What is a Surah?

What is a Surah?
A surah is a division of the Quran, although it can be approximately referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the surahs are of unequal length; the shortest sura (Al-Kawthar) has only three ayat (verses) while the longest (Al-Baqara) contains 286 ayat. Of the 114 suras in the Quran, 86 are classified as Meccan while 28 are Medinan - this classification is only approximate as regards location of revelation - in fact, any sura revealed post-Hijrah is termed Medinan and any revealed before that event is termed as Meccan. The Meccan suras generally deal with faith and scenes of the Hereafter, while the Medinan suras are more concerned with organizing the social life of the (then) nascent Muslim community.

According to the theory of Nazm-e-Quran proposed by Hamiduddin Farahi, each surah has a central theme (umud) around which the ayat of the sura revolve. Notable scholars like Irfan Ahmad Khan and Mohammed al-Ghazali have also supported this view. The Quran is composed of 114 suras of very unequal lengths. The word "surah" is sometimes roughly translated as "chapter" in English, but this is not universally supported. Thus it is often used untranslated as a technical term in Islamic literature. Sometime in early Islamic history suras were divided into rukus (each comprising several ayat) to improve readability.

Suras are recited during the standing portions (Qiyam) of Muslim prayers (salah). Sura Al-Fatiha is recited in every unit of prayer. Some units of prayer also involve recitation of all or part of any other sura. Islamic tradition holds that there are some suras, or parts thereof, that have certain benefits when recited. For example, several hadith recommend reciting sura Al-Fatiha when someone is ill.

Suras in the Quran are not arranged in the chronological order of revelation. Amin Ahsan Islahi says that the order of revelation has no significance for the present times, and the present arrangement is divinely ordained. Regarding the names of various suras, it is widely believed that this naming scheme is meant for the purpose of identifying different suras.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Do leave your feedback on the comment box below.