The word Qur'an literally means "reading or recitation." One directly experiences the Qur’anic revelation by reciting it. The origin of the Qur’an began with a revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad by Allah (God). More revelations continuously came throughout the course of Muhammad’s life to which all were written and compiled together to make the Qur’an. The book serves as an inspirational and religious guidance for Muslim followers as it speaks of doctrines and rules primarily conveying the Word of God. The Qur’an is the sacred book of Islam serving as a guide through practical, spiritual and religious development for Muslims around the world.
The start of the Qur’an began in the cave of Hira just outside of Mecca. Muhammad had been residing in the cave praying, meditating and reflecting upon important questions between good and evil. As he was praying, a powerful voice startled Muhammad and commanded him to “read” three times (Gale 2). At first, Muhammad was uncertain at how to respond as he was an illiterate man. However, the voice spoke “Read! In the name of your Lord who created man from a clot! Read, for your Lord is most generous, who teaches by means of pen, teaches man from what he does not know” (Gale 2). Each revelation in the Qur’an was given to Prophet Muhammad by Allah (God) through the Archangel Gabriel (The Qur’an book). These revelations continued from 610 CE to Muhammad’s death at 632 CE. The Qur’an was not complied or distributed until after the death of the Prophet. The primary method of recording and transmitting the Qur’an was by systematic recitation (Gale 1). It is known that the entire text of the Qur’an was written down by the time of the Prophet’s death on an assortment of materials such as paper, leather, papyrus, pieces of food, tablets, shoulder blade bones and palm-leaf stalks. It was only brought together after the Prophet’s death as an organized and standardized text (GaleSOMETHING). Abu Bakr, the first caliph after the Prophet’s death, complied the Qur’an into a manuscript which was kept and passed down to the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan; in which, he began the distribution of the Qur’an (the straight path book).
The Qur’an is a complex interconnected text of rhythmic prose about monotheism, prophecy, revelations, the afterlife, beliefs, actions and social justice. The book is viewed as a true, pure, definitive and final message from God to humanity in the way it was send down directly as divine speech (Gale 2). To some, the Qur’an is considered to be co-eternal with God as the revelations were spoken in clear Arabic speech to Muhammad. Thus making Arabic the sacred language of Islam. “An important belief held by Muslims about the Qur’an is that it is sui generis and incapable of being imitated” (introducing the Qur’an). This making the Arabic Qur’an the only acceptable Qur’an as some words and meanings can be lost in translation and most likely fall short of the beauty of the Arabic Qur’an.