This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The miracle of Islam

The original commission given to Muhammad was to ‘recite’, and this he did, for the word al-qur’an from which we derive ‘koran’ means simply ‘a recitation’.

The Koran is composed of 114 chapters, called surahs, arranged in order of decreasing length. The one exception to this rule is the first chapter, which is shorter and which pertains to daily prayer.

The words that compose the surahs came to Muhammad through Gabriel, piecemeal, over the span of twenty-three years, and Muhammad is said to have had no control over the time and place of this ‘inspiration’. When the words came, his followers wrote them down or memorized them to record later.

Here we must again refer to what is often said: that the Koran is to Islam what Christ is to Christianity. This is offered as a correction to what might seem more intuitive but incorrect, which is to compare Christ to Muhammad.

Just as Christ is the ‘created logos’ and incarnates the Uncreated Logos, so also the created Koran is but the incarnation in history of the Uncreated Koran.

If the Semitic scriptures ranging from the Old Testament through the New Testament and arriving at the words given to the Prophet through Gabriel, we can speak of a single Book, acknowledged and embraced by Muslims, but with some very significant qualifications, first and foremost that only the Koran is perfect. Thus, we find the Koran presents itself much in the same way that the New Testament was presented to the Old: as its fulfillment:

“We made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel…you have nothing of guidance until you observe the Torah and the Gospel.”[1]

It is this single Book that Muslims have in mind when they include Christians, Muslims, and Jews as ‘People of the Book’. But again, it is only the Koran that is perfect: “This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt.” Only the Koran is had in its perfect form and uncorrupted, the Christian scriptures being seen as wrought with discrepancies such as the differing accounts that occur throughout the Gospels. Thus, the Old and New Testaments contain the truth, but in a partial form, those errors introduced in transmission to be corrected by what is contained in the Koran.

[1] Koran 5:70, 68.

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