The Quran is the holy book which Muslims
recite and turn to for guidance in all aspects of
It is the last testament in a series of divine revelations
from God. It comprises the unaltered and direct words
of God, revealed through the Angel Gibrael, to the final
Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh)1 some 1400 years ago.
Islam is a continuation of the teachings of previous
Prophets, such as Noah, Abraham, David, Moses and
Jesus (peace be upon them all), some of whom were
also given divine books. Muslims believe that the key
message brought by all Prophets was the same; to
believe in One God and not to associate partners with
Him, to stay away from sins and to lead a life devoted to
earning Gods pleasure. All Prophets taught about life
after death and gave glad tidings of paradise for those
who obey God, but warned of punishment in hell for
those who choose to disobey Him.
The Quran is unique because it is the only revealed
book that exists today in the precise form and content
in which it was originally revealed. Furthermore, it was
actively recorded during the time the religion was
being established. The distinctive approach of the
Quran is that its spiritual message includes practical
injunctions aimed at the general welfare of human
beings, society and the environment in which we live.
The Qurans message is eternal and universal,
transcending our differences in race, color, ethnicity
and nationality. It provides guidance on every aspect of
human life, from economics and the ethics of trade to
marriage, divorce, gender issues, inheritance and
parenting. It neither condemns nor tortures the flesh
nor does it neglect the soul. It does not humanize God,
nor does it deify man. The Quran describes signs of
Gods existence in the universe and how everything is
carefully placed in the total scheme of creation.
"Everything made so much sense.This is the beauty of the
Quran; it asks you to reflect and reason....When I read the
Quran further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity.
I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt the only answer for me
was the Qur'an and God had sent it to me."
Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), former British pop star.
This brochure examines two common questions asked
by those seeking to understand the origin and authorship
of the Quran. 1) What evidence supports the Qurans
claim of authenticity ,i.e., that it has not been interfered
with? 2) Even if the Quran has been preserved, what
evidence supports that it is the Word of God and not
simply Muhammads (pbuh)own writings?
Preservation of the Quran
The Quran has been preserved for over 1400 years
through parallel memorization and writings.
"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will
assuredly Guard it (from corruption)." [Quran 15:9]
The Quran is the only book that has been memorized in
its entirety by millions. The process of memorization
began during the Prophets (pbuh) life and continues to
be emphasized by Muslims, even to this day.The use of
memorization in oral transmission through the
generations had mitigated somewhat from the beginning
the worst perils of relying solely on written
records, related John Burton. [John Burton, An
Introduction to the Hadith, Edinburgh University Press;
Muhammad (pbuh) was very vigilant in preserving the
entire Quran in written form as well. The Prophet (pbuh)
could not read or write, so as soon as a portion of the
Quran was revealed, he called upon his scribes to record
the revealed text.The Prophet (pbuh) specified the part of
the Quran the revelation belonged to and had the companions
read back what was written to ensure that it corresponded
exactly with what was revealed.Thus, the complete
Quran was not only memorized by the Prophet
(pbuh) and many of his companions, but also existed in
written form during his lifetime.Within a year after the
Prophets (pbuh) death, a manuscript of the entire Quran
was assembled by a committee led by the chief scribe of
the Prophet (pbuh), who followed stringent criteria to
safeguard against any errors. The manuscript was unanimously
approved by the companions of the Prophet
(pbuh), including the hundreds that had memorized the
entire Quran. Several replicates of the manuscript were
prepared under the leadership of the third caliph and were
distributed to the main Muslim centers. One such copy is
currently at the museum in Tashkent in erstwhile (Soviet
Union) and a facsimile of it, produced in 1905, is available
in the Columbia University Library (USA).
Who Wrote the Quran
Muslims believe that the Quran is the Speech of God
and not a book written by Muhammad (pbuh)
himself. The information above provides evidence for the
preservation of the Qur'an, but what suggests that it was actually
the word of God?
1) Historical accounts document, and the Quran openly
declares, that Muhammad (pbuh) was unlettered.
You (O Muhammad) were not a reader of any Scripture before it, nor
did you write (such a Scripture) with your right hand, for then those
who follow falsehood might (have a right) to doubt it. [Quran, 29.48]
2) The Quran was revealed at a time when the Arabs excelled
in oral poetry. Poetry competitions like todays rap
competitions, were held in the marketplace. Muhammads
(pbuh) recitation stunned its listeners for its beauty in Arabic.
