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The Koran

The Word of God

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 contents

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 Koran

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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