Seeking Sacred Sunni Knowledge

Were there originally 200 verses in Surat Al-Ahzab?

Compiled by The SeekingIlm Team


The enemies of Islam, primarily those who attempt in vain to attack the authenticity of the Qur’an on the internet and elsewhere, consistently argue that the Qur’an has been changed drastically after the passing of the Prophet Muhammad (‘alayhis salaam). One of the “evidences” they forward for their claim is the report from our mother ‘Aa’ishah (radhiya Allahu ‘anha) that goes:

[Abu Ubaid] said, Ibn Abi Maryam narrated to us from Ibn Lahi’ah from Abil Aswad from ‘Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr from ‘A’ishah that she said, “We used to recite Surat Al-Ahzab with 200 verses during the lifetime of the Nabi (‘alayhis Salam). Then when ‘Uthman  transcribed the manuscripts of the Qur’an (masaahif) he was unable to find [all of the verses] except those [verses] as it currently is today.”

This hadith is weak due to (Abdullah) Ibn Lahi’ah. We have already written a research paper regarding his weakness here. So do not be deceived by the usage of this narrative. Even if we say this is authentic, this would could simply mean that the remaining unfounded verses were abrogated and thus the companions unanimously decided to leave them out of their masahif, as well as memories.

8 Responses to “Were there originally 200 verses in Surat Al-Ahzab?”

  1. Harun says:


    Why don’t you mention that this “evidence” is mentioned by the great imam as-Suyuti r. in his Itqan as can be read from the quote in Arabic? And why don’t you give the source of the hadith, I mean the book/collection in which this hadith was mentioned? That would clarify the issue much more. And why don’t you give the classification of the hadith, whether it was weak, hasan or sahih instead mentioning the weakness of one of the transmitters? Sorry to bother you but if you do want to do research than be thorough instead of being vague.

    Your brother,


  2. Abul Layth says:

    How is it being vague when the title of the “Itqan” is right there in front of your eyes to see in the quote? There is certainly no vagueness in giving the student the quote, with the chain!

    The chain is there for everyone to see. We have already done quite abit of research on Ibn Lahi’ah as well, and we even stated that the hadith was weak. So your complaints are unfounded.

  3. Harun says:

    Salam bro Abul Layth,

    Thanks for the reply but still I have some remarks/questions if you allow me. Forgive my for my somewhat harsh approach but let me ask you this. Have you kept our readers in mind who don’t master the Arabic language? You should think of them too I feel. We both are blessed to be able to read the Arabic and we can read it is in the fourth part of the ‘Itqan (by Suyuti I assume), may Allah have mercy upon him and bless him. I just feel you should/could have better mentioned this. Why didn’t you mention Suyuti in the first place? I hope you are not afraid to mention this great scholar. I have not read or studied the ‘Itqan but heard and read it’s somewhat controversial because it can shake one’s belief. Do you know why Suyuti mentioned this hadith? Has he classified the hadith? He was a muhaddith/hafidh after all. Does he mention in which hadith collection one can find the hadith? What else does he mention concerning this hadith? He must have had an opinion on this issue. I just feel the above mentioned info in your article doesn’t suffice for someone who wants to know, like me, study and do research. The fact that you say the hadith is weak is also not enough. Which authority said it is weak? Sorry for bothering you with all these questions but they are important in my opinion. This is a delicate issue and can take one outside the fold of islam if one believes the Qur’an isn’t/wasn’t complete. So please help us all out here.

    Yours sincerely,


  4. Abul Layth says:


    Firstly, I generally expect that if someone needs to know this information they can read arabic – not necessarily understand it, but read it. Though your suggestion may be right. Nevertheless, it should encourage the Muslims to learn to read arabic.

    Secondly, Imam As-Suyuti in his Al-Itqan is simply reporting what Abu ‘Ubayd reported in his Fada’il, that is all. He does not declare it Sahih or da’if, as he does with most reports in Al-Itqan. He is simply mentioning opinions, that is all.

    Thirdly, the hadith was declared weak by the commentators of the recently published Al-Itqan: Markaz Ad-Diraasat Al-Qur’aniyya, wherein they said in comment of this athar:

    “It is reported by Abu ‘Ubayd in Fada’il Al-Quran number 700, and in its chain is Ibn Lahi’ah who mingled his narrations after his books burned, and its chain is weak. Except that the length of Surat Al-Ahzab was witnessed by the hadith of Ubayy (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) that will be mentioned next.

    However, The ending of the hadith [Then when ‘Uthman transcribed the manuscripts of the Qur’an (masaahif) he was unable to find [all of the verses] except those [verses] as it currently is today.”] is weak without support, or a follow up report (mutaabi’), and it is weak…”

    They go on to say that actually the statement is “Baatil”.

    Fourthly, the narration of Ubayy that they have mentioned is regarding the verse of stoning that was abrogated – hence Ahzab was longer than what we have today due to abrogation.

    Lastly, The Qur’an itself witnesses to self-abrogation:

    ما ننسخ من آية أو ننسها نأت بخير منها أو مثلها ألم تعلم أن الله على كل شيء قدير

    None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?



  5. abu-usaama says:

    I honestly dont know how these orientalists can criticize abrogation.

  6. Harun says:

    Salam sidi Abul Layth,

    Barakallahu fik for your answer! I’m happy with the extra info! Now there is more clarity on the issue I feel.

    Fi amanillah,


  7. pamuk says:

    Salam. This narration exists (with different wording) in other chains to:

    Ibn Mardawayh ——> Hudaifiya ——> Umar said to him ( Hudaifiya): ‘How [many verses] you count in Surah Ahzab?’ I said, ‘seventy two or seventy three.’ He [Umar] said; ‘It used to be equal to Surah al-Baqara and in it was the verse on stoning.’” (Kanzul Ummal, #4550).

    Aasim Bin Bahdala ——> Zurr Bin Jubaysh ——> Ubayy Bin. Ka’b said to him (Zurr): “How much of Surah Ahzab do you recite or how much do you count [its verses to be]?” Zurr said that he replied, “Seventy-three verses.” Ubayy said; “Only this much, verily I use to see it and it was equal to Surah Baqarah and we used to recite in it, ‘Whenever an aged man or aged woman commit fornication stone them as a punishment from Allah and Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.’” (Musnad Ahmad, # 21245).

    A similar narration is found in Musnad Ahmad, # 21244, but the chain is as follows:
    Yazid Bin Abi Ziyad ——> Zurr Bin Jubaysh ——> Ubayy Bin. Ka’b

    Sheikh Albani, Ibn Hazm & Ibn Kathir stated the chain from Ubayy Bin. Ka’b is sahih. I was wondering if scholars know what verses used to be Sura Ahzab (if majority of it was abrogated)? Also, what type of abrogation would these verses fall under? Also, some shiekh offered another explanation to the hadiths regarding the size of Sura Azab:

    “It means that at a certain time this Surah was in the same length of Surat- Al-Baqarah. However, the revelation of Surat-Al-Baqarah took almost 10 years! So, it was not completed whan Ubay RAA said what he said.”

    Could this be a possible interpretation, in light of when each surah & their verses were revealed?

  8. Anon says:

    As-salamu Alaykum.

    There’s a hadith in Sahih Muslim and part of it goes:
    “…We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at.”

    Could you inform me of what some of the Sharh’s of Sahih Muslim say regarding this narration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>