The Quran is one of the most prominent books of all epochs and civilizations. It conveys the basic principles, ideas, values, and regulations of the Islamic culture and religion. The Quran is considered a sacred text in Islam as it is believed to transfer the messages and revelations of the Supreme God for the sake of human salvation on the Earth. It presents religious, spiritual, social, cultural, and literary value is one of the samples of art and thought. To a great extent, the statements of the Quran influence the Muslims’ daily life by providing the rules, regulations, and instructions for following and performing on different life occasions. The Quran is a unique book in Islam, which covers a broad range of themes and topics connected with both human and divine life. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the structure, composition, and basic ideas of the Quran and analyze its influence on the Muslims within the Islamic culture and religion.
The Quran as the most important book in Islam is believed to transfer the revelations of God and recommendations for humans regarding earthly and divine life. It possesses not only religious but also literary value as it includes worthy literary texts, parables, verses, and proverbs, which reflect on the ancient cultural and social standards and norms. The Quran comprises of separate chapters, which are further divided into verses (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). Such a composition makes it easy to interpret, understand, and follow the text.
According to the legend, the angel Gabriel presented the Quran to Muhammad revealing God’s benevolence and favor in such a way. It is believed that the Muslim Divine Book was granted between 609 and 632 CE, during the lifetime and activities of Muhammad (Ali & Rahman, 2010, p. 200). In fact, such a gift as the Quran is very valuable as it confirms the unique role of Muhammad in Islamic history and proves his affiliation to the Supreme God. The Quran contains all the divine messages and symbols sent to humanity from the times of Adam until the death of Muhammad (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). From this perspective, the book is viewed as the greatest miracle, which is the proof of God’s mercy and His eternal love to humanity.
The legend states that the followers and companions of Muhammad were responsible for writing down the messages, which form the modern version of the Quran (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). Apparently, there were some differences and ambiguities found in the texts that different authors compelled. However, Caliph Uthman established the single official version of the Quran that is supposed to reflect the original authentic messages and texts (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). Therefore, the modern version of the Quran follows the Uthman’s codex and contains the parts and texts which have been officially accepted as sacred. Nevertheless, it is still possible to find different variations of the Muslim Holy Book depending on the origin of texts and their authors.
Commonly, the Quran is the set of guidelines, instructions, and regulations of the earthly life sent by God. It provides the essential explanations, interpretations, and descriptions of the basic laws, ideas, and values of human life. At the same time, the Quran provides significant information about the historical, social, cultural, and religious background of Muslims (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). The Quran is based on interpreting the moral side of the described events and emphasizing the importance of righteous life. In this regard, it is possible to trace certain similarities in the texts of the Quran and the Christian Bible. Mostly, both books dwell on the same issues, reveal similar topics, discuss common personalities and events, and summarize the shared historical and social contexts (Behbudi & Turner, 2013). However, the books provide different attitudes to the described events even though share various interpretations, opinions, and ideas.
The Quran comprises 114 chapters, different in length, size, and a number of incorporated verses (Ali & Rahman, 2010, p. 25). The chapters are known as suras, which can be further classified in Meccan and Medinan depending on the period of their creation and residence of Muhammad at the time of their attainment from the God (Wherry, 2013). However, such a classification is relative as different suras can be regarded as both Meccan and Medinan depending on their context and situation of their usage. Therefore, this division is purely formal as it does not presuppose any significant changes and modifications in the content of the chapters and verses. The name of each sura is defined either by its content or by the first words of the primary sentence. Commonly, the majority of suras start with the same stanza, which literally means “in the name of the God” (Wherry, 2013, p. 301). The size of each sura is different, and they are arranged in order of the decreasing length. It means that the order of suras does not depend on the time of their revelation as the sequence of chapters and verses follows other criteria of arrangement.
Analogically, the verses within chapters may also differ in length, form, and size. Some verses can be a few words long while others can take several written pages (Wherry, 2013). The verses are called ayahs, which means the evidence, proof, or a sign. It is estimated that the Quran contains 6,236 verses though there exist different criteria to classifying and counting the verse in the Quran (Wherry, 2013, p.301). Nevertheless, the verses are the basic units of the Quran texts, which transfer the holy messages from God and provide their interpretations.
The verses of the Quran play different roles in the religious life of Muslims. For example, the very first verse is the most recognized and known part of the book, which is frequently used in the daily praying and festive religious occasions. It says:
Praised be God, Lord of the Universe, the Beneficent, the Merciful and Master of the Day of Judgment, You alone We do worship and from You alone we do seek assistance, guide us to the right path, the path of those to whom You have granted blessings, those who are neither subject to Your anger nor have gone astray. (Quran 1:7 Yusuf Ali Version)
Other verses of the Muslim Holy Book are also commonly used in daily rituals and prays. However, some verses can be used only for special occasions or events. In this respect, each verse of the Quran presents a special value for every specific situation and has a particular purpose.
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Moreover, the Quran represents an important literary value. Many verses are composed using the same rhythmic, melodic, phonetic, and thematic patterns and models (Wherry, 2013). The researches define the language of the Quran as “rhymed prose” since it contains both prosaic and poetic texts and messages (Wherry, 2013, p.287). Therefore, the book is interesting not only for its content but also for its form. From this perspective, the Quran is a valuable source of the cultural and traditional inheritance, which reveals the artistic and spiritual aspirations of the authors of that time. Another peculiarity of the Quranic verses is their arrangement, which seems to envisage no beginning and end. As aforementioned, the chapters and verses do not follow the chronological order in the Quran meaning that they lack historical consistency and coherence (Wherry, 2013). Moreover, such a structure makes the Quranic verses equally important and notable in terms of their religious meaning and spiritual value. One can start reading the Muslim Holy Book from the middle and understand the specifics, topics, and ideas of Islam without any obstacles and difficulties. Moreover, such a composition may create the impression of fragmentary and unaccomplished representation of the events and situations. On the other hand, it helps to ascertain the literary style of the Quran as well as gives a chance to treat the messages as the riddles, which should be understood and solved.
The Quran covers many important topics and spheres of human and divine life. The central theme of the book is the monotheism, the belief in the single Supreme God who is responsible for creating the universe, thus guiding humans through their lives and identifying the laws of being (Wherry, 2013). The Quran states, “God’s omnipotence appears above all in his power to create. He is the creator of everything, of the heavens and the earth and what is between them” (Quran 13:16). Similarly, it expresses the ideas of human equality on the Earth, the importance of the virtuous and righteous lifestyle, the prevalence of the morality and spiritual purity, and the significance of the salvation in the name of God. The aforementioned aspects define the essence of Islam as a religion and explain its preliminary beliefs, values, and ideas. Among the other important topics, the interpretation of eschatology lives of prophets, and moral rules and standards of behavior should be considered (Wherry, 2013). Overall, the Quran is the main Islamic religious text, which is of paramount importance for the comprehension of the culture and principles of Islam. It discusses the important religious issues and provides essential lessons for daily life.
Muslims consider Quran as the God’s revelation, divine gift, and incredible miracle, witnessing God’s mercy and sympathy to humanity. The Quran presents the set of rules and guidelines, which are supposed to identify the life principles and ideas of the Islamic religion essential for following and obeying. From this perspective, the Holy Book presents an enormous influence on Muslims by serving as the primary source of values, attitudes, and ideas regarding the earthly and divine life.
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Muslims suppose that the Quran provides a set of messages provided for the entire humanity and each individual in particular. In other words, God is addressing every personality in the Quran, emphasizing the value and importance of every human being. There is even a special term for the process of understanding and accepting the messages of the Quran as the individual ethics and code of behavior. This process is called ‘tanzil’ or ‘nuz?l’ and is mentioned in the following verses of the Holy Book: “With the truth, we (God) have sent it down and with the truth, it has come down” (Quran 17:105). Therefore, the Muslims believe that the Quran is the essential text for studying, discovering, following, and accepting as the individual truth and value.
