Divisions of the Quran

The Holy Quran’s Translation in English by Abdullah Yousuf Ali

The reading of the Quran is considered a pious duty by every Muslim and is actually performed in practice by every literate person, man woman, and child. For the convenience of those who wish to complete the whole reading in a given time, the whole Text is divided into thirty equal parts, or seven equal parts. The thirtieth Part is called juz-un in Arabic, and Sipara or simply Para in Persian and Urdu. If you read a Sipara every day, you complete the whole reading in a month of thirty days. The seventh part is called a Manzil. If one is read every day, the whole is completed in a week. Usually the arithmetical quarters of a Sipara (one-fourth, one-half, three quarters) are also marked in the Arabic copies as Ar-rub’, An-nisf and Ath-thalata.

According to subject.matter, the division is different. The whole of the Quran is arranged in 114 Surahs of very unequal size. The Surahs are numbered and the consecutive number is shown just before the title of the Surah, both in Arabic and English. In Arabic, the figure just after the title shows the chronological order as usually accepted by Muslim writers. Each Surah consists of a number of Ayats. Surah I contains 7 Ayats and Surah II contains 286. The most convenient form of quotation is to name the Surah and the Ayat: thus ii. 120 means the 120th Ayat of the second Surah. A Surah is usually spoken of as a Chapter in EngIsh, but that translation is hardly satisfactory. If you examine the order you will find that each Surah is a step in a gradation. I have left the word untranslated, as a technical term in our religious literature. The Ayat or verse division is usually determined by the rhythm and cadence in the Arabic Text. Sometimes an Ayat contains many sentences. Sometimes a sentence is divided by a break in an Ayat. But usually there is a pause in meaning at the end of an Ayat.

A division of the Surah into Sections is shown in all Arabic Texts. These are logical divisions according to meaning. The word translated Section is in Arabic Ruku, a bowing of the head.

I have further marked the sub-division of Ruku’s into where necessary, by using in the English text a bold flowery Initial e.g., see the initial A in ii. 6 or the initial W in ii. 35. (The online version uses BOLD letters to identify shorter paragraphs within the Ruku.)

Leave a Comment