Quran: The Prologue

The Prologue of the Quran is obviously quite fitting in its placement considering the fact that it’s a gracious prayer said by the reader of this text as he embarks on the spiritual, emotional and religious journey that is ahead of him. However, it doesn’t ‘fit’ for one reason. Do you know what that is?

Well, the Quran, other than this first sura (sura is sort of like chapter and it is how the Quran is divided, with a total of 114 suras), is ordered by length of sura. That is, the longest sura (The Cow) comes first and then they get smaller until you get all the way to Men. The Prologue is not very long – only seven verses – but it does kick off the entire Quran. It reads:

All praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,

Most beneficent, ever-merciful

King of the Day of Judgment

You alone we worship, and to You alone turn for help.

Guide us (O Lord) to the path that is straight,

The path of those you have blessed,

Not of those who have earned Your anger nor those who have gone astray.

These are the opening verses of the Quran, the Muslim holy text. I thought it would be best if for this first entry, I simply displayed them here for all of us.

From now on I hope that you will read along with me every week. For next Wednesday, August 6th, we will read the first 100 verses of The Cow. It should only take you about 10-15 minutes so don’t worry. It’s not a lot. Click HERE to read these verses online. I will comment on them and then I invite you to do the same. Ask questions and think along with me about the text.

Have you ever read the Quran before? What did you think?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read more Quran Read-A-Long.

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6 Responses

  1. […] got something to say Quran: The Prologue … on An Announcement About The Zen …“D-Yikes!… on “The Losing Edge” […]

  2. So why doesn’t Al-Fatiha “fit?” As a Muslim, I’m curious to see what you know. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your question, JDsg. When I said that the Prologue doesn’t fit, I only meant in the sense of the organizational principle of sura length. That is, since the rest of the suras are ordered from longest to shortest, the Prologue is theoretically out of place, as it is my understanding that what we call the Prologue is actually the first sura. However, it’s salutatory nature makes it fit quite nicely as the opening passage.

    Did you have something else in mind? I’d be delighted to hear what you have to say on the matter.

  4. There is that, of course, the fact that Al Fatiha has only seven verses, compared to, say, Al Baqara (The Cow), which has 286 verses. However, what most Muslims would focus on in terms of Al Fatiha’s “fit” is that this surah is the only one devoted to asking a request from Allah (swt): “Show us the straight path…” The rest of the Qur’an is the answer to that request.

    BTW, with respect to the Qur’an’s organization (“longest to shortest”), it doesn’t follow that pattern perfectly; there are many times when shorter surahs are intermixed with longer surahs. The longest to shortest structure is just a rough guide. The Qur’an also has groupings of surahs where the themes of the content are similar; you might find the introductions to Yusuf Ali’s translation to be of help here.

  5. That makes perfect sense. As soon as I read what you wrote I recalled the second verse of The Cow which says that this is the book for those who follow the straight path. It’s an immediate response to the request of the prologue, which as you just said, is a request for guidance along this path.

    Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing that.

  6. Hi, everyone. I think I’m a little bit late here, but it’s just amazing the idea of discussing the verses of the Quran. I have read the post of Adam in paradise and I loved it. Now I will start from the beggining and one day I will catch you.

    Thank you!

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