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Virtues of Quran and its Recitation

Rewards, Benefits and
Virtues of Quran and its Recitation

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Quran is the book of guidance for a Muslims life. This article is a collection of Quranic verses, Ahadeeth (Prophet’s Saying) and sayings of the salaf (pious people that followed the prophet) on the majesty of Quran, the great virtues for reading and following it.

Quran on Quran

To begin with, there are many verses in Quran itself that underscore the majesty of Allah’s verses and the Quran itself –

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

Continue reading “Virtues of Quran and its Recitation”

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Surah – سورة

Suras

Surah |سورة

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 The Chapters of The Quran

A sura (also spelled surah, surat; Arabic: سورة‎ sūrah, pl. سور suwar) is a chapter of the Qur’an. There are 114 chapters of the Qur’an, each divided into verses. The chapters or suras are of unequal length, the shortest chapter (Al-Kawthar) has only three ayat (verses) while the longest (Al-Baqara) contains 286 verses. Of the 114 chapters in the Quran, 86 are classified as Meccan while 28 are Medinan – this classification is only approximate in regard to location of revelation – in fact, any chapter revealed after migration of Muhammad to Medina (Hijrah) is termed Medinan and any revealed before that event is termed as Meccan.

The Meccan chapters generally deal with faith and scenes of the Hereafter, while the Medinan chapters are more concerned with organizing the social life of the (then) nascent Muslim community. All chapters or suras commence with ‘In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate’. This formula is known as the basmala and denotes the boundaries between chapters. The chapters are arranged roughly in order of descending size therefore the arrangement of the Qur’an is neither chronological nor thematic. Suras (chapters) are recited during the standing portions (Qiyam) of Muslim prayers. Sura Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran, is recited in every unit of prayer and some units of prayer also involve recitation of all or part of any other sura.

Etymology

The word ‘sura’ was used at the time of Muhammad as a term with the meaning of a ‘chapter’ or a ‘portion’ of the Qur’an. This is evidenced by the appearance of the word ‘sura’ in multiple locations in the Qur’an such as verse 24:1:”A sura that We have sent down and appointed, and We have sent down in it signs, clear signs, that haply you will remember.”

Its plural form ‘suwar’ is also mentioned in the Qur’an: “Or do they say, He invented it? Say, “Then bring ten suwar like it and call upon whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful.” Nöldeke following Buxtorf suggested that the word sura has similar root with the Hebrew word ‘שורה’ meaning a ‘row’. Some took it as connected with the Arabic word ‘Sur’ meaning a ‘wall’. Jeffery believes that it has a common origin with a Syriac word that means ‘writing’.

Chronological order of chapters

List of suras in the Quran

Chapters in the Quran are not arranged in the chronological order of revelation. A number of medieval writers have recorded ancient lists which give the chapters in what is allegedly their correct chronological order. However, there are different versions of the list and they do not agree with each other about the precise order in which the chapters were revealed.

The origin and value of the traditional lists is uncertain, but probably none of the lists originated before the first quarter of the eight century and may be based on the learned opinions of scholars rather than on carefully transmitted reports dating back to the time of the companions of Muhammad. A version is given in a 15th century work by Abd al-Kafi. Abu Salih wrote a different list and another significantly different version of Abu Salih is preserved in a book named ‘Kitab Mabani’. A different list is mentioned by the 10th century writer Ibn Nadim.

The standard Egyptian edition of the Quran which was published in 1924 includes information about chronological order of chapters. The information, which is widely available, correlates with one of the traditional lists, the one given by Abd al-Kafi.

A number of verses are associated with particular events. The first revelation was chapter 96 (609 CE). Verses 16:41 and 47:13 refers to migration of Muslims which took place in the year 622 CE. Verses 8:1-7 and 3:120-175 refer to the battles of Badr (624 CE) and Uhud (625 CE) respectively.

