Revelation is not a personal experience that a Prophet brings forth from within himself. It is not a spiritual state that a person can attain by doing certain meditations or spiritual exercises. Quite the contrary, revelation is a communication between two beings: one that speaks, commands, and gives, and another who is addressed, commanded, and receives. It provides direction to help mankind judge between right and wrong, without which, man would surely be in loss. Allah says:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And He (is) the One Who (has) made you successors (of) the earth and raised some of you above others (in) ranks, so that He may test you in what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord (is) swift (in) the punishment, and indeed, He (is) [certainly], Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-An`am 6:165)
The existence of God is the actual revelation that God has sent to humankind as a sign of His existence. There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Quran, is the word of God. Below is a brief summary of the reasons that support this claim. The Quran: Is over 1400 years old and contains many scientific facts that were unknown to people of that time and which have only been discovered recently by science. Examples include: Allah says:
وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ
“And not it is granted except (to) those who (are) patient and not it is granted except (to the) owner (of) fortune great.” (Surah Fussilat 41:35)
God’s communication with man has always accompanied him, from the earliest period of his appearance on this planet, and throughout the ages until today. Men have often denied communication from God or attributed it to something other than its true source and origin.
أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Do not see those who disbelieved that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, then We parted them and We made from [the] water every living thing? Then will not they believe?” (Surah Al-Anbya 21:30)
More recently some have begun to deny God altogether or to explain away man’s preoccupation with God and the communication from Him as a preoccupation with delusion and fantasy. Yet even such people do not doubt that the preoccupation of a man with God’s communication is as old as man himself. Their reasoning is, they claim, based on material evidence. Allah says:
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ فِي الصَّالِحِينَ
“And those who believe and do righteous deeds We will surely admit them among the righteous.” (Surah Al-`Ankabut 29:9)
Contains many historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time as well as numerous predictions which have proven to be correct. Is free from any errors or contradictions despite gradual revelation over 23 years and covering a wide variety of topics.Has been preserved, word-for-word, since its revelation in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which no longer exist in their original form.
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
“And He inspired it (to distinguish) its wickedness and its righteousness” (Surat Ash-Shams, 91:8)
Muslims, referring to the Holy Qur’an, also conclude that from the beginning of his life on earth, man has received communication from God, to guide him and protect him from such self-perception and deceit: Allah says:
أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَن لَّن يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ أَضْغَانَهُمْ
“Or do think those who in their hearts (is) a disease that never will Allah bring forth their hatred?” (Surah Muhammad 47:29)
Has a simple, pure and universal message which appeals to Man’s intellect and inherent beliefs about Almighty God.Has a deep and moving effect on people. Was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was known to be illiterate, yet contains a unique style of language that is universally known as the pinnacle of Arabic eloquence and linguistic beauty. The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it is from God.
God Sends Guidance
Upon acknowledging that we have been created by the All-Wise Creator, we would expect to be informed of our purpose. How can we know what God expects from us? Do we live in trial and error, or make our own purpose? Do we “go with the flow” by following others? No. God sent Prophets and revelation to inform us of our purpose.
وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ
“The truth is from your Lord. So whoever will let him believe, and whoever will let him disbelieve.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:29)
God sent thousands of Prophets, at least one to every nation, with the same message: to worship God alone and to follow His guidance. They included Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
“As for him who feared to stand before his Lord and he restrained himself from his desires, then Paradise will be his refuge.” (Surah An-Naziat 79:40)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last in the chain of Prophets, was the perfect example of an honest, just, compassionate and brave human being. He was sent with the final revelation from God, the Quran, to demonstrate how its teachings should be applied.
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, and my rites of sacrifice, and my living, and my dying (are) for Allah, Lord (of) the worlds.” (Surah Al-An`am 6:162)
The Quran is a book of guidance and explains many concepts such as the purpose of our existence; who God is; the actions liked and disliked by God; the stories of the Prophets and their lessons; accounts of Heaven, Hell, and the Day of Judgement. It aims to clarify misunderstandings about the nature of God, such as clarifying the nature and role of Jesus compared to the nature of God. Allah says:
وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ
“And indeed, Allah (is) my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This (is) a path straight.” (Surah Maryam 19:36)
The Qur’an is the last scripture revealed by Almighty Allah (God), confirming what little truth remains in parts of previous scriptures and refuting and correcting fabrications and additions which have crept into current-day versions of such scriptures.
How was the Qur’an Revealed?
The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and exists only in the language in which it was revealed – Arabic. However, the translation of the meaning of the Qur’an is available in many languages. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ آمِنُوا بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهًا فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهَا أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّا أَصْحَابَ السَّبْتِ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا
“O you who (have) been given the Book, believe in what We (have) revealed confirming what is with you, before [that] We efface faces and turn them on their backs or We curse them as We cursed companions (of) the Sabbath. And is (the) command of Allah (always) executed.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:47)
The Qur’an was not sent down as a complete book in one revelation; rather, the revelation spanned over a period of 23 years. For this reason, it is essential to know in what circumstances the verses were revealed, in order to have a proper understanding of the Qur’an; otherwise, its teachings could be misunderstood.