Quran, a Brief Overview

An Interview with Dr. Jamal Badawi, former professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he taught in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management

Q: Dr. Jamal Badawi, please can you start introducing the Quran and what you feel is the message of the Quran to Muslims?

Dr. Badawi: Well, first of all, I wish to thank you and the organizers for your kind invitation, and to greet all viewers with the traditional Islamic greeting, the greeting of all of the prophets: Asslamau`alaikum (peace be with you all).

As far as your question on what the Quran is and what it means to Muslims, I will explain that first briefly from the Quranic perspective, from a Muslim perspective, and try to connect that also with other fellow believers in God like Jews and Christians; the Bible mainly.

For a Muslim, the Quran is the word of God; literal word of God communicated to His last Prophet and Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through Angel Gabriel. For a Muslim, this is the ultimate source of authority because it’s not only revelation or inspiration of God, it’s verbatim word or revelation of God.

Now as we compare that so that our respected audience from the Jewish or Christian background can at least relate to this understanding, this is not unusual. In fact, In Islam, Judaism and Christianity there is this notion of God revealing His will to humankind. I believe that there are other religions as well who depend as authority on scriptures also that they believe have some form of revealed nature. But let me focus on the three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam that seem to share more of this concept. [Learn more: Islam Explained]

Comparing the Quran and Bible

If we look into the Bible, we will find that there are instances or statements that appear to be also sort of verbatim word of God, or the closest thing to that. For example, the Ten Commandments when God said to Moses Thou shall do this, or Thou shall not do this, it doesn’t come in a form where God says I inspired Moses or Moses says God revealed this to me. It appeared to be verbatim word of God. So that comes the closest to the concept of revelation of the Quran to Muslims.

The only difference perhaps I can see is that in the Bible there are like I said sections which appear to have been direct word of God, not just inspiration, but the Bible does contain also biography about prophets, writings by their followers, reports of their particular religious experiences, so these are all intermingling.

Many of my Christian brothers and sisters, as well as Jewish brothers and sisters, when we get into dialogue you hear them also saying that from their perspective also there is another form of revelation which is more of an inspiration. You read in the Hebrew scripture God inspired His servant so and so. So it implies that the revelation is not exactly word for word what God revealed, like what could be the case with the Ten Commandments. [Click here to find out more Islam's take on divine books.]

But mainly it’s more of an inspiration, and in Islamic tradition we have a parallel to that also and that is in the so-called Hadith, or the words and actions of the Prophet of Islam, because Hadith or the sayings of the Prophet are believed by Muslims also to be inspired by God, but it is not exactly word for word because the Prophet used his own words to express or communicate those messages. That might be to some extent parallel to what can be found in the Bible.

So in that sense it does not appear to me really that Muslims’ understanding about the Quran is that vastly different from the basic notion of revelation, especially in revealed religions of the People of the Book, as the Quran called them, in that sense and in terms of its authority and what it means to Muslims.

Muslims perhaps are more confident about the revelatory nature of the Quran as word for word revelation. This is a basic article of faith in Islam without which a Muslim cannot claim really to be a Muslim. So we can’t compare apples and oranges when you get some kinds of scriptures for example that may combine the word of God and interpretation of humans, it would not from the Muslim perspective have the same authority as a book like the Quran which is A to Z nothing but the verbatim word of God.

Q: Thank you. So, can you tell us Dr. Badawi a little bit about what the Quran means for everyday Muslims. What kinds of topics are covered within the Quran? What is the overall message of the Quran? What does a Muslim take away from the Quran in terms of his everyday life?

Dr. Badawi: The overall message of the Quran is the same overall message that God revealed to all of the prophets from Adam down to the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Quran seems to affirm that. If I were to summarize it in a succinct manner, the topic of the Quran is the human and his or her relationship with the Creator, and also the relationship with other creatures of God, whether humans or others. That’s the topic and the focus of the Quran. [Read more: Concept of God in Islam]

The Quran’s Core Message

In essence, the message of the Quran is to bring to our attention that we were not created in vain, and that we will be held responsible for our conduct on this earth. In the Quran, God indicates that He created the human to be His trustee on earth. This is actually an honor given by God to the human being, dignity to be the trustee of God even though He doesn’t need our worship and our obedience. It is for our own benefit.

