Literally the word Qur’an means recitation. The Qur’an is the inspired Word of God, spoken in the seventh century through the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In his thirties, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) began to have visions which came to him in his sleep. He then sought solitude, and would go to Mt. Hira, a mountain just outside Mecca, for spiritual retreats. He would take provisions with him, and retire to a cave, alone, to pray and meditate. The year he was forty, an Angel appeared before him and ordered him to: “Recite!” Mohammad said: “I am not a reciter.”
The Angel then embraced him so tightly as to stretch him to the limits of his endurance. This sequence was repeated twice again. The third time the Angel released him, he said
Who created, created the human out a clot of blood;
And your Lord is Most Bountiful,
He Who taught you knowledge of the inner clear book,
Taught you that which you knew not
(96 : 1-5)
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) repeated the words after the Angel, and then fled in fear down the mountain. When halfway down the mountain, he heard a voice speaking:
“O Mohammad, you are the Messenger of God, and I am Gabriel.”
The Prophet stood, looking upward, and he saw the Angel of God everywhere, to the farthest reaches of the horizon.
This message was soon followed by another message, speaking directly and personally to Mohammad
By the knowledge of the inner, clear book
And by its expansion into form and substance,
You are not, by the grace of your Lord, mad or possessed,
Nay, verily for you is a Reward unfailing;
And you possess and exalted standard of character.
(68 : 1-4)
For a period of time, there were no more messages, and then they resumed again, to continue intermittently over the rest of the Prophet’s lifetime, a period of about 25 years.
The messages came through voices that sounded at first like reverberating bells, but gradually condensed into a single voice. When receiving revelation, Mohammad’s state would visibly change. The words Mohammad received were memorized by his followers and recorded on bones, bark, leaves, and scraps of parchment. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) considered Qur’an the only miracle God worked through him— God’s “standing miracle,” he called it.