What the Quran means to the Muslim – Significance of Quran
Islam is a religion based on a book which is the transcription of the spoken word; on knowledge. That book is the Quran (Significance). The Qur’an is the actual word of Allah(SWT), spoken by Him, received by His Angelic Messenger Jibreel(A.S) and communicated once again as the spoken word to His human Messenger Muhammad(SAW). It was recorded as it was received and preserved without any alteration or change to this day more than 14 centuries after it was revealed. This is a historical fact. The Qur’an is an amazing piece of communication between the Creator and His creation; an example of extra-terrestrial communication the like of which doesn’t exist. When people ask the question, ‘Is there life beyond this galaxy or beyond the universe?’ The answer is, ‘Yes. The One who created this galaxy and this entire universe, lives, sees, hears, acts and has spoken to us. That speech is the Qur’an.’ Just reflect on this for a while. This is what Muhammad(SAW) received and communicated it to his Companions (Sahaba) once again as the spoken word. From then on the Qur’an was preserved in the minds and hearts of those who received it (memorization) and it was writing, in the memory of millions of Muslims, as the primary source of Islamic Law (the Shari’ah) and through the practice of its dictates. The Qur’an was preserved by people who truly knew its real value.
The Qur’an is not the word of any human being (sage, philosopher, prophet, wali, sanyasi, saint or teacher; however wise or good) nor of any angel (however powerful or glorious). It is a transcript of the speech of the Creator of all humans, angels, stars, planets, animals, plants, seas and earth; of all that we know about and of all that we are yet to discover; speaking to mankind. The first thing to do therefore is to try to understand and come to grips with what this really means.
Imagine that you receive a message from the Head of an alien civilization which is aeons ahead of us in technological advancement. Let’s say that this message gives all kinds of indicators about courses of action you can adopt to become a world leader and to leave behind a legacy that would do you proud. How would you feel when you read that message? Excited, blessed, amazed that he bothered to talk to you, humble, urgent, energized, motivated to follow the directions?
Now enhance that example from Head of Alien Civilization to The Creator of the Universe. Now try to notice how you would feel. That is what the Qur’an is to the Muslim. An actual message from the Creator of the Universe, from Our Creator, Our Sustainer and the One to Whom is our return. He is talking to us. It is His actual speech. His Words. He is speaking and we are listening. See how that feels? That is what I feel, as a Muslim, when I read the Qur’an.
Allah(SWT) himself speaks about this physical and emotional effect of listening to the Qur’an:
Is he whose breast Allâh has opened to Islâm, so that he is in light from His Lord (similar to one who does not believe)? So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allâh! They are in plain error! Allâh has sent down the best statement, a Book (Qur’ân), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allâh. That is the guidance of Allâh. He Guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allâh (allows to go) astray, for him there is no guide.
The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (Qur’ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord
(Alone); Who perform As-Salât (Iqâmat as Salât) and spend out of that We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise).
The Qur’an is not an intellectual concept. It is not literature. It is not simply something recited so beautifully that it brings tears to the eyes even if you don’t understand what is being said. It is more than all those things. It is the Word of Allah(SWT). My Allah(SWT). My Creator, my Sustainer, my Rabb, who fulfills my every need, to whom I turn at every stage. Who loves me and I love Him. To Whom I belong. And to Whom the whole universe and all that it contains, belongs. And to Whom is my return and the return of everyone who every walked the earth. Every word is there because He put it there. Every sentence is constructed in that precise manner by Him. The grammar is a miracle in itself. It is neither poetry nor prose. It is something that is so majestic in its address that you can actually feel the Creator speaking. You can hear Him. You can feel His power. And you spontaneously say, “Truly this is not the word of any man!”
There are many historical incidents recorded where famous poets, linguists and writers of Arabic of the time, who listened to Rasoolullah(SAW)reciting the Qur’an spontaneously said, “This is not the creation of any man,” and embraced Islam. That is why a Muslim will not even touch the Qur’an unless he is a state of purity, having bathed or washed himself first in the prescribed way. The Qur’an is very personal. It is very precious. It is very holy. It is very inspiring. It is very uplifting, calming, and peaceful, charges up, energizes, empowers and guides. It is the last word in everything. It is the highest possible evidence for any action, stance, position or decision. For what can be higher and more powerful than the Word of Allah(SWT)?
It is unchangeable, unchanged and unchanging. It has been preserved without any change in as much as a single letter for 14 centuries and so it shall remain as long as there is a single Muslim left on the face of the earth to defend it. It is memorized in its entirety by millions of Muslims all over the world; a tradition from the first day that it was revealed. It is read for blessing, for strength, for patience in suffering, to give thanks, for pleasure, for peace of mind, for solace to the broken heart and most of all and most importantly, for guidance in the life of this world and for deliverance in the Hereafter. When a Muslim reads the Qur’an he feels a personal connection to his Creator, to Allah(SWT), which is impossible for me to describe in words. As in all matters of the heart, it has to be experienced and can never be explained. You have to listen to the Qur’an yourself. Thanks to the internet there are innumerable examples of Qur’anic recitation from every part of the globe that you can listen to. People of all races, nationalities, genders and colors; all united by one thing alone – the love of Allah(SWT) and of His Word, the Qur’an.