Before you start reading
For those who are newcomers to the Qur'an, we hop the following information on Qur'an and the way to approach it may be of some benefit.
WHAT IS "THE QUR'AN"?
The Holy Book of Islam, the Qur'an, is not the work of a man, nor it is the collected thoughts or opinions of wise men through the ages. It is the "Word of the Almighty God", the Creator, The Lord of the universe. It is the final and perfect revelation to mankind.
Though called and treated as a book, the Qur'an is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word. It is neither a treatise nor a dissertation on a particular theme; nor it is a book on religion. Its overall style and organisation of the matter basically differ from the other religious scriptures. It is unique, the only one of its kind in the whole world.
WHAT DOES IT DEAL WITH?
The subject matter of the Qur'an is "man" (human beings) and it discusses those aspects of his life which lead to his REAL success or failure. The central theme that runs through the Qur'an is the exposition of "Reality" with the aim of inviting human beings to the Right Path. Its purpose is not simply to inform or to convince but to mould and transform. As such, it tries simultaneously to inform, to persuade, to convince and to motivate and mobilize men and woman to fulfil their mission in life.
A GREAT HUMAN NEED
God, after creating the human race, has not just left them without any direction. If the loving Creator has provided air, water and food for physical existence and growth, He has also provided guidance for the moral, social and spiritual existence and development. The Qur'an is but Divine Guidance to mankind - guidance in the widest sense of the world.
How can anyone know for sure what is the "Reality"? How can anyone have the unquestionable knowledge of the ultimate values to which human behaviour should conform? Certainly not through the instinct, habit, intuition, reason or experience and not through the resources of guidance developed by man himself through the ages (mythology, philosophy, science, history, law etc.) which are too subjective and too limited, and are misleading. Divine Guidance is the greatest human need.
BACKGROUND OF THE REVELATION
The Qur'an was revealed about fourteen centuries ago to Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) through the Angel of Revelation, Gabriel, part by part, as the occasion needed, over a span of about 23 years. As it was revealed it was written down as well as memorised by the companions of the Prophet. These revelations were arranged by the Prophet in the present order (which is not chronological) under Divine guidance. It was thus completely preserved both in the written form and by memorisation, with nothing added by the human mind and nothing lost from the original Revelation.
IT IS ONLY SCRIPTURE WHICH ...
So there has been only one version of the Qur'an all over the world, all through the ages, right from the time of the Propeht.
APPROACH TO THE QUR'AN
Every discipline has its own demands. So has the Qur'an. Anyone who wants to really understand the message of the Qur'an, whether he actually belives in the Book or not, will be able to get the best results if he approaches it:
This is Holy Book and it is to be handled with respect. The reader should be clean in his person and place of sitting and he sould never put it in a unclean place.
This is the Book; In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who are God-conscious. (2:2)
This Qur'an will guide to that which is most upright, and promises the belivers who do good works, a rich reward; And threatens those who belive not in the Herafter, with a grievous penalty.(17:9; 10)