To the Muslims, the Quran is the Word of God and contains complete guidance for mankind. Much of the Quran is about God, His attributes and man’s relationship to Him. But it also contains directives for its followers, historical accounts of certain prophets and peoples, arguments for accepting Muhammad as a genuine Prophet and good news for the believers and warnings for the disbelievers. Broadly speaking, the contents of the Holy Quran fall into five main categories:
One by one we will discuss these various aspects of the Holy Quran.
The central theme of the Quran is, of course, the doctrine of One God. The God of Quran is All Powerful, All Knowing, Merciful and Compassionate, and the sole Creator of the universe. He is the One Who gave us fire, and when we die it is to Him that we will return. He not only listens to our prayers, but provides for our needs without even our asking; He is a Generous and Gracious God. In Surah al Hashr, some of God’s attributes are described as follows:
He is God, there is no god except Him;
The Knower of the unseen and the seen;
He is the Gracious, the Merciful.
He is God, there is no god except Him;
The Sovereign, the Holy One, the Giver of peace, the Bestower of
Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted.
Glory be to God, above that they associate.
He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner.
His are the most beautiful names.
All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him,
He is the Mighty, the Wise. (59:23 25)
Besides containing illuminating facts about the various attributes of God, the Quran explains the rest of the spiritual world in considerable detail: the purpose of creation, the nature of angels, the nature of hell and heaven, the continuation of fire after death, the divine revelations and the concept of the Day of Judgment.
Scriptures of other religions also talk about these spiritual things, but the philosophy contained in the Quran is far more rational, meaningful and capable of standing up to the test of time.
Most of all, the Quran is the Law for the Muslims. It lays down commandments for worshipping God and contains numerous codes for the social and moral behaviour of its followers. In this respect, the Quran supersedes all previous Laws and Dispensations given to earlier prophets. The commandments in the Quran clearly tell the Muslims what to DO and what NOT to do. The following are some of the “positive” commandments in the Quran:
Similarly, there are “negative” commandments in the Quran which prohibit or forbid the Muslims from:
Besides the above mentioned DO’s and DON’T’s, there are many other commandments in the Quran which control the institutions of marriage, divorce, inheritance and fighting.
All Muslims are supposed to follow these commandments. The willful violation of any of these commandments constitutes sin, and the violation of some of the social commandments can even be punishable by the society.
The Quran contains historical accounts of many earlier prophets and peoples. The purpose of narrating these stories is to show mankind how loving and faithful God can be to His true servants and chosen people and also how utterly destructive His wrath can be upon those who disregard His Commands.
The various prophets whose lives are narrated in the Quran include Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Jesus, among others. Some of the earlier peoples that are mentioned in the Quran include, among others:
Many Surahs of the Holy Quran are named after the Prophets such as Younas, Hood, Yousaf, Ibrahim, Luqman, Muhammad, and Nooh. These Surahs, however, are not exclusively devoted to the accounts of these prophets and also contain other narratives and commandments. The only Surah that is entirely devoted to the account of one prophet is Surah Yousaf.
The Quran also gives an account of many incidents that took place during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. However, not many contemporaries of the Holy Prophet are mentioned by name. The only two persons whose names appear in the Quran are Zayd, the freed slave and adopted son of the Prophet and Abu Ahab, an uncle and arch enemy of his. Zayd’s name occurs in Surah al Ahzab, verse 38, and Abu Lahab’s name occurs in Surah Ahab, the 111th Chapter of the Holy Quran. The Prophet’s own name, Muhammad, is mentioned only four times in the Holy Quran. At all other places he is referred to as the Prophet, the Messenger, the Warner or by some other similar title.
Most important of all, the Holy Quran is the Book of Wisdom. Any person, whether he is a Muslim or not, can benefit from this treasure of God’s Wisdom. Below are given some samplings of this wisdom:
And, in the context of earlier generations of people:
The Quran contains numerous prophecies which cover a wide span of time. Some of these prophecies were realized within days of the original revelation while others took months or years. Many were fulfilled after the death of the Holy Prophet and some relate to events, inventions and discoveries of the present day. Some of the prophecies even concern events of the distant future, up to the Day of Judgment. As God says in the Quran: “For every prophecy there is a fixed time” (6:68). Below are given some of the prophecies as examples:
(i) When the Holy Prophet was leaving Mecca at the time of Al-Hijrah, he received the revelation:
“He Who has made the Quran binding on thee will most surely bring thee back to thy birth place” (28:86)
This prophecy was eventually fulfilled with the conquest of Mecca and the triumphant return of the Holy Prophet.
(ii) In the year 622 A.D., Chosroe’s armies gained victories against Heraclius, the Emperor of Rome. The Iranians got control of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Asia Minor and their armies reached within ten miles of the city of Constantinople. The people of Mecca rejoiced at this victory of the fire worshipers of Iran against the People of the Book. At this time the Holy Prophet received the following revelation:
“The Romans have been defeated in the land nearby, And they, after their defeat, will be victorious in a few years; The dominion belongs to God, before and after, And on that day the believers will rejoice over the help of God” (30:3-6)
This prophecy of Surah Room was fulfilled in a few years when the Romans defeated the Iranian armies and recovered their lost territories. This victory of the Romans also coincided with the victory of the Muslims at Badr and thus the second part of the prophecy, that the Muslims will rejoice that day, was also fulfilled.
(iii) In Surah ar Rahman, there is a prophecy:
“He has made the two bodies of water to flow. They will one day meet. Between them there is a barrier which they cannot surmount… There come out from both of them pearls and coral”(55:20-23)
This prophecy was fulfilled with the construction of Suez and Panama Canals in 1869 and 1914 respectively. The Suez Canal joined the Red Sea with the Mediterranean and the Panama Canal joined the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean.
(iv) In Surah al-Hijr is a prophecy concerning the safe guarding of the Holy Quran:
“It is We Who have revealed the Exposition, and it Is We Who are its guardians” (15:10)
The preservation of the Holy Quran in its original form is a well known fact. God has indeed guarded the Quran from any alteration, addition or omission. Of all the revealed books in the world, the Holy Quran is the only one which has remained completely unchanged since it was first compiled.