The Linguistic meaning of the word Qur’an

The word ‘Qur’an is derived from qara’a, which means, ‘to read, to recite.  Qur’an would then be the verbal noun of qara’a, and thus translates as “ The recitation” or the “ The reading”. This is the most popular opinion, and the opinion held by At-Tabaree (d. 310 A.H)

Examples include the words of the Most High:

“ It is for Us to collect it and to give you the ability to recite it, And when We have

recited it to you, then follow its recital.  Then it is for Us to make clear to you. ”

{Soorat-ul-Qiyaamah: 17-19}

“ So when you want to recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytaan, the


{Soorat-un-Nahl: 98}

The definition of the word  Qur’an

The  Qur’an is the arabic speech (kalaam) of Allah, which He revealed to Muhammad (saw) both in word and in meaning, and which has been preserved in the mus-hafs, and has reached us by mutawaatir transmissions, and is a challenge to mankind to produce something similar to it.

We can learn five important things about the Qur’an from this definition.

  1. The Arabic speech of Allah: The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, in Arabic.  This means that anything that is not Arabic is not the Qur’an.  You can not pray in English, in French, in Swahili, in Urdu–it has to be in Arabic.
  1. Revealed to the Prophet: We know that Allah revealed many revelations–including the Injeel and the Tawrah and the Zabur.  Those are also revelation of Allah–but they’re not the Qur’an.  Only what Allah revealed to the Prophet (saw) is Qur’an.
  1. Revealed in Word and Meaning: Not Only is the meaning of the Qur’an the same as what Allah meant; but the words themselves are also from Allah.  (Unlike Hadith Qudsi, where the meaning is from Allah, and the words are from the Prophet (saw))
  2. Mutawaatir: The Qur’an was related in a mutawaatir fashion–so many narrators narrated it, at every single step in the chain of narration, that it’s impossible that they all lied or made a mistake.
  1. A Challenge to Humankind: The Qur’an is an ongoing challenge to the human race–create a book, a surah, a verse like it; but nay, we will NEVER be able to.  Allah Himself says so.

One other important part of the definition of the Qur’an is that Allah promised that He will protect it, until the end of time–and that promise doesn’t apply to anything else (such as the sunnah, or the Hadith Qudsi).