One theory for God’s establishment of these letters in the Qur’ān holds that the letters themselves are part of a deliberate numerical structure underlying the text, revealed as an integral part of the revelation. According to the theorists, God has woven this code into the Qur’ān not only for those with diligence and insight to discover, but as a further proof of the Qur’ān’s divine origins.
An Egyptian scientist and computer expert named Dr. Rashad Khalifa entered the Quran into his computer in an attempt to search for any design that could account for the Muqaṭṭa’āt. The result of his extensive research was the discovery of an intricate mathematical system that pervades the whole Quran and governs every possible parameter, including these letters.
The theory of the number nineteen being the basis for this inherent mathematical structure to the Qur’ān derives its origin from chapter 74, verses 30 and 31 of the Qur’ān:
In verse 30, God proclaims that the number of angels guarding the gates of hell is nineteen. In the subsequent verse (31), this number is established as a test to distinguish between believers and unbelievers.
Proponents of the theory of the importance of this number hold that, with simple arithmetic, by adding the number of chapters prefaced by the letters (29) to the number of letters (14), then adding the sum of these two numbers to the number of combinations in which the letters occur (14), a multiple of nineteen is obtained (29 + 14 + 14 = 57 [3 × 19]).
Further calculation of the number of occurrences of each letter, in each chapter prefaced by the letters, provides some startling evidence of the extent to which this number permeates the Arabic text. That said, various anomalies in the elaboration of this number have surfaced if one attempts to continue the analysis of the entire Qur’ān based on this figure.
Suffice to say that the theory does not provide any answer to the placement of the letters before these particular chapters, other than their usage as an arithmetical challenge; for theorists, the role of these particular chapters is immaterial, as their contents and remit do not appear to correspond to the numerical findings.
 Dr Rashad Khalifa. 1981. The Computer Speaks: God’s Message to the World. Tucson: Renaissance Productions. p.9.
 Dr Rashad Khalifa. 1982. Qur’ān: Visual Presentation of the Miracle. Tucson: Islamic Productions.
 Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Dr Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, op. cit., p.765.
 Dr Rashad Khalifa, ‘The Computer Speaks’ op. cit., p.199.
 See, for example, the following website for a number of articles criticising the theory of 19 in the Qur’ān: http://answering-islam.org.uk/Religions/Numerics/ (19 March 2008). For further information regarding the numbering theory and its proponents, visit: http://www.19.org (19 March 2008).