The Holy Qur’ān, the last in the line of Sacred Books revealed from Almighty God to mankind, made the greatest influence on mankind, according to world famous scholars. “This is what We recite to you (O! Muhammad) of the Verses and the Wise Reminder.”, says the Qur’ān. (3:58).
David Waines remarks: “Throughout, the Qur’ān portrays the moral dualism of human characters; this in turn gives rise to moral struggle creating the tension necessary for creative action by mankind.” (Introduction to Islam, p.29, OUP, London,1995).
The Holy Qur’ān is the Word of God; the legislation; code of conduct; way of life – all embodied in the form of Shari’ah. The Holy Qur’ān is introduced to mankind in these words: “A Revelation from Him (Allah) who has created the earth and the high heavens” (20:4). The Holy Qur’ān is divine as well as Eternal, which we can understand by careful reading of it. The Holy Qur’ān says: “It is Our task to give guidance. The present life (the beginning) and the next life (end belong to Us (Almighty God). (92:12-13).
The Holy Qur’ān is revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) through Arch Angel Gabriel (Jibril). Almighty God has done so during all times to all nations, and some of them are (1) Zabur to Prophet Dawood (David), (2) Theocrats (Torah) to Prophet Musa (Moses), (3) Injil (Bible) to Prophet Isa (Jesus) (peace and blessings of Allah be to them). The final and complete Message of God revealed to mankind is the Holy Qur’ān and a believer has to believe in all the revealed Messages of God in its genuine and unpolluted forms. All messages of God in their genuine form contain messages similar to what is in the Holy Qur’ān except certain additional messages revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
In addition to these four revealed texts God has revealed messages in the form of uncodified sheets (Suhuf) like what was revealed to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (Peace of Allah be to him). “This is the Book... confirming the Already given revelations.” (2:2,97). “And, this is in the Books of the earliest – the Books of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) (87:18-19).
The Holy Qur’ān is guidance to mankind, and contains complete instructions for human life in this world and the life hereafter. “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God” (2:2). “This Qur’ān is a Scripture which We revealed to you (Muhammad) that you may bring men out of darkness of ignorance to the light of certain knowledge” (14:1).
Commenting on the divinity of the Qur’ān, Zeo Oldenburg writes; “Qur’ān is supposed to have been dictated by God directly to His Prophet. Each Verse of the Holy Book is a miracle in itself; it is the Voice of God...” (The Crusades, P.495, Pantheon Books). Thomas Carlyle wrote: “In it (Qur’ān) there is a merit…If a book comes from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts….” (On Heroes and Hero Worship, London, 1904).
J.W. Draper wrote: “The Qur’ān abounds in excellent moral suggestions and precepts. This fragmentary construction yields texts and mottos and rules complete in themselves, suitable for common men in any of the incidents of life.” (A history of the intellectual development in Europe, Vol.1, London, 1975)
Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi, in his Fundamentals of Islam has stated the reason for Qur’ān reading and the motives behind it. He advises believers to read it with meaning and not to hang it like a treasure as certain Muslims do. Maududi asks, “Tell me if anyone being ill takes up the study of a book on medicine thinking that by reading it he will get rid of his disease, what will you say about such a man?” (P.19).
He continues and writes: “Please understand the fact thoroughly that Allah’s Word is not sent to man to embroil him into ill fortune, misery and suffering. The Holy Qur’ān says; “We have not revealed this Qur’ān that you should fall into distress”. (20:2).
The Holy Qur’ān plays a major role in shaping the character and habits not only of Muslims but also indirectly of non-Muslims in the field of knowledge, customs, food, dressing and so on. The Holy Qur’ān introduces itself as guidance to mankind. It is a relief to so many human problems, especially, present problems like tension, stress, sexual problems, strained human relations and so on. Allah reveals through the Holy Qur’ān that: “We have revealed to you the Book explaining clearly everything: it is Guidance and Mercy and good news for those who submit” (16:89).
