Surah Qasas (سورة القصص) is the 28th surah of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the city of Mecca. The surah is named Qasas, meaning story, because many verses of it mention the story of Prophet Moses. In this article on Islam4u, the following topics will be discussed:
Facts About Surah Qasas
|Order of revelation||49|
|No. of verses||88|
|No. of words||1443|
|No. of letters||5933|
Benefits of Reciting Surah Qasas
- Receiving ten times the reward of all those who approved or rejected Moses on the Day of Judgment: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Qasas will receive ten times the reward of all those who approved or rejected Prophet Moses, and on the Day of Judgment, all the angels of the earth and heavens will testify for him that he is truthful and righteous.1
- A cure for all pains: The Noble Prophet has been quoted as saying, “If surah Qasas is written and then washed with water and that water is drunk, all pains and discomforts will be relieved.”2
- Relief for pain in the stomach, liver, and spleen: It has been narrated from Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad that if surah Qasas is written and then worn around the neck of someone who has pain in the stomach, liver, spleen, or any other internal organ, he will feel well.
- For confronting an unjust ruler: It has been said that reciting verses 68-70 of surah Qasas seven times when entering the presence of an unjust ruler and then saying: اللهُ غالبُ أمْرِهِ three times will keep one safe from the evils of that ruler.3
The Gist of Surah Qasas
By revealing surah Qasas, Allah wants to give the promise of victory to those believers who were a minority before migrating from Mecca to Medina and were tolerating the most difficult conditions at the time of the Prophet. Allah showed them His favor and made them victorious over the pharaohs of their time and granted them land to dwell in. Therefore, the surah tells the story of Moses from his birth until his victory over Pharaoh.4
For a detailed story of Prophet Moses and Pharaoh, read the article Moses in the Quran.
Famous Verses of Surah Qasas
There are some famous and well-known verses in surah Qasas. Let us go over them.
Verse 5 of Surah Qasas
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ ﴿٥﴾
And We desired to favor the oppressed people on the earth and appoint them as leaders and inheritors.5
This verse prophesies the rulership of the oppressed people on the earth, at the time of the coming of the Mahdi. Allah says that he will make the oppressed people leaders and inheritors of the earth. Although the context of this verse seems to be about Prophet Moses and how they were oppressed and Allah made them leaders and inheritors, the fact is that this verse is not confined to the time of Moses and is relevant to all times. Ultimately, the truth will prevail over falsehood and everyone will live in peace and comfort.
وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ ۖ فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ وَلَا تَخَافِي وَلَا تَحْزَنِي ۖ إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ إِلَيْكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ ﴿٧﴾
And We inspired the mother of Moses that, “Nurse him and [place him in a box and] put him in the river when you fear for him, and do not fear nor grieve [for him, because] indeed We will give him back to you and We will make him one of [Our] messengers.”6
In this verse, Allah says that He sent waḥy (revelation) on the mother of Moses. This revelation is different from the kind of revelation that prophets receive. In fact, it is an inspiration that any human being can receive from Allah, provided that they are pious and Godwary. In another surah of the Quran, Allah says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
Indeed, those who said “Our Lord is God” then exercised patience, the angels descend on them [giving good news], “Do not fear nor grieve; and enjoy the heaven which you were promised.”7
From the above verse, we understand that angels can descend on any God-fearing individual who is steadfast in his religion. Therefore, it is not strange that Allah reveals to or inspires the mother of Moses.
فَسَقَىٰ لَهُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلَّىٰ إِلَى الظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ ﴿٢٤﴾
So he watered [their sheep] for them. Then, he returned to the shade and said, “O My Lord! Indeed, I need any goodness you send down to me.”8
When Prophet Moses entered the city of Midian, he was tired, hungry, and thirsty. He saw two women standing aside while a group of people watered their sheep. He asked them what their business was. They answered, “We do not water our sheep until the other people are gone.” This was due to their chastity and modesty. Therefore, Moses decided to water their sheep and he did. Afterward, he went to the shade and prayed to his Lord saying that he is in need of any good that he sends down to him. He did not say, “O my Lord, I am hungry give me food or water.” He asked Allah for every good that he sends down to him. That was when one of the two women approached him and said that their father wants to pay him the wage of watering their sheep. That was when Moses got to know Shuaib and married one of his daughters. This prayer and supplication of Prophet Moses became very famous and Muslims say this prayer for different needs.
