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Muqaṭṭaʿat (Arabic: مُقَطَّعات ) are unique letter combinations that begin in certain surahs of the Qur’an. In the Arabic language, these letters are written together like a word, but each letter is pronounced separately. Allah alone knows the meaning of these words.


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Literal meaning

Muqatta`āt literally means abbreviated or shortened. Their meanings remain unclear and are considered to be Divine secrets, only Allah knows it. They are also known as fawāti (فواتح) or “openers” as they form the opening ayath of their respective surahs. 


28 letters or Huroof

Of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet, exactly one half appear as Muqattaat, either singly or in combinations of two, three, four or five letters. The fourteen letters are: أ ح ر س ص ط ع ق ك ل م ن ه ي(alif, ha, ra, sin, sad, ta, ain, qaf, kaf, lam, mim, nun, ha, ya).


The complete Muqatta’at letters and their appearance in the Quran

  1. Surah 2, The Cow: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  2. Surah 3, Āl-Imran: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  3. Surah 7, Al-Aʿarāf: ʾAlif Lām Mīm Ṣād
  4. Surah 10, Yunus: ʾAlif Lām Rāʾ
  5. Surah 11, Hud: ʾAlif Lām Rāʾ
  6. Surah 12, Yusuf: ʾAlif Lām Rāʾ
  7. Surah 13, Raʿd: ʾAlif Lām Mīm Rāʾ
  8. Surah 14, Ibrahim: ʾAlif Lām Rāʾ
  9. Surah 15, ijr: ʾAlif Lām Rāʾ
  10. Surah 19, Maryam: Kāf HāʾYāʾʿAin Ṣād
  11. Surah 20, Ṭāʾ-Hāʾ: ṬāʾHāʾ
  12. Surah 26, The Poets: ṬāʾSīn Mīm
  13. Surah 27, The Ant: ṬāʾSīn
  14. Surah 28, Al-Qaa: ṬāʾSīn Mīm
  15. Surah 29, The Spider: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  16. Surah 30, The Romans: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  17. Surah 31, Luqmān: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  18. Surah 32, The Adoration: ʾAlif Lām Mīm
  19. Surah 36, Yāʾ-Sīn: YāʾSīn
  20. Surah 38, Ṣād: Ṣād
  21. Surah 40, The Believer: ḤāʾMīm
  22. Surah 41, Fuṣṣilat: ḤāʾMīm
  23. Surah 42, Al-Shūrā: ḤāʾMīm; ʿAin Sīn Qāf
  24. Surah 43, The Embellishment: ḤāʾMīm
  25. Surah 44, The Smoke: ḤāʾMīm
  26. Surah 45, The Kneeling: ḤāʾMīm
  27. Surah 46, The Sandhills: ḤāʾMīm
  28. Surah 50, Qāf: Qāf
  29. Surah 68, The Pen: Nū[1]


Scholars view

A group of scholars, such as the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs (may Allaah be pleased with them), and others among the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and their followers, refrained from interpreting this aayah and others which contain al-huroof al-muqatta’ah [letters which appear at the beginning of some soorahs]. It was not narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) interpreted them, so it is preferable for us to say Allaah knows best what they mean. But it was narrated that some of the mufassireen among the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and their followers did interpret them, and they differed as to their interpretation. Al-Saheeh al-Masboor min al-Tafseer bi’l-Ma’thoor by Dr Hikmat Basheer, Vol 1, p. 94 


Some of the scholars tried to discover the wisdom behind these letters and said: These letters are mentioned – and Allaah knows best – at the beginning of soorahs which point to the miraculous nature of the Qur’aan, which implies that all mankind is unable to match it, even though it is composed of the letters that they use in their daily speech. This was the view supported by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) and was approved of by Abu’l-Hajjaaj al-Mazzi (may Allaah have mercy on him). Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, Vol. 4, p. 144 [2]

Allahu Alam


See also

Aayatul Kursi; Muawidhatain; Quran; Ayath; Allah; Tajweed;





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