Moreover, in the Islamic culture, the Quran is viewed as something original, authentic, and unique, which has not been spoiled by any corruption, speculations, and falsifications. The Muslims believe that the Quran refers to the times which have been deprived of corruption and evil. Therefore, the text can pretend to be universal, unique, and significant for the right interpretation of divine messages. The Quran 15:9 itself states, “indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian.” It means that the Quran personifies the very essence of God’s revelations, messages to humanity, and life guidelines. Therefore, it strongly influences the lifestyle of Muslims by providing the rules and ideas for following on a daily basis.
Particularly, the Quran establishes certain rules for Muslims to follow. First, it emphasizes the importance of daily praying and the special role of those who pray in the name of God. Particularly, it states, “You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and bow down with those who bow down (Quran 2:43). Analogically, it admits, “o you who believe, seek help through steadfastness and the Contact Prayers (Salat). Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere (Quran 2:153). Therefore, many Muslims follow this ritual daily to approach Allah and seek salvation in his name. In this respect, the instructions and rules of the Quran highly identify the daily habits and values of the Muslims.
Second, the Quran greatly contributes to the clothing preferences and choices of the Muslims. In particular, it emphasizes the significance of the modest and moderate clothing, which does not result in any immoral temptations and provocations (Ali & Rahman, 2010). Such regulations are true regarding both men and women since all humans should seek salvation and approach to the God. The Quran claims, “say to the believing men that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste). This is better for them” (Quran 24:30). Exactly, in the same way, it dwells on the importance of appropriate clothing for women. Overall, it is possible to conclude that the messages and regulations of the Quran promote the choices of Muslims regarding their visual appearance and clothing.
Additionally, it is essential to mention the influence of the Quran on the daily habits and preferences of Muslims. Commonly, the prohibited activities or habits are called ‘haram’ while the desirable and correct ones are referred to as the halal. The prohibitions may apply to different spheres of daily life covering a broad range of social activities of the Muslims. In particular, the consumption of alcohol, drugs, and certain kinds of food as well as the engagement in the sexual life before marriage are regarded the haram activities. Moreover, the disrespect of parents and elderly people, different crimes, and intolerant attitude to other individuals are considered prohibited actions. In fact, many Quranic verses explain these choices and promote a righteous way of life. Thus, the Quran assists in preserving social security and safety by providing instructions for the trustworthy and virtuous lifestyle among Muslims.
Significantly, the Quran identifies the type of relations between individuals and sets standards and norms for human interaction, cooperation, and communication. In particular, it states that every individual should present loyalty, tolerance, and respect in regard to every human being despite personal judgments and social stereotypes. It means that both friends and enemies represent the same value, as every human being has an equal chance to reach salvation and find eternal life in the name of God. One of the Quranic verses states:
O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. (Quran 5:8)
It shows that moral life does not leave any space for violence, hatred, or inappropriate actions. Therefore, the Quran promotes the ideas of equality, peace, and social harmony.
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Overall, the Quran provides an enormous impact on the regulations of the daily life of Muslims. It provides valuable lessons and messages, which teach people how to behave with each other and seek salvation throughout the earthly life. Many of the Quranic verses promote the ideas of non-violence, equality, and peace as the basic values of human society. Moreover, many verses dwell on the ideas of healthy habits, virtuous lifestyle, and a respectful attitude to all human beings. In this regard, the Quran is a great source of inspiration for the peaceful and tolerant lifestyle in society.
The Quran is a basic book in the Islamic religion, which transfers the messages of Allah sent to the Prophet Muhammad throughout his life. The messages in the Quran are equally important for every single individual and the entire humanity as they address the eternal topics of life and death, good and evil, darkness and enlightenment, virtues and sins, earthly and divine life. The Muslim Holy Book comprises of separate chapters and verses, which follow a random order and create the impression of spontaneity and fragments. Such a composition of the book allows avoiding any beginning and ending since the messages and texts are eternal and endless. The Quran has a great influence on the Muslims as it highly contributes to the establishment of the basic ideas and principles of Islamic culture and religion. From this perspective, the Quran serves as the regulator and indicator of the Muslims’ behavior and lifestyle patterns and affects daily habits, relationships with other people, clothing, and even nutrition. Overall, it is impossible to imagine modern Islam without the impacts and effects of the Quran.