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The Huroof Al-Muqattaat

What does Ha-Mim or Alif-Lam-Mim mean?

Abbreviated Letters:

1. Alif Laam Meem,

2. Ya Seen,

3.Ha Meem, etc.

Are known as the Huroof Al-Muqattaat i.e. the abbreviated letters.


There are 29 letters in the Arabic Alphabet (if hamza and alif are considered as two letters) ;and

There are 29 surahs i.e. chapters in the Glorious Quran that have the abbreviated letters prefixed to them.

These abbreviated letters some times occur alone, sometimes in a combination of two letters and sometimes in a combination of three, four or five letters

The true meaning and true purpose of these letters is known to Allah, The All Wise, All Knowing Alone!

The Messenger of Allah (saws) never explained the meanings of these al muqattaat, nor did the noble companions ever question them. 

Unlock the Secrets of The     Muqatta’at(Disjoined)/Fawatih (Openers) Letters   

About one-quarter of the Quranic Surahs (29 Chapters) are preceded by
mysterious letter-symbols called Huroof Muqatta’at (disjoinedletters) or occasionally called Fawatih (openers) because they appear at the beginning of the relevant surahs (chapters of Quran). 

It is related that Abu Bakr as Siddiq said:

في كل كتاب سر، وسره في القرآن فواتح القرآن

For every book there is a secret and all of its secrets are in the Qur`an
in the opening letters of the chapters

Al Hasan said:
The Quran has knowledge of everything and the knowledge of the Quran is in the Huroof, which are the letters in the beginning of the chapters.

And Ibn Abbas said:
“The beginning opening letters of the chapters are taken from the names of Allah.

Abu Aliyyah agreed and said:
“There is not a letter except it is a key for one of the names of Allah.”

And he quoted from Ibn Abbas:
Without a doubt, the opening of the chapters using the huroof is Allah`s Greatest Name.”

These mystery letters comprise of the Arabic alphabets mentioned in the table, and though they do not appear in the alphabetical order in the Quran, but are actually stated as prefixes to certain chapters of the book.

Throughout the Muslim history, there have been many theories proposed to justify their existence in Quran. A few had suggested that they were initials of the scribes who had written down the dictation of those chapters, whilst others commented on them to be of some especial mystical significance which is known only to God himself.

The Letters appear in Quran successively in the following fashion.

1. Alif, Lam, Mim @ Chapters 2, 3, 29, 30, 31, 32.

2. Alif, Lam, Mim, Swad @ Chapter 7.

3. Alif, Lam, Ra @ Chapters 10, 11, 12, 14, 15.

4. Alif, Lam, Mim, Ra @ Chapter. 13.

5. Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Swad @ Chapter 19.

6. Ta, Ha @ Chapter 20.

7. Ta, Sin, Mim @ Chapters 26, 28.

8. Ta, Sin @ Chapter 27.

9. Ya, Sin @ Chapter 36.

10. Swad @ Chapter 38.

11. Ha, Mim @ Chapters 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46.

12. Ha, Mim, Ain, Sin, Qaf @ Chapter 42.

13. Qaf @ Chapter 50.

14. Nun @ Chapter 68.


The pagans, mushriks, and dis-believers in the Quran, who used to come and question about every small thing in the Quran, also never asked or enquired about their meanings from the Messenger of Allah (SAW).  

Thus it seems that this was the style of the poetry and their literature at the time of the Revelation of the Holy Quran. 


There have been a variety of explanations offered by Muslim scholars through the ages.

One amongst them is that the human body is composed of various fundamental elements that are found in nature. 

1.Clay and dust are composed of the same fundamental elements. Yet it would be absurd to say that a human being is exactly the same as the dust. 

We can all have access to the elements that are found in the human body, and add a few gallons of water, which is the constitution of the human body. 

We know the elements in the human body and yet we are at a loss when asked the secret of life. 

Similarly the Quran addresses those people who reject its Divine authority. 

It tells them that this Quran, is in your own language, and over which the Muslims take pride. It is composed of the same letters that the Arabic language uses to express itself most eloquently. 

With the letters Alif Laam Meem, Yaa Seen, Ha-Meem, etc., and Allah challenges the disbelievers several times, in several ways, to produce a text at least somewhat similar to the Quran in its beauty and elegance, if they doubt its Divine authenticity.


The miraculous nature of the language of the Quran does not lie only in the fact that it is the Word of Allah, but also in the fact that although made up of the same letters in which the pagans took pride, it has not been rivalled.


Just as the constituents of the human body are known to us and can be obtained by us, the letters comprising the Quran, such as Alif Laam Meem are known to us, and used frequently to formulate words.

Life cannot be created by us, even if we possess knowledge of the constituents of the human body.   Similarly we cannot capture the same eloquence and beauty of expression that we find in the Quran, despite knowing the letters that constitute the Quran. The Quran thus proves its Divine origin.  Therefore immediately after these broken letters are mentioned in the Quran, the following verses speak about the miracle of the Quran, and its sublime authority for those who are ready to take good counsel.


The scholars are unanimous in their opinion, that the true meanings of these al muqattat or broken alphabets are known to Allah Alone.  We as muslims, are commanded by Allah, to believe in them, because all the verses of the Glorious Quran are from our Lord and Creator.  




The Huroof Al-Muqattaat
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