By : A. D. Ajijola
The Qur'an is the last of the divine books sent down by God and there are some very pertinent differences between it and the previous books. These differences may be summarised as follows:
1. The original texts of most of the former divine Books were lost altogether, and only their translations exist today. The Qur'an, on the other hand, exists exactly as it had been revealed to the Noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); not a word - nay, not a dot of it - has been changed. It is available in its original text and the Word of God has now been preserved for all times to come.
2. In the former divine Books man mixed his words with God's Words , but in the Qur'an not even a minute alternation has been effected. This is admitted even by the opponents of Islam.
3. In respect to each and every sacred book of the different people, it cannot be said on the basis of careful historical evidence that it really belongs to the same prophet to whom it is attributed. In the case of some of them even it is not known in what age and to which prophet they had been revealed. As to the Holy Qur'an, the evidence that it was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) is so voluminous, so convincing, so strong and so compelling that even the worst critic of Islam cannot cast doubt over it. The evidence in this respect is so vast and detailed that even about many verses and injunctions of the Qur'an, it can be known with certainty when and where they were revealed.
4. The former divine Books had been sent down in languages which have been dead long ago. In the present era, no nation or community speaks those languages and there are only a few people who claim to understand them. Thus, even if these books existed today in their original and unadulterated form, it would be virtually impossible in our age to correctly understand and interpret their injunctions and put them into practice in their required form. The language of the Qur'an, on the other hand, is a living language; millions of people speak it, and millions more know and understand it. It is being taught and learned in nearly every university of the world; every man can learn it, and he who has no time to learn it can find everywhere men who know the language and can explain to him the meaning of the Qur'an.
5. Each of the existing sacred books found among different nations of the world has been addressed to a particular people. Each of them contains some such commands which seem to have been meant for a particular period of history, and which catered to the needs of that age only. They are neither needed today, nor can they now be smoothly and properly translated into practice. It is evident from this that these books were particularly meant for those very people and none of them was meant for the whole world. Furthermore, they had not been sent to be followed permanently by even the people to whom they had been sent; they were meant to be acted upon only for a certain period. In contrast to this, the Qur'an has been addressed to all mankind; not a single injunction of it can be suspected as having been addressed to a particular people. In the same manner, all the commands and injunctions in the Qur'an are such as can be acted upon at every place at every time. This fact proves that the Qur'an is meant for the whole world, and is an eternal code for human life.
6. There is no denying the fact that the previous divine Books enshrined good and virtue, they taught the principles of morality and truthfulness and presented the mode of living which was to God's pleasure, but none of them was comprehensive enough to embrace all that is necessary for good human life, nothing superfluous, nothing lacking. Some of them excelled in one respect, others in some other. It is the Qur'an and the Qur'an alone which enshrines all that was good in the former books, perfects the way of Allah and presents it in its entirely and outlines that code of life which comprehends all that is necessary for man on this earth.
7. On account of man's interference and interpolation, many things have been inserted in those books which are against reality, revolting to reason and affronting to every instinct of justice. There are things which are cruel and unjust and vitiate man's beliefs and actions. Still more: unfortunately, there have been inserted things that are obscene, indecent and potently immoral. The Qur'an is free from all such rubbish. It contains nothing against reason, and nothing can be proved wrong. None of its injunctions is unjust; nothing in it is misleading. Of indecency and immorality not a trace can be found in it. From the beginning to the end, the whole book is full of wisdom and truth. It contains the best of philosophy and choicest of law for human civilization. It points out the right path and guides man to success and salvation.
It is on account of these special features of the Qur'an that all the people of the world have been directed to have faith in it, to give up all other books and to follow it alone, because it contains all that is essential for living in accordance with God's pleasure, and after it there remains absolutely no need for any other divine book.