Verse 59 of Surah Qasas
وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ مُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ يَبْعَثَ فِي أُمِّهَا رَسُولًا يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ وَمَا كُنَّا مُهْلِكِي الْقُرَىٰ إِلَّا وَأَهْلُهَا ظَالِمُونَ ﴿٥٩﴾
Your Lord never destroyed a town unless He sent a messenger to its center to recite Our signs to them [that they may learn their duty and avoid breaking Divine laws]. We only destroyed a town [when] its dwellers were wrongdoers [and they did not accept to give up sin, corruption, and disobedience].9
It is Allah’s course of action that He does not punish the people of a city unless He has sent a messenger to explain the laws of religion to its inhabitants. Then the verse says that Allah punished the wrongdoers who disobeyed the messenger that was sent to them. For example, Allah punished the people of Prophet Noah, the tribe of ‘Ād, the tribe of Thamūd, and the people of Prophet Shuaib after their prophets informed them of the signs of Allah and invited them to believe in one God and they refused to believe in them.
Verse 68 of Surah Qasas
وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ ۗ مَا كَانَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٦٨﴾
And Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills. They have no choice [except submission]. He is the exalted, and [He is] above what they ascribe [to Him].10
From this verse, we understand that Allah has absolute power over His creation. Allah is the one who legislates. Moreover, Allah chooses the divine leader, not the people. Whoever accepts man-made laws vis-à-vis divine laws has ascribed partners to Allah. Furthermore, because there is no deity except Him, all praise belongs to Him. Finally, creation and selection is Allah’s job, but He does not do anything in vain.11
Verse 83 of Surah Qasas
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿٨٣﴾
This is the Abode of the Hereafter, Which We gave to those who do not seek superiority on the earth nor do they corrupt. And [you should know that] the pious will have [the best] end.12
That which causes the deprivation of the human being in the hereafter is in fact these two sins, that is, seeking superiority (arrogance), and causing corruption on the earth. These two are the combination of all sins. As a result, the verse ends by saying that the [good] end or fate belongs to the Godwary who will be victorious in the life of this world as well as in the hereafter.
Verse 88 of Surah Qasas
وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿٨٨﴾
And do not invoke any god along with God. There is no god, but Him. All things will be destroyed except His face. Judgment belongs to Him, and you will be returned to Him.13
Once again, Allah tells us not to ascribe any partners, this time by saying that we must not invoke any god along with Allah. Does that mean if we invoke the Prophet and his household we have done shirk? The answer is no. Allah in this verse is saying that we must not invoke any “god” besides Him, not that we should not invoke someone who is close to Allah as a means to fulfill our wishes. There are certain verses in the Quran that approve the issue of tawassul (تَوَسُّل) to the Prophet and his household. For example, verse five of surah Munafiqun proves that the Prophet could be a means for asking for forgiveness for our sins:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا يَسْتَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ لَوَّوْا رُءُوسَهُمْ وَرَأَيْتَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ ﴿٥﴾
When they are told, “Come that the messenger of God, pray [to God] for your forgiveness, they [refuse and] twist their heads, and you see them turning away arrogantly.”14
One more thing that deserves attention in verse 88 of surah Qasas is that what the verse means by Allah’s face is not a physical face. Rather, it is a metaphor for stating Allah’s existence. Therefore, we could say that the verse means, everything will perish except Allah’s existence and essence.
Surah Qasas is a surah that mostly tells the story of Prophet Moses and how the oppressed ones on earth were able to defeat the oppressors. As Allah has said in different surahs of the Quran, Allah will assist all those who rely on and trust in Him. It is hoped that by reciting this surah and acting upon its teachings, we will prepare the ground for the coming of the Mahdi.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 7, p. 412.
- Tafseer al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 199.
- Khawāṣ al-Qur’ān wa Fawā’idih, p. 72.
- Al-Mīzān, 1390 AH, vol. 16, p. 6.
- Quran 28:5 (Foroutan).
- Quran 28:7 (Foroutan).
- Quran 41:30 (Foroutan).
- Quran 28:24 (Foroutan).
- Quran 28:59 (Foroutan).
- Quran 28:68 (Foroutan).
- Tafseer Nūr, vol. 7, p. 87.
- Quran 28:83 (Foroutan).
- Quran 28:88 (Foroutan).
- Quran 63:5 (Foroutan).