The Quran is the sacred Book of Muslims and the foundation of Islam. It is the last Divine scripture, revealed to Holy Prophet, Muhammad, over a period of twenty-three years, through Hazrat Jibril. It was revealed in portions, every portion being written and committed to memory as soon as it was revealed. The Arabic word for revelation is Wahi derived from the word ‘awha’ which means to inform secretly. It is the vehicle of Divine Guidance and the message revealed to His Messengers to preach and guide the people. The angel entrusted with revelation to be conveyed to the Messengers is Hazrat Jibrail or the Holy Spirit.
The Quran talks about revelation being sent not only to Prophet Muhammad PBUH but also to other prophets who came before him. Revelations mentioned in the Quran include the Sahifas of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Noah, Taurat of Hazrat Musa, Zabur of Hazrat Daud, Injeel of Hazrat Isa, and the Quran of Hazrat Muhammad PBUH.
The word Quran is derived from the root Qara’ a which means he read or recited. The word Quran is mentioned frequently in the Book itself. According to scholars, it has fifty-five other names derived from various Quranic verses. Some of them are:
Al-Kitab = The Book
Al-Furqan = The Distinction between Truth and Falsehood.
The Quran was not revealed as a complete book nor did Allah hand over a written copy of it to Prophet Muhammad PBUH at the beginning of his mission and commanded him to publish it and invite people to follow his teachings A revealed the Quran from time to time to meet the changing situations requirements of the young Muslim community.
Although the basic teachings of the earlier scriptures and the Holy Quran the Oneness of Allah, the negation of polytheism, and man’s moral and religious responsibilities have a noticeable similarity. yet these scriptures met the needs of a specific period of people in human history. They were not suited to respond to the requirements of all humanity and failed to meet the complex requirements of later times.
The Quran, in contrast, is a complete code of life and a comprehensive Book that provides guidance in all spheres of human activity and its teachings apply to all times, conditions, and requirements of mankind.
The Quran is divided into 114 chapters, each of which is called a Surah which means a degree or step, by which we climb up. Sometimes, the whole Surah was revealed, and sometimes portions were arranged under the Prophet’s PBUH directions. The Surahs are of different lengths, the longest one is Surah Baqarah, while Surah Kausar, with only three ayahs, is the shortest.
All the Surahs, with the exception of the last thirty-five, are divided into sections- Ruku, each section generally dealing with one subject.
The Surahs are made up of ayahs, which means a sign or communication from Allah. Every chapter of the Quran begins with ‘in the name of Allah, the Beneficent. the Merciful’ with the exception of the ninth i.e., Surah Taubah. For the purpose of recitation, the Quran is divided into thirty equal parts Juz- each of these being again sub-divided into four equal parts. Another division is into seven portions -Manzil which is designed for the completion of its recital in seven days.