The word Quran means “reading” or “recitation. The Quran is said to be the exact words of Allah or God to the prophet Muhammad ibn Abd Allah. Muslim's believe that Muhammad's contact with Allah is the last in a series of revelations sent to the world by God. They believe that Moses and the other Jewish prophets who brought us the Torah received revelations. They also believe that Jesus whose life brought us the New Testament of the Bible received revelations. Because Muhammad could neither read or write, he memorized the versus and then told them to his assistant Zayad, who wrote them on bones, parchment, stones, and leaves. Following the death of Muhammad the versus were collected. Islamic tradition tell us that Zayad worked with the caliph Uthman and others to develop the authorized version of the Quran.
Although, the Christians and the Jews are very serious about their Bibles, they have subjected them to criticism, both texturally and literally. This is not true of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran/Koran is the exact Word of God, and that it is a perfect work that is unchangeable and eternal. The Quran contains 114 chapters that are called surahs, and each surah contains a varying number of verses called ayahs.
According to the Quran, God is merciful, and ready to forgive the sinner as long as that person repents and returns to a religious way of life. The revelations to Muhammad warn mankind of the evils of sin, and they describe the rewards that await a person who follows Muhammad's example. They also provide the proper way to worship God or Allah. The Quran also offers descriptions of both heaven and hell. In hell the sinner suffers when fear fills their hearts as their bodies are filled with fire and molten metals. In hell they are joined by Satan, who is known as Iblis. The story of Iblis is one of the most richly detailed portions of the Quran. Heaven is seen as a place with amazing gardens, springs, incredible food and beautiful young people. The spiritual creatures of the heavens are angels who are made of light.
Many passages of the Quran are difficult to understand, and they require intense study before their meaning is clear. Throughout the centuries Muslims have turned to the Quran for guidance. The Quran provides regulations that every Muslim is expected to follow day to day. Islamic education is highlighted by the studying of the Quran-Koran as well as the life and teachings of Muhammad.
Muhammad is seen by his followers to be a model human being. There is even a special word used for those who look to him as a role model. It is called Sunnah. During Muhammad's lifetime his followers began to collect stories and his teachings. Most of these stories came from the people who were closest to him. These stories became the basis for what is known as the Hadith. The Hadith taught the Islamic community about Muhammad's political and military success. It also tells of his religious, private, and family life. Within the first two centuries of Muhammad's death the number of Hadith's were in the hundreds of thousands.