Sūra al-Qaṣaṣ (Arabic: سورة القصص) is the twenty eighth sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in the twentieth juz' of the Qur'an. It is called "al-Qasas" (stories) because it concerns stories of some prophets, including the stories of the birth of Moses (a), his marriage to Shu'ayb's daughter, Moses's fight against the Pharaoh, the story of Korah, and pretexts of polytheists of Mecca for not believing in the Prophet (s).
One well-known verse of Sura al-Qasas is its verse five concerning the victory of the oppressed and their inheritance of the earth, which is appealed to for Mahdawiyya. As to the virtues of reciting Sura al-Qasas, it is said that if one recites suras of Qur'an 27, Qur'an 26, and al-Qasas on eves of Friday, he will be a friend of God, will stay in His adjacency, and under His protection, and will never suffer any hardships, and in the afterlife, he will be given the Heaven to the degree of his satisfaction or even more.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Content
- 3 Historical Stories and Narrations
- 4 Occasions of Revelations of some Verses
- 5 Well-Known Verses
- 6 Jurisprudential Verses
- 7 Virtues and Effects
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
The sura is called "al-Qasas" (stories) because it narrates the stories of some prophets, particularly Moses (a). In verse twenty five of the sura, the word, "al-qasas," is used to refer to the story of Moses (a) when he lived with Shu'ayb (a). The sura is also called "Sura Musa wa Fra'awn" (the Sura of Moses (a) and the Pharaoh), since the story of their conflicts appears in verses 3-50 of the sura.
- Location and Order of Revelation
Sura al-Qasas is a Makki sura of the Qur'an. In the order of revelation, it is the forty ninth sura revealed to the Prophet (s), and in the present order compilation, it is the twenty eighth sura located in the twentieth juz' of the Qur'an.
- Number of Verses and Other Features
Sura al-Qasas has eighty eight verses, 1443 words, and 5933 letters. With regard to size, it counts as one of the intermediate suras of the Qur'an, which amounts to approximately a half juz' of the Qur'an. Sura al-Qasas is the fourteenth sura that opens with disjoined letters, and since it opens with "ta-sin-mim," and thus it counts as "Tawasin" suras.
'Allama Tabataba'i takes the main theme of the sura to consist in the promise of the victory of believers who were just a small group prior to their migration to Medina, lived in the hardest of situations, and then God had His grace on them by their victory over the Pharaohs of their times and their settlement on the earth. Thus, the sura recounts the story of Moses (a) from birth to his victory over the Pharaoh.
In another part of Sura al-Qasas, the story of Qarun (or Korah) is recounted. He was proud of his knowledge and wealth, and had a fate similar to the Pharaoh's. According to Tafsir-i nimuna, the story of the destruction of the Pharaoh and Qarun in their conflicts with Moses (a) makes it obvious to Muslims of Mecca that the wealthy in Mecca or the powerful polytheists cannot resist God's power to the victory of the impoverished.
Other parts of the sura contain lessons about monotheism and resurrection, the importance of the Qur'an, the situation of polytheists after resurrection, guidance and misguidance, and replies to pretexts of weak-willed people for not believing in the Prophet (s).
Historical Stories and Narrations
- The story of Moses (a) and the Pharaoh: (verses 3-43)
- Moses's upbringing in the Pharaoh's house: the Pharaoh's arrogance and his oppression of people, the birth of Moses (a), him being thrown into water by his mother, him being taken out of water by the Pharaoh's family, the request by the Pharaoh's wife to keep Moses (a), Moses's return to his mother. (verses 4-14)
- Moses's conflict: Moses's role in a quarrel with, and the murder of, his enemy, Moses (a) receiving information that the heads of the nation intend to kill him, Moses's exit from the city. (verses 15-21)
- Moses's escape to Midian: helping Shu'ayb's daughters, dialogue between Moses (a) and Shu'ayb, a suggestion by one of Shu'ayb's daughters to the effect that Moses (a) be employed, Shu'ayb's agreement with Moses (a) concerning his marriage to one of his daughters, Moses (a) working for Shu'ayb for eight years, the end of his term and his return. (verses 22-29)
- Dialogue between Moses (a) and God in Mount Sinai: observation of a fire in Mount Sinai, dialogue between God and Moses (a) in Mount Sinai, the miracle of the transformation of the Staff of Moses (a) into a dragon, the miracle of the Bright Hand, Moses's request from God concerning the accompaniment of Aaron (a), God's promise of the victory of Moses (a) and his followers. (verses 29-35)
- Moses's invitation of the Pharaoh: accusation of magic to Moses (a), the Pharaoh's claim to Godhood, the Pharaoh’s command of constructing a tower to Haman, the Pharaoh’s arrogance, the Pharaoh’s drowning in the sea. (verses 36-42)
- The revelation of the Book to Moses (a) after the destruction of the followers of the Pharaoh. (verse 43)
- The story of Qarun: Qarun's oppression of Moses's people, Qarun's huge wealth, people's advice to Qarun, Qarun's reply to people, Qarun's ornaments among the people, some people's dream of having a wealth equal to that of Qarun, other people's warning that the afterlife is superior, Qarun's suffering by being swallowed by the earth, alertness of those who dreamt of Qarun's wealth. (verses 76-82)
Occasions of Revelations of some Verses
The Guidance is only in the Hand of God
Some Sunni scholars believe that verse fifty six of Sura al-Qasas, "You cannot guide whomever you wish, but [it is] Allah [who] guides whomever He wishes," was revealed during the death of Abu Talib (a) when the Prophet (s) asked him to assert that "there is no god except Allah" so that he could intercede for him before God. However, because of emphases by Abu Jahl and 'Abd Allah b. Abi Umayya, Abu Talib said that he would remain committed to 'Abd al-Muttalib's religion.
