Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Qur’an Surah 1: The Exordium

The following is from a work-in-progress called The Qur'an: a Book Report, in which I read each chapter (or surah) of the Qur'an and try to capture some of its main ideas in my own words.  I will also include some original Arabic text of the surahs, because they are very beautiful.

The Qur’an is the holy book of Islam, a world religion that has over a billion and a half followers worldwide.  The book consists of a series of 114 chapters (or surahs) on various topics and themes.  The word “Qur’an” means “recitation” because the text is meant to be read (or sung) aloud.  According to Muslim tradition, it originates from divine revelations received by the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in the 7th century C.E.  The surahs are not arranged chronologically.  That is, they do not tell a linear narrative.  They are generally arranged according to length, with the first ones being longer, and the later ones shorter.  An English translation cannot do full justice to the original Arabic text, which is full of poetry and multi-layered meaning.  But, seeing as I don't read Arabic, I'll have to make due with an English translation.

The first surah is called “The Exordium” (or Al Fatihah).  It like a short prologue/prayer, which I will include in its entirety here:

In the name of God
The compassionate
The merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe,
The compassionate, the Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Judgment!
You alone we worship, and to You alone
we turn for help.
Guide us to the straight path,
The path of those whom You have favored,
Not the path of those who have incurred Your wrath,
Nor of those who have gone astray.

Surah 1: The Exordium (Al Fatihah)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! I'm relatively knowledgable of Islam as Americans go but my fellow citizens have got a lot to learn. I'm sharing your post with my friends on Facebook to give them a start.