In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The updated count of the Quranic initials, ALM and ALR

The Updated Count of the Quranic initial ALM and ALR in Quran editorial note

Disclaimer: A thorough recount of the Quranic initials, conducted in 2002, by, using both manual as well as two different computer counting programs, has confirmed Dr. Rashad Khalifa's counts of all the Quranic initials except for a few counts in the initials "A" (Alef) and "L" (Laam). However, the recent recount of Quranic initials remains divisible by 19 and is a part of the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran. The latest details of the recounts can be reviewed and verified using Quran Inspector. Research on the "A"(alef) and "L" (Lam) counts is ongoing.

This article represents the research that these new recounts are based on. This is by no means the end of the research but rather the continuation of it, as more sophisticated tools become available to us. So far, there has been no proof of any count that is different from what we presented here in this article in May 2002. God willing, this recount will be updated if different and correct findings are confirmed.

Summary: This is a study of the total count of the Quranic initials, ALM and the ALR in the Quran using both manual count as well as a computer assisted count of the Quran written in a text format and corrected to the original Uthmani method of writing. Our study showed that the total count of both the ALM and the ALR initials of all the suras that start with these initials is a multiple of 19. All the suras that start with the same initials have to be added together to produce the multiple of 19 phenomena as the one seen in the HM initialed group and which is a character of the mathematical miracle of the Quran. Our study finds that the Hafs method of writing the Quran is the method kept in shape with the transmitted written and oral verses of the Quran except for few human errors and therefore preserved the mathematical miracle of the Quran as God promised in 15:9.

Materials and Method:

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.

The Quran states in 10:20 and 25:4-6 that its miracle, i.e., proof of divine authorship, was destined to remain secret for a specific predetermined interim:

[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."

[25:4] Those who disbelieved said, "This is a fabrication that he produced, with the help of some other people." They have uttered a blasphemy and a falsehood.
[25:5] They also said, "Tales from the past that he wrote down; they were dictated to him day and night."
[25:6] Say, "This was revealed by the One who knows the Secret in the heavens and the earth. He is Forgiving, Most Merciful."

The Quranic Initials constitute a major portion of the Quran's 19-based. mathematical miracle. These initials include, ALM, ALR, ALMR, ALMS,Q, KHY'AS, S, YS, TH, TSM ,TS, HM, HM, 'ASQ and NUN. For easy references, we used the English alphabet in place of the Arabic ones, e.g. for the Alif (Alef) , we used "A", for the Lam, we used "L", for the Meem, we used "M", for the Reh, we used "R" , for the Sad, we used the bold "S"....etc.

Our study of the Quranic initials, that has the letter Alif in it, started when it was brought to our attention that the count of the Arabic letter Alif, in the suras initialed with Alif, has been disputed and reported differently by different researchers. These different counts reflect the difficulty in counting the Arabic alphabet Alif, and the disagreement over its writing , orthography (Rasm), its inclusion or exclusion. The Arabic alphabet Alif is also the most distorted alphabet when examined in different editions of the Quran as some scholars gave to themselves the liberty to add, delete or modify the writing of the alif. We, however, know that God promised to preserve the Quran (not the Mus-haf, the ink and paper). God therefore deliberately gave us the possession of many editions of the Quran including some of the oldest written Qurans and also gave us a tool to test and check these editions, the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran. It was definitely God's plan that the review of the letter Alif happens after the mathematical miracle has already been established and proved without the need for any single alphabet. This was a mean for God to give us the correction tool to the many human errors seen in the different editions of the Quran circulating today and to achieve what He promised of preserving the Quran as the one in the Master Tablets, (85:21-22). This tool, the mathematical miracle, will always be available to test and check any edition of the Quran, new or old. It is therefore clear that our work today represents what is seen in what we can call the everyday editions of the Quran. Further research and study supported by proofs, is expected , encouraged and welcome.

[85:21] Indeed, it is a glorious Quran.
[85:22] In a preserved master tablet.

We also need to emphasize that neither the Quran nor its miracle are accessible to the disbelievers or idol-worshipers. It is God's system that they are blocked from seeing the truth as they chose not to believe or to associate others with God already.

[17:82] We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. At the same time, it only increases the wickedness of the transgressors.

[17:45] When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier.
[17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone,* they run away in aversion.