Notwithstanding this, in Majma' al-bayan such hadiths have been rejected as invalid, because if as on this view God wanted Abu Talib's disbelief and the Prophet (s) wanted his belief or faith, then there would be a conflict between God's will and the Prophet's will, which is not good for the Prophet of Islam. Moreover, there is a consensus by Ahl al-Bayt (a) that Abu Talib died a believer, although he did not openly express his faith so as to preclude conspiracies and enmities against the Prophet (s) and act as an intermediary for the containment of acts by polytheists.
In other books of Quranic exegesis, the revelation of this verse is said to go back to the Prophet's insistence on his people's belief, particularly his close relatives. These sources reject the revelation of the verse about Abu Talib because there are hadiths according to which he was a believer.
Fear of Displacement as an Obstacle to Believing
Verse fifty seven of Sura al-Qasas, "They say, ‘If we follow the guidance with you, we will be forced out of our territory.’" was allegedly revealed when Harath b. Nufal or 'Uthman b. 'Abd Manaf told the Prophet (s), "we are certain that you are truthful, but if we follow you, then the whole Arab might be unified against you and banish us out of Mecca." It was at this time that the verse was revealed, talking about safety and blessings they were given by God and rejecting their remarks.
God's Good Promise
Verse 61 of Sura al-Qasas, "Is he to whom We have given a good promise, which he will receive, like him whom We have provided the wares of the life of this world," is said to be revealed about 'Ali (a) and Hamza as against Abu Jahl, or about 'Ammar as against al-Walid b. al-Mughira.
Well-known verses of Sura al-Qasas include verse five about inheritors of the earth, verse eighty three about the good fate of the pious, and verse eighty eight about the destruction of everything except God's essence.
Verse 5 (Verse of the Inheritors of the Earth)
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ
And We desired to show favour to those who were abased in the land, and to make them imams, and to make them the heirs,
|— Qur'an 28:5|
This verse is discussed in issues of Mahdawiyya. It is said that although the verse is apparently about the victory of the Children of Israel over the Pharaoh, it in fact expresses a divine tradition throughout the history. Thus, it also includes the Uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a). According to Tafsir-i nimuna, the verse gives all communities the good tidings that the truth will prevail the falsity, and the impoverished will reign. According to a hadith from Imam 'Ali (a), the verse's good tidings are directed at Ahl al-Bayt (a) as well.
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
This is the abode of the Hereafter, which We shall grant to those who do not desire to domineer in the earth nor to cause corruption, and the outcome will be in favour of the Godwary.
|— Qur'an 28:83|
This and its following verse count as morals of the story of Qarun concerning the good fate of the pious, non-arrogant people, and people who do not call others to corruption (worshiping something other than God). The verse implies that humble powerful people can also have good fates.
وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
And do not invoke another god besides Allah; there is no god except Him. Everything is to perish except His Face. All judgement belongs to Him, and to Him you will be brought back.
|— Qur'an 28:88|
The verse is said to imply that everything in this world will be destroyed except what is done for the sake of God, because its reward will never perish. 'Allama Tabataba'i interprets the verse as follows: every being, other than God, is contingent, and although they are created by God, they are nonexistent in their essences, and the only being whose essence does not allow nonexistence or destruction is God, because He is an essentially necessary being.
Verse twenty seven of Sura al-Qasas, "He said, ‘Indeed I desire to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine, on condition that you hire yourself to me for eight years." counts as jurisprudential verses. According to this verse, renting is legitimate. It is also cited to show that the husband's work can also be specified as the woman's mahr.
Virtues and Effects
According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), if one recites suras of al-Naml, al-Shu'ara', and al-Qasas on eves of Fridays, he will be God's friend in the adjacency of His mercy and under His protection, and he will suffer no hardships, and will be given the Heaven to the degree of his satisfaction and even more. In Majma' al-bayan, the Prophet (s) is quoted as saying: "he who recites Sura al-Qasas will be rewarded ten times greater than the number of those who believed in or denied Moses."
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Qasas.|
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