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GENERAL RULES OF THE NUMERICAL MIRACULOUSNESS IN

THE QURAN
Muhammad Zaki Muhammad Khadar*
1. Introduction
With effect from the 2nd century of the Hijra, numerous works were written about the
miraculousness of the Qurans exposition. However, in the works of the early period, the concept
of the Qurans miraculousness was used only in connection with its language. In subsequent
centuries many of its suras were studied in respect of language, rhetoric (bayan), and meaning.
The study of the miraculousness of the language became extremely profound so that the scholars
put forward numerous evidences to prove the aspects of miraculousness in every sura of the
Quran, and in every verse and even word. Some of them discovered more than twenty aspects of
eloquence in a single verse; as in the verse from Sura Hud: Then the word went forth: O earth!
swallow up your water, and O sky! withhold [your rain]! And the water abated, and matter was
ended. The ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: Away with those who do
wrong! Here, studying each word and all the meanings and aims the verse encompasses, they
discussed the verses eloquence and purity of speech, its metaphors and figures of speech,
composition and style, the matali and pauses, breaks and links, encouragement and restraint,
command and prohibition, the sequence of precepts and injunctions. However much people
increase their knowledge, they will never penetrate to the depths of this ocean.
Just as the Quran speaks of events that occurred in the past, so it gives news of events that
were to occur after its revelation. Some of its predictions were fulfilled, as has been verified by
scholars. When God Almighty wills that miraculousness of this kind be disclosed to men, it is
disclosed and those whom He wishes, understand it; others deny it, again as He wishes. The best
example of this are the verses at the beginning of Sura al-Rum: Alif. Lam. Mim. * the Roman
Empire has been defeated - * In a land close by; but they, [even] after [this] defeat of theirs, will
soon be victorious - * Within a few years. With God is the decision. In the past and in the future;
on that day shall the believers rejoice - * With the help of God. He helps whom He will, and He is
Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. These verses were revealed while the Prophet (PBUH) was still
in Mecca, three years before the Hijra. The Romans victory however, was won two years after
the Hijra, and news of it reached the Muslims the day they won the Battle of Badr. Their joy duly
increased at the news of this Divine assistance.
Many aspects of the Qurans miraculousness related to science were not discovered until
the present century. Although some interpretations of verses turned out to be accurate, others
were incorrect. Various interpretations have been made parallel to developments in the sciences
of anatomy, biology, botany, geology, hydrology, and the study of mountains and of space.
Specialist scholars have utilized their knowledge of their own particular fields to understand the
Qurans verses, thus drawing attention to various points. How could someone illiterate who lived

one thousand four hundred years ago have discussed precise scientific matters that were only
discovered in recent years? By way of miraculousness of this sort, God Almighty has guided
specialists in various sciences to Islam, for by means of it the truth became clear to them.
When it comes to defining the constituent factors of the Qurans miraculousness related to
science, scholars have laid down the following conditions for its study: 1 it should be in
conformity with the language. The meaning put forward by the commentator should be in
conformity with the dictionary meaning. It should not oppose any authentic Hadith of the Prophet
(PBUH). While expounding any verse, it should be in agreement with preceding verses, and not
conflict with them. When interpreting the Quran in the light of science, any statements
contradicting predictions and miracles described in it, or inferences of denial, should be avoided.
Exegesis should comply with established scientific facts, rather than with the commentators
personal theories or ideas. There are some scholars who have chosen to employ the terminology
of scientific interpretation and the evidences of prophethood, rather than discuss the Qurans
miraculousness related to science.2
To come to the question of counting, numbers, and calculation; since the time of al-Hajjaj
ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi, Muslims have interested themselves in calculating the letters of the Quran,
and its words and suras, and the positions of the pauses in it, and the ellisions, and the portions of
ten verses, and the quarters of the thirtieth parts of it, and other similar aspects of it. Their aim in
doing this has been to establish what was correct, because they were anxious that the copyists and
scribes might add things or leave others out or make mistakes or errors. It hhas been one of the
most important means created by God Almighty of preserving His Book. However, al-Sakhawi
(d. 643H) expressed his doubts as follows as to the benefits of such endeavours: I do not think
there is any use in the numbers of the words and letters. There being such a thing in any book
means that it contains excesses and deficiencies, and it is impossible that there should be any
such thing in the Quran.3
Despite some people propounding such views, the door of investigation and discussion of
this subject, which was opened in the early period, was not later closed. al-Tusi said in his work
al-Luma (p. 106): Underlying every letter of Gods Book are numerous meanings expressed
numerically. He cited the following verse as evidence for this: And there is not a thing but its
[sources and] treasures [inexhaustible] are with Us, but We only send down thereof in due and
ascertainable measures.4
al-Fakhr al-Razi said:
He who studies the subtleties of the order of the suras and the uniqueness of its
arrangement will see that the Quran is a miracle by virtue of its order and arrangement, as well
as in the eloquence of its words and loftiness of its meanings.5
Said Nursi says:
... the most advanced of the people of truth have demonstrated numerous relationships in
the Qurans words and their aspects and connections with other verses and phrases. Scholars of

