The Five Surahs that Save


This 15th century manuscript comprises five surahs (chapters) of the Qurʼan: Yāsīn (Yā Sīn, chapter 36), al-Fatḥ (The conquest, chapter 48), al-Wāqiʻah (The inevitable, chapter 56), al-Mulk (The sovereignty, chapter 67), and al-Nabā (The tidings, chapter 78). It is not fully understood why these surahs in particular are put together. They do not follow this order in the Qurʼan, and the manuscript appears to be complete and in excellent shape. It is, therefore, plausible to assume that this is not an arbitrary collection of Qurʼanic fragments that were bound together but rather was intended as a compilation in one manuscript from the start. The compilation suggests that this manuscript is of the so-called al-Suwar al-munjiyāt (The surahs that save), considered in some traditions to be of particular devotional virtues. There is no agreement on the number of these munjiyāt, nor a fixed list of them. But they typically range from five to seven surahs, and include some or all of these five chapters. It is also possible that they were meant to correspond with the five daily Muslim prayers, with each chapter to be recited in this order after each prayer. The fact that the manuscript has a green binding seems to suggest it was made for or used by an adherent of a Sufi order. The reputation of these surahs as saviors rests largely on hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) that are not well authenticated. The manuscript, probably copied in Iran, is on thick, cream laid paper, with the first and fifth lines in large muhaqqaq script and the remaining text in small naskh with diacritics in black and red. The ʻunwan (decorative opening panel) is illuminated in gold, blue, and green. Gold discs separate the verses.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

السُّور الخمس المُنجِيات

Type of Item

Physical Description

22 leaves, bound : paper ; 21.7 x 16.5 centimeters

Last updated: February 2, 2016