Muhammad’s last pilgrimage is mentioned in 5:3 which occurred in 632 CE, a few months before the prophet died. The Qur’an narrates the life of Muhammad or the early history of the Muslim community only incidentally and not in detail, very few chapters contain clear references to events which took place Muhammad’s life.

Theodor Nöldeke’s chronology is based on the assumption that the style of the Quran changes in one direction without reversals. Nöldeke studied the style and content of the chapters and assumed that (1) later (Madinan) chapters and verses and are usually shorter than earlier (Meccan) ones (2) Earlier verses have a distinct rhyming style while later verses are more prosaic (prose-like). According to Nöldeke earlier chapters have common features, many of them open with oaths in which God swears by cosmic phenomena.

Eschatology, creation, piety, authentication of Muhammad’s mission and refutation of the charges against Muhammad are common themes of Meccan chapters. A number of chapters have a clear ‘tripartite’ structure, for example chapters 45, 37, 26, 15, 21. They open with a short warning, followed by one or more narratives about unbelievers, and finally address contemporaries of Muhammad and invite them to Islam. Madinan verses are longer and have a distinct style of rhyming and concern to provide legislation and guidance for the Muslim community.

Richard Bell took Nöldeke’s chronology as starting point for his research, however, Bell did not believe that Nöldeke’s criteria of style was important. He saw a progressive change in Muhammad’s mission from a man who preached monotheism into an independent leader of a paramount religion. For Bell this transformation was more decisive compared with the criteria of style. Bell argued that passages which mentioned Islam and Muslim or implied that Muhammad’s followers were a distinct community were revealed later.

He classified the Quran into three main periods: the early period, the Quranic period, and the book period. Richard bell worked on the chronology of the Qur’anic verses rather than chapters. Underlying Bell’s method for dating revelations is the assumption that the normal unit of revelation is the short passage and the passages have been extensively edited and rearranged.

Mehdi Bazargan divided the 144 chapters of the Quran into 194 passages preserving some chapters intact as single blocks while dividing others into two or more blocks. He then rearranged these blocks approximately in order of increasing average verse length. This order he proposes is the chronological order. Bazargan assumed that verse length tended to increase over time and he used this assumption to rearrange the passages.

Neal Robinson, an scholar of Islamic studies, is of the opinion that there is no hard evidence that the style of revelations has changed in a consistent way and therefore style may not always be a reliable indicator of when and where a chapter was revealed. According to Robinson it should be obvious that the problem of the chronology of the revelations is still far from solved.

Names of chapters in the Quran

The verses and chapters when revealed to Muhammad in the Quran did not come with a title attached to them. Muhammad, as we find in some reports in hadith, used to refer to shorter chapters not by name, rather by their first verse. For example: Abu Hurairah quoted Muhammad as saying, “Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabb il-`Aalameen” is the Mother of the Qur’an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven oft-repeated verses of the Glorious Qur’an.”. We also find reports in which Muhammad used to refer to them by their name. For example, Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him say, ‘Learn Surat ul-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.”‘

Arab tradition, similar to other tribal cultures of that time, was to name things according to their unique characteristics. They used this same method to name Qur’anic chapters. Most chapter names are found in hadith. Some were named according to their central theme, such as Al-Fatiha (The Opening) and Yusuf (Joseph), and some were named for the first word at the beginning of the chapter, such as Qaf, Ya-Sin, and ar-Rahman. Some suras were also named according to a unique word that occurs in the chapter, such as al-Baqara (The Cow), An-Nur (The Light), al-Nahl (The Bee), Az-Zukhruf (The Ornaments of Gold), Al-Hadid (The Iron), and Al-Ma’un (The Small Kindness).

Most chapter names are still used to this day. Several are known by multiple names: chapter Al-Masadd (The Palm Fibre) is also known as al-Lahab (The Flame). Sura Fussilat (Explained in Detail) is also known as Ha-Meem Sajda (“…it is a chapter that begins with Ha Mim and in which a verse requiring the performance of prostration has occurred.”)