the Hurufi School in particular, have gone further, explaining and demonstrating to their
followers a page of hidden meanings in a single of the Qurans letters.6
The following verse from Sura al-Kahf shows the importance of the Qurans letters, and
their value and merit, and how closely connected they are with life:
Say: If the ocean were ink [wherewith to write out] the words of my Sustainer, sooner
would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Sustainer, even if we added another
ocean like it, for its aid.7
The allusive meaning of the verse says: The Quran, which is Divine Speech, is so living
and valuable that if all the seas were to become ink, and the angels scribes, and minute particles
points, and plants and hairs pens to the number of the ears that listen to it and hear it, and to the
number of the sacred words that enter those ears, they could still never come to the end of
them.8
2. Repetition of the Qurans Words
Many scholars of the Quranic sciences have studied the words and phrases of the Quran
that are repeated, endeavouring to elicit their meanings.9
Perhaps the first in the present century to concern himself with the numerical aspects of
some of the Qurans words was Said Nursi, who made a study of the words of the Quran and
the number of times they are repeated. For example:
1. One hundred and sixty verses were written in the explanation of the important point
concerning the word Messenger. In addition to these verses having a glorious quality, since they
prove and complete one another with regard to the meaning and their meanings are very
profound, ... As for the word Messenger, since the suras most connected with the word are Sura
Muhammad and Sura al-Fath, and since we limited it to the lines of the word appearing in those
two suras, the instances of the word outside those have not been included.
2. The degree of eloquence and beauty of the sixty-nine verses in the explanation of the
sublime point concerning the word Quran is also most wondrous and elevated. In regard to the
word Quran, it was present in the seven lines of the word, which included all of them with the
exception of two, and since they had the meaning of qiraat, their remaining outside the pattern
strengthened the point.
3. The word Allah is mentioned two thousand eight hundred and six times. Including in
the Bismillahs (In the Name of Gods), the word Merciful (Rahman) one hundred and fifty-nine;
Compassionate (Rahim), two hundred and twenty; Forgiving (Ghafur), sixty-one; Sustainer
(Rabb), eight hundred and forty-six; Wise (Hakim), eighty-six; Knowing (Alim), one hundred
and twenty-six; Powerful (Qadir), thirty-one; the He (Hu) in There is no god but He, twenty-six
times. (Some of the numbers are not accurate)
4. The total number of the Qurans verses being six thousand six hundred and sixty-six,
and ... the above-mentioned number of Divine Names being connected with the number six,

indicates an important mystery. ... In the number of the word Allah are many mysteries and
subtle points. For instance, Merciful, Compassionate, Forgiving, and Wise, which are the most
mentioned after Allah and Sustainer, together with the word Allah, are half the number of the
Qurans verses. And the difference is four.
5. And Allah, together with Sustainer, which is mentioned instead of the word Allah, is
again half the number of the Qurans verses. The word Sustainer is mentioned eight hundred and
forty-six times, but if these are studied carefully, it will be seen that around five hundred of them
are mentioned in place of the word Allah, while around two hundred are not.
6. And together with All-Powerful instead of He, is again half the number of verses; the
difference here is nine.
7. In Sura al-Baqara, the number of instances of the word Allah and the number of the
verses is the same. There is a difference of four, but there are four Hes in place of the word
Allah. For example, the He in There is no god but He corresponds exactly with it.
8. In Sura Al-i Imran, again the word Allah and the number of verses coincide and are
equal. Only, the word Allah is two hundred and nine and the verses, two hundred, making the
difference nine. In the fine points of eloquence and literary merits such as these, small differences
do not mar them; an approximate coincidence is sufficient.
9. In Suras al-Nisa, al-Maida, and al-Anam, the total number of verses coincides with
the total number of instances of the word Allah: the number of verses is four hundred and sixtyfour, and the number of instances of the word Allah four hundred and sixty-one; with the word
Allah in the Bismillahs, it coincides exactly.
10. And for example, the number of instances of the word Allah in the first five suras is
twice the number of the word in Suras al-Araf, al-Anfal, al-Tawba, Yunus, and Hud. That is, the
second five are half the first five.
11. The number of instances of the word Allah in the following Suras Yusuf, al-Rad,
Ibrahim, al-Hijr, and al-Nahl is half that,
12. And in the following Suras al-Isra, al-Kahf, Maryam, Ta. Ha., al-Anbiya, and al-Hajj it
is again halved.
13. And so it continues to decrease in approximately the same ratio in the following groups
of five suras. Only, there are some differences and deficiencies. Such differences cause no harm
in such stations of address. For example, some are one hundred and twenty-one, some are one
hundred and twenty-five, some are one hundred and fifty-four, and some are one hundred and
fifty-nine.
14. Then, the five Suras which begin with Sura al-Zukhruf decrease to a sixteenth
15. And the five that begin with Sura al-Najm it is a sixty-fourth, but this is approximate.
Differences arising from small errors do not harm stations of address such as these.

