The Division of the Quran


There are many different ways in which we can say that the Quran has been divided.

The first and most obvious way is that the Quran has been divided into 114 surahs. This is common knowledge, so it doesn’t need much explanation.

Juz and Ruku’s
The Quran was divided into 30 parts (or juz) about 150 years ago. This was done to make it easier for every Muslim to recite one part every day and complete the recitation of the Quran in 30 days. Long before that, it was divided into ruku’s. This was not present at the time of the sahabah either. It was done during the time of the Umayyads by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf because you can’t recite all of al-Baqarah in one rakah in salah. So it’s one ruku’ per rakah.

Then there is the division of the Quran into hizbs. The surahs were ordered in such a way that the Quran could be divided into seven parts. People who loved the Quran would finish the recitation every week. The beauty is that in this, the surahs are not broken into parts. Three surahs are in the first hizb (not including Al-Fatihah, which is a preface of the whole Quran): Baqarah, Aali Imran, and Nisa. Then 5 in the next, then 7, then 9, then 11, 13, and then 65 in the seventh. 65 is also a multiple of 13. So there is a numerical beauty as well as a gradual increase.

There are some scholars who say that each surah has a pair (with the exception of al-Fatihah, and maybe one or two others). Al-Baqarah and Aali Imran are pairs. The two mu’awidhatayn (al-Falaq and an-Nas) are pairs. Ad-Duha and al-Lail are a pair – both of them are addressing the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) personally. The same with al-Mudatthir and al-Muzzammil.

Seven Parts
Lastly, there is another grouping of the surahs into seven parts. We find in the Quran one or two Madani surahs, then Makki, then Madani, and so on.

    1. Fatihah is the only Makki surah, then the four longest Madani surahs (Baqarah – Maidah).
    2. Then we have two Makki surahs (An’am and A’raf), then two Madani surahs (Anfal & Tawbah).
    3. Then 14 Makki surahs (Yunus – Mu’minun), only one Madani surah (Nur).
    4. Then 8 Makki surahs and only one Madani surah (Ahzab)
    5. Then 13 Makki surahs and 3 Madani surahs (Muhammad, Fath, Hujurat).
    6. Then Qaaf to Waqiah are Makki and Hadid to Tahrim are Madani.
    7. Then al-Mulk to Ikhlas are mostly Makki, only the last two muwadhitayn are Madani.

Every group has a central theme. One aspect of that subject is discussed in the Makki surahs, and the other in the Madani.

Note: The view of the above two groupings is not commonly held. Also, if I have made any mistakes in any of this, please let me know.

– Tafseer by Dr. Israr Ahmed


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