Do the Quran Chapters (Suras) Differ regarding Distinction and Superiority? How Can I Know the Virtue of a Chapter from the Quran?

Answered by Shaykh Anas al Mousa


Do the Quran chapters (Suras) differ regarding distinction and superiority? How can I know the virtue of a chapter from the Quran?


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Yes, some chapters (Suras) of the Quran and its verses have distinctions over others, with virtues mentioned in them that are not mentioned in others. Indeed, there are narrations from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), that indicate the virtues of some Suras, either by mentioning a reward associated with their recitation, or by specifying their recitation at a particular time, or by explaining their tangible and intangible effects on a Muslim.

We can’t comprehend the virtue of a chapter or a verse without a report from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) regarding it. Distinguishing between chapters and verses requires direct transmission and is not subject to personal reasoning or interpretation.

Specific books have been authored on the virtues of the Quran, including: “Khamail al-Zuhur fi Fada’il al-Suwar” by Imam Suyuti. Also, “Fada’il al-Quran” by Abu Ubaid al-Qasim Ibn Salam (died 224 AH), “Fada’il al-Quran” by Abu al-Fida Ismail bin Kathir (died 774 AH), and “Mawsu’at Fada’il Suwar wa Ayat al-Quran” by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Rizq al-Tarhouni, among others. [Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, 4.120; Mas‘ud al-Tayar, Al-Muharrar fi Ulum al-Quran, p. 193].

Considerations Regarding the Virtues of Suras and Verses

The Suras for which there are narrations indicating their virtues are fewer than those without such narrations. Some interpretations of the Quran mention the virtues of its Suras, but many of these are not established; some are even fabricated with no basis.

The reason is that some ascetics who wanted to encourage people to read the Quran resorted to lying for this purpose. Some even justified this error by saying: We do this to make people interested in reading the Quran, claiming, “We lie for it, not against it.” This was done by Nuh Ibn Abi Maryam, known as Nuh al-Jami‘ (died 173 AH), and Maysara Ibn Abd Rabbo.

Hakim reported in the introduction to his book al-Iklil, with his chain of narration to Abu Ammar al-Marwazi, that it was said to Abu Asma al-Jami‘ (Nuh al-Jami): “Where did you get this from Ikrima about Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) regarding the virtues of the Quran, Sura by Sura, which is not found among the companions of Ikrima?” He replied: “I saw that people had turned away from the Quran and were preoccupied with the jurisprudence of Abu Hanifa and the battles of Ibn Ishaq, so I fabricated this Hadith for a noble cause.” [Hakim, Al-Madkhal ila Kitab al-Iklil, p. 54; Zarkashi, Al-Burhan fi Ulum al-Quran, 1.432].

Imam Suyuti (died 911 AH) said: “As for the long Hadith about the virtues of the Quran, Sura by Sura, it is fabricated.” [Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Quran, 4.134].

Ibn Hibban narrated in the introduction to his “History of Weak Narrators” from Ibn Mahdi who said: “I asked Maysara Ibn Abd Rabbo: ‘Where did you get these Hadith (whoever recites such and such will have such and such)?’ He said: ‘I fabricated them to encourage people towards them.’” [Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi Ulum al-Quran, 4.134].

Narrations Regarding the Virtues of the Suras of the Quran and Verses

Narrated by Ubayy Ibn Kab (Allah be pleased with him), it is reported that he said: “Allah has not revealed in the Torah or the Gospel anything like Umm al-Quran (The Mother of the Quran), which is al-Sab al-Mathani (The Seven Oft-Repeated [Verses]), and they are divided between me and my servant, and for my servant is what he asks.” [Ahmad, Musnad, 21094; Tirmidhi, Sunan, 3125].

Narrated by Abu Masud (Allah be pleased with him), he said that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), said: “Say: He is Allah, One, equals a third of the Quran.” [Muslim (812)].

Narrated by Uqba Ibn Amr (Allah be pleased with him), from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him). who said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of Sura al-Baqara at night, they will be sufficient for him.” [Ahmad (17100)].

From the hadith of Abu Darda (Allah be pleased with him), “Whoever memorizes ten verses from the beginning of Sura al-Kahf will be protected from the Dajjal (Antichrist).” [Ahmad (17106)]. Abu Hurayra narrates that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites Ha-Mim al-Dukhan (The Smoke) in one night will be forgiven by seventy thousand angels in the morning.” [Tirmidhi (2888)].

Irbaad Ibn Sariya (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), used to recite al-Musabbihat every night before sleeping and would say: “In them is a verse better than a thousand verses.” Ibn Kathir mentioned in his Tafsir of the referred verse, saying: “He is the First and the Last, the Most High and Most Near, and He has perfect knowledge of all things.” [Suyuti, Al-Itqan].

Finally, when we talk about the virtues of some Suras and verses of the Quran, we must not forget that the Quran is Allah’s greatest sign, the eternal divine miracle, evidencing the truth of the prophecy of the Messenger of Allah (blessings, and peace be upon him). It has challenged both humans and jinn, as the Allah (Most High) says:

“Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “If ˹all˺ humans and jinn were to come together to produce the equivalent of this Quran, they could not produce its equal, no matter how they supported each other.” [Quran, 17:88], and it is the book of guidance for the whole world to the correct path, guiding towards happiness in this life and the hereafter.

Allah (Most High) says: “This is the Book! There is no doubt about it – a guide for those mindful ˹of Allah˺,” [Quran, 2:2], and He says: “Surely this Quran guides to what is most upright, and gives good news to the believers – who do good – that they will have a mighty reward.” [Quran, 17:9].

The Quran is also a cure for the ills of individuals and societies. Allah (Most High) says: “We send down the Quran as a healing and mercy for the believers, but it only increases the wrongdoers in loss.” [Quran, 17:82]

May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon our Master and Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions.