How was the Qur’an compiled?

Sep 4, 2010 | Uncategorized


I wanted to know was the entire Qur’an compiled before the Prophet’s death or after by the khalifas. What i mean by compiled is the ordering of the surahs.

Before the Prophet’s death (Allah bless him & give him peace), did the sahabas know that the #1 Surah is Fatiha and #2 is Suratul Baqarah and so forth? Or was this order established by the khalifas like during Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) time?

Answered by: Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah the inspirer of truth

The order of the verses in each chapter of the Qur’an was divinely inspired, even though they were revealed portion by portion as the need arose over a 23 year period.

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) would instruct the scribes to place each verse in its proper place as they were revealed.

It is related by Imam Ahmad and the authors of the Sunans on the authority of Uthman radhiyallahu anhu, “When a chapter was revealed of the Qur’an that had a number of verses, the Messenger of Allah would call one of the scribes and say, “Place these verses in the chapter which states such and such?” Hence, from this and other narrations it is understood that not only was the arrangement of the verses divinely inspired, so were the chapters according to many scholars.(Fath al-Bari, Bab ta’lif al-Qur’an).

Although there is agreement concerning the arrangement of the verses being divinely inspired, there is a difference of opinion concerning the order of the chapters. The stronger opinion seems to be that the arrangement of many chapters was also divinely inspired, although some chapters were placed through the ijtihad [inference] of the Companions. For instance, it is reported that the Companions placed Surat al-Tawba after Surat al-Anfal, through their own deliberation, as they did have any information concerning this from the Messenger (upon him be peace).

A good English work on the sciences of the Qur’an is, Approach to the Qur’anic Sciences by Shaykh Mufti Taqi Uthmani. An abridged version of it is found in the beginning of the Ma`arif al-Qur’an (a Qur’anic tafsir in Urdu, which is available in English translation as well). Well worth reading.

Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf