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The Quran, sometimes called the Holy Quran or the Noble Quran is the divine scripture or sacred text of the religion of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran is the literal word of God.  It was revealed to God’s final messenger Muhammad, to bring humankind out of the darkness of polytheism and ignorance and into the light of Islam. Quran confirms the books that were sent before it, including the Jewish Torah and the Gospels of Jesus. It became the book of guidance for all humankind. Quran abrogates all scriptures before it. It contains signs of God’s greatness, miracles, parables, and lessons. The Quran explains the names and attributes of God and His creation. It calls us to believe in God, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and in in fate or the divine decree.

And We have sent down to you the Book (the Quran) as an exposition of everything, guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves. (Quran 16:89)

The Quran is the greatest of all scriptures. Through it, God speaks to humankind. He shows us His mercy, His love, His justice, and His wisdom. It is guidance, and a comfort to the heart. It is a most important book indeed.  How then can we be sure that God’s words have not be changed or lost? How can we be sure that the Quran we hold in our hands today is authentic?

Muslims have no doubt that Quran is exactly the same today as it was more than 1400 years ago when it was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad. The authenticity of Quran is established in several ways. The most important way we can be sure that the Quran is authentic is the fact that when God revealed the Quran, He promised to preserve it.

It is We Who have sent down the remembrance (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it from corruption. (Quran 15:9)

In the time of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, the Arabs, although predominantly illiterate, were masters of the spoken word. Their poetry and prose were considered outstanding, and a model of literary excellence. When Prophet Muhammad recited the Quran – the words of God – the Arabs were moved tremendously by its sublime tone, eloquence, and extraordinary beauty. The Quran was Prophet Muhammad’s miracle from God.

The Quran was also preserved by the people around Prophet Muhammad, they memorised the words of the Quran as they were revealed and paid careful attention to each word. Until today there are people who memorise the Quran with direct chains of memorisation that span back to the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, himself. Besides this record of memorisation there is the written record as well, whereby trustworthy scribes wrote down the revelation. They wrote on flat stones, bark, bones, and even animal skins.

Prophet Muhammad himself supervised the memorisation and writing of the Quran.  The preservation of Quran was also a major priority for the four men destined to follow Muhammad as leaders of the Muslim nation. Through their extraordinary effort and by the permission of God the Quran came to be written in book form. Generation after generation, one after the other, went to great lengths to preserve the word of Quran exactly as they were revealed.

The Quran used by more then 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world today is known as the Uthmani Quran. It was compiled by the third leader of the Islamic nation, Uthman ibn Affan, and copies were distributed throughout the Caliphate.  Each book is a copy of the original and it is believed that two of these original copies exist to this day in Turkey and Uzbekistan. More recently at the University of Birmingham, a manuscript was discovered believed to be one of the oldest copies from the period between AD 568 and 645 proving the preservation of The Qur’an:

The words of Quran have remained unchanged. Over the centuries Muslims and non Muslims alike have examined copies of Quran more than 1000 years old and found that they are all identical, apart from the introduction of vowel marks in the 7th century CE. These marks were introduced to further guard the authenticity of Quran by demanding strict adherence to pronunciation rules.

The preservation of Quran is a tale of wonder and amazement. It is a testament of God’s love for humankind, a book of guidance and a source of comfort. Muslims around the globe bear witness that it is the divinely revealed words of God. Words from the Most Merciful to His slaves. From the moment it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad it has been protected and preserved by God from the corruption of mankind and generations of men, women, and children have stood guard over Quran with their hearts, minds and lives.

The Glorious Quran, the Muslims’ religious Scripture, was revealed in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, through the angel Gabriel.  The revelation occurred piecemeal, over a period of twenty-three years, sometimes in brief verses and sometimes in longer chapters.

The Quran (lit. a “reading” or “recitation”) is distinct from the recorded sayings and deeds (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad, which are instead preserved in a separate set of literature collectively called the “Ahadeeth” (lit. “news”; “report”; or “narration”).

Upon receiving revelation, the Prophet engaged himself in the duty of conveying the message to his Companions through reciting the exact words he heard in their exact order. This is evident in his inclusion of even the words of God which were directed specifically to him, for example: “Qul” (“Say [to the people, O Muhammad]”). The Quran’s rhythmic style and eloquent expression make it easy to memorise. Indeed, God describes this as one of its essential qualities for preservation and remembrance. The Quran is perhaps the only book, religious or secular, that has been memorised completely by millions of people.

The entire Quran was however also recorded in writing at the time of revelation from the Prophet’s dictation, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, by some of his literate companions, the most prominent of them being Zaid ibn Thabit. The codification of the Quran (i.e. into a ‘book form’) was done soon after the Battle of Yamamah (11AH/633CE), after the Prophet’s death, during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. The historical credibility of the Quran is further established by the fact that one of the copies sent out by the Caliph Uthman is still in existence today.  It lies in the Museum of the City of Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Central Asia.

The evidence above confirms God’s promise in the Quran.

Verily, We have revealed the Reminder, and verily We shall preserve it. (Quran 15:9)

The Quran has been preserved in both oral and written form in a way no other book has, and with each form providing a check and balance for the authenticity of the other.