The Islam and Qur'an
The Muslim community has held the view that Qur'an was dictated word to word by God through his angel Gabriel to his servant Mohammad. The history of Islam shows that Mohammad used to attend his personal retreats in the mountain. It's during this time that he received revelations over a period of time of about twenty three years.
Mohammad migrated to medina where he gathered a number of his colleagues and recited the Qur'an to them. He ordered them to learn it by heart, and as he was teaching them they would write it down and read it to him for corrections where necessary Hamidullah (1979). Zaid ibn Thabit was one of the disciples of Mohammad who had learnt the whole Qur'an by heart. The prophet always encouraged people to learn the Qur'an by heart and by the time of his death many Muslims knew the Qur'an by heart. This is a practice that is still being practiced all over the world where Muslim attends classes to learn how to memorize their holy book. This ensures that all Muslim know their faith.
Its know known that in the month of Ramadan, prophet Mohammad used to recite the revelation he had received before the angel of God and during his final years he recited the whole of the Qur'an twice before the archangel Gabriel. There used to be public recitation called Ardan where his followers used to correct their manuscripts of their own personal copies of the Qur'an. During the month of Ramadan the whole of the Qur'an was recited in a prayer event commonly referred to as taraweeh most often after evening prayers.
Until the death of the prophet Mohammad, there was no written book called the Qur'an, but many people new it by heart. A man named Omar who was to become the leader of medina asked their ruler to write the Qur'an in a book. Zaid ibn Thabit with others who new the Qur'an by heart produced a copy of its which they called mus'haf.
As Muslim was spreading fast the rulers requested the production of seven copies of mus'haf which after a public hearing were sent to major cities where Muslim was growing rapidly. The current copies of Qur'an are translated from the official mus'haf which two of them are still in existence preserved in Topkapi Museum of Istanbul, and Tashkent Jamal A.B. (1990).
The authenticity of the Qur'an is based by the fact that this holy book did not suffer any distortions, deletion or any changes whatsoever unlike other writings. The stability of the Arabic language has help to keep the Qur'an as original as possible.
As outlined above the whole idea of having Qur'an memorized by the prophet Mohamed and all his followers helped in ensuring that the teachings of the word of God remained the same as the one that the angel of God told Mohammed. The writings of the Qur'an stated even when Prophet Muhammad was alive therefore helped to strengthen their authenticity.
The reliability of the Qur'an and its authenticity can only be derived by establishing the actual author of the Qur'an. The most often proposed author is Muhammad. Its evident from the Qur'an itself that prophet Muhammad was illiterate and did not know how to write or read as in Qur'an chapter 29:48. There is no record of him attending any school or his works in poetry.
This contradicts the style used to write the Qur'an. Since the Qur'an has never been edited in anyway then there is no possible explanation that an illiterate person could have written it. Thus it was a dictation from the angel of God who told him what to teach.
Muhammad was known to be a very honest person in fact there is not even a single lie that he told during his life therefore such a person with such high levels of moral standards could not lie that God himself was instructing him. If his intentions to write the Qur'an was for personal glory he would have omitted verse such as (Q.80:1-2), and (Q.33:37). Which says “…And you did fear men, though God is more deserving that you should fear Him” As it is written in the Qur'an, Allah is the Source of all authentic revelation (Q.4:47). The similarities between the Qur'an and the bible signify that the source of the two is similar.
The Qur'an also has information that was unknown to earlier scientists. In fact much of the revelations in the Qur'an have been recently approved by modern science. This is an indication that the author of the quran received much inspiration from a super all knowing God as shown in Chapter 112: 1-4
"He is God, The One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him."
The Qur'an outlines the shape of the earth as a spherical whereas we know that by the times of Prophet Mohammad, this information was not available as is shown in verse 39:5 which states: “…He wraps the night around the day and He wraps the day around the night.”
Other examples include the expanding universe as shown in the Qur'an 51: 47 which says “The firmament, We have built it with power. Verily, We are expanding it.” This verse describes the heavens and modern science has showed that the space or rather the galaxies as we know them are continuously in motion.
The Qur'an describes other theories such as the big bang theory as is written in (Qur'an 21:30)
“Have not those who disbelieve seen that the heavens and the earth were fused (ratq) and then We broke them apart (fataqa), and We made every living thing out of water. Will they then not believe?”
(Q.41:11) “And He who turned [His design] to the skies when it had been smoke...” all this describes what modern science has described as the big bang theory as Karen C. Fox states in his book about the big bang theory Karen. (2002).
This shows that the Qur'an set out to describe things unknown to science then and should therefore be viewed as holy book with its revelation from God.
The Qur'an should be narrated and recited to Muslims at the very early stages of live so as by the time they are adults they know the Qur'an by their hearts. This will help to preserve the originality of the Qur'an thus protecting it from distortion.The Qur'an should be handled with care above other books and its teachings should be observed by all Muslims.
The Five Pillars of Islam.
Testimony of faith.
This is a way of saying that there is only one God with sincerity and conviction that “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah.” This means in English that “There is no true god except God who is called (Allah), and that Muhammad is His Messenger.
This is one of the pillars of Islam that I consider very important for everyone to practice in order to remain a Muslim. This is achieved by reciting with conviction that following phrase. La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah,” this makes one a muslin and bounds him to worship only Allah and accept quran as his holy words to his prophet Mohammad. By repeating this pillar one is able to know that there is a true God who should not be offended. The practice of this helps one identify with other faithful.
Prayer is key to the Muslim faith. This is the second pillar that I consider very important and that it should be executed as required by the Muslim faith. This pillar is performed by saying the prayers five times a day. These prayers are said in the early morning, mid afternoon, evening and at night. Each prayer usually takes a few minutes. This are the times when a worshiper establishes a direct link with his creator. To perform prayers you do not need an intermediate individual or a material to link with God.
Prayer helps one to remain faithful to God and to receive peace, happiness and confidence.
The act of fasting requires Muslim to fast from food, drinks and sex from morning till the evening. It's usually performed at the month of Ramadan. its done so as to express solidarity with the poor in society and provides moment for spiritual reflections.
It's also known as giving zakat. People practicing zakat in Muslim faith give a certain percentage to the poor in the society. This is achieved by evaluating ones income in a period of one year and giving the required percentage to the poor. This helps them grow and enjoy life.
It's also known as hajji. This involves the traveling of all able Muslims to mekkah at least once in a lifetime.
This is achieved by circling around the Kaaba seven times. It also involves the going between hillocks of Safa and marwa seven times as Hagar did while looking for water. This is concluded by a festival known as Eid Al-Adha.
Hamidullah M. (1979). Introduction to Islam, London: MWH Publishers,
Njozi & Hamza M. (1991).The Sources of the Qur'an: A Critical Review of the Authorship Theories, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Saudi Arabia: Riyadh http://www.ilaam.net/Articles/AuthenticQuran.html
Bucaille & Maurice (1977). The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, (English Edition), Indianapolis: American Trust Publications,
Badawi & Jamal A. (1990). Mohammed's Prophethood: An Analytical View, Saudi Arabia: Riyadh,
Karen C. (2002). The big bang theory: what it is, where it came from, and why it works. Oxford England: John Wiley and Sons,