Paul Casanova (France) agrees to this point when he writes: “Whenever Muhammad was asked a miracle, as a proof of authenticity of his mission, he quoted the composition of the Qur’ān and its incomparable Excellence as a proof of its Divine origin”. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions says; “The Qur’ān is the main source book of Islamic legislation, and matters ranging from divorce, times of worship, fasting and inheritance, to warfare and division of booty.” (Edited by John Bowker, p.786, OUP, Oxford,1997)
The Holy Qur’ān has saved the lives of millions of people from superstitions and misunderstandings. It is the only religious scripture in the world which maintains its originality and purity. No word of it has been altered. Nothing has been added to the original revealed message as other scriptures were done by its followers. The laws and rules it deals are divine, and not the creation of any human being. It has revealed the natural law regarding family and social life. Individuality and women’s rights are upheld. Respect and love are instituted in the parent-child relationship. It benefited not only Muslims but also the non-Muslims all over the world, as Stanley Lane pool says: “The Qur’ān is undeniably a book of great importance even to the non-Muslims, perhaps more today than ever, if that is possible”. (The Essential Qur’ān, P.8).
David Waines is also of the same opinion when he writes: “On universal level, the Qur’ān addresses not merely Muhammad’s audience but all mankind, or from other viewpoint, the wider audience is implied throughout. Throughout, the Qur’ān portrays the moral dualism of the human characters; this in turn gives rise to moral struggle creating tensions necessary for creative action by humankind”. (An Introduction to Islam, P.29).
It was the Holy Qur’ān which saved mankind from the sin of female infanticide. It helped to distinguish acts of behaviour, deeds and manners on a moral ground. It separated good from bad, and clearly established a limit on moral law for human relations and mutual help.
No impurities have touched the Holy Qur’ān. All previous revealed Scriptures (Texts) were polluted by its adherents adding their own law or omitting the original law. The Holy Qur’ān deals with all subjects from personal to social and from civil to government administration. Unfortunately, enemies of the Qur’ān misinterpret it quoting a part of it or twisting the meaning of it.
Since the Holy Qur’ān contains universal knowledge and all solutions required for human salvation, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said; “Memorise the Qur’ān, for Allah will not punish the heart which contains the Qur’ān.” The Qur’ān is not only for reading, but for memorising it, and more so for acting upon its teachings.
Through this act the habit of memorising and developing memory power is instituted. The Holy Qur’ān starts with the instruction: “Read! Read in the Name of the Lord who created from blood clot.” Laura Veccia Vaglieri supports the Qur’ānic advice to mankind in these words: “On the whole we find in it a collection of wisdom which can be adopted by most of the intelligent men, the greatest of the philosophers and most skill of politicians… There is another Divinity of the Qur’ān; it is the fact that it has been preserved intact through the ages since the time of its revelation till the present day….Read and read by the Muslim world, this book does not rouse faithful any weariness, it rather through repetition, is more loved every day.”
In fact, apart from a religious text, the Holy Qur’ān is a code of conduct for mankind. The set of rules regarding all aspects of human life are embodied in the Text. “Thus, God clearly showeth you His Signs that perchance ye may be guided”.
Prophet Muhammad has been sent to mankind to interpret the Holy Qur’ān, and explain the rules contained in it. The Holy Qur’ān says: “And We have not sent you forth but as a herald of good news and a warner for all mankind” (34:28).
Ira M Lapidus writes; “Apart from family laws and morals, the Qur’ān deals with many other kinds of communal problems. Norms for business transactions were set down – injections to deal justly, honour contracts, give true witness, and not take usurious interests.” (A History of Old Islamic Societies, P.31, 1988).
“(Muhammad), Your Lord never forsakes you; nor does He ever turn away from you. The life to come holds a far richer price than this present life; you will be delighted at what your Lord will give you.” (93: 3-5)
The Holy Qur’ān has made a secular approach to mankind in all matters. The belief of any group is not to be suppressed. The Holy Qur’ān says; “(Tell) Those who refuse to believe, listen to me. I do not serve what you worship. I shall never serve what you worship, and you will never serve what I worship. (Therefore) You have your religion, and I have mine. (109:1-6).
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:257)
Howard Turner writes; “The Qur’ān provides a broad range of rules covering not only religious practices but also most other phases of daily life, from family relationships and personal matters of social and sexual behaviour, to proper dress, eating habits, hygiene and the conduct of business and community affairs.” (Science in Medieval Islam, p.11).