Magazine article The World and I

Nor Shall They Grieve - the Qur'an

Magazine article The World and I

Nor Shall They Grieve - the Qur'an

Article excerpt

The holy book of Islam, Al-Qur'an, is widely known by its abbreviated name, Qur'an. The term is derived from the Arabic root qara'a, which means both "collecting [things] together" and "reading and/or reciting [them]." Thus, the title indicates both the method of compiling the book from separate revelations and its purpose as a guidebook to life and death for the faithful.

The Qur'an describes itself in numerous ways. All the epithets reinforce the belief that this revelation (26:192) is complete as the Book (2:2), that it provides the wisdom (10:57), allows the follower to distinguish between truth and mendacity (for example, 15:9), and delivers any explanation (12:1) needed to reach one's goal, whatever it may be (72:13). As the direct word of Allah, the Qur'an is believed to be infallible.

The book has been divided three different ways with regard to its long- term and immediate purposes. As the Book of Truth, the most complete holy writing revealed by Allah directly to Muhammad, his only Prophet, it is divided into 114 chapters, known as suras. The term sura refers to each chapter as an eminent step toward understanding the whole structure of the Qur'an. The suras combine for a total of 6,350 verses (including the opening verse, the Bismillah). The verses are not of equal length. The smallest sura is only 3 verses long, while the longest is 286. The longer chapters are further divided into sections, which usually deal with one subject or a combination of interrelated issues. …

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