Many converted simply by listening to the deep acoustic
rhythms, literary merit and wisdom of the Quranic verses. In
contrast, the Arabic of 1400 years ago was restricted to words
and expressions relevant to the simple life of desert men and it
was impossible to express metaphysical ideas or scientific, religious
and philosophical concepts. In fact the science of Arabic
grammar was developed after the revelation of the Quran,
using the Quran as a basis for devising its rules. It is difficult to
find an explanation (other than revelation) that explains how a
book existed that superseded, and also differed so greatly from
any other Arabic literature. The challenge of the Quran to produce
a chapter like its own has not been met to this day:-
if you are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto Our slave
(Muhammad) then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like
thereof, and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are
truthful. [Quran, 2:23]
3) The Quran is a highly comprehensive book containing
Divine truths, metaphysics, religious beliefs and worship,
prayer, law and morality. It is a book fully describing the other
life, a book of psychology, sociology, epistemology, and
history, and a book containing scientific facts and the principles
of a utopian life. A testament to the Divine authenticity of the
Quran is that such a comprehensive book, one that
was revealed over a period of 23 years, does not have any
Will they not then ponder on the Quran? If it
had been from other than God they would have found therein much
contradiction and incongruity. [Quran, 4.82]
4) Could Muhammad (pbuh) have been a liar or had motives
for inventing the Quran? The early years of Muhammads
(pbuh) mission were punctuated by persecutions and sorrow.
His followers were brutally tortured, killed and forced to
migrate. His clan was boycotted and he was stoned. His enemies
even offered him wealth and kingship if he abandoned his
call to the belief in One God. Instead, the Prophet (pbuh) lived
a very austere life and never pursued any worldly gains like
fame, power or wealth. Furthermore, the life of Muhammad
(pbuh) was a practical embodiment of the Divine message and
a study of his life (through the Hadith2) provides an appreciation
of this fact. Even before he received the Prophethood, he
was known in his society as Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy) and
As-Sadiq (The Truthful). Both Muslim and non-Muslim
scholars attest to his honesty and integrity
5) The Quran mentions things that were not known at the time.
How can the existence of these verses be explained? The Quran
has scientific descriptions only recently discovered by modern
science and that could not have been known 1400 years ago.
Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); then we placed him
(as a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then We made the
sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of than clot We made a
(foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the
bones with flesh;then We developed out of it another creature.So blessed
be Allah,The Best to Create [Quran, 23:12-14).
Professor Keith Moore, a prominent scientist of anatomy
and embryology (University of Toronto, Canada) commented:
It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements
in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that
these statements must have come to Muhammad (pbuh) from
God, or 'Allah', because almost all of this knowledge was not
discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that
Muhammad (pbuh) must have been a Messenger of
The Quran describes the expansion of the universe:
And it is we who have built the univrse with (Our creative)
power; and verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.
It was not until 1925, when Edwin
Hubble provided evidence of receding galaxies, that the
expanding universe came to be accepted as a scientific
Professor Alfred Kroner, a world-famous geologist,
explained: Thinking about many of these questions and
thinking where Muhammad (pbuh) came from, he was
after all a bedouin. I think it is almost impossible that he
could have known about things like the common origin
of the universe, because scientists have only found out
within the last few years with very complicated and
advanced technological methods that this is the case.
The Quran describes geographical concepts that were
proven after its revelation. For example, it was the
common dogma 1400 years ago that the earth was flat,
but the Quran described it as a sphere, compressed at
each end (like an ostrich egg):
And the earth moreover, He
has made egg shaped4 [Quran 79:30].
In 1597, when Sir
Francis Drake sailed around the world, the earth
became known to be a sphere.
What can explain the origin of the Quran?
The life and character of the Prophet (pbuh) , the depth
of the Quranic message, its appeal and relevance to both
the spiritual and the mundane, all testify to the Divine
origin of the Quran. These points compel us to admit
our inability to provide an explanation that relies solely
upon material causes. In a world starved of love and
compassion, the Qurans universal message is the perfect
antidote to the collective despair of the human condition.
1. pbuh stands for peace be upon him an invocation of respect
2. Hadith, the collection of recorded saying and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
3. see 877-Why Islam brochure titled What they say about Muhammad (pbuh).
4. the Arabic word for egg here is dahaahaa, meaning ostrich egg