Quran's Mystery Letters: Alief Laam Meem, Ta Ha, Qaf??

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A New Muslim asked:
"What do letters at start of some surahs mean?
Like: 
A.L.M.; A.L.R.; H.M.; T.A.
"
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Question:
"What is the meaning of the letters at the beginning of the surahs (chapters of the Quran)? Like - 'alief', 'laam', 'meen'?"

Answer:
You have a very good question.
Let's examine some of the examples and learn more, inshallah (God Willing).

Here are some examples: Surah (chapter)

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#2 - Surah Al-Baqarah:
Quran 2_1Alief, Laam, Meen

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#3 - Surah Al Imran
Quran 3 1
Alief, Laam, Meen

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#7 - Surah Al Araf
Quran 7 1
Alief, Laam, Meem, Saad

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#10 - Surah Yunus (Jonah)
Quran 10 1
Alief, Laam, Raa
(only the first 3 letters)

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#20 - Surah TaHa
Quran 20_1
TaHa

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#26 - Surah Ash-Shuara
Quran 26_1
Ta, Seen, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#27 - An Naml
Quran 27_1
Ta, Seen

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#28 - Al Qasas
Quran 28_1
Ta, Seen, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#29 - Al Ankabut
Quran 3 1
Alief, Laam, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#30 - Ar Rum
Quran 3 1
Alief, Laam, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#31 - Luqman
Quran 3 1
Alief, Laam, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#32 - As Sajdah
Quran 3 1
Alief, Laam, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#36 - Yaa Seen
Quran 36_1
Yaa, Seen

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#38 - Saad
Quran 38_1
Saad

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#40 Ghafir
Quran 40_1
Ha, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#41 - Fussilat
Quran 42_1
Haa, Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#42 - Ash-Shura
Quran 42_1Quran 41_2
Haa, Meem - Ayn, Seen, Qaf

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#43 - Az Zukhruf
Quran 40_1
Haa Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#44 - Ad Zukhan
Quran 40_1
Haa Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#45 - Al Jathiyah
Quran 40_1
Haa Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#46 - Al Ahqaf
Quran 40_1
Haa Meem

Quran separate_verses_bar1

#50 - Qaf
Quran 40_1
Qaf

Quran separate_verses_bar1
#68 - Surah Al-Qalam
Quran 68_1
Quran 68_1Nun
(only the very first letter)

Quran separate_verses_bar1

In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
"Nun.."
These letters (nun, alief, seen, meem, lam, Ta Ha, saud, dhad, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Quran - But does anyone really know (except Allah) the meanings of these letters and why they are there since the beginning of revelation?

 

Guess what?   --  Nobody has the definitive answer on this one (except Allah).

None of the companions of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, discussed these letters, nor did they ask the prophet, peace be upon him, nor did he offer anything about the meanings of these letters.

The vast majority of scholars today tell us this is a closed subject, unworthy of deep contemplation or investigation.

These letters were recited by the prophet, peace be upon him and by all of his companions and they passed it on to their companions the same way. No one can take them out of the Quran as this would then make a change that has never happened in 1,400 years and has never been that much of an issue if the first place.

There has been some speculation on this topic by some thinkers and philosophers in Islam, but nothing conclusive has ever been proven to be a definitive answer to the question of meanings of these letters, nor is there really one needed.

So it will just have to remain - A Mystery!

NOTE: Be careful about listening to people offer commentary on these types of subjects. I do recall someone doing a large investigation about this subject some years back. I heard the results of the study and I was frankly not very impressed. This person had taken all of the letters and tried to use a computer to figure out any or all possibilities of using any or all of the words to make something out of it. But his only conclusion was that a combination of each of the letters used only once could form a sentence that meant, It is truth, contains dangerous secret. (This may well be the truth, but what would be the advantage of knowing this?)

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