Structure of the Text
As a holy scripture, the Qur'an is believed to be a collection of writings with divine, rather than human, origins. Islam teaches that the words of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad, not written by him. Their source is from God, and the verses were transmitted through Muhammad.
As the revelations came, Muhammad would recite the words and instruct the scribes as to where to put the new verses in the body of the text. All of this was done according to instructions given to him by the angel Gabriel. The verses of the Qur'an thus do not read from beginning to end in chronological order.
The original text of the Qur'an is often called the mus-haf, an Arabic word that means “collected pages.” When handling the Arabic text of the Qur'an, certain rules of etiquette must be followed to show respect and care for what is believed to be the direct speech of God.
When first reading the Qur'an, some people are initially confused by the seemingly random order. They may have expected to read a history book in chronological order, with chapters organized around certain themes or time periods. The Qur'an sometimes repeats particular points and recounts particular scenes in different ways throughout the different chapters. Historical accounts are interspersed with the lessons that can be learned from them. Exhortations to be kind and just are intertwined with reminders of the rewards of Paradise for those who are righteous.