Islamic sacred texts are Qur’ān (Koran) and Hadith. Koran is the word of God conveyed through the archangel Gabriel and the Prophet Muhammed. Koran is written in Arabic – the sacred language for Islam and also the language of liturgy. Ideally, Koran must not be translated, but its text has been rendered in nearly every language. The composition of Koran has no distinct beginning or end. The structure is nonlinear. Koran is divided into 114 chapters (suras). The titles of suras are believed to be have given by Muhammad himself. The opening chapter of Koran is repeated in daily prayers and on other occasions.
Koran tells about Allah – the only God, both completely transcendent and completely imminent. It also says that there is immediate connection between God and human beings and they communicate directly without priests. Each person is God’s “vicegerent” on earth. However, according to Koran, humans are forgetful and should be constantly reminded about God and made to obey His law. Men and women have to be virtuous, i.e. to obey God, and to perform their duties to family, society, etc.
Koran contains the guidance for nearly every aspect of the life of a Muslim and includes some legislative postulates which compose the Islamic law (Shariah).
Hadith is a book of second authority to Koran. It is a record of Islamic traditions and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. It gives a biography of the Prophet Muhammed as an example of virtuous behavior and a description of his community. Hadith gives a comprehensive picture of the early Muslim world and presents invaluable insights in the Muslim mentality and traditions.
Ḥadīth. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 19, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/251132/Hadith
Qur’ān. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 19, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/487666/Quran
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