Surah Kausar is one of the short chapters of the Quran that is located in juz 30 of the Quran. God revealed this surah to Prophet Muhammad after one of his enemies said that he has no posterity, because all of his sons had die. God gives the good news of Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet whose lineage would descend from her. Therefore, this surah was revealed in the honor of Lady Fatimah.
Facts about Surah Kausar
Surah Kausar, al-Kawthar, or al-Kauthar (سورَةُ الكَوثَر) is the 108th chapter of the Quran (القرآن) which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Mecca, therefore, it is called a Makkī (مَكّي) surah. Surah Kausar is the shortest surah in the Quran which is found in in the final juz (جُزء) of the Quran, juz 30. The word Kawthar comes from the word kathīr (كَثير: numerous or plentiful) and literally means [a source of great] abundance. This surah speaks about how God has gifted Prophet Muhammad a source of great abundance and blessing. For this reason, God tells the prophet to pray to Him and sacrifice a camel in celebration of this great gift.
Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Kausar
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم
In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful
إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ ﴿1﴾
Indeed We have given you abundance.
فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ ﴿2﴾
So pray to your Lord, and sacrifice [the sacrificial camel].
إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ ﴿3﴾
Indeed it is your enemy who is without posterity.
Table of Contents
Occasion and Circumstances of Revelation of Surah Kausar
According to historians, Prophet Muhammad had six children from his first wife Lady Khadijah (خَديجَة). He had four daughters whose names in order of age were:
- Zainab (زَينَب)
- Ruqayyah (رُقَيَّة)
- Umm Kulthum (أُمِّ كُلثوم)
- Fatimah (فاطِمَة)
Of course, some historians and researchers believe that only Fatimah was the real daughter of the Prophet and the other ones were actually his adopted daughters. Other than Fatimah, the other three daughters of Prophet Muhammad died several years after migration of his holiness from Mecca to Medina, the migration known as Hijra (حِجرَة).
Prophet Muhammad also had two sons from Lady Khadijah: Qasem (قاسِم) and Abdullah (عَبدُالله), and another son by the name of Ibrahim (إِبراهيم) from one of his other wives, Maria the Copt (مارِيةُ القِبطيَّة) whom he married after Khadijah had passed away.
All of the Prophet’s sons passed away when they were young. Upon the death of Abdullah, when Muhammad was left without a son, individuals such as ‘Āṣ ibn Wāli’ah (عاصِ ابن والِعَة), Walīd ibn Mughayrah (وَليد ابنِ مُغَيرَة), and Abū Jahl (أَبو جَهل) who were the enemies of the Prophet, insulted him by saying he is abtar (أبتَر) 1 . The Arabs of that era called any man who was left without any son abtar, meaning someone whose line of descent is severed.
God’s Answer to His Enemies
This surah was revealed to the Noble Prophet after such insulting remarks were made about him, and through surah Kausar, God answered His enemies, saying they are the ones who are abtar and without posterity, not His prophet. In fact, through the revelation of this surah, God supported His prophet and granted him a source of great abundance. Through this source of great abundance, the progeny of Prophet Muhammad continues.
Who is Kausar?
Kausar literally means a source of great abundance. The way that surah Kausar ends indicates that this source of great abundance must be a human being through whom the Prophet’s line of descent continues, because it states: Your (i.e. Muhammad’s) enemy is the one who will have no posterity and offspring (not you).
The clear example of Kausar is Lady Fatimah Zahra (فاطِمةُ الزَهراء), the only child and daughter of his holiness who survived until his demise. This has been stated by both Shia and Sunnite exegetes of the Quran. Almost all if not all Shia exegetes of the Quran and scholars agree that Kausar is Fatimah. Likewise, several Sunnite scholars and exegetes such as Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (فَخرُ الدينِ الرازي), Sayyid Qutb (سَيِّد قُطب), and Ibn ‘Ashur (إبنِ عاشور) have stated that Fatimah is intended by Kausar in this chapter of the Quran.
Who is Fatimah?
One could easily say that this surah was revealed in honor of the Prophet’s noble daughter, Fatimah, as she is a source of great abundance for the Prophet and it is through her that Prophet Muhammad’s lineage descends until this very day. For the same reason, Kausar is considered one of the titles of Lady Fatimah.
Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, is the wife of the Prophet’s cousin, Ali (عَلي). She is the mother of Hasan (حَسَن) and Husayn (حُسَين). She was born five years after Muhammad’s prophethood, in Mecca. Some of her titles are:
- Zahra (زَهراء)
- Batul (بَطول)
- Umm Abiha (أمِّ أَبيها) [i.e. mother of her father]
Descendants of Muhammad Live to This Day
Throughout history, the descendants of Prophet Muhammad have always been oppressed and even killed by the enemies of Islam. Nevertheless, it is an interesting fact that his descendants are the most distinguishable of all other descendants in the world. They are recognized by their honorific titles of:
- Sayyid or Seyyed for men (السَّيِّد)
- Sayyidah or Seyyedeh for women (السَّيِدة)
These titles usually come before their first names. For example, Sayyid Muhammad Hussaini.
The Most Prominent Descendants of Muhammad
The most prominent descendants of Prophet Muhammad from his beloved daughter Fatimah and her husband Imam Ali (the first Imam), are the eleven Imams who succeeded him one after another, namely:
- Imam Hassan (الحَسَن)
- Imam Hussain (الحُسَين)
- Imam Zayn al-Abidin (زَين العابِدين)
- Imam Baqir (الباقِر)
- Imam Sadiq (الصادق)
- Imam Kazim (الکاظِم)
- Imam Rida (الرِضا)
- Imam Jawad (الجَواد)
- Imam Hadi (الهادي)
- Imam Askari (العَسكري)
- Imam Mahdi (المَهدي)
Fatimah’s Family Tree
Kausar: A Stream in Paradise?
Some Muslims believe that Kausar refers to a river or stream in paradise called Kausar that God granted His apostle, through the revelation of this surah. Narrations say that the water of the river is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey.
The argument that is put forward against such a viewpoint is, “If the only example of Kausar is a river, stream, or pool of water, what does the last verse have anything to do with it? Does it mean that by God giving the Prophet a stream in paradise he will no longer be without a line of descent?” This seems very unlikely.
Virtue and Benefits of Reciting Surah Kausar
Many narrations have been reported on the virtue, benefits, and reward of reciting this noble surah of the Quran. For example, a narration quotes the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad [peace be upon him and his progeny] as saying, “Whoever recites surah Kausar, God Almighty will quench his thirst on the Day of Judgment from the streams of paradise and will give him the reward of all the sacrifices that have been made on Eid al-Adha (عيدُ الأَضحیٰ).” 2
Similarly, another hadith states, “Whoever recites this surah after his/her night prayer (صَلوٰةُ الَّيل) a hundred times, by God’s leave, he/she will see the Noble Prophet in his/her dream.” 4
Some Other Benefits of Surah Kausar
Several benefits for reciting this surah have been mentioned, although there seems to be few narrations that confirm them. It is said that reciting this surah has the following additional benefits:
- Reciting it for fulfilling one’s hajat (Arabic: حاجةLatin: ḥājah i.e. need requested from God)
- Reciting it to be blessed with a baby boy
- Reciting it 33 times for success
- Reciting it 129 times in the morning and evening for wealth
- Reciting it 1000 times for protection from enemies
Lessons to Learn from Surah Kausar
Like all surahs in the Quran, many lessons can be learned from surah Kausar. Here are some lessons one can learn by reading and reflecting on this surah:
- God Almighty never abandons His prophet and supports him at all times, especially when he is insulted by his enemies.
- The abundance that was given to Prophet Muhammad was so great that God commanded him to pray to him and sacrifice a camel in celebration of it.
- Lady Fatimah Zahra, the clear example of Kausar and abundance, has such a high station that a whole chapter is revealed in her honor.
- She is such a noble woman that the Prophet’s lineage continues from her.
- The enemies of God and the Prophet will always suffer loss and they are the ones without posterity.
- Ṭabarsī (طَبَرسي), Majma‘ al-Bayān (مَجمَعُ البَيان), vol. 10, p. 836, Asbāb Nuzūl al-Qur’ān (أسبابُ نُزولِ القُرآن), p. 494.
- Jāmi‘ al-Aḥādīth (جامِعُ الأحاديث), vol. 15, p. 131.
- Muntakhab al-Kalām fī Tafsīr al-Aḥkām (مُنتَخَب الكَلام في تَفسير الأحكام), vol. 1, p. 74.
- Rawḍ al-Jinān wa rūḥ al-Jinān (رَوض الجِنان و روحُ الجِنان), vol. 20, p. 421.