Introduction to The Quran
According to Islamic belief, the Holy Qur'an was revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad (570-632 C.E.) through the Angel Gabriel during the twenty-two years of Muhammad's messengership between the years 610 - 632. According to the Islamic teachings, the Qur'an is the only one of several divinely-revealed scriptures, including the Books revealed to Moses and to Jesus -- whose divinity Islam denies but who is held in the greatest respect as one of the most honored and important of all prophets -- which has survived in its original form without the slightest alteration since the time of its revelation.
The Qur'an speaks in powerful, moving language about the reality and attributes of God, the spiritual world, God's purposes with mankind, man's relationship and responsibility to Him, the coming of the Day of Judgment, and the life hereafter. It also contains rules for living which Muslims consider to be binding, stories of earlier prophets' and their communities, and vital insights and understandings concerning the meaning of existence and human life. In its original Arabic, with its earnest, moving tone, the Qur'an speaks directly to the heart, offering teachings which one instinctively grasps as true. It also speaks profoundly to the mind, exhorting human beings to ponder and reflect on God's creation as evidence of His existence, power and beneficence.
Since the Arabic text of the Qur'an is regarded as the direct speech of God, the Qur'an cannot be literally "translated" into any other language. However, its approximate meaning can be given, and the Qur'an has probably been rendered into every written language on the globe. Because of the importance of the Qur'an in the lives of Muslims, Muslims worldwide learn Arabic from an early age and use it in their prayers daily. Up to this day, countless Muslims in various parts of the Muslim world have committed the entire Qur'an to memory; even the simplest villager is likely to know a number of passages which he uses in praying.
The Qur'an as a Text for LifeAs the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet by the angel Gabriel, they were engraved upon his memory, after which he immediately recited the new revelations to various of his Companions or scribes.
The first segments of the Qur'an were inscribed on whatever materials were available. However, by the time of his death, the full Qur'an had been preserved in written form.
From this divinely-revealed source, the Book of God, Muslims derive the inspiration and impetus for their lives. Passages from the Qur'an are recited during each of the five daily prayers which conscious Muslims observe, and at other times as well. It is Muslims' book of guidance, containing the Message sent to them by God Himself through His noble prophet, Muhammad, believed to be the most perfect of mankind, as a light illuminating their path through this world. It is little wonder, then, that the Qur'an forms the basis of much decorative art throughout the Muslim world, for Muslims consider it an honor and blessing to have its sacred verses embellishing their homes.