The Quran is a highly revered book in Islam. It is not only valued for its contents, but also more essentially for its status as Revelation. For this reason it is not a common practice among Muslims to make any significant reference to the history of the Quran. More appropriately, they make reference to the history of the Revelation of the Quran . According to the Islamic story, Allah revealed the entire Quran to Muhammad in the Night of Majesty. Afterwards, it then descended to the prophet Muhammad in stages over a period of 23 years. Because the prophet is believed to have been illiterate, the book’s great literary excellence is considered a miracle and one of the greatest proofs of revelation.
Contrary to what some people believe, that the Quran is to Islam what the Bible is to Christians, the Quran is regarded with far higher reverence. Generally the Bible is read, studied, and appreciated as a record of God’s revelation. Biblical hermeneutics requires the study of the context and investigating what the first addressees of the text could have understood in order to apply the meaning correctly in the present day situation. The Quran on the other hand is not thought of as just a record of revelation. Muslims view it as God’s direct speech. Its revelation is not considered to have brought it into being. They believe that it has always existed as part of a bigger book the umma al katib, the Mother of the book, which is with God.
The Quran was authored in two main locations. Earlier sections of the book were written in Mecca, the birthplace and location of the early ministry of the prophet. Later sections came from his later center in Medina. During Muhammad’s days in Mecca, the city was very important to its surrounding populations. Its people, the Quraysh, Muhammad’s own tribe, were very influential to neighboring tribes. Christianity and Judaism were present in the land. Anecdotes are told of Jews and Christians anticipating a prophet during that time, which the Muslims claim to have been fulfilled by the coming of Muhammad.
Muhammad’s strong denunciation of idolatry in Mecca earned him rejection and a great deal of persecution by his own people. Some of his followers fled to Abyssinia in Africa at the advice of the prophet. The death of Muhammad’s uncle, who protected him from youth, left him vulnerable and unsafe in Mecca. He fled to Medina where he had established a good relationship with the citizens. They welcomed him. This made Muhammad rise to a great level of influence not just as a prophet but also politically.
The content of the Quran owes a great deal to the settings in both Mecca and Medina. Textual evidence does indeed demonstrate how these two historical settings influenced the content of distinguishable sections of the book. Muhammad was a victim in Mecca but later became a ruler in Medina, the language and content emanating from the two parts of his life could not be the same.