One of the claims made by upholders of Hadith is how is one to determine the proper recitation of Sura 30 verse 2 without the use of Hadith. The argument states that if we don’t utilize Hadith, then we will not know if it is ghulibat / غُلبت, which would mean that the Romans were “defeated”, or if it is ghalabat / غَلبت which would mean that the Romans were the ones doing the defeating.


The Hafs recitation has always been the most widely used recitation of the Quran, which is used in some 95% of the world. It is also the one that corresponds to the vast majority of Quranic manuscripts we have to date. After Hafs, there are the Warsh, Qaloon, and Duri recitations. While much of the differences in these recitations are with matters of dialect, there are some minor textual variations between the recitations, as well as differences in the verse numbers.

The Quran’s mathematical structure confirms that the Hafs recitation of the Quran is the correct recitation and the one that should be upheld. This would mean that the proper pronunciation would be ghulibat / غُلبت, which would mean that the Romans were “defeated”.

[30:2] Certainly, the Romans will be defeated.

(٢) غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ

But even if we looked at the other three recitations, we see that even these recitations do not deviate from this understanding.

Quranic Analysis

Let’s assume that one does not accept the above argument. This same conclusion can be made just by reading the verse in context. The verses describe a prophecy for a future event for the Romans. If we are unsure if it is ghulibat or ghalabat, this is clarified by looking at the next verse.

[30:2] Certainly, the Romans will be defeated.
[30:3] In the nearest land. After their defeat, they will rise again and win.

(٢) غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ
(٣) فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ

If we assume that it is ghalabat in 30:2, then this would mean that the Romans were the ones who defeated, but this would pose a contradiction to 30:3 where it is clear that the Romans after will overcome. How would one overcome if they were already the ones doing the defeating? By looking at 30:3 it becomes obvious that 30:2, should again be ghulibat and that the Romans were defeated.

Sura 30 verse 30

Historical Analysis

Despite these verses being a prophecy regarding the Romans for the Muslims who initially received these verses, today we can look at the history books and see for ourselves what was the outcome of these events. It is clear from history that when this prophecy was made, it corresponds to when the Romans lost their advantage over the Sassanians (Persians). And just as prophesized in the verses of the Quran, within 3 – 9 years of their defeat, they came back and won. This also corresponds with the date when the Believers took Makkah; note why it says the believers would rejoice (30:4).

[30:4] Within several years. Such is GOD’s decision, both in the first prophecy, and the second. On that day, the believers shall rejoice

(٤) فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَمِنْ بَعْدُ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

For a more in-depth analysis of how these verses and this understanding are backed up by history, check out the following article.

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