114 Sura of the Koran

“There are 114 sura or ‘chapters’ within the Koran. These are named and numbered, but the names (such as The Cow or The Light) have no importance other than as a memory tag linked to some unusual feature. The chapters are not ordered by age of delivery or location (either Mecca or Medina), but in reverse length, so the shortest chapters begin the Koran and the longest end it. There is no narrative flow; indeed, at times one could almost imagine the Prophet’s revelations to be addressed to 114 different types of human, for each chapter is a development or a condensation of the same essential theme: how to live and love both mankind and God.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

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