03 Nov What does the word ayat (verse) mean?
This word literally means “clear proof,” “sign,” “evidence,” “warning,” “extraordinary event or people.”
As a Qur’anic term a verse is composed of one or more sentences, has a clear beginning and a clear end, and is a constituent part of a Qur’anic chapter. The meaning of the word ayat that occurs in the Holy Qur’an can be given as follows:
- Miracle: The word ayat is used to mean clear proof of miracles in verse,
“Ask the Children of Israel how many clear proofs We gave to them…” (Baqara 2:211).
Indeed, all Qur’anic verses are miracles, as no one has been able to come up with anything similar to them.
- Sign: The word ayat is used to mean a sign in verse,
“Their Prophet added: ‘The sign of his kingdom is that the Ark will come to you, in which there is inward peace and assurance from your Lord, and a remnant of what the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Truly in that is a sign for you, if you are (true) believers’” (Baqara 2:248).
- Verses of the Qur’an: In the verse,
“It is He Who has sent down on you this (glorious) Book, wherein are verses absolutely explicit and firm: they are the core of the Book…” (Al Imran 3:7),
the term ayat is used to refer to each of the individual units (i.e. verses) of the Qur’an that have definite beginnings and endings.
- Warning or lesson: In the verse,
“the (shocking) punishment seized them. Surely in that (which took place between Salih and his people) there is a sign (a great, important lesson). Most of them were not believers” (Shuara 26:158),
the term ayat is used in connection with the punishment meted out to the people of Prophet Salih to indicate a lesson or warning that should be taken.
- An unprecedented thing that amazes people: In the verse,
“We made the Son of Mary and his mother a miraculous sign (of Our Lordship and Power)…” (Mu’minun 23:50),
the term ayat is used in connection with the creation of Mary and her son Jesus to mean something that is unexampled and marvelous to people or extraordinary events.
- Proof and evidence: In the verse,
“And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your languages and colors. Surely in this are signs indeed for people who have knowledge” (Rum 30:22),
God Almighty draws our attention to the signs and proofs in both the created world and one’s self through which humans can have knowledge of the Creator of all universe;
Here the term ayat is used for proof and evidence that leads humans to recognize God. In fact, all the meanings of ayat that are used have close connections with Qur’anic verses; this is because each Qur’anic verse is a miracle, a proof of Prophethood and a declaration of the honesty of God’s Messenger, evidence of the power and might of God Almighty, guidance to and knowledge of God, as well as a lesson and reminder to be reflected upon.