How To Memorise The Surah Names In The Right Order

When you're memorising the Qur'ān, one of the things that you will need to do is memorise the Surah names. How do you do this?

I remember when memorising the 30th Juz' and always trying to remember what Surah came where. Sometimes I would get confused with the order, especially because I had memorised in the reverse order first (from an-Naas). But why is remembering the Surah names important?

Is remembering the Surah names important when doing Hifz?

Different names of surah were given to the prophet (ﷺ). Some were inspired by the content of the Surah, some say that many were named by the companions also. There can also be many names for each surah.

Remembering a name for the Surah that you are memorising though is important when doing your Hifz. Why? There are many reasons including:

  • Sometimes you see how the Mutashābihāt can have a link with the Surah name.
  • You will need to know the order in which the surah appear and recite in the correct order
  • You should be able to recite and recognise where a verse is
  • Each surah has a contextual understanding linked to the reasons of revelation, often the surah name is relevant

What are the easiest ways of memorising the Surah names?

I'll mention the post effective approaches of approaching surah names.

(1) Memorise the name and recall as you memorise

As you recite a surah, mention the name every time you start it. You can also mention the Surah before it as well. This is a method adopted by many teachers so that students of memorisation can easily engrain the names of the surah and the order of them easily.

(2) Make a list of the surah names using only the first letters

You make a list of the surah names, for example, you are memorising the 30th Juz', what would you do? It might look like this:

  1. Na
  2. Naz
  3. 'Ab
  4. Ta
  5. In

This is to help you remember the surah names on paper. Sometimes things on paper make things a lot easier. I have seen this done by many students successfully.

(3) Remember the surah names by the using poetry and rhyme

This is a method used all over the world.

Example 1

THE OPENING CHAPTER opens the door
THE HEIFER is sitting on the floor
THE FAMILY OF IMRAN is remembered
By THE WOMEN devout and covered.

THE TABLE SPREAD and all things set
And outside THE CATTLE leisurely ate
THE HEIGHTS in peace and mercy scaled
THE SPOILS OF WAR evenly shared.

REPENTANCE sought and IMMUNITY granted
JONAH, the God-fearing, praised and chanted
PROPHET HUD spread the message of God
And JOSEPH propagated it in deed and word.

THE THUNDER rages on non-believers
ABRAHAM leads the row of worshippers
THE ROCKY TRACT notwithstanding
THE BEE extracts honey unending.

THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, all Arabs and Muslims
Go to THE CAVE, and become Alims
MARY, the pure brings forth Isa
And all-round heard TA HA.

THE PROPHETS are messengers holy
THE PILGRIMAGE performed at shrines holy
THE BELIEVERS flock for annual event
And purified, see THE DIVINE LIGHT.

THE CRITERION is to bow to the will of God
THE POETS sing the praises clear and loud
THE ANTS show the devotion and hard work
And THE NARRATION continues in light and dark.

THE SPIDER weaves strong web of gold
THE ROMANS too see the events unfold
THE WISE bestow in all the wisdom commanded
And prostrate in ADORATION humbly bowed.

THE CONFEDERATES come together (accomplice)
THE CITY OF SABA is in a state of bliss
YASIN read by devout from the Holy Book.

In mosques are rows THOSE RANGED IN RANKS
ABBREVIATED LETTERS orated in fronts and backs.
The devout pray in THE GROUPS

ABBREVIATED LETTERS occur again and again
CONSULTATION is better than one’s decision
GOLD ADORNMENTS are gift from Almighty
SMOKE OR MIST surrounds the city.

BOWING THE KNEE to prostrate
THE PROPHET leads the devout in adoration
THE VICTORY leads to jubilation.

THE INNER APARTMENTS are safe and conceal
And again the ABBREVIATED LETTER reveal
THE WINDS THAT SCATTER are blowing fast
Shaking all everything along THE MOUNT.

The night appears along with THE STAR
THE MOON sheds light near and far
ALLAH MOST GRACIOUS surveys His creation
THE INEVITABLE EVENT is in the motion.

IRON like pious safeguard against evil
THE WOMAN, WHO PLEADS is giving a call

THE BATTLE ARRAY is imposing to look at
THE FRIDAY ASSEMBLY has pious, holy and devout
THE HYPOCRITES shy away and scatter
MUTUAL LOSS OR GAIN is all that matter.

DIVORCE is final solution in difficult situation
DOMINION of heaven and earth rests with Him
PEN notes the events nice or grim.

Everyone is aware of THE SURE REALITY
THE WAYS OF ASCENT for their ability
NOAH took the believers to safety
THE JINN are present among humanity.

Those, FOLDED IN GARMENTS are safeguarded
The ONE WRAPPED UP is secured
THE RESURRECTION is the ultimate event
MAN AND TIME are resigned to this fact.

THOSE SENT FORTH will eventually return
THE (GREAT) NEWS reveals the concern
THOSE, WHO TEAR OUT are grouping up
HE FROWNED at them and their cup.

THE FOLDING UP has taken place
THE CLEAVING ASUNDER makes people race
NO DEALING IN FRAUD, is the warning
THE RENDING ASUNDER is their ending.

THE ZODIACAL SIGNS predict the nature
THE NIGHT VISITANT is seen for sure
THE MOST HIGH is held in reverence

Night has given way to DAWN
THE CITY is bathed in light and sun
THE SUN is shining bright as ever
THE NIGHT, its darkness will return never.

THE EXPANSION works on firs and pines
THE FIG is firmly rooted in soil
READ OR PROCLAIM was the first call.

It is THE CLEAR EVIDENCE, which hums
THE CONCLUSION occurs, when sins increase
AND THOSE, THAT RUN find no peace.

THE DAY OF CLAMOUR and dissent rise
PILING UP and setting it are wise
THE SCANDAL-MONGER will always bemoan.

THE ELEPHANT, the mighty animal
Was present during THE QURAISH’s rule
NEIGHBOURLY NEEDS should be given preference
Happily then, Almighty bestows in ABUNDANCE.

THOSE, WHO REJECT FAITH will be punished
Whose HELP will they seek when banished?
THE FLAME of hell will be their home.
Believers have PURITY (OF FAITH) with them.

THE DAWN will be for the believers alone
THE MANKIND survives on faith alone.

Example 2

In every opening chapter, the words are significant, In praising the Messenger, starting with Al-Baqarah.

In Al 'Imran, their mission was introduced, Their men and women sought clarification of their news.

God spread His blessings among the people, It was not limited to the cattle alone.

His favors are evident in Al-A'raf, And His generosity begins with Anfal.

Through His intercession, He called for repentance, Jonah was in the sea, surrounded by darkness.

Hud and Joseph, how many fears did they overcome? And the thunder did not frighten those who remembered.

The content of Ibrahim's supplication was sincere, In the House of God, seeking His trace.

A nation like the buzzing of bees, In every drop, glorifying the Creator.

In the Cave, refuge was sought, And glad tidings of Jesus, famous in the Gospel.

It was called Taha, and the Prophets were encouraged, To perform the pilgrimage at the sacred place.

People have succeeded with the light they witnessed, From the criterion when its brilliance was revealed.

The greatest poets were unable to match it, Like ants when they heard its chapters.

And it sufficed to narrate the story of the spider, When it spun its web at the door of the cave.

In Al-Rum, their mission was fulfilled, And Luqman's wisdom was scattered like pearls.

How many prostrations were performed in the ranks of the confederates? Their swords showed them the lessons of their Lord.

The All-Forgiving chapter reveals its details, Its meanings are not confined.

His advice is to abandon the world's adornments, Like smoke that blinds the eyes.

His white law was honored when He came, The Battle of Badr and the armies of God were present.

