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Sura al-Insan

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Insan; to read its text see text:Sura al-Insan.
Sura al-Insan
al-Qiyama← →al-Mursalat
سوره انسان..jpg
Sura Number 76
Juz' 29
Revelation Number 96
Makki/Madani Madani
Verse Count 31
Word Count 243
Letter Count 1089

Sūra al-Insān (Arabic: سورة الإنسان) or Sūra Hal Atā ( سورة هل أتی) or Sūra al-Dahr (سورة الدهر) is the 76th chapter or Sura of the Qur'an in accordance to the order of its compilation and the 96th chapter in the order of revelation. It is a Madani chapter of the Qur'an.

According to Shi'a and some Sunni exegetes of the Qur'an, the 8th verse of this chapter which is known as al-It'am Verse is a characterization of a virtue of Imam 'Ali (a), Fatima al-Zahra (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a), and their housemaid, Fidda. They fasted for three consecutive days because of their nadhr, but they gave their breakfast (iftar) to a poor person, an orphan, and a prisoner despite their hunger.



This chapter is known as "al-Insan", "Hal Ata", and "al-Dahr". It is also called, "al-Abrar" (Arabic: الأبرار, good people), because the word, "al-abrar", has occurred in its 5th verse and verses 6 through 22 specify the characteristics of "abrar". Over half of the chapter is concerned with the characterization of such people.

Place and Order of Revelation

Order: in the order of compilation, it is the 76th chapter of the Qur'an, and in the order of revelation, it is the 96th verse of the Qur'an. It is a Madani chapter.

Number of Verses and Other Features

Without any disagreements among the exegetes of the Qur'an, this chapter has 31 verses, 243 words, and 1089 letters.

Verses of this chapter are short; it counts as a short Quranic chapter occurring in the middle of the fourth hizb of the 29th juz' of the Quran.


Sura al-Insan begins with the story of the human creation, his tests by God, and his freedom in choosing his path.

The verse 18 of the chapter is concerned with the blessings bestowed by God to human beings on Dooms Day. According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, the chapter aims to count the various blessings bestowed to good people.

The Sura continues to characterize good people as follows: (1) they keep their vows, (2) they fear the day in which there is a widespread divine punishment, (3) although they need their own food, they donate it to the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner, (4) they do this only to satisfy God, without expecting anyone else to appreciate them, and (5) they fear a horrible day. God will reward them with the Heaven, garments, and silk carpets.

The chapter goes on to call the Prophet (s) to be patient. It then issues 5 important orders to the Prophet (s): (1) to be patient in the propagation and execution of divine rulings, (2) not follow the whims of sinners and unbelievers, (3) to remember God in the morning and the evening (in order to have enough power to tolerate huge troubles), (4) to prostrate for God at nights, and (5) to praise the Lord during long nights. The chapter continues to remind that unbelievers love the hasty life of this world, while they leave a "heavy day" behind them.

The chapter ends with a classification of human beings into those who receive the divine mercy, and those for whom God has prepared a painful punishment.

Content of Sura al-Insan[1]
Encouraging people to follow the religion of Allah
First phase; verses 1-3
Innate guidance of man towards the religion of Allah
Second phase; verses 4-22
Reword of following the religion of Allah
Third phase ; verses 23-31
Necessity of following the religion of Allah
First issue; verses 1-2
To equip human with distinguishing means to recognize the right from birth
First issue; verse 4
Other-worldly punishment of unbelievers
First issue; verses 23-26
The Prophet's duty to not follow unbelievers
Second issue; verse 3
Legal and creational guidance toward right
Second issue; verses 5-6
Fountains of Paradise for the righteous
Second issue; verses 27-28
Secularity is the reason of unbelievers to not follow
Third issue; verses 7-11
Characteristics of servants of Allah
Third issue; verses 29-31
Disability of unbelievers to overcome the will of Allah
Forth issue; verses 12-22
Bounty of Paradise for servant of Allah

Al-It'am Verse

Main article: al-It'am Verse

The verse number 8 of Sura al-Insan is known as "al-It'am Verse" (Verse of Feeding). Some exegetes of the Qur'an have taken the verse to be concerned with Ahl al-Bayt (a). According to such exegeses, Imam 'Ali (a), Fatima (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a), and their housemaid, Fidda, fasted for three days, but they donated their food for iftar (breaking the fast) to a poor, an orphan, and a prisoner, and thus they stayed hungry.

In his book, al-Ghadir, 'Allama Amini has mentioned 34 Sunni scholars who have transmitted mutawatir hadiths according to which this verse is concerned with Ahl al-Bayt (a) and counts as an important virtue of Imam 'Ali (a), Fatima (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), and Imam al-Husayn (a). According to Shi'a scholars, 18 verses of this Quranic chapter, or the whole chapter, are about Ahl al-Bayt (a).

Virtues and Characteristics

According to a hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (s), if a person recites Sura al-Insan, he shall be rewarded the Heaven and Huris.

There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) according to which, if a person recites this Sura, he shall be a companion of the Prophet (s) in the Afterlife.

Imam al-Rida (a) is said to practice reciting Sura al-Hamd and Sura al-Insan in the first rak'a of his morning prayer on Mondays and Thursdays, and Sura al-Hamad and Sura al-Ghashiya in the second rak'a thereof. He said: "if a person performs his morning prayer in this manner on Mondays and Thursdays, God will secure him from evils in these two days.

Some characteristics of the recitation of this Quranic chapter are cited in Tafsir al-burhan.

According to a hadith from the Prophet (s): if a person frequently recites Sura al-Insan, he will have a strong spirit.

And according to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the recitation of Sura al-Insan will strengthen one's spirit and nerves and will keep anxieties away.


  1. 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.