Koran; Quran

[page of Koran] (Arabic: quara'a, to read)

The sacred book of Mohammedans esteemed by them as Divine revelation. Supplemented by the Hadith or tradition, it is the foundation of Islam, and the final authority in matters religious, social, and legal. It consists of 114 suras, or chapters, varying from two sentences to lengthy ones. It lacks chronological or logical order. Containing history, fiction, religious belief and practises, laws, descriptions, etc., it is a combination of fact and fancy. It is written in rhymed Arabic prose with matter mostly borrowed from Old and New Testament and apocryphal writings, from later Judaism and Rabbinism, from Christian heresies, and from Arabian, Babylonian, and Persian heathenism. Some of the suras were delivered at Mecca before the Flight, A.D. 610-622; others afterwards at Medina, A.D. 622-633. Mohammed is the admitted author, though whether penned by him or delivered orally and later written down by others is uncertain. After Mohammed's death, A.D. 633, all fragments were collected into one volume by his disciple, Zaid ibn i Thabit. Later revised in phraseology, it constitutes the present Koran.

New Catholic Dictionary

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