The Arabic word "Al-Qur'aan" literally means "the recitation". When used in regards to Islam, the word Qur'aan means God's final message to mankind that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur'aan, sometimes spelled Koran, is the literal the word of God - as it clearly says time and time again. Unlike other sacred scriptures, the Qur'aan has been perfectly preserved in both its words and meaning in a living language. The Qur'aan is a living miracle in the Arabic language; and is known to be inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact. God's final revelation to mankind, the Qur'aan, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years. The Qur'aan, in contrast to many other religious books, was always thought to be the Word of God by those who believed in it, i.e. it wasn't something decreed by a religious council many years after being written. Also, the Qur'aan was recited publicly in front of both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities during the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The entire Qur'aan was also completely written down in the lifetime of the Prophet, and numerous companions of the Prophet memorised the entire Qur'aan word-for-word as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur'aan was always in the hands of the common believers, it was always thought to be God's word and, due to wide-spread memorisation, it was perfectly preserved.
In regards to the teachings of the Qur'aan - it is a universal scripture, and it is addressed to all of mankind, and not to a particular tribe or "chosen people". The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of all of the prophets - submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such, God's revelation in the Qur'aan focuses on teaching human beings the importance of believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance which He has sent. Additionally, the Qur'aan contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from God. In modern times in which so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual despair and "political correctness", the Qur'anic teachings offer solutions to the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today. In short, the Qur'aan is the book of guidance par excellence.