Our findings will continue to disturb those who cannot see the miracle of the Quran, or those who abuse the miracle or miss the meaning or the message of the Quran, just as the previous verses promise.

We, recently, have obtained the Quran written in text format for our computer study, however, the text format did not follow the Uthmani orthography (Rasm) and therefore cannot be used to count the Quranic initials as such. We decided to correct the computer Arabic text format of the Quran that we obtained into the Uthmani Rasm (Orthography). We used the standard Hafs edition taken after the 1918 edition of the Quran in Cairo Egypt and later by King Fahd edition in Saudi Arabia. For the manual count we used a copy of King Fahd edition and also used for cross-reference seven other editions of the Quran printed in Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, all of them according to Hafs. We also had to check on some words in question by using the images of the Gold Koran, one of the oldest available copies of the Quran, at The Sheridan Libraries , The Johns Hopkins University , Baltimore, Maryland , at their site;

After the correction of the computer text file, we counted the letter Alif using the computer and also using manual count to compare the counts. We have realized that some of the Uthmani Rasm of certain letters was not available yet for the computer program we were using but we were able to substitute it with the same letters although in a different font. For this reason all the hamzas written on an extension (madda), e.g. , we replaced them with a free standing hamza. We also changed the different forms of Alifs into one alif to facilitate the count and avoid mistakes. If a program is using the Unicode for the Arabic alphabets, no change in the forms of ALif or hamza will be needed except probably for the hamzas on madda (extension).. Until we get the correct font and activated Unicode for these letters, we will continue to use the regular font that is still available to all of those who use the computer and Arabic fonts. We have posted the Arabic text we used for the count on our site as part of Quran Inspector. To achieve the best visual comparison of the verses and to facilitate the manual count, we pasted the image of each verse taken from the Hafs edition of King Fahd Mus-haf below its respective computer text when we corrected the computer text and when we did our manual count. We used color codes of the alphabets to make the visual presentation easier for the eye for manual count.

Counting the Alifs also include counting the letter Hamza that is used many times as alif as will be shown later. The letter Alif in Arabic can be seen in many shapes:

Hamza is unique in Arabic in many respects. It takes one of four forms: distinctly pronounced, lightened, changed, or deleted altogether. These different ways are observed in readings of the Quran and the various Arab dialects. In the writing of the hamza itself, Quranic and normal orthography are similar in many ways. In some aspects, however, Quranic rasm differs, as Quran has its unique way that is meant to preserve the mathematical structure built in its Rasm (Orthography). Hamza can be used as a yaa or a waw as well as an alif. All the hamzas that are standing free in a word and the Hamzas written on an extension of a letter (Madda) are counted as alifs.

standing free Hamzas like: , , ,

Hamzas written on an extension of a letter: , , , ,

Hamzas written on a stem (Nabra), or under a stem is counted as a yaa. For example:

, , , ,

Hamzas written on a Lam Alif , in words where the alif is actually a hamza and an alif, is the most deceiving as it looks like two alifs but actually it is three alifs (two alifs and a hamza) for example , . If you look carefully at these words you will notice the insistence of the scribes to write the Hamza in these words between the Lam and the alif . Compare these words with other words that only has lam alif as in , where there is only one lam and one alif , the hamza is specially positioned on top of the alif.

Hamza written on a yaa is counted as a yaa, as in , . Hamza written on a waw is counted as a waw as in:

We used the same system and consistency in counting the Alifs (and Hamzas) in all the suras that start with the initials ALM and the ALR. We felt that all the suras that have the same initials are related and form one group related to one another. We used the computer also to count the letters Lam , Meem and Reh.

Some of the readers of this article may find it helpful to read our short article about "How to count the Quranic initials". Other related articles that may help understand this topic include, "Are all the Arabic versions of the Quran the same ?" and also, "Preserving and protecting the Quran"


We counted first the ALM initialed suras, Sura 2, 3, 29,30,31 and 32. One major difficulty encountered was the easily missed alifs during manual count that were then compared with the computer count and with each other's counts then corrected. The Hamzas written on madda can also be easily missed in the manual count. Having more than one person counting is very important in the review process. We encountered only one orthographic difference among the recent editions of the Quran. This can be seen in verse 3:136. In verse 3:136, the word "Jaza'uhum" is written without an alif in the Egyptian and Syrian editions (reference 5 , 6 and 7) but with an alif in the King Fahd edition. The orthography of 3:136 as written in the Egyptian and Syrian edition, maintains the mathematical structure in the ALM suras. The total of all the ALMs in the ALM initialed suras is a multiple of 19. See table 1;

