Five Things About The Holy Qur’an
1. The original usage of the word “Qur’an” itself, where it occurs about 70 times assuming various meanings. It is a verbal noun of the Arabic verb “Qara’a”, meaning “he heard” or “he recited”. Its liturgical context is seen a number of passages, for example: “So that when Al Qur’an is recited, listen to it & keep silent“. The term also has closely related synonyms which are employed throughout the Qur’an. Each of the synonyms posses their own distinct meaning. Such terms include “kitab” (book); “ayah” (sign); & “surah” (chapter).Other related words are: “dhikr”, meaning “remembrance”, & “hikma” meaning “wisdom”.
2. The Qur’an consists of 114 chapters of varying lengths; each known as surah. Each chapter has a title: usually a word mentioned within the chapter itself. In general the longer chapters appear earlier in the Qur’an, while the shorter ones appear later. As such, the arrangement is not connected to the sequence of revelation. Each chapter commences with “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim”, an Arabic phrase meaning “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”, with the exception of the ninth chapter.
3. Scribes wrote down the Qur’an, according to the order of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), on pieces of cloth, leather, bones, & stones. Its verses were ordered & arranged according to Allah’s inspiration. At the beginning, it was not gathered in one book. Some of Prophet’s companions wrote parts & Surahs specially for themselves after they had memorized it from the Prophet. Zaid Ibn Thabit gathered the Qur’an in one book. He was tasked to do this by Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, according to an advice from Umar Ibn Khattab. Its resource was the parts written by the scribes; so he gathered all of it in one book, The Holy Qur’an.
4. Dots were put as syntactical marks by Abu Al-Aswad Al-Doaly, during the time of Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan (661-680 CE). The letters were marked with different dotting by Nasr Ibn Asem & Hayy Ibn Ya’amor, during the time of Abd Al- Malik Ibn Marwan (685-705 CE). A complete system of diacritical marks (damma, fataha, kasra) was invented by Al-Khaleel Ibn Ahmad Al-Faraheedy (d. 786 CE).
5. With the necessity to record the Holy Qur’an in clear and readable text; the Arabic scripts developed into what are now considered the two most important classical styles of calligraphy: Kufic and Naskh. Kufic and Naskh are broad generic terms covering a plethora of magnificent styles in Arabic calligraph, and are not, of course entirely inclusive of the numerous variations and nuances of the different styles of script, some of which were of key importance in the establishment of the classical trends and styles in the noble art of Arabic calligraphy.