The message of the Quran is to say or believe that guidance that is coming from the Creator of the universe is the ultimate guidance, for God has the ultimate wisdom, power, and knowledge. And God alone is the ultimate authority and should be obeyed without qualification, obedience that is based not just on fear or reward but on the love of God.

It indicates again that one should look forward, like you mentioned for example in terms of daily life, one should look after the Quran for guidance. The Quran generally gives broader guidance in most aspects within concepts, and there are some details there, but normally to the broader guidance so as to conduct our lives according to the will of God. And the Quran finally indicates that since a human being is a free agent, he or she can choose to obey God or disobey, to believe or reject faith.

Then that kind of privilege has a responsibility that goes with it because ultimately we have a responsibility to return back to God. There will be resurrection. There will be life after death in which people would be rewarded, or otherwise, according to their conduct.

So that in a way can be put as a capsule or a capsulized nature or summary on the Quran, because it is in my humble belief as a Muslim that all prophets of God have taught this exact same core message as the Quran taught.

Reprinted, with permission, from www.onislam.net




  1. Jade Stone says:

    The God of Christian Bible does NOT condone ANY killing. Deuteronomy 5:17 You shall not murder.
    Anyone that thinks differently is a fool. God is a God of love & mercy. Through & ONLY through Jesus can we be saved. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." IF there are peace loving Muslims. Then why are you not standing up & asking for help to rid yourselves of those radical islamists that would tarnish the name of your religion?

  2. Marius Polke says:

    "You shall not murder."- he said and went on to flood the entire earth.

  3. Brooke Wann says:

    Marius Polke , He flooded the earth because everyone on it was completely messed up and rebelling against him, bar a few people. He needed to judge the world, not because He's a murderer, not because he kills people every time they stuff up, but because He's God and almost every single person that he made had turned to evil and stopped even acknowledging his power or existence

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wish all religions could work toward compassion and understanding. "Only one god" as caused a fatal conflict. If religions are a construct of an evolutionary process (pre dating modern religion) which causes man kind to desire worship, and we have constructed religions on faith and emotion, then we have caused more harm than good while we are on earth.

  5. It is said that NO ONE can come to my father except through his Son, in John 14:6 New International Version
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.So, being as the Qur'an doesn't believe in Jesus, then God will not hear the prayers of those that don't believe in their son!

  6. oops sorry…"Those that don't believe in HIS son."

  7. James Chandler says:

    Jade apparently skipped 1 Samuel 15:3

  8. Ijtaba Alavi says:

    Brooke Wann While in that case, He could have changed their mindsets rather than finishing them off! God holds the power to change the hearts (minds).

  9. Marius Polke says:

    Brooke Wann We'll I guess that completely unkills those people then. Following bible canon here, your god knew that would happen since he's omnipotent and can see into the future. So he created man (again following bible canon and not actual real life) and immediately knew that Eve would eat that fucking fruit and that he's going to murder several million people. That guy sounds like a shit stain of inconceivable proportions to me.

  10. Brooke = were there not babies in the world at that time??

  11. Nignan Ib says:

    Assalamualikum? peace be upon the last prophet muhammed . I am a Ghanaian and i was having a Muslim background as well but now im seriouse about the religion sine i found out to be the best and truth religion as well Glory be to Allah and hs Massanger.
    I am a Ghanain born and use to stay at small village with a cute mosque that we use to pray there as well, I would be glade if any one can assist me with Holy Quran to share with my people there and also welcome with any support that will be given to us as well. hope and beleive Allah will bless that person abundantly.
    my Adress is:
    Ahmed Ibrahim
    P.O.BOX 6981
    Adum- Kumasi

    Tel: +233(0549905217 )

  12. Az Younas says:

    Jade its difficult to stand up to violent muslims who are secretly financed and funded by America and the West. Who has Al Qaeda and ISIS killed and humiliated the most? yep Muslims. The 'lovely' Saudi Royal for example. Known to have murdered numerous moderate scholars and imprisoned others over the past century. They are known to commit human rights abuses. The alleged hijackers on 9/11 all came from there. But guess what? The Saudis were funded to power by the British in the early part of the last century. And over the past decade, the US has sold the Saudis over $4.4bn worth of weapons. (See picture of Bush holding hands in the Whithouse with the Saudi Royals).

    Secondly, Jade, Islam isnt a religion which deals with fairy tales. It deals with real life situations. Yes peace and love is great, but Islam also gives human beings the right to defend themselves. Is a person who defends himself from a murder, a violent or bad person?

    I believe my American friends call it The 2nd Amendment?

  13. You should also tell people the truth. The quran teaches the Muslims to cut off the heads of non muslims. It also tell muslims to be jihad is and blow shit up killing as many as possible, . Makwar on non muslims, kill the men and rape their woman and to collect all females and make sex slave from them. Also if a Muslim blows buildings up killing mass number of people, he will get a bunch of virgins to have sex with and play with their bodies, mutilation of female sex parts are often mutilated by muslim men. The Muslims are like wicked, evil dogs. They will pretend to be your friend and when you least expect it they will cut your head off. I do not see anything about muslims that is peacefull!!! Read a copy of their quran if you don't believe me..e

  14. The quran and muslims are evil. BEWARE AND DON'T BE FOOLED OR TRICKED TO THINK OTHERWISE. Just look at obeemer.


  16. It seems that you are taking things out of context brother. Nevertheless, do you have any proof to support your argument? You suggest to people to read the Quran but it seems you only looked at It without READING it.

  17. Sandra Moore says:

    There are good & bad ppl in all religions Howard Schutz James & clearly Dr Badawi was giving an educated opinion on the similarities of the Bible and Quaran.
    The Queens inheritance came from previous ancestors that beheaded ppl … why dont u read about the crusade or the protestants & catholics …. gee my friend u seem to be looking at only the bad ppl representing Islam instead of actually finding out what real, true muslims believe in….. that would be the one true God … Allah & the peaceful message

  18. If Muhammud was a true prophet then why was God not speaking to him DIRECTLY?.
    The only reason the name of Angel Gabriel was used ,was to give Muhammud a measure of credibility..nothing else.
    Jerusalem (dome of the rock) is not even mentioned ONCE in the Koran. Muhammud never personally visited there. The entire Jerusalem Holy Site is TOTAL NONSENSE. Muslims face Mecca not Jerusalem.
    Muhammed was an Arab uniting warrior leader who killed and was huimself wounded in battle…. so therefore without CLAIMING Judeo Christian connections,….. Islam would simply be an Arabian Penisular cult.

    There is nothing new in the Koran…Nothing! …… Even early Muslims said so…..It is pointless…unless you are a waring Arabian Tribal Society, in which case…. it could perhaps be considered an upgrade.

    If you need to hear what The Angel Gabriel really says…then pray to Angel Gabriel Himself…not get it second hand ……………….and listen..

  19. Ignorant follows the ignorance and falsification…….if Allah (SWT) will, might get the truth one day.

  20. The entire religion of Islam is nothing more than old gnarly Arab camel shit.

    Mohammud was a pediphile (according to the Koran itself) …he made exactly ZERO PROPHESIES … some prophet huh!!…..introduced ABSOLUTELY NOTHING NEW… 500 years AFTER Christianity.

    The "prophet" was nothing more than an Arab ILLITERATE (so the first question is,,,, who wrote ithe "Koran" down?)…..
    …his big claim to fame is, he united warring tribes in Arabia…he PERSONALLY KILLED his enemies.and was himself wounded. So he was A MURDERER….but that's what religious Muslims everywhwere, look for in their "prophet" …right?
    He claimed he never spoke to god…EVEN ONCE…just Gabriel.
    But his name SOMEHOW is even holier to Muslims than God's. More camel shit!

    Let's examine the Holy Place of Islam.,,,Saudia Arabia…the home of the 2 mosques..
    These highly evolved religious and spiritual Muslims of the Second Millenium are ….
    stonning people to death
    depriving women of equality with men.
    cutting limbs and heads off human beings
    Killing themselves in frenzy while walking around a large black rock throwing stones at the devil…It's comic in a sad way.

    Try to remember that this is the Cream of the Islamic Cup.

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