Why you should memorize the first lines of the first Sura of the Qur’an

By Unknown - Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.230_SL1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10967360

Manuscript of the Qur’an at the Brooklyn Museum – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.230_SL1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10967360

I have always found the first two or three lines of the first Sura of the Qur’an (“The Cow”) very useful for understanding the document as a whole. Here are two versions from two different editions.

“This is a scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God, who believe in the unseen, keep up the prayer, and give out of what We have provided for them; those who believe in the revelation sent down to you [Muhammad], and in what was sent before you, those who have firm faith in the Hereafter. Such people are following their Lord’s guidance and it is they who will prosper.” (Oxford World’s Classics edition, M.A.S. Haleem)

“This Book is not to be doubted. It is a guide for the righteous, who have faith in the unseen and are steadfast in prayer; who bestow in charity a part of what We have given them; who trust what has been revealed to you and to others before you, and firmly believe in the life to come. These are rightly guided by their Lord; these shall surely triumph.” (Penguin Classics, N.J.Dawood)

From reading just these initial sentences, what can we learn about the essential mission of the Qur’an?

Qur’an memorization is a great tradition, by the way. In fact, there are many YouTube tutorials on how to do it.

Islamic children compete in Qur’an memorization contests not dissimilar in some ways to spelling bees. One of the greatest travel writers in history, Evliya Çelebi, was a professional Qu’ran singer.

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