16. The subsequent three groups of five short Suras contain only three instances each of the
word Allah.
17. The number of instances of the word Allah on one page looks to that pages reverse
side, and that page sometimes looks to its facing page, and sometimes it looks to the left-hand
facing page and to the reverse face of the facing page. I studied a coincidence in my own copy
of the Quran, and I saw what was generally a very fine numerical relationship. I marked them in
my copy. Very often they are equal, and sometimes they are a half or a third. They have a
situation which tells of a wisdom, purpose, and order.
18. If they were set in order, coincidences would appear to the number of the two
thousand eight hundred and six instances of the word Allah in the whole Quran with only rare
exceptions. A light of miraculousness shines in this, because the human mind could not
encompass a page as extensive as this, and interfere in it. And the hand of chance could not reach
this situation so full of meaning and wisdom.
19. We are having a new Quran written ... which together with preserving the same pages
and lines of the most widely used copies of the Quran ... will show the true order of the
coincidences, God willing. And it was shown.10
Those who study the above carefully will see that Bediuzzaman is endeavouring to reach
the miraculousness in three stages:
Numerical consideration ---> Aesthetic consideration of Quranic expression --->
Miraculousness
Said Nursi accepts the numerical approach without entering into excessive detail (as is seen
in such statements above as Only, there are some differences and deficiencies.) His intention
here is to draw attention to the beauty of the Qurans word-order. This is a question related to the
senses and eloquence, not to mere numbers that are either equal or not equal. For this reason,
small differences between the numbers are not important. For they do not mar the excellence of
the Qurans speech or the fine points of its eloquence. Those who study closely the general
correspondence between the Qurans words may perceive it intuitively, like in the examples
quoted above.
Here, because of their importance, we want to lay particular emphasis on these
observations. We shall attempt to compare some of the ideas that have flourished in recent years
in the garden of the Qurans numerical miraculousness.
Some authors have pointed out the numerical properties of some of the Qurans words, and
explained the correspondences between these numbers. For example, Abd al-Razzaq Nawfal in
his books, Allah wa Ilm al-Hadith (Allah and Modern Science), published 1376H; al-Islam Din
wa Dunya (Islam, Religion and the World), pub. 1959; Kitab Alam al-Jinn wal-Malaika (Book
of the World of Jinn and Angels), pub. 1969; al-Ijaz al-Adadi lil-Quran al-Karim (The
Qurans Numerical Miraculousness), pub. 1975; and Mujizat al-Arqam wal-Tarqim fil-Quran

al-Karim (The Miracles of the Numbers and Enumeration in the Holy Quran), pub. 1983. Some
passages from these:
The word dunya (world) is repeated 110 times in the Quran, and the times the word akhira
(hereafter) is repeated is the same. Could this be the result of chance, although the word akhira
does not appear in all the verses in which the word dunya is included?
The word malaika (angels) is repeated 68 times, the same as the number of times the word
Shaytan (satan) is repeated. The words malak, malakan, malakayn, malaika, all derived from the
same root, are repeated the same number of times as al-shayatin, shaytanan, shayatinihim, which
are all derived from the same root as Shaytan.
al-Hayat (life) and its derivatives are repeated 145 times, and the word al-mawt (death) and
its derivatives are repeated the same number of times.
The word al-salihat (good works) and its derivatives are repeated 167 times, the same as
al-sayyiat (misdeeds) and its derivatives.
The word al-mahabba (love) is repeated 183 times. Similarly, al-taa (obedience) is
repeated 183 times.
The word al-huda (guidance) is repeated 79 times, as is the word al-rahma.
The word al-shidda (violence) is repeated 102 times, the same as the word al-sabr
(patience).
The word al-salam (peace) is repeated 50 times, the same as the word al-tayyibat (pleasant
things).
The word al-aql (intellect) and its derivatives are repeated 49 times, the same as the word
al-nur (light).
The words al-musiba (calamity) and al-shukr (thanks) are mentioned the same number of
times, 75.
The word al-jahr (publicness) is repeated 16 times, the same as the word al-alaniyya
(openness).
The word Iblis is repeated 11 times, the same as the word al-istiadha billah (seeking
refuge with God).
The words al-raghba (desire ) and al-rahba (fear) are both mentioned 8 times.
The word al-Rahman (the Most Merciful) is repeated 57, which is half the number of times
the name al-Rahim (the Most Compassionate) is repeated, 114. (It is disputed whether or not the
repetitions of the name al-Rahim in the Bismillah should be counted, and al-Rahim and Rahiman
are in the same grammatical form sigha).
Similarly, the word al-jaza (requital) is repeated 118 times, half that of the word almaghfira (forgiveness), 234 times.

The word al-fujjar (sinners) is repeated 3 times, half that of the word al-abrar (the
righteous), which is repeated 6 times.
The word al-usr (hardship) is repeated 12 times, a third of the number of times the word
al-yusr (ease), which is repeated 36 times.
The word al-shahr (month) is repeated 12 times, the same as the number of months in the
year.
The word al-yawm (day) is repeated 365 times, and there are 365 days in a year.
It is seen from the above that sometimes the words are counted as single words, sometimes
they are counted together with their derivatives, and sometimes there are errors in the counting.
This indicates that calculations of this sort should be approximate, in order to achieve an aesthetic
arrangement generally. For there may be a strong link and correspondence between one word and
another, but numerically they may not be consistent.
Another writer who has studied the numerical aspects of the Quran is Adnan al-Rufai. 11
Some examples of his findings:
The word al-barr (land), together with the synonymous word yabisan, are repeated 12
times. While the word al-bahr (sea) is repeated 23 times. (These repetitions indicate the fact that
the ratio of land surface to sea on the earth is 12:23.)
The word jahannam (Hell) is repeated 77 times, while the word jannat (paradises) and its
derivatives are mentioned 77 times.
The word rajul (man) is repeated 24 times, as is the word imraa (woman) repeated 24
times.
Both the word akh (brother), and the word ukht (sister) are mentioned 4 times.
Both the word al-hayat (life) and its derivatives, and al-mawt (death) and its derivatives are
repeated 145 times.
Both the word ifsad (he corrupted) and the word yanfau (is beneficial) are repeated 50
times.
Both the word al-raghba and the word al-rahba are mentioned 8 times.
Both the word al-iman (belief) and the word al-kufr (unbelief) are repeated 17 times.
Both the word al-tayyib (good) and the word al-khabith (malignant) are repeated 7 times.
Both the word al-rushd (integrity) and the word al-ghay (transgression) are repeated 3
times.
Both the word shakk (doubt) and the word zann (supposition) are repeated 15 times.
Both the word jahra (publicness) and the word alaniyya (openness) and its derivatives are
mentioned 16 times.

