Ubayy bin Kab, in one of the pre-Uthmanic compilations of the Qur'an, allegedly recorded two additional suwar (Surat al-Khal and Surat al-Hafd) that are not found today; these "missing suwar" are often brought up in debates to directly oppose the idea that the Qur'an is the complete and unchanging Word of God.

As an example, the website Answering Islam — a site unabashedly biased towards evangelical Christianity — has an article titled "Distortion in the Koran" which includes the following exerpt:

As for the copy of Ubayy Ibn Ka'b, it was widespread in Syria. It differs from the copy of Othman in that it has two more Suras - Al-hafd and Al-Khal'. Al-Baihaqi reported that Omar Ibn Al-Khattaab prayed them, that Ali taught them to the people, and that people used to recite them before king 'abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwaan!! (That is till the Ommiad era.)

Is this (i.e., the claim of two additional suwar) an accurate claim? If so, has any reason been given for their lack of inclusion in Uthman's canonized text, especially given that the prophet is reported to have said (in a sahih hadith),

Take (learn) the Qur'an from four: `Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu`adh and Ubai bin Ka`b.

  • 4
    Because Allah in Quran clearly stated that Allah will Save Quran. so this question actually is uselss because believing in the existence of such a thing is clearly against god's words in quran. Thats my opinion with all my love to goldPseudo ;)
    – user37
    Commented Jul 7, 2012 at 18:18
  • Relevant post Was dua' e-Qunut part of the Qur'an earlier?.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 7:49

3 Answers 3


Ahmad von Denffer addresses this briefly in his book "Ulum al-Qur'an". He says that in the mus-haf of Ubay b. Ka'b (ra), in addition to it having surahs in a different order, there were two additional chapters and one additional ayah. The first one is entitled "Al-Khal'" or "The Separation" and translates as:

O Allah, we seek your help and ask your forgiveness, and we praise you and we do not disbelieve in you. We separate from and leave who sins against you.

The second one, "Al-Hafd" or "The Haste" translates as

O Allah, we worship You and to You we pray and prostrate and to You we run and hasten to serve You. We hope for Your mercy and we fear Your punishment. Your punishment will certainly reach the disbelievers.

The forms for these two pieces are clearly akin to the numerous du'a qunut that have been narrated from the Prophet (saws) (in fact, parts of the above are verbatim in known adhkar).

There is another ayah found in Ubay (ra)'s mus-haf, which is the subject of discussion in this hadith:

Narrated Sahl bin Sa`d: I heard Ibn Az-Zubair who was on the pulpit at Mecca, delivering a sermon, saying, "O men! The Prophet used to say, "If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam's son except dust. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him." Ubai said, "We considered this as a saying from the Qur'an till the Sura (beginning with) 'The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you..' (102.1) was revealed."

So clearly Ubay (ra) was clear about what constituted Qur'an and what didn't, and if this non-Qur'anic statement was part of his mus-haf, then his mus-haf/notebook contained statements other than Qur'an and was meant for his own use, not as an official copy of the Qur'an.

This explains why this text occurred in his mus-haf - as for why these were not included in the Qur'an, it's because the surahs in the Qur'an were compiled according to the arrangement that was mutawatir or well-known to the Muslims at the time.

You can read the section of von Denffer's book where he discusses this here.

As for the rest of the claim that some of the Companions recited those du'as in prayer, qunut and other du'a are frequently recited in Fajr and Witr prayers. Additionally, there was no king Al-Malik Ibn Marwaan - there was however an Abdul Malik b. Marwan. This (mis)quoting calls into question the translation of this quote in Baihaqi. Even if the quote was translated accurately otherwise, it doesn't contradict anything since there is an established recitation of du'as in prayer.

In conclusion ; No, they were never part of the Qur'an. They were most likely supplications of the Prophet (saws) he used in the witr prayer.

  • So, is the missing surah part of quran or not?
    – user4234
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 7:35
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    @SharenEayrs No, they were never part of the Qur'an. They were most likely supplications of the Prophet (saws) he used in the witr prayer.
    – Ansari
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 15:18
  • what is supplications?
    – user4234
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 5:55
  • 1
    @SharenEayrs "Supplication" is a translation for the Arabic word "du`a", meaning a verbal invocation to Allah, literally i.e. to call upon and ask Allah.
    – Ansari
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 13:38
  • Learned something today. Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 9:29

To add on Ansari's excellent, one may ask as to why 'Ubayy (ra) wrote them in his Mushaf? The answer is that it does not signify that to him the words were part of the actual text of the Qur’an. As Abdul Azim al-Zurqani (d. 1367 A.H.) wrote:

“Some of the companions, who used to write Qur’an in one or more personal copies, at times wrote therein what was not from the Qur’an. It included the interpretation of what was difficult to them from the meaning of the Qur’an or the [words that formed the] supplications similar to the supplications in the Qur’an, that could be recited in the prayers at the time of ‘qunoot’ or the like of it. And they knew such was not [itself] the Qur’an. But for the dearth of the writing tools and [the fact that] they used to write Qur’an for themselves alone, keeping from others, it was easy for them because they were themselves free of the danger of mixing and confusing the Qur’an with other than it. Then some people with little insight imagined that whatever was written in those copies was written as Qur’an. But this is not the reality, but the reality is what you have just learnt.”

(Manahil al-‘Irfan fi ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut 1415 A.H. p.222)

Mustapha al-A'zami points out that the reports that allege that Ubayy's Mushaf differed from the 'Uthmani one are weak:

Hammad b. Salama reported that Ubayy's Mushaf contained two extra suras, called al-Hafad and al-Khala'. This report is completely spurious because of a major defect in the chain, as there is an unaccounted-for gap of at least two to three generations between Ubayy's death (d. ca. 30 A.H.) and Hammad's (d. 167 A.H.) scholarly activity. Besides this, we must remember that a note written in a book does not make it part of the book. But let us accept that a few extra lines were scribbled inside Ubayy's Mushaf for argument's sake. Would these lines ascend to the position of Qur'an? Certainly not. The completed 'Uthmani Mushaf, disseminated with instructors who taught after the manner of relevant authorities, forms the basis for establishing whether any given text is Qur'an - not the unsubstantiated squiggles of an illegitimate manuscript.

Mustafa al-A'zami - History of the Qur'anic Text, p.203.


The Qur'an has been perfectly preserved. These so called "surahs" (surah khal and surah hafd) are dua qunoot which we Muslims recite in witr (one unit or raka after we pray isha) and that is a perfectly proven fact.

You can also read the passage from von Denfer's book which talks about this.

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    This answer is decidedly low quality; the entire hadith quote is a complete non-sequitur and appears to be a response to an existing answer rather than actually relevant to the question asked. Please note that we are not a typical Internet forum; the "Post Your Answer" field is for those posts that completely and directly answer the actual question asked, not for responding to other posts or tangential discussion.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:46
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    I would strongly suggest you check out the advice in our help centre on "How do I write a good answer?" to better understand the sorts of posts we encourage here.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:47

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