For Muslims, or followers of Islam, the Holy Qur'an is the actual word of Allah revealed through the archangel Jibreel (Gabriel) to the Holy and Last Nabi (Prophet, peace be upon him) of Islam during the twenty-three year period of his mission. It was revealed in the Arabic language as a sonoral revelation which the Nabi (peace be upon him) repeated to his companions. Arabic became therefore the language of Islam even for non Arab muslims. Under the direction of the Nabi (peace be upon him), the verses and chapters were organized in the order known to Muslims to this day. There is only one text of Holy Qur'an accepted by all four schools of Islamic thought and there are no variants.
The Holy Qur'an is the central sacred reality of Islam. The sound of the Holy Qur'an is the first and last sound that a muslim hears in this life. As the direct Word of Allah and the embodiment of the Will of Allah, the Holy Qur'an is considered as the guide "par excellence" for the life of Muslims. It is the source of all Islamic doctrines and ethics. Both the intellectual aspects of Islam and Islamic Law have their source in the Holy Qur'an. Perhaps there is no book revered by any human collectivity as much as the Holy Qur'an is revered by Muslims. Essentially a religion of the book, Islam sees all authentic religions as being associated with a scripture. That is why Muslims call Christians and Jews the "people of the book".
Throughout all its Surahs (chapters) and Ayats (verses), the Holy Qur'an emphasizes the significance of knowledge and encourages Muslims to learn and to acquire knowledge, not only of the Laws of Allah and religious injunctions, in a language rich in it's varied terminology, to the importance of seeing, contemplating, and reasoning about the world of creation and its diverse phenomena. It places the gaining of knowledge as the highest religious activity, one that is most pleasing in the Eyes of Allah. That is why wherever the message of the Holy Qur'an was accepted and understood, the quest for knowledge flourished.
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