Qur’an vs Kitaab
The two most common names for the Book of Allah are: Qur’an and Kitaab.
We learn when studying the Qur’an that even the words chosen are a revelation from Allah with divine wisdom. So, in that case, what do these two names mean and what is the difference between them?
The word ‘Qur’an’ is said to be from two roots, one of them qaaf-ra-hamza (who can tell me the other root? post in the comments!), this root qara’a means to recite. So Qur’an would be: the Recital.
On the other hand, the word ‘Kitaab’ is from kaaf-ta-ba which means something that is written.
If we look in the Qur’an, we see that Allah ta’ala uses different words to point to it:
That is the book! (2:2)
إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ
Indeed this Qur’an. (27:76)
Why does Allah azza wa jal use ‘thaalika’ for Kitaab and ‘haatha’ for Qur’an?
Thaalika is a word that is used to point to something far. The meaning of kitaab again is something WRITTEN, and the Kitaab’s ultimate written location is Lawh al Mahfoodh (The Preserved Tablet) with Allah ta’ala, so Allah ta’ala uses thaalika to point to it because it is with Him above the seven heavens.
Haatha is used to point to something that is close. The meaning of Qur’an is something that is recited, the recitation is taking place HERE, so Allah ta’ala uses a closer pointing word.
How about this ayah?
and this is a Book. (6:92) Allah ta’ala uses haatha (the close pointing word) for Kitaab. What’s the connection?
At the time of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the Qur’an was not written as a book that we have nowadays…but of course Allah azza wa jal KNEW it would be in a book form one day, so He azza wa jal said: this book, pointing to it as if it was close.
But to keep the rank and status of the Qur’an, and to dispel any doubts that it was written by a man, Allah ta’ala says right after:
وَهَذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ
And this is a Book, We have sent it down. (6:92)