What is the Qur’an: A Muslim Perspective

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What is the Qur’an: A Muslim Perspective
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About the Author

Aliya Khan

Aliya Khan

Dr. Khan is a Professor of Clinical Medicine, McMaster University and Director of the Calcium Disorders Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University. She graduated with honors from the University of Ottawa Medical School. She trained in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Endocrinology at the University of Toronto and also completed a research fellowship at the University of Toronto in metabolic bone disease.

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“That is the indubitable scripture, a guidance for the righteous.” (2:2)

The Holy Qur’an is the sacred text revered by Muslims all around the world and regarded as the fundamental source for Islam’s teachings. Linguistically, “Qur’an” means “the recitation” and it refers to the message spoken by God and revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), preserved in the scripture recited by Muslims in their daily prayers. Muslims believe that there were many Prophets sent to previous nations who received Divine scripture containing the same essential message, including the scrolls of Prophet Abraham, the Tawrat revealed to Prophet Moses, and the Injeel revealed to Prophet Jesus, peace be upon them all. Muslims consider the Qur’an to be God’s last and final message to humankind. This message has been preserved till the last day on which all of humanity will be called to account for each of their deeds. That day all deeds of kindness, love and generosity will be richly rewarded and all evil deeds causing harm to any of God’s creation will be severely punished.

What does the Qur’an teach?

The essential message of the Qur’an is that human life has a purpose, namely to worship God alone and take care of His Creation by developing moral virtues. These key virtues, as described in the Holy Qur’an, include Justice (4:135), Mercy (21:107) Peace (8:61) Human Dignity ( 17:70) Freedom ( 2:256) and Equality for all ( 49:13). The Qur’an also condemns immoral traits including violence (6:151), sexual immorality (17:32), injustice (16:90), oppression (7:33), treachery (6:152), and arrogance (7:146). Multiple verses clearly condemn terrorism and violence. The murder of an innocent person is equivalent in sin to the genocide of all humanity “Whoever kills a soul , it is as if he has killed all mankind and whoever saves a life, it is as if he has saved all mankind” Quran Al- Ma’idah:32. War is permitted only in defence against oppression and injustice and is regulated by strict conditions which do not allow for harming any civilians “Fight in the way of God with those who fight you and do not exceed the limits, surely God does not love those who exceed the limits” ( 2:190) God states in the Quran “ No soul shall bear the sin of another” (53:38)No excuses or errors on part of other people can be used to justify terror or harming innocent individuals.

God says in the Quran : “Say we have believed in Allah (Arabic word for God ) and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to (all) the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we bow to God in Islam” 2:136

How is the Qur’an interpreted?

The Qur’an states that its passages are mutually explained by each other and its unequivocal commandments are the foundation for interpreting all other verses (3:7). The Qur’an also informs us that God has sent the Prophet Muhammad as a messenger to explain and implement the Qur’anic message, providing his followers with a practical manifestation of its noble virtues (16:44). Moreover, the Qur’anic verses are understood according to the principles of the Arabic language (12:2) and the historical context in which they were revealed. The Qur’an also evokes a deeply personal relationship with its reader, calling upon the reader to reflect upon the innumerable lessons contained within its verses (47:24).

What is the Qur’anic miracle?

The Prophet Muhammed(P) was unlettered and as was usual in the 7th century of Arabia was not able to read or write. He had never written any book or read a book before he began to recite the Qur’an at the age of 40. All of the previous Prophets were provided with miracles to support them in delivering their message to the people. The miracle given to the Prophet Muhammed (P) is the Qur’an with its unmatched eloquence, literary beauty and powerful message reminding humanity of our Creator and the need for Man to be kind, just and loving to all of God’s creation. Its powerful message has withstood the test of time and been practiced in every corner of the globe. The accuracy with which it discusses many phenomena such as embryological development (22:5) is simply amazing, particularly to a physician trained in the modern scientific era. Of course, the Qur’an is a book of Divine Guidance on maximizing the good one can do in one’s life, and living this guidance provides the most immersive experience of this wonderful miracle.



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