Chapter as unity

The idea of textual relation between the verses of a chapter has been discussed under various titles such as “nazm” and “munasabah” in non-English literature and ‘Coherence’, ‘text relations’, ‘intertextuality’, and ‘unity’ in English literature. There are two points of view regarding coherence of the verses of the Qur’an. In the first viewpoint each chapter of the Qur’an has a central theme and its verses are related.

The second viewpoint considers some chapters of the Qur’an as collections of passages which are not thematically related. Chapters deal with various subjects, for instance chapter 99, which comprises only eight verses, is devoted exclusively to eschatology and chapter 12 narrates a story, while other chapters, in the same breath, speak of theological, historical, and ethico-legal matters. Chapters are known to consist of passages, not only verses. The borders between passages are arbitrary but are possible to determine.

For example chapter 54[10] may be divided into six passages:

  • The Hour has approached…..(1-8)
  • Before them, people of Noah rejected…(9-17)
  • ‘Ad’ rejected (their Messenger). Then how (strict) has been our recompense and warnings… (18-22)
  • ‘Thamud’ rejected the warnings… (23-32)
  • People of ‘Lot’ rejected the warnings… (33-40)
  • And warnings did come to the People of the Pharoah… (41-55)

The study of text relations in the Qur’an dates back to a relatively early stage in the history of Qur’anic studies. The earliest Qur’anic interpreter known to have paid attention to this aspect of the Qur’an is Fakhr Razi (d.1209 CE). Fakhr Razi believed that text relation is a meaning that links verses together or mentally associates them like cause-effect or reason-consequence. He linked verse 1 of a chapter to verse 2, verse 2 to verse 3 and so on, and rejected traditionist interpretations if they contradicted interrelations between verses.

Zarkashi (d.1392), another medieval Qur’anic exegete, admitted that relationships of some verses to other verses in a chapter is sometimes hard to explain, in those cases he assigned stylistic and rhetorical functions to them such as parenthesis, parable, or intentional subject shift. Zarkashi aimed at showing how important understanding the inter-verse relations is to understanding the Qur’an, however, he did not attempt to deal with one complete chapter to show its relations.

Contemporary scholars have studied the idea of coherence in the Qur’an more vigorously and are of widely divergent opinions. For example Hamid Farrahi (d. 1930) and Richard Bell (d. 1952) have different opinions regarding coherence within chapters. Farrahi believed that the whole structure of the Qur’an is thematically coherent, which is to say, all verses of a chapter of the Qur’an are integrally related to each other to give rise to the major theme of the chapter and again all of the chapters are interconnected with each other to constitute the major theme of the Qur’an. According to Farrahi, each chapter has a central theme (umud or pillar) around which the verses revolve:

“Each chapter of the Qur’an is a well structured unit. It is only lack of consideration and analysis on our part that they seem disjointed and incoherent…Each chapter imparts a specific message as its central theme. The completion of this theme marks the end of the chapter. If there were no such specific conclusion intended to be dealt with in each chapter there would be no need to divide the Qur’an in chapters. Rather the whole Qur’an would be a single chapter…We see that a set of verses has been placed together and named ‘sura’ the way a city is built with a wall erected round it. A single wall must contain a single city in it. What is the use of a wall encompassing different cities?…”.

In contrast, Richard Bell describes the Qur’anic style as disjointed:

“Only seldom do we find in it evidence of sustained unified composition at any great length…some of the narratives especially accounts of Moses and of Abraham run to considerable length, but they tend to fall into separate incidents instead of being recounted straightforwardly…the distinctness of the separate pieces however is more obvious than their unity.”

Arthur J. Arberry states that the chapters in many instances, as Muslims have been recognized from the earliest times, are of a ‘composite’ character, holding embedded in them fragments received by Muhammad at widely differing dates. However he disregards this ‘fact’ and views each chapter as an artistic whole. He believed that a repertory of familiar themes runs through the whole Qur’an and each chapter elaborates one of more, often many of, them.

