The Quran: A timeless book


Qamar Ahmad Zafar, MTA International

MTA International just completed the International Quran Competition. This came after a hugely successful all African Quran competition. So, how did this all begin and where did the idea stem from?

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You may think I am about to expound on behind the scenes work done by MTA to initiate this competition, but this actually began 1,500 years ago. The Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophetsa of Islam over a period of 23 years and preserved word-for-word to such perfection that the Quran recited by the competitors in MTA’s competition is exactly the same Quran which was first revealed by the Archangel Gabriel, beginning in Cave Hira.

There is not a single book in the world which holds such a grand legacy of preservation, so much so that long before Muslims even had to worry about preserving the Quran on any sort of parchment, hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslims had already committed all 114 chapters to memory.

Then, in the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra, complete and multiple copies were preserved and safeguarded.

The MTA Quran competition may have seen competitors go head to head in a bid to find the best reciter; however, the true competition is not about who is the best reciter, but rather who can live and love the Holy Quran to the best of their capacity.

The Promised Messiahas said, “Those who honour the Quran in this world shall be honoured in the Hereafter.”

So why is so much importance given to the Quran by Muslims. Let us briefly try to understand this.

The Quran is the holy book of Islam and is a source of guidance for all mankind. It contains 30 parts and 114 chapters. The Holy Quran stresses the unity of God and affirms the truth of all prophets. It also acknowledges that all revealed scriptures were true at their original source.

This is a unique feature of the Holy Quran and provides a solid foundation for genuine dialogue and understanding between followers of different faiths. The Holy Quran endorses aspects of earlier teachings that are timeless and apply to all mankind and supplements those teachings with further guidance, thereby making it a comprehensive code of life and source of knowledge for all people.

Its eternal teachings remain as relevant today as they were at the time of their revelation more than 1,400 years ago. The Holy Quran covers an amazing range of topics that deal with all aspects of our lives, be they social, economic, scientific, political or inter-religious.

The breadth and depth of its teachings reflect the infinite knowledge of Allah (Arabic for the One God) and touch upon history, human biology, nature, evolution, genetics, physics, astronomy, life in other parts of the universe and many other subjects.

However, the Quran is not a book of science or general knowledge as such, but it is a book that implores man to enhance his knowledge, search for truth and thereby enhance his awareness of and relationship with Allah.

One of the unique features of the Holy Quran is that it is the only divine scripture in which the text has remained completely unchanged since it was revealed. This preservation of text was promised by God in the Holy Quran and is unique to it.

“Verily, We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation and most surely We will be its Guardian.” (Surah al-Hijr, Ch.15: V.10)

During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the entire text of the Holy Quran, as well as being written down, was committed to memory by thousands of Muslims, a practice that has been followed ever since.

This is also one of the ways by which the text of the Holy Quran has been preserved in its original form.

The Holy Quran was not authored by any person. It was revealed by Allah (through the Angel Gabriel) in the Arabic language to Prophet Muhammadsa over a period of 23 years.

As was common among the Arabs of his time, Prophet Muhammadsa had no schooling and was unable to read or write. When he received the verbal revelation of the Holy Quran, he used to dictate the words to his appointed scribes. This is how the entire text of the Holy Quran was transcribed within the lifetime of the Prophetsa.

The Holy Quran declares itself to be “a guidance for the righteous” (Ch.2: V.3) and “a guidance for mankind” (Ch.2: V.186). This means that all those who seek the truth with a pure heart will find the Holy Quran to be a rich source of guidance.

The teachings of the Holy Quran set out the key principles in every sphere of life. The Quran provides complete guidance on how man can achieve the object of his creation and explains the basis upon which he will be judged in his next life. An enormous amount of knowledge and meaning is compacted into each verse, word and indeed, each vowel.

At the same time, the Holy Quran uses expressions that are rich in allegory and symbolism. It discusses spiritual and intellectual subjects by way of narratives and in parables, the objectives of which are equally applicable to the past, present and future. Its poetic style makes it easy to read and memorise.

Every concept, principle and law necessary for man’s ethical, moral, intellectual and spiritual development has been expounded on in the Holy Quran. The Quran also reaffirms the fundamental principle of freedom of religion for all, leaving man free to accept or reject its guidance with accountability to Allah alone.

It is this Quran which Muslims all around the world love and live by. However, one question does naturally arise, since the Quran was revealed in Arabic: How could it possibly be understood and accepted by billions of Muslims around the world who do not speak Arabic?

The answer is simple, there are now many translations available for people of many languages. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat is at the forefront of this great endeavour and has thus far translated the Holy Quran into 75 languages. This is not all. To attain an even deeper understanding of the Quran, the Khulafa of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat have rendered translations and commentaries of their own so that Muslims can comprehend the deeper meanings of the Quran.

In the era of the Fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat will soon be launching a new website shining light on the Quran in an easy and accessible way like never before. The Quran website will allow users to search for key words and dictionary definitions for each and every word mentioned in the Quran.

Truly, the services of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat are such that should be recorded in history. May Allah enable us all to live and love the Quran. Amin

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