1 Preface المصYusuf AliAlif, Lam, Mim, Sad.1This is a combination of four Abbreviated Letters. For Abbreviated Letters generally, see Appendix 1 (at the end of Sūra 2). The combination here includes the three letters Alif, Lam, Mim, which occurred at the beginning of Sūra 2, and are discussed in n. 25 to 2:1. The additional letter Sad occurs in combination here and in Sūra 19, and by itself at the beginning of S. 38, and nowhere else. The factor common to S. 1, S. 19, and S. 38 is that in each case the core of the Sūra consists in the stories (qasas) of the Prophets. In this Sūra we have the stories of Noah, Hud, Ṣālih, Lot, Shu'ayb, and Moses, leading up to Muḥammad, and in S. 38, the stories of David, Solomon, and Job similarly lead up to Muḥammad, occupying three out of the five sections. Sūra 19 consists almost entirely of such stories. Can we understand Sad to stand for qasas, of which it is the most characteristic letter? In this Sūra 7, we have also the spiritual history of mankind traced-the Beginning, the Middle, and the End, which, as explained in n. 25, might be represented symbolically by Alif, Lam, Mim. If so, this Sūra, dealing with the Beginning, Middle, and End of man’s spiritual story, and illustrating it by the stories of the Prophets, might well be represented symbolically by the letters, Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. But no one can be dogmatic about these symbols. (R).