Angelika Neuwirth is of the idea that verses in their chronological order are interrelated in a way that later verses explain earlier ones. She believes that Meccan chapters are coherent units.

Salwa El-Awa aims in her work to discuss the problem of textual relations in the Qur’an from a linguistic point of view and the way in which the verses of one chapter relate to each other and to the wider context of the total message of the Qur’an. El-Awa provides a detailed analysis in terms of coherence theory on chapters 33 and 75 and shows that theses two chapters cohere and have a main contextual relationship.

Gheitury and Golfam believe that the permanent change of subject within a passage in the Qur’an, or what they call non-linearity, is a major linguistic feature of the Qur’an, a feature that puts the Qur’an beyond any specific ‘context’ and ‘temporality’. According to Gheitury and Golfam for the Qur’an there is no preface, no introduction, no beginning, no end, a reader can start reading from anywhere in the text.

List of suras in the Quran

The Quran, one of Islam’s holy books is divided into sura and further divided into ayat.

Surah
Arabic
name(s)
English name(s)
Ayat
Ruku’
Revealed
Order
1
Al-Fatiha
The Opening
7
1
Meccan
5
2
Al-Baqara
The Calf/Cow
286
40
Medinan
87
3
Al Imran
The Family of Imran
200
20
Medinan
89
4
An-Nisa
The Women
176
24
Medinan
92
5
Al-Ma’ida
The Food
120
16
Medinan
112
6
Al-An’am
The Cattle
165
20
Meccan
55
7
Al-A’raf
The Heights
206
24
Meccan
39
8
Al-Anfal
The Spoils of War
75
10
Medinan
88
9
At-Tawba
The Repentance
129
16
Medinan
113
10
Yunus
Junus/Jonah
109
11
Meccan
51
11
Hud
Hud, sometimes thought to be Eber
123
10
Meccan
52
12
Yusuf
Yousef or Joseph
111
12
Meccan
53
13
Ar-Ra’d
The Thunder
43
6
Medinan
96
14
Ibrahim
Ibrahim or Abraham
52
7
Meccan
72
15
Al-Hijr
The Rocky Tract, Al-Hijr,
The Stoneland, The Rock City
99
6
Meccan
54
16
An-Nahl
The Honey Bees
128
16
Meccan
70
17
Al-Isra
Isra, The Night Journey or
The Children of Israel
111
12
Meccan
50
18
Al-Kahf
The Cave
110
12
Meccan
69
19
Maryam
Maryam or Mary
98
6
Meccan
44
20
Ta-Ha
Ta-Ha
135
8
Meccan
45
21
Al-Anbiya
The Prophets
112
7
Meccan
73
22
Al-Hajj
The Pilgrimage, The Hajj
78
10
Medinan
103
23
Al-Mu’minoon
The Believers
118
6
Meccan
74
24
An-Nur
The Light
64
9
Medinan
102
25
Al-Furqan
The Criterion, The Standard, 1 sujud
77
6
Meccan
42
26
Ash-Shu’ara
The Poets
227
11
Meccan
47
27
An-Naml
The Ant
93
7
Meccan
48
28
Al-Qasas
The Narrations, The Stories
88
9
Meccan
49
29
Al-Ankabut
The Spider
69
7
Meccan
85
30
Ar-Rum
The Romans
60
6
Meccan
84
31
Luqman
Luqman
34
4
Meccan
57
32
As-Sajda
The Prostration, Worship, Adoration
30
3
Meccan
75
33
Al-Ahzab
The Clans, The Confederates,
The Combined Forces
73
