Noble Qur’an, its different names and their Significance
Noble Qur’an is the Divine Book, revealed unto the last Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh). The noble Qur’an is primarily the book of guidance (hidayah) for whole mankind (Q. 2: 2 & 185), and for all times and places. Noble Qur’an, as all Muslims are well aware, bears many names; and among these, very few are frequently used. This article is an attempt to present an overview and description of five such frequently used names of the Quran, which include- Al-Quran, Al-Furqan, Al-Dhikr, Al-Kitab and Al-Tanzil (Mufti Taqi Uthmani, Uloom ul Quran, p. 25). These names of the Qur’an have been repeatedly mentioned on the various occasions and every name has its deep meaning and significance.
The very famous word “Al- Quran” is mentioned more than 60 times in the Quran at different places. It is mostly used as a synonym for the word “Al-Kitab” (The Book); examples are Q. 2:185, 4:82, 6:19, 10:61, 17:82. In Q. 17:78, the same word means “Reading and Recitation” and in 75:17 it means “To Promulgate”. Thus, in simple words, “Al-Quran” means the book which has been revealed on the Prophet (pbuh) for reading and recitation purpose and the guide for those who fear Allah in particular and for whole humanity in general.
The second most famous name of the Quran is “Al-Furqan” which literally means “The Criterion” and “Judgement”. For instance, in 2:185, 3:4, and 25:, the word “Al- Furqan” has been used to highlight the meaning that Quran is that book which differentiates between Right (Haqq) and Wrong (Batil). Thus from this very particular name it becomes clear that the Quran is the measuring rod for all activities and deeds. The Noble Quran guides its readers to choose and judge right path among many wrong paths. It is worth to mention here that a complete chapter (surah) has been revealed on this theme in the Quran.
“Al-Dhikr” is also an important name of the noble Quran which comes more than ten times in the Quran. The word “Al-Dhikr” literally means “Remembrance” and “Reminder”. In verses 3:58, 12:104, 15:9, 16:44 etc the word “Al-Dhikr” has been used with the same meaning mentioned above. Quran is the Book of “Reminder” for all, it reminds human beings the purpose for which they are/were sent on the earth. When it was revealed on the Prophet (pbuh) in Makkah and Madinah, it reminded the then audience that the Messengers were sent to every nation and those who accepted them were awarded here and will be awarded hereafter as well while as those who did not accept them faced wrath of Allah and will face in hereafter also. Similarly, it reminds us today that one day we have to stand in front of Almighty Allah to get reward/ punishment for all deeds.
The word “Al-Kitab” comes more than twenty six (26) times throughout the Quran which refers to the Quran. Literally “Al-Kitab” means “The Book”. As mentioned above, “Al-Kitab” and “Al-Quran” have been used as synonyms for each other. In its second chapter while introducing the Quran, Almighty Allah says: “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah” (2:2). Here “The Book” refers to the Quran. Similarly in the verses 3:164, 4:127, 7:129, 39:41 and 42:17 etc word “Al-Kitab” has been used as a synonym of “Al- Quran”.
The last important name of the Quran among above five mentioned names is “Al-Tanzil”, which also comes at various places in its original or other related form. “Al- Tanzil” means “Final Revelation sent by Allah”. Thus, it has also been used as an alternate word for Al-Quran. The same word has been used in the verses 2:4, 2:23, 4:166, 56:80 and 97:1 etc, to highlight that the Quran is revealed one, and has been revealed by Almighty Allah on His last Messenger.
Although Muslim scholars are of the opinion that there are more than 50 names of Quran; but among them above five mentioned and discussed are famous and well known. Infact every name of the Quran qualifies to be best of the words and every name presents its introduction.
Note: Translations of the Quranic verses and phrases are taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s The Holy Quran (New Delhi: Al-Hasnat Book Depot, 2016).
Author holds masters in Islamic Studies from IUST, Awantipora.