in category Qur'an

What was the final Qur'anic verse to be revealed?

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Muslims commonly believe this part of the Qur'anic verse 5.3 was the final verse to be revealed:

"Today I have perfected for you your religion, fulfilled on you My favor and approved Islam as your religion." [5:3]

However there is no primary source that confirms this view. The ahadith suggest it was revealed on the Day of 'Arafa, a Friday, during the Prophet's (saw) final pilgrimage, a few months before his death.

However some narrations explicitly state other verses were revealed after this verse. The scholar Louay Fatoohi in his "The First and Last Revelations of Qur'an" considers eight such narrations. The following verses are often cited in this regards: 2:281, 2:282, 2:278, 4:93, 4:176, 9:128-129, 18:110 and 3:195.

Confusingly, the narrations of the last verse of Qur'an are sometimes erroneously confused with narrations regarding the final chapters (suras) that were revealed - a separate subject matter.

1) Verse 2.281: The hadith scholars Bukhari (d. 256 H / 870 CE) and Nasa'i (d. 303 H / 915 CE) say, "ibn Abbas has said this is the last verse revealed to the Prophet:

Fear the day when you shall be returned to Allah, then each soul shall be paid what it has earned and they shall not be wronged. (2.281)"

This view is also found in at-Tabari's (d. 310 H / 922 CE) commentary. Some reports have claimed that this verse was revealed nine or eighty one days before the Prophet's death.

This verse has nothing that would undermine it being the last verse. However it would be unjustified to suggest with confidence this was the last verse to be revealed - it remains a possibility.

2) Verse 2.282: It has been reported by ibn Jarir on the authority of Sa'id bin al-Musayyab that the last verse of the Qur'an was the "verse of loaning," the longest verse:

O you who believe! If you contract a loan for a stated term then write it down and let a scribe faithfully write it down between you. A scribe should not refuse to write as Allah taught him, but let him write and let he who owes the debt dictate; but let him fear Allah his Lord and not diminish anything of it. But if the debtor was a fool, weak, or cannot dictate himself, then let his agent faithfully dictate. And call to witness two witnesses from amongst your men, but if they were not two men then a man and two women, from those whom you deem fit as witnesses, so that if one of the two [women] should err, the second may remind the other. Let not the witnesses refuse when they are summoned. Do not tire of writing it, be it small or great, with its term. That is more just in the sight of God, more upright for testimony and best for avoiding doubt, unless it is a ready-money transaction between you, which you arrange between yourselves, then it is no offence by you that you do not write it down. Have witnesses when you sell one to another and let not either scribe or witness come to harm, for if you do it will be an abomination in you. Fear Allah, for Allah teaches you and Allah knows all things. (2.282)

It is highly unlikely a verse addressing a specific legal issue was the last verse of the Qur'an.

3) Verse 2.278: al-Bukhari reports a hadith that he traces back to ibn Abbas in which the latter says that "the last verse that was revealed to the Prophet is the 'verse of usury'":

O you who believe! Fear Allah and abandon your remaining usury, if you are indeed believers. (2.278)

It has been reported that this verse was revealed nine days, seven days, three days, or three hours before the death of the Prophet. As-Suyuti (d. 911 H / 1505 CE) has tried to reconcile the three opinions above by suggesting that all these verses were revealed at the same time in their order in the mushaf and were the last to be revealed. Verses 2.279-2.280 both continue the discussion of usury, so 2.278-2.280 are likely to have been revealed at the same time. Being about loans, verse 2.282 may be linked to the earlier three verses on usury, but there is no reason to presume that this verse was revealed at the same time as the three on usury. Furthermore, verse 2.281, which separates the usury verses and the one on loans, is a general verse that need not be specifically linked to the subjects of usury and loans and their verses.

It is highly unlikely that a verse that addresses a specific legal issue was the last verse of the Qur'an.

4) Verse 4.93: Both al-Bukhari and Muslim (d. 261 H / 875 CE) report that ibn Abbas has said that this verse is "the last that was revealed and it was not abrogated (annulled) by anything":

He who intentionally kills a believer his recompense will be hell in which he shall dwell forever, Allah shall have wrath on him, will curse him and will have for him a grave torment. (4.93)

It is highly unlikely that a verse that addresses a specific legal issue was the last verse of the Qur'an.

5) Verse 4.176: Al-Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa' i and others report on the authority of the companion al-Bira' bin 'Azib that this was the last verse of the Qur'an:

They will ask you [O Muhammad!] for a ruling. Say: "Allah rules for you concerning the remote kinship. If a man dies having no children, but he has a sister, she shall have half of what he leaves and he is her heir if she has no children. If there are two sisters, they shall receive two-thirds of what he leaves. If there are men and women siblings, the male shall get the share of two females. Allah explains to you lest you go astray; Allah knows all things. (4.176)

It is highly unlikely that a verse that addresses a specific legal issue was the last verse of the Qur'an.

6) Verse 9.128-129: Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 241 H / 855 CE) reported on the authority of the companion Ubay bin Ka'b that verse 9.128 was the last verse that was revealed to the Prophet:

There has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves, grievous to him is your suffering, careful over you, compassionate and merciful for the believers. (9.128)

Verse 9.128 is followed by a verse that continues, "But if they turn away, then say 'Allah is sufficient for me; there is not god but Him. In Him I put my trust; He is the Lord of the mighty throne." If either of these two verses were the last revelation, then it would have to be 9.129 not 9.128.

7) Verse 18.110: Tabarani (d. 360 H / 970 CE) reported on the authority of Mu'awiya bin abi Sufyan that 18.110 was the last verse to be revealed:

Say O Muhammad!: "I am only a human like you. It is being revealed to me that your Lord is only one. Let him who hopes to meet his Lord do good works and refrain from associating anyone in worshiping his Lord." (18.110)

This verse is like other verses with little to suggest it being final. Importantly, the wording "it is being revealed to me" suggests continuation of revelation.

8) Verse 3.195: A report attributed to Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet, saying 3.195 was the last verse:

So their Lord answered them: "I do not waste the works of a worker among you, be it male or female - one of you is from the other. Those who migrated, were expelled from their houses, were harmed in my way, fought and were killed I shall pardon their evil deeds and I shall enter them into gardens beneath which rivers flow. This is a reward from Allah and Allah has the best of rewards." (3.195)

Verse 3.195 is similar to other verses revealed during the ongoing struggle of Muslims with their enemies, ruling it out as the last verse.


Louay Fatoohi, The First and Last Revelations of Qur'an


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