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Introduction to the Qur’an

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  1. Introduction to the Qur’an • First Revelation at The cave of Hira 610 Taught privately for 2 years 10 years in Mecca 10 years in Medina Complete with Al-Yawm akmaltu “To- day I have completed Your religion.”

  2. Qur’an • introducing a verse from the Qur’an is “God—May He be exalted—has said.” • Chapter: sūra • Verse: āya • Conventions • Qur’an: Compare Aramaic Qeryana “Recitation” • Fawatih or mystical letters • Text: Consonants only. 

  3. History • Abu Bakr asked Muhammad’s secretary to prepare a copy which was given to Abu Bakr’s daughter and Muhammad’s widow, A’isha, (some say Hafsa) approximately 633. • “Uthmanic recension”—c. 651—agreed by all, Shia as well as Sunnis.

  4. Orthography • First Chapter of The Qur’an

  5. History One of the earliest MSS, From the 7th Cent. Next slide: Qur’anic Inscription from Dome of the Rock

  6. History • Variants: Still remembered in 10th cent. And gathered by Ibn Abi Dawud. • Shia claim Ali retained his own copy but accept “Uthmanic” recension. • 10th century: development of a fully vocalized, standard text by Ibn Muqlah and Ibn ‘Isa in 933. Multiple reading traditions (Arabic:qira'at). • Today the Egyptian, South Asian and West African versions are probably most important; also a European edition.

  7. For many Muslims, the production of the Qur’an was Muhammad’s only miracle. Sanctity: Qala Allah Ta’allah: al-Qur’an al-Karim la yamisahu illa al-mutahharun. A “Hadith Kudsi” Only the purified an touch the Noble Qur’an Jewish  sages found God in studying and discussing the Torah. Christians assert that there is no way to God the Father except through the Son; for Muslims, an important path to God and to understanding the revelation through Muhammad is by reciting the Qur’an—the eternal WORD of God. I’jaz al-Quran “The miracle of the Qur’an.” Sanctity of Qur’an

  8. Was the Qur’an Created? • Ghayr makhluq: One of the big controversies of the early days was whether the Qur’an was created by God, or the eternal Speech of God, uncreated just as God is “uncreated.” This was one of the major points of the Mu'tazilis and of an "inquisition" in the 9th century.

  9. Words: 77,934 Verses: 6236 Letters: 323,621 1st chapter: al-Fatiha Otherwise organized by Length Asbab al-nuzul “Causes of revelation” Meccan Suras: Earliest are rhythmic, brief and often introduced by oaths. Example: sura 95 Length and chronology:

  10. 24 Medinan Suras Legal and social legislation: longer and more “prosaic” al-Naskh wal-Tabdil “Change and Alteration” e.g. 2:106, 3:71. Wine; War; non-Muslims Prophets mentioned include Ibrahim (70 times) Moses (in 34 chapters) Noah, Jonah, Joseph, Saul, David, Sulayman, Harun, others Adam (10 times). Prophets, Madina Suras

  11. Reading the Qur’an • Begin with: A’udhu b-‘llah min al-Shaytan ar-rajim "I take refuge in God from accursed Satan" • End with: Sadaqa Allah al-Azim. Amin "God most Great has spoken truth. Amen.“ • No Lectionary

  12. Interpretation: Legal and ethical: through sunna and hadith. Tafsir.  Ta’wil. Tabari d. 923 Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali d. 1111 Zamakhashari d. 1144 Al-Baydawi d. 1286 Ibn Kathir 774 AH Jalalayn (Started by Jalal al-Din Al-Mahalli d. 894 AH/1459CE, completed Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti d. 911 AH/ 1505CE)          Moderns: • Muhammad Abduh • Sayyid Qutb • Maulana Muhammad Ali (Ahmadi) • Syed Maududi’s introductions