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Sura Ghafir

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This article is an introduction to the Sura Ghafir; to read its text see text:Sura Ghafir.
Sura Ghafir
al-Zumar← →Fussilat
سوره غافر.jpg
Sura Number 40
Juz' 24
Revelation Number 50
Makki/Madani Makki
Verse Count 85
Word Count 1228
Letter Count 5109

Sūra Ghāfir (Arabic: سورة غافر) is the 40th sura of the Qur'an and a Makki sura located in juz' 24. Sura Ghafir is also called Sura al-Mu'min (Arabic: سُورَةُ المُؤْمِن), because it speaks about the Believer of Pharaoh's People (Mu'min Al Fir'awn). The main theme of this sura is invalidating disbelievers' struggle to eliminate the truth (the Qur'an). In this sura, the story of Prophet Moses (a) and Pharaoh is also mentioned and it speaks about the signs proving the Unity of God and the falsehood of polytheism.

One of the famous verses of this sura is verse 60, in which, God tells His servants to call Him so that He answers them[1]. In books of exegesis, the interpretation of this verse includes many hadiths about the importance of supplication and its superiority over worship. These hadiths also speak about the obstacles of the fulfillment of supplications. In a hadith from the Prophet (s), it is mentioned about the merit of reciting Sura Ghafir that if a person recites this sura, he will not become hopeless on the Judgment Day.


This sura is called "Ghafir" because it is mentioned in the third verse.[2] "Ghafir" is one of the names of God and means "the Forgiver from punishment".[3] Sura Ghafir is also called "Sura al-Mu'min" because it mentions the story of the Believer of Pharaoh's People.[4] Two other names are mentioned for this sura: "Ha'-mim al-Ula" (حم الأولی) and "Tawl" (طَوْل).[5]

Place and Order of Revelation

Sura Ghafir is a Makki sura. It was the 60th sura revealed to the Prophet (s).[6] It is the 40th sura in the current order of the Qur'an located in juz' 24.[7]

Number of Verses and Other Features

Sura Ghafir has 85 verses, 1228 words and 5109 letters. This sura is among Mathani suras.[8]


According to Tafsir al-Mizan, the central idea in this sura is invalidating the struggle of unbelievers for eliminating the truth (the Qur'an) revealed upon them. Thus, God reminds them the promised punishments.[9] Discussions in this sura can be summarized in five parts:

  • The early verses of this sura attract attention toward God and some of His Beautiful Names;
  • Warning unbelievers about punishments in this world and in the hereafter;
  • Signs of proving the Unity of God and the falsehood of polytheism;
Content of Sura Ghafir[11]
Warning denier of divine signs
First topic: verses 1-20
Types of humans regarding the signs of God and their destinies
Second topic: verses 21-50
Failure of the followers of Pharaoh who rejected the signs of God
Third topic: verses 51-60
Failure of arrogant deniers before the Prophet of Islam (s)
Fourth topic: verses 61-85
Warning deniers about the signs of the Unity of God
First point: verses 1-3
Truth of the teachings of the Qur'an
First point: verses 21-22
Powerlessness of unbelievers against divine punishment
First point: verses 55-56
Promise to the Prophet's (a) victory over arrogant deniers
First point: verses 61-68
Signs of the Unity of God in management of the world
Second point: verses 4-6
Unbelievers' criticism about the signs of God
Second point: verses 23-27
Opposition of the followers of Pharaoh with the invitation of Moses (a)
Second point: verses 57-58
God's power to punish arrogant unbelievers
Second point: verses 69-78
The punishment for denying the signs of the Unity of God
Third point: verses 7-9
Believers' encounter with signs of God and their rewards
Third point: verses 28-37
Opposition of the followers of Pharaoh with the arguments of Mu'min Al Fir'awn
Third point: verses 59-60
Definitude of the punishment of arrogant unbelievers
Third point: verses 79-81
Undeniability of the signs of God in the creation of cattle
Fourth point: verses 10-12
Polytheists' encounter with signs of God and their punishments
Fourth point: verses 38-44
Bringing arguments by Mu'min Al Fir'awn
Fourth point: verses 82-83
Destruction of the unbelievers of previous nations
Fifth point: verses 13-20
Servitude of One God, the only way of salvation
Fifth point: verses 45-50
The followers of Pharaoh's punishment in the hereafter
Fifth point: verses 84-85
Fruitlessness of polytheists' faith after meeting the punishment

