The Holy Qur'an is our celestial Book and the eternal miracle of our Holy Prophet. This Divine Book was revealed to the Holy Prophet over a period of 23 years. The Holy Qur'an besides being a revealed Book and a manifestation of the miracle-producing power of the Holy Prophet has had a deeper and greater role than that of the staff of Prophet Musa and the breath of Prophet 'Isa.
The Holy Prophet used to recite the verses of the Holy Qur'an to the people. Their magnetic power on many occasions drew many a man to Islam. Such incidents are innumerable in Islamic history.
The Holy Qur'an is a collection of 114 chapters which consist of 6205 verses comprising about 78,000 words.
The fact that Muslims from the early days of Islam till the present day have been taking an unprecedented interest in the Holy Qur'an, shows their devotion to it. In the lifetime of the Holy Prophet the Holy Qur'an was preserved in writing by a number of persons especially appointed by him and known as the 'scribes of revelation'. Besides, most of the Muslims irrespective of their sex and age were keen to memorize the whole or a part of the Holy Qur'an. They recited it in their prayers and considered it a meritorious act to recite it even when they were not offering prayers. They really enjoyed its recitation.
Great Interest of Muslims in the Holy Qur'an
Under the impact of their ardent love for their revealed Book the Muslims in every age have rendered some service to the Holy Qur'an corresponding with their intellectual and practial potentialities. They memorized it. They acquired special training in reading it properly and uttering every letter of it through proper organs. They wrote commentaries on it and compiled special books explaining the meaning of every word of it.
They counted its verses, its words and even its letters. They explored its meanings and applied results to the legal, moral, social, philosophical, gnostic and scientific questions. They adorned their speeches and writings by quoting the verses of the Holy Qur'an. The inscriptions of high merit, Mosaics and Qashani tiles inscribed with beautifully drawn and illuminated lines and letters contained the Qur'anic verses.
The Muslims taught the Holy Qur'an to their children before giving them any other education. They compiled Arabic grammar and Arabic dictionaries to facilitate the understanding of the Holy Qur'an. They were inspired by it to develop the art of rhetoric.
The devotion of Muslims to the Holy Qur'an was the source of the origin of a number of sciences and literary arts which would not have come into being if it did not exist.
Inimitability of the Holy Qur'an
The Holy Qur'an is an everlasting miracle of the last Prophet. From the very beginning of its revelation in Makkah which began with small surahs, the Holy Prophet formally threw a challenge to the idolaters. He claimed that the Holy Quran was not his work.
It was the work of Allah and neither he nor any other human being could produce a like of it. He said that if they did not believe him, they could make an attempt to produce the like of it, and for that purpose could seek the help of anybody they liked. But they should know beforehand that they would never succeed in such an attempt even if all the human beings and the jinn joined hands together with them.
The opponents of the Holy Prophet neither during his lifetime nor during any subsequent period of the past 1400 years, have been able to respond to this challenge. The only thing that the opponents of Islam of the Holy Prophet's time could do was that they asserted that the Holy Quran was a piece of magic.
This accusation was in itself an admission of the supernaturalness of the Holy Qur'an and of their inability to emulate it. The die-hard opponents of the Holy Prophet had no scruples. They were so desperate that they left no stone unturned in order to harm and weaken his position. But the only thing they were unable to do was that which was proposed by the Holy Prophet himself and expressly asked by the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an had asked them to produce the like of at least one surah of it even if that be a one-line surah like Surah at-Tawhid or Surah al-Kawthar.
Various Aspects of the Inimitability of the Holy Qur'an
Here we propose to refer to some aspects of the miraculousness or supernaturalness of the Holy Qur'an. On the whole the inimitability of the Holy Qur'an has two aspects: one of them pertains to its words and the other to its contents.
The inimitability of its words is due to its beautiful and artistic diction, and the inimitability of its contents is due to their high intellectual and scientific value. Each of these two aspects, especially the second one again in its turn has several aspects. Lately certain Egyptian and Iranian scholars have claimed that one of the aspects of the inimitability of the Holy Qur'an is that its letters and words have been so arranged that its verses form a special type of ascending curve.