Muhammad brought us victory, connected to it, And the rooms of faith became triumphant.

By the letter Qaf and the piercing winds, God swore, That what He said was true, as He mentioned.

On Mount Sinai, Moses saw his guiding star, And the horizon split in awe of him.

He experienced things that iron could not bear, And in the debate with the disbelievers, he triumphed.

On the Day of Gathering, when people are presented, In rows of messengers, each follower in their footsteps.

A hand that praises God while eating, So when the truth comes to you, which He proclaimed.

You witnessed the world's deception in His presence, It gained freedom, but it never had insight.

His prohibition was to love the world and desire it, Truly, the flower of kingship when He informed us.

In Nun, the praises came true, In what Allah commended when He revealed His journey.

By His intercession, Noah asked in his ark, For a safe escape and the waves of the sea surrounded him.

The jinn said, "The truth has come, so follow it, Follow it consistently, and it will never leave you."

In Muddathir, he sought intercession and healing, On the Day of Resurrection, he will be an intercessor.

In Al-Mursalat, the news became clear, About His resurrection, all the scribes have recorded.

His favors are overwhelming and unjust to Him, On the Day when the disobedient one will regret.

When the sun is eclipsed that day, Its sky will be torn, and the dawn will bid farewell.

The heavens will split and the constellations will vanish, With the arrival of the meteor shower and the scattered stars.

So glorify the name of the Creator, And have you not heard about the Pool when its news was revealed?

Like the dawn in a fortified city, His honor is exalted, And the sun shines brightly from His light.

And the night is like the morning, with its pain, We will explain to you the speech and its fragrant news.

If the fig and olive trees could speak, They would testify to the goodness that came through them.

In the Night of Decree, how much honor did it attain, In that glory, man's destiny was determined.

How many times the riders of adversity shook the earth, And its surface was like waves overwhelming.

To Him, countless verses bear witness, In every era, woe to those who disbelieve.

Did you not see how the sun confirmed his greatness, And the golden morning came with its command?

Did you not see how God honored him, With the abundant river in His Basin?

And the disbelievers were expelled from it, They were denied access to His Basin.

His praises extended in Surah Al-Mursalat, When He revealed the story of His resurrection.

His virtues were revealed when the sun was darkened, And the sky split, bidding farewell.

So glorify the name of the One who intercedes for you, And have you heard the story of the Pond?

And the disbelievers were turned away from it, While His hand firmly held the cup of honor.

My occupation is praising him, so how can I spare Praising the Morning, which made people boastful?

(4) Memorise the surah names by placing them into a story

This is another method that can be used, especially for children. The Arabs are well known for writing poems and stories in order to memorise the surah names and their order. But there isn't much in the English language.

For example:

A man recited Al-Fatiha before slaughtering Al-Baqarah. He followed the example of the family of 'Imran and married the best women. While he was with his family at the table, he sacrificed some of the animals, considering some of them to be from Al-An'am. He entrusted the matter of Al-Anfal to Allah and His Messenger, declaring his repentance to Allah, following the example of Yunus, Hud, and Yusuf (peace be upon them). With the sound of thunder, he recited the story of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and the stoning of his son Ismail (peace be upon him).

He had a beehive that he bought on the occasion of Al-Isra' and Al-Mi'raj. He placed it in his cave and commanded his daughter Maryam and his son Taha to take care of it, following the example of the prophets (peace be upon them) in work and diligence. When the time of Hajj came, they set off with the believers, heading towards the place where the light shines and where the Day of Al-Furqan was, and much has been written about it in (Al-Shu'ara').

During their pilgrimage, they were organized like ants, recording the most wonderful stories of unity, so that they would not be affected by fatigue like the spider's house. He sat with them and told them about the victory of the Romans, advising them to prostrate in gratitude to Allah, that the Confederates were defeated, and not to deny the favors of Saba' like the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Then, he recited Surah Yasin to them, just as the rows of angels recite (Al-Saffat), and he did not miss being with (Al-Zumar) in the sacred land, invoking the Forgiver of sins, whose verses of the Book were detailed, to forgive him and the believers. Then, discussions began among them about the date of their return.

