Chronological Koran (Revisited)

The Chronological Koran (Revisited)
Compiled by Wolf Pangloss

When I first started to write these blogbits of bloggerel into the void of the blogosphere my first endeavor was to assemble a chronological version of the Koran. For various reasons it didn’t get done at the time. Now it is high time to go forth and do it again.

I intend to repair at least one mistake I made at first when I followed the order given by Jalalu’d-Din as-Syuti, which I know believe to be incorrect. The order given by Nöldeke via Sell is more aesthetically and thematically coherent than the others, provides better continuity, and that is the only explanation for this choice.

Edward Sell introduced his book on the Historical Development of the Koran by listing the Suras of the Koran in the order in which they seem by the evidence of the ahadith and their own internal structure to have been narrated.

For the dates and the order of the Suras, or chapters of the Qur’an, I have followed Nöldeke’s Geschichte des Qorans, which seems to me to be the best and most authoritative book on the subject. The following table shows the order in which Nöldeke arranges the Suras. He divides the Meccan ones into three groups, the earlier, middle, and later periods, and places all the Medina Suras in a fourth group.MECCAN SURAS First Period.–From the first to the fifth year of the Prophet’s Mission. A.D. 612-17.

96, 74, 111, 106, 108, 104, 107, 102, 105, 92, 90, 94, 93, 97, 86, 91, 8o, 68, 87, 95, 103, 85, 73, 101, 99, 82, 81, 53, 84, 100, 79, 77 78, 88, 89, 75, 83, 69, 51, 52, 56, 70, 55, 112, 109, 113, 114, I.

Second Period.–The fifth and sixth years of the Prophet’s Mission. A.D. 617-19.

54, 37, 71, 76, 44, 50, 20, 26, 15, 19, 38, 36, 43, 72, 67, 23, 21, 25, 17, 27, 18.

Third Period.–From the seventh year to the Hijra. A.D. 619-22.

32, 41, 45, 16, 30, 11, 14, 12, 40, 28, 39, 29, 31, 42, 10, 34, 35, 7, 46, 6, 13.


From the Hijra to the end. A D. 622-32.

2, 98, 64, 62, 8, 47, 3, 61, 57, 4, 65, 59, 33, 63, 24,58, 22, 48, 66, 60, 110, 49, 9, 5

In the quotations from the Qur’an I have used the translations of Rodwell and of Palmer and occasionally those of Sale and also of Lane. I have compared these with the Persian translations of Husain and of Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddath and also with the Urdu translations by ‘Abdu’l-Qadir, Dr. Nadhir Ahmad Khan and Ahmad Shah.

The Traditions (Ahadith) of Bukhari and of Tirmidi have been consulted.

Following posts in this series will be in the order given in Sell’s list. One post for each of the four time periods. Minimal commentary in the posts. With comments open. I will be putting my own comments in the comments section, and expect that readers may wish to add their own.

Updated: Rather than the original plan to make one post per Sura, thus removing the very context that the chronological ordering was supposed to provide, I’ve changed course to make one post for each of the time periods identified in Sell’s table, above.

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One response to “Chronological Koran (Revisited)

  1. People talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

    With the help of our readers we went through the Koran and removed every verse that we believe did not come from Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. We would like to publish Reform Koran in as many languages as possible. If you could help with translation, editing, or distribution of the Reform Koran, please email us at If you could provide financial support, please visit our support page.

    In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.