🔼The name Quran: Summary
- He Who (That Which) Calls
- From the verb קרה (qara), to call, call near or proclaim.
🔼The name Quran in the Bible
The name Quran obviously doesn't occur in the Bible because Muhammad finished his work on the Quran six-hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ. But its relation to the Bible is obvious and important; from the array of main characters (the sources of which were mostly minority texts) to the cognateness of the languages.
Muhammad wrote the Quran in response to the thoroughly corrupted theologies of the "People of the Book": Medieval Jewry and Christendom, and since European cultures survived thanks to the sophistication of the Islamic culture, it's pretty safe to say that without the Quran there would probably not have been a Bible as we know it.
The Quran differs from the Bible on some serious key issues (such as the sonhood of Christ, which is even today wildly misunderstood by an overwhelming majority of Christians; see our article on the name Islam), but it positively radiates with respect for the "previous" revelations. The Quran was written as a fierce attack on those who disrespect divine revelation in general, and a friendly invitation to those of other faiths to discuss their respective findings. As the Quran says:
Argue with the People of the Book only virtuously, but tell the injust: "We believe that which was revealed to us and what was revealed to you. And our God and your God are One. To him we subject ourselves".
🔼Etymology of the name Quran
The name Quran comes from a root that occurs all over the Semitic language spectrum. In the Arabic of Muhammad's time it meant to recite, and its derived noun would thus mean recitation. In the Hebrew of the Bible this same root is frequently employed: קרה (qara), meaning to call, call near or proclaim:
Root קרר (qarar) means to cool off in a thermodynamic sense: to go from hot gas to cool liquid to a cold solid. Socially this would describe warring tribes "cooling off" into culturally compatible peoples and liquid trading networks and ultimately the formation of cities and solid nations. Intellectually, diverse viewpoints might congeal into local conventions and ultimately a global standard.
Adjective קר (qar) means cool. Nouns קר (qor) and קרה (qara) mean cold. Noun מקרה (meqera), meaning coolness.
Noun קיר (qir) is one of a few words for wall. It might relate to the root because bricks are congealed mud, and a wall is bricks pieced together (non-standard bricks take some puzzling and pounding). The noun קרקע (qarqa') means floor; earth trampled into a compact state. The verb קרקר (qarqar) means to forcibly compact, to pound down.
Verb קרה (qara), and its by-form קרא (qara'), mean to near, to meet or to happen upon. Noun קורה (qora) describes a rafter or beam; the things that come together to form a roof, and which obviously relate to bricks pieced into a wall. Verb קרה (qara) means to piece beams together and noun מקרה (meqareh) means literally place of beams; beam-work.
Nouns קרה (qareh) and מקרה (miqreh) mean chance or accident, fortune or fate. Noun קרי (qeri) means opposition, contrariness. At a social level, chance meetings and opposition are the very rafters that carry society's roof.
For this same reason, the nouns קריה (qiryah) and קרת (qeret) are the words for city and federation of cities.
Verb קרא (qara'), which is identical to the by-form of the previous, means to call or call near. Adjective קריא (qari') means called or summoned. Noun קריאה (qeri'a) means proclamation. And noun מקרא (miqra') means convocation or called assembly. The noun קרא (qore') describes a partridge; literally "a caller."
The name Quran literally means Reading or Recitation. If it had occurred in the Bible, it would have meant He Who (That Which) Calls.