Nay, but, it is a glorious, magnificent Qur’an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved
Bismillahir rahmanir rahim
Iqra’ bi-ismi rabbika allazee khalaq
Khalaqa al-insana min A’alaq
Iqra’ warabbuka al-akram
Allathee AAallama bial qalam
‘Aallama al-insana ma lam ya’lam
Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
Createth man from a clot,
Read and your Lord is Most Honorable,
By the pen Who teacheth,
Teacheth man that which he knew not.
(Qur’an al-Karim 96:1-5)
Most commentators of the Qur’an al-Karim (the noble Qur’an) say these are the first ayat revealed by Allah subhan wa ta’ala to his honourable prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him. However, one of the most prominent companions and the cousin of holy Prophet, peace be upon him, Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him says that the first ayat to be revealed was of Surah Mudassir:
Ya ayyuha almuddaththir
Qum fa anzir
Wa rabbaka fakabbir
Wa siyabaka fatahhir
Wa alrrujza fahjur
Wala tamnun tastaksir
Wa lirabbika faisbir
O thou wrapped up (in the mantle)!
Arise and deliver thy warning!
And thy Lord do thou magnify!
And thy garments keep free from stain!
And all abomination shun!
Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself)!
(Qur’an al-Karim 74:1-6)
Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to them: “I stayed in Hira’ for a month and when my stay came to an end, I came down. As I was in the middle of the valley, I was called. I looked in front and behind me, to my right and to my left, but could not see anyone. I was called once again. I raised my head, and I saw on a throne in midair [i.e. Gabriel peace be upon him]. I said: ‘Wrap me up, wrap me up!’ And they threw water over me. Allah, glorified and majestic is He, then revealed (O thou enveloped in thy cloak, Arise and warn! Thy Lord magnify, Thy raiment purify)”. Narrated by Muslim> Zuhayr ibn Harb> al-Walid ibn Muslim> al-Awza‘i. (asbab an-Nuzul by al-Wahidi)
When Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him [pbuh] was nearly forty, he had been wont to pass long hours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects of creation around him. This meditative temperament helped to widen the mental gap between him and his compatriots. He used to provide himself with Sawiq (barley porridge) and water and then directly head for the hills and ravines in the neighbourhood of Makkah. One of these in particular was his favourite resort — a cave named Hira’, in the Mount An-Nour. It was only two miles from Makkah, a small cave 4 yards long and 1.75 yard wide. He would always go there and invite wayfarers to share him his modest provision. He used to devote most of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on the universe around him. His heart was restless about the moral evils and idolatry that were rampant among his people; he was as yet helpless because no definite course, or specific approach had been available for him to follow and rectify the ill practices around him. This solitude attended with this sort of contemplative approach must be understood in its Divine perspective. It was a preliminary stage to the period of grave responsibilities that he was to shoulder very soon. [Rahmat Al-lil’alameen 1/47; Ibn Hisham 1/235,236; Fi Zilal Al-Qur’an 29/166]
Ayat is the plural of Ayah, an Arabic word that means sign or miracle. The Qur’an do not contain verses. It is not a book of poetry. This is very important to understand! None of the Muslims in the past have called it a book of verses. This is absurd notion. The Qur’an is a miracle and it contains signs. The Orientalists of the 19th century have devised this new term ‘verses’ to describe the Ayat of the Qur’an.
Ubayy ibn Ka’b, may Allah be pleased with him, mentioned that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is some wisdom in poetry.”
Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It is better for a man to fill his belly with oozing pus than to fill it with poetry.”
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Poetry is in the same position as speech. The good of it is like good words and its bad part is like bad words.”
(Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari by Imam Bukhari)
Ibn ‘Abbas who related that al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, who read the Qur’an to him and it seemed as if his heart softened to it. Abu Jahl heard of this. He went to him and said: “O uncle, your clan want to collect money to give it to you, for you went to Muhammad exposing yourself to his message”. He said: “The Quraysh know well that I am among its wealthiest”. Abu Jahl said: “Then say something about him which will let your people know that you condemn and dislike him”. He said: “But what shall I say? By Allah, there is not a man among you who is more knowledgeable about poetry and its composition than me. By Allah, what he says does not resemble any poetry. By Allah, the speech which he utters is sweet and graceful, fruitful at the top, copious at the bottom; it has the upper hand and nothing has the upper hand over it. But let me think about what I shall say about it. Then he said [as reported by the Qur’an] (This is naught else than magic from of old) [74:24], which he simply learnt from others”. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (Leave Me (to deal) with him whom I created lonely…), and the other verses which follows it. Mujahid said: “Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah was in the habit of visiting the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and Abu Bakr so much so that the Quraysh thought he was going to embrace Islam. Abu Jahl then said to him: ‘The Quraysh claim that you visit Muhammad and Ibn Abi Quhafah to share food with them’. Al-Walid said to the Quraysh: ‘You are people of noble lineages and sound minds, but you claim that Muhammad is mad. Have you ever seen him seized by a bout of madness?’ They said: ‘No!’ He said: ‘And you claim that he is a soothsayer; have you ever seen him soothsaying?’ They said: ‘No!’ He said: ‘You claim that he is a poet; have you ever heard him utter poetry?’ They said: ‘No!’ He said: ‘You claim that he is a liar; have you ever caught him lying?’ They said: ‘No!’ The Quraysh said to al-Walid: ‘What is he, then?’ He thought for a while, looked and frowned and then said: ‘He is nothing but a sorcerer’, hence Allah’s saying (For lo! he did consider; then he planned…) [74:12] up to His saying (This is naught else than magic from of old)”. (asbab an-Nuzul by al-Wahidi)
Fala oqsimu bima tubsiroon
Wama la tubsiroon
Innahu laqawlu rasoolin kareem
Wama huwa biqawli shaAAirin qaleelan ma tu’minoon
Wala biqawli kahinin qaleelanma tazakkaroon
Tanzeelun min rabbi al’Aalameen
Walaw taqawwala A’alayna baA’daal-aqaweel
Laakhazna minhu bialyameen
Summa laqataAAna minhualwateen
Fama minkum min ahadin AAanhu hajizeen
Wa-innahu latazkiratun lilmuttaqeen
Wa-inna lanaAAlamu anna minkum mukazzibeen
So I do call to witness what ye see,
And what ye see not,
That this is verily the word of an honoured messenger;
It is not the word of a poet: little it is ye believe!
Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye receive.
(This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds.
And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name,
We should certainly seize him by his right hand,
And We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart:
Nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).
But verily this is a Message for the Allah-fearing.
And We certainly know that there are amongst you those that reject (it).
(Qur’an al-Karim 69:38-49)
O brothers and sisters in Islam who believe! The Qur’an is not a book of verses, poetry or prose. It is the word of Allah Subhan wa Ta’ala. We ask tawfiq not to describe it as verses. Amin.
The Qur’an literally means the Recitation. It is to be read and recited. Respected and understood. Preached and practised.
Sanuqri-oka fala tansa
Illa ma shaa Allahu innahu yaA’lamu al jahra wama yakhfa
By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget,
Except as Allah wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden.
(Qur’an al-Karim 87:6-7)
La tuharrik bihi lisanaka litaA’jala bih
Inna A’alayna jamA’ahu waqur-anah
Fa-itha qara’nahu faittabiA’qur-anah
Summa inna A’alayna bayanah
Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith.
It is for Us to collect it and to promulgate it:
But when We have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated):
Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear):
(Qur’an al-Karim 75:16-19)
In Tafsir al-Jalalayn it is mentioned about these ayat: “God, exalted be He, says to His Prophet: Do not move your tongue with it, with the Qur’ān, before Gabriel is through with [reciting] it, to hasten it, fearing to lose it. Assuredly it is for Us to bring it together, in your breast, and to recite it, your reciting of it, that is, its flowing off your tongue. So, when We recite it, to you, by means of Gabriel’s recital, follow its recitation, listen to its recitation: thus the Prophet (s) would listen to it and then repeat it. Then, it is for Us to explain it, by making you comprehend [it]: the connection between this aya and what preceded [it] is that those [ayat before] imply turning away from God’s signs, whereas this one implies applying oneself to them by memorising them.”
Inna nahnu nazzalna alzzikra wa-inna lahu lahafizoon
Walaqad arsalna min qablika fee shiyaA’i al-awwaleen
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it
We did send messengers before thee amongst the religious sects of old:
(Qur’an al-Karim 15: 09-10)
Inna awhayna ilayka kama awhayna ila noohin wa alnnabiyyeena min baA’dihi wa awhayna ila ibraheema wa-ismaA’eela wa-ishaqa wa yaA’qooba wa al-asbati wa A’eesa wa ayyooba wa yoonusa wa haroona wa sulaymana wa atayna dawooda zaboora
We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.
(Qur’an al-Karim 4: 163)
Innahu la qur-anun kareem
Fee kitabin maknoon
La yamassuhu illa almutahharoon
Tanzeelun min rabbi alA’alameen
Afabihaza alhadeesi antum mudhinoon
That this is indeed a qur’an Most Honourable,
In Book well-guarded,
Which none shall touch but those who are clean:
A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.
Is it such a Message that ye would hold in light esteem?
(Qur’an al-Karim 56:77-81)
Bal huwa qur-anun majeed
Fee lawhin mahfooz
Nay, but it is a glorious, a magnificent, Qur’ān,
(Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!
(Qur’an al-Karim 85:21-22)
Regarding the above mentioned ayah Tafsir al-Jalalayn mentions: “in a tablet, suspended above the seventh heaven, preserved (read mahfūzin), from all devils and from having any of its contents altered; it is a high as the distance between the earth and the heaven, and as wide as the distance between the east and the west, made of white pearls — as stated by Ibn ‘Abbās, may God be pleased with both [him and his father, ‘Abbās]”
The Qur’an can be defined as follows:
The speech of Allah, sent down upon the last Prophet Muhammad, through the Angel Gabriel, in its precise meaning and precise wording, transmitted to us by numerous persons (tawatur), both verbally and in writing.
Inimitable and unique, protected by God from corruption.
The word Qur’an
The Arabic word ‘qur’an’ is derived from the root qara’a, which has various meanings, such as to read, [Sura 17: 93.] to recite, [Sura 75:18:17: 46.] etc. Qur’an is a verbal noun and hence means the ‘reading’ or ‘recitation’. As used in the Qur’an itself, the word refers to the revelation from Allah in the broad sense [Sura 17: 82.] and is not always restricted to the written form in the shape of a book, as we have it before us today.
However, it means revelation to Muhammad only, while revelation to other prophets has been referred to by different names (e.g. taurat, injil, kitab, etc.).
Other Names of the Qur’an
The revelation from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad is referred to in the Qur’an itself by the name qur’an (recitation) as well as by other names, such as e.g.
furqan (criterion, see 25: 1).
tanzil (sent down, see 26: 192).
dhikr (reminder, see 15: 9).
kitab (scripture, see 21:10).
Other references to the Qur’an are by such words as nur (light), huda (guidance), rahma (mercy), majid (glorious), mubarak (blessed), bashir (announcer), nadhir (warner), etc.
All these names reflect one of the various aspects of the revealed word of Allah. (Ulum al Qur’an by Ahmad von Denffer, http://www.sunnipath.com/library/books/B0040P0003…. )
History of the Qur’an
“The Qur’an is the most recent of the major sacred scriptures to have appeared in the chronology of human history. …first quarter of the seventh century C.E. …
While historian of religion classifies the Qur’an as the last major scripture to appear in human history and the first actual book to be produced in the Arabic language, the Muslim believer views it as a text that in its essence fundamentally transcends all matters of chronology. For the believer the Qur’an lies beyond the horizon of chronological analysis because it is the word of God, which is beyond all time, and the supreme book of divine revelation that derives its origin from God eternal.
The Qur’anic text reflects an atomistic concept of time, while lacking the notion of time as divided into past, present and future…The most common term adopted in Arabic for time, zaman, does not appear in the Qur’an, nor does qidam, its counterpart for eternity. The Qur’an, however, has a great variety of terms for time understood as a moment or short duration, (e.g. waqt, hin, an, yawm, sa’a). These terms give expression to an atomism of time that includes a vision of God acting instantaneously in the world as the sole true cause. Of itself, creation (q.v.) is discontinuous. It appears to be continuous only because of God’s compassionate consistency. (Gerhard Bowering, The Encyclopaedia of Islam (pp.316-319)
Am yaqooloona taqawwalahu bal layu’minoon
Falya’too bihadeethin mithlihi in kanoo sadiqeen
Or do they say, “He fabricated the (Message)”? Nay, they have no faith! Let them then produce a recital like unto it,- If (it be) they speak the truth!
(Qur’an al-Karim 52:33-34)
Qul la-ini ijtamaA’ati al-insu wa aljinnu A’ala an ya’too bimisli haza alqur-ani laya’toona bimislihi wa law kana baA’duhum libaA’din zaheera
Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.
(Qur’an al-Karim 17:88)
Am yaqooloona iftarahu qul fa’toobi A’ashri suwarin mislihi muftarayatin waodA’oo mani istataA’tum min dooni Allahi in kuntum sadiqeen
Or they may say, “He forged it,” Say, “Bring ye then ten suras forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can, other than Allah!- If ye speak the truth!
(Qur’an al-Karim 11:13)
Wa-in kuntum fee raybin mimma nazzalna A’ala A’abdina fa’too bi sooratin min mislihi waodA’oo shuhadaakum min dooni Allahi in kuntum sadiqeen
And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true.
(Qur’an al-Karim 2:23)
Am yaqooloona iftarahu qul fa’toobi sooratin mislihi waodA’oo mani istataA’tum min dooni Allahi in kuntum sadiqeen
Or do they say, “He forged it”? say: “Bring then a Sura like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!”
(Qur’an al-Karim 10:38)