For an introduction to our tafsirs and for a discussion of the Basmallah, which is the first ayah ofthis Surah please see our tafsir of
which is also on Quran-Tafsir.org
2. Alif. Lam. Ra. These are the ayahs of the Clear Book.
Allah (swt) begins this Surah much like He (swt) has begun other Surahs of the Quranand that is by mentioning some letters of the Arabic language. As we have mentioned in our tafsirof Surah Baqarah, we do not know the exact meaning of these letters. If there is a meaning tothese letters then it is a meaning that our Lord never told us. Because Allah (swt) has chosen notto tell us the meaning of these letters then it is not our place to pry into their meaning. Allah (swt)in His (swt)’s Wisdom has chosen not to tell us the meaning of these letters and so we mustmake ourselves content with this fact. Such is part of our submission to our Lord, we have toaccept the fact that there are many matters concerning which He (swt) has all the Knowledge andwe have none. We have no knowledge of such matters and the knowledge of such matters isbeyond our attainment. So regarding the Arabic letters “
Alif. Lam. Ra.
”, we say that Allah (swt)Knows best.One general meaning that we can take from these letters is that it is a reminder that theQuran is in Arabic and that it is a reminder of the Miracle of the Quran. Allah (swt) is beginningsome of the Surahs with Arabic letters to remind us that this is an Arabic Quran. Allah (swt) isreminding us that the Quran is a composition of Arabic letters. The Quran itself is a collection ofArabic letters. So if the Quran was not from Allah (swt) then we would have been able toreproduce it. We as human beings know all of the letters of the Arabic language and we evenknow how to bring those letters together to form words and we also know how to bring those