How were the chapters of the Quran were put in order? Some versions of the Quran whose orders are different are mentioned. How were they put in order?

The Details of the Question

How were the chapters of the Quran were put in order? Some versions of the Quran whose orders are different are mentioned. How were they put in order?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is accepted by the majority of the scholars that the chapters in the copies of the Quran that we have were put in order by the command of Allah. (Ibnul-Hisar reports only this view regarding the issue)

It is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) read every year in Ramadan the verses that had been sent up to that time to Jibril in the order in the copy we have and that in the last Ramadan just before the death of the Messenger of Allah, this reading of the whole Quran took place twice. (Bukhari, Kitabu Fadailul-Quran, 7). The relationship among the chapters in the order used today is very important and it helps tafsir scholars in the interpretation of the chapters.

In the versions of the Quran we have today, the chapter of al-Fatiha is in the first place; seven long chapters called "as-Sab'ut-Tiwal" follow it. The ones after those seven chapters are called "al-Miun" meaning containing more than one hundred verses. After Miun come the chapters that have fewer than one hundred verses; they are called "al-Mathani". The chapters coming after al-Mathani are called "al-Mufassal" because they are frequently separated from one another with Bismillah. They are also divided into three as tiwal (long), awsat (medium) and qisar (short).

It is debatable which one is the first one of al-Mufassal chapters. Twelve different chapters between as-Saaffat, which is the 37th chapter, and ad-Duha, which is the 93rd chapter, are indicated as the first one of al-Mufassal chapters. According to the generally accepted view, tiwal al-mufassal are the chapters up to the chapter of an-Naba. The chapters between an-Naba and ad-Duha form the group called awsat and the ones after ad-Duha form the group qisar.

It is certain that the chapters and verses of the Quran are arranged in this order and that they are to be read in this order in the prayer. Every verse and chapter are related to the other verses and chapters; therefore, the order, conciseness and miraculousness will change if this order is changed. 

However, it is possible to arrange the Quran based on the order of the revelation of the chapters or the topics of the chapters while interpreting the Quran or due to some other purposes. As a matter of fact, there are some works that bring the verses that are related to the same topic together.

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