The Qur'an and the Hadith: Islamic Revelation

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  • 0:01 Definition of Islam
  • 0:47 Koran
  • 2:00 Hadith
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will focus on the Koran and the Hadith as sacred texts of Islam. In doing so, it will highlight the Muslim monotheistic belief in Allah and the revelation of the Koran to Muhammad.

Definition of Islam

Today's lesson will explore two of the sacred texts of Islam, but before we get to these, let's first do a quick review of Islam. Stated very simply for our purposes, Islam is a faith based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. At its cornerstone is the belief that Allah is the only true god.

With that very quick definition, let's move onto its sacred texts. As we do this, there's one crucial difference between the two texts that I'd like you to keep in mind. The Koran is considered the words of Allah given to Muhammad, whereas the Hadith is believed to be the actual words of Muhammad. If we can keep that straight, we'll be in good shape. Now, onto the Koran.


Also spelled as the Qur'an, the texts are considered by the Islamic faith to be the word of Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It's believed this revelation occurred around the year 610 CE near the city of Mecca.

Divided into 114 chapters, known in Islam as Surahs, the Koran actually has no chronological order. In other words, unlike the Christian Bible, which begins with creation then continues to move throughout history, the Koran is arranged according to the lengths of the Surahs, specifically from longest to shortest.

Holding the most esteemed place of all Islamic texts, the Koran continually stresses that Allah is the only god. It asserts that he alone is absolute and everlasting. Adding to this, Muslims, or followers of Islam, believe that the Koran is an Earthly copy of actual tablets residing in heaven.

Like Allah, they maintain these tablets are eternal, without beginning or end. They are the final revelation of Allah. For this reason, the Koran is sometimes referred to as the 'Well-Preserved Book.'


Unlike the Koran, which is believed to be the words of Allah given to Muhammad, the Hadith is believed to be a collection of sayings or utterances of Muhammad.

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