Early 20th Century decorative handmade brass and silver box from Damascus to hold Quran, ca. 1900 CE. This city thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. 10" x 12" x 8". Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibril), gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. Muslim tradition mention several companions of Muhammad who served as scribes and were responsible for writing down the revelations. Shortly after Muhammad's death, the Quran was collected by his companions who wrote down and memorized parts of it. Muslims consider the Quran to be the only revealed book that has been protected by God from distortion or corruption. However, the existence of variant readings, with mostly minor and some significant variations, and the early unvocalized Arabic script mean the relationship between the text of today's Quran to the revelations of Muhammad's time is still unclear.