Surah Ankabut (سورة العنکبوت) is the 29th surah of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the city of Mecca. The surah is named Ankabut, meaning spider, because Allah in verse 41 of this surah says those who take guardians other than Allah are like a spider who builds a house, and its house is the weakest of houses. In this article on Islam4u, the following topics will be discussed:
Facts About Surah Ankabut
|Place||Juz’ 20 & 21|
|Order of revelation||85|
|No. of verses||69|
|No. of words||983|
|No. of letters||4321|
Benefits of Reciting Surah Ankabut
- Receiving ten times the reward of all believers and hypocrites: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Ankabut, Allah will give ten times the reward of all believers and hypocrites.”1
- A cure for all ailments: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever writes surah Ankabut in a container, washes it, then drinks from that water, all his ailments and illnesses will be cured.”2
- For peace of mind and an expanded breast: If surah Ankabut is written, washed with water, and then given to someone to drink, it will cause joy for that person and will expand his breast. Moreover, if surah Ankabut is recited before going to sleep, it will cause that person to have a good night’s sleep.3
The Gist of Surah Ankabut
Surah Ankabut can be summarized in the following way:
1. Mentioning the issue of “test” and the reaction of hypocrites to divine tests.
4. Mentioning the weakness and inability of man-made deities and comparing the idolaters to a spider. In addition, surah Ankabut talks about the grandeur of the Quran, proofs of the truthfulness of the Prophet, obstinacy of his opponents, and mentions educational issues such as performing the prayer, being good to parents, doing good deeds, and arguing with the opponents of Islam in a logical manner.4
The Occasion of Revelation of Some Verses
It has been said that the initial verses of surah Ankabut are about Ammar (عَمّار) and Yāsir (ياسِر) who were tortured for their belief in Allah, or it is about Muslims in Mecca. Another occasion of revelation is that the Muslims of Medina wrote letters to the Muslims in Mecca that their confession in Islam is not accepted, other than if they migrate to Medina. Therefore, when a group of Muslims traveled to Medina, the polytheists of Mecca followed them and killed some of them.5 Moreover, it has been said that verse ten and eleven of surah Ankabut is about those who verbally express their belief in Islam, but right when they are exposed to danger, they disbelieve like before and consider people’s harm to be the same as the punishment of the hereafter.6
Famous Verses of Surah Ankabut
Like all surahs of the Quran, there are certain verses that are more famous than other verses. Here we will go over them.
Verse 41 of Surah Ankabut
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتًا ۖ وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ ۖ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿۴۱﴾
The parable of those who take [other] masters instead of God is that of the spider who makes a web house. Indeed, the house of the spider is the frailest house if they knew.7
Exegetes of the Quran have said that in this verse, Allah compares the masters of the polytheists (i.e. their idols) to the house of a spider. These masters cannot benefit their followers and will never keep them safe from harm and hardship.8
The Verse of Tasting Death (57)
کلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَینَا تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿۵۷﴾
Everyone will meet death, then you will be brought back to Us.
This verse was revealed when a group of Muslims who lived in the lands of polytheists were not willing to migrate to another city because they thought they would die and become hungry. Moreover, they thought that migration would mean being distanced from their relatives and children. As a result, Allah revealed this surah saying there is no escape from death.9 No one can escape death. Eventually, everyone is going to die. That is why we must be prepared at all times because we do not know when we will die. If we are not righteous, we will have a hard time in the afterlife (barzakh). If we are righteous and Godwary, we will not be punished and will go to heaven.
Surah Ankabut is a surah that Allah revealed to the Prophet in the city of Mecca. The surah is named Ankabut because one of its verses mentions how the parable of those who ascribe partners to Allah is like a spider who builds a house made of its web. The verse further says that the weakest of homes is the home of the spider. Surah Ankabut has many benefits. For example, if someone writes surah Ankabut, washes it, then drinks from that water, all his illnesses will be cured. By reciting surah Ankabut and acting upon its teachings, we will be one of those who enter paradise, God willing.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 8, p. 5.
- Tafseer al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 301.
- A Selection of Tafseer Nimūnah, 1382 SH, vol. 3, p. 487.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, 1406 AH, vol. 8, p. 427.
- Al-Durr al-Manthūr, 1404 AH, vol. 5, p. 142.
- Quran 29:41 (Foroutan).
- Al-Mīzān, 1390 AH, vol. 16, pp. 130-131.
- Tafseer Nimūnah, 1371 SH, vol. 16, p. 329.