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What is the Qur'an?

The Qur'ān (القرآن) is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. They also consider the text in its original Arabic, to be the literal word of Allah[1] revealed by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) to Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years[2][3], and view the Qur'an as God's final revelation.[4][5]

Structure and Content of the Qur'an

In length, the Qur'an is slightly shorter than the Christian New Testament (at approximately 165,000 words in English).[6] The text is not in chronological order, but arranged roughly longest surah (chapter) to the shortest (although this some surahs do deviate from this general order). Ayahs (verses) are generally written in the first person (spoken by Allah), thus they generally lack context. For context, Muslims use Hadith collections (oral traditions which record Muhammad's words and actions) and the Sirat (biography of Muhammad). With these, the surahs can be separated into two categories; Meccan and Medinan.

Love and Fear in the Qur'an

"While there are over 300 references in the Koran to Allah and fear, there are only 49 references to love. Of these love references, 39 are negative such as the 14 negative references to love of money, power, other gods and status.

Three verses command humanity to love Allah and 2 verses are about how Allah loves a believer. There are 25 verses about how Allah does not love kafirs (unbelievers)

This leaves 5 verses about love. Of these 5, 3 are about loving kin or a Muslim brother. One verse commands a Muslim to give for the love of Allah. This leaves only one quasi-universal verse about love: give what you love to charity and even this is contaminated by dualism since Muslim charity only goes to other Muslims."[7]

Non-Muslims and Punishment in the Qur'an

Approximately 67% of the Meccan verses deal with punishing unbelievers for disagreeing with Allah, and more than 50% of the so-called Medinan verses deals with hypocrites and jihad against unbelievers.[7] Also, there are nearly 500 verses (roughly one out of every twelve) in the entire Qur'an which speak of Hell, and over 400 which speak negatively of encourage hatred or dislaike of Jews, Christians, Idolaters and infidels in general.[7]


Not including verses which deal with heavenly rewards for those who strive on the path of Jihad, generic mentions of "victory", and Muhammad's negative opinions of those who do not participate in Jihad, there are roughly 164 Jihad verses in the Qur'an.[8] These speak clearly and directly of military expedition, fighting, spoils of war, raiding, taking slaves, and looting infidels.

Controversial Passages

Not only critics, but even practicing Muslims who are scholars of the text agree that the Qur'an justifies and permits things such as; persecution of Homosexuals, child marriage, polygamy, hatred of Jews, institutional religious discrimination, legalized domestic violence, slavery and the rape of slaves.

See Also

  • Qur'an - A hub page that leads to other articles related to the Qur'an


  • A version of this page is also available in the following languages: French and Czech. For additional languages, see the sidebar on the left.

External Links


  • Master Ayat (Verse) Index - From the people at Islam Awakened. Roman transliteration of the Arabic Qur’an and a massive 34 compared English translations
  • iKnowledge Literal Qur'an - Muslim website which provides the English literal translation of the Qur'an. Also shows that Allah is the "best deceiver" in verses 3:54, 7:99, 8:30, 10:21, and 13:42
  • Quranx.com - Multiple verses from different surahs can be displayed at the same time (useful in debates for references). Custom highlights are also possible. See their help page for details



  1. Qur'ān, Chapter 2, Verses 23-24
  2. Living Religions: An Encyclopaedia of the World's Faiths, Mary Pat Fisher, 1997, page 338, I.B. Tauris Publishers,
  3. Qur'an, Chapter 17, Verse 106
  4. Qur'an, Chapter 33, Verse 40
  5. Watton, Victor, (1993), A student's approach to world religions:Islam, Hodder & Stoughton, pg 1. ISBN 0-340-58795-4
  6. Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon? - The Hundredth Sheep
  8. 164 Jihad Verses in the Koran - Yoel Natan