The meaning of Qur’an is obvious to all Muslims; it is the final book of divine revelation, which Allaah revealed to the Seal of all Prophets, Muhammad (SalAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Nonetheless, given the importance of the Noble Qur’an, scholars have endeavored to give a more precise and scholarly definition of “The Qur’an”. It is as follows:
كلام الله , المنزّل على نبيه محمّد صلى الله عليه و سلّم, المعجز بلفظه, المتعبّد بتلاوته, المكتوب في المصاحف, المنقول بالتّواتُر
Allaah’s Speech, as revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (sws) , its wording is miraculous in nature, to recite it is an act of worship, it is that which is written in the Masaahif (written copies of the Qur’an), and is related in Mutawaatir form
Mubaahith Fee ‘Uloom Al-Qur’an (pg. 20)
In general, the purpose of mentioning so many clauses in the definition is to exclude everything that is not the Qur’an. Let us take a look at each individual clause so that we can better appreciate its importance to the overall definition:
1) “Allaah’s Speech”: Based on this clause, all speech of men, jinns, and angels is excluded.
2) “As Revealed”: This clause eliminates the definition of Allaah’s Speech that was not revealed, or that He imparted to the angels without instructing them to descend with it to a human being. Allaah did not reveal human beings everything He has said; some of what He subhanahu wa ta’aala has said is known exclusively to Him, or to certain angels as well. Refer to the ayahs of Allaah’s Knowledge (for e.g. Surah Kahf: 109)
3) “To His Prophet Muhammad”: This clause eliminates everything that Allaah subhanahu wa ta’aala revealed to other Prophets (alayhum as Salaam), such as the Torah, which was revealed to Moosa (alayhim Salaam); the Injeel, which was revealed to ‘Eesa (alayhim Salaam), the Zaboor to Prophet Dawud (alayhim Salaam); or As-Suhuf (The Scrolls) to Ibrahim (alayhim Salaam)
4) “Its wording is miraculous in nature”: This clause eliminates the category of Allaah’s Speech that is not meant to be miraculous in nature, such as Hadeeth Qudsi, which are Allaah’s Sayings, but because they are not meant to be miraculous like the Qur’an, the Prophet (sws) will sometimes reword those sayings when he would relate them to his Companions.
Similarly, this clause eliminates previously revealed books, since, unlike the Qur’an, Allaah subhanahu wa ta’aala did not challenge human beings to produce the equivalent of them.
5) “To recite it is an act of worship”: This eliminates Qudsi ahadeeth as well as recitation of specific verses that were related by individual narrators; such recitation are known as “Shaadh” or strange.
6) “It is that which is written in Al-Masaahif”: This eliminates Allaah’s sayings that are not written down in copies of Qur’an; therefore, by dint of this clause, we know that it is incorrect to use the term Qur’an to describe Verses that have been a part of the Qur’an but were then not only abrogated in meaning but actually removed from the Qur’an.
7) “And is related in Mutawaatir form”: Something that is related in Mutawaatir form is related by so many people at each level of the narration that it is impossible for them to all have colluded in the act of fabricating a lie. Therefore, this clause eliminates the recitation that were related not in Mutawaatir form, but by individual narrators – or in other words, recitations that are “Shaadh” or strange.
Taken from: The Magnificence of the Qur’an by: Mahmood bin Ahmad bin Saaleh Ad-Dausaree (pg 20-22)