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Surat Al- Kafiroon. The Disbelievers. قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ (1)

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surat al kafiroon

Surat Al-Kafiroon

The Disbelievers


قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ (1)

  • 1. Say (O Muhammad () to these Mushrikunand Kafirun): "O Al-Kafirun(disbelievers in Allah, in His Oneness, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar, etc.)!

لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ (2)

  • 2. "I worship not that which you worship.

وَلَا أَنْتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ (3)

  • 3. "Nor will you worship that which I worship.

وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَا عَبَدْتُمْ (4)

  • 4. "And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.

وَلَا أَنْتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ (5)

  • 5. "Nor will you worship that which I worship.

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ (6)

  • 6. "To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islamic Monotheism)."

Its names:

    • Surat Al-Kafiroon: Because it started with a verse contains this word.

2) Suratقل يا أيها الكافرون: Because it started with this verse.


Its virtues:

    • It is recited During Al-Witr prayer:

Abdul-Aziz bin Juraij said: “I asked Aishah () about what (recitation) Allah’s Messenger () would perform Al-Witr with? She said: ‘In the first Rak’ah he would recite: سبح اسم ربك الأعلى, in the second Rak’ah:قل يا أيها الكافرون !, and in the third Rak’ah: قل هو الله أحد ، والمعوذتين.” (At-Termidhi 463)


2) It is recited in the two Rak’ah before Salat Al-Fajr (The obligatory prayer):

Ibn ‘Umar () narrated: “I watched the Prophet  for a month. In the two Rak’ah before Fajr prayer he would recite: “قل يا أيها الكافرون!” and: “قل هو الله أحد”. (Hasan). (At-Termidhi 417)


3) It equals a fourth of Al-Qur’an:

Abdullah bin Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah  said:قل هو الله أحد

equals third of the Qur’an, قل يا أيها الكافرون equals fourth of the Qur’an.” (Sahih At-Targheeb 1477)


4) It is recited During the Two Rak’ah (After)


Ibin ‘Abdullah narrated: “During the two Rak’ah of Tawaf, the Messenger of Allah  recited the two Sura of Al- Ikhlas, قل هو الله أحدand: قل يا أيها الكافرون.” (Sahih) (An-Nasa’I 2936).


5) It is recited before going to sleep:

Narrated Farwah Bin Nawfal () that he came to the Prophet () and said: “O Messenger of Allah, teach me something that I may say when I go to my bed.” So he said: ‘Recite:

قل يا أيها الكافرونFor verily it is a disavowal (dissociation) of Shirk.’ (At-Termidhi 3403)


The reason of its revelation:

  • There is no correct narration about it, but as Al-Albani said: its meaning is correct and the weak narrations strengthen each other, and it comes with the apparent meaning of the Qur'an.
  • IbnHatem said: that IbnAbbas said: "Quraish tried to give the Prophet  money to be one of the richest men in Makkah, and they tried to offer him any woman he wants to marry → all of that to stop abusing their idols. Then they said: ‘if you refuse, then: You worship our idols one year and we will worship your God one year.”
  • The Prophet  said: “I will wait the answer from my Lord” → Allah  revealed this Sura.

In another narration: Three men from Quraish met the Prophet  and said: "O Mohammad, come and worship what we worship, and we will worship what you worship. So, if what you have brought (of the message) is better → we will have a share of it, and if what we have is better than yours → you will have a share of it.”

→ Allah  revealed :قل يا أيها الكافرون


The theme of Surat Al-Kafiroon:

  • The affirmation of the oneness of Allah  (At-Tawhid) and to purify the acts for Allah's  sake, and the negation of the shirk and all its acts.
  • The relation between Surat Al-Kafiroon and its theme:
  • In Surat Al-Kafiroon there is a bargaining clip between Muslims and the holders of the other religions. It differentiates between the acts of worship in Islam and the acts of worship in other religions.

→ Islam abolished (abrogated) all other religions.


The reason of its beginning:

  • This Sura demarcates between the faith and kofr, between believers and disbelievers.

When the disbelievers asked the prophet  to worship their idols one year and they will worship Allah one year.

→ this Sura came to cut off all their covetousness forever.


The relation between the beginning of Surat Al-Kafiroon and its end:

  • The beginning of Surat Al-Kafiroon is intensive (severe calling) (calling with Al-Kafiroon, repeating verses), and the end of the Sura is intensive also: لكم دينكم ولي دين

→ With gathering this beginning and end:

There is an exaggerated warning from shirk, but if you don't accept that → so leave me with my religion.


The relation between the beginning of Surat Al-Kafiroon and the end of Surat Al-Kawther (the previous Sura):

  • In Surat Al-Kafiroon: The order is to purify acts of worship to Allah  .
  • In the end of Surat Al-Kawther: إن شانئك هو الأبتر: most of the people who hate the Prophet  are from Quraish → That’s why: Allah  ordered His Prophet  to announce the dissociation from other than Allah  and to cut off their wishes in worshiping their idols.

The relation between the parts of Surat Al-Kafiroon and its theme:

  • Allah  ordered His Prophet in Surat Al-Kafiroon to: announce that he is not worshipping what the disbelievers worship, and he will never do. This Sura showed us that the people are of two categories:
    • Believers
    • Disbelievers

→ (Believers): This Sura ordered the Prophet  (our model) to announce to the disbelievers that he didn't worship what Quraish worshiped nor he will do in the future.

→ (Disbelievers): This Sura ordered the Prophet  to announce the dissociation from what Quraish worship, and the differentiation between their religion and his religion.


The relation between its parts:

  • There is a repetition in the verses, to emphasize the concept, to cut off all the covetousness of the disbelievers that the Prophet  could accept them to worship their idols.

The relation between the beginning of Surat Al-Kafiroon and the beginning of Al-Kawther (the previous Sura):

  • In Surat Al-Kawthar: Allah  gave a glad tiding to His Prophet  as a believer obeying Allah . Allah  also informed him that there are who hate him from Quraish.
  • In Surat Al-Kafiroon: Allah  ordered His Prophet  to announce his dissociation from what the disbelievers worship.

→ In Surat Al-Kawther: Allah  talked about believers and disbelievers.

→ in Surat Al-Kafiroon: Allah  talked about the religion of the believers and the disbelievers.


The general explanation of Surat Al-Kafiroon:

  • Quraish didn't deny the existence of Allah  but they didn't know Him in the way that He attributed Himself with, so they were setting up partners with Him.

They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him, they worshipped idols, claimed that angels are Allah's daughters and they have invented a kinship between Him and the jinn, Allah  said in SuratAz-Zumar: (39:3):

“وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَى “

3. And those who take Auliya' (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): "We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah."

** they confessed that there is Allah who had created heavens and earth ( :61 العنكبوت)

وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ (61)

61. If you were to ask them: "Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon?" They will surely reply: "Allah." How then are they deviating (as polytheists and disbelievers)?

And they also were swearing by saying: (وتاالله، وبالله، والله).

They thought that they were in the same religion of Ibrahim , and they claimed that they were better than the people of the scripture (Jews and Christians).


When the Prophet  came, they argued with him that they were in the same religion of Ibrahim  and there was no need to change. Then when they saw the Prophet  is firm, they tried to have a middle solution. To worship Allah  with the prophet one year, and the Prophet  then worship their idols with them one year.

→ Allah  revealed this Sura to cut off all their covetousness and to emphasize that this thing didn’t happen and it will never happen.


قل : Allah  ordered His prophet  to say to them Surat Al-Kafiroon. This is a guidance for us to know that Al-Tawhid is coming from Allah . not from the Prophet  .(devine order)

  • يا أيها الكافرون: Allah  called them with their real attribute, they are disbelievers and there is a big difference between faith and kofr.
  • لا أعبد ما تعبدون: My worship is different from yours and my God is different from yours.
  • ولا أنتم عابدون ما أعبد: your worship is different from mine, and your god is different from my God.

ولا أنا عابد ما عبدتم ، ولا أنتم عابدون ما أعبد: the scholars have four opinions regarding this:

1) I do not go along with it or follow it. I only worship Allah in the manner that He loves and is pleased with.

2) I'm not worshipping your idols now, and I will never do. → لا أعبد ما تعبدون(now), ولا أنا عابد ما عبدتم (in the future).

3) It's a kind of repetition to emphasize the meaning.

4) لا أعبد ما تعبدون: it's a sentence in the verb form which indicates a negation.

ولا أنا عابد ما عبدتم: it's a sentence in the noun form which indicates the negation.

→ The negation in the noun sentence is more confirmed(assured, certain).

the meaning is: to negate shirk and to negate the probability of its occurrence.

  • لكم دينكم ولي دين: I'm here, and you (disbelievers) are there, we will never meet in the same way, because there is just a one way to Allah, Al-Tawhid.

Lessons from Surat Al-Kafiroon:

1) This is a good methodology for the one who invites to Allah  especially if he invites people who knew the correct doctrine then they deviated. The person who invites them to Allah should not agree with their right part however he should try to fix the wrong part. No, the doctrine of ignorance is totally wrong, and Islam is totally right, the difference between them is too big. → The solution is: to leave the wrong doctrines and to enter Islam in all its aspects.

There is no half solutions, no patching and no flattering لكم دينكم ولي دين.

→ calling to Allah  : needs to believe in all what he is calling to. ”Islam is clear.“

2) لكم دينكم ولي دين: The correct religion is Islam, and all other religions are false (all nations of kofr is one). Muslims worship Allah  alone, but all other religions worship other things like: Idols, Rivals, Intercessors, Angels, Planets … etc. but the only accepted religion is Islamآل عمران( 3:19): ( إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ )

19. Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.


3) لكم دينكم ولي دين: is entirely clear and wasn't abrogated with other verses, the same as in (yunus 10: 41) :

( وَإِنْ كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُلْ لِي عَمَلِي وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنْتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّا أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَا بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ (41

41. And if they belie you, say: "For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do!"

because لكم دينكم ولي دين: has a meaning of threatening, not accepting other's religion.

4) Surat Al-Iklas and Surat Al-Kafiroon are gathered in many prayers, though we have to:

A- Consider them carefully.

B- Know that In Surat Al-Iklas: verbal Tawhid, and in Surat Al-Kafiroon: practical Tawhid. Muslim should apply both kinds.

C- Know that the negation in Surat Al-Kafiroon=لا إله, and the affirmation is in Surat Al-Iklas=إلا الله.

5) Allah  call the disbelievers as (الكافرون) explicitly. But now a days some people feel ashamed of calling them with this word → so they call them (the other).