The holy book of Islam. Also referred to in English as “Quran”, or “Qur’an“. The latter is the correct transliteration, but in Contents we use the common “Koran”.
The exact meaning of the word “Koran” is not clear for us today, but the three main theories. It may either be connected to the word for ‘collect’; or to the word for ‘tie together’; or perhaps best to the most commonly used word for “read” or “recite,” which is an important verb in the book itself.
The Koran as a book is the result of:
1. Alleged revelations to Muhammad in the period 610-632 (Muhammad’s death).
2. Writing down of these revelations by people around Muhammad in a period probably starting some years after 610, and ending a couple of years after 632.
3. Compilation of these writings stretching from mid-630’s and perhaps until mid-650’s.
4. Stories relating to Muhammad, largely stories in which he communicates with God, usually concerning contemporary matters.
5. Vowelling and dotting of the text. Ancient Arabicwas written without dots, leaving some letters look identical. And in many cases the lack of vowels would make two different words look identical.
Prior to the 5th stage, it was, therefore, up to the memories of the learned to remember what was the correct meaning of every word. But as these learned people died, the early Muslim community found it important to save the exact meaning once and for all, before it was too late. (more…)