Surah Hujurat >> Currently viewing Surah Hujurat Ayat 13 (49:13)

Surah Hujurat Ayat 13 in Arabic Text

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍۢ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ شُعُوبًۭا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتْقَىٰكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۭ
Yaaa ayyuhan naasu innaa khalaqnaakum min zakarinw wa unsaa wa ja’alnaakum shu’oobanw wa qabaaa’ila lita’aarafoo inna akramakum ‘indal laahi atqaakum innal laaha ‘Aleemun khabeer

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 13

Sahih International
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

Yusuf Ali
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

Abul Ala Maududi
Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Muhsin Khan
O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious – see V. 2:2). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Pickthall
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

Dr. Ghali
O you mankind, surely We created you of a male and a female, and We have made you races and tribes that you may get mutually acquainted. Surely the most honorable among you in the Providence of Allah are the most pious; surely Allah is Ever-Knowing, Ever-Cognizant.

Abdel Haleem
People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.

Quran 49 Verse 13 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Hujurat ayat 13, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(49:13) Human beings, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing of you.[28] Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.[29]


28. In the preceding verses the Muslims were addressed and given necessary instructions to safeguard the Muslim community against social evils. In this verse the whole of mankind has been addressed to reform it of the great evil that has always been causing universal disruption in the world, that is, the prejudices due to race, color, language, country, and nationality. On account of these prejudices man in every age has generally been discarding humanity and drawing around himself some small circles and regarding those born within those circles as his own people and those outside them as others. These circles have been drawn on the basis of accidental birth and not on rational and moral grounds. In some cases their basis is the accident of being born in a particular family, tribe, or race, and in some particular geographical region, or in a nation having a particular color or speaking a particular language. Then the discrimination between one’s own people and others is not only confined to this that those who are looked upon as one’s own people are shown greater love and cooperation than others, but this discrimination has assumed the worst forms of hatred, enmity, contempt and tyranny. New philosophies have been propounded for it, new religions invented, new codes of law made and new moral principles framed; so much so that nations and empires have made this distinction a permanent way of life with them and practiced it for centuries. The Jews on this very basis regarded the children of Israel as the chosen people of God and even in the practice of their religious rites looked upon the non-Jews as inferior to the Jews in rights and rank. This very discrimination gave birth to class distinctions (varnashrama) among the Hindus according to which superiority of the Brahmins was established, all other human beings came to be regarded as inferior and unclean and the shudras cast into the depths of disgrace and degradation. Every person can see for himself even in this 20th century what atrocities have been committed against the colored people in Africa and America on account of the distinction between the white and the black. The treatment that the Europeans meted out to the Red Indian race in America and to the weak nations of Asia and Africa had the same concept underlying it. They thought that the rights and property and honor of all those who had been born outside the frontiers of their own land and nation were lawful for them and they had the right to plunder and take them as their slaves and exterminate them if need be. The worst examples of how the nationalism of the western nations has turned one nation against the others and made it their bloodthirsty enemy have been seen in the wars of the recent past and are being seen even in the present time. In particular, if what was manifested by the racism of the Nazi Germany and the concept of the superiority of the Nordic race in the last World War is kept in view. One can easily judge how stupendous and devastating is the error for whose reform this verse of the Quran was revealed.

In this brief verse, Allah has drawn the attention of all mankind to three cardinal truths:

(1) The origin of all of you is one and the same. Your whole species has sprung up from one man and one woman. All your races that are found in the world today are, in fact, the branches of one initial race that started with one mother and one father. In this process of creation there is no basis whatsoever for the divisions and distinctions in which you have involved yourselves because of your false notions. One God alone is your Creator. Different men have not been created by different gods. You have been made from one and the same substance. It is not so that some men have been made from some pure and superior substance and some other men from some impure and inferior substance. You have been created in one and the same way; it is not also so that different men have been created in different ways. And you are the offspring of the same parents; it is not so that in the beginning there were many human couples which gave birth to different populations in the different regions of the world.

