The third fundamental article of belief in Islam is in holy books or scriptures, revealed by God to certain prophets to convey His guidance.
“We surely sent Our messengers with clear proofs and sent down with them the Scripture and the Balance [of right and wrong], in order that mankind might stand firmly for right.” (Surah Al-Hadid, 57:25)
The Earlier Scriptures
The prophets who received sacred scriptures from their Lord were Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. No traces remain of Abraham's Book. It is possible that bits of the Book revealed to Moses (alayhis salam) may be found in the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (the Torah). Portions of the Book revealed to David (alayhis salam) may be found among the Psalms. And parts of the Book revealed to Jesus (alayhis salam) may be found among the four Gospels of the New Testament.
However, there is simply no way to know what parts of these books of the Bible formed the original revelations from God, and what people added or subtracted later. Therefore, Muslims do not regard any part of the Bible in its present form as authentic and reliable. The Old Testament in particular is not a book which deals in sublime spiritual truths or in which prophets are depicted as towering spiritual figures. Rather, it is primarily a history of the Children of Israel. The God of the Old Testament seems much more like the semi-human, tribal deity of the Israelites than the All-Powerful, All-Wise, Most Merciful Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in them, who is endlessly involved in every aspect of His creation. As for the New Testament, we'll examine its teachings a little later when we discuss Jesus (alayhis salam).
The Holy Qur'an
In contrast to all other scriptures which are claimed to have been revealed by God, the Qur'an is the only one which has been preserved in its original form. God says concerning it, “Truly, We have revealed the Reminder [the Qur'an], and We are surely its Guardian.” (Surah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
The Holy Qur'an was conveyed to Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) by the Angel of Revelation, Gabriel (alayhis salam), who received it from his Lord. Over a period of twenty-three years, Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saw Gabriel (alayhis salam), conversed with him, and learned the verses of the Qur'an from him as they were being revealed. The angel also informed the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) of the ordering in which the verses were to be arranged, as they remain up to the present time. Addressing Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), God says:
“Say: "The Holy Spirit [Gabriel] has revealed it from your Lord with truth in order to strengthen those who believe, and as guidance and good news for the Muslims." (Surah An-Nahl, 16:102)
“And truly, your Lord is the Almighty, the Most Merciful, and truly, it [the Qur'an] is a revelation from the Lord of the universe, which the Trustworthy Spirit [Gabriel] has revealed to your heart, so that you may be one of the warners, in the plain Arabic language.” (Surah Ash-Shu'ara', 26:191-195)
As soon as the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) received the verses from Gabriel (alayhis salam) and memorized them, he would repeat them to his scribes, who wrote them down. In addition, many of the first Muslims memorized the verses as soon as they heard them; a number of these early Muslims had memorized the whole Qur'an during the Prophet's lifetime. The entire Qur'an was also preserved in writing during his lifetime, and it has come to us in the same form, without any change.
The Contents of The Qur'an
Much of what is contained in the Qur'an, no human being could possibly know except through divine revelation. First of all, the Qur'an contains great numbers of verses in which God speaks of His own attributes and His all-wise divine plan. In the most powerful, moving language, He informs us of His infinite power and creativity, of the human being's relationship and responsibility to Him, and of the certainty of the coming of the Day of Judgment and the Life Hereafter.
Some of the Qur'an's verses also contain information about the natural world which no one knew until centuries later, a definitive proof of its divine origin. For example, two verses speak about the orbiting of the sun and the moon:
“It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor for the night to outstrip the day. And each one floats along in an orbit.” (Surah Ya-Sin, 36:40; and Surah Al-Anbiya’, 21:33)
In other verses, the Creator of all things gives startling information about the formation of the universe and the origin of life:
“Have not those who disbelieve seen that the heavens and the earth were joined together as a single piece, and then We parted them? And We created every living thing from water. Will they not then believe?” (Surah Al-Anbiya’, 21:30)
“And God created every animal from water.” (Surah An-Nur, 24:45)
In several verses, such as the following, the All-Knowing Lord also details the development of the fetus in the womb in a manner which exactly corresponds to our present-day knowledge:
“We surely created the human being from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a drop in a secure lodging-place. Then We made the drop into a clot; then We made the clot into a lump; then We made the lump into bones; then we covered the bones with flesh. Then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be God, the best of Creators.” (Surah Al-Mu'minun, 23:12-14; also Surah Al-Hajj, 22:5 and Surah Ghafir, 40:67)
Thus, in the Qur'an, we do not find any conflict between reason and revelation. In fact, God speaks at length about His creation, urging human beings to study it and reflect on the greatness and wisdom of its Creator. This urging to observe, reflect and discover the divine wisdoms in creation later became the inspiration and impetus for the extraordinary scientific development of various Muslim peoples.
In His Holy Book, God also prescribes the Islamic acts of worship, so that we can worship Him as He Himself desires to be worshiped. Moreover, He establishes the moral and ethical principles for governing human conduct, as well as the practical rules of human interaction for both the individual and the society.
In the Qur'an we also find the stories of many earlier prophets and their people-something else no one could possibly know accurately apart from divine revelation. These stories were revealed as an encouragement to belief and as a warning against disbelief and denial of God and His messengers. Many matters related to the first community of Muslims-those who were alive while it was being revealed-and what they were passing through are also contained in it.
The Role of Arabic In Islam
Since the Qur'an, which is the direct speech of God, was revealed to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in Arabic, it is always recited in Arabic during the Islamic prayers (salat) and at other occasions. However, renderings into all major languages are available for those who do not read Arabic. But since no one can "translate" the speech of God, these are not actually translations but are rather approximations to its meaning.
Those who know Arabic emphasize the tremendous power of the Qur'an's language and style. No rendering into another language can come anywhere close to the eloquent, earnest, moving power of the original Arabic, or do it the slightest justice. Neither can it be compared to any human speech or writings; in fact, it is well known that the sayings (hadith) of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) himself do not resemble the Qur'an in style or language. Consequently, non-Arabic-speaking Muslims often make considerable efforts to learn to read and memorize parts of the Qur'an in Arabic.
It certainly isn't necessary to know Arabic to be a Muslim. However, when a person accepts Islam, he or she will gradually become familiar with the sound of the Qur'an and with Islamic greetings and expressions, and little by little will memorize some verses or short chapters (Surahs) to use during prayers. In fact, new Muslims are often eager to learn Arabic in order to be familiar with the power and majesty of God's Book, and to be able to converse and to understand other works in Arabic.
 The angel Gabriel (alayhis salam) is mentioned by name in 2:97-98 and 66:4. He is referred to as "the Spirit" in 70:4, 78:38, 97:4; as "the Holy Spirit" in 2:87, 2:253, 5:110/5:113 in some translations, 16:102; and as "the True or Trustworthy Spirit" in 26:193.
 On at least one occasion, several of the Prophet's Companions saw the angel Gabriel (alayhis salam) in human form and heard him conversing with the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). This incident is mentioned on pages 126-127.
 The Qur'an is arranged into verses (ayahs), which are contained in chapters (surahs) that take their name from something related to or mentioned within the Burah.
 It should be noted that native Arabic speakers form only about 18 per cent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslim population.
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human