Sura al-Mu'minun

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Mu'minun; to read its text see text:Sura al-Mu'minun.
Sura al-Mu'minun
Sura Number23
Revelation Number74
Verse Count118
Word Count1055
Letter Count4486\

Sūra al-Muʾminūn (Arabic: سورة المؤمنون) is the 23rd sura and a Makki sura of the Qur'an, located in the 18th juz' thereof. It is called "Sura al-Mu'minun" (sura of the believers) because of its reference to 15 characteristics of believers. Contents of the sura include refusing from useless works and talks, hasting to do good things, as well as the stories of Moses (a) and Noah (a), the creation of the human being, and resurrection.

Verses 99 and 100 of the sura are its well-known verses according to which unbelievers wish to go back to this world and do righteous actions at the time of their death. As to the virtues of reciting this sura, there is a hadith to the effect that angels give good tidings of peace and comfort in the day of resurrection and achievement of what pleases their eyes when the angel of death comes to them.


The sura is called "Mu'minun" (believers) because it opens with a mention of the salvation of the believers in its first verse ("certainly, the believers have attained salvation"), and then it enumerates fifteen characteristics of believers within 16 verses.[1] Some people name it "Sura Qad Aflah-a" because of the phrase in the first verse.[2]

Order and Place of Revelation

Sura al-Mu'minun is a Makki sura. In the order of revelation, it is the 74th sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the current order of compilation, it is the 23rd sura,[3] located in the 18th juz' of the Qur'an.

Number of Verses and Other Features

Sura al-Mu'minun has 118 verses, 1055 words, and 4486 letters. As to its volume, it counts as an average sura, occupying approximately half juz' of the Qur'an.[4] A significant feature of the sura is its reference to the fate of both believers and unbelievers. Thus, the word, "falah" (salvation) and lack of salvation are used in the opening and the ending verses of the sura to refer respectively to the fate of believers and unbelievers.[5]


According to Allama Tabataba'i, the main themes of Sura al-Mu'minun include the belief in God and the day of resurrection, praiseworthy characteristics of believers and vices of unbelievers, God's good tidings to believers and warnings to unbelievers, and catastrophes sent down on past nations from the period of Noah (a) to that of Jesus (a).[6]

According to Tafsir-i Nimuna, Sura al-Mu'minun contains doctrinal and practical lessons, alerts, and the course of a believer's life from the beginning to the end. In this Quranic exegesis, topics of the sura are summarized within some sections:

  • Praiseworthy characteristics of believers in 16 verses (verses 1-11 and verses 57-61);
  • Reference to assorted signs of God, and His signs in horizons and in people's souls;
  • Intense and overwhelming warnings to the arrogant;
  • Issues concerning the resurrection;
  • God's rule over the world;
  • The resurrection, reckoning, requital, awards of good-doers, and punishments of wrongdoers;
  • The goal of the creation of human beings.[7]
Content of Sura al-Mu'minun[8]
Salvation of the faithful and the destruction of polytheists
First speech: verses 1-22
salvation of the faithful in the afterlife
Second speech: verses 23-51
Salvation of the faithful and the destruction of polytheists in this world
Third speech: verses 52-98
Misguidedness and deviation of polytheists as a ground for their destruction
Fourth speech: verses 99-117
Destruction and misery of polytheists in the afterlife
Conclusion: verse 118
Asking for God's mercy and forgiveness
First subject-matter: verses 1-11
Moral and behavioral characteristics of the believers
First subject-matter: verses 23-30
Salvation of the followers of Noah and destruction of his enemies
First subject-matter: verses 52-54
Deviation of polytheists from monotheism
First subject-matter: verses 99-100
The regret of polytheists at the time of death
Second subject-matter: verses 12-22
The necessity of believing in the director of the world
Second subject-matter: verses 31-41
Salvation of Salih and destruction of the people of Thamud
Second subject-matter: verses 55-62
The wealth of polytheists is no indication that they are supported by God
Second subject-matter: verses 101-104
The quality of afterlife punishments of polytheists
Third subject-matter: verses 42-44
Destruction of unbelievers from other nations
Third subject-matter: verses 63-67
Punishment of affluent unbelievers because of their disregard for divine rulings
Third subject-matter: verses 105-117
God's reprehensions of polytheists after the resurrection
Fourth subject-matter: verses 45-49
Salvation of the followers of Moses and destruction of the followers of Pharaoh
Fourth subject-matter: verses 68-74
Punishment of unbelievers for their obstinacy towards the Prophet
Fifth subject-matter: verse 50
God's assistance of Jesus and his mother
Fifth subject-matter: verses 75-77
Unbelievers never come to their senses by divine punishments
Sixth subject-matter: verse 51
God's grace for all prophets
Sixth subject-matter: verses 78-90
Misguidedness of polytheists because of their denial of the resurrection
Seventh subject-matter: verses 91-92
Wrongness of polytheism
Eighth subject-matter: verses 93-98
The Prophet taking refuge to God in order not to have the same fate as that of polytheists

Historical Narratives and Stories

  • Noah's mission, the command for the construction of the ark, gathering all animals inside the ship, the storm, and destruction of the unjust (Verses 23-29)
  • Salih's mission, him being denied by his people, and the punishment being sent down on them (Verses 31-41)
  • The mission of Moses (a) and Aaron (a), their invitation of the Pharaoh to the right path, Moses being denied, and the destruction of the followers of the Pharaoh. (Verses 45-49)
  • Mary (a) and Jesus as signs of God (Verse 50)

Occasions of Revelations of Certain Verses

There are occasions of revelations for two verses of the sura: 2 and 76.

