Interpretation of Soorah Al-Kawthar
Fatwa No: 325201

Question

Could you interpret the Surah Al-Kawthar? What does that surah mean? Why was it revealed?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Soorah Al-Kawthar [Quran 108] – as mentioned in At-Tahreer wat-Tanweer by Ibn ‘Aashoor and others – was revealed in Makkah according to the the view of the majority of the scholars; it was also said that it was revealed in Madeenah. Ibn ‘Aashoor said:

According to the view that it was revealed in Makkah, they [the scholars] classified it as the fifteenth Soorah that was revealed, it was revealed after Soorah Al-‘Aadiyaat [Quran 100] and before Soorah At-Takaathur [Quran 102]. According to the view that it was revealed in Madeenah, it was said that it was revealed in Al-Hudaybiyah. The number of its verses is three according to the agreement of the scholars. It is the shortest Soorah of the Quran in terms of the number of its words and the number of its letters; in terms of the number of verses, however, Soorah Al-‘Asr [Quran 103] and Soorah An-Nasr [Quran 110] are the same, but they have more words.

As regards its interpretation as stated in the books of Tafseer:

{Indeed, We have granted you [O Muhammad] al-Kawthar} means that we have allocated Al-Kawthar for you, which is a river in Paradise, and it is one of its greatest rivers, along with the abundant goodness which Allaah blessed you with of Prophethood and the true religion, and He raised your mention and gave you a noble status.

{So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone]} means be grateful for this blessing by praying to your Lord Alone without associating with Him any partners. Also, do not devote your sacrifice (slaughtered animals) to other than Allaah; this is also an instruction lesson for his nation. Regarding the prayer: does it mean the ‘Eed prayer; and the sacrifice: does it mean the Udh-hiyah [the ‘Eed sacrifice?] This is possible, and it can also apply to all prayers and rituals.

{Indeed, your enemy is the one cut off} means that the one who hates you in every time and place is the one who is degraded and humiliated and whose offspring is cut off…

As regards the reason why this Soorah was revealed, as the scholars of Tafseer said: when the Prophet’s son Al-Qaasim died, Al-‘Aas ibn Waa’il As-Sahami said, “Muhammad is cut off,” i.e. he will not have offspring (to carry his name); so Allaah revealed this Soorah at once as an answer to Al-‘Aas and as condolence for the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and as glad tidings of Al-Kawthar, which is a river in Paradise whose banks are of gold and which runs over pearls and rubies and whose soil is more fragrant than musk and the water of which is sweeter than honey and whiter than snow, for him and his nation. It is Al-Kawthar that will fill the Basin from which only the righteous people among his nation will drink on the Day of Resurrection. [Abridged from Tafseer As-Sa’di and Tafseer al-Jazaa’iri]

Allaah knows best.

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