In this page, we will explore the Miraculous Qur’an, the final revelation from Allah, Almighty God. In Arabic, the word “Qur’an” literally means “the recitation”. There are many different miracles within the Qur’an; linguistic, historical, and scientific. But first, we must explore the story of the Qur’an and how it came to be.
THE STORY OF THE QUR’AN
The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Allah via the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) over a period of 23 years. Contrary to common misconception, it was not revealed all at one time. As the Prophet Muhammad spread the message of Islam and called people to it, Allah, Almighty God, would reveal ayat (understood in English to mean “verses”, but literally translates to “signs”) regarding the ongoing events at the time. Part of the miracle of the Qur’an is that while these ayat were revealed in response to events in the Prophet Muhammad’s life, they also directly apply to our lives today. The Prophet Muhammad knew which ayat went where in the order of the Qur’an, and every year during Ramadan he would review the Qur’an with the Angel Gabriel.
In the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the Arabs were very much an oral culture (as opposed to a written culture like we have now in the West). The Arabic language did exist in written form, but the strength of the Arabic language came in the oral transmission of messages and conversation. For example, many Arabs in that time could hear a lengthy poem recited only once and would be able to memorize it and recite it verbatim. The Arabs prided themselves on the mastery of their language, and would even hang renowned poems on the Kabaa in the city of Mecca as a sign of reverence.
The companions of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Sahabah (literally translates to “companions”) would learn the Qur’an orally after hearing the Prophet Muhammad recite it. The vast majority of the Sahabah learned the Qur’an this way, as was the tradition in the Arab culture, by learning and memorization through oral transmission. Some of the Sahabah would write down the various ayat of the Qur’an with whatever materials they had available. Paper, parchment, papyrus, etc. were not in wide supply in that time, so they would use palm fronds, bones, or whatever else that could be written on and preserved.
After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Sahabah decided to compile all of the ayat they had either written down or memorized into one single volume, called the mushaf, which is what we have today. The Prophet Muhammad had taught them the correct order of the ayat and surahs (chapters), so they knew how to properly organize and order the Qur’an.
In our current times, Muslims strive to memorize as much of the Qur’an as they can, and a large number of Muslims (estimated in the 100,000’s) have memorized the entire Qur’an from cover to cover. Due to the nature of the Arabic language, and the miraculous nature of the Qur’anic language that Allah uses, memorization of the Qur’an is surprisingly easy with enough practice and with the right intention. Children as young as seven years old have memorized the entire Qur’an, cover to cover, and can recite any part of it on command. This is another miracle of the Qur’an. Can you think of another book in history that has been completely memorized by hundreds of thousands of people, even people as young as seven years old?
THE MIRACLES OF THE QUR’AN
The Linguistic Miracles of the Qur’an can be a bit difficult to understand without knowledge and appreciation of the Arabic language. However, the video below explores some of the linguistic miracles of the Qur’an, which explains things much better than we can.