The Underlying Structure of the Qur’an
The Qur’an complexifies internally through five phases.
1. SUKUT — silences. The Message is punctuated with breaks, silences, without which the meaning would not be clear.
2. HURUF — letters. The Qur’an in its totality is letters. The means by which they are patterned is listed below. But letters also appear in the isolated form at the beginnings of certain units of the Qur’an. These letters are called al-muqatta’at.
3. KALAM — words. The first level of meanings in the mulk — the outward realm of manifestation. Words have inner structures of their own.
4. AYATS — signs. These constructions of word patterning are the basic meaning clusters of the Book, the second level of meanings in the mulk. They have an inner structure of arrangement — grammar.
5. SURATS — forms. These are the large units united by thematic content. There are 114 surats or 113 which open with the ‘Bismillah’.