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Literary significance of Quranic Initials at a glance

Introduction

Quran, the God’s final scripture, more precisely the final edition of His scripture is characterized by unique phenomena never found in any other book. The mathematical coding is embedded in its text and 29 suras are prefixed with 14 sets of Arabic letters known as Quranic initials. The old Islamic scholars called them “Mysterious letters” as the meaning of these letters were not known to them and the notion passed down to us that their meaning is only known to God. It is true that these 14 sets of initials consisting of 14 Arabic letters prefixed to the suras to be the physical proofs of the Quran from God were hidden from us for 14 centuries being the prophetic sign but the literary significance of these initials was not hidden from the true believers of God and His final scripture. God has sent down the Quran for our guidance, and if He kept hidden the meaning of any parts of it, it would not serve as a clear guidance for us being perfect, fully detailed and complete as mentioned in the Quran (11:1, 6:114-115). Moreover, He has ensured that there is no ambiguity (39:28) or falsehood (10:32) in it. However, let us examine the initials followed by a few verses of the relevant suras prefixed with these initials to confirm whether the meaning was really unknown or we failed to reflect on the significance of those initials. In order to do that let us examine the initials according to the order of the revelation of the Quran as well as its arrangement in writing.

Details of Quranic Initials

  • List of Quranic initials prefixed to the suras with their names according to arrangement in the composition of Quran

Notes: Alef => A, Ayn => `A, Saad => S, Seen => `S and NuN => N => NoonWawNoon (Spelled out).

  • Below are the suras prefixed with Quranic initials followed by two or more verses according to order of revelation:

[68:1-4] (By) Noon (NuN), and the pen and what they (the people) write. You (Muhammad) are not by your Lord’s grace a madman. Indeed, for you there is surely a limitless reward. And indeed, you are certainly of a great moral character.

[50:1-2] (By) Qaf (Q) and the Quran, the Glorious. Nay, They wondered that a warner has come from them while the disbelievers said, “This is a strange thing!”

[38:1-2] (By) Saad (S) and the Quran having the reminder. Nay, those who disbelieved in arrogance and defiance.

[7:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem.Saad (A.L.M.S). A scripture revealed to you (Muhammad) is not be an uneasiness in your chest from it, that you may warn with it, and a reminder for the believers.

[36:1-3] (By) Yaa.Seen (Y.`S). And the Quran, the Wise. Indeed, you are certainly of the sent ones.

[19:1-3] (By) Kãf Hã Yã `Ayn Sãd (K.H.Y.`A.S). A mention of your Lord’s mercy to His servant Zachariah. When he called his Lord a secret call.

[20:1-4] (By) Ta.Ha (T.H). We have not revealed the Quran to you (Muhammad) that you should be distressed. Except a reminder for the one who fears. A revelation from the One who created the earth and the high heavens.

[26:1-3] (By) Ta.Seen.Meem (T.`S.M). This is of signs of the clear scripture. That you (Muhammad) are blaming yourself that they do not become believers.

[27:1-3] (By) Ta.Seen (T.`S), this is of signs of the clear Quran. A guidance and good news for the believers. Those who observe the contact prayer (salah) and give the obligatory charity (zakah), and they are with the Hereafter they ascertain.

[28:1-3] (By) Ta.Seen.Meem (T.`S.M). This is of signs of the clear scripture. We inform to you (Muhammad) of Moses’ news and Pharaoh with the truth for a people who believe.

[10:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Raa (A.L.R), this is of signs of the scripture, the wise. Is it a wonder for the people that we have revealed to a man from them that you (Muhammad) shall warn the people and give good news to those who have believed that for them there is an honorable position at their Lord? The disbelievers said, “Indeed, this is a clever magician!”

[11:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Raa (A.L.R). A scripture whose verses have been perfected, then have been explained in detail from One who is Wise, Cognizant. That you do not worship except God. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bearer of good news.

[12:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Raa (A.L.R). This is of signs of the clear scripture. Indeed, we have revealed an Arabic Quran that you may understand.

[15:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Raa (A.L.R); this is of signs of the scripture and a clear Quran. Even those who disbelieved will wish if they have been submitters.

[31:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem (A.L.M). This is of signs of the scripture, the wise. A guidance and a mercy for the good-doers.

[40:1-2] (By) Ha.Meem (H.M). A revelation of the scripture is from God, the Almighty, the Knower.

[41:1-3] (By) Ha.Meem (H.M). A revelation from the Gracious, the Merciful. A scripture, has been detailed its verses an Arabic Quran, for a people who know.

