Praise be to Allaah.
Al-Mufassal refers to the short soorahs of the Qur’aan which
have many breaks between them, in which the Basmalah (“Bismillah al-Rahmaan
al-Raheem”) appears. They are called mufassal (divided) because a lot of
breaks appear in them.
There was a difference of scholarly opinion concerning the
definition of al-Mufassal. Does it begin from Soorat Qaaf or from
al-Hujuraat? There was also a difference of opinion as to which soorahs are
regarded as long, medium and short. There are several opinions:
In al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah (33/48) it says: They
differed concerning al-Mufassal. The Hanafis are of the view that the long
soorahs of al-Mufassal start with al-Hujuraat and end with al-Burooj; the
medium soorahs begin there and end with al-Bayyinah; and the short soorahs
begin there and go to the end of the Qur'aan.
The Maalikis said that the long soorahs of al-Mufassal start
with al-Hujuraat and end with al-Naazi‘aat; the medium soorahs begin with
‘Abasa and end with al-Duha; and the short soorahs begin with al-Duha, until
the end of the Qur'aan.
The Shaafa‘is said: The long soorahs of al-Mufassal are
soorahs such as al-Hujuraat, al-Qamar and al-Rahmaan; the medium soorahs are
soorahs such as al-Shams and al-Layl; and the short soorahs are soorahs such
as al-‘Asr and Qul Huwa Allaah Ahad (al-Ikhlaas),
The Hanbalis are of the view that al-Mufassal begins with
Soorah Qaaf, because of the hadeeth of Aws ibn Hudhayfah who said: I asked
the companions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah upon
him) how they divided the Qur’aan. They said, Three and five and seven and
nine and eleven and thirteen, and Hizb al-Mufassal [This refers to the
number of soorahs in each hizb or portion of Qur’aan. Thus the first hizb
contains the first three soorahs, the second contains the next five soorahs,
and so on. Hizb al-Mufassal is the last portion of the Qur’aan, from Soorat
Qaf until the end]. Narrated by Abu Dawood (1396) and Ibn Maajah (1345); its
isnaad was classed as hasan by Ibn Katheer in Fadaa’il al-Qur’aan
(83) and as da ‘eef (weak) by al-Albaani in Da‘eef Abi Dawood. They
said: This implies that the beginning of al-Mufassal is the forty-ninth
soorah from the beginning of al-Baqarah, not from al-Faatihah. The end of
the long soorahs is al-Naba’, the medium soorahs go up to al-Duha and the
short soorahs go from there to the end of the Qur’aan. End quote.
See: Fath al-Baari, 2/249; al-Itqaan fi ‘Uloom
al-Qur’aan by al-Suyooti, 1/180
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Al-Mufassal starts with Soorah Qaaf and goes to the end of
the Qur’aan, according to the sound opinion. It is called mufassal because
there many breaks between the soorahs, where the Basmalah appears, according
to the correct opinion. End quote from Fath al-Baari, 2/295. See also
Fath al-Baari, 9/43.
With regard to who first called that al-Mufassal, this name
was widespread and well known among the Sahaabah and was narrated in many
various hadeeths from the Sahaabah.
A man came to Ibn Mas‘ood and said: I recited al-Mufassal
last night in one rak‘ah. He said: This is like the hasty recitation of
poetry. I know the pairs of soorahs that the Messenger of Allaah (blessing
and peace of Allah be upon him) used to recite in each rak‘ah. And he
mentioned twenty soorahs from al-Mufassal, two soorahs in each rak‘ah.
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (775), Muslim (922).
The hadeeths in which the name al-Mufassal is mentioned are
very many and various, in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere, which makes it likely
that this name was narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah
be upon him).
It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be
pleased with him) said: Mu‘aadh used to pray with the Prophet (blessings and
peace of Allah be upon him), then he would go back and lead his people in
prayer. [One night] he prayed ‘Isha’ and started to recite Soorat
al-Baqarah, and one man left the congregation (and prayed by himself). It
was as if Mu‘aadh criticized him. News of that reached the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and he said: “[You are] one who
puts people off praying in congregation, one who puts people off praying in
congregation, one who puts people off praying in congregation roblems,”
three times, and he told him to recite two of the medium-length soorahs of
al-Mufassal. ‘Amr - the narrator of the hadeeth - said: I do not remember
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (701) and Muslim (465).
And Allah knows best.