Ali Quli Qarai, The Qur’ān with a Phrase-by-Phrase English Translation (2005)
The Qur’ān as such does not need an introduction. Rather it is we, human beings, who need the Qur’ān to be introduced to ourselves, to be provided with an initial knowledge of as to who we are, what we are, whence we come, where we stand, and whither we are bound. Without such a knowledge, we are lost, living as losers regardless of whatever we may imagine to be our achievements. The Qur’ān is, in its own words, “light,”1 which means that it is self-manifesting, with no need of an external agent to be made manifest; other things need light to become visible and manifest. With it Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace, and brings them out from darkness into light by His will, and guides them to a straight path (5:16). In this respect it is like its Author and Speaker, who is the Light of the heavens and the earth (24:35). Existence being light, all contingent existents stand in need of the Source of Being for their existence, whereas the Source itself is self-subsisting and self-manifesting. All existents exist through Allah and are known through Him, not that He is known through them.
Also, like the Qur’ān and its Author, its communicator, the Seal of the Prophets (ṣ), is a source of light,2 who brings people out of the darkness of ignorance and ingratitude, unfaith and unreason into the blessed light of knowledge, faith, gratitude and intellect: [This is] a Book We have sent down to you that you may bring mankind out from darkness into light, by the command of their Lord, to the path of the All-mighty, the All-laudable (14:1).
Of course, the Qur’ān is not an exception among revealed scriptures in that it is a source of light and guidance. So were the Torah and the Gospel, scriptures that were given to Moses 3 and Jesus.4 All scriptures of Divine origin that were brought by various prophets were a source of light and guidance.5 Nor is the Prophet of Islam (ṣ) an exception among God-sent emissaries.6 He (ṣ) is the ultimate link in a long chain of prophetic missions whose history began with Adam himself. Nevertheless, the Qur’ān is a unique document, not only in the realm of religious literature but also in the domain of language. It is unique among revealed scriptures not only because it is the latest and the last, and, therefore, the most up-to-date of them, but also because it is the only one
2 O Prophet! Indeed We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and as a warner and as a summoner to Allah by His permission, and as a radiant lamp. (33:45-46)
6 Say, ‘I am not a novelty among the apostles.…’ (46:9)