Islam did not introduce any new religion. Disbelievers of Makkah opposed the Holy Prophet (swm) because they blindly followed the religions of their forefathers. They were stuck in the past, unable to grasp new ideas. They earned the title of “JAHIL” thanks to their ignorance and backwardness.
The word ‘Quran does not mean ‘Book, ‘Kitab means Book. It is also not a scripture, ‘Mushaf means scripture. Quran implies reading, reciting or in a larger context recitation with understanding. God’s message did not come to serve any particular group, His Words are for all people. Language of the Quran is classical Arabic, which is different from modern Arabic, using more allegory, descriptive and narrative phrases. To understand the Quran requires a close study of Holy Prophet Muhammad (swm)’s mission and struggles.
The Holy Prophet (swm) was meditating in a cave when he received the first revelation. Was it a custom among Arabs to meditate? Budhists are known for meditation not Arabs. Prophet Muhammad (s) had an unusual curiosity for 7th centuryArabia. Meditation helps search for inner peace, spirituality, religion, God, eternal life, calmness, relaxation, and tranquility. It makes the mind enter an ideal level for “thinking’ clearly. It flushes out all the negative thoughts and brings in positive energy. He (s) must have thought about the social conditions in his surroundings, searching for the Truth, wanting to know the real purpose of life in this world. Syedena Muhammad (s) was ‘thinking’, asking questions, searching for answers, looking for solutions to life’s problems. At such an higher thought level Holy Prophet Muhammad (swm) received the first Word of God.
God’s first instruction to humanity is ‘READ. Literacy and education are similar but not equal. An illiterate man can still choose to be educated. Recite, contemplate, understand etc are all connected to Read, and to become an educated personality who lives in a civilized world. Otherwise man will live in ignorance, living under the mercy of another man, in a humiliated status of slavery, mental or physical.
God’s first order for humanity is to break free from slavery. Man should never be subjugated by another man, or nation, or by any system made by another man. To live an honorable life is the birth right of every person. The Holy Prophet (s) searched for answers and he got it from God, “READ” – IQRA, liberate yourself from all forms of slavery.
Recite in the name of your Lord who created –
Created man from a clinging substance.
Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –
Who taught by the pen –
Taught man that which he knew not.
(Holy Qur’an, Surah Alaq, 96, 1-5)
The Holy Qur’an is the Word of God Almighty, a Guidance for mankind, to change their conditions, from darkness to light. The message of the Holy Qur’an is one of constant change, always flowing away from stagnation, running towards progress. The exalted Prophet (s) was the chosen leader for this Qur’anic movement. He (s) would fight against all odds to set up the final message of God on earth. Qur’anic generation was born in Makkah with the prophethood of Muhammad (s) for all mankind and for every generation and for all times. Prophets before him came and established religious rites, rituals and basic laws of governance. But Prophet Muhammad (s) had the most challenging assignment of them all. He (s) had to struggle against all the established priesthoods, idols, mental stagnation and blind followings. He (s) had to deliver the Quran for mankind to continuously keep reforming themselves and to fight against the forces of evil. This Quranic message was the mission for the last Prophet of God, Muhammad (swm).