Both the word halak (perdition) and its derivatives and the word najat (salvation) and its
derivatives are repeated 66 times.
Both the word al-nur (light) and the word al-zulma (darkness) are repeated 24 times.
Both the word thaqulat (it grew heavier) and the word khaffat (it grew lighter) are repeated
17 times.
Both the words qabla and qablaka (before, before you) and the words bada and badaka
(after, after you) are mentioned 149 times.
And both the qalu (they said) and the word qul (say!) are repeated 332 times.
Another point related to the repetition, correspondence, and balance of the numbers of the
Qurans words is the correspondence between numbers of the words of phrases, and of verses,
making two phrases or two verses like the two pans of a scales. There is a complete
correspondence both between the ordering and numbers of the words, and between their subject.
Undoubtedly, the Quran was composed and conceived of completely in conformity with reality.
For example, in a question consisting of two basic elements, there should be a perfect balance
between them, although they may differ from each other. Thus, in one respect the words of the
Quran are conceived of as balanced, and in another respect as being outstanding, as in the
following verse:
La yastadhinuka alladhina yuminuna billahi wal-yawm al-akhiri an yujahidu biamwalihim wa anfusihim wallahu alim bil-muttaqin. (Those who believe in God and the Last
Day ask you for no exemption from fighting with their goods and persons. And God knows well
those who do their duty.) (9:44) Both this verse consists of 14 words, and the verse, Innama
yastadhinuka alladhina la yuminuna billahi wal-yawm al-akhiri wartabat qulubuhum fa-hum
fi raybihim yataraddadun (Only those ask you for exemption who believe not in God and the
Last Day, and whose hearts are in doubt, so that they are tossed in their doubts to and fro) (9:45)
also is 14 words.
And in the verse, wa idha qila la-hum uttabiu ma anzala Allah (When they are told to
follow the [revelation that God sent down) (31:21) are 7 words, while its answer, in the same
verse, qalu bal nattabiu ma wajadna alayhi abaana is also 7 words.
The verse, Qala saawi ila jabal yasimuni min al-ma (He replied: I will betake myself to
some mountain; it will save me from the water.) (11:43) consists of 7 words, while its
complement in the same verse, Qala laasima al-yawm min amr Allah (Noah said: this day
nothing can save from the command of God) is also 7 words.
Numerous examples could be given in this way, of verses composed of two balanced
complementary parts, question and answer, the number of the words of which are the same.
The same is true for the numbers of letters, and again many examples could be given for
this. For instance, Dhalikal-kitab (This is the Book) (2:2) is composed of 8 letters, and la rayba
fihi (without doubt) is also 8 letters. Truly, there is a hidden relation between the eloquence and

sounds of the words and the number of letters. Calculations of this sort indicate an aspect of the
Qurans miraculousness pertaining to words and eloquence.
This same balance is found in the phrases Man yutii al-rasul (He who obeys the
Messenger) (4:80) and fa-qad ataa Allah (obeys Allah), which both consist of 11 letters. They
are noteworthy in both the link in the meaning, and their being complementary. Similarly, la
tudrikuhu al-absar (No vision can grasp Him) (6:103) and wa huwa yudriku al-absar (But His
vision is over all vision), both of which consists of 13 letters. And Innama al-muminuna
ikhwatun (The believers are but a single brotherhood) (49:10) and its complementary phrase: faaslihu bayna akhawaykum (so make peace and reconciliation between your two [contending]
brothers), both of which consist of 16 letters. One could give many more examples of the balance
of the numbers of letters in the Quran. However, the author from whom the above are quoted
(Adnan al-Rufai), points out that in some places there are discrepancies in the numbers, as in
Wa min kulli shayin khalaqna zawjayn laallakum tadhakkarun (And of everything We have
created pairs, that you may receive instruction) (51:49), which consists of 28 letters, and its
complement Fafirru ilallah inni la-kum nadhir mubin (Hasten you then [at once] to God; I am
from Him a warner to you, clear and open!), which consists of 29 letters. Certainly, there being
29 letters instead of 28 does not mar the beauty and balance of these verses; even if the numbers
do not correspond exactly, it does not spoil the aesthetic miraculousness and that of the
exposition.
In a letter mentioning a list (fihrist) of Quranic letters, Said Nursi says that he wrote it
approximately to be a temporary source of reference:
Also, the mysteries in the coincidences [of letters] look to general totals. The
approximate list is enough for us. The coincidences appearing in the three sections of Kanz
al-Arsh do not change with the changing of the errors. Perhaps the coincidences [of the letters]
still would not change even if the big totals were changed too. If one or two thousands were
lost, it would not spoil those significant coincidences. And so on... The errors certainly contain
mysteries, but they still have not been revealed to us completely. God willing, when they are, the
list will take on a more accurate form.12
Another writer omits the repeated letters when calculating the numbers of letters and words
constituting verses, and thus draws attention to the conformity between different verses.13 For
example:
Inna la-kum fihi lama takhayyarun (That you shall have, through it whatever you choose)
(68:38). This consists of 5 words and 12 different letters. The total number of letters included
repeated ones is 17.
Idhhaba ila Firawn innahu tagha (Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed
transgressed all bounds) (20:43) This is 5 words and 12 letters, a total of 18 letters including the
repeats.

