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Arabic: āyaPlay sound

Verse in the Koran. The Koran is divided into 114 suras, but it is the ayas, the small verses, of which there are between 3 and 286 in each sura, that comprise the undivided entities of the revelation of Islam.
While suras do not have to be retold unabridged, ayas seldom come in anything but complete form. Some ayas' content depends on preceding or following ayas, making them incomprehensible when cited alone. Many others have sentences which are divided between two ayas.
Contrary to the popular Muslim view, there have been alterations to ayas during the time of the revelations, and they have been changed in favour of better ayas, or simply deleted. This is clear from the Koran itself:
Koran sura 2: The Cow
100 If we annul one aya, or let it be forgotten, then We send a better one, or one resembling. Do you not know that God has the power over all and everything.
The standard translation of 'aya' is 'verse', but can also carry the connotation of 'miracle' or 'sign' as each and every one of them are considered as a miracle of God. There are many examples in the Koran in which 'aya' has been used with the alternative meaning, 'sign'.

By Tore Kjeilen