One of the earliest and certainly one of the most widely used and respected collections of hadith was that collated by Imam Bukhari who died in 870 C.E. Finally, there have been a number of respected commentaries that attempt to accomplish tafsir, that is, exegesis or careful and systematic interpretation of the original intent of the Qur'anic text. These began to be assembled near the end of the ninth century, and there are six specific collections that comprise the most widely used commentaries still in use today.
CONTENT OF THE QUR'AN
The Qur'an addresses itself to all people of all times. The essential message of the Qur'an is contained in its first seven ayahs, "In the name of God, the most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace: All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds, the Most Gracious, Lord of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone do we worship; and unto Thee alone we turn for aid. Guide us to the straight way-The way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings, not of those who have been condemned (by Thee), nor of those who go astray." This surah is repeated 17 or more times a day by Muslims during the five daily prayers and is known as the Umm al-Kitab or Mother of the Book.
The major themes of the Qur'an comprise the nature and character of God's transcendence and absolutely unique and eternal existence, as well as the appropriate response to and worship of God. The Qur'an also proclaims the true created nature of people and intention of God for human lives as a reminder to people to fulfill their God-given purpose and destiny, as well as the responsibility of people to care for and be responsible trustees of this world. The nature of human societies is addressed in practical discussions and examples of how to form an orderly and ethical Muslim social order or ummah. Two hundred and fifty ayahs are devoted to a discussion of rules for social behavior, economic issues, and criminal and international law. Nature is also described as God's creation that submits to God by its very design. And the value of reasoning and rationality is celebrated in the Qur'an in some 750 ayahs, almost one-eighth of the Qur'an. Qur'anic scholars have identified what they believe to be the Meccan and Medinan surahs of the Qur'an. The Meccan surahs are generally made up of short, concise chapters of powerful ayahs admonishing listeners to accept the one and true God, to turn from their sinful practices, and to avoid the impending divine judgment. Because of the short length of the Meccan surahs, they are to be found for the most part toward the back of the Qur'an. The Medinan surahs are best described as those revelations that occurred after the hijra or migration of the Muslim community from Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E. For although the Muslim community came back to Mecca eventually and the Qur'an continued to be revealed at this time, the revelations after the hijra possess a similar style and themes. The Medinan surahs are on the whole larger with longer ayahs more characteristic of a teaching style. These surahs are concerned with guiding the Muslim community in Medina through narratives of earlier prophets and their communities, stories, parables, legal principles, and exhortations on how to live together as an organized Muslim ummah. Ultimately, the Qur'an provides humanity with hudud or signals of the limits of human behavior, leaving it to Muslims to work out how these guidelines are to be applied in everyday life. For example, the Qur'an instructs Muslims to avoid the use of interest on loans of any kind, to be modest in all facets of their life, and to ever balance justice with mercy. But it is up to individuals and communities of Muslims to work out precisely how these principles will be lived out in everyday existence.