Revelation Order of The Glorious Qur’an

The chronological order of suras (i.e., the order in which quran suras are revealed to the holy prophet) is specified in several reliable sources, most of which are based on the narrations received from the great prophet’s companion, Ibn Abbas.

The traditional order of revelation is provided in the table below. The detailed information is extracted from “The History of the Quran” by Allamah Abu Abd Allah al-Zanjani 1)2). Professor Noldeke in his famous work “Geschichte des Korans”3) has provided an ordering which is slightly different from the traditional order in the following two items:

  • Sura 110 (An-Nasr) is the last in the traditional order, but Noldeke has placed it between 59 and 24.
  • Sura 62 (Al-Jumu’a) is after 64 and 61 in the traditional order, but Noldeke has placed it before 64 and 61.

Note that the order of a sura is specified based on the revelation of the first ayas of the sura, not the revelation of the whole sura.

Revelation Order of the Qur’an

The Qur’an was sometimes revealed to respond to various events and incidents. Sometimes it was revealed to support the Prophet (saws) who was faced with many questions, whether by Muslims or non-Muslims, and hardships. Other times was revealed for legislation and for putting rules to govern the social, economical, and political life of Muslims.

The first verses to be revealed, according to the most correct opinion of scholars, are the first five verses of Surat Al-`Alaq, which happens to be Chapter 96 of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an.

Order of Verses

Muslim scholars agree that the order of the verses in every chapter was done or commanded by the Prophet (saws) himself following the commands of Almighty Allah.

The Prophet (saws) once told his Companions after he had received a certain revelation that the arch-angel Gabriel had specified for him the particular order of verses (Ahmad).

There are also many incidents narrated in the books of Sunnah regarding the Prophet’s (saws) recitation during prayer. The Companions used to pray every day behind the Prophet (saws) and he used to recite the Qur’an in the order given to him by Allah, and they used to learn and memorize from his recitation.

There have never been any incident in which any of the Companions reciting in any order that violated the order of the verses showed to us by the Prophet (saws).

Order of Surahs

As for the order of the surahs (chapters), the most accepted view is that it was also applied following an instruction given by Almighty Allah. It has been recorded that the Prophet (saws) reviewed the Qur’an with the arch-angel Gabriel 24 times all within his life.

Every year, he used to review it once during the month of Ramadan with Gabriel. During the final year of the Prophet’s life, Gabriel revised the Qur’an twice with the Prophet (saws) as a way of confirming it. The Prophet (saws), in turn, used to follow this order in teaching his Companions and communicating the message to them.

Significance of Order

The question of why a surah like Surat Al-`Alaq, which was revealed first not put first in the mushaf (a physical copy of the Qur’an), this will require us to search more in the Qur’an and explore some of its secrets. A deeper look into the whole matter will show us that the order of the Qur’an has a purpose and the revelation of the Qur’an also has a purpose.

For instance, the revelation of the Qur’an responding to specific problems or incidents carries the purpose of solving these problems or providing guidance in these incidents.

During the first 13 years of Islam, the main task of the Prophet (saws) was to call people to Islam based on the Qur’anic revelations that focused on the Oneness of Allah and righteous conduct.

When Muslims migrated to Madinah and an Islamic community started to be well-established and new challenges emerged, the main focus of the revelation was to regulate the life of Muslims through detailing the rulings pertaining to different acts of worship and setting punishments for crimes and so on.  

This shows us that the revelation in each of the two stages has a purpose. When the revelation stage was completed, the whole Qur’an was there and the whole message was put in the order that was intended for it to stay till the Day of Judgment.

Explanation of Order

Such an order serves in delivering the message the Qur’an is put for, as it has got another purpose.

If you look at the first surah of the Qur’an, namely Al-Fatihah, you can perceive that it acts as a summary for the structure and the message of the Book (Qur’an) ahead of every reader.

Being Umm Al-Qur’an (the Mother of the Qur’an), it carries all its themes; it summarizes them. It tells us who Allah is: the source of all love and mercy. Therefore, knowing who He is, we should be thankful to Him and worship Him alone. We should seek His help, and He has all the power to give us whatever we need. It makes it clear that Allah is the only One Who can really guide. It speaks about life after death and the consequences of human action and behavior.

The same holds true for Surat Al-Baqarah. The first verses speak about the fact that this Book is above all doubts and it is beyond the abilities of doubters to try to challenge its validity. Then it gives a hint on its main theme — guiding the righteous — and then goes on to speak about the beginning of creation and the story of Adam to establish the theme that humankind is here on earth as a vicegerent of the Creator and should use the Book as a manual to carry out the mission in the right way.

All these themes and messages cannot be carried except through this logical order in which Allah commanded for the Qur’an to be put. If a surah like Al-`Alaq was to be put at the beginning instead of Al-Fatihah, it could have given a significance of course and give a message, but not the exact fully wonderful message that we can get from the order of the Qur’an as it is now.

Why Al-`Alaq in the Current Order?

