Short Answer: Because Islam is the complete, comprehensive continuation of the previous revelations God sent us through prophets like Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. It was revealed in Arabic because of the intricacies of the language, but we can grasp the meanings via translations today. The message of the Quran is just as relevant as it is today, and it’s universally applicable across all cultures and time periods.
Salam Dear Kate,
Thank you very much for your interesting question. I often wonder what it would have been like to live at the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The fact is, we do not choose when we are born in the long timeline of history.
Almighty God chose the time to bring this world into being, when humans would arrive on its surface, and the ebb and tide of every nation.
Every soul has its appointed time of arrival, and duration of stay.
Islam Was Not a New Thing
The revelation of the Quran, which Muslims believe is the word of God, upon God’s final messenger, was a crucial event in history, but it did not represent a change in the original religion of submission to God, which we call Islam.
Rather, it was the culmination of the same truth preached by all the prophets: Worship God alone, and use this short life to do good.
The special quality of this last phase was the universality of the mission of Muhammad: it is a message for all people, for all time.
Whereas the contents of previous revelations were allowed, according to divine wisdom, to be partly lost or obscured at the hands of each faith community, the Quran states that God himself has guaranteed the preservation of its teachings until He decrees the end of this world.
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Quran 15:9)
Now, coming to your question, I should say first of all that it is a fair question, but more the sort that one might put to God directly.
Since the true answer would have to wait until the Hereafter, all I can do is draw your attention to a few things that I hope will put your question in perspective.
You have mentioned three aspects: the need for a new message; the language of this message; and its relevance to your life. Let me address each in turn.
The Need For a New Message
The need for a new message would arise if the Quran and its explanation in the practice of Muhammad (peace be upon him) were actually out of date.
I’m sure that many observers who do not know the religion deeply believe precisely that.
However, the reality is that Islam’s teachings regarding belief, worship, and ethics are as relevant today as ever, and even the legal aspects have a built-in flexibility that guarantees that they keep up to date with modern realities.
As for the language, this is an important point, and scholars have drawn attention to the various wisdoms behind God’s choice of Arabic for His final revealed book.
Many of these are to do with qualities inherent to the language, and its utility in conveying breadth and depths of meaning.
Whatever the reason, so it was, and for those who speak other languages, we have the benefit of translations of the meanings if we don’t have the opportunity to learn Arabic itself.
The Timeless Message of the Quran
As for your suggestion that this new revelation be more relevant to your own life, again I would say that the existing revelation is relevant, even without speaking about your country, or the latest features of daily life.
The Quran addresses general principles in a way that don’t go out of date, unlike some things we used to consider advanced technology when we were younger!
Grasping this relevance I am talking about may not always be easy, but it makes a big difference to benefit from modern books, websites, and living people who can make clear what the message of the Quran means in the modern world and in your own country.
Rather than seeking to test God or demand that the revelation accord to our personal expectations, we should look to what has been sent already and decide whether we believe in it or not.
The problem with expecting something more recent, or in our language, or otherwise in line with our preferences, is that we would overlook the reality that we are being tested about.
Let us turn to examine the Quran in more detail, along with the traditions and teachings of Muhammad (peace be upon him), to ascertain whether their origin really is as they claim: revelation from God Most High.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)