The Koran

Etymology and meaning

The word qurʼān appears about 70 times in the Quran itself, assuming various meanings. It is a verbal noun (maṣdar) of the Arabic verb qaraʼa (قرأ), meaning "he read" or "he recited". The Syriac equivalent is (ܩܪܝܢܐ) qeryānā, which refers to "scripture reading" or "lesson".[19] While some Western scholars consider the word to be derived from the Syriac, the majority of Muslim authorities hold the origin of the word is qaraʼa itself.[1] Regardless, it had become an Arabic term by Muhammad's lifetime.[1] An important meaning of the word is the "act of reciting", as reflected in an early Quranic passage: "It is for Us to collect it and to recite it (qurʼānahu)."[20]

In other verses, the word refers to "an individual passage recited [by Muhammad]". Its liturgical context is seen in a number of passages, for example: "So when al-qurʼān is recited, listen to it and keep silent."[21] The word may also assume the meaning of a codified scripture when mentioned with other scriptures such as the Torah and Gospel.[22]

The term also has closely related synonyms that are employed throughout the Quran. Each synonym possesses its own distinct meaning, but its use may converge with that of qurʼān in certain contexts. Such terms include kitāb (book); āyah (sign); and sūrah (scripture). The latter two terms also denote units of revelation. In the large majority of contexts, usually with a definite article (al-), the word is referred to as the "revelation" (waḥy), that which has been "sent down" (tanzīl) at intervals.[23][24] Other related words are: dhikr (remembrance), used to refer to the Quran in the sense of a reminder and warning, and ḥikmah (wisdom), sometimes referring to the revelation or part of it.[1][25]

The Quran describes itself as "the discernment or the criterion between truth and falsehood" (al-furqān), "the mother book" (umm al-kitāb), "the guide" (huda), "the wisdom" (hikmah), "the remembrance" (dhikr) and "the revelation" (tanzīl; something sent down, signifying the descent of an object from a higher place to lower place).[26] Another term is al-kitāb (the book), though it is also used in the Arabic language for other scriptures, such as the Torah and the Gospels. The adjective of "Quran" has multiple transliterations including "quranic", "koranic", and "qur'anic", or capitalised as "Qur'anic", "Koranic", and "Quranic". The term mus'haf ('written work') is often used to refer to particular Quranic manuscripts but is also used in the Quran to identify earlier revealed books.[1] Other transliterations of "Quran" include "al-Coran", "Coran", "Kuran", and "al-Qurʼan".[27]

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