Saturday, 4 August 2012


Question : My question is regarding the order in which the quran should be recited in a prayer, either outloud or quietely. Should the wroshipper recite the surahs or ayahs in the order that they are presented in the quran. For example, is it permissible to recite surah Al-Nas in the first rakah followed by surah Al-Kawthar in the second rakah

Answer :

Assalamualikum. Praise be to Allah.

Reading later parts of the Qur’aan before earlier parts is called Tankees (inversion). There are different types of Tankees:

  • Tankees al-Huroof (inversion of letters)

  • Tankees al-Kalimaat (inversion of words)

  • Tankees al-Aayat (inversion of verses)

  • Tankees al-Huroof (inversion of letters) means putting a later letter before a previous letter in one word, for example, instead of “Rabb” one reads “Barr”

  • Tankees al-Suwar (inversion of Soorahs)

Tankees Al Huroof : Inversion of Letters 

Undoubtedly this is haraam, and invalidates a person's prayer, because it changes the Qur’aan from the way in which it was spoken by Allaah, and usually alters the meaning in a drastic manner.

(Al-Sharh al-Mumti’ by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 3/110)

Tankees Al Kalimaat : Inversion of the words

Tankees al-Kalimaat (inversion of words) means putting a later word before a previous word, for example, instead of “Qul huwa Allaahu ahad”, one reads “Ahad Allaah huwa qul”!
This also is undoubtedly haraam, because it changes the Qur’aan from the way in which it was spoken by Allaah.

(Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/110)

Tankees Al Ayaat : Inversion of verses

Tankees al-Aayat (inversion of verses) means reciting a later aayah before a previous aayah, for example, reciting “min sharr il-waswaas il-khannaas” before “ilaah il-naas” whereas in the actual surah, ilaah innaas comes before min sharril waswaasil khannaas

Concerning this, al-Qaadi ‘Ayyaad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

There is no dispute concerning the order of the aayahs (verses, meaning (e.g) - verse no. 2 inside surah no. 114) in each soorah (chapter). This is something which is Tawqeefi, i.e., based on revelation [and is not open to ijtihaad], and the order is that which now appears in the Mus-haf, and this is how the ummah transmitted it from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

(Sharh al-Nawawi, 6/62. This was also the view of Ibn al-‘Arabi, as stated in al-Fath, 2/257).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said:

Tankees al-aayaat (inverting verses) is also haraam because the order of the aayahs is tawqeefi (something which is based on revelation [and not open to ijtihaad]). The meaning of “tawqeefi” is that it was dictated by the order of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

(al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/110).

Tankees Al Suwar : Inversion of Soorahs

Tankees al-Suwar (inversion of Soorahs) means, reciting later soorahs (chapters) before earlier ones, for example, reciting Aal ‘Imraan before al-Baqarah or reciting Surah Al Falaq (surah/chapter no. 113) before Al Ikhlaas (surah/chapter no. 112)

The ruling on this:

Those scholars who say that the order of soorahs is not tawqeefi do not see anything wrong with this.

Those who think that it is tawqeefi or that the consensus of the Sahaabah on the order of soorahs is evidence, do not think that it is permissible.

The correct view:

Is that the order of soorahs is not tawqeefi(command of the rasool in accordance to the order of the chapters) ; it is the result of ijtihaad on the part of some of the Sahaabah.

There was no ijmaa’ (consensus) among the Sahaabah on the order of soorahs; for example, the order in the Mus-haf of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood is different from that in the Mushafs of others.

In the Sunnah there is evidence that supports the view that it is permissible:

Hadith # 1 :

(A) Hudhayfah said: I prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) one night, and he started to recite al-Baqarah. I thought, he will do rukoo’ when he reaches one hundred aayaat, but he kept going. I thought, he will complete it in one rak’ah, but he kept going. I thought, he will do rukoo’ now, but he started to recite al-Nisaa’ (Chapter no. 4), and he recited all of it, then he started to recite Aal ‘Imraan (chapter no. 3) and recited all of it… (Narrated by Muslim, 772).

The evidence in this hadeeth is that he recited al-Nisaa’ then Aal ‘Imraan shows the permissibility to change the order of the surahs while reciting them in salah. 

Comments of Scholars on the above hadeeth 

Al-Nawawi said:

Al-Qaadi ‘Ayyaad said: this contains evidence for those who say that the order of soorahs is the result of ijtihaad on the part of the Muslims when they wrote down the Mus-haf. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not dictate the order of soorahs; he entrusted this task to his ummah after his death. This is the view of Maalik and the majority of the scholars, and was the view favoured by al-Qaadi Abu Bakr al-Baaqillaani. Ibn al-Baaqillaani said: it is the more correct of the two views, although both are possible.

