Who named the Surahs?: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

Who named the Surahs?: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah] received the following question:

السؤال الثاني: من هو الذي سمى سور القرآن الكريم هل هو الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أم ماذا؟ ـ

Question 2: Who was it that named the surahs of the Qur’an – was it the Messenger (ﷺ) or others?

الحمد لله وحده ، والصلاة والسلام على رسوله وآله وصحبه ، وبعد: ـ
الجواب: لا نعلم نصا عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يدل على تسمية السور جميعها ، ولكن ورد في بعض الأحاديث الصحيحة تسمية بعضها من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كالبقرة وآل عمران ، أما بقية السور فالأظهر أن تسميتها وقعت من الصحابة رضي الله عنهم . ـ
وبالله التوفيق وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه وسلم . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, as well as the Messenger’s family and companions.

Response: We do not know of any text from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) indicating that he named all of the surahs, however there are a number of authentic narrations in which names of certain surahs are transmitted from the Prophet (ﷺ), such as al-Baqarah and Aal ‘Imraan. As for the rest of the surahs whose names cannot be traced back to the Prophet, what seems to be the case is that their names came from the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them).

Success is from Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon his family and companions.

اللجنة الدائمة للبحوث العلمية والإِفتاء
The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa

عضو                  عضو           نائب رئيس اللجنة                          الرئيس
عبد الله بن قعود        عبد الله بن غديان      عبد الرزاق عفيفي         عبد العزيز بن عبد الله بن باز

Signed by: ‘Abdullah ibn Qu’ood (member), ‘Abdullah ibn Ghudayyaan (member), ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi (Deputy Director of the Committee), and ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah bin Baaz (Director)

[al-Lajnah al-Daa’imahFatwaa #2376, (Vol. 93, pages 99-100). See here.]

See also: The Names and Revelation of Surah al-Fatihah: Tafsir al-Baghawi