What is the Qur’an?

Simply, the Qur’an is the holy scripture of Islam, which Muslims recite, follow and seek guidance from. It is one of the three Abrahamic-Scriptures. The Bible and the Torah being the other two.

Qur’an is Arabic, and which has various meanings, such as ‘to recite,’ ‘to read,’ etc. Qur’an is a verbal noun and hence also means ‘the reading,’ or ‘recitation.’ As used in the Qur’an itself, the word means the revelation from Allah in the broad sense.

However, the Qur’an is much more than that – It is a Book of guidance – It is the Last and Final Revelation from Allah (God) to mankind, brought by Prophet Muhammed, the last messenger of God. Therefore, the Qur’an is the last of the Holy Scriptures. It is a timeless Text, with similarities to the previous reveled texts, yet with some fundamental and important differences.

For Muslims the Qur’an is very word and speech of Allah (God). Sent down upon the last Prophet Muhammed, through the Angle Gabriel, in its precise meaning and precise wording, inimitable and unique.

The Qur’an is an Arabic Scripture. Arabic is the language in which the Qur’an was revealed. Even a translated Qur’an is not  equivalent to that of the original Arabic. However, there are countless Muslims that are not native in Arabic, or simply cannot fully comprehend the Arabic of the Qur’an – thus translations are needed to help express the meaning of the meaning of the text. But ultimately, translations of the Qur’an are expressions of meanings, not the true meaning.

It is impossible to transfer the original Qur’an word by word in an identical fashion into another language, several reason are:

  • Words of different languages do not express all the shades of meaning.
  • Simply, some words do not exist in other languages or between languages.
  • The concept of the uniqueness and inimitability of the Qur’an is closely linked to its expression in the Arabic language.
  • Because of the different meanings that words carry in different languages, the translation would never adequately express all the meanings of the Qur’an carried by the original text.
  • The narrowing down of the meaning of the Qur’an to specific concepts in a foreign language would mean missing out other important dimensions.

The Qur’an is the word of Allah. Scholars say that since the Qur’an has been revealed in the Arabic language any translation of it would not be the word of Allah. Furthermore, the concept of the uniqueness and inimitability of the Qur’an is closely linked to its expression in the Arabic language.

Source: (Ahmed Von Denffer. 2011. Ulum al-Qur’an)

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