Sura al-Insan

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Sura al-Insan
Sura Number76
Revelation Number98
Verse Count31
Word Count243
Letter Count1089\

Sūra al-Insān (Arabic: سورة الإنسان) or Sūra Hal Atā ( سورة هل أتی) or Sūra al-Dahr (سورة الدهر) is the seventy sixth sura of the Qur'an in accordance to the order of its compilation and the ninety sixth sura in the order of revelation. It is a Madani sura of the Qur'an.

According to Shi'a and some Sunni exegetes of the Qur'an, the eighth verse of this sura 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.


  • Naming

This sura 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 fifth verse and verses six through twenty two specify the characteristics of "abrar". Over half of the sura is concerned with the characterization of such people.[1]

  • Place and Order of Revelation

Order: in the order of compilation, it is the seventy sixth sura of the Qur'an, and in the order of revelation, it is the ninety eighth verse of the Qur'an.[2] It is a Madani sura.[3]

  • Number of Verses and Other Features

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

Verses of this sura are short; it counts as a short Qur'anic sura occurring in the middle of the fourth hizb of the twenty ninth juz' of the Qur'an.[4]


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

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

The sura goes on to call the Prophet (s) to be patient. It then issues five 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 sura continues to remind that unbelievers love the hasty life of this world, while they leave a "heavy day" behind them.

The sura 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[5]
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


Characteristics of Righteous

Verses seven to eleven of Sura al-Insan, characterize righteous 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.[6]

Famous Verses

Al-It'am Verse

The verse number eight of Sura al-Insan is known as "al-It'am Verse" (verse of feeding).[7] 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,[8] but they donated their food for iftar (breaking the fast) to a poor, an orphan, and a prisoner, and thus they stayed hungry.[9]

In his book, al-Ghadir, 'Allama Amini has mentioned thirty four 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), lady Fatima (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), and Imam al-Husayn (a). According to Shi'a scholars, eighteen verses of this sura, or the whole sura, are about Ahl al-Bayt (a).[10]

Merits and Benefits

According to a hadith from Prophet Muhammad (s), if a person recites Sura al-Insan, he shall be rewarded the Heaven and Huris.[11]

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.[12]

Imam al-Rida (a) is said to practice reciting Qur'an 1 (Sura al-Fatiha) and Sura al-Insan in the first rak'a of his morning prayer on Mondays and Thursdays, and Qur'an 1 and Qur'an 88 (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.[13]

Some characteristics of the recitation of this sura 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.[14]

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.[15]

External Links


  1. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnama-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1260.
  2. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 168.
  3. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnama-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1260.
  4. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnama-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1260.
  5. 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.
  6. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimuna, vol. 25, p. 351-355.
  7. Daylamī, Irshād al-qulūb, vol. 2, p. 136; Rūḥānīnīyā, Furūgh-i Ghadīr, p. 146.
  8. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimuna, vol. 25, p. 345.
  9. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 4, p. 670.
  10. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimuna, vol. 25, p. 351-355.
  11. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 206.
  12. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 121.
  13. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥdhurh al-faqīh, vol. 1, p. 307-308.
  14. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 543.
  15. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 543.


  • Baḥrānī, Sayyid Hāshim al-. Al-Burhān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muʾassisa-yi Biʿthat. Qom: Biʿthat, 1416 AH.
  • Daylamī, Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad al-. Irshād al-qulūb. Edited by Shahāb al-Dīn al-Marʿashlī. Tehran: Būdhar Jumharī(Muṣtafawī), [n.d].
  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnama-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimuna. Tenth edition.Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1371 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān. Qom: Markaz-i Chāp wa Nashr-i Sazmān-i Tablīghāt-i Islāmī, 1371 Sh.

Rūḥānīnīyā, ʿAbd al-Raḥīm. Furūgh-i Ghadīr. Qom: Mashhūr, 1386 Sh.

  • Ṣadūq, Muhammad b. ʿAlī al-. Man lā yaḥdhurh al-faqīh. second edition. Qom: Daftar-i Nashr-i Islāmī, [n.d].
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Thawāb al-aʿmāl wa ʿiqāb al-aʿmāl. Second edition. Qom: Dār al-Sharīf al-Raḍī, 1406 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Third edition. Tehran: Nāṣir khusru, 1372 Sh.
  • Zamakhsharī, Jār Allāh al-. Al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqāʾiq ghawāmiḍ al-tanzīl wwa ʿuyūn al-aqāwīl. Second edition. Qom: Nashr al-Balāgha, [n.d].