I learnt today that the first Quranic verses revealed to Muhammad wass Sūrat al-ʿAlaq. The sequence of revelation of verses was not the same as how it was compiled.

  1. What's the sequence of revelation for all the suras?
  2. Within one Sura is the order of verses preserved as it was revealed?
  3. Why are Quranic verses compiled in the order as we see it today, in contrast to in the order of their sequence of revelation?

I request scholarly answer and proper reference for this question.


The report narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Ibn Hibbaan and al-Haakim from Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said:

I said to ‘Uthmaan, ‘What made you put al-Anfaal which is one of the Mathaani, next to Baraa’ah [al-Tawbah], which is one of the Mi’een? Why did you not put the line Bismillaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem in between them when you put it at the beginning of the rest of al-Sab’ al-Tiwaal [the long seven soorahs]?” ‘Uthmaan said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to receive revelation of soorahs with many aayahs. When they were revealed, he would call his scribes and tell them, ‘Put these aayahs in the soorah where such-and-such is mentioned.’ Al-Anfaal was one of the first soorahs to be revealed in Madeenah, and Baraa’ah (al-Tawbah) was one of the last parts of the Qur’aan to be revealed. Its stories were similar to the stories mentioned in al-Anfaal, so it was thought that it was part of it. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was taken [i.e., died] without explaining whether it was indeed part of it, so they were put next to one another, and the line Bismillaahi ir’Rahmaan ir’Raheem was not written between them, and it [al-Tawbah] was put among the Sab’ al-Tiwaal [seven long soorahs].

(Al-Haakim said: its isnaad is saheeh, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. Al-Mustadrak, 2/330)

Ahmad narrated in al-Musnad (4/218) with a hasan isnaad from ‘Uthmaan ibn Abi’l-‘Aas that he said:

I was sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he fixed his gaze on something, then lowered his gaze until he was almost looking at the ground, then he gazed at something. He said, ‘Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to me and told me to put this aayah in this place in this soorah:

"Verily, Allâh enjoins Al-‘Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allâh Alone — Islâmic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsân [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allâh, totally for Allâh’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet in a perfect manner], and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that Allâh has ordered you to give them, e.g., wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help), and forbids Al-Fahshâ’ (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right), and Al-Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islâmic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds), and Al-Baghy (i.e. all kinds of oppression). He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” [al-Nahl 16:90 – interpretation of the meaning].’

Al-Bukhaari narrated in al-Saheeh (no. 4536) that Ibn Abi Maleekah said: "Ibn al-Zubayr said:

‘I said to ‘Uthmaan, "This aayah that is in al-Baqarah (interpretation of the meaning), ‘And those of you who die and leave wives behind them … And those of you who die and leave behind wives should bequeath for their wives a year’s maintenance and residence without turning them out’ [al-Baqarah 2:234-240] has been abrogated by the other, so why are you writing it down it down?” He said, “Leave it as it is, my nephew, I will not change anything from its place.”’

Muslim narrated (no. 1617) that ‘Umar said:

I did not ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about anything more than I asked him about al-Kalaalah [those who die leaving neither ascendants nor descendents as heirs], until he poked me in the chest with his finger and said, "Is not aayat al-sayf at the end of Soorat al-Nisa’ enough for you?"