challenge it poses when it calls forth all, and any, to produce an equivalent of at least one of its chapters.
12. The person who was appointed with it in the world was himself of a truthful and selfless nature.
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