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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Collection of the Quran - Part 1 of 3

The Era of the Prophet (PBUH) 609 – 632 C.E *

The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in sections throughout the 23 years of his Prophet Hood. Whenever a problem arose or whenever Allah wanted to give the Prophet (Pbuh) and his follower’s special advice, Allah would send angel Jibreel (Gabriel) with part of the Quran which he would recite to the Prophet (Pbuh). Thus, the Quran was not revealed all at once in its complete form, like the earlier books of revelation, but in parts over a period of time.

* C.E = Christian Era is used instead of A.D – Anno Domini- in the year of the Lord because Muslims do not recognize Jesus, son of Mary as the Lord but muslims recognize Jesus as a Prophet.
Preservation of the Quran

When Jibreel (Gabriel) first recited a part of the Quran to the Prophet (Pbuh), the Prophet (Pbuh) tried to repeat it after him, word for word. Allah later had Jibreel (Gabriel) tell him not to do so. He was told instead to listen to the Quran carefully, When the Prophet (pbuh) did that Allah caused him to be able to remember everything without any effort on his part.

Allah Said in the Quran:

“Do not move your tongue too hastily (learn) it. Surely we will collect it and recite it. So, when we recite it, follow its recital.”
(Surah Al Qiyamah – Chapter 75 Verses 16, 17, 18)

It was very important that the Prophet (Pbuh) remember all that was revealed to him, because he could neither read nor write.

The Prophet (Pbuh) passed on all of the Quran to his companions before he died. He used a number of different ways to make sure that they memorized and recorded it exactly as he learned it.

1.The Prophet (pbuh) used to recite aloud various parts of the Quran in Salaah (Congregational Prayers). In that way, his followers used to hear parts of the Quran daily.

2.Everyone who entered Islam would be taught parts of the Quran which they would have to use their daily prayers, Thus, Muslims were always learning or teaching various parts of the Quran.

3.The Prophet (pbuh) informed his followers that the best of them were those who learned and taught the Quran. This encouraged them to make even greater efforts to memorize the Quran and teach it to others.

4.Those who were able to read and write were told by the Prophet (pbuh) to write down the various sections of the Quran as they were revealed. The prophet (pbuh) would tell them the order in which they record the verses.

Because there was no paper in Arabia at that time, the Quran was written down on anything which was available. The companions wrote the verses of Quran on date palm leave, flat stones, tree bark, wood, dried animal skins and even shoulder blades of sheep or camels. Thus, the verses of the Quran were preserved in the hearts of the Muslims, as well as written down, during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh). Since people entered Islam at various points during the Prophet’s Mission, only a few of them heard all of the Quran directly from the Prophet (pbuh). Also some companions were able to memorize better than others. So, even though all of them memorized portions of the Quran, only few were able to memorize all of the Quran during the Prophet’s lifetime.

When the Prophet (pbuh) died in the year 632 C.E, the whole of the Quran was not written down one complete book. It was recorded on various pieces of writing material and kept in the possession of different followers of the Prophet (pbuh). Each had sections but none of them hall all. Because of the fact that the verses of the Quran continued to be revealed up until a few months before the Prophet (pbuh)’s death, the companions were more concerned with the recording and memorizing it than putting it all together in one book, Consequently, the gathering of the Quran into one text was not done during the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifetime.

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