The Quran consists of 114 chapters of varying lengths, each known as a sura. Chapters are classified as Meccan or Medinan, depending on whether the verses were revealed before or after the migration of Muhammad to the city of Medina. Chapter titles are derived from a name or quality discussed in the text, or from the first letters or words of the surah. Generally, longer chapters appear earlier in the Quran, while the shorter ones appear later. The chapter arrangement is thus not connected to the sequence of revelation. Each chapter except the ninth starts with the Bismillah an Arabic phrase meaning 'In the name of God'. There are, however, still 114 occurrences of the bismillah in the Quran, due to its presence in verse 27:30 as the opening of Solomon's letter to the Queen of Sheba.
Each chapter is formed from several verses, known as ayat, which originally means a 'sign' or 'evidence' sent by God. The number of verses differs from chapter to chapter. An individual verse may be just a few letters or several lines. The total number of verses in the Quran is 6236; however, the number varies if the bismillahs are counted separately.Muqatta'at or the Quranic initials are fourteen different letter combinations of 14 Arabic letters that appear in the beginning of 29 chapters of the Quran. The meanings of these initials remain unclear. According to one estimate the Quran consists of 77430 words, 18994 unique words, 12183 stems, 3382 lemmas and 1685 roots.
Islamic tradition relates that Muhammad received his first revelation in the Cave of Ḥira during one of his isolated retreats to the mountains. Thereafter, he received revelations over a period of twenty-three years. According to hadith and Muslim history, after Muhammad immigrated to Medina and formed an independent Muslim community, he ordered a considerable number of the ṣaḥābah to recite the Quran and to learn and teach the laws, which were revealed daily. Companions who engaged in the recitation of the Quran were called qariʼ.
Based on earlier transmitted reports, shortly after Muhammad's death in the year 632 CE, the first caliph Abu Bakr decided to collect the book in one volume. Thus, a group of scribes, most importantly Zayd ibn Thabit, collected the verses and produced several hand-written copies of the complete book. Zayd's reaction to the task and the difficulties in collecting the Quranic material from parchments, palm-leaf stalks, and thin stones and from men who knew it by heart is recorded in earlier narratives. Hafsa bint Umar, Muhammad's widow and Caliph Umar's daughter was entrusted with that Quranic text.
In about 650 CE, when the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan began noticing slight differences in pronunciation of the Quran, and as Islam expanded beyond the Arabian peninsula into Persia, the Levant and North Africa, in order to preserve the sanctity of the text, ordered a committee to use Hafsa's text and prepare a standard copy of the text of Quran. Thus, within twenty years of Muhammad’s death, the Quran was committed to written form. That text became the model from which copies were made and promulgated throughout the urban centers of the Muslim world, and other versions are believed to have been destroyed. The present form of the Quran text is accepted by Muslim scholars to be the original version compiled by Abu Bakr.
Translation of the Quran has always been a problematic and difficult issue. Many argue that the Quranic text cannot be reproduced in another language or form. Furthermore, an Arabic word may have a range of meanings depending on the context, making an accurate translation even more difficult. Nevertheless, the Quran has been translated into most African, Asian and European languages. The first translator of the Quran was Salman the Persian, who translated surat al-Fatiha into Persian during the 7th century. The first complete translation of the Quran was completed in 884 CE in Alwar (Sindh, India now Pakistan) by the orders of Abdullah bin Umar bin Abdul Aziz on the request of the Hindu Raja Mehruk.In 1936, translations in 102 languages were known. In 2010, the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review reported that the Quran was presented in 112 languages at the 18th International Quran Exhibition in Tehran.
The proper recitation of the Quran is the subject of a separate discipline named Tajwid which determines in detail how the Quran should be recited, how each individual syllable is to be pronounced, the need to pay attention to the places where there should be a pause, to elisions, where the pronunciation should be long or short, where letters should be sounded together and where they should be kept separate, and so on. It may be said that this discipline studies the laws and methods of the proper recitation of the Quran and covers three main areas: the proper pronunciation of consonants and vowels (the articulation of the Quranic phonemes), the rules of pause in recitation and of resumption of recitation, and the musical and melodious features of recitation.
The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God. Muslims believe the Quran to be verbally revealed through angel Gabriel (Jibril) from God to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately 23 years beginning on 22 December 609 CE. The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance, sometimes offering detailed accounts of specific historical events, and often emphasizing the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence. The Quran is used along with the hadith to interpret sharia law. During prayers, the Quran is only recited in Arabic. Verse 15:9 states that Allah will personally protect the Quran from corruption. The word Quran appears about 70 times in the Quran itself, assuming various meanings.
Muslims believe that the Quran is different from all other books in ways that are impossible for any other book to be, such that similar texts cannot be written by humans. These include both mundane and miraculous claims. The Quran itself challenges any who disagree with its divine origin to produce a text of a miraculous nature. Scholars of Islam believe that its poetic form is unique and of a fashion that cannot be written by humans. They also claim it contains accurate prophecy and that no other book does.