Humbleness during the Prayer

According to some hadiths, the Prophet (s) used to stare at the sky when saying his prayers, until the second verse of Sura al-Mu'minun was revealed: "those who are humble in their prayers" at which point he stared at the ground.[9]

Starvation as a Result of Impiety

Ibn 'Abbas is quoted as saying that Muslims had captivated a person called Thumama b. Uthal, and then took him to the Prophet (s) and he converted to Islam. Upon his emancipation, he returned to Yemen and robbed Meccan caravans of grocery, which led to starvation of the Quraysh to the point that they had to eat "'ilhaz" (a mixture of the camel's wool and blood). Abu Sufyan went to the Prophet (s) and said, "O Muhammad! I swear to God and our kinship! Do you not claim that you are a mercy for the world?" The Prophet (s) said, "yes." Abu Sufyan said, "you have killed our fathers with the sword, and our sons with starvation." In response to Abu Sufyan's claim, the verse 76 of Sura al-Mu'minun, "We have already seized them with punishment, yet they did not humble themselves before their Lord, nor will they entreat [Him for mercy]", was revealed. In this verse, the starvation was attributed to their impiety and arrogance.[10]

Well-Known Verses

Verses 99-100

These verses describe the condition of polytheists and wrongdoers when facing death.[11] Veils disappear from their eyes, and it is as if they see their fate with their own eyes, coming to know the consequences of their behaviors. Thus, they ask God to give them a new life to compensate their wrongdoing. However, laws of creation do not allow anyone to return to this life.[12]

Jurisprudential Verses

Jurists have drawn upon some verses of Sura al-Mu'minun, such as verses 5, 6, 7, 8, and 51, to infer jurisprudential rulings.[13] Ayat al-Ahkam, or jurisprudential verses, are those containing a jurisprudential ruling or those cited in the process of inferring such rulings.[14] These verses concern the observance of humbleness in prayer, covering one's intimate parts, uses of animals being halal, and the obligation of keeping one's promise.

  • Observance of humbleness in prayer
  • Avoidance of vain talk
  • Guarding one's private parts
  • Obligation of keeping one's promises
  • Uses of animals
  • Eating good parts of animals.

Merits and Benefits

As to the virtue of reciting Sura al-Mu'minun, the Prophet (s) is quoted as saying: if one recites this sura, angels will give him good tidings of peace and comfort in the day of resurrection and achievement of what pleases the eye when the angel of death comes to him.[15] Imam al-Sadiq (a) said: if one recites Sura al-Mu'minun, God will end his life with happiness and well-being, and if one constantly recite Sura al-Mu'minun on Fridays, he will reside in the Heaven.[16]


  1. Khurramshāhī, "Sura-yi muʾminūn", p. 1223.
  2. Wāḥidī, Asbāb nuzūl al-Qurān, p. 323.
  3. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 166.
  4. Khurramshāhī, "Sura-yi muʾminūn", p. 1223.
  5. Ṣafawī, "Sura-yi muʾminūn", p. 817.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 15, p. 5.
  7. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 14, p. 191.
  8. 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.
  9. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 7, p. 157; Wāḥidī, Asbāb nuzūl al-Qurān, p. 322.
  10. Wāḥidī, Asbāb nuzūl al-Qurān, p. 324.
  11. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 15, p. 67.
  12. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 14, p. 310-312.
  13. Ardibīlī, Zubdat al-bayān, p. 52-53.
  14. Muʿīnī, "Āyāt al-aḥkām", p. 1.
  15. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 7, p. 175.
  16. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 108-109.


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  • Khurramshāhī, Qawām al-Dīn. "Sura-yi muʾminūn" In Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī, vol. 2. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1371 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm Qurʾān. Markaz-i Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt-i Islāmī, 1371 Sh.
  • Muʿīnī, Muḥsin. "Āyāt al-aḥkām." Taḥqīqāt-i Islāmī (1376 Sh): 1-8.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Thawāb al-aʿmāl wa ʿiqāb al-aʿmāl. Qom: Dār al-Sharīf al-Raḍī, 1406 Sh.
  • Ṣafawī, Salmān. "Sura-yi muʾminūn" In Dānishnāma-yi Muʿāṣir-i Qurʾān-i Karīm. Qom: Intishārāt-i Salmānzāda, 1396 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1390 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Tehran: Nāṣir Khusru, 1372 Sh.
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