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Mintys: Koranas



Ali Asani, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures

Jon Bosak

Quranic studies

Harvard edX: Islam Through Its Scriptures

Qur'an Scriptural Studies


Introductory Books on Islam

It is probably easiest for new readers of the Quran to identify these techniques by first listening to the shorter sūrahs near the end of the Quran; or a number of well-known passages from the longer sūrahs, such as the Pedestal Verse (āyat al-kursī; 2:255) or the Light Verse (āyat al-nūr; 24:35); or the sūrahs al-Raḥmān, "The Compassionate" (55), Yā Sīn, "Yā Sīn" (36), or al-Wāqiʿah, "The Event" (56). Here we find successive verses ending in various kinds of rhymes. For example, in al-Māʿūn, "Small Kindnesses" (107), the verses follow two imperfect rhyming patterns in which the first four verses end in -īn (dīn, yatīm, miskīn, muṣallīn) and the final three verses end in -ūn (sāhūn, yurāʾūn, māʿūn; here the rhyming is even more sophisticated, as we note the consistent ā followed by a glottal sound before the final rhyming syllable).

For example, in al-Balad, "The Land" (90), the first five verses begin with words sharing a similar sound: lā ("verily"), wa ("and"), wa ("and"), laqad ("indeed"), and a (an interrogatory); the rest of the sūrah continues in a similar fashion.

Al-Ḥujarāt, "The Private Apartments" (Sūrah 49), for example, discusses the corrosive effects of gossip, backbiting, and social marginalizing and emphasizes the need for a sense of community among Muslims.

The Quran stresses both the individual moral responsibility of adults (e.g., None shall bear the burden of another; 6:164; 17:15; 35:18; 39:7; 53:38) and the need for individuals to work collectively to establish communities and cultures where such morality is nurtured.

One might begin, then, by reading the last two sections of the Quran (i.e., parts 29 and 30, beginning with Sūrah 67)

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