the qur'an was revealed over 1400 years ago. it states in no uncertain terms that it is a revelation from god conveyed by the angel gabriel to prophet muhammad. it is regarded, not only by muslims but by scholars of religion and historians, as the most authentic religious text in existence today. unlike earlier scriptures the qur'an has been preserved unchanged in its original arabic text since the time of revelation, as god had promised within it.
history witnessed the fulfillment of that promise, for the book of god remains to date exactly as it was revealed to the prophet and recited by him. immediately memorized and recorded by large numbers of his companions, it was passed on in exactly the same form by thousands of muslims generation after generation up until the present day. the qur'an of today is literally the same scripture as was revealed to prophet muhammad. there is no other book in the history of man that in been memorized precisely and accurately, word for word, letter for letter, by millions of people over the centuries. this in itself is a miracle.
there is only one version of the qur'an; the same revealed words continue to be read, recited and memorized in their original arabic language by muslims throughout the world. translations of the meanings into other languages assist in understanding but cannot be called "the qur'an," as this term refers only to the actual revealed words of god.
the qur'an contains god's final message to humanity and legislation which encompasses all spheres of human life. it is allied to all peoples and all times. it appeals to logic, following clear reasoning and citing evidences from the created universe, from history and from the human soul to establish not only the existence of god but also his uniqueness and absolute perfection. it also contains answers to the questions which naturally occur to the human mind about the purpose of creation and what occurs after death.
it is the primary source of the islamic creed and its legislation. but in addition to religious guidance it contains numerous verses that speak of the universe, its components and phenomena - the earth, sun, moon, stars, mountains, wind, rivers and seas, plants, animals and successive stages of human development. as can be seen from examples in the previous chapter, the qur'an speaks with the perfect knowledge of the creator about his creation. being the final revelation to mankind, god has made the qur'an a continuing miracle containing evidences to be uncovered gradually as humans increase in knowledge of their universe.
but its main purpose is to guide mankind as to how one should relate to his creator, to his fellow men, and to the universe in general. it outlines the practical methods of earning the approval of god and obtaining peace and contentment in the permanent existence to come. by following its guidance, man can fully experience his human worth and his special position among created beings. the qur'an was revealed containing complete guidance in all matters of faith and its application to the affairs of human life in order that everyone might attain the happiness and contentment of this world and the next.
its preservation was guaranteed when god revealed: "indeed, it is we who sent down the message, and indeed, we will be its guardian." (15:9) note: god often refers to himself in the qur'an as "we," which does not denote plurality, but rather, power and majesty.
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