The Koran, or al-Quran as it is called
in Arabic, is the holy book of the Muslims. The Arabic name means something
"read" or "recited." Muslims believe that the book contains a series of
revelations made by Allah or God through the angel Gabriel or Jibrail to
the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the beginning of the 7th century A.D.
The amazing thing about the Koran
is the way that this sacred text has come down through the ages. The prophet
Muhammad did not put God's message into writing. He merely preached God's
word to his followers, who memorized it or wrote it on the surface of palm
leaves, animal skins, etc. It was only after Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) death in
632 A.D. that his followers collected the revelations and compiled them
in the form of the Koran.
The Koran consists of 114 chapters
known as suras that are further divided into verses or ayas. These chapters
are not in chronological order as they were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
They are generally arranged from the longest chapter to the shortest, except
for the first chapter, which is relatively short.
The language of the Koran is said
to be the most perfect example of Arabic. The contents are in a form that
is a mixture of poetry and prose. The grammar and vocabulary are complicated
and the style highly allegorical and allusive. Thus, like other scriptures
it has many different interpretations. It contains tales about the prophets
before Muhammad, moral and ethical guidelines, commandments governing subjects
like marriage, divorce and inheritance in addition to religious life, and
predictions about the Day of Judgement.
The role of the
It states that there is only one
God, the creator of all things, who sent a series of prophets to earth
to preach his message. Mankind, being unable to break away from their sinful
ways, has rejected these holy messengers time and again through the ages
and has been suitably punished by God. Many of the tales about the
prophets are similar to stories in the Bible. The Koran plays a key role in the
religious life of the Muslims. The daily prayers of the Muslims include
reciting passages from the Koran and as part of the traditional system
of education, children were expected to memorize the Koran. It is also
considered to be a primary source of Islamic law.
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