The Quran is the Islamic Holy book. The word Quran means recitation and its verses are recited by Muslims throughout the world. The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, in the year 610CE. One night that came to be known as ‘The night of power’, when Prophet Muhammed was 40 years old, while meditating in his usual place, Cave Hira on Jabal-al-Nur ( mountain of light), he suddenly saw an angel appear before him. This angel was angel Jibr’eel (Gabriel). ‘Read’ said the angel. As prophet Muhammed was illiterate, he replied ‘I am not a reader.’ The angel squeezed him tight and repeated ‘Read’, Prophet Muhammed gave the same reply. After a third time of squeezing Muhammed, the angel said,
‘Read in the name of your Lord who created,
Created man from a clot of blood,
Read, your Lord is most generous,
Who taught by the pen,
Taught man what he did not know.’ (Quran 96:1-5)
These were the first revealed verses of the Quran. The Quran was recorded as soon as it was revealed to the Prophet. It was written down in its original language Arabic, the only language according to Muslims, that the Quran can be fully understood in. the Quran was first written on scraps of paper before being compilated by the Prophets Secretary, Zaid Bin Thabit. Great care was taken to ensure the complete and unchanged compilation of the holy Quran. The Quran contains 114 surahs (chapters), 6236 ayahs (verses) and it is divided into 30 ajza (parts). Chapters revealed when the prophet was living in Mecca are known as Mecci and they contain short chapters about mono-theism, as the people of Mecca at that time were worshipping idols. Chapters that were revealed in Medina are known as Madani and they contain long chapters on ‘how to live your life’. A person who has memorized the whole of the Quran is called a Hafiz .The Quran was sent mainly as a reminder of previous scriptures, the Torah, the Zabur (Psalms) and the Injil (Gospel). It was also sent to lay down new rules. As so many people were worshipping idols instead of prophet Muhammed to bring forgetful human beings back to the right path.
Respect for the holy Quran by:
* Never putting it on the floor
* Putting it above all other books
* Wrapping it up in a white cloth when not being used
* Cleaning before using it
The Quran contains rules and laws in Islam. It contains teachings that cover all areas of this life, and the life after death. It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every part of human activity. The theme of the Quran consists broadly of three fundamental beliefs;
* Tawhid- the belief in one God
* Akhirah- life after death
* Risalah-prophethood (channel of communication between God and man)
The Quran also gives some stories of prophets and messengers of Allah.
The Quran is regarded as the basis of the Islamic religion. Every word of the Quran is a revealed word from Allah; this is why Muslims believe that the Quran is the last and final revelation, which is why so much care and respect is given to it. Without the Quran, there would not be a religion known as Islam. In the Quran itself, Allah the Almighty has Himself taken the responsibility of preserving it, as He says
‘Surely, We have revealed this reminder,
We verily are its Guardian.’ (Quran 15:9)
This quote clearly shows how important the Quran is it so important that Allah Himself guards it always and forever. The Quran is also very important simply for the fact that verses from it need to be memorized for Muslim prayer. Prophet Muhammed said in his last sermon,
‘I leave behind two things, the Quran and Sunnah,
follow these, and you will never go astray.’
This quote clearly tells us that the Quran along with the Sunnah (teachings of the prophet) is the best guide we can have to living our lives as Allah intended- happily and peacefully.
A02- How do the will of Allah and the teachings and example of prophet Muhammed affect the life of a Muslim in the twentieth century?
The will of Allah and the teachings of prophet Muhammed affects the life of a Muslim in the twentieth century because of certain major issues, one of the most common being abortion. Abortion is the killing of an unborn child within the mother’s womb.
The Quran clearly condemns both the Killing of born and unborn children; however, Muslim scholars agree that the foetus becomes a human being after 120 days of contraception. Most traditional Muslim jurists claim that it is permissible to have an abortion for valid reasons during the first stage (first 120 days). This is largely based on this famous Hadith:
‘Each of you is constituted in your mother’s womb for forty days as a nuftah, then it becomes an alaqah for an equal period, then a mudghah for another equal period, then the angel is sent and he breathes the soul into it.’
In other words, the quote is saying that the foetus only becomes an actual person after 120 days, when an angel breathes soul into it.
Islam forbids abortion except if the pregnancy threatens the well being of the mother. As a result of the foetus becoming a person after 120 days, abortion is permitted during these first 120 days, i.e. before the soul develops.
It is a great sin to take the life of a child for fear of want (poverty)
‘Kill your children for fear of want, it is We who
provide sustenance for them as well as for you,
for verily killing them is a great sin.’
(Chapter 17, verse 31)
This issue affects many women in the twentieth Century, as they may want to follow the will of Allah and the teachings of the prophet Muhammed, however, when it comes to abortion, she might find it really hard to, in certain circumstances, such as rape or poverty, of in cases of the child being disabled. The Quran says:
‘Do not take life which Allah has made sacred
except for a just cause.’ (Quran17: 33)
However the question is, ‘How do we know what a ‘just cause’ is and what isn’t? According to the Quran, there is a reason for any circumstance we find ourselves in. Even though the Quran gives us guidelines to follow in many areas of life, however, in the twentieth century, there are many issues, such as abortion, that will still cause arguments amongst Muslims as to whether the person is going against the will of Allah and the teachings of prophet Muhammed.
A03-In your opinion, would the Quran be more useful to everyone if it was translated into modern English? Give for your answer.
Some people say ‘Yes, it would be more useful if it was translated into modern English, as there are so many non-Arabic speaking Muslims and it would be really useful for them as when they understand the words of the Quran, it will make their faith grow stronger.’
Other people say’ No, it wouldn’t be more useful if it was translated into modern English, because it was revealed to us in Arabic, so we should leave it in its original language to be original, not authentic.’
A big argument is that if the Quran was translated into modern English, more people are likely to convert to Islam because English is seen as a universal language for everyone, however Arabic is only for a few countries which makes Islam seem like a religion for only Arabic speakers.
However, it is important that the Quran be kept in its original language because, everything happens for a reason-the Quran was given in Arabic for a reason, who are we to question Allah’s decision or try to change what He has created.
It is said that most of the world speaks English, not Arabic, so it could be useful if translated into English for non-Muslims who are curious about Islam and even students who would like to gain more knowledge on Islam.
However, it is known that the Quran can only be understood in its original language, Arabic, if it was translated into modern English, many different people would start to have many different interpretations of its meaning, which would then cause arguments on which interpretation is right or wrong.
My personal view on this topic is that I think the Quran should be kept in its original language, Arabic, as I believe it was revealed in Arabic for a reason known only to its creator, and Allah’s word should not be tampered with.