What is a "juz’" of the Quran?:
The main division of the Quran is into chapter (surah) and verse (ayat). The Quran is additionally divided into 30 equal sections, called juz’ (plural: ajiza). The divisions of juz’ do not fall evenly along chapter lines. These divisions make it easier to pace the reading over a month’s period, reading a fairly equal amount each day. This is particularly important during the month of Ramadan, when it is recommended to complete at least one full reading of the Quran from cover to cover.
What chapter(s) and verses are included in Juz’ 1?:
The first juz’ of the Quran starts from the first verse of the first chapter (Al-Fatiha 1) and continues part-way through the second chapter (Al Baqarah 141).
When were the verses of this juz’ revealed?:
The first chapter, consisting of eight verses, is a summary of faith that was revealed in Mecca before the migration to Madinah. Most of the verses of the second chapter were revealed in the early years after the migration to Madinah, as the Muslim community was setting up its first social and political center.
- “Seek God’s help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard, except to those who are humble -- who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him.” 2:45-46
- ”Say: ‘We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them, and we submit to God.’” 2:136
What is the main theme of this juz’?:
The first chapter is called “The Opening” (Al Fatihah). It consists of eight verses and is often referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer” of Islam. The chapter in its entirety is repeatedly recited during a Muslim’s daily prayers, as it sums up the relationship between humans and God in worship. We begin by praising God, and seeking His guidance in all matters of our lives.
The Quran then continues with the longest chapter of the revelation, “The Cow” (Al Baqarah). The title of the chapter refers to a story told in this section (beginning at verse 67) about the followers of Moses. The early part of this section lays out the situation of humankind in relation to God. God sends guidance and messengers, and people choose how they will respond: they will either believe, they will reject faith altogether, or they will become hypocrites (feigning belief on the outside while harbouring doubts or evil intentions on the inside). The story of the creation of humans is told (one of many places where it is referred to) to remind us about the many bounties and blessings of God. Then stories are begun about previous peoples and how they responded to God’s guidance and messengers. Particular reference is made to the Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and the struggles they undertook to bring guidance to their people.