The Qur’an is the Muslim Holy Book. Muslims believe it was revealed from God to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) from when he was 40 to when he was 63. The revelation took place gradually, with bits being revealed here and there. These were then written down by scribes that used to be instructed to recite it back to check for any copying errors.
Also, right from the start of the revelation, people used to memorise portions of the Qur’an by heart, and many often memorised(and still do) all of it. The Qur’an is recited from memory by the leader of the 5 daily prayers every day, every prayer. This was the key factor in the preservation of the Qur’an in its original format all these years.
The Qur’an was compiled 1-2 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammed, and the necessity arose when the leaders of the Muslims saw that an alarming number of memorisers of the Qur’an had died in a battle. Thus to preserve the Qur’an, a man called Zayd bin Thabit, one of the scribes, was entrusted to compile the Qur’an in one definitive copy. This man was himself knew the entire Qur’an by heart but he didn’t rely on his memory. His criterion for every verse to be included was that a written copy, written and recited back to the Prophet Muhammed, and not only this, but to be backed up by two witnesses who had memorised that verse in question. Thus this compilation was made and stored. All Qur’ans today are identical to this Qur’an.
The Quran itself contains 114 chapters of instruction, advice, admonishment, glad tidings, predictions and stories. The main theme of the Qur’an is that there is one God, Allah, and that he has to be worshipped and obeyed, and that people who do this will go to Paradise, and people who dont will go to Hell.
The Quran discusses many of the Biblical Prophets, but not one story in the Qur’an is exactly the same as the Bible. Some Prophets discussed are Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac,Ishmael,Jonah and John.
Reciting of the Qur’an is an absolute art in the Muslim world, but again a quirk of the Muslim world is that the recitors who are the best, dont charge to be recorded. Most are Imams of the prayers in big Mosques around the world.
to listen to an example just type in “Quran” into youtube and click on a relevant clip.
What the Qur’an really is for the world, Muslims believe, is a guidebook. Muslims say that as God made us he knows whats best for us, thus we should follow his injunctions. The Bible and Torah were precursors to the Qur’an, and revealed suited to their time, and even then many key themes, laws and theological points run through them which are identical or very similar to the Qur’an. Interestingly in them there is no mention of finality of the message, rather prophecies for the coming of future Prophets. But the Qur’an emphatically claims to be the final message sufficient to guide mankind till the end of time.
Finally I’ll end with what is the most famous of all the Qur’anic chapters:
1.In the name of God the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.(this goes before all chapters except one)
2.All praises are to the lord of the Worlds.
3.The most Beneficent the most Merciful.
4.the Master of the Day of Judgement.
5.You alone we worship and you alone we ask for help.
6.Guide us to the straight path.
7.The path of those you have blessed with your favour.
8.Not of those that have earned your anger, nor of those that have gone astray.