Almighty Allah has sent his Prophets and Messengers to us throughout the history of this world in order to guide us towards righteous path. Supporting his Prophets and Messengers with glaring guidelines of preaching, Allah, the Exalted, has revealed to them His books and chapters. As main sources of the Messages of Allah, the Exalted, followers of the Prophets (Peace be upon them) accepted them and with the help of them, they changed their lives according to the wishes of Allah, the Exalted.
Dividing this chapter into few topics, we will try to get some useful information about scriptures that will strengthen our Imaan and perfect our knowledge. As well as we will study relatively in detail about the Holy Quran, the last revealation and the only unchanged book of Allah, The Exalted.
As we knew that Prophets (Peace be upon them) were given the divine messages of guidance for mankind. Such as Zaboor was revealed to the Prophet Dawood (Peace be upon him) as Allah, the Exalted says:
(And we gave to Daud Zaboor)
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 4, Verse: 163]
And Taurat was given to the Prophet Musa (Peace be upon him) to lead the children of Israel to the right path.
(And we gave Musa the Book and made it guidance to the children of Israel that do not take other than Me as disposer of your affairs. )
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 17, Verse: 2]
Likewise, Ingeel was presented to the Prophet Isa (Peace be upon him) as a guide to his followers.
(And in their footsteps, We sent Isa, the son of Maryam, confirming Taurat that had come before him, and We gave him Ingeel)
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 5, Verse: 46]
And the Last and final Book of Allah, the Exalted, was revealed to our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) as a guidane for everybody till the Last Day of this universe. Allah, the Exalted, says:
(Undoubtedly, We have sent down the Quran by stages)
[Holy Quran, chapter: 76, Verse: 23]
BELIEVING IN BOOKS
As Muslims we must believe in all the Books of Allah, the Exalted, which were revealed on the Prophets (Peace be upon them) throughout the history of the world Describing the definition of Imaan the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His Books…..”
[Muslim: Imam Muslim, Vol: 1, Page: 274]
Therefore, in principle we believe in all Books of Almighty Allah, however, there is no book other than Holy Quran, in its original form, because they were changed and messed up by their followers. Several verses of the Quran uncovers this shameful act done by them, such asك
( They change the words of Allah from their places and have forgotten a good portion of those admonitions which were given to them. )
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 5, Verse: 13]
Giving more detail about their deliberate actions of changing the context of the Taurat, Allah, The Almighty says:
(Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: this is from Allah, to traffic with it for miserable price. )
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 2, Verse: 79]
Explaining the above verse, Shaikh Usman Bin Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) said that Jews had willingly written something they liked, as a part of Taurat and wiped off something they did not feel better for them. And they also erased the names of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) from their book.
[See, Jamiul Bayan: Shaikh Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabi, Vol:1, Page:301]
THE HOLY QURAN
The Holy Quran is the Last Book of Almighty Allah because no new Prophet is going to be sent down. So, there is not any possibility of a new Book.
Eying in its importance as it is the only reliable source of getting the Message of Allah, the Exalted, we discuss the historical fact encircled around it under some sub-headings
REVEALATION OF THE QURAN
The revealation of the Holy Quran has been completed during 23 years of the life of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him). During this period, the Holy Quran was given to him gradually in parts. The Quran itself indicates to this fact:
(And We sent down Quran in parts, so that you may recite it for mankind at intervals and We have revealed it by stages.)
[Holy Quran, Chapter: 17, Verse: 106]
It is one of the favors given to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) by Almighty Allah that he had not to go to a specified place to receive the revealation of the Holy Quran, rather it was sent down on him wherever he was at during the process of revealation. However, those parts of the Quran were revealed before the migration of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to Medina, they were usually known as “Meccan Chapters” whereas, those parts were sent down after it described as “Medinion Chapters.” Therefore, those classifications of the Quran do not necessarily indicate to the original place of revelation of the concerned chapter.
[See, Alitqaan: Shaikh Jalaluddin Suyuti, Vol: 1, Page:15 ]
BEGINNING OF THE QURAN
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was born in Mecca and grew up there as an honest, trustworthy, pious and an activist who was always ready to extend his helping hands toward widows, poor, and needy persons in the community.
As it was recorded that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to go in seclusion in The Cave of Hira in Mecca. Carrying with him foods, he used to worship continuously for many nights in that cave. During those days, once an angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, “I am not going to read.” Then the angel caught him pressed hard. Again he said him to read. He repeated saying, “I am not going to read.” Thereupon he pressed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) again. He then released him asking the same. He replied in the same word as he did earlier. Thereupon he caught him for the third time and pressed. Later on he released him saying, “Read in the name of your Lord, who has created….