Fihima min kulli fakihatin zawjayn (In them will be fruits of every kind, two and two)
(55:52). This again is 5 words and 12 letters, and the total number of letters including repeats is
19.
A li-Rabbikum al-banat wa la-hum al-banun (Is it that your Lord has [only daughters, and
they have sons?) (37:149) This again consists of 5 words and 12 letters, and the total is 22,
inluding repeated letters.
Following these examples, the author lists the verses the number of whose letters are 13,
14, 15, and so on, excluding repeated letters. For each number, he gives examples of verses from
the Quran. He shows in the form of tables the numerical arrangement of the letters of all the
words of the verses, which reflects another aspect of the beauty of the Qurans appearance.
3. The Numerical Appearance of the Quran
Numerous numbers are mentioned in the Quran. Scholars have dwelt on certain specific
numbers, pointing out aspects of them that have escaped notice.14 Some of these numbers are 3, 4,
6, 7, 13, 19, and so on.
A number of authors have investigated the properties of some of the numbers in the Quran
and written books about them, for example the works about the numbers 3, 7, and 19. A striking
work is Mujizat al-Qarn al-Ishrin fi Kashf Sabaiyya wa Thalathiyya Aw Amr al-Quran alKarim (The Miracle of the 20th Century in Discovering the 3 and 7 of the Qurans Commands),
which is about the numbers 3 and 7. It says that the command to worship expressed by the word
u^budu, and the calls, in the form of commands, of each of the four prophets Shuayb, Nuh,
Salih, and Jesus, to their peoples to worship are mentioned three times. But Abraham himself
makes the address once, while there are three addresses uttered by Moses and Jesus. Similarly, it
contains three addresses to those of the Quraysh who had deviated into misguidance.
In three places Almighty God addresses His Messenger (PBUH) with the word ubud:
Wabud Rabbaka hatta yatiyaka al-yaqin (And serve your Sustainer until there come unto
you [the hour of which is] certainty) (15:99)
Fabud Allah mukhlisan la-hu al-din (So serve God offering Him sincere devotion) (39:2)
Fabudhu wastabir li-ibadatihi hal talamu la-hu samiyyan (So worship Him. and be
constant and patient in His worship: do you know of any who is worthy of the same name as He?)
(19:65)
The examples thus continue which this author gives for the number three. He also gives
examples related to the number 7, one of which is the following:
Nabbiy ibadi ani anal-Ghafur al-Rahim (Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oftforgiving, Most Merciful) (15:49)
Wa nabbihum an dayf Ibrahim (Tell them about the guests of Abraham) (15:51)

Wa nabbihum anna al-maa qismatun baynahum kullu shirb muhtadar (And tell them that
the water is to be divided between them; each ones right to drink being brought forward [by
suitable turns]) (54:28)
Qala ya Adam nubihum bi-asmaihim (He said: O Adam tell them their names.) (2:33)
Anbiuni bi-asmai haulai (Tell me the names of these) (2:31)
Nabbiuni in kuntum sadiqun (Tell me with knowledge if you are truthful) (6:143)
Nabbina bitawilihi inna naraka min al-muhsinin (Tell us the truth thereof; for we see you
are one that does good [to all]) (12:36)
Similarly, the command to prostrate before the Glorious Creator is repeated 7 times, the
command to perform the salat and pay zakat is found in seven places, as is the command to
Gods Messenger to seek forgiveness. The purpose of these observations and others like them
seems to be proof of the Qurans miraculousness, as was first done by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi,
and to demonstrate the beauty of the Qurans exposition.
Concerning the number 19, the verse alayha tisata ashara (over it are nineteen) (74:30),
in Sura al-Muddaththir, has afforded important clues to writers investigating this number. Some
contemporary writers have said that the miracle in the number 19 is intended as a challenge to the
unbelievers. Others have rejected this interpretation, and following the majority of commentators
down the ages, have said it represents the number of angels employed in Hell-fire. Still others
admit that this number is an important principle, and have directed various accusations at those
who like the Bahais hold it to be sacred, criticizing them mercilessly, even accusing them of
treachery and infidelity.
Nevertheless, some scholars15 have made numerical studies of the number 19. For example,
the Bismillah (In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate) consists of 19 letters. Those
who have boldly divulged their findings about this number have given us most interesting
information. Some of them are as follows: Sura al-Fatiha without the Bismillah consists of 6
verses. 6 x 19 is 114, which is the number of the Qurans suras. Similarly, Sura al-Nas, the final
sura, is six verses, and 6 x 19 = 114.
Some scholars have pointed out the first verses of the Quran to be revealed:
Iqra bismi Rabbika alladhi khalaq * Khalaqal-insan min alaq * Iqra wa Rabbuka alakram * Alladhi alama bil-qalam * Alamal-insan ma lam yalam (Proclaim! [or read!] in the
name of your Lord and Cherisher, Who created * Created man, out of a [mere] clot of congealed
blood; * Proclaim! And your Sustainer is most bountiful- * He Who taught [the use of] the pen *
Taught man tthat which he knew not.) (96:1-5) These five verses consist of 19 words. Then the
final verse to be revealed: al-yawm akmaltu la-kum dinakum wa atmamtu alaykum nimati wa
raditu la-kum al-Islam dinan (This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My
favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion) (5:3) The phrase and have
chosen for you Islam as your religion consists of 19 letters. Similarly, the verses, Iyyaka

