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Sacred scripture of Islam, regarded by Muslims as the infallible word of God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The book, first compiled in its authoritative form in the 7th century, consists of 114 chapters (surahs) of varying length, written in Arabic. The earliest surahs call for moral and religious obedience in light of the coming Day of Judgment; the ones written later provide directives for the creation of a social structure that will support the moral life called for by God. The Qur'an also provides detailed accounts of the joys of paradise and the terrors of hell. Muslims believe that the God who spoke to Muhammad is the God worshiped by Jews and Christians but that the revelations received by those religions are incomplete. Emphasis on the stern justice of God is tempered by frequent references to his mercy and compassion. The Qur'an demands absolute submission (islam) to God and his word, and it serves as the primary source of Islamic law. It is regarded as immutable in both form and content; traditionally translation was forbidden. The translations available today are regarded as paraphrases to facilitate understanding of the actual scripture.
Variants of QUR'AN
Qur'an or Koran
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Qur'an, visit Britannica.com.