chapter  10
Formation of the New Testament canon
Pages 16

Soon after the founding of Islam, Muslims started referring to Jews and Christians as “people of the book.” This phrase was used to signify that those groups had received revelation from God which had been written down and preserved in a holy book. In this sense, Muslims see themselves as standing in the same tradition as their monotheistic forebears, because they too have a sacred text – the Qur’an. But there are striking differences between the Qur’an and the Christian Bible with respect to their modes of composition. According to Islamic tradition, during the years 610632ce, Muhammed received a series of special revelatory messages. He memorized these messages and recited them to his companions, who wrote them down word for word and compiled them into the Qur’an (“recitation” is the literal meaning of the Arabic word for Qur’an). Thus the Qur’an is believed to be the verbatim word of God delivered through the Prophet Muhammed.1