is sacred history and narratives that pertain to prophets of old and their peoples. This sacred history confines itself almost completely to the Abrahamic tradition and the Israelite prophets, although some Arab prophets not found in the Bible are also mentioned. The import of this sacred history is meant, however, to be universal, since the Islamic revelation is addressed to all of humanity rather than to a particular people, as is the case with Judaism. For Muslims, the sacred history narrated in the Quran was revealed by God to the Prophet; it is not simply a compilation of reports heard from Jewish or Christian sources. There is in fact a subtle difference between Biblical and Quranic accounts of sacred history. While the Biblical accounts have a more historical nature, Quranic sacred history is more ahistorical and is revealed primarily to teach ethical and spiritual lessons. Quranic sacred history is seen more as events within the human soul rather than as just historical events in the world. All human beings possess within their being, for example, the qualities of Moses and those of Pharaoh, the beauty of Joseph and the conniving of his brothers; the sacred history is a means of teaching Muslims about their own souls as well as about good and evil and the ultimate triumph of good over evil, if one takes recourse in God, seeks His Help, and has confidence in Him throughout the trials of life, as did prophets of old.--from the "General Introduction" to The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr editor-in-chief; Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Joseph E. B. Lumbard, general editors; Mohammed Rustom, assistant editor. (New York, NY: HarperOne, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, ), xxvii.
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and Islam's are no exception in this regard. The Quran looks upon history as a finite reality that begins with God's creation of the present humanity and ends with His bringing human and cosmic history to its eschatological end. The Quranic conception of the march of time is in a sense cyclical: each cycle is marked by the descent of a message from God through a prophet, the gradual forgetting of that message by the particular people to whom it was sent, and usually the occurrence of a Divinely willed calamity, followed by the coming of a new prophet. But these cycles of prophecy are not endless. Rather, the Quran announces that the Prophet of Islam is the Seal of prophets (33:40) in the chain of prophecy and that after him will come not another prophet [e: as a new prophet with a new message], but eschatological events that mark the end of this world and present-day humanity.--from the "General Introduction" to The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr editor-in-chief; Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Joseph E. B. Lumbard, general editors; Mohammed Rustom, assistant editor. (New York, NY: HarperOne, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, ), xxvii-xxviii.