[42:1-3] (By) Ha.Meem (H.M). Ayn.Seen.Qaf (`A.`S.Q). Thus that, reveals to you (Muhammad) and to those before yourself, is God, the Almighty, the Wise.

[43:1-3] (By) Ha. Meem (H.M). And the clear scripture. Indeed, we have made it an Arabic Quran that you may understand.

[44:1-4] (By) Ha. Meem (H.M). And the clear scripture. Indeed, we have revealed it in a blessed night; indeed, we have been are warners. In it every wise matter has been made clear.

[45:1-3] (By) Ha.Meem (H.M). A revelation of the scripture is from God, the Almighty, the Wise. Indeed, in the heavens and the earth there are surely signs for the believers.

[46:1-3] (By) Ha.Meem (H.M). A revelation of the scripture is from God, the Almighty, the Wise. We have not created the heavens and the earth, and what is between them except with the truth, and for an appointed term, while those who disbelieved of what they have been warned are these who are turning away.

[14:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Raa (A.L.R); a scripture, we have revealed it to you that we may bring the people out of the darkness to the light by their Lord’s permission to path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. God is whom to Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And woe to the disbelievers for a severe punishment. Those who love the worldly life more than the Hereafter, and prevent from God’s path, and seek crookedness in it – those are in far astray.

[32:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem (A.L.M). A revelation of the scripture, there is no doubt in it, is from Lord of the worlds. Or do they say, “He (Muhammad) has fabricated it?” Nay, it is the truth from your Lord that you may warn a people, has not come to them a warner before yourself that they may guide.

[30:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem (A.L.M). Has been defeated the Romans in the nearest land while they, after their defeat will conquer.

[29:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Mem (A.L.M). Have the people thought that they will be left that they say, “We have believed,” and they will not be tested? Certainly, we have tested those before themselves, so surely, God will discern those who have been truthful and surely, He will discern the liars.

[2:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem (A.L.M). That is the scripture, there is no doubt in it, a guidance for the righteous. Those who believe in the unseen, and observe the Contact Prayer (salah), and of which we have provided them, they spend.

[3:1-3] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem (A.L.M). God: there is no other god except He; the Living, the Eternal. He has revealed the scripture to you (Muhammad) with the truth, is confirming that which was its before, and He has revealed the Torah and the Gospel.

[13:1-2] (By) Alif.Laam.Meem.Raa (A.L.M.R); this is of signs of the scripture, and that which has been revealed to you (Muhammad) from your Lord is the truth, but most of the people do not believe. God is the One who raised the heavens without pillars that you can see, then He established on the Throne, and committed the sun and the moon, each running for an appointed term. He controls all matters, detailed the revelations, so that you may ascertain in the meeting of your Lord.

  • List of Quranic initials prefixed to suras with significance of initials according to order of revelation:

  • 14 sets of Quranic Initials are grouped as follows according to the preference of order of revelation with a key message for each set while 10 sets are found once and 4 sets have multiple occurrences.

I. Single Occurrence Initials

15

Notes:

  • The prefixed N confirms that the person as chosen to be the messenger of God for the delivery of his Lord’s revelation is a blessed one who has to memorize the revelation as well as to write it down for proper delivery of the message.
  • The prefixed Q, S, and Y.`S confirm that the Quran is full of wonders, proofs and wisdom, which is a warning but it may seem to be a strange to the disbelievers.
  • The prefixed A.L.M.S confirms that there should not be any doubt in the scripture that revealed to you.
  • The prefixed K.H.Y.`A.S confirms the unusual events that have been mentioned in the revelation including a secret call of Zachariah to God.
  • The prefixed T.H confirms that the Quran is not revealed to be a cause of hardship for the believers.
  • The prefixed H.M followed by another prefixed `A.’S.Q confirms that God, the Almighty, Most Wise has inspired Muhammad with this revelation and He had done the same with others before him in the past.
  • The prefixed T.`S confirms that these are proofs of the scripture to be a guidance and good news for the believers.
  • The prefixed A.L.M.R confirms that these are proofs of this scripture and what is revealed in the scripture is the truth, but most people do not believe.

II. Multiple Occurrences Initials

11. ALM

16

Notes: The prefixed ALM confirms that:

  • these letters are proofs of the scripture.
  • this book is, without a doubt, a revelation from the Lord of the universe containing truth from our Lord.
  • the Romans will be defeated but rise up again and win.
  • God must distinguish the truthful and expose the liars.
  • this scripture is infallible; a guidance for the righteous.
  • God is the ONLY One who is to be worshiped informing us that He has sent down the previous scriptures as well.

