Introduction to the Qur'an
The Qur'an is that which was revealed as the Final message of Allah to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) during the last 23 years of his life. Every Prophet is granted the power to perform miracles in order to verify the truth of his message.The Qur'an is a standing and continuos miracle for all times and places - A Living Miracle.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was amongst the Arabs who were experts in language and literature and the Qur'an challenged them at their own art.
For convenience of reading the Qur'an has been divided into 30 equal parts - Juz (pl. Ajzaa) without disturbing the original divisions formed by the ayaat and suwer to enable completion of reading in one month. Every juz is further divided into Rub (quarter), Nisf (half) & Thuluth (three quarter). These are written in the margin.
The Qur'an is also divided into seven equal sections - Manzil (pl. Manazil) to enable the reader to complete the recitation on one week if so desired. This is written at the bottom of each page.
There are over 6000 ayaat in the Qur'an in 114 suwer.
An aya means various things - a sign, miracle, wonder... An aya in the Qur'an varies from being a single letter (38:1) , a two lettered word (36:1) to over half a page long (2:282).
The first ayaat that were revealed were the first five of Suratul Alaq and the last aya was the 4th aya of Suratul Maida :
"This day I have perfected your religion for you , completed My favour upon you, and have chosen ISLAM as your religion "
This was revealed at Ghadeer e Khum on 18th Dhulhijja 10 a.h.
The suwer are of unequal length. The shortest sura is Suratul Kawthar with only 4 ayaat whilst the longest is Suratul Baqara with 286 ayaat covering one twelfth of the Qur'an.
All the suwer begin with the phrase Bismillahirrahmanirraheem except Suratut Tawba.
Every sura is given a name derived by following one of the following criteria :
(i) The complete story of the Prophet appears in that sura (Yusuf - 12)
(ii) The important event about it can be found in the sura (Baqara Cow - 2)
(iii The distinguished word in the sura (Hijr Stone - 15)
(iv)The opening aya of the sura (Yaseen - 36)
(v) In some cases the name has very little to do with contents of the suwer. (Ankabut Spider - 29 In this sura there is nothing about the spider. It only talks of the constitution of the spider's web.
Suwer and ayaat are either Makki or Madani according to their place of revelation - Makka or Madina. Makki suwer mainly describe the basic faith whilst Madani deal with the rules for the code of life like salaa, sawm, zaka and khums...This division is not absolute because a Makkan sura may contain some Madinite ayaat and vice versa. e.g. Suratul Anfal revealed in Madina has ayaat 30 -40 revealed in Makka.
Each sura is also divided into groups of ayaat called a ruku. The ruku is indicated by an 'ayn' sign and contains 3 numbers -
There are four wajib sajadat in the Qur'an (on hearing or reciting the folowing 4 ayaat, one must perform a sajda). It is not necessary to face qibla or be in wudhoo...
The sajadat are in the following ayaat:
- 32:15 Juz 21
- 41:38 Juz 24
- 53:62 Juz 27
- 96:19 Juz 30