(2) In spite of being one in origin, it was natural that you should be divided into nations and tribes. Obviously, all the men on the earth could not belong to one and the same family. With the spread of the race it was inevitable that countless families should arise, and then tribes and nations should emerge from the families. Similarly, it was inevitable that after settling in different regions of the earth, there should be differences of colors, features, languages and ways of living among the people, and it was also natural that those living in the same region should be closer in affinity and those living in remote regions not so close. But this natural difference never demanded that distinctions of inequality, of high and low, of noble and mean, should be established on its basis, that one race should claim superiority over the other, the people of one color should look down upon the people of other colors, and that one nation should take preference over the other without any reason. The Creator had divided the human communities into nations and tribes for that was a natural way of cooperation and distinction between them. In this way alone could a fraternity, a brotherhood, a tribe and a nation combine to give birth to a common way of life and to cooperate with each other in the affairs of the world. But it was all due to satanic ignorance that the differences among mankind created by Allah to be a means of recognition, were turned into a means of mutual boasting and hatred, which led mankind to every kind of injustice and tyranny.

(3) The only basis of superiority and excellence that there is, or can be, between man and man is that of moral excellence. As regards birth, all men are equal, for their Creator is One, their substance of creation is one, and their way of creation is one, and they are descended from the same parents. Moreover, a person’s being born in a particular country, nation, or clan is just accidental. Therefore, there is no rational ground on account of which one person may be regarded as superior to the other. The real thing that makes one person superior to others is that one should be more God-conscious, a greater avoider of evils, and a follower of the way of piety and righteousness. Such a man, whether he belongs to any race, any nation and any country, is valuable and worthy on account of his personal merit. And the one who is reverse of him in character is in any case an inferior person whether he is black or white, born in the east or the west.

These same truths that have been stated in this brief verse of the Quran have been explained in greater detail by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his addresses and traditions. In the speech that he made on the conquest of Makkah, after going round the Kabah, he said:

Thank God Who has removed from you the blemish of ignorance and its arrogance. O people, men are divided into classes: the pious and righteous, who are honorable in the sight of Allah, and the sinful and vicious, who are contemptible in the sight of Allah, whereas all men are the children of Adam and Adam had been created by Allah from clay. (Baihaqi, Tirmidhi).

On the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, in the midst of the Tashriq days, he addressed the people, and said:

O people, be aware: your God is One. No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, and no non-Arab any superiority over an Arab, and no white one has any superiority over a black one, and no black one any superiority over a white one, except on the basis of taqwa (piety). The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most pious and righteous of you. Say if I have conveyed the Message to you? And the great congregation of the people responded, saying: Yes, you have, O Messenger of Allah. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Then let the one who is present convey it to those who are absent. (Baihaqi).

In a Hadith he has said

Ibn-Kathir

13. O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.


All of Mankind are the Children of `Adam and Hawwa’

Allah the Exalted declares to mankind that He has created them all from a single person, `Adam, and from that person He created his mate, Hawwa’. From their offspring He made nations, comprised of tribe, which include subtribes of all sizes. It was also said that `nations refers to non-Arabs, while `tribes refers to Arabs. Various statements about this were collected in an individual introduction from the book, Al-Inbah, by Abu `Amr Ibn `Abdul-Barr, and from the book, Al-Qasad wal-Amam fi Ma`rifah Ansab Al-Arab wal-`Ajam. Therefore, all people are the descendants of `Adam and Hawwa’ and share this honor equally. The only difference between them is in the religion that revolves around their obedience to Allah the Exalted and their following of His Messenger . After He forbade backbiting and belittling other people, alerting mankind that they are all equal in their humanity. Allah said,

﴿يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَـكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَـرَفُواْ﴾

(O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another.) so that they get to know each other by their nation or tribe. Mujahid said that Allah’s statement,

﴿لِتَعَـرَفُواْ﴾

(that you may know one another.) refers to one’s saying, “So-and-so the son of so-and-so, from the tribe of so-and-so.” Sufyan Ath-Thawri said, “The Himyar (who resided in Yemen) dealt with each other according to their provinces, while the Arabs in the Hijaz (Western Arabia) dealt with each other according to their tribes.”