12. T`SM

17
Notes: The prefixed T’SM confirms that these letters are proofs of the Quran.

13. ALR

18
Notes: The prefixed ALR confirms that these letters are proofs of the book of wisdom, a perfect Arabic Quran as inspired to a man among us to lead the people out of darkness into the light to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy.

14. HM

19
Notes: The highest number of sura is prefixed with HM which confirms that this scripture, an Arabic Quran having complete details revealed in a blessed night to warn is from God – Almighty, Omniscient; Almighty, Most Wise, Most Gracious, and Most Merciful.

Summary

Gematrical (numerical) value of letters of the Arabic alphabet was known to the people when the Quran was revealed. Historical records also indicate that the Muslims were thoroughly familiar with the gematrical systemas they used to write “786” in place of the first verse of the Quran known as Basmalah.

The first occurrence of initial, N followed by the expression “The pen, and what they write” in the 2nd revelation (68:1– NuN, the pen, and what they (the people) write.) is a hint that the Quranic initials as prefixed to the suras have a specific role in the revelation, and the verses immediately follow those initials refer to them and encode their meanings, and the presence of initials at the beginning of the sura confirms the message reflecting on their numeric property being discrete.The use of this expression just after the first revelation (96:1 – Read, in the name of your Lord, who created) also indicates that the Quran need to be recorded being verbal communication to Muhammad for proper delivery of it.

Careful review of the statements that follow the Quranic initials indicates that they are basic principles around our belief and understanding of the Quran. Thus, the most important ones can be summarized as: (1) these letters are the proofs of the scripture from the Lord of the universe, (2) this scripture containing wonders, proofs and wisdom is the guidance for the righteous having truth without any doubt in it, (3) this scripture, an Arabic Quran having complete details is revealed to Muhammad in a blessed night from God, Almighty, Omniscient; Almighty, Most Wise; and Most Gracious, Most Merciful, and (4) God being the ONLY owner of our worship must use these principles to distinguish the truthful and expose the liars.

29 suras are prefixed with a set of either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 initial(s) which indicate(s) that the increase in the number of initials has occurred according to God’s plan to deal with our difficulties to understand the events immediately following these initials that have mentioned in the respective sura to instill firm belief in our hearts. At the very beginning of the revelation, initials are single-lettered but the number of initials in the set are increased in the later revelations and sura 42 is prefixed with 2 sets of initials consisting of 5 Arabic letters. The first 3 single initials confirm the crucial statements immediately followed by these initials and these initials are repeated with other initials in the later revelations as well. God has introduced single initials at the very beginning of the revelation, then their numbers are increased where necessary based on how difficult for us to accept or understand the statements.For example, the prefixed H.M is repeated 7 times with different sets of God’s attributes to confirm us that this revelation is from God while the double prefixed H.M and `A.`S.Q confirm that inspiration only comes from God to convince us to believe that Muhammad was a messenger of God as well as to accept the revelation that came down to him from God via Gabriel.

Conclusion

From the discussion above it can be concluded that the Quranic initials as prefixed to the suras has a special significance to instill our belief in our hearts and to understand the revelation as well. But the old scholars could not realize any significance of these letters except to consider them to be mysterious letters or the meaning is only known to God. If they could reflect on the known numeric property of the Quranic initials and understand the Quran as a whole they would not assign such meanings to these letters. If these letters did not have any meaning or significance to us, God would not include them in His final guidance wherein there is no ambiguity (39:28) or falsehood (10:32). In addition, if we examine many other verses of the Quran, we can observe that God has referred to many of His creations such as the star, the sun, and the moon as well as the dawn and the night before mentioning many crucial commands to convince us that these commands need our special attention to understand and follow them. These initials play the same role being their positions at the the beginning of the initialed suras while the presence of the letter “wa” at the beginning of many suras usually serves as conjunction is being appropriately interpreted to indicate oath of God. However, it is true that these initials to be the physical proofs of the Quran from God was hidden from us for 14 centuries being prophetic sign but the significance of these initials was not hidden from the true believers of God and the Quran. So the Quran has always been and would be fully detailed, complete and perfect to serve as the guidance, mercy, and good news from the time of its revelation to the end of the world irrespective of time of eras and generations of people. Since the insincere believers have no access to the Quran (56:79, 17:45-46) when the Quran’s mathematical code is unveiled after 14 centuries of the revelation of the Quran through divine inspiration (74:11-14) and 3:81 & 33:7), they cannot accept it due to their ignorance, and the history is repeated with the killing of God’s Messenger of Covenant in 1990 (2:87).
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (11/7/2014)