The Holy Quran is a record of the exact words of the last revelations from Allah Almighty to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Since he was uninstructed (29:48), he recited the words to his companions, who either memorized them or wrote them down. Here are some facts about this divine Book.
The Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) through the archangel Gabriel (Jibrail) in two forms : all at once and gradually. The Holy Quran was once revealed on the night of Qadr (Laylat al Qadr): “The month of Ramaḍan is one in which the Quran was sent down” (2:185). Also, it was sent incrementally over 23 years until he passed away, which caused the faithless to object: “Why has not the Quran been sent down to him all at once?” (25:32)
During the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), the Quran was written on the skin of animals, palm’s wood, and tissue. After Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) demise, there was a need to unify the written texts of the Quran into one specific Arabic dialect and to clarify the reading of the Quran. This happened in the time of the third Caliph, who ordered to collect a unique version of the diacritic the Quran, and other versions were eliminated such that he united the Muslims on one authoritative recension . It should be noted that the actual version of the Quran is the one which was originally collected during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and under his supervision. That is to say, the content of this holy book has remained undistorted since it was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and only its form and diacritic was unified at the time of the third Caliph. Therefore, the longer surahs are found at the beginning of the Quran and the shorter ones towards the end.
The Quran has some other names the most important of which are :
• Al-Kitab, meaning the Book: “This is the Book. There is no doubt about it.” (2:1-2);
• Al-Furqan, meaning the criterion for the right and wrong since it gives Muslims some tools to differentiate between the truth and false, the lawful and unlawful: “Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion (the Furqan) to His servant that he may be a warner to all the nations.” (25:1);
• Al-Dhikr, meaning a reminder because the Quran reminds us of Allah Almighty: “Indeed We have sent down the Reminder, and indeed We will preserve it.” (15:9).
The Quran is composed of 114 chapters, called "Surahs", and 6236 verses, called "Ayats". It is divided into 30 sections called “Joz’” and 60 sub-sections called “Hizb.” The longest surah is Baqarah and the shortest Kawthar.
The surahs of the Holy Quran are divided into two groups: those revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when he lived in Mecca, called Makki, and those from after his migration to Medina, called Madani. Generally, the ayats about the Islamic axioms, such as monotheism, prophethood, and afterlife, were revealed in Mecca since the new Muslims required to get fully acquainted with these principles. The ayats about governing the Islamic society, practical principals, and details were revealed in Medina.
Every surat of the Quran has a specific title. These titles were known from the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and he was the one who introduced these titles initially. The titles were determined to represent the concept and topics discussed in that surat or a priority considered in the Quran about that surat .
It is essential to treat the Quran respectfully since it is a divine revelation in every aspect. In this regard, the paper upon which the Quran is written and the Arabic words on its pages should not be touched without having performed ablutions (Wudhu). Moreover, when one is reading the Quran out loud, it is better if the listener keeps silent, listens (7:204), and thinks about the meaning of words.
- M. H. Ma’rifat, “Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an,” p. 64, 2000, Tamhid Qom cultural institute, Qom, Iran.
- M. H. Ma’rifat, “Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an,” p. 133-136, 2000, Tamhid Qom cultural institute, Qom, Iran.
Death and the nature of afterlife, have always been mysterious to human beings. Everybody is willing to either find it out himself or to have faith in what has been said and discovered about it. Muslims seek the answer in the Quran, the holy book they believe in. In Quranic thoughts, death is nothing but the transfer of the human soul from the natural universe to the spiritual world, going back to the one who created it all, i.e., God; “Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return” (2:156).
According to the Holy Quran, death is no inexistence or destruction, But a threshold to the next stage of life and existence. However, it is noteworthy that what forms the exact nature of humankind is not the physical and material composition that disintegrates and gets destroyed after death; in fact, our real self is made up of our soul that is seized and released from the captivity of the body and then returns to its origin, the Divine presence, God.
Therefore death in the Islamic viewpoint happens when the immortal soul or self of a human cuts its attachment and relationship from the body and consequently, the body perishes while the soul continues its life without it.