9
Medinan
90
34
Saba
Sheba
54
6
Meccan
58
35
Fatir
The Originator (The Angels)
45
5
Meccan
43
36
Ya Sin
Ya-seen
83
5
Meccan
41
37
As-Saaffat
Those Who Set The Ranks, Drawn Up In Ranks
182
5
Meccan
56
38
Sad
The Letter Sad
88
5
Meccan
38
39
Az-Zumar
The Crowds, The Troops, Throngs
75
8
Meccan
59
40
Ghafir
The Forgiver (God),
The Believer (Names of God in Islam)
85
9
Meccan
60
41
Fussilat
Expounded, Explained In Detail
54
6
Meccan
61
42
Ash-Shura
The Consultation
53
5
Meccan
62
43
Az-Zukhruf
The Gold Adornments,
The Ornaments of Gold, Luxury
89
7
Meccan
63
44
Ad-Dukhan
The Smoke
59
3
Meccan
64
45
Al-Jathiya
The Kneeling Down, Crouching
37
4
Meccan
65
46
Al-Ahqaf
Winding Sand-tracts, The Dunes
35
4
Meccan
66
47
Muhammad
Muhammad
38
4
Medinan
95
48
Al-Fath
The Victory, Conquest
29
4
Medinan
111
49
Al-Hujurat
The Private Apartments, The Inner Apartments
18
2
Medinan
106
50
Qaf
The Letter Qaf
45
3
Meccan
34
51
Adh-Dhariyat
The Wind That Scatter, The Winnowing Winds
60
3
Meccan
67
52
At-Tur
The Mount
49
2
Meccan
76
53
An-Najm
The Star
62
3
Meccan
23
54
Al-Qamar
The Moon
55
3
Meccan
37
55
Ar-Rahman
The Most Gracious,
The Beneficent, The Mercy Giving
78
3
Meccan
97
56
Al-Waqi’a
The Inevitable, The Event
96
3
Meccan
46
57
Al-Hadid
The Iron
29
4
Medinan
94
58
Al-Mujadila
The Pleading, She That Disputeth,
The Pleading Woman
22
3
Medinan
105
59
Al-Hashr
The Mustering, The Gathering, Exile, Banishment
24
3
Medinan
101
60
Al-Mumtahina
The Examined One, She That Is To Be Examined
13
2
Medinan
91
61
As-Saff
The Ranks, Battle Array
14
2
Medinan
109
62
Al-Jumua
The Congregation, Friday
11
2
Medinan
110
63
Al-Munafiqun
The Hypocrites
11
2
Medinan
104
64
At-Taghabun
The Cheating, The Mutual Loss and Gain,
The Mutual Disillusion, Haggling
18
2
Medinan
108
65
At-Talaq
Divorce
12
2
Medinan
99
66
At-Tahrim
The Prohibition
12
2
Medinan
107
67
Al-Mulk
The Dominion, Sovereignty, Control
30
2
Meccan
77
68
Al-Qalam
The Pen
52
2
Meccan
2
69
Al-Haaqqa
The Sure Reality
52
2
Meccan
78
70
Al-Maarij
The Ways of Ascent, The Ascending Stairways
44
2
Meccan
79
71
Nuh
Nuh or Noah
28
2
Meccan
71
72
Al-Jinn
The Spirits
28
2
Meccan
40
73
Al-Muzzammil
The Enfolded One, The Enshrouded One, Bundled Up
20
2
Meccan
3
74
Al-Muddathir
The One Wrapped Up, The Cloaked One,
The Man Wearing A Cloak
56
2
Meccan
4
75
Al-Qiyama
The Day of Resurrection, Rising Of The Dead
40
2
Meccan
31
76
Al-Insan
The Human
31
2
Medinan
98
77
Al-Mursalat
Those Sent Forth, The Emissaries, Winds Sent Forth
50
2
Meccan
33
78
An-Naba
The Great News, The Announcement
40
2
Meccan
80
79
An-Naziat
Those Who Tear Out,
Those Who Drag Forth, Soul-snatchers
46
2
Meccan
81
80
Abasa
He Frowned
42
1
Meccan
24
81
At-Takwir
The Folding Up, The Overthrowing
29
1
Meccan
7
82
