The following article is from the On Demand Course: Is the Quran True Revelation? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Shaykh Ali Hani. This is the first in a series.
دَامَتْ لَدَيْنَا فَفَاقَتْ كُلَّ مُعْجِزَةٍ
مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ إِذْ جَاءَتْ وَلَمْ تَدُمِ
They stayed among us, and so transcended all miracles
From all the prophets, as they had come and then ceased to be.”
(Azzam, The Burdah: The Singable Translation)
Before exploring the proofs as to why the Quran is true revelation from Allah, let us begin by understanding two fundamental terms: Religion and Revelation.
Classically, the scholars define religion as “divine guidance revealed to the Prophets, calling those of intellect to choose what is good for them of the good of this life and the next towards the ultimate good.”
This definition is further elucidated. “Religion is Divine Guidance” is a truth claim. This is from God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
“Revealed to The Prophets.” – When The Prophets received divine guidance they made that truth claim and they were challenged. Iman (faith) is to know the truth and to accept it whereas a rejection of the truth is kufr (disbelief) and with this comes a crucial question: “When the proof is brought, will you have the humility to accept it?”
“Calling those of intellect to choose.” – God has blessed you with all that you have and you are accountable before Him. You have a choice and your choosing is a moral responsibility.
With the above considerations in mind, individuals are to “choose what is good for them of the good of this life and the next towards the ultimate good.”
Sources of Divine Guidance
The entirety of religion is divine guidance, the sources of this guidance being two: The Quran and The Sunna of The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Quran is the recited revelation whereas the Prophetic Sunna is the unrecited revelation. You also establish Religion by ijma‘ (consensus of the scholars) and qiyas (analogy).
Consensus and analogy are not isolated from Religion. Anything the Mujtahid Imams agree upon follows from what we know of the religion. This is consensus. As for analogy, it is deriving a ruling related to a new matter by having an ‘illa (shared underlying meaning) with something that is revealed.
When a scholar gives a religious verdict he is saying that, given a consistent and sound interpretive method, this is what we understand that Allah Most High would say about this matter.
A functional definition of revelation is that it is “Guidance decisively inspired by God.” Revelation is decisively from Allah and establishes a moral duty to do something or desist from something. It is also decisive in that only Prophets receive revelation.
Only Prophets establish the Divine Command on creation either by telling us through the revealed revelation that this is the Speech of God addressing us in the revealed Books (for us The Quran) or by reporting on behalf of God.
Distinguishing Revelation by God from Inspirations
You have inspirations that come to you arising in your consciousness, those inspirations are either Divine, Angelic, Selfish or Demonic. Divine inspirations are meanings of faith that come to the heart, they don’t require anything. Then there are Angelic inspirations which call you to do good.
There are selfish inspirations which by way of example would be something like “I am hungry, I want to have a steak.” This thought has no consideration of good. It is a Khatir Nafsani (a selfish thought). Lastly, you can have Satatnic inspirations – ideas that directly or indirectly turn you away from Allah.
Revelation is different from inspiration in that it is decisive, only from God and comes with a call of moral responsibility to act or desist. Inspirations are not necessarily Divine or Angelic (it is not decisive). And even if true it does not establish proof for anyone else. Someone’s inspiration does not bind you. The basic thing with inspirations that you consider is its consequence.
By gaining an understanding of what Religion and Revelation are, one can proceed to understand how we know that The Quran is from Allah. The core reality is the I’jaz (inimitability) of The Quran. Nothing compares to The Quran.