Mysterious Initials

The Quran is characterized by a unique phenomenon never found in any other book; 29 suras are prefixed with 14 different sets of "Quranic Initials,” consisting of one to five letters per set. Fourteen letters, half the Arabic alphabet, participate in these initials. The significance of the Quranic initials remained a divinely guarded secret for 14 centuries.

Historical Understanding

Traditional scholars unanimously claim the true wisdom behind these letters is unknown. Since the Quran's miracle was destined to be after Muhammed (10:20), this prolonged uncertainty was in accordance with God's will, preserved for the technologically sophisticated generations.

[10:20] They say, "How come no miracle came down to him from his Lord?" Say, "The future belongs to GOD; so wait, and I am waiting along with you."

Major Sign

The very existence of these initials hint at a mathematical code. The phrase, “these are the miracles of this book” (10:1, 12:1, 13:1, 15:1, 26:2, 27:1, 28:2, 31:2) is found only in conjunction with the Quranic initials.

[10:1] A. L. R. These (letters) are the proofs of this book of wisdom.

[12:1] A. L. R. These (letters) are proofs of this profound scripture.

[13:1] A. L. M. R. These (letters) are proofs of this scripture. What is revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, but most people do not believe.

[15:1] A.L.R. These (letters) are proofs of this scripture; a profound Quran.

[26:2] These (letters) constitute proofs of this clarifying scripture.

[27:1] T. S. These (letters) constitute proofs of the Quran; a profound scripture.

[28:2] These (letters) constitute proofs of this profound book.

[31:2] These (letters) constitute proofs of this book of wisdom.

Quranic Challenge

Additionally, the Quran’s challenge, to “produce a sura like it” is only found within initialed chapters: 2:23, 10:38, 11:13.

List of Initialed Chapters

ChapterInitial SetEnglish
2ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
3ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
7ا ل م صAlef Lam Meem Saad
10ا ل رAlef Lam Ra
11ا ل رAlef Lam Ra
12ا ل رAlef Lam Ra
13ا ل م رAlef Lam Meem Ra
14ا ل رAlef Lam Ra
15ا ل رAlef Lam Ra
19ك ه ي ع صKaf Ha Ya Ayn Saad
20ط هTa Ha
26ط س مTa Seen Meem
27ط سTa Seen
28ط س مTa Seen Meem
29ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
30ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
31ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
32ا ل مAlef Lam Meem
36ي سYa Seen
40ح مHHA Meem
41ح مHHA Meem
42ح م ع س قHHA Meem, Ayn Seen Qaf
43ح مHHA Meem
44ح مHHA Meem
45ح مHHA Meem
46ح مHHA Meem

Summary of Counts

2Alef Lam Meem1987419 x 1046
7Alef Lam Meem Saad532019 x 280
10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 29, 30, 31, 32Alef Lam Ra946219 x 498
13Alef Lam Meem Ra148219 x 78
19Kaf Ha Ya Ayn Saad79819 x 42
36Ya Seen28519 x 15
38Saad15219 x 8
40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46HHa Meem214719 x 113
42Ayn Seen Qaf20919 x 11
50Qaf11419 x 6
68Noon13319 x 7
20, 26, 27, 28Ha, Ta Ha, Ta Seen, Ta Seen Meem176719 x 93


14 Initials

ا – ل – م – ص – ر – ك – ه – ي – ع – ط – س – ح – ق – ن

14 Combinations

الم – المص – المر – كهيعص – طه – طسم – طس – يس – ص – حم – عسق – ق – ن

29 Chapters

2, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 68

In short, there are 14 initial letters — found in 14 different combinations (‘initial sets’) — which prefix 29 different chapters.

Initials Overview