[See, Bukhari: Imam Muhammad Bin Ismael Bukhari, Vol: 1 , Page: 95-96]
This event marks the beginning of the revelation of the Holy Quran to the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
COMPILING OF THE QURAN
As the Quran was revealed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) he asked some of his companions to write it down giving them clear instructions of placing the revealed chapter or verses. So, after the completion of the Holy Quran, they had the complete Quran written on the branches of palm trees, bones, stones, and on clean clothes.
[Tibyanul Quran: Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Vol: 1, Page: 102]
The Holy Quran was not complied altogether in one combined form in the physical life of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). For this, there were two basic reasons;
First: Because the revelation was going on and not yet completed.
Secondly: Due to the Prophetic instructions of placing the new revealed part of the Quran somewhere in between the earlier chapters.
However, after the nominal death of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) those basic reasons were gone off and the Muslim community desperately felt a dire need of putting all parts of the Holy Quran altogether. Specially, when in a single fighting between Muslims and followers of a fake Prophet, more than seventy Muslims who memorized the Quran were martyred, companions of the Prophet rightly thought that with the death of Quran-memorized Muslims, they might lose the Quran. With this feeling, Shaikh Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), the first Caliphate ordered Shaikh Zaid Bin Sabit (May Allah be pleased with him) one of the trusted companions, who was appointed by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to write the revelation, to compile the Holy Quran altogether in one format. Although, it was a great responsibility, he with the help of other companions completed this noble project.
[See, AlitQaan: Allama Shaikh Jalaluddin Syuti, Vol: 1, Page: 153-158
Also, Bukhari: Imam Muhammad Bin smael Bukhari , Vol: 2, Page:988]
Aiming at providing possible comfort for different tribes of Arab, the Holy Quran was approved to be read in their specific seven pronunciation techniques at the early stages of Islam. Because, those mild differences in the recitation of the Quran did not lead to the differences in its meaning and explanation, there was no any dispute heard amongst them. However, with the fast growing boundary of Islamic country and widely acceptance by non-Arabs, this easement regarding the recitation of the Quran was appeared to end up at clashes and conflicts amongst Muslims of various origins
[See, Bukhari: Imam Muhammad Bin Ismael, Vol: 2, Page: 989 ]
After realizing the situation, Shaikh Usman Bin Affan (May Allah be pleased with him), the third Caliphate, in his reign has taken back the Quran which was complied by Shaikh Zaid Bin sabit (May Allah be pleased with him) from Hafsa,Mother of Muslims (May Allah be pleased with her) and asked Shaikh Zaid Bin Sabit, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zubair, Shaikh Said Bin Aas, and Shaikh Abdur Rahman Bin Haris (May allah be pleased with them) to rewrite the Quran as to be read in the pronounciation of Quraish manner, because it was revealed, basically, in their pronounciation style.
[See, Alitqaan: Allama Shaikh Jalaluddin Syuti, Vol: 1, Page: 159-162]
After the complication of this project, Shaikh Usman Bin Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) made several copies of it available and distributed them through out the Muslim world. What we have now, is the same copy of them, which is known as “Mus’haf-e-Usmani” referring to his historical efforts
POINTS AND SIGNS FOR WORDS
At the beginning, there was no any points and signs for the words of the Holy Quran. But, when non-Arabs have embraced Islam, they had real difficulties in reading the Quran correctly. Abdul Malik Bin Marwan, a Muslim ruler asked the governor of Iraq, Hajjaj Bin Yusuf to be put signs and points for the Quran. According to the reliable sources, he called on Abul Aswad Duali, a renowned scholar and made him responsible for it. Therefore, he is the one who invented some specific marks to differentiate the words’ pronunciations in order to get the correct meaning.
[See, Manahilul Irfan: sheikh Muhammad Abdul Azeem Zarquani, Vol:1, Page:400]
Punctuation Marks help us to understand the meaning of the Holy Quran in a correct way. As the language of the Quran is the language practiced by Arabs, so, at the early stage of Islam, they did not feel any uncomfort in recitation of the Quran in a way that guided them to end up with perfect meaning. However, with the entrance of non-Arabs into the fold of Islam, it became necessary to be placed punctuation marks. The
first such effort was made by Imam Ahmed Bin Yahyat through his book “Kitabul Waqf Wal Ibtada” in the third century of Hijrah.
[See, Tibyanul Quran: Shaikh Ghulam Rusool Saidi, Vol:1, Page: 118 ]
PRESERVATION OF THE QURAN
Amongst all of the Books of Allah, the Exalted, only the Quran is still in its original form. Nothing was added to it nor anything was taken off from its context..
The main reason behind this protection is that Allah, the Exalted, Himself has taken the responsibility of preserving it from any loss or addition. Exalted is He, said
(No doubt, We have sent down this Quran, and We most surely will guard it)
[ Holy Quran, Chapter: 15, Verse: 9 ]