Surah Kafirun >> Currently viewing Surah Kafirun Ayat 1 (109:1)

Surah Kafirun Ayat 1 in Arabic Text

قُلْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ
Qul yaaa-ayyuhal kaafiroon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 1

Sahih International
Say, “O disbelievers,

Yusuf Ali
Say: O ye that reject Faith!

Abul Ala Maududi
Say: “O unbelievers!”

Muhsin Khan
Say (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to these Mushrikun and 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.)!

Pickthall
Say: O disbelievers!

Dr. Ghali
Say, “O you disbelievers,

Abdel Haleem
Say [Prophet], ‘Disbelievers:

Quran 109 Verse 1 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Kafirun ayat 1, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(109:1) Say: “O unbelievers!”[1]


1. A few points in this verse are particularly noteworthy:

(1) Although the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been commanded to tell this to the disbelievers plainly, the theme that follows makes it explicit that every believer should tell the disbelievers plainly what has been said in the following verses; so much so that the person who has just believed and repented of kufr is also bound to express similarly his disgust with and disapproval of the creed and rites of worship and gods of kufr. Thus, though the first addressee of the word qul (say) is the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, the command is not restricted to him alone but it reaches every believer through him.

(2) The word kafir is no abuse, which might have been used for the addressees of this verse, but it implies the one who refuses to believe or is an unbeliever. As against it the word mumin is used for the believer. Therefore, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying, by Allah’s command, O disbelievers… in fact, means: O you, who have refused to believe in my apostleship and in the teachings brought by me. Likewise, when a believer uses this word, it will imply those who do not believe in the Prophet Muhmmad (peace be upon him).

(3) The word used is O kafirs and not O mushriks; therefore, the addressees are not only the mushriks but all those people who do not acknowledge Muhammad (peace be upon him) as Allah’s Messenger and the teachings and guidance brought by him as the teaching and guidance given by Allah Himself, whether they be Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians or the disbelievers, polytheists and pagans of the entire world. There is no reason why this address be restricted to the pagans of Quraish or of Arabia only.

(4) To address the deniers with the word O kafirs is just like addressing certain people as O enemies, or O opponents. Such an address is not, in fact, directed to the person of the addressee but it is made on the basis of their characteristic of enmity and opposition, and lasts only until they are so characterized. If one of them gives up enmity and opposition, or turns a friend and supporter, he no longer remains the addressee of this word. Likewise, the address of O kafirs to the people also is in view of their characteristic of kufr and not their person. This address would be perpetual for him who continues to be a kafir till death, but the one who believes will no longer be its addressee.

(5) Many scholars from among the commentators have expressed the opinion that in this Surah the address of O disbelievers applied only to a few persons of Quraish, who were visiting the Prophet (peace be upon him) with proposals of compromise regarding religion and about whom Allah had informed His Messenger (peace be upon him) that they would not believe. They have formed this opinion for two reasons. First, that it is followed by La a budu ma ta budun: I do not worship him or those whom you worship. They say that this does not apply to the Jews and Christians, for they worship Allah. Second, that this is also followed by: wala antum abiduna ma aabud: Nor are you worshippers of Him Whom I worship. Their reasoning is that this statement does not apply to the people who at the revelation of this Surah were disbelievers but later believed. Both these arguments are incorrect. As for these verses, their explanation that follows will show that they do not bear the meaning which has been understood from them. Here, to point out the error of the reasoning it would be enough to say that if the addressees of this Surah were only these people, why then does this Surah still continue to be recited when they are dead and gone from the world long long ago? And what was the need of making this Surah a part of the Quran permanently so that the Muslims should continue to read it for ever afterwards?

Ibn-Kathir

1. Say: “O disbelievers!” 2. “I worship not that which you worship.” 3. “Nor will you worship whom I worship. 4. “And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.” 5. “Nor will you worship that which I worship. 6. “To you be your religion, and to me my religion.


The Declaration of Innocence from Shirk

This Surah is the Surah of disavowal from the deeds of the idolators. It commands a complete disavowal of that. Allah’s statement,

﴿قُلْ يأَيُّهَا الْكَـفِرُونَ ﴾

(Say: “O disbelievers!”) includes every disbeliever on the face of the earth, however, this statement is particularly directed towards the disbelievers of the Quraysh. It has been said that in their ignorance they invited the Messenger of Allah to worship their idols for a year and they would (in turn) worship his God for a year. Therefore, Allah revealed this Surah and in it

He commanded His Messenger to disavow himself from their religion completely

Allah said,

﴿لاَ أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ ﴾

(I worship not that which you worship.) meaning, statues and rival gods.

﴿وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ ﴾

(Nor will you worship whom I worship.) and He is Allah Alone, Who has no partner. So the word Ma (what) here means Man (who). Then Allah says,

﴿وَلاَ أَنَآ عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ ﴾

(And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. Nor will you worship whom I worship.) meaning, `I do not worship according to your worship, which means that I do not go along with it or follow it. I only worship Allah in the manner in which He loves and is pleased with.’ Thus, Allah says,

﴿وَلاَ أَنتُمْ عَـبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ ﴾

(Nor will you worship whom I worship.) meaning, `you do not follow the commands of Allah and His Legislation in His worship. Rather, you have invented something out of the promptings of your own souls.’ This is as Allah says,

﴿إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الاٌّنفُسُ وَلَقَدْ جَآءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَى﴾

(They follow but a guess and that which they themselves desire, whereas there has surely come to them the guidance from their Lord!) (53:23) Therefore, the disavowal is from all of what they are involved. For certainly the worshipper must have a god whom he worships and set acts of worship that he follows to get to him. So the Messenger and his followers worship Allah according to what He has legislated. This is why the statement of Islam is “There is no God worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” This means that there is no (true) object of worship except Allah and there is no path to Him (i.e., way of worshipping Him) other than that which the Messenger came with. The idolators worship other than Allah, with acts of worship that Allah has not allowed. This is why the Messenger said to them,

﴿لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ ﴾

(To you be your religion, and to me my religion.) This is similar to Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُل لِّى عَمَلِى وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّآ أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَاْ بَرِىءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ﴾

(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!”) (10:41) and He said,

﴿لَنَآ أَعْمَـلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَـلُكُمْ﴾

(To us our deeds, and to you your deeds.) (28:55) Al-Bukhari said, “It has been said,

﴿لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ﴾

(To you be your religion.) means disbelief.

﴿وَلِىَ دِينِ﴾

(and to me my religion.) means, Islam. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Qul ya Ayyuhal-Kafirun.

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