Interpreting the Disjointed Letters of the Holy Quran (3/4)

Interpreting the Disjointed Letters of the Holy Quran (3/4)

Interpreting the Disjointed Letters of the Holy Quran (2/4)

8.9Cha Mem (ح م)

Meaning: Wall/Fence; Water. Portions of water, i.e. revelation in tranches: thus Quran.


Cha[1][2]: This is Chet (ח) in Hebrew. Pictographic description corresponds to a wall or a fence; some even described it as a line of bricks in a wall; and phonetic name is also in sync in both languages. Ideographically it depicts separation, enclosure, surrounding something etc. It is no stretch of imagination thus to consider the ideogram as a concept depicting separation of parts, tranches, portions etc. Arabic speaking people familiar with Quranic units can recognize that the actual Arabic word used to depict chapters, i.e. Surah, has the exact same meaning Chet depicts. Surah also means wall, fence, line of bricks in a wall, and has been used as the official name of chapters in the very sense that these are enclosures of profound and coherent meanings. Since Quran was revealed in tranches; one chapter, or a certain set of verses were revealed at one point in time (sometimes necessitated by specific incidents), while the next at another time and place. Hence, Cha is symbolizing ‘segmentation’ herein.

Mem: Please see ‎8.1.

Ha Mem: Just like Alif Lam Mem and Alif Lam Ra, this is another characteristic name of the Quran from the angle of scheme of revelation. The combination depicts revelation that is apportioned, released in tranches.

Relevance with Incident Chapters: These chapters are 40-46. A particular train of thought that connects all these chapters thematically is the thread wherein God describes various aspects of the scheme of revelation adopted. This includes why Arabic was selected as the medium, what was the mode of transmission and why that particular mode was chosen, and many other aspects of revelation. The ideogram therefore is very pertinent. In chapter 42, Ayin Sin Qof is additional, which is explained in the following serial.

8.9.1Ayin Sin Qof (ع س ق)

Meaning: Eye; Teeth; Back of Head/Neck. Eyesight cannot reach (Him).


Ayin: Please see serial ‎8.4. Herein, ideographically it means eyesight, i.e. the act of seeing.

Sin: Please see serial ‎8.6. Logogram has been described previously. However, ideographically what does Sin stand for is a disputed affair. As per the methodology adopted in this research throughout extrapolation is limited to only the most obvious candidates. Since teeth are used to bite and cut, semantically it may be considered a symbol of cutting and disconnecting.

Qof [3]: It is Qof (ק) in Hebrew also. Pictogram is divergent. And in this particular case, even the phonetic name is inconclusive; and perhaps that is the real reason for pictographic divergence too. If the phonetic name is considered to be ‘Qoof’, then hole of an axe/eye of a needle is the likely pictogram. Whereas if it is read ‘Qof’ then back of the head and neck seems more appropriate. Since no other determinants are available to choose one over the other this research has preferred the latter[4]since it makes more sense in both chapters[5]it is incident on. Moreover, considering the former pictogram ideographic implication also remains unclear. Whereas the latter clearly implies closeness and extreme nearness, as being right behind someone.

Ayin Sin Qof: Hence the combination symbolizes the idea: ‘eyesight cannot reach’.

Relevance with Incident Chapter: This interpretation is perfectly in cohesion with a very important thematic thread of this chapter explained in verses 51-52, i.e. no man can talk to God face to face; hence three modes of transmission are spelt out that were adopted throughout generations. This thought: that eyesight is unable to reach God, is confirmed by other verses in the Quran as well[6]. Moreover, the following verse[7]begins with ‘In this manner revelation has been sent to you and before you…’ which also corroborates this interpretation.

8.10Qof (ق)

Meaning: Back of head & neck. Guardian/Sentinel, i.e. Record-keeping Angels sitting right and left of every human.


Qof: Please see serial ‎8.9.1. Expanding the ideogram of closeness, it symbolizes someone who is extremely close, right behind someone. Hence, in this sense it can be applied to the functional equivalent of a guardian, sentinel, and supervisor etc., who is appointed to keep a close watch over something or someone. Idioms like ‘Breathing down one’s neck’ draw directly from this concept of closeness. Thus Qof herein is symbolizing a being or beings that keep close watch over someone.

Relation with Incident Chapter: In the chapter[8]verses 17-18 two appointed angels are said to be monitoring every human, sitting on his/her right and left, noting down speech and actions of that person as their designated duty. The exact words ‘Raqeeb(un) Ateed’ translate to ‘guardians at the ready’. The word Raqeeb comes from Raqaba in Arabic which refers to neck, hence the word itself is figurative equivalent of someone who is right behind and extremely close to the neck. At another place Quran refers to these two angels as ‘guardians’ explicitly also[9]. Thus symbolizing this guardianship with the letter Qof is manifestly fitting.

8.11Nun (ن)

Meaning: Fish, vis-à-vis the prophet Jonah (pbuh).


Nun[10]: Although pictographic descriptions diverge between fish and a snake, the complete phonetic name confirms the former meaning.

Relevance with Incident Chapter: In the chapter[11]the story of Prophet Jonah is referred to in verses 48-50, who according to Biblical tradition was swallowed by a fish. This incident was so significant that Jonah came to be known as Sahib-il-Hoot[12]& Zun-Nun[13], both of which translate to ‘Person/Companion of the Fish’. Hence the symbolic relevance is obvious.

Interpreting the Disjointed Letters of the Holy Quran (4/4)


[1]Encyclopedia Judaica: volume 9, page 79, see ‘Het’; Fu: page 408.

[2]The ‘C’ in ‘Cha’ is to depict a guttural ‘ha’ that does not exist in English. It is not meant to be taken phonetically in literal sense.

[3]Kl: page 559; Fu: 1212.

[4]Fuerst has also preferred this meaning. See Fu page 1212 under ‘ק’.

[5]Chapters 42 and 50.

[6]Chapter 6 Verse 103.

[7]Chapter 42 Verse 3.

[8]Chapter 50.

[9]Chapter 82 Verse 10.

[10]Fu: page 889; Kl: page 400.

[11]Chapter 68.

[12]Ibid, Verse 48.

[13]Chapter 21 Verse 87.


By this author