What is the Quran?

18 August, 2020
Q Please give me a brief and clear idea about what exactly is the Quran and if the translations are also Quran. Is Islam simply the Quran? Also, please give me a very short and brief idea on the incident of emigration. Thank you.

Answer

Short Answer:

  • The Quran is not a book of history, a book of science or a book of law – though it has all these in it. It is first and foremost a book of divine guidance.
  • Anyone who has done translation knows that some kind of interpretation creeps into every translation, and only a person who knows the original language can be a legitimate interpreter of the source book.
  • As for the emigration of the prophet, in fact he started his preaching of Islam among his own people in Makkah. To most of the influential figures in Makkah, Islam meant a number of things. Among which was the giving up of their gods and idols, the acceptance of their slaves as equals, and the loss of a number of privileges they were enjoying in the old dispensation.
  • Naturally they opposed Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his religion; but Muhammad’s determination in his mission piqued these leaders so much that they unleashed a most brutal persecution campaign against him and his followers. It was in this context that he was forced to emigrate to Madinah, where he was welcomed, wholeheartedly, by the people of that city.

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Salam Dear Friend,

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

What is the Quran?

There are a few things we need to know about the Holy Quran, before we start interpreting its verses. I shall briefly state the most important of these here:

The Quran is not simply a book that equals the Bible, though there are many common points between the two. One major difference is that the original books of the Bible are not available in the form and language in which they were first written and only translations are extant – whereas no translation of the Quran is called the Quran.

Anyone who has done translation knows that some kind of interpretation creeps into every translation, and only a person who knows the original language can be a legitimate interpreter of the source book. So, to interpret the Quran truthfully, one should have a good knowledge of the Arabic language.

Another point about the Quran is that it is not a book of history, a book of science or a book of law – though it has all these in it. It is first and foremost a book of divine guidance. Also, you need to know that the Quran does not contain detailed explanations of the situations that prompted the revelations of its verses.

Mostly the verses are guidelines and general principles. Besides, they offer good news for the good people and warnings for the misguided. They contain a number of narrations that serve to give admonitions, exhortations and warnings to mankind in general. Also in certain cases, the Quran gives specific instructions too.

The Quran was revealed in the course of the 23 years of the prophetic career of Muhammad (peace be upon him), in accordance with the requirements of the particular contexts that called for divine guidance in certain issues.

For this reason, in order to arrive at the correct understanding of many of its verses, we need to know the circumstances in which these verses were revealed.

That is why the foundation of the religion of Islam is not just the Quran; but it includes the sayings and the example of the messenger, as well. This also means that the best interpreter of the Quran is the prophet, to whom the verses were actually revealed.

For example, Allah says in Surah 5, 48:

{To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but [His plan is] to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute…}

This above verse clearly states:

(1) That the Quran is not the only scripture sent by God.
(2) That the Quran confirms the truth in the earlier scriptures.
(3) That God will judge between those who dispute about the truth of the matters at issue.

Emigration from Makkah to Madinah

As for the emigration of the prophet, in fact he started his preaching of Islam among his own people in Makkah. To most of the influential figures in Makkah, Islam meant a number of things. Among which was the giving up of their gods and idols, the acceptance of their slaves as equals, and the loss of a number of privileges they were enjoying in the old dispensation.What is the Quran

Naturally they opposed Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his religion; but Muhammad’s determination in his mission piqued these leaders so much that they unleashed a most brutal persecution campaign against him and his followers. It was in this context that he was forced to emigrate to Madinah, where he was welcomed, wholeheartedly, by the people of that city.

I hope my answer is as clear and brief as you requested, thank you.

Salam and please keep in touch.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What is The Quran and Why Should I Believe It?

New Convert Eager to Learn About Islamic New Year and Ashura

What is the Significance of Migration to Madinah in Islamic History?