Famous Verses

Verse 60

In Tafsir-i nimuna, the commentary of this verse includes hadiths about the importance of supplication (Dua') and the conditions of its fulfillment. About the importance of supplication, it is mentioned that the supplication is an act of worship and a person who is occupied with reciting supplications is better than the person who is occupied with the worship. Also, it is mentioned in these hadiths that there are positions before God, reaching which is only possible through supplication; and that, supplication is better than reciting the Qur'an.[12]

About the conditions of the fulfillment of supplications, it is mentioned that the supplication of four groups of people will not be answered:

  1. A person who is sitting at home and says, "O God, give me provisions!"
  2. A man who is upset of his wife and prays to get rid of her (he will be told [from the Divine], "do not you have the right to divorce her?")
  3. A person who wastes his properties and then says, "O God, give me provisions!"
  4. A person who has lent something to someone without taking someone as witness [and then the receiver denies it]. The giver will be told [from the Divine], "did not I order you to take someone as witness upon lending?"[13]

The Believer of Pharaoh's people (Mu'min Al Fir'awn)

Verses 28 to 45 of Sura Ghafir tell the story of the believer of Pharaoh's people. He was the cousin and treasurer of Pharaoh who hid his faith from Pharaoh for a long time.[14] When Pharaoh became suspicious about him, he practiced taqiyya and hid his faith through Tawriyah and saved his life.[15] During the public invitation of Prophet Moses (a), when the magicians believed in Moses (a), the believer of Pharaoh's people too disclosed his faith and was killed by Pharaoh the same as the magicians. While his hands and fingers had become numb on the cross, he pointed to his people and said,

                                                            "Follow me, so that I guide you to the path of rectitude and perfection."[16]

Merits and Benefits

It is transmitted from the Prophet (s) that a person who recites Sura Ghafir, will not become hopeless on the Judgment Day and will be among those who fear God in this world. Also, if someone writes this sura and hangs it on the wall of a garden, that garden will become green and fruitful and if someone writes it and installs in his shop, his business will become prosperous.[17] In another hadith from the noble Prophet (s), it is mentioned that if someone wishes to walk in the gardens of the paradise, he should recite suras beginning with "Ha'-mim" (حم)[Note 1] in his night prayer.[18]

Stories and Historical Reports

  • Mission of Moses (a): Inviting Pharaoh, Haman and Korah; Moses' (a) accusation of magic; order to kill the believers
  • Story of the Believer of Pharaoh's people: Decision of Pharaoh to kill Moses (a), the answer of the Believer of Pharaoh's people to Pharaoh and warning him about suffering the same destiny of the people of Noah (a), 'Ad and Thamud, warning about opposing the signs of God, Pharaoh's order to Haman for building a tall tower to see God, the invitation of the Believer of Pharaoh's people toward faith and following the Prophets (a)
  • Revelation of the book to Moses (a) in verses (23 – 54)


  1. Your Lord has said, ‘Call Me, and I will hear you!’
  2. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 5.
  3. Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Mufradāt Alfāẓ al-Qurʾān, p. 609.
  4. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 5.
  5. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1249.
  6. Maʿrifat, ʿUlūm-i Qurʾānī, p. 167.
  7. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1249.
  8. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1249.
  9. Ṭabaṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 480.
  10. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 4.
  11. Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
  12. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 147.
  13. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 150.
  14. Maḥallātī, Rayāḥīn al-sharīʿa, vol. 5, p. 153.
  15. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 75, p. 402.
  16. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 75, p. 402; Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 258.
  17. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 741.
  18. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 21, p. 224.
  1. There are seven suras which start with "Ha'-mim" (written "حم" in the Qur'an, but pronounced "حاء میم"). These are the 40th to 46th suras of the Qur'an that sequentially are Ghafir, Fussilat, al-Shura, al-Zukhruf, al-Dukhan, al-Jathiya and al-Ahqaf.
  2. The people of Noah denied before them and the [heathen] factions [who came] after them. Every nation attempted to lay hands on their apostle, and disputed erroneously to refute the truth. Then I seized them; so how was My retribution?! (Qur'an 40:5)


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