Mankind in the Qur’án

The Qur’an survived in the memory of Muslims, but historians possess enough evidence to argue that it was committed to some form of a written document as early as the first Islamic century.  Today, the Qur’an can be examined in Arabic as recorded in a book known for Muslims as al-mushaf al-karim (read muS-Haf: where S is the heavily voiced “s” sound, and H is the voiced “h”). The mushaf [pl. masahif] consists of 114 chapters of varying length; some are as long as 2000 words, others are as short as 10 words. Each chapter consists of verses of varying length as well for a total of nearly 6665 verses, with the first verse being always the basmalah (in the name of God, the merciful, the Beneficent)—except chapter nine. The entire mushaf is further divided in lager units known as the hizb (pl. ahzab, ”h” is voiced), for a total of 60 units.  The most recent musahif today indicate whether a chapter is Macci (revealed in Mecca) or madani (revealed in Madinah).  The text of the Qur’an is direct speech with no narrator or other human commentaries associated with it.  Since there is no standard copy with fixed pages and paragraphs, the Qur’an is generally quoted by identifying the chapter name or number and the verse number. In this collection, we adopted the following format to identify the verses we have translated: [#: #] where the number before the semi-colon is the number of the chapter and the one after refers to the number of the verse. The translated materials are grouped under various themes indicated in each heading.  In general, I have quoted only the passage that is relevant to the theme in question, but at times, you will find more then the verse intended for highlighting in order to put the idea in context especially if the verses are too short.

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