Honor is earned through Taqwa of Allah

Allah the Exalted said,

﴿إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عَندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَـكُمْ﴾

(Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa.) meaning, `you earn honor with Allah the Exalted on account of Taqwa, not family lineage.’ There are many Hadiths from the Prophet that support this meaning. Al-Bukhari narrated that Abu Hurayrah said, “Some people asked the Prophet , `Who is the most honorable among people’ He replied,

«أَكْرَمُهُمْ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَتْقَاهُم»

(The most honorable among them with Allah is the one who has the most Taqwa.) They said, `We did not ask you about this.’ He said,

«فَأَكْرَمُ النَّاسِ يُوسُفُ نَبِيُّ اللهِ، ابْنُ نَبِيِّ اللهِ، ابْنِ نَبِيِّ اللهِ ابْنِ خَلِيلِ الله»

(Then the most honorable person is Yusuf, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil.) They said, `We did not ask you about this.’ He said,

«فَعَنْ مَعَادِنِ الْعَرَبِ تَسْأَلُونِّي»

؟ (Then you want to ask me about the Arab lineage) They said, `Yes.’ He said,

«فَخِيَارُكُمْ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ خِيَارُكُمْ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ إِذَا فَقُهُوا»

(Those among you who were best in Jahiliyyah, are the best among you in Islam, if they attain religious understanding.)” Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith in several places of his Sahih, An-Nasa’i did as well in the Tafsir section of his Sunan. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ اللهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُم»

(Verily, Allah does not look at your shapes or wealth, but he looks at your hearts and actions.) Ibn Majah also collected this Hadith. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, “On the day Makkah was conquered, the Messenger of Allah performed Tawaf around the Ka`bah while riding his camel, Al-Qaswa’, and was touching the corners with a stick he had in his hand. He did not find a place in the Masjid where his camel could sit and had to dismount on men’s hands. He led his camel to the bottom of the valley, where he had her sit down. The Messenger of Allah later gave a speech while riding Al-Qaswa’ and said, after thanking Allah the Exalted and praising Him as He should be praised,

«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى قَدْ أَذْهَبَ عَنْكُمْ عُبِّيَّةَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ وَتَعَظُّمَهَا بِآبَائِهَا، فَالنَّاسُ رَجُلَانِ: رَجُلٌ بَرٌّ تَقِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ عَلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى، وَرَجُلٌ فَاجِرٌ شَقِيٌّ هَيِّنٌ عَلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى، إِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَقُولُ:

﴿يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَـكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَـرَفُواْ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عَندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَـكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ﴾»

(O people! Allah the Exalted has removed from you the slogans of Jahiliyyah and its tradition of honoring forefathers. Men are of two types, a man who is righteous, fearful of Allah and honorable to Allah, or a man who is vicious, miserable and little to Allah the Exalted. Verily, Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, (O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.)) The Prophet said,

«أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ لِي وَلَكُم»

(I say this and invoke Allah for forgiveness for me and for you.)” This was recorded by `Abd bin Humayd. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَيمٌ خَبِيرٌ﴾

(Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.) means, `He is All-Knowing of you and All-Aware of all of your affairs.’ Allah guides whom He wills, misguides whom He wills, grants mercy to whom He wills, tor- ments whom He wills, elevates whom He wills above whom He wills. He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, the All-Aware in all this. Several scholars relied on this honorable Ayah and the honora- ble Hadiths we menti- oned as evidence that compatibility in marriage is not a condition of marriage contracts. They said that the only condition required in this regard is the adherence to the religion, as in the statement of Allah, the Exalted,

﴿إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عَندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَـكُمْ﴾

(Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one with the most Taqwa. )

Quick navigation links

Surah Hujurat
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18