What is Ayat Al-Kursi?:
Ayat Al-Kursi, or the "verse of the Throne" is a famous and important verse of the Quran. It can be found at Surah/Chapter 2, verse 255. This verse is known for its profound meaning, rhythmic and sublime language (in the original Arabic), and its inspiring and comforting message. The name, Ayat Al-Kursi, means "the verse of the Throne," based on Allah's Throne (dominion) which is described in the latter part of the verse.
What does Ayat Al-Kursi mean?:
Pages upon pages of books have been written just on the meaning of Ayat Al-Kursi. In summary, Allah is described as being different from anything we know. Allah is not limited and does not depend on any other thing. The knowledge of Allah is incomparable to our own humble efforts. The English translation of the meaning is:
Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Supporter of all. No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is it that can intercede in His presence, except as He permits? He knows what appears to His creatures before, or after, or behind them. They shall not compass any of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne/dominion extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and presevering them. For He is the Most High, the Supreme in glory.
Why are some benefits of Ayat Al-Kursi?:
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once said that this is the most exalted verse of the Quran. Muslims are encouraged to recite it after completing every one of their daily prayers. The Prophet said that those who do so will be protected from the time of one prayer to the time of the next. He also said that if one reads this ayat after every prayer, then only death is stopping that person from entering Paradise. Finally, the Prophet said that reciting Ayat Al-Kursi will protect you, your children, and your house.
What are some misunderstandings about Ayat Al-Kursi?:
You will sometimes find people who hang a plaque of Ayat Al-Kursi in their home, or write it on a small paper and pin it on a newborn baby, in a misguided attempt to "protect" from the evil eye. Yet such behavior amounts to shirk! It is important to note that the benefits and protections mentioned above come from reciting the words of Allah, not from the actual ink on paper. Reciting will build up your faith, reminding you of the special attributes of Allah and His blessings. It is this faith in Allah's all-encompassing dominion that protects a home or a child, not any particular object that is thoughtlessly hanging there.
How can I read Ayat Al-Kursi?:
With all this discussion about the benefits of reading Ayat Al-Kursi, how can you read or pronounce it if you don't know the Arabic words? Here is a transliteration of the Arabic using the Latin alphabet.
Allahu! Laa 'ilaaha 'illaa Huu. 'Al-hayyul-qayyuum. Laa ta'-khuzuhuu sinatunw-wa laa nawm. Lahuu maa fissamaawaati wa ma fil-'arz. Man-zallazii yashfa-'u'indahuuu 'illaa bi-'iznih? Ya'-lamu maa bayna 'aydiihim wa maa khalfahum. Wa laa yuhiituuna bi-shay-'im-min 'ilmihiii 'illaa bimaa shaaa'. Wasi-'a kursiyyu-hus-samaawaati wal-'arz; wa laa ya-'uuduhuu hifzu-humaa wa huwal-'aliyyul-'aziim.