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The Koran

From the Preface of a Koran:

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustain of the world, Who has said in His Noble Book:

There has come to you from Allah
Light and a Perspicuous Book.

And may peace and blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, who has said that:

The best among you is he who learned the Qur-an and then taught it.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

The cover page of a Koran

The Glorious Qur-an is the Book of Allah, the Wise and Worthy of all Praise, Who has promised to safeguard it from any violations in its purity. It becomes incumbent upon each and every person who seeks the dignity of this world and the bliss of the Hereafter to regulate his life according to it, to implement its commandments and to pay homage to the magnificence of the One Who revealed it. This can be an easy task for those favoured with guidance from Allah, especially those blessed by an understanding of Arabic, the language of the divine communication. But for those not acquainted with Arabic, their ignorance is a barrier between them and this source of guidance and illumination. A translation of the message of Allah is thus a task not to be take lightly or performed superficially.

Before the reader begins to study the Qur-an, he must realise that unlike all other writings, this is a unique book with a supreme auther, an eternal message and a universal relevance. Its contents are not confined to a particular theme or style, but contain the foundations for an entire system of life, covering a whole spectrum of issues, which range from specific articles of faith and commandments to general moral teachings, rights, and obligations, crime and punishment, personal and public law, and a host of other private and social concerns. These issues are discussed in a variety of ways, such as direct stipulations, reminders of Allah's favours on His creation, admonitions and rebukes. Stories of past communities are narrated, followed by the lessons to be learned from their actions and subsequent fates.

Page of Text with English meaning

The Qur-an enjoys a number of characteristics unique to it alone, some of which are as follows:

1. It is the actual Word of Allah; not created but revealed for the benefit of all mankind.

Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion
To His servant, that it may be
An admonition to all creatures.

2. It is complete and comprehensive. The Almighty says:

Nothing have We omitted from the Book.

In another place we read,

And We have sent down to thee
The Book explaining all things.

3. It is a theoretical and practical Book, not only moralising but also defining specifically the permissible and the forbidden. The importance of understanding the message of the Qur-an is undeniable, but simply reciting it with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure and reward is also an act of worship and meritorious in itself. Allah Almighty says:

So take what the Prophet gives you
And refrain from what he prohibits you.

4. Allah has perfected His religion for all mankind with the revelation of this Book. He says:

This day have I perfected your religion for you,
Completed my favour upon you and have chosen
For you Islam as your religion.

5. It is Allah's eternal miracle revealed to the Prophet Muhammad for all succeeding generations. In response to those who doubt the authorship of the Qur-an, Allah Almighty has challenged the most articulate Arabs to produce a whole book, ten chapters or even one solitary chapter which can be remotely comparable to the Qur-an. But to this day, no one has succeeded in meeting the challenge of the Almighty. The critics of the Qur-an have been struck dumb by its ineffable eloquence and surpassing beauty.

Koran with Chinese meaning

Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns
Were to gather together to produce the
Like of this Qur-an, they could not
Produce the like thereof; even if they
Backed up each other with help and support.

The Almighty also says:

Or they may say: he forged it.
Say: Bring ye then ten chapters
Forged, like unto it and call
(To your aid) whomsoever ye can
Other than Allah, if ye speak
The truth.

And again:

Or do they say: he forged it?
Say: Bring then a chapter like
Unto it and call (to your aid)
Anyone ye can besides Allah,
If it be ye speak the truth.

6. It has been revealed to revealed to re-establish the sincere worship of Allah alone, without association of any partners with Him.

This is a Book with verses basic or
Fundamental (of established meaning),
Further explained in detail--
From One who is Wise and Well-Aware.
(It teaches) that you should worship
None but Allah.

And they have been commanded no more
Than this: to worship Allah,
Offering Him sincere devotion, being true
In faith, to establish regular prayer
And to give Zakat, and that is
The religion Right and Straight.

7. It contains a complete code which provides for all areas of life, whether spiritual, intellectual, political, social or economic. It is a code which has no boundaries of time, place, or nation.

Verily this Qur-an doth guide
To that which is most right.

8. Allah Almighty has taken upon Himself the duty of preserving the Qur-an for ever in its entirety, as He says:

We have without doubt sent down
The Message, and We will assuredly
Guard it (from corruption).

So well has it been preserved, both in memory and in writing, that the Arabic text we have today is identical to the text as it was reveal to the Prophet. Not even a single letter has yielded to corruption during the passage of the centuries. And so it will remain for ever, by the consent of Allah.


Sources: The above text, and reproductions of the first two pages of the Koran are from The Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA, Call and Guidance, The Holy Qur-an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary. Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia: King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex, 1410 AH. The Koran with Chinese meanings is taken from Aramco World, Vol. 44 No. 7, Exhibition Issue, p. 69. According to the caption, this is a page from a 19th century Koran taken by British troops from Amoy, or present-day Xiamen.

Version 1.0 dated 1.15.98

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