This page contains all verses of surah Al-Kawthar in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الكوثر ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
Cause of Revelation
It is reported by Ibn Abi Hatim (رح) ، on the authority of Suddi, and by Baihaqi, in Dala'il-un- Nubuwwah, on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Husain ؓ ، that the Arabs used to taunt and revile people who have lost their male issues. They used to refer to such a person as 'abtar', meaning 'having no male offspring or no male issue'. In keeping with this social evil, when the young son of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، namely Qasim passed away, some leaders of Quraish, especially ` As Ibn Wh'il, started taunting the Holy Prophet ﷺ telling the people that they no longer need to bother about him, because he had no sons to carry on his name and that he would be forgotten after his death; he is 'abtar', that is, his lineage is cut off. On this occasion, the Surah was revealed. [ Baghawi, Ibn Kathir, Mazhari ].
According to some narratives, Ka'b Ibn Ashraf, a Jew of Madinah, came to Makkah and the Quraish asked him: You are the leader of the people. What do you think about this young man who claims that he is better than us (in religion), while we are the people who serve the pilgrims; we are the custodians of Ka'bah and supply water to the pilgrims." He replied: "You are better than him." This Surah was revealed on that occasion. [ Ibn Kathir cites this incident from Bazzar with an authentic chain of narrators; and Mazhari says that Muslim also transmitted the incident ].
According to these narrations, this Surah was sