The Mysterious Quranic Letters No One Can Explain

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” —Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild

In A Nutshell

Like the Bible, the Quran is meant to be the direct word of God (or Allah), a perfect text delivered from a perfect being. But this interpretation raises several mysteries; chief among them why 29 chapters begin with a cascade of random letters.

The Whole Bushel

If you’ve ever flicked through an Arabic copy of the Quran, you’ll know about the mysterious letters. Starting 29 separate chapters of Islam’s holy text, including the first, they’re seemingly disjointed, random, and very confusing.

Known as the Muqatta’at, these “disjointed letters” have been puzzling scholars for centuries. Taken together, they make up exactly half of all letters in the Arabic alphabet, but spread out on the page they make literally no sense. Imagine if we’d opened this article with “AQRFF KGEX” and then acted like you all knew what it meant and you’ll get some idea of the weirdness involved.

Aside from being a puzzle, the Muqatta’at have historically been used to disparage Mohammed. Christian writers have at different times accused the founder of Islam of suffering from a stutter or even having 29 separate epileptic attacks while writing. Although nobody takes these theories seriously anymore, debunking them still leaves the central mystery of why a “perfect” text would start with an unreadable mess.

Some Islamic scholars think there’s a secret message encoded in the letters, revolving around the number 19 (based on a verse that they think is connected to it). Others think the letters are evidence of the inherent mysteries in the Quran and can only be understood by Allah. Yet others think they’re simply poetic, a means for the author to show how divine truth can be assembled from the raw building blocks of imperfect human language. Short of Allah himself dropping by to clear things up, it’s doubtful we’ll ever know for sure.

Show Me The Proof

The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam, by Shabbir Akhtar
Parvez Khan: Disjointed Letters in the Quran

  • CSisonweb

    Wouldn’t it be funny as hell if it said in a coded language “This shit was a joke, not meant to be taken seriously! Really I mean no bacon? Haha as if. Love M dog”

    • the big un

      Or all characters in this book are fictional and any similarities are purely coincidental and by no means represent true events

      • Mudassar Iqbal

        If you study in full concentrate , you will realize what is Quran saying.
        You cannot deny if you don’t know anything!
        Well from which religion are you?

        • Mudassar Iqbal

          Waiting for yours!

      • Mudassar Iqbal

        What’s your religion?
        If you have to say this comment?

    • new

      or “this is a joke not mean’t to be taken seriously”

      • Mudassar Iqbal

        This ain’t a joke, believe it or not

    • lbatfish
    • Muneeb Ahmad

      u shouldnt be making fun of other people believes……
      and Quran told us about things 1400 years ago which are discovered now by scientists so its not a joke.

      • huking low

        Who are these things?It also says that the earth is not round and that the man is created from the clay

        • Muneeb Ahmad

          earth is eliptical….
          and man is made from clay or things present in clay

      • CSisonweb

        Your religion does not let you eat bacon. Your argument is invalid.

        • Mudassar Iqbal

          Well if you eat bacon you must be familiar with American Institute for Cancer Research..

          • CSisonweb

            I had sex with your prophet last night while wearing nothing but a hijab and eating bacon.

          • zain

            Nobody can judge each other only he will decide. the Quran says if you disobey Allah and his prophet Muhammad you shall dwell in the fire of hell

        • Mudassar Iqbal

          you know the hell thing in you , bacon lover , you are in actual from the family of bacons!

          • CSisonweb

            Which Brothel Mosque are we going to today? I heard they show a little more then ankle mmmmm.

          • Mudassar Iqbal

            You just still got that shit thinking!
            Just to show your illiteracy and your damn thinking about your bacon family you don’t have right to make fun of others and their believes!

      • CSisonweb

        How to be a Muslim
        Step 1:Condemn everything that does not support Islam’s teachings
        Step 2:Move to place where Islam’s teachings is not accepted
        Step 3:Push for Sharia Law even though the citizens in the host country are not Muslim
        Step 4:Cry like a bitch cause you can’t eat Bacon

        Atheism is the fastest growing religion amongst youth with Muslim parents in the UK and America.
        U Mad Bro?

        • Mudassar Iqbal

          Step 1:Islam is the only ideology, religion of man’s own benefit and success.
          Step 2:You are free in this world of choosing your own religion, according to your senses.
          Step 3:Islam respects for every religion, if one wants to be muslim he is welcome.
          Step 4:Bacon is a member of the
          dreaded “processed meat” group (even turkey bacon fa. And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat,
          according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.(FYI)
          Waiting for your reply!

        • UN

          have ur foolish moment of shine, u can be jerk about sumthing u have no clue about…first learn a thing or two about Islam and then speak other wise ur just full of shit

          • CSisonweb

            Where did you learn how to spell a mosque?

          • Mudassar Iqbal

            Dear UN

            This person is just a jerk in that whole discussion!

        • Stevey Boy

          Cunts like you is what the world needs less of, have some respect, he was blatantly only defending his religion because uneducated trash like you feel like they’re making a difference taking the piss out of other people’s faiths. Atheism is not a religion by the way dumbass, it is simply the belief that there is no God. The very social morals and rules we follow were created by religion, whether you claim you live in an Atheist state with no religious rules, the way we distinguish good from bad and what is wrong and what is right was brought to us from religion e.g ‘The Ten Commandments’ Don’t steal, dont kill etc… Just because you are atheist and you deny going by religious morals even though you do, have some bloody respect mate.

    • Mudassar Iqbal

      Whoever are you! what i think a bacon lover, yeah Mr Bacon, would like to say , from which religion are you?
      Waiting yours MR BACON?

      • CSisonweb

        No religion son. By the way what European country are you living in? No muslim want’s to live in a country that has islamic law because it sucks, even countries that are economically okay ex:Saudi Arabia have shit rules on what you can say, eat no music or entertainment. Really Islam is a threat to freedom of expression and speech it’s complete SHIT.

        • Jhale

          One flow of a religion need not take the stance for the whole of a religion. I find that Islamic speakers have inspired me, but they definitely condone sexism and they might condone violence, which I won’t stand for. But, if I were to read the Quran, I might form a real opinion. Maybe there are things too unforgivable in the Quran, but I am not going to base Islam on corrupt rulers, as many fail to associate with the Roman Church’s level of totalitarian rule.

          • CSisonweb

            All countries have corrupt rulers but they still aren’t as shitty as Islamic countries FACT All laws in these countries that make them terrible are based off Islam which is why they suck and that’s why Muslim people move out to European countries and try to start Islamic law there. Looks like Mudassar lives in a European country lol he shut up when I told him that shit. So true though.
            Muslim: Woah this country sucks I am going to move to a European one
            +Muslim flies to a European country
            Muslim: Look at all this Haram!I must work towards Sharia law so that this country may also suck.

          • Mudassar Iqbal

            Mr BACON!!!!!
            What do you think of yourself
            Let me first explain you yourself!
            You don’t even have a religion, have you ?
            You don’t even got rules & regulations in your illiterate and useless life, so you have to just pass self made and baseless comments on others and their religion!
            You dont believe in GOD, it doesn’t mean there is no GOD, but i assure you you are not alone with this damn belief many of yours bacon family members are with you!
            You dont believe in Books of GOD, means you don’t have got rules in your life to abide ,
            so that’s why you just have to move your life with no moral vaues !
            You don’t even have a belief nor you have religion , in that case if Sharia is not good , then what’s your damn proposal regarding this?
            You are not even eligible in to talk in this discussion, you don’t got believes , you are just a shit! NOTHNG ELSE!

            Better talk before you have something! Mr BACON

          • CMatthew

            Took you a month to think of that? If any group of people is bad at insulting its Muslims that was terrible. Now try again this time more umph. Again, what European country do you live in?

        • Mudassar Iqbal

          It is not the Muslims nor Islamic rules & regulations as strict as have wrongly maded by some so-called Persons. Islam is the first religion in this world to provide right of freedom of speech to everyone, even to Women, it is Islam which advises to respect religion and believes of others. But this could not be further linked to you nor you are eligible one for this talk!

  • Rijul Ballal

    We need to have a movie like the Da vinci code only about this instead…

  • CassondraStellhorn

    I can not easily understand the Quranic only religious muslim can easily understand it language.

  • inconspicuous detective

    anyone else seeing it? compare this to another article on something fantastic, say the sea monster one (with the maps that are pretty accurate, aside from ya know the sea monsters). look how the element is treated in both morris and then kelly’s writing. i think in a nutshell, approaching these things with a stick up your……is a sure way to get labeled a “biased” writer and earn your legend of being hated across the site(s) you write for, even if your articles or lists don’t always have the obvious tone present here.

    ~ a long time anti – morrisite

  • New World Order.

    These so-called Christian writers accusing Prophet Muhammad from from stutter is some-what consider blasphemous behaviour.

    Regarding the Muqqa’ttat letters, let’s not forget Prophet Muhammad was illiterate and a majority of the Makkans (people of Makkah) had trouble reading and writing, but weren’t speech impaired, so they had no use for the Arabic alphabet knowing that they’ll never have a practical use for it.

    In Chapter 2 of the Quran. (Surat Al-Baqarah) – Verse 1: (Alif, Lam, Meem)

    This is an example of hurroof muqqa’ttat (separated letters).

    That entire chapter is considered Madani – meaning it was revealed in Madina. The Jewish inhabitants of Madina (called ‘Yathrib’ at the time) were quite literate and were educated enough to read and write and used the letters at the time, neither were they oblivious that the makkans were unlettered. Being that the chapter was revealed in Madina to Prophet Muhammad and he called out to them, they were confused as to how an illiterate man, from the middle of the desert was able to produce such a document whilst also reciting to them their own letters.

  • Mudassar Iqbal

    what the hell is this all talking, you can’t even blame someone with out knowing anything.
    You don’t even know of Religion, so how could you be able to justify and to give such stupid remarks over others .

  • Emfri

    I dont normally comment on this site, but considering u said something so obviously stupid I must assume u r muslim or a really uninformed non-muslim, the Bible is not the perfect word of God, for Gods sake,it has writers credit built in. The Bible is a bunch of writing abt Jesu life, that it was supposed to be inspired by God does not make it the word of God.

