Sura al-Shams

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Shams; to read its text see text:Sura al-Shams.
Sura al-Shams
Sura Number91
Revelation Number26
Word Count54
Letter Count253\

Sura al-Shams (Arabic: الشَمس‎ سورة) is ninety first sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' thirty. It is called al-Shams (the sun) because it begins with an oath to "Shams". It is mentioned that the Prophet (s) used to order his companions to recite this sura.

The main content of this sura are relevant to ethical issues as well as the story of the Prophet Salih (a) and the story of his She-Camel and the people of Thamud.


  • Naming

It is called al-Shams (the sun) because of God's swearing to al-Shams (the sun) in the first verse of this sura:"By the sun and her forenoon splendor" Its other name is Salih's camel, for some part of this sura which is on the Prophet Salih (a) and his people which killed his She-Camel.[1]

  • Place and Order of Revelation

Sura al-Shams is Makki sura of the Qur'an and it is the twenty sixth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the traditional order of the compilation of the Qur'an, Sura al-Shams is the ninety first sura in its thirtieth juz'.[2]

  • Number of Verses and Other Features

Sura al-Shams consists of fifteen verses, fifty four words, and 253 letters. It counts as one of the mufassalat suras of the Qur'an. And it is one of the suras which begin with swearing.[3] This sura has the highest number of oath in Qur'an since the eleven verses of this sura begin with swearing.[4]


This sura emphasizes on self-purifications and introduce the ethical purifications as the way of salvation. At the end of the sura, God has mentioned the story of Prophet Salih (a) and his She-Camel which was killed by the people of Thamud. Then he stated the evil destiny of this people.[5]

Content of Sura al-Shams[6]
Consequences of not purifying the soul
Personal: verses 1-10
Deprivation of salvation
Social: verses 11-15
Corruption and extermination of the society
First topic: verses 1-8
Swearing to opposite natural phenomena and human moods
First topic: verses 11-13
Denying and rebellion of Thamud
Second topic: verses 9-10
Effect of purifying one's soul in his salvation
Second topic: verses 14-15
Annihilation of Thamud
Beginning verses of Sura al-Shams written in Riyhan font by 'Ala' al-Din Tabrizi, dating back to 978/1570-1 in Astan-i Quds-i Radawi library.

A Sura with Eleven Oaths

In the commentaries of Sura al-Shams, it has been said that the number of consecutive oaths at the beginning of this sura which are eleven oaths, is the highest number of oath in the suras of Qur'an and clearly shows that an important message is to be mentioned, a message as great as the skies, the earth, the sun, and the moon.

About the oaths in the Qur'an, it has been said that these oaths are generally for two reasons: firstly, to show the importance of the message for which the oaths are made (such as "purification of soul" in the present sura); and secondly, to show the importance of the things upon which, the oaths are made (such as the sun and the moon in this sura.)[7]

Merits and Benefits

It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that he said, "Whoever recites Sura al-Shams, is like he gave alms as amount as whatever the sun and moon had shined on them".[8]

Moreover, it is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that he said, "Everyone who recites Sura al-Shams, all his body parts will witness in favor of him on the Day of Judgment and God will say that I would accept your witnesses for my servant and would reward him; Accompany him to Heaven till select anything he want and all the blessing of heaven would be tasty for him."[9]

Recitation in Prayers

Recitation of the Sura al-Shams is recommended in the second rak'a of prayer, and according to some sources, in the first rak'a of the Eid al-Fitr prayer and Eid al-Adha.[10] It is also recommended to perform a two rak'a prayer on the day of Dahw al-Ard (Dhu al-Qi'da 25th), and to recite Sura al-Shams five times in every rak'a, after the Sura al-Fatiha (Qur'an 1).[11]

External Links


  1. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  2. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 167.
  3. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  4. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 38.
  5. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  6. 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.
  7. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 38-39.
  8. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 367.
  9. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 123.
  10. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 11, p. 358.
  11. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa, vol. 8, p. 182.


  • Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Wasāʾil al-Shīʿa. Qom: Āl al-Bayt, 1414 AH.
  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. 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-i Qurʾān. [n.p]: Markaz Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt, 1371 Sh.
  • Najafī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Jawāhir al-kalām. Qom: Muʾassisat Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif al-Fiqh al-Islāmī, 1421 AH.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Thawāb al-aʿmāl wa ʿiqāb al-aʿmāl. Edited by Ṣādiq Ḥasanzāda. Tehran: Armaghān-i Ṭūbā, 1382 Sh.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1995.