Al-Infitar
The Cleaving Asunder, Bursting Apart
19
1
Meccan
82
83
Al-Mutaffifin
The Dealers in Fraud, Defrauding, The Cheats
36
1
Meccan
86
84
Al-Inshiqaq
The Rending Asunder, The Sundering, Splitting Open
25
1
Meccan
83
85
Al-Burooj
The Mansions Of The Stars, Constellations
22
1
Meccan
27
86
At-Tariq
The Night-Visitant, The Morning Star, The Nightcomer
17
1
Meccan
36
87
Al-Ala
The Most High, Glory To Your Lord In The Highest
19
1
Meccan
8
88
Al-Ghashiya
The Overwhelming Event, The Pall
26
1
Meccan
68
89
Al-Fajr
The Break of Day, The Dawn
30
1
Meccan
10
90
Al-Balad
The City
20
1
Meccan
35
91
Ash-Shams
The Sun
15
1
Meccan
26
92
Al-Lail
The Night
21
1
Meccan
9
93
Ad-Dhuha
The Glorious Morning Light, The Forenoon,
Morning Hours, Morning Bright
11
1
Meccan
11
94
Al-Inshirah
The Expansion of Breast, Solace, Consolation, Relief, Patient
8
1
Meccan
12
95
At-Tin
The Fig Tree
8
1
Meccan
28
96
Al-Alaq
The Clinging Clot, Recite, Clot of Blood
19
1
Meccan
1
97
Al-Qadr
The Night of Honor, The Night of Decree, Power, Fate
5
1
Meccan
25
98
Al-Bayyina
The Clear Evidence
8
1
Medinan
100
99
Az-Zalzala
The Earthquake
8
1
Medinan
93
100
Al-Adiyat
The Courser, The Chargers, The War Horse
11
1
Meccan
14
101
Al-Qaria
The Striking Hour, The Great Calamity,
The Stunning Blow, The Disaster, The Judgement Day
11
1
Meccan
30
102
At-Takathur
The Piling Up, Rivalry in World Increase, Competition
8
1
Meccan
16
103
Al-Asr
The Time, The Declining Day, The Epoch
3
1
Meccan
13
104
Al-Humaza
The Scandalmonger, The Traducer, The Gossipmonger
9
1
Meccan
32
105
Al-Fil
The Elephant
5
1
Meccan
19
106
Quraysh
The Quraysh Tribe
4
1
Meccan
29
107
Al-Ma’un
The Neighbourly Assistance,
Small Kindnesses, Almsgiving
7
1
Meccan
17
108
Al-Kawthar
Abundance, Plenty
3
1
Meccan
15
109
Al-Kafirun
The Disbelievers, The Kafirs
6
1
Meccan
18
110
An-Nasr
The Help, Divine Support, Victory
3
1
Medinan
114
111
Al-Masadd
The Plaited Rope, The Palm Fibre
5
1
Meccan
6
112
Al-Ikhlas
Purity of Faith, The Fidelity
4
1
Meccan
22
113
Al-Falaq
The Daybreak, Dawn
5
1
Meccan
20
114
Al-Nas
Mankind
6
1
Meccan
21

The first five verses of the 96th chapter, Al-‘Alaq were the first to have been revealed and transcribed to Muhammad[verification needed].
The first chapter, Al-Fatiha, was the first one to be revealed entirety to Muhammad.
The second chapter, Al-Baqara, is the longest, with 286 verses, while the 108th, Al-Kawthar, is the shortest, with 3 verses.

Easy and Fast Way To Memorize Quran

Easy and Fast Way
To Memorize Quran

By our dear Shaykh:
Abdul-Muhsin bin Muhammad al-Qaasim.
Imaam and Khateeb of Masjid An-Nabawiyy ash-Shareef.

Decorative Lines Continue reading “Easy and Fast Way To Memorize Quran”

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