In any case, it caught my eye that the Qur’an says about itself:
“We have revealed the reminder and We shall preserve it.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
This was interesting to me because within the Qur’an there is a clear reference as to how the previous peoples fail to preserve completely the message that they received. Hence, in the light of what the Qur’an was saying about previous revelations, this was a very bold statement. And, incidentally, it can be considered one of the prophecies of the Qur’an- coming from a Judeo-Christian perspective, prophecies were somewhat important to me. If they did not come to pass, they would be very damaging in my eyes while if they did come to pass, I would consider that a very good sign.
Once again, the history of Islam presents a different scenario than that of the earlier revelations. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, lived just over 1400 years ago. He is definitely the most “historical” of the various prophets. Thus, the history of the Qur’an is known and documented.
The Qur’an was preserved with meticulous care. The Qur’an describes itself as both a “reading” (Qur’an) and a book (kitab). In fact, it was via both of these means that the Qur’an was meticulously preserved.
During the life of the Prophet, the Prophet had specific scribes whose job was to record the revelation when the he received it. The Qur’an was not revealed all at once. It was revealed and recorded over a period of twenty-three years. During that time, revelation could come to the Prophet at any time. When it did, it would be recognized by physical signs on the Prophet (a point that led some to claim that he was simply epileptic). He would then call for his scribes and tell them what had been revealed and exactly where the new passage fits vis-à-vis what had already been revealed by God.
The Qur’an, which is not a large book, was also preserved in memory as well as written form from the time of the Prophet Muhammad himself. Many of the Companions of the Prophet had memorized the entire Qur’an and, fearing what had happened to earlier religious communities, they took the necessary steps to protect it from any form of adulteration. The Qur’an continues to be memorized today—another amazing aspect of the Qur’an. In fact, God says about the Qur’an:
“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember…”(Qur’an, Surah Al-Qamar, 54:17)
To this day, millions of Muslims have the Qur’an memorized. If Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 were to be a reality today and all the books were to be burned to ashes, the Qur’an would still survive. Muslims would be able to rewrite the entire Qur’an from memory.
Soon after the death of the Prophet, the Qur’an was all compiled together and shortly afterwards official copies were sent to the distant lands to ensure that the text was pure. To this day, one can travel to any part of the world and pick up a copy Qur’an and find that it is the same throughout the world. Even the language of the Qur’an, which is essential to keeping a true understanding of the text, has been preserved. Such cannot be said for earlier prophets such as Moses and Jesus, whose Hebrew and Aramaic no longer exist.
As noted earlier, the greatest care was taken to make sure that anything that did not belong to the revelation directly from God—even the Prophet’s own statements—were kept completely out of the Qur’an. The Qur’an was nothing but the words that the Prophet received as revelation and informed his followers that they formed part of the Qur’an.
Hence, the Qur’an is completely different from the Bible, which includes stories about the prophets, comments on their lives and teachings, letters and writings by non-prophets and so forth. No such human interpolations and additions can be found in the Qur’an whatsoever.
Thus, the Qur’an originally impressed me in two ways:
First, it clearly proclaimed itself to be the word of God and was not interlaced with words from humans.
Second, it was minutely preserved from the time of its revelation. These two points meant that the Qur’an met my logical parameters for religion and revelation. I was therefore ready to move on to further study and analyze its teachings.
By the way, someone may rightfully ask as to why it is that God allowed his earlier revelations to be distorted and not preserved. One can actually think of a lot of important reasons behind this.
First, as is clear in their own scriptures, the earlier prophets, such as Moses and Jesus, were not sent for all of mankind. Their messages were clearly for the Tribe of Israel and for their particular times.
Actually, God teaches us that all peoples had messengers who were sent to them and whose purposes were limited. The Prophet Muhammad, and therefore his revelation, is meant for all of humankind from his time until the Day of Judgment.
Secondly, if their revelations were preserved, their followers could use that as a reason for continuing to follow their prophets and refusing to follow the Prophet Muhammad. Since it is very clear via many means, such as historical evidence, contradictory statements within the text and so on, that their scriptures have not been preserved in detail and that they cannot claim to be following what is purely God’s religion—not mixed with human interpolation—they have no valid excuse not to abandon their non-preserved revelation for the true, complete and exact revelation from God found in the Qur’an.
 The Qur’an itself refers to the distortion of the earlier books by the previous peoples as well as their attempts to conceal some of the revelation. See, for example, [Qur’an 5:14-15 and 4:46]
 (A detailed history of the Qur’an and its preservation may be found in M. M. Al-Azami, The History of the Qur’anic Text from Revelation to Compilation: A Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments (Leicester, United Kingdom: UK Islamic Academy, 2003), pp. 1-208.
 The differences between Classical Arabic (the language of the Qur’an) and Modern Standard Arabic are slight and inconsequential. One completely unfamiliar with Arabic can skim through the following book that points out when such differences occur: Elsaid Badawi, M. G. Carter and Adrian Gully, Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar (London: Routledge, 2004).
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