Why did Allah send the Quran as the last book?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The highest level of knowledge is given at university; can we say it should be given to elementary school children, too? Humanity is like an educational institution. Every era is like a department of this school. The teachers of those departments are prophets. Humanity has reached the level of university and has developed the ability to receive the perfect lessons of Islam by receiving lessons from the teachers of humanity since Adam. Therefore, the last and perfect religion came in the end. In elementary school, the essence of mathematics is present. However, it is taught according to the level of elementary school children and the teacher teaches them what they can understand not everything that he/she knows.

The other prophets taught humanity according to its level and educated it. When they attained the sufficient level, the religion of Islam and its lofty prophet was sent. There is no trial and error here. Books and shari'as were sent wisely based on the level of nations.

General Evaluation of the Books

None of the divine books that had been revealed before the Qur’an and that are present today are the original copies that Allah revealed to His prophets. The original copies of those books had been lost in the course of time and had been rewritten by people. For this reason, some superstitions and wrong beliefs had been added to them.

For example, it is among the historical facts that, the Torah, could not be protected by Jews, who had a captivity life along the centuries, and who also had fallen into idolatry by losing their faith after Hazrat Moses (peace be upon him); and the copy that is present today had been written by some clergymen long after Hazrat Moses; yet, it was accepted as a book of religion again as if it was the original copy of the Torah. It is apparent that a book which appeared after such a long and complex era cannot be the original copy that had been revealed to Hazrat Moses. Therefore, the present copy includes some accusations and slanders that do not befit prophets and judgments that are contrary to the spirit of the religion of oneness (tawhid).

The Psalms (Zabur),which had been revealed to Hazrath Davud (peace be upon him), underwent the same process as the Torah.

As for the Gospel,Hazrat Eesa (Jesus) (peace be upon him) had not dictated the verses that had been revealed to him because he became a prophet when he was 30 years old, and his task of prophethood ended when he was 33. During that short period of time, he tried to guide the people by wandering from one village to another and from one city to another. And during his last days, he was constantly being followed by Roman rulers because of the provocations of the Jews. Under those circumstances, he could find neither enough time to dictate the Gospel, nor a possibility for it. Thus, the Gospels which are present today are called by their writers’ names (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and they look like siyar (a book in which the lives of prophets are told) books which include sermons and talks that Hazrat Eesa had given his apostles. Besides, those who had written them were not the first believers who were the apostles of Hazrat Eesa, but they were those who had seen the apostles and listened from them to the divine words that had been revealed to Hazrat Eesa.

There are some differences in terms of content and narration in the present Gospels.As a matter of fact, those Gospels had been accepted by a clerical council, consisting of one thousand people, which had gathered in Iznik (Nicaea) in 325 B.C. That council had searched hundreds of Bibles, and with the agreement of 318 members, they accepted the 4 Gospels in which it is claimed that Hazrat Eesa has the aspect of godhead. And they annihilated others by burning them.

As it is seen, the principle that Hazrat Eesa was the son of God (God forbid) was accepted by a council decision years after Hazrat Eesa died. Some Christian churches did not even obey that decision. So, from this point of view, it is not possible to say that the present 4 Gospels are in accordance with the original Gospel which was revealed to Hazrat Eesa.

Since the divine books other than the Qur’an were distorted, why does the religion of Islam order us to have belief in for them?

As Muslims, we believe in Hz. Moses, Hz. Dawud and Hz. Isa (Jesus) and the divine books that were sent to them; the Torah, the Psalms and the Bible and we have no doubt that they have no ruling against the true religion of oneness. However, these books could not be protected and thus they were distorted.

Now, we cannot say that the books that the Jews and Christians have no parts related with the revelation that were sent to the prophets. However, there is also no doubt that these books contain superstitious and false beliefs. Thus, we always deal with these books cautiously. We accept that the rulings in them which are in compliance with the Qur’an are the products of revelation. We consider the rulings that are against the Qur’an as later additions. We remain silent when the information in them is neither in compliance with nor opposite the Qur’an. We will neither accept nor reject them in that case. For, there is a possibility that the information in these books can either be revelation or not.  

Abu Hurayrah (RA) said the following on this issue:

«The people of the book used to read the Torah in Hebrew language. And they used to translate it to Muslims in Arabic. On this issue, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said to his companions the following:

Do not approve or reject the words of the People of the Book. Say ye:"We believe, in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham Isma`il Isaac Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam)." (al-Baqara, 2/136)

How has the Qur’an remained free from distortion?

The Qur’an, the last holy scripture of Allah and His Divine address to all the humankind, was revealed verse by verse and chapter by chapter in 23 years. The Prophet would recite the verses and the chapters that were revealed to him to his companions, and they would memorize them and some would write them down. Apart from that, the Prophet had scribes of revelation. They were especially responsible for writing the revealed verses and the chapters.

The Prophet was informed via the Archangel Gabriel about where the revealed verse and the chapter are to be placed, how they are to be ordered in the Qur’an, and The Prophet would then describe it to the scribes of revelation and get what is necessary done. The entire Qur’an was written in the lifetime of the Prophet and it was established what would be placed where. Moreover, Gabriel would come every Ramadan and would recite to the Prophet the verses and the chapters revealed up to that time from the beginning. In the last Ramadan before the Prophet passed away, Gabriel came again, and this time they recited the Qur’an twice. The first time, Gabriel recited, and the Prophet listened; and the next time, the Prophet recited and Gabriel listened. Thus, the Qur’an took its final form.

However, during the lifetime of the Prophet the Qur’an had not been arranged as a single volume yet. It was scattered among the companions as pages and was memorized by many companions. However, it was clearly and absolutely known what would be placed where.

Finally, out of necessity, at the time of Caliph Abu Bakr, a commission was set from scribes of revelation and vigorous memorizers headed by Zayd bin Thabit. This commission was appointed for the job of gathering the Qur’an as a single volume. Everybody from the companions came and handed in the pages of the Qur’an they had. As a result of the shared work of the memorizers and the scribes of revelation, the pages, chapters and the verses were ordered as described by the Prophet. Thus, the Qur’an was arranged as a single book called Mushaf.

As a result, the Qur’an has been free from being forgotten, lost, distorted or altered, since it was written down exactly as it was revealed to the Prophet.

Upon necessity, at the time of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan more copies were made from this book and were sent to various places. The copies of the Qur’an at the present time come from this Qur’an.

As result of the soundness in its determination, unlike the other Holy Scriptures, the Qur’an was established in its revealed form without any distortion or alteration, and it has come to us by preserving its authenticity for 1400 years. It is obvious that the rhetoric and eloquent style of the Qur’an, its conciseness, the ease of memorizing it, its resemblance to no human discourse, people’s inability to imitate it and to attain its level of eloquence, and the maximum care taken in its preservation played a great role in its authenticity. However, the real reason is that Allah took the Qur’an in His protection and that He promised to maintain it as a miracle until the Doomsday in form and meaning. As a matter of fact the following is stated in the Qur’an:

“Indeed it is We, We Who send down the Reminder in parts, and it is indeed We Who are its Guardian.”(the Qur’an, Al-Hijr, 15:9)

Today, all of the copies of the Qur’an in the world are the same; there is no difference or alteration.Besides, it is in the memory of millions of memorizers and is recited at each instant by millions of people. This quality is not possessed by any other book than the Qur’an, nor even by any of the other Divine scriptures. It is absolutely necessary that the Qur’an, which is Allah’s final scripture, the validity of which extends to the end of time, should possess this unprecedented status.

(Mehmed Dikmen, Islam Ilmihali, Cihan Yayinlari, Istanbul, 1991, pp. 94-97.)

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