Meaning of Surah, Ayah and Kalimah
The Meaning of Sûrah
There is a difference of opinion about the meaning of the word Sûrah - chapter - and what is derived from. It was said that 'Sûrah' means elevation and height.
An-Nâbighah - a renowned poet from pre-Islamic era said (when he was praising a king),
Do you realize that Allah has given you such a Sawrah, that every other king remains far below it?
Furthermore, Sûrah implies that the reader is moving from one stage to another, It was also said that Sûrah means height, just like walls that surrounds cities. It was said that Sûrah was called as such because it is part of the Qur'an as compared to the word Asar, which is in reference to whatever remains in th epot. Therefore, in this case, the origin of the word was altered so that the word now reads Sûrah. It was also said that Sûrah was called such because it is complete and perfect, as the arabs used to call the perfect camel a Sûrah. I say that the word Sûrah means collection or surrounding parts - or the Âyah in this case, just as the wall that surrounds the city surrounds its homes and buildings. The plural for the word Sûrah is Suwar, Suwarat and Surat.
The Meaning of Âyah
The Âyah is the sign - or pause - that separates the speech before and after, meaning that the Âyah is separate from its preceding and following sentences. Allah said,
The sign of His kingdom (2:248).
It was also said that it was called 'Âyah', meaning, 'a wonder', because mankind is unable to produce somehting like it. the plurals for Âyah are Âyy, Âyat and Âyay.
The Meaning of Kalimah
As for the word kalimah, it means, 'one word', which might consist of two letters such as Ma and La. The Kalimah might also contain more than ten letters such as,
Anulzimukumuha (11:28) and,
Fa-Asqaynakumah (15:22). Also a Kalimah might constitue an entire Âyah, such as
Wad-Duhâ (93:1) and,
Firther, the scholars of Kufah said that each of 'Alif Lâm Mîm, Tahah, Yasîn, Ha-Mîm is a Kalimah. In addition, Abû 'Amr Ad-Dâni said, "I know of only one Âyah that is one word, that is Allah's statement,
Mud-hâmmatân in Surah Ar-Rahmân (55:64)."
Taken from Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol-1.
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