Table 1, Count of the initial ALM
Sura No.A (Alif and Hamza)L (Lam)M (Meem)Total ALM
19874 = 19 X 1046

The initial ALR total has also been found to be a multiple of 19 when we add all the initials in all the suras that start with the ALR. We, however, run into what we realized was a human (scribe error) in the orthography of two words in sura 10 in the Egyptian edition and King Fahd edition of the Arabic Quran. We will explain the proof for this conclusion in the discussion section to follow. See table 2.

Table 2, Count of the initial ALR
Sura No.A (Alif and Hamza)L (Lam)R (Reh)Total ALR
9481 = 19 X 499

As for those interested in the number of Hamzas in every of these suras, we include table 3 and 4 to help those searching this issue;

Table 3, Count of Alif and Hamza in the ALM group
Sura No.A (Alif and Hamza)AlifHamza
Table 4, Count of Alif and Hamza in the ALR group
Sura No.A (Alif and Hamza)AlifHamza

It has been a great promise by God Almighty to preserve the Quran, see 15:9. The the majority of the Muslims, however, misled by many scholars, were made to believe that verse 15:9 means God will preserve and protect the Mus-haf, the human written books, ink and papers. This is not what God promised to preserve in 15:9. He promised to preserve the Quran that He revealed to prophet Muhammed. The Mus-haf is no more than the human writing or collection of the Quran in books, papers, papyri, bones, palm leaves....etc and is not the handwriting of God. We are all aware that Uthman, the third Khalifa in the Islamic history, gathered his scribes and ordered them to collect the Quran that was already written during the prophet's life into one book. They did just that. They wrote several copies. The writers were no more than human beings and made numerous human errors in their writing that can be witnessed until this day. They can be seen in what is left and believed to be either Uthman Mus-haf or copies of it. {Please review our article about Human errors in the early writings of the Quran. } These human errors became obvious and clear for those who memorized the Quran when the re-writing of the Quran was needed to improve its Rasm (Orthography). This improved orthography was needed to facilitate its reading specially for the new generations of the Arabic speaking Muslims. Memorizing the Quran was an essential mean that God used to preserve the Quran in addition to its writing from the first day of revelation. It was God's plan that the Quran will be transmitted from Muhammed to all the generations to come through the oral transmission as well as the written word until the day comes when the book industry advances enough to allow for a fixed and standardized editions and also when the computer technology dominates the world in spreading God's message. It was not until the year 1918 in Cairo, Egypt when the Muslim scholars finally used what they considered their best judgment in writing the Quran in the best orthography format fit for the time. They used the orally transmitted Quran in comparison with the oldest available copies of the Quran to produce what is now the standard text of the modern Arabic Quran. In that edition they depended on the oral transmission and the written script to correct any apparent scribes error or contradiction. It is from this edition that the great miracle of the Quran, the Mathematical Miracle, can be seen and appreciated. The miracle itself was a sign that the Quran as it was transmitted and written at that time is what God gave to prophet Muhammed and it was under guidance from God that the Quran was produced in its standard edition we have now. The promise of God in 15:9 has to have a method to verify it. This method was revealed in 1974 when the mathematical miracle of the Quran that is based on number 19 which is mentioned in sura74 was discovered. This happened 1406 years after the revelation of the Quran (1406 = 19X74.) This protection can now, and to the end of the world, be confirmed by the mathematical structure of the Quran. That structure is what God described in 74:30-31 and called it; "One of the great miracles" in 74:35. This mathematical structure that was proven through hundreds of interlocking mathematical relations throughout the Quran has already proved the preservation of the Quran and exposed clearly the human errors in the writing of the early scribes. This was best shown by exposing the two false verses in the Quran that were human addition and have been suspected as false from the time of the writing of the Quran, verses, 9:128, 129.

