The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following benefits in one of his writings:

السور القصار في أواخر المصحف متناسبة . فسورة ( اقرأ هي أول ما نزل من القرآن ; ولهذا افتتحت بالأمر بالقراءة وختمت بالأمر بالسجود ووسطت بالصلاة التي أفضل أقوالها وأولها بعد التحريم هو القراءة وأفضل أفعالها وآخرها قبل التحليل هو السجود … ـ

The shorter surahs at the end of the mushaf have a certain logic and reasoning to their organization and arrangement. Surah al-‘Alaq [96] was the first part of the Qur’an to be revealed, and so it opens with the command to recite, closes with the command to make sujood, and in its middle there is the prayer, whose best spoken part and the first of them after the initial takbeer is the recitation of the Qur’an, and whose best physical parts and the last of them before its conclusion is the sujood. …

فلما أمر في هذه السورة بالقراءة ذكر في التي تليها نزول القرآن ليلة القدر وذكر فيها تنزل الملائكة والروح وفي ( المعارج عروج الملائكة والروح وفي ( النبأ قيام الملائكة والروح . فذكر الصعود والنزول والقيام ثم [ ص: 478 ] في التي تليها تلاوته على المنذرين حيث قال : { يتلو صحفا مطهرة } { فيها كتب قيمة } . فهذه السور الثلاث منتظمة للقرآن أمرا به وذكرا لنزوله ولتلاوة الرسول له على المنذرين . ـ

So after Allah commands the recitation of the Qur’an in this surah, in the following surah [97 – surah al-Qadr] He mentions the sending down of the Qur’an on Laylah al-Qadr. And in that surah He also mentioned the descending of the angels and the Rooh.

And in surah al-Ma’aarij [70] He mentioned the ascending of the angels and the Rooh, and in surah al-Naba’a [78] He mentioned the standing of the angels and the Rooh. So He mentions the ascending, the descending, and their standing.

Then in the following surah [98 – surah al-Bayyinah] He mentions the Prophet’s recitation of the Qur’an to those whom He was sent to warn, as comes in His statement:

يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُّطَهَّرَةً * فِيهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌ

Reciting purified scriptures * Within which are correct writings [98:2-3]

So these three surahs [i.e. al-‘Alaq, al-Qadr, and al-Bayyinah] are arranged in this way in the Qur’an first with commanding by the Qur’an, then the mention of it being sent down, and then with the Messenger’s recitation of it to those whom he was warning.

 ثم سورة ( الزلزلة و ( العاديات و ( القارعة و ( التكاثر متضمنة لذكر اليوم الآخر وما فيه من الثواب والعقاب وكل واحد من القرآن واليوم الآخر قيل هو النبأ العظيم . ـ

Next come the surahs of al-Zalzalah [99], al-‘Aadiyaat [100], al-Qaari’ah [101], and al-Takaathur [102], all of which contain mention of the Last Day and the reward and punishment that will occur therein. And both the Qur’an and the Last Day have been said to be the meaning of al-Naba’a al-‘Atheem [“the tremendous news” mentioned in the opening of surah al-Naba’a].

ثم سورة ( العصر و ( الهمزة و ( الفيل و ( لإيلاف و ( أرأيت و ( الكوثر و ( الكافرون و ( النصر و ( تبت متضمنة لذكر الأعمال حسنها وسيئها وإن كان لكل سورة خاصة . ـ

Then come surahs al-‘Asr [103], al-Humazah [104], al-Feel [105], Li-Eelaaf [106], al-Ma’oon [107], al-Kawthar [108], al-Kafiroon [109], al-Nasr [110], and Tabbat [111], all of which contain mention of deeds and actions, both good and bad, even if each surah has its own particular focus.

وأما سورة ( الإخلاص و ( المعوذتان ففي الإخلاص الثناء على الله وفي المعوذتين دعاء العبد ربه ليعيذه والثناء مقرون بالدعاء كما قرن بينهما في أم القرآن المقسومة بين الرب والعبد : نصفها ثناء للرب ونصفها دعاء للعبد . ـ

As for surah al-Ikhlaas [112] and the “Two Refuges” [113 & 114], then surah al-Ikhlaas contains praise of Allah while the “Two Refuges” contain the slave’s supplication to his Lord to protect him. So praise is paired with supplication here just as the two are also paired together in the Umm al-Qur’an [i.e. surah al-Fatihah] which is divided between the Lord and the slave – half of it it praise of the Lord and half of it is supplication for the slave.

والمناسبة في ذلك ظاهرة ; فإن أول الإيمان بالرسول الإيمان بما جاء به من الرسالة وهو القرآن ثم الإيمان بمقصود ذلك وغايته وهو ما ينتهي الأمر إليه من النعيم والعذاب : وهو الجزاء ثم معرفة طريق المقصود وسببه وهو الأعمال : خيرها ليفعل وشرها ليترك . [ ص: 479 ] ثم ختم المصحف بحقيقة الإيمان وهو ذكر الله ودعاؤه كما بنيت عليه أم القرآن ـ

And the reason behind their being arranged in this way is clear: for the first part of believing in the Messenger is believing in the message which he has come with, which is the Qur’an. Then next is believing in the purpose and aim of that message, which is the bliss or punishment at the conclusion of one’s affair – which is the recompense for one’s deeds. Then next comes the awareness of the desired pathway and means to achieve the goal, which are one’s actions – knowing the good deeds so that one can carry them out and knowing the bad deeds so that one can avoid them. Then finally Allah closes the mushaf with the actualization of that belief, which is remembering Allah and supplicating to Him – the very same elements that surah al-Fatihah was based on.

arrangement of the final chapters of the qur'an - ibn taymiyah

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 16/478-480. This excerpt was originally found in the book [إمتاع ذوي العرفان بما اشتملت عليه كتب شيخ الإسلام الإمام ابن تيمية من علوم القرآن] pg. 562-563, and is presented as found there.]

See also: Tafsir of Surah al-Fatihah Guide

See also: Ibn Kathir’s brief remarks on the contents of Surah al-Fatihah

See also: Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

See also: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

Read more posts about al-munaasabaat, or the connections and relationships among ayaat and surahs, here.

11 thoughts on “The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

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  2. Pingback: Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

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  4. Pingback: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

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