10 Surprising Facts to Know Before Reading the Qur’an — Ismaili Gnosis com

 In the seventh century of the Christian era there was a rapid and brilliant new flowering of humanity’s capacity and desire for adventure and discovery in the realms of both spirit and intellect. That flowering began in Arabia; its origin and impetus were given to it by my Holy ancestor, the Prophet Mohammed, and we know it by the name of Islam. From Arabia the tide of its influence flowed swiftly and strongly to North Africa and thence to Spain.

Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III,
(Memoirs of the Aga Khan: World Enough and Time)

This article presents ten little-known all-important facts about the Holy Qur’an (the scripture of Islam), which both Muslims and non-Muslims remain generally unaware of. For those who remain skeptical about the historical existence of Prophet Muhammad and the dating/transmission of the Qur’anic Text, we first present historical evidence that Prophet Muhammad lived and preached in Arabia in the first half of the seventh century and then show manuscript evidence and academic scholarship that shows the present day Qur’anic Text dates from around 650 CE. Following this, we present ten all-important facts about the Qur’an that have been uncovered by historical scholarship, which change the way one approaches and reads the scripture of Islam.

A. How Do We Know Prophet Muhammad Actually Existed?

Muhammad is not completely a fiction of later pious imagination, as some have implied; we know that someone named Muhammad did exist, and that he led some kind of movement. And this fact, in turn, gives us greater confidence that further information in the massive body of traditional Muslim materials may also be rooted in historical fact.

Fred Donner (Professor of Near Eastern History – University of Chicago), (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 53)

A. How Do We Know Prophet Muhammad Actually Existed?

Muhammad is not completely a fiction of later pious imagination, as some have implied; we know that someone named Muhammad did exist, and that he led some kind of movement. And this fact, in turn, gives us greater confidence that further information in the massive body of traditional Muslim materials may also be rooted in historical fact.

Fred Donner (Professor of Near Eastern History – University of Chicago), (Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam, 53)

While it has become popular to question the very existence of Prophet Muhammad and other major religious figures like Moses, Jesus, and Buddha, the historical evidence for Prophet Muhammad existing and living in 7th century Arabia is vast and well documented. Several examples of the earliest sources documenting the existence and mission of Prophet Muhammad are summarized below:

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