The Structure of the Qur’an

quran

A knowledge of the Arabic language is extremely essential to understand the Holy Qur’an, the Divine Message from our Creator and the Creator of the Universe. The knowledge of the frequently occurring words enables us to get some understanding of what we are reciting and what the Imam is reciting. The required words lists are readily available in several languages, writes SAMEEN AHMED KHAN. 

 

Introduction

Another Ramadan-ul-Mubarak is around the corner. The Holy Qur’an was revealed in the auspicious month of Ramadan. This month is marked with Siyam (fasting) and special Salaat (prayers) namely the Tarawih.

Divisions of the Holy Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an has words, Ayahs or signs and the Surahs. The word, Ayah (singular is Ayat), is generally translated as ‘verses’. An Ayah may consist of a full sentence, more than one sentence, or part of a sentence. There are different conventions of counting the total number of Ayah. For instance, the Bismillah before each Surah may, or may not, be counted. This leads to a difference in the figures arrived for the total number of Ayah in the Holy Qur’an. The count varies from 6239 to 6666. A group of Ayahs make a Surah. There are 114 Surahs in the Holy Qur’an.

Scholars after the Prophet (peace be upon him) have done additional division of the Holy Qur’an for the convenience of recitation of the whole Qur’an in a set period like one week or one month. The seven approximately equal divisions are called Manzils or stations.

 

The Seven Manzil
Manzil No. Surah Numbers Number of Surah is the Manzil
1 Surah-1: Al-Fatihah to Surah-4: Al-Nisa 4
2 Surah-5: Al-Ma’ida to Surah-9: Al-Tawbah 5
3 Surah-10: Yunus to Surah-16: Al-Nahl 7
4 Surah-17: Al-Isra’ to Surah-25: Al-Furqan 9
5 Surah-26: Al-Shuara to Surah-36: Ya-Seen 11
6 Surah-37: As-Saffat to Surah-49: Al-Hujurat 13
7 Surah-50: Qaf to Surah-114: Al-Nass 65

 

Another widely used division is the Ruku (meaning bowing or section). The Qur’an is divided into the Surah al-Fatiha and 540 Ruku. The Ruku have unequal lengths and are a logical point in the science of recitation. With twenty Ruku a day, it takes 27 days to complete the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. This is the pattern generally followed in the 20 Rakaat Tarawih.

The Hizb division is more suited for the 8 Rakaat Tarawih, completing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in 30 days. The Ruku markings are widely used in the prints from the Indian subcontinent. The Hizb marking are common in the prints obtained from the Arab world.

The 30 equal parts of the Holy Qur’an are called Juz or Para (words Sipara and Paro are also used).

Qur’anic Words

A knowledge of the Arabic language is extremely essential to understand the Holy Qur’an, the Divine Message from our Creator and the Creator of the Universe. There are different ways to learn Arabic. The Holy Qur’an has about 6500 distinct words, which repeat, some words repeat many times. It is useful to learn such high frequency words to build a strong vocabulary of the Qur’anic words. The additional vocabulary and the grammar will be a continuation of this basic vocabulary. The knowledge of the frequently occurring words enables us to get some understanding of what we are reciting and what the Imam is reciting. The required words lists are readily available in several languages.