As for why Surat Al-`Alaq is mentioned in this specific order in the Qur’an, scholars hold the view that in the previous surah of At-Tin, Allah says what means that He has created humans in the best make (At-Tin 95:4). The details of that creation are cited in Surat Al-`Alaq:

*{Read in the name of your Lord Who created. Created humans, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood.}* (Al-`Alaq 96:1-2)

Chronological Order of Suras

OrderSura NameNumberTypeNote
1Al-Alaq96Meccan
2Al-Qalam68MeccanExcept 17-33 and 48-50, from Medina
3Al-Muzzammil73MeccanExcept 10, 11 and 20, from Medina
4Al-Muddaththir74Meccan
5Al-Faatiha1Meccan
6Al-Masad111Meccan
7At-Takwir81Meccan
8Al-A’laa87Meccan
9Al-Lail92Meccan
10Al-Fajr89Meccan
11Ad-Dhuhaa93Meccan
12Ash-Sharh94Meccan
13Al-Asr103Meccan
14Al-Aadiyaat100Meccan
15Al-Kawthar108Meccan
16At-Takaathur102Meccan
17Al-Maa’un107MeccanOnly 1-3 from Mecca; the rest from Medina
18Al-Kaafiroon109Meccan
19Al-Fil105Meccan
20Al-Falaq113Meccan
21An-Naas114Meccan
22Al-Ikhlaas112Meccan
23An-Najm53MeccanExcept 32, from Medina
24Abasa80Meccan
25Al-Qadr97Meccan
26Ash-Shams91Meccan
27Al-Burooj85Meccan
28At-Tin95Meccan
29Quraish106Meccan
30Al-Qaari’a101Meccan
31Al-Qiyaama75Meccan
32Al-Humaza104Meccan
33Al-Mursalaat77MeccanExcept 48, from Medina
34Qaaf50MeccanExcept 38, from Medina
35Al-Balad90Meccan
36At-Taariq86Meccan
37Al-Qamar54MeccanExcept 44-46, from Medina
38Saad38Meccan
39Al-A’raaf7MeccanExcept 163-170, from Medina
40Al-Jinn72Meccan
41Yaseen36MeccanExcept 45, from Medina
42Al-Furqaan25MeccanExcept 68-70, from Medina
43Faatir35Meccan
44Maryam19MeccanExcept 58 and 71, from Medina
45Taa-Haa20MeccanExcept 130 and 131, from Medina
46Al-Waaqia56MeccanExcept 81 and 82, from Medina
47Ash-Shu’araa26MeccanExcept 197 and 224-227, from Medina
48An-Naml27Meccan
49Al-Qasas28MeccanExcept 52-55 from Medina and 85 from Juhfa at the time of the Hijra
50Al-Israa17MeccanExcept 26, 32, 33, 57, 73-80, from Medina
51Yunus10MeccanExcept 40, 94, 95, 96, from Medina
52Hud11MeccanExcept 12, 17, 114, from Medina
53Yusuf12MeccanExcept 1, 2, 3, 7, from Medina
54Al-Hijr15MeccanExcept 87, from Medina
55Al-An’aam6MeccanExcept 20, 23, 91, 93, 114, 151, 152, 153, from Medina
56As-Saaffaat37Meccan
57Luqman31MeccanExcept 27-29, from Medina
58Saba34Meccan
59Az-Zumar39Meccan
60Al-Ghaafir40MeccanExcept 56, 57, from Medina
61Fussilat41Meccan
62Ash-Shura42MeccanExcept 23, 24, 25, 27, from Medina
63Az-Zukhruf43MeccanExcept 54, from Medina
64Ad-Dukhaan44Meccan
65Al-Jaathiya45MeccanExcept 14, from Medina
66Al-Ahqaf46MeccanExcept 10, 15, 35, from Medina
67Adh-Dhaariyat51Meccan
68Al-Ghaashiya88Meccan
69Al-Kahf18MeccanExcept 28, 83-101, from Medina
70An-Nahl16MeccanExcept the last three verses from Medina
71Nooh71Meccan
72Ibrahim14MeccanExcept 28, 29, from Medina
73Al-Anbiyaa21Meccan
74Al-Muminoon23Meccan
75As-Sajda32MeccanExcept 16-20, from Medina
76At-Tur52Meccan
77Al-Mulk67Meccan
78Al-Haaqqa69Meccan
79Al-Ma’aarij70Meccan
80An-Naba78Meccan
81An-Naazi’aat79Meccan
82Al-Infitaar82Meccan
83Al-Inshiqaaq84Meccan
84Ar-Room30MeccanExcept 17, from Medina
85Al-Ankaboot29MeccanExcept 1-11, from Medina
86Al-Mutaffifin83Meccan
87Al-Baqara2MedinanExcept 281 from Mina at the time of the Last Hajj
88Al-Anfaal8MedinanExcept 30-36 from Mecca
89Aal-i-Imraan3Medinan
90Al-Ahzaab33Medinan
91Al-Mumtahana60Medinan
92An-Nisaa4Medinan
93Az-Zalzala99Medinan
94Al-Hadid57Medinan
95Muhammad47MedinanExcept 13, revealed during the Prophet’s Hijrah
96Ar-Ra’d13Medinan
97Ar-Rahmaan55Medinan
98Al-Insaan76Medinan
99At-Talaaq65Medinan
100Al-Bayyina98Medinan
101Al-Hashr59Medinan
102An-Noor24Medinan
103Al-Hajj22MedinanExcept 52-55, revealed between Mecca and Medina
104Al-Munaafiqoon63Medinan
105Al-Mujaadila58Medinan
106Al-Hujuraat49Medinan
107At-Tahrim66Medinan
108At-Taghaabun64Medinan
109As-Saff61Medinan
110Al-Jumu’a62Medinan
111Al-Fath48MedinanRevealed while returning from Hudaybiyya
112Al-Maaida5MedinanExcept 3, revealed at Arafat on Last Hajj
113At-Tawba9MedinanExcept last two verses from Mecca
114An-Nasr110MedinanRevealed at Mina on Last Hajj, but regarded as Medinan sura

The Chronological Analysis of the Quran

Consistency between the Quran and modern science

References


1)The History of the Quran by Abu Abd Allah al-Zanjani (pdf book, English translation).2)Chronological Order of Quranic Surahs, rendered by Kevin P. Edgecomb.3)Geschichte des Korans by Theodor Noldeke (pdf book, Arabic translation).