The Arabic letter "Alif" had specially been subjected to many changes in different editions of the Quran as we can see if we review some of the old or new editions. The scribes of the Quran, being like all other humans, subject to errors, chose many times to change an alif by writing it or deleting it while unaware of its mathematical significance. This resulted in different number of counts in different editions of the Quran by different researchers. We however used the current King Fahd editions and made special cross reference with the Egyptian editions and the oldest available Quran.We also have the advantage of knowing of the existence of the mathematical structure in the Quran that can be seen in hundreds of other proofs un-related to the initial "Alif:" and which is strongly proven without the need for the count of the "Alif" itself.

We applied three significant rules to the counted initial when there is a disagreement among the different editions of the Mus-haf. For a word to be considered a human error in any of the new editions and then corrected, it has to pass these three strict criteria, all of them and in this order;

  1. The orthography of the written word in the new edition of the Quran should differ from the orthography of the same word as written in the oldest copy of the Quran in its exact specific location.
  2. The orthography of the written word in its suspected form, in the new edition of the Quran, should differ from the orthography of the same word written in other verses and suras of the same new edition of the Quran, unless the word is not repeated anywhere else in the rest of the Quran..
  3. The correction of the written word in the new edition after meeting the first two criteria will then correct any disturbance of the mathematical structure of the Quran based on number 19 as it has been proved by other initials, words, numbers and orders in the Quran.

Any one or two of these three criteria was not considered enough reason to consider a written word a human error that need to be corrected.

During our count of the ALM initials in the suras 2,3,29,30,31,and 32, we had no problem , as all the words and letters of these suras did not raise any alarms except for the word "Jaza'uhum" of 3:136 that were mentioned above. The total of the ALM in all these 6 suras is 19874 and it is a multiple of 19.

During our count of the ALR initials in the suras, 10,11,12,14 and 15, that start with ALR, we ran into two words in sura 10 that look different than the accepted orthography of both the old and recent editions of the Quran. The words are; of verse 15 of sura 10 and of verse 21. These words were expected to be written as , and if they are to follow the system used in the old and recent Qurans. As you will see from the images produced below, they were written different than all the words of similar spelling in the Quran. They also contradict the well known and agreed upon way of writing of that specific word. The word and all its related words are repeated in the Quran 295 times and not one of them, except the ones in 10:15 and 21, has the extra alif seen in these two words in 10:15 and 21. This by itself is not a good reason to claim the writing of these two words as an error, therefore we reviewed the oldest copy of the Quran available to us, the Gold Koran. As seen in the images below, the word, and were written without an alif in both verse 10:15 and 10:21. As far as the mathematical miracle is concerned, these two errors obviously added two extra letters to the total of the ALR initial and once corrected the total of all the ALR initials in all the suras with ALR initial was found to be 9481 = 19 X 499. These three evidences strongly support our belief that the writing of these two words in the King Fahd edition is no more than a missed human error by the group of scholars who supervised the edition. It also shows once again that the mathematical miracle of the Quran at work proving what was left in one of the Mus-hafs as human errors. We now know that we have all the reasons not to count these two words in their wrong Rasm (Orthography) and to correct them as they should have been and as the rest of the same word as used everywhere in the Quran. and After correcting these two human errors, the total of the ALR initial in all the suras that start with ALR is 19 letters above that of Dr. Khalifa's total.

Below is a production of the verses 10:15 and 10 21 as seen in King Fahd edition and as seen in the Old Kufi Koran, the Gold Koran. It can be seen cleary that the Gold Quran did not have an alif in the same words as marked.

Here is Verse 21 of sura 10;

As for the rest of the Quran, here is two examples of how the two words are always written in the Quran.


The count of the initial ALM , and the initial ALR in the suras that start with these initials is presented. The total of the initial ALM in all the six suras that start with this initial is 19874 = 19 X 1046. The total of the initial ALR in all the five suras that start with this initial is 9481 = 19 X 499. This means that the 11 suras initialed by ALM and ALR are following the pattern of the rest of the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran in being multiple of 19. Our study also supports the understanding that the Hafs writing of the Quran is the best representation of the original Mus-haf as it represents the intact mathematical miracle of the Quran. We also found that the mathematical miracle of the Quran can be used as an excellent tool to verify human errors in future or past writing of the Mus-haf.

"Over it is 19". 74:30

See also: The Updated Count of the Quranic initial ALMR and ALMS in Quran.

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  2. The Mathematical Miracle of Quran
  3. Quran: Visual Presentation of the Miracle, by Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.
  4. Computer Speaks: God's Message to the World, by Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.
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