With caution, fearing their influence by the adornments of this transient world, like smoke, they passed by Al-Ahqaf in Hadhramaut, to commemorate Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family and companions) and for the security of the region. It was there that prosperity flourished in trade, prompting them to build chambers for themselves and establish marketplaces called "Qaf Stores" for commerce. They became radiant beacons of goodness, and before this, they were like Mount Tur in their different stages of life, like a star, and they became as significant as the moon, referred to as Al-Binan by the grace of the Most Merciful.

Afterward, an incident occurred that made their state, as they say, like iron. His wife remained patient and did not engage in argumentation, knowing that Allah would compensate them on the Day of Resurrection and that the world is a test. They were like a row on Friday, united in facing this ordeal, avoiding the traits of hypocrites because true injustice occurs on the Day of Mutual Deception. Divorce almost took the ruling of prohibition between them due to the depth of affection among them. Blessed is the One who reconciled between them, just as He reconciled between Yunus and the fish. Also, remember the day of Al-Haqqah in the meeting with Allah, the Lord of the Ascending Stairways. They dedicated themselves to the call to Him and followed the patience of Ayyub and Nuh (peace be upon them).

They established themselves with the gentleness and forbearance of the chosen one, as his invitation reached all humans and jinn after being enveloped in garments and being enveloped in his call. Thus, his station on the Day of Resurrection will bear witness for every human being, as his position with his Lord surpasses that of the angels (the Messengers). Regarding the great news, they have different opinions until their souls are removed by the extractors, and faces turn pale. All creatures will be in a state of terror due to the magnitude of the folding up of the heavens and the splitting apart (of the earth).

So where can the liars escape from the disbelievers and the unjust ones when the heavens split open, adorned with constellations, and when the piercing star from their Lord, the Most High, covers them with the overwhelming calamity?

There, those who walk in the darkness rejoice for the Fajr prayer, while the people of the city are still asleep until the rise of the sun. The people of the night and the Duha prayer enjoy their blessings. How fortunate are those whose hearts are at ease! By the fig and the creation of man from a clinging substance, surely the people of destiny, on that day, will be upon clear evidence from their Lord.

They obeyed Him before the earthquake of the earth, and they concealed their charitable acts for the sake of Allah before the striking catastrophe. They were not distracted by worldly gain, so in every era, they were guiding and guided. They did not pay attention to the backbiting slander, entrusting their affairs to Allah, just as Abdul Muttalib did when the people of the elephant attacked the Kaaba. He was a nobleman among the Quraysh. They did not withhold acts of kindness from anyone, hoping to be quenched from the river of Al-Kawthar on the day when the oppressors and disbelievers are thirsty.

That is the reality of divine victory for the chosen Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his nation, while their adversaries are destroyed, and a rope of falsehood is tightened around the necks of those who harmed him. O Allah, accept from us and bless us with sincerity in speech and action, O Lord of the Daybreak and the Lord of Mankind.

Another example:

Once upon a time, in the city of Makkah, there lived a man named Ibrahim. He was known for his deep faith and unwavering dedication to Allah. One day, Ibrahim received a divine revelation from the Most High, instructing him to embark on a journey of sacrifice and submission. With his heart filled with courage, Ibrahim set out on a pilgrimage to the blessed land of Madinah. Along his way, he recited verses from Surah Al-Fatiha, seeking guidance and blessings from the Almighty. As he reached his destination, Ibrahim faced various challenges and trials, reminiscent of the stories mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah. He drew inspiration from the family of 'Imran, who exemplified faith and patience.

Stories can be very effective in helping you remember the names in order.

These are the main and most popular methods to memorise the surah names.

May Allāh grant you ease in your own journey.

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