The Sounds of the Quran

Like many holy texts, the Quran was spoken before it was written. In fact, the Quran literally means “the recitation,” and it’s perhaps best experienced exactly that way — as a recitation in a poetic and often musical Arabic. Because of this, the Quran tends to be difficult to fully experience as a non-Arabic speaker, as so much of the text is about sound and performance.

Watch the videos below to experience how the Quran sounds in Arabic.

This one shows what a live recitation is like:


A Passage from the Quran

Muslims consider the Quran to contain the literal words of Allah (“God” in Arabic).  As such, the 114 surahs (or chapters), are from Allah’s perspective. This perspective is often translated into English using the pronoun “We.”

The surahs are ordered from longest to shortest.

Here is a translation of the fifth surah from, named “The Table.” In this passage, Allah talks about how passages from Jewish and Christian texts are inspired.
It’s notable that Allah here says that the Jewish Torah and the Christian gospel contain “guidance and light” and that Muslims should “compete in righteousness” with those of other faiths — that they should focus on being charitable and good-hearted.
We have revealed the Torah, wherein is guidance and light. The submissive prophets ruled the Jews according to it, so did the rabbis and the scholars, as they were required to… In their footsteps, We sent Jesus son of Mary, fulfilling the Torah that preceded him; and We gave him the Gospel, wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah that preceded him, and guidance and counsel for the righteous.

And We revealed to you the Book, with truth, confirming the Scripture that preceded it, and superseding it. So judge between them according to what God revealed, and do not follow their desires if they differ from the truth that has come to you. For each of you We have assigned a law and a method. Had God willed, He could have made you a single nation, but He tests you through what He has given you. So compete in righteousness.

Scroll to Top