nabudu wa iyyaka nastain (You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help)
(1:5) and Ihdina al-sirat al-mustaqim (show us the straight way) (1:6), and al-din indallah alIslam (The religion before Allah is Islam) (3:19) are all composed of nineteen letters.
Other scholars16 have noted that some words and phrases in the Quran either consist of 19
letters or multiples of 19, or are repeated 19 (or multiples of 19) times. For instance, the Divine
Names:
al-Sami (All-Hearing) is repeated 19 times; al-Hakim (All-Wise) is repeated 38 times, 2 x
19; al-Rahman (Most Merciful) is repeated 57 times, 3 x 19; al-Rahim (Most Compassionate) is
repeated 114 times, 6 x 19.
Another author17 explains the indications of the Qurans miraculousness in the number 13
as well as 19. For example, the number of verses of the first sura, al-Fatiha, including the
Bismillah, and the last, al-Nas, is 7 + 6 = 13. Similarly, the total number of letters of the first
verses to be revealed, Iqra bismi Rabbika alladhi khalaq ... (see above) (96:1-5) is 76, and the
total number of letters of the last to be revealed wattaqu yawman turjauna fihi ilallah thumma
tuwaffa kullu nafsin ma kasabat wa hum la yuzlamun (And fear the Day when you shall be
brought back to God. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with
unjustly) (2:281) is 54. The total of these two verses is 130, which is 10 x 13. It should be stated
here that scholars hold differing views regarding the final verse to be revealed.
Other scholars examine the numbers 13 and 19 together. According to the first redaction of
the Quran, the first sura to begin disjointed letters (al-huruf al-muqattaat) is Sura al-Baqara,
the total number of verses of which is 286. That is, 22 x 13. Then the last sura to begin with the
disjointed letters is Sura al-Qalam, which is 53 verses, and that is 4 x 13. The 13th verse of
Sura al-Mumtahina (its last verse) consists of 19 words. And the 13th verse of Sura al-Baqara
also consists of 19 words. There are numerous interest points of this sort, related to the verse
numbers and the number of words.
4. The Disjointed Letters at the Beginnings of Suras
There is dispute concerning the interpretation of the disjointed letters at the beginning of
some of the Qurans suras. Some scholars have said that they are a Divine mystery in the
Quran, and that they should not be discussed. However, the great majority have said the reverse
of this, that these letters should be investigated and that this would lead to many benefits. 18
Among the latter were those who asserted that the letters contained knowledge of the future, for
which they cited a weak Hadith as evidence:
One time when a group of Jews visited Gods Messenger (PBUH), he was reading the
verse, Alif. Lam. Mim. * Dhalikal-kitab la rayba fihi (Alif. Lam. Mim. * This is the Book) (2:1-2)
One of them, Hayy ibn Akhtab, said to his companions: Alif is 1, Lam is 30, Mim is 40, the total
of which is 71. Are you going to embrace the religion of a prophet whose rule is only 71 years?
But when Gods Messenger (PBUH) read them the rest of the disjointed letters, they realized
their mistake.19

According to this Hadith it is permissible to ascribe meanings of this sort to the disjointed
letters.
Some scholars (whom Said Nursi called ulema-i huruf) made close study of the meanings
of the disjointed letters. Bediuzzaman called the letters Divine cyphers.20 While Hafiz Ibn Hajar
said: Each one of these letters has its own particular mystery. 21 Other scholars asserted that
some of these letters allude to the future, while others indicate hidden truths related to the
Qurans miraculousness. They mostly base their claim, as mentioned above, on the letters at the
start of Sura al-Rum indicating the Byzantines victory.
The system used to calculate the numerical values of the Qurans words, which was also
used in early works on the disjointed letters, was the abjad system. The subject has also attracted
the attention of contemporary scholars. The number of suras that begin with disjointed letters is
29. This corresponds to the number of letters in the Arabic alphabet. The total number of
disjointed letters is 78, and this corresponds to the number of letters of the first five verses to be
revealed: Iqra bismi Rabbika alladhi khalaq ... (see above)
According to some scholars,22 the letter qaf, one of the disjointed letters, is repeated 57
times in both the two suras at the beginning of which it is found (Suras Qaf and Shura). This is 3
x 19. Since Sura al-Shura, which begins Ha. Mim. * Ain. Sin. Qaf, is longer than Sura Qaf, the
fact that the letter qaf is also repeated 57 times in Sura al-Qaf draws attention to the latter.
Moreover, the total number of times the letter is repeated in both suras is 114, which is the
number of suras in the Quran. Similarly, Sura al-Qalam begins with the letter Nun, and abovementioned properties are applicable to this sura too. In fact, using an eletronic calculator,
Muhammad Rashad Khalifa made some truly interesting findings concerning the numerical
relations in the suras which begin with the disjointed letters.
5. Other Numerical Indications
Some writers have concerned themselves with the arrangement of the Qurans suras while
expounding the numerical miraculousness.23 They assert that some of the suras are arranged in
pairs and some are arranged singly. Furthermore, they classify them as single or as pairs in
relation to the number of verses. They then attempted to prove the numerical relations between
the arrangement of the suras and the numbers of the verses. Most of the copies of the Quran
current today have been proved as comprising numerical miraculousness of this sort, despite the
dispute among the Quranic scholars (qurra) concerning the numbers of verses in many of the
suras.
The number of suras in the first half of the Quran in the pair arrangement is 28, and in
the second half it is 29. While according to the single arrangement, the number of suras in the
first half is 29 and in the second half it is 28.
Abdullah Jalghum, who was quoted above, has attempted to prove that the numerical
indications are present also in the numbers of the verses in the suras. The number of verses in the
suras in copies of the Quran found in the eastern Islamic world (the reading [qiraat] of Hafs

narrated from Asim) is accepted to be authentic. While others are not. As for copies found in the
western Arab world, (the reading [qiraat] of Hafs narrated from Warsh), there is dispute about
the number of verses. For which reason, this author supposes that he is trying to unite the Umma
around in defining the numbers of verses in the suras in these copies.
6. Ways of Scientific Calculation and the External Appearance of the Qurans
Numerical Miraculousness
It is known by those who work in the field of calculation that if the outer appearance of a
thing is distributed mathematically, this is called natural distribution. That is, a concentration in
the external appearance of a particular subject and this diminishes as the distance increases from
the centre. When it is not natural distribution, it is distributed in a specific order.
It is a fact that most of those who investigate the numerical appearance of the Quran are
not experts in mathematical calculation and do not have any idea about statistical distribution.
They think they have found certain outward indications and try to prove the Qurans
miraculousness by means of them, whereas there is a symmetry and beauty between all the
aspects of the Qurans miraculousness. And there is no dispute concerning the fact that one of
the Qurans attributes is beauty.
Basing them on the various appearances they have found, some scholars have considered
numerical indications to be true aspects of miraculousness. And not sufficing with that, they have
attempted to generalize these appearances, making forced interpretations of the points that do not
fit.
Someone who has a precise knowledge of calculation will shake to the foundations the
ideas of those who try to prove the Qurans miraculousness by their own methods, and will very
probably refute many interpretations not based on mathematical methods. In one respect it is
thus, and in another, according to the principle that there is no sacralizing of numbers in Islam,
one has to applaud those who declare to be innovators, sinners, or even infidels people who
declare war on the idea of the Qurans numerical miraculousness and propound such ideas.
To give examples of 19 and its multiples: this number forms approximately 5% of all
known integral numbers. (5% is approximately the equivalent of 1/19) Thus, in every 100 suras,
5 suras should have 19 verses or verses to the number of multiplies of 19. If the number of suras
the number of whose verses are 19 and multiples of 19 increases, the ratio of 5% will change.
(For example, it could be 20%) In which case, one could speak of the pre-eminence of the
number 19. If among the 114 suras the verses of only two of them were 19 in number, one could
not say that. (In such a case, the number 19 would not be pre-eminent, but unknown.)
Those who have been attacked because they concern themselves with the indications
related to this number, have been so because of the Bahais, who hold it to be sacred.
The calculations related to the sentences given previously have been attacked in the same
way.

7. The Use of Reckoning in Quranic Verses which Predict Future Events


The indication at the beginning of Sura al-Rum that the Byzantines would defeat the
Persians several years hence, was fulfilled in the time of Gods Messenger (PBUH), and the
believers rejoiced in this Divine succour. The news of the defeat arrived the day the believers
won the Battle of Badr, and they celebrated the two victories together.
It is known that in some of his works, Said Nursi alluded to the results of certain
coincidences of numbers, and he deduced indications of the future concerning both himself and
the Nur community. However, since I do not know Turkish and these works have not been
translated into Arabic, I cannot ascertain these facts.
All that we have set out up to here shows that some scholars have reached conclusions
about the future by means of calculations related to the disjointed letters at the beginning of some
suras. Basing it on certain verses, some contemporary writers have calculated that the verses
allude to the year 1974 and that during that year the numerical miraculousness of the Quran
would become widely known. Other scholars have predicted as a result of their calculations that
the Jewish state will collapse in 2022.
All these calculations and ideas on the subject are conjectural questions, yet it is our hope
that neither those who make these interpretations, nor those who accept them are committing
sins. For matters such as these are not included among the tenets of belief. There is therefore no
necessity to contest one another concerning them, and hold others answerable. However, it was
among the practices of Gods Messenger (PBUH) to draw conclusions (omens) from certain
coincidences. For the Messenger derived pleasure from a satisfying coincidence. For instance,
when he saw that Suhayl ibn Amr was among the Meccans who came to sign the Treaty of
Hudaybiyya, he said he hoped it would be easy, because of Suhayls name. There is nothing
preventing a Muslim drawing omens from coincidences in numbers, names, or events, since it is
part of the Sunna. If it results in something good, it is an instance of Divine grace. For everything
is under Gods command.
8. Conclusion
We may list as follows the chief points we have made in this study of the numerical
miraculousness of the Quran:
1. The numerical indications of the Quran are an open door for researchers. Each may find
something that conforms to his own taste and confidence, and discover some coincidences and
indications. He may even discover some important points that others will find persuasive. All
these ways are open, but it is essential to look on these questions as conjectural. Nothing should
be considered definite unless it is based on mathematical rules and accurate calculation.
2. It is essential that the Rasm al-Uthmani (the disposition of the Quran as written by
Hafiz Osman) should be taken as the basis when studying the numbers of the Qurans letters and
words.