    • Hillyard

      You weren’t paying attention to what you were reading were you?

      • Emfri

        U like being snide, dont u

        • Hillyard

          Occasionally, but the point is that you were babbling about the christian bible and the article is about the Quran. So if you read the article before you comment, maybe you won’t have to put up with snide remarks from someone like me.

          • Emfri

            I read the whole bit, but the only thing that struck me was the part abt the bible, I dont give 2 shits if the quran has a bunch of random letters thrown in for bo good reason, cos Im neither a muslim nor do I study religion.

          • Nathaniel A.


          • TheMadHatter

            I believe he is referring to in the summation at the top, where it says “Like the Bible, the Quran is meant to be the direct word of God (or Allah), a perfect text delivered from a perfect being”

          • Joseph

            The bible was mentioned in the first sentence of the summarized version. Maybe you should take your own advice.

    • Spartachilles

      I think we can say that what you wrote wasn’t a perfect text, but to the point. You do bring up a real error, but that is a miniscule part of the article, it doesn’t matter a whole lot.

      • Emfri

        Im sorry, english is not my first language and I just get annoyed when people assume christians believe crazy things like that.

        • redoctober

          Some christians do, e.g Ken Ham

          • Emfri

            I dont know who Ken Ham is, but Im aware that some christians believe things like that.

          • TheMadHatter

            Ken Ham is a very well learned Australian man who started the site to help people in their walk of faith. Basically he is not stupid. The gospel is the Word of God, now it is written by different people so the style is different, which is why the first four books of the New Testament tell different things about the same thing, but it was all inspired by God. Anything in the Bible is there because God wanted it there. And if you have ever read the Bible, you might have realized that at least 60 of 66 books are not about the life of Jesus. You are making giant leaps of generalization there, and many people on this site know next to nothing about the Bible, so you have to be specific. I do appreciate that you specified the beliefs as your own and not of the entire Christian faith, though. All too often people of one denomination will say something and end it with “That’s what Christians believe” and then crap goes down. Overall the comment wasn’t as bad as many other things I see so good job!

          • lbatfish

            Ken is the guy on the right. He also founded a museum featuring people riding dinosaurs.

        • OC

          I’m going to assume there are different levels of Orthodoxy snd Denomenations because I have seen them myself.

    • OC

      Here’s what I wrote in my Bible: “An anthology of the literature of the ancient Hebrews.” (At least the Old Testament is.)

  • Nathaniel A.

    This bushel did not seem biased at all, in fact it seemed a little dry, but it was still educational. Regardless, this is a pretty nice mystery that would be great if it were solved.

  • Hillyard

    Who knows, I imagine that this will occupy the minds of those with nothing better to do for quite some time. I get the feeling (I may be wrong) that serious scholars of the Quran have more and better things on their mind.

  • Sometimes an alphabet is not enough to express the depth of our feelings. I’m going for the poetic theory, it could be art for art’s sake.

    • OC

      The alphabet itself originated with Arabs, so . .

  • Vivek

    A Fable : In a monastery, a cat used to disturb meditating monks. One day, the chief priest decided to make it a practice to tie the cat outside the temple, before meditation starts. Over the time, many fat tomes were written by the religious scholars and philosophers on the importance and religious significance of tying cat outside the temple.

    • lbatfish

      I’m thinking that there ought to be a pun in here somewhere, but if so, I’m missing it.

  • Rinezca Grace

    The da vinci code version for this will conclude at the last that Quran is by Alien…
    Arabs knew Muhammad cant read and you can read some descriptions about earth, space, universe and Big Bang theory in somehow poetic narration, in the Quran.
    There’s some description in Hadith that shows Muhammad had several astral projections where he met.. Angels, previous prophets i.e. Jesus. Moses, and obviously.. Creator of all. We got… Science, metaphysics, spirituality, even history here.
    I think Muslims should realize the Quran and religion Islam isnt only for them, it is for all regardless the kind of personal tendencies and biases of every person.

    • Muneeb Ahmad

      yeah it is for all….
      u are always welcomD

  • kukisvoomchor

    I wonder if they’re just abbreviations referring to external notes. In a modern context, say you wrote down some ideas on file cards in preparation for composing a paper, and then labeled those cards “A,” “B,” “C,” and so forth. Then as you were preparing the draft for the paper you might have jotted down those letters next to the passages that referred to those cards. (The Muqatta’at often consist of two or more letters, in a couple of cases as many as five, but I can easily imagine each member of the group referring to a different note or other outside reference.)

  • OC

    First of all: “Christian writers have at different times accused the founder of Islam of suffering from a stutter or even having 29 separate epileptic attacks while writing.” The Prophet (may peace be upon him) . . trying to br respectful . . was Illiterate. Therein lies part of the miracle.

  • John

    I Know that…. ALIF LAM MEEM
    the quranic equivalent of WTF

    sceptic annotated quran

    • zain

      You shall stand before him on the day of reckoning then I would dare you to say that.