The Koran (632) is the holy book of Islam. It was written by the Prophet Muhammad between 609 and 632. For Muslims it takes the place of the Jewish and Christian Bible. The Koran has everything God needs to tell us. Millions know the whole Koran by heart.
Muslims regard the Bible as the Word of God too, but one that has not been faithfully recorded: The Christian Bible, for example, makes Jesus into a god. Clearly a mistake.
In addition to the Koran Muslims also have the hadith, the sayings and doings of the Prophet. And, on top of this, Shia Muslims also have the words of the holy imams. The imams, however, do not teach anything new but only help us to understand the Prophet’s message.
The Koran, the hadith and, for Shiites, the imams, become the starting point for scholars to come up with a set of laws for Muslim society, the sharia. There are four chief schools of thought. The differences among them, however, are nothing like the differences found among Christians.
The Koran has 114 surahs or chapters. They are listed from longest to shortest, more or less, not by theme or any kind of timeline.
Every year Muhammad went to the mountain to pray. He started hearing a ringing sound. He had no idea what it was. In time he started to hear words in the ringing – it was the archangel Gabriel! He and his followers started writing down what the angel said on palm leaves and stones. These are God’s last words to man before Judgement Day.
The Koran was not put on paper into its present form till some years after the Prophet’s death.
Like the Bible, the Koran has God, Satan, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus, Mary and so on. It has angels, heaven and hell and Judgement Day. It shares a common view of the world with the Bible.
The Koran does not always have the same take on events however. For example, it sees the law of Moses as something only for Jews, meant partly for their punishment. Jesus is not the Son of God but a great prophet only. He was sent because the Jews did not understand Moses. Mary gave birth to him as a virgin and he was nailed to the cross, but he only seemed to die.
The Koran has many stories about prophets: the prophet receives the word of God, warns his countrymen, they do not listen and then the prophet’s warnings come true. Noah is a perfect example of this in both the Koran and the Bible.
The Koran was written in Arabic, in language that is very beautiful and easy to remember. It has been put into other languages, but many think that is wrong. The beauty of the Koran and the way it fits together can only be seen in Arabic.