3) Assertions of miraculousness have to be based on a question about which is consensus


and no dispute. It is not permissible to base assertions of miraculousness on disputed matters,
such as the number of verses in certain suras. Similarly, there are differences concerning the
Bismillah. Is it counted as a verse in every sura, or is it a verse only in Sura al-Fatiha? Or is it a
verse only in Sura al-Naml? However, this is not disputed by the scholars who engage in the
study of the numbers of verses, but by the authorities of fiqh (such as Abu Hanifa and Imam alShafii). The dispute leads to the conclusion that the number of verses differ and that there is no
consensus concerning them. In this situation, it is permissible to prefer a specific number for the
number of verses. But if the number is disputed, it is not permissible to put forward this as
evidence for miraculousness.
Thus, investigations should be based on matters about which there is agreement. The
Quranic readings (qiraat), about which there is consensus, have to be taken into consideration
here. A numerical coincidence which conforms to one reading, does not have to constitute
evidence for someone who reads [the Quran] according to another reading. Similarly, such a
numerical coincidence does not mean that only that reading is correct, and the others are not.
4) Numerical studies related to the Quran corroborate the existence of the Qurans
numerical miraculousness. If a scholar is successful in deducing some truths in this subject,
however many or few, it is clear that in the long term important results may be achieved - should
other scholars continue to work at it. Thus, although it is not a new subject, there is need for
much work.
5) All studies aimed at proving the numerical miraculousness have revolved around specific
numbers. However, they should investigate other numbers too. For example, while investigating
the numerical value in the Quran of the number 7, the works should be expanded to include
investigation of the numbers 6 and 8. If having done this, the number 7 truly appears to be
exceptional, much more reliable results will be achieved. In this way, the miraculousness of a
particular number will be firmly established.
6) The method Said Nursi followed in proving the miraculousness of the beauty of the
Qurans exposition is the soundest way in this field at the present time, for it addresses the
intelligence and conscience, just as it does the intellect.
____________________
* Prof. Dr. MUHAMMAD ZAKI MUHAMMAD KHADAR
Prof. Khadar was born in Jordan in 1944, and graduated from the Dept. of Electronics in Baghdad University. He
received his doctorate from Sheffield University, UK, in 1972. He taught as Professor in the University of Egypt, and
at present teaches in the University of Jordan. He has published eleven books and numerous academic articles.
1. Fadl Hasan Abbas, Itqan al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Quran (Dar al-Furqan, 1997) Part 1.
2. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali, Kayfa Nataamalu Ma al-Quran (Virginia: International Institute of Islamic
Thought, 1991).
3. al-Suyuti, al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, i, 151.

4. Quran, 15:21. For further information, see, Muhammad Zaki Muhammad Khidr, Hadhal-Quran fi Miat Hadith
Nabawiyya (2 edn. 1987) 8.
5. al-Liwa, Ahmad Abd al-Wahhab, Ijaz al-Nizam al-Qurani (Maktaba Gharib, 1980).
6. Nursi, Bediuzzaman Said, The Flashes Collection [Eng. trans.] (Istanbul: Szler Publications, 1995) 227.
7. Quran, 18:109.
8. The Flashes Collection, 348.
9. See, al-Kirmani, Asrar al-Takrar fil-Quran al-Karim.
10. Nursi, Bediuzzaman Said, Letters 1928-1932 [Eng. trans.] (Istanbul: Szler Publications, 2nd edn. 1997) 475-8.
11. See, Adnan al-Rufai, al-Mujiza Kashf Ijaziyya Jadid fil-Quran (Syria).
12. Nurs, Bedizzaman Said, Barla Lahikas (Istanbul: Envar Neriyat, 1994) 290.
13. Atif Muhammad Aziza, Asrar al-Huruf wal-Ayat fi Risala al-Quran al-Ajib (Matba al-Huda).
14. Ibn Khalifa Ulaywi, Mujiza al-Qarn al-Ishrin fi Kashf Sabaiyya wa Thalathiyya al-Quran al-Karim
(Damascus: Dar al-Iman, 1st edn. 1403/1983).
15. See, Muhammad Rashad Khalifa, al-Ijaz al-Raqami fil-Quran (1976).
16. See, Abd al-Razzaq Nawfal, Mujiza al-Arqam wal-Tarqim fil-Quran al-Karim (Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi,
1982).
17. See, Abdullah Jalghum, Asrar Tartib al-Quran (al-Zarqa: Dar al-Fikr lil-Nashr wal-Tawzi).
18. al-Qurtubi, al-Jami li-Ahkam al-Quran (Dar al-Hadith, 1994) i, 172.
19. Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi, Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim (Beirut: Dar al-Jil) i, 37.
20. The Flashes Collection, 345.
21. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari Shahr Sahih al-Bukhari, xi, 352.
22. See, Muhammad Rashad Khalifa, al-Ijaz al-Raqami fil-Quran.
23. See, Abdullah Jalghum, Asrar Tartib al-Quran.