The Quran

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Islam holds that the Quran was revealed from Allah to Muhammad orally through the angel Jibril over a period of approximately twenty-three years. Muslims further believe that the Quran was memorized, recited and written down by Muhammad’s companions after every revelation dictated by Muhammad. Most of Muhammad’s companions–tens of thousands–learned the Quran by heart, repeatedly recited in front of Muhammad for his approval or the approval of Sahaba Muhammad tradition agrees that although the Quran was authentically memorized completely be tens of thousands verbally, the Quran was still established textually into a single book form shortly after Muhammad’s widow and Umars daughter, was entrusted with that Quran text after second Caliph Umar passed away. When Uthman, the third Caliph, started noticing differences in the dialect of the Quran, he requested Hafsa to  allow him to use the Quran text in her possession to be set as the standard dialect, the Quraish dialect aka Fus’ha (Modern Standard Arabic).

The word Quran appears about 70 times in the Quran itself. assuming various meanings. It is a verbal noun of the Arabic verb Qura’s meaning “he read” or “he recited”. The Quran has many other names. Among those found in the text are Al-furqan (discemment or criterion), Al-huda (the guide), dhikrallah (the remembrance of God), Al-hikmah (the wisdom) and kalamallah (the word of God).

Islamic tradition relates that during one of Muhammad’s isolated retreats to the mountains, he received his first revelation in the Cave of Hira. Thereafter, he r revelations over a period of twenty-three years. According to hadith and Muslim history, after Muhammad emigrated to Medina and formed an independent Muslim community, he ordered  a considerable number of the companions (Sahaba) to recite the Quran and to learn and teach the laws, which were revealed daily. Companions who engaged in the recitation of the Quran were called Qurra. Since most Sahaba were unable to read or write, they were ordered to learn from prisoners-of-war the simple writing of the time. Thus a group of sahaba gradually became literate. As it was initially spoken, the Quran recorded on tablets, bones, and the wide, flat ends of date palm fronds.

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