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Significance in Islam

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This text is part of the Qur'an Article

Part of a series on the Qur'an Quran cover


Sura · Ayah

Qur'an reading

Tajwid · Hizb · Tarteel · Qur'anic guardian · Manzil · Qari' · Juz' · Rasm · Ruku' · Sujud ·



Origin and development

Meccan revelations · Medinan revelations


Persons related to verses · Justice · Asbab al-nuzul · Naskh · Biblical narratives · Tahrif · Bakkah · Muqatta'at · Esoteric interpretation

Qur'an and Sunnah

Literalism · Miracles · Science · Women

Views on the Qur'an

Shi'a · Criticism · Desecration · Surah of Wilaya and Nurayn · Tanazzulat · Qisas Al-Anbiya · Beit Al Qur'an

Significance in Islam


11th Century North African Qur’an in the British Museum

Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind and consider the text in its original Arabic to be the literal word of God,[1] revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of twenty-three years[2][3] and view the Qur’an as God's final revelation to humanity.[4][2]

Wahy in Islamic and Qur’anic concept means the act of God addressing an individual, conveying a message for a greater number of recipients. The process by which the divine message comes to the heart of a messenger of God is tanzil (to send down) or nuzul (to come down). As the Qur'an says, "With the truth we (God) have sent it down and with the truth it has come down." It designates positive religion, the letter of the revelation dictated by the angel to the prophet. It means to cause this revelation to descend from the higher world. According to hadith, the verses were sent down in special circumstances known as asbab al-nuzul. However, in this view God himself is never the subject of coming down.[5]

The Qur'an frequently asserts in its text that it is divinely ordained, an assertion that Muslims believe. The Qur'an — often referring to its own textual nature and reflecting constantly on its divine origin — is the most meta-textual, self-referential religious text. The Qur'an refers to a written pre-text which records God's speech even before it was sent down.[6][7]

The issue of whether the Qur'an is eternal or created was one of the crucial controversies among early Muslim theologians. Mu'tazilis believe it is created while the most widespread varieties of Muslim theologians consider the Qur'an to be eternal and uncreated. Sufi philosophers view the question as artificial or wrongly framed.[8]

Muslims maintain the present wording of the Qur'anic text corresponds exactly to that revealed to Muhammad himself: as the words of God, said to be delivered to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Muslims consider the Qur'an to be a guide, a sign of the prophethood of Muhammad and the truth of the religion. They argue it is not possible for a human to produce a book like the Qur'an, as the Qur'an itself maintains.

Therefore an Islamic philosopher introduces a prophetology to explain how the divine word passes into human expression. This leads to a kind of esoteric hermeneutics which seeks to comprehend the position of the prophet by mediating on the modality of his relationship not with his own time, but with the eternal source from which his message emanates. This view contrasts with historical critique of western scholars who attempt to understand the prophet through his circumstances, education and type of genius.[9]


Islamic scholars believe that the Qur'an is miraculous its very nature as a revealed text, and that similar texts cannot be written by human endeavor. Its miraculous nature is claimed to be evidenced by its literary style, suggested similarities between Qur’anic verses and scientific facts discovered much later, and various prophecies. The Qur’an itself challenges those who deny its claimed divine origin to produce a text like it. [Qur'an 17:88][Qur'an 2:23][Qur'an 10:38].[10][11][12] These claims originate directly from Islamic belief in its revealed nature, and are widely disputed by non-Muslim scholars of Islamic history.[13]

  1. Qur'an 2:23–4
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named LivRlgP338
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named QuranC17V106
  4. Watton, Victor, (1993), A student's approach to world religions:Islam, Hodder & Stoughton, pg 1. ISBN 0-340-58795-4
  5. See:
  6. Wild (1996), pp. 140
  7. Qur'an 43:3
  8. Corbin (1993), p.10
  9. Corbin (1993), pp .10 and 11
  10. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an - Miracles
  11. Ahmad Dallal, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, Qur'an and science
  12. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an - Byzantines
  13. Harris, Sam (2005). The End of Faith. The Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-6809-7. 

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