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letters of the alphabet appearing at the beginning of 29 of the surahs (chapters) of the Muslim sacred scripture, the Qur'an. The 14 letters thus designated occur singly and in various combinations of two to five. As the letters always stand separately (muqatta'ah), they do not form words and are read by their alphabetic names, as ha mim, alif lam mim, ta sin mim.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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