“Say: You will be taken away by the angel of death, who has been charged with you. Then you will be brought back to your Lord” (32:11).
Now one might wonder what happens to us after death; are we going to begin our lives in the hereafter right away, or we will experience a different temporary stage of life that lasts up until the Day of Judgment?
Muslims get the information about this issue, through revelations received by the last Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), in verses of the Quran. Based on what has been revealed to our prophet, the afterlife does not begin right after we die. Human beings will enter an intermediate world called “Barzakh” in which they would feel, see and hear everything differently; there would be things they enjoy and ones they suffer from, based on their deeds in this earthly life. In short, man will go through two different stages of life after death; one temporary that is to come right after death, and one that lasts forever and will never end.
“…And ahead of them is a barrier until the day they will be resurrected” (23:100).
Literally speaking, “Barzakh” is a barrier that stands between two things; Quran, however, introduces it as an interval between the death of a man and the forthcoming hereafter (Ma’ad); a stage at which human leads either a blissful or miserable life, based on his deeds on earth.
The second stage of eternal life starts on the Day of Judgment (Yawm Al-Hisab). Unlike “Barzakh”, at which humans enter individually after death, this occurs to all the beings and the whole universe at the same time; every being starts a new permanent stage of life.
“And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne, celebrating the praise of their Lord, and judgment will be made between them with justice, and it will be said," All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds” (39:68).
Near the time of resurrection, all beings will cease to exist after hearing the first blow of the Horn (Israfil’s Horn). Then there will be a second blowing, and all Creation from the beginning till the end of time will be resurrected. People will be coming out of their graves in their physical bodies, standing and waiting, severely worried, under the sun to be judged by their Lord and to see rewards and retributions for their benevolent and malevolent actions in the earthly life.
“And when the Trumpet is blown, behold, there they will be, scrambling from their graves towards their Lord” (36:51).
That day humans will be either granted admission to enter Paradise, where they will enjoy spiritual and physical pleasure, or sentenced to suffer spiritual and physical torment in Hell forever.
“[To the righteous it will be said], O soul at peace! Return to your Lord, pleased, pleasing! Then enter among My servants! And enter My paradise” (89:27-30).
“... and whoever disobeys Allah and His apostle, indeed there will be for him the fire of hell, to remain in it forever” (72:23).
The nature of Heaven and Hell has been analogously described in the Quran many times. However, there are verses that say:
“No one knows what has been kept hidden for them of comfort as a reward for what they used to do” (32:17).
Accordingly, What Heaven and Hell are really like is far beyond our comprehension and so cannot be explained to us unless they are allegorical.
In fact, the earthly affairs of mankind here are not separable from those of hereafter; that is the otherworldly destiny of a man is determined by himself in this world. Many verses of the Quran indicate that the same good or bad deeds man commits in this life, will return to him, as their own reward or punishment, on the day of requital. People will live with the embodiment of their good or evil deeds, which are going to be their eternal companions.
One of the common features of this earthly life and the hereafter is that they are both real and actual; in other words, human beings are aware of themselves and what belongs to them in both worlds. There are joy and pleasure, suffering and pain, or happiness and misery in both lives. In both worlds, human possesses a physical body and particular instincts. Nevertheless, there are basic differences too.
The reproduction, childhood, youth, senescence, and death we experience here will not exist in the hereafter. Here is the place of action while the hereafter is where we should pay for what we have done and compensate for our deeds. Life in this world is followed by death whereas we will lead an eternal life in the other world. Quran says:
“The life of this world is nothing but a diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life, had they known” (29:64).
Man’s perception will be heightened in the afterlife, and he will realize the truth of everything -every action or every being- more vividly. “[It will be said], You were certainly oblivious of this. We have removed your veil from you, and so your sight is acute today” (50:22).
In this earthly life, the man easily gets bored and tired of everything; he is always seeking what he does not have, and once he finds it he soon feels jaded and starts looking for something else. It seems as though he has lost something he can hardly find. In the hereafter, however, he will find what he has always longed for and what he has been attached to deep in his nature; that is Allah, the Lord of the universe.
In the two previous parts of this topic, we reviewed some astronomical facts and some points about our nature. Through the following lines, you can find out other scientific facts mentioned in the Quran.
Scientists have recently come to know that not every cloud is a rain cloud, but certain types of wind and clouds and definite steps are effective for forming rain clouds. They have found that one type of clouds go through the following steps to produce rain .
The clouds are pushed by the wind. Then, the small clouds join together to form a larger cloud, hence updrafts increase within the large cloud. Some phenomenon cause the cloud to stack up which stretches the cloud body into cooler regions where drops of water and hail form and begin to grow larger .
When these drops and hail become too heavy, they fall from the cloud as rain, hail, etc. . This phenomenon is described in Surat Al-Nur: “Have you not regarded that Allah drives the clouds, then He composes them, then He piles them up, whereat you see the rain issuing from its midst?” (24:43).
In Surat Al-Nur, it is stated that: “Or like the manifold darkness in a deep sea, covered by billow upon billow, overcast by clouds, manifold [layers of] darkness, one on top of another: when he brings out his hand, he can hardly see it” (24:40).
The darkness in deep seas mentioned in this verse is found around a depth of 200m and below where there is almost no light. Below a depth of 1000m, there is no light at all .
The verse states that there are two sets of waves, one above the other. Scientists called the lower waves as internal waves which “occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities” . Since the deep waters of seas and oceans are denser than the waves above them, the internal waves cover them. They act like surface waves and might break just as them. They are not observable by the human eye, but can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location .
Human embryonic development are described in the Quran as: “Certainly We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop of [seminal] fluid [lodged] in a secure abode. Then We created the drop of fluid as a clinging mass (alaqah). Then We created the clinging mass (alaqah) as a fleshy tissue (mudhqah).” (23:12-14).
The word alaqah has three meanings in Arabic: leech, suspending thing, and blood clot. In comparison to leech, an embryo in the alaqah stage obtains nourishment from mother’s blood, same as the leech which feeds on the blood of others . During the alaqah stage, the embryo is suspended in mother’s womb, hence, the word “suspended thing” fits, too. Finally, during the alaqah stage, due to the presence of relatively large volume of blood present in the embryo, it looks like a blood clot. Besides, the blood does not circulate until the end of the 3rd week, just as a blood clot. Hence, these three meanings describe accurately the embryo at this stage.
The nest stage is described by the word mudhghah which means “chewed substance”. In fact, the somites at the back of the embryo “somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance” .
It has been recently discovered that everything in the universe is created in pair, as do male and female among living things. The parity among living creatures are stated in several the verses of the Quran as: “Immaculate is He who has created all the pairs of what the earth grows, and of themselves, and of what they do not know.” (36:36), “and that it is He who created the mates, the male and the female.” (53:45). And who created all the pairs and made for you the ships and the cattle such as you ride.” (43:12), “In all things We have created pairs so that you may take admonition.” (51:49). These verses mention the parity in things that grow from soil (i.e. plants), in animals, in those have been created from their own selves (i.e. humans), and things we do not know.
The latter includes every other thing other than living things. The discovery of Paul Dirac known as “Parity”, for which he was awarded the Noble Prize in 1933, confirms this claim by stating that every matter has a pair called anti-matter .
Although the Quran is not basically a book dedicated to scientific issues, we realized from above that it contains scientific facts that have only been discovered recently through the advancement of technology and scientific knowledge. These scientific facts are a few of many clear signs of Allah Almighty. They prove that the Quran is the word of all-knowing all-wise Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty is the only one that merits to be worshiped.
- Anthes et al., “The Atmosphere,” pp. 268-269, and Elements of Meteorology, Miller and Thompson, p. 141.
- The Quran on clouds
- Oceans, Elder and Pernetta, p. 27.
- Oceanography, Gross, p. 205.
- The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 8.