In most ayahs in Qur'an, we found that السَّمَاوَاتِ (heavens) is mentioned first, and الْأَرْضَ (earth) is mentioned second. (see). However, in Surat Ţāhā, ayah 4, they are in reverse order.

enter image description here A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens,

What is the benefit of this, and how does it relate to the subject of the surah? Also, it is interesting that the ordering returns back to its usual case in the 6th ayah of the same Surah.

enter image description here To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil.

  • A nice question, I would like to know as well. – Tamer Shlash Oct 31 '12 at 17:15
  • Would be great to have the English translation enfolded in the question. – Noah Nov 1 '12 at 10:40
  • 1
    I reckon an explanation is not provided for this by the Prophet. So, you can expect speculations like Perhaps to emphasize the heavens, or make the verses rhyming (easy to remember) etc. It is difficult to know the true intention of any verse except God. – servant-of-Wiser Mar 13 '16 at 8:51


If you ponder on the previous verses, they might actually answer your question.

We did not reveal the Qur’an to you to (make you) face hardship (2) Rather to remind him who has the fear (of Allah), (3) It being a revelation from the One Who created the earth, and high heavens. (4)

I've noticed the following:

  • Allah (SWT) revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet (PBUH), who was living on the earth.
  • A human facing hardships while living will definitely be on earth, not in the Heavens.
  • The Qur'an is a reminder for those who live on earth. I've never read any Hadith stating that the Angels recite the Qur'an, except Angel Jibreel (AS) who used to recite the Qur'an with the Prophet (PBUH) (1). However, the Angels do listen to it when people recite it according to various ahadith, but it appears to us, as far as we don't know the unseen, that they don't recite it.

Finally, some authors of tafsirs would mention that the order of some words is switched to keep the endings rhyming (of course that's not the only reason for it, but that's what they could think of).

Allah knows the best!

(1) Reference

| improve this answer | |
  • I've never read any Hadith stating that the Angels recite the Qur'an - you never know the Ghaib. And I believe this Hadith to be authentic - One who interprets the Qur’an according to his view, even though it may be right, yet he has committed a sin. I apologize for down voting. – servant-of-Wiser Mar 13 '16 at 11:16
  • To add to @azam 's comment, its "One who has no knowledge and no authority interprets the Quran according to his view even though he may be right yet he has committed a sin." Just added a view words because People of knowledge can interpret the verses. – user14305 Mar 13 '16 at 13:46
  • @azam, I've updated my answer and included a reference to my third point, and by the way I'm not concerned about the down vote, I just wanted to support my point. Jazakum Allah Khair! – Atata Mar 13 '16 at 16:55

This verse 20:4 is about the creation of the earth and the Heaven. Then it is mentioning them in the order of creation. the Earth was created first then The heavens were created later (2:29). He is the One who created for you what is in the Earth, All of it, then (Thumma) He directed his attention to the Heavens, and immediately (Alfa) fashioned them as seven heavens. The Quran is in Arabic which is a very accurate language. There are two words used to order the verbs. Thumma when long time passes between them and (Alfa) when short period passes between them. Notice that fashioning the heavens happened immediately after Allah turned His attention to them. On the other hand, the Heavens were created long time after the Earth because Allah used the word (Thumma) before turning His attention to the Heaven (which was smoke at that time (41:11)). Then why others verses in the Quran did put the heavens before the earth? Because other verses were not talking about the creation of these two items. Why the Heavens are mentioned in plural and the Earth is mentioned in singular? Because there is one Earth and seven heavens.

| improve this answer | |
  • Well your answer provide an interesting approach but i can't see the relation to the asked Question! As neither of the discussed Verses include the words (ahrouf) you are talking about! – Medi1Saif Feb 1 '16 at 7:27

The observation are good as in Quran order of words are taken as very important. We conclude order of creation from these wording what comes first. The heaven was created first and then earth. However in surah Taha verse 4 it is reversed. The subject of Surah starts with We sent down Quran. It is sent down on earth from the heaven. This is the reason to emphasize on the word earth. However whenever these wording are used for creation they are in order of creation. As well when they are used to belonging of these things then it is what was created first. That is in verse 6.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Salam and welcome to Islam SE. This answer would be more useful if your claim was supported by evidences. – Medi1Saif Jun 6 '16 at 6:15

Said the Heaven before earth:

Refers to the meaning of which is that the heavens and the Earth often mention in the context of the evidence on the existence of God and his greatness and his ability and his oneness ....etc And it is known that the verses in heaven is greater than Earth for heaven's capacity, greatness, the planets, sun, height and lack of need to pillars to raises it ... other wonders. So said the sky before the earth is better evidence to the greatness of God, because it have more information.

while in the said the Earth before heaven :

" قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ شُرَكَآءَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُواْ مِنَ ٱلأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي ٱلسَّمَاوَاتِ ... "

Say: "Look at the compeers you invoke apart from God. Show me, what of the earth have they created, or what share have they in the heavens? .... [Fatir:40]

In this verse began by mentioning the Earth; that in the context incapacitate of humans to creation and participation, and earth is much easier than the sky, so began in the earth to exaggerate the statement of disability; because who was deficit of easier two things, he was more deficit

while in this verse:

تَنزِيلًا مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى

"To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil."

Have came in meaning, that this Koran, which came to Mohammed is from Allah, the Lord and sovereign of all things capable of what he wants, who created the earth with its intensity and the creation of the heavens with its height.

So here came the verse in the context of the statement evidence of humans on the existence of God and his greatness,so said the Earth before heaven to closeness it to our understanding of God's power and greatness in the land.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy