The  Division of the Qur'an

Excerpted from "Dictionary of Islam" by Thomas Patrick Hughes © 1886

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The Qur'an, which is written in the Arabic language, is divided into: Harf, Kalimah, Ayah, Surah, Ruku', Rub', Nisf, SuIs, Juz', Manzal. 

1. Harf (pl. Huruf), Letters; of which there are said to be 323,671, or according to some authorities, 338,606. 

2. Kalimah (pl. Kalimat), Words; of which there are 77,934, or, according to some writers 79,934. 

3. Ayah (pl. Ayat), Verses. Ayah is a word which signifies "sign." It was used by Muhammad for short sections or verses of his revelation. The division of verses differs in different editions of the Arabic Qur'an. The number of verses in the Arabic Qur'an are recorded after the title of the Surah, and the verses distinguished in the text by a small cypher or circle. The early readers of the Qur'an did not agree as to the original position of these circles, and so it happens that there are five different systems of numbering the verses: 

(a) Kufah verses. The Readers in the city of al-Kufah say that they followed the custom of 'Ali. Their way of reckoning is generally adopted in India. They reckon 6,239 verses.

(b) Basrah verses. The Readers of al-Basrah follow 'Asim ibn Hajjaj, a Companion. They reckon 6,204. 
(c) Shami verses, The Readers in Syria (Shiim) followed 'Abdu 'lliih ibn 'Umar, a Companion. They reckon 6,225 verses. 
(d) Makkah verses. According to this arrangement, there are 6,219 verses. 
(e) Madinah verses. This way of reading contains 6,211 verses. 
4. Surah (pl. Suwar), Chapters. A word which signifies a row or series, but which is now used exclusively for the chapters of the Qur'an, which are one hundred and fourteen in number. These chapters are called after some word which occurs in the text, and, if the Traditions are to be trusted, they were so named by Muhammad himself, although the verses of their respective Surahs were undoubtedly arranged after his death, and sometimes with little regard to their sequence. Muslim doctors admit that the Khalifah 'Usman arranged the chapters in the order in which they now stand in the Qur'an. 
The Surahs of the Muhammadan Qur'an are similar to the forty-three divisions of the Law amongst the Jews as Sidarim, or "orders." These were likewise named after a word in the section, e.g. The first is Bereshith, the second Noah, &c. (See Buxton’s Tiberias, p. 181.) 
Each Surah of the Qur'an, with the exception of the IXth, begins with the words: 
In the name of the Merciful, the Compassionate." 5. Ruku' (pl. Ruku'at), an inclination of the head or bow. These are sections of about ten verses or less, at which the devout Muslim makes a bow of reverence; they are marked on the margin of the Qur'an with the letter 'ain, with the number of the ruku over it. Muhammadans generally quote their Qur'an by the Juz' or Siparah and the Ruku'. 
6. Rub'. The quarter of a Juz', or Siparah. 
7. Nisf. The half of a Siparah. 
8. Suls. The three-quarters of a Siparah. These three divisions are denoted by the words being written on the margin. 
9. Juz' (pl. Ajza'). Persian Siparah. Thirty divisions of the Qur'an, which have been made to enable the devout Muslim to recite the whole of the Qur'an in the thirty days of Ramadan. Muhammadans usually quote their Qur'an by the Siparah or Juz' and not by the Surah. 
10. Manzil (pl. Manazil, Stages). These are seven in number, and are marked by the 
letters, which are said to spell Fami bi Shauq, "My mouth with desire." This arrangement is to enable the Muslim to recite the whole in the course of a week.