He said: what we say is that the order of soorahs is not binding when writing, praying, studying, teaching or learning. There is no report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning that which would make it forbidden to differ from it. Hence the order of soorahs in the various Mus-hafs differed, before the Mus-haf of ‘Uthmaan.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the ummah after him in all ages regarded it as permissible to differ from the order of soorahs in prayer, and when studying and teaching.

He said: there is no dispute concerning the fact that a person who is praying may recite in the second rak’ah a soorah which comes before the soorah which he recited in the first rak’ah; but it is makrooh (disliked) to do this in one rak’ah, or when reciting Qur’aan outside of salaah.

He said: but some of them (scholars and reports) permitted this.
Hence what Imam Al Qaadi 'Ayyad said means that recitation during the salah need not be in order of the chapter no, one may read any soorah (chapter) he likes. Also because Allah says " He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an " [Quran 73:20]

The maximum what could be said about mixing the order of reciting the surahs is that it is makrooh (disliked) and not a sin or haraam. 

Al-Sindi said:

The phrase [in the hadeeth of Hudhayfah] “then he started to recite Aal ‘Imraan” means that it is not obligatory to follow the order of soorahs when reciting.

(Sharh al-Nisaa’i, 3/226).

Hadeeth # 2 :

(B) It was reported from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a man from among the Ansaar used to lead them in prayer in the mosque of Qubaa’. Every time he led them in prayer, he would start his recitation with “Qul huwa Allaahu ahad”, then when he finished it, he would recite another soorah. He did that in every rak’ah. His companions spoke with him and said, “You always start with this soorah, then you do not think it is enough and you recite another. Either you should recite this soorah alone, or you should leave it and recite another.” He said, “I am not going to stop reciting it. If you like, I will lead you in prayer as I have been doing, and if you do not like it, I will leave you.” They felt that he was one of the best of them, and they did not want anyone else to lead them in prayer. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them, they told him about this. He said, “O So and so, what is stopping you from doing what your companions tell you? What makes you keep on reciting this soorah in every rak’ah?” He said, “I love it.” He said, “Your love for it will grant you admittance to Paradise.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari mu’allaqan, and by al-Tirmidhi with an isnaad similar to that of al-Bukhaari, 2901).

The evidence in this report is the fact that the man recited Soorat al-Ikhlaas in his prayer before any other soorah that comes before it (in the Mus-haf), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) approved of that.

(C) This is the action of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him).

Al-Imaam al-Bukhaari said:

Al-Ahnaf recited al-Kahf in the first rak’ah and Yoosuf or Yoonus in the second, and he said that he had prayed Fajr with ‘Umar and he had done the same.

(Baab al-Jam’ bayna Sooratayn fi’l-Rak’ah, in Kitaab al-Adhaan).

(D) Yusuf ibn Mahak reported: I was in the presence of Aisha, the mother of the believers, when an Iraqi person came and he said, “What type of shroud is best?” She said, “May Allah have mercy on you! What does it matter?” He said, “O mother of the believers, show me your scripture.” She asked why and he said, “In order to arrange the Quran because people do not recite it in proper order.” She said, “What does it matter what you read first? But know that the first verses to be revealed were in a chapter from Al-Mufassal in which is mentioned Paradise and Hellfire. When the people embraced Islam, the verses regarding the lawful and unlawful were revealed. If the first verse to be revealed was not to drink wine, they would have said: we will not stop drinking. And if it had been revealed not to commit adultery, they would have said: we will not stop committing adultery. While I was a young girl these verses were revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in Mecca: Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time and the Hour will be more grievous and bitter.” (54:46) Aisha added, “The chapters of the cow (al-baqarah) and women (an-nisa) were revealed while I was with him.” Then she took out her scripture for the man and she dictated to him the chapters.

[Source: Sahih Bukhari 4707]


  1. Assalamualaikum Omar Bhai ,
    AlhamduLillahi Rabbil A'alameen . Allahumma Salli wa Baarik `Ala Muhammad wa `ala Aali Muhammad .
    I had a few doubts on this topic . Hope you will help me clarify , In sha Allah.
    1) from the statement as quoted above " Al-Qaadi ‘Ayyaad said: this contains evidence for those who say that the order of soorahs is the result of ijtihaad on the part of the Muslims when they wrote down the Mus-haf. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not dictate the order of soorahs; he entrusted this task to his ummah after his death " . I remember when i did a course on usool at tafseer by Bilal philips In Islamic online universtity , he , may Allah Bless him , said that Rasulullah sallalahu alaihi wasallam , himself arranged the order of the surahs also . for example surah fatiha in the first , then baqarah , then the next and so on ...
    Iam confused now , like which of the above two statements is true.

    2) please help me clarify this and do correct me if I went wrong in the sequence mentioned below or any statements I made .i understood that The reveleations used to come to our prophet , sallalahu alaihi wasallam in many ways and all the years until the final year of his prophet hood. Then as soon as he received a revelation , he used to recite them to our sahaba , who were his scribes , who noted them down on whatever available and also memorised them . Thus the quran was preserved in both written and verbal form . The prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam also used to tell the sahaba under which surah the ayahs have to be placed and thus those ayahs were placed under that surah . from this we also understand that all the surahs did not come at a time and again each surah also did not come at a time in full.
    3 ) The prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam also did not name all the surahs right ? most of the names are given by the sahaba and the ijmaa of the early scholars right ?
    4 ) The surahs are divivded as makki and madani based on the time they were revealed , as pre hijri period and post hijrat period . I had a silly doubt here , NauzubiLlah , for example some of the ayahs have been revealed in madinah after hijrah and if they have to be placed under a makki surah which was revealed in the pri hijrat period , then how was it done ? are there any such surahs which contained ayahs which were revealed in both meccan and madinan periods . ( note : please don’t laugh at my ignorance  )
    5 ) Another silly doubt . I read that Allah’s Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam used to recite the quran in every ramadhan to Allah’s angel Jibraeel alaihissalam and in the last ramadhan of our prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam he recited it twice to him . If the Quran was being revealed during all the years of his prophethood , how was out prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam reciting the quran in every ramadhan. May Allah correct my understanding and guide me , if I understood this wrong , but was the prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam reciting upto that part which was revealed until that ramadhan or was he sallalahu alaihi wasallam , reciting the whole quran every ramadan .

    1. Walaykum Asslaam akhee,

      Do me a favour will you? Please e-mail me these Questions which i haven't answered yet because the comment section has a restriction of certain number of characters. So e-mail me via the "Contact us" tab on the top right corner in sha allah. And i will answer these questions

  2. 6) There is a website called which discusses the gems which can be extracted from the quran . These are extremely good Alhamdulillah and I recommend you , go through it once , if you haven’t before . Here few of the gems discuss about the miraculous placement of the Arabic letters in the ayahs . For example , how an extra alif , noon or hamza is placed in the ayahs and how placing these extra letters helped the subject which the ayah is discussing . According to the website , these extra letters are not spelt while reading the quran ( they are connected to any other letters beside them and they do not have a zer , zabar and pesh ) . They are only placed at that particular position to give more emphasis to the subject . This is Alhamdulillah a miracle but my doubt is as we all know , Rasulullah sallalahu alaihi wasallam did not know how to read and write. So whenever there was a revelation, he recited the verses to the sahaba , who were his scribes. But how would he tell them about these particular extra letters which do not come in the recitation and how would he ask them to place these letters at those particular positions ?
    May Allah Protect me and save me from His Anger on the day of judgement , if iam wrong in any of the above questions . Please make a dua for me if you find any charecteristics of a kuffar in my questions. Nauzubillah . Most of these type of questions , I have encountered during my sessions with my non muslim friends and that is the reason why iam asking them so that first I have to be clear about all these questions , so that I can answer them back .
    Please forgive me if the way iam asking these questions to you sounds harsh and causing you anger . Also pardon my English and such a long letter .
    I would also request you to present for us readers , an article which will in depth discuss the complilation and preservation of the quran . an article in your style ( with titles , conclusions , examples , jokes and quotes ) covering all these topics will be of a great use , for people like me.

    1. Walaykum Assalaam wa rahmatullah,

      Praise be to Allah alone for him guiding you to inquire about his Deen and be cautious before accepting anything. This is indeed a ni`mah and only those with knowledge understand this.

      Dear brother, to be honest i do not know if those "Alphabetic miracles " mentioned are true or not, more so because the prophet (s.a.w) did not mention any such miracle as of such . Thus to delve into deriving a meaning which is from the kalaam of Allah and that too without any proof is dangerous. So i myself don't believe in any of it and advice other brothers also to refer to scholars in such matters.

      The same scenario is found in matters of scientific miracles where people rush to prove some or the other scientific theory from the Qur`an, even when no such relation is found upon studying the Asbaab an-Nuzool (causes of revelation) so on and so forth. So we must be very careful and cautious in attributing something to the speech of Allah (Qur`an) without sure knowledge because Allah says in the Qur`an to convey the message with SURE KNOWLEDGE .

      Here is an article on preservation of Qur`an and Hadeeth before and after the prophet (s.a.w) :

      Barakallahu feek


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