Quranic Exegesis


These two surahs form a pair as regards the subject discussed in them. Surah Kaafiroon is a declaration of the Prophet's renunciation of the Quraish while Surah Nasr, as a result of this renunciation, is a harbinger of glad tidings of divine help and victory to the Prophet (sws).


Surah Kaafiroon

The surah addresses the Prophet (sws) and its central theme is the declaration of renunciation by the Prophet (sws) after Itmaam-i-Hujjat on the leadership of the Quraish, which, in accordance with the Almighty's law about His Prophets, necessarily becomes a prelude to the triumph of the truth. It is evident from the contents of the surah that it was revealed in Mecca at the time of migration of the Prophet (sws) as the very final word with his people.

Surah Nasr

The surah addresses the Prophet (sws) and its central theme is to give glad tidings to him about the supremacy of Islam in the Arabian peninsula and to direct him to prepare for his meeting with the Almighty. It is evident from the placement of this surah after Surah Kaafiroon and before Surah Lahab that like Surah Kauthar this surah was also revealed in Mecca as a great news of the future during the period of migration and renunciation in the Prophet's mission.


Surah Kaafiroon

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

Declare ye [O Prophet!]: O Unbelievers!1 I shall worship not that which ye worship.2 Nor will ye ever worship [alone]3 that which I worship. Nor ever before this4 was I prepared to worship that which ye worshipped. Nor were you ever prepared to worship that which I have been worshipping.

1. This is the only instance in the Quran in which the unbelievers have been directly addressed in such words. These words are not meant to condemn or chide them; they actually convey their true behaviour. After thirteen long years of preaching and exhortation, the leaders of the Quraish had refused the calls of sense and reason. Their denial was based on nothing but stubbornness inspite of the fact that the truth had been revealed to them in its purest form by no other personality than the Prophet (sws) himself. It was highly probable that a further insistence by the Prophet (sws) for the acceptance of the truth would have led them to harm him physically. Consequently, the Prophet (sws) at this stage addressed them by a name which aptly described their deeds, and on divine bidding, he departed from them.

2. These words actually close the doors for any change of stance in future as far as worshipping other deities together with Allah is concerned. It should be kept in consideration that when the unbelievers saw the sweeping success of the Islamic message, they thought that they could not stem this tide by being hostile to it. They thought that they could instead curb this onslaught by effecting a compromise with the Prophet (sws) (see the Quran 68:9). They contended that if they could secure the right of worship for their own deities, a settlement could be reached. The verse delivers the final blow to their hopes in this regard.

3. This stresses to the unbelievers that they themselves were not prepared to give up worshipping others with the Almighty in future.

4. If the previous verses were related to the future, this and the following verse pertains to the state of affairs in the past. It says that even before his Prophethood, the Prophet (sws) worshipped the one and only Allah.

[So, now] to you your religion and to me mine.5

5. The preceding verses reason out that no compromise can be effected in worshipping others with the Almighty. This verse states the result of this stance, which it should be clear, is not an expression of tolerance; it expresses renunciation on the part of the Prophet (sws) and a warning to the unbelievers that they must now get ready to face the consequences of their obdurate denial.

Surah Nasr

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful

When comes the help of God and that victory6 [which We have promised you O Prophet!]7 and you see men embrace the religion of God in multitudes8, extol His glory while being thankful to Him and seek His forgiveness9. For, indeed, He is ever disposed to mercy.

6. The victory referred to here is the conquest of Mecca, which occurred in the eighth year of Hijrah. This conquest completed the supremacy of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. It is evident from this verse that the victory, even with tremendous human struggle, was only possible because of the Almighty's help.

7. This victory was in accordance with the Almighty's law about His Prophets (Rusul) for whom victory is destined. It was predicted in this verse eight years in advance when no one could have even imagined it.

8. Embracing the folds of Islam by the common man in large numbers was only possible after the hold and influence of the leadership of the Quraish was shattered at the conquest of Mecca.

9. This is the attitude which the Prophet (sws) has been directed to adopt after the triumph. Success must not lead to pride and vanity; it should lead to the remembrance of the Almighty with gratitude and to the seeking of forgiveness for the sins committed. It should be clear in cases of the Prophets (sws) that their 'sins' are actually just excessive eagerness in the way of truth.