The revelation of the Qur'an began in the Cave of Hira, located in Mount Nur (Jabal al-Nur). The majority opinion is that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet (s) both through the angel of revelation and directly. Most Muslims believe that the Qur'an was revealed gradually, but some believe that, in addition to the gradual revelation, the Qur'an or some parts of it were revealed to the Prophet (s) instantaneously.
During the time of the Prophet (s), the verses of the Qur'an were written on different writing materials, including animal skins, palm wood, paper, and cloth. After the demise of the Prophet (s), the verses and chapters of the Qur'an were compiled by a number of the Companions, and several copies of the Qur'an were produced. These copies were different from each other in the order of the chapters and in the ways certain words were to be pronounced. This prompted Uthman, the third caliph, to decide to produce a unified version of the Qur'an and eliminate the other copies. Following their Imams (a), the Shia consider the Uthmanic version authentic and complete.
Among the other titles of the Qur'an are al-Furqan, al-Kitab, and Mushaf. The Qur'an contains 114 suras and about 6,000 verses. It is divided into thirty parts (juz') and 120 segments (hizb).
The Qur'an discusses such themes as the unity of God, resurrection, the story of the prophets, Islamic laws, ethical virtues and vices, the battles of the Prophet (s), and demoting polytheism and hypocrisy.
Until the fourth/tenth century, there were diverse forms of recitation (qira'at) among Muslims. The primitive nature of the Arabic script of the time, different Arabic accents, and the arbitrary changes made by the reciters were among the factors that led to this diversity. In the fourth/tenth century, seven recitations were chosen and the rest were abandoned. The recitation of Asim as narrated by Hafs is now the widespread recitation among Muslims.
The Qur'an was first translated into Farsi in the fourth/tenth century, and the first translation into Latin was produced in the 12th century. The latter work was first published in Italy in 1543 CE. Iran was the first Muslim country to print the Qur'an in 1243/1827-28. The wide-spread printed copy of the Qur'an hand-written by Uthman Taha, is based on the edition published by al-Azhar University in Cairo in 1924.
The Qur'an has inspired the development of various branches of scholarship among Muslims, including exegesis and Quranic sciences, which discuss themes such as the history, lexicography, orthography, eloquence, stories, and the miraculous nature of the Qur'an.
The Qur'an has had a special place in Muslim rituals, the most important of which is reciting the Qur'an wholly or in part in different settings and on different occasions.
The Qur'an also has a central place in Muslim art, manifested in calligraphies, illuminated manuscripts, cover designs, literature, and architecture. "Read more...
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