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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

Glancing over the Quran in the order the Prophet received it. Part One

The Quran, Muslims believe, is a divinely revealed book. The Prophet, under his supervision, arranged the Quran the way we read it. The arrangement is from the longest Surah to the shortest Surah. The exception is Surah Al-Fatiha that has only seven Ayah and is the first Surah of the Quran.

God revealed the Surahs of the Quran differently than the way they appear in the Quran. Surah loosely means chapter; Ayah means verse or sign, Ruku means section and Surah with Sajda (prostration) Ayah means the Surah upon whose reading the believers should offer prostration.

Each Surah has a number of its appearance in the traditionally arranged Quran that we have. It has its Arabic name and its English translation also in parenthesis.

The following Ayah require prostration when read.

1. Surah Araf (7:206)

2. Surah Raad (13:15)

3. Surah An-Nahl (16:50)

4. Surah Isra (17:109)

5. Surah Maryam (19:58)

6. Surah Al-Hajj (22:18)

7. Surah al-Hajj (22:77) according to Imam Shafai

8. Surah al-Furqan (25:60)

9. Surah An-Naml (27:26)

10. Surah As-Sajdah (32:15)

11. Surah Saad ( 38:24)

12. Surah Fussilat (41:38)

13. Surah An-Najm (53:62)

14. Surah Inshiqaq (84:21)

15. Surah Al-Alaq (96:19)

On the authority of Prophet Muhammad, Muslims believe that the Quran is a divine revelation in Arabic sent to human beings through Angel Gabriel in 23 years in the Arabian peninsula. The period of revelation is between 610 CE to 632 CE. The Quran has 6,236 verses, 114 surah, and about 323,000 letters. Some 33,000 companions have verified and testified that the Quran as compiled under the supervision, and the approval of the one receiving it is the same as they heard from him.

God revealed the Quran differently from how it appears in the scripture that Muslims read. Sometimes, God revealed an entire surah, and sometimes parts of the Surah at different times and in varying proportions.

The arrangement in this series is according to their chronology of revelation. Parts of the Surah came down at different times. However, we put the Surah in chronological order based on its first part.

We are publishing the most agreed upon the revelation's chronology with a short introduction of the theme of each Surah.

1. Al-'Alaq (The Germ-Cell) (96)

Place of Revelation: Makkah

Al-Alaq is the 96th Surah in traditionally arranged Quran. It is the first Surah revealed upon the Prophet. It came down in Makkah, and it has one Ruku and 19 Ayah. The Prophet received the first five Ayahs in the Cave of Hira in Makkah, and the remaining 14 ayahs in Kaaba when the Prophet performed the prayers there.

The Surah lays the foundation of faith and invites people to build their character, life, family, and society on the divinely created knowledge. It invites human beings to reflect on the process of their creation and alludes to the fact that only through divinely revealed knowledge. Human beings can control their rebellious instincts.

2. Al-Qalam (The Pen) (68)

Place of Revelation: Makkah

Al-Qalam was the second Surah revealed upon the Prophet. It is the 68th Surah in the traditionally arranged Quran. The Prophet received it in Makkah, and it has two Ruku and 52 Ayah. The name itself suggests that the people in Arabia knew the art of writing down on paper. It also implied that the divine guidance would no longer be at the discretion of the memory, however strong it may be. Instead, writing would be the method to preserve every letter and word for eternity.

The Surah reminds people that the message relayed through the Prophet is the continuation of the divine message given to human beings through messengers throughout history. Even though it is in the Arabic language, it is for all human beings. It declares that Quranic ideas have their roots in rationality and relevant to society's needs. It assures those who live in a state of dependence humiliation of a dignified life. It shares the story of a people who had a garden with plenty of produce, yet they would deny the needy a share.

Consequently, they lost everything. It lays the foundation of a society that creates conditions for acquiring means of subsistence for everyone. It also narrated the story of Prophet Jonah and his followers and urged the Prophet's followers not to give up and continue their mission to spread virtue in their society. It introduces the idea of learning from the past to better the present.

3. Al-Muzzammil (The Enwrapped one) (73)

Place of Revelation: Makkah

Al-Muzammil was the third Surah revealed upon the Prophet. It is the 73rd Surah in the traditionally arranged Quran. Revealed in Makkah, it has two Ruku (sections) and 20 ayahs. It is the seventy-third Surah in traditionally arranged Quran. It reminds the believers to focus on the Quran's message and make its reading part of the prayer. It invites the adherents to the faith to take strength from reliance on the divine word as being revealed upon the Prophet.

4. All-Muddathir (The Enfolded One) (74)


Al-Mudassir was the fourth Surah revealed upon the Prophet. It is the 74th Surah in the traditionally arranged Quran. The Prophet received it in Makkah and has two Ruku and 56 ayahs. It dwells upon the manners of sharing the faith with others and elaborates upon the methods of dawah. It urges the believers to identify the evils plaguing the society and work to remove them. It also reminds the people that those who deny the Truth would suffer the consequences.

5. Al-Fatiha (The Opening) (1)

Place of Revelation: Makkah

Al-Fatiha was the fifth Surah revealed upon Prophet Muhammad. In the traditionally arranged Quran, it is the first Surah. Revealed in Makkah, it has seven Ayah. It has different names. It summarizes the essence of divine guidance and explains the basic principles of the faith. It reminds the people that if they do not follow the sacred path, they might be lost and might indulge in actions that harm them. It advises them always to be in a state of gratitude to God seeking his assistance in life. It also reminds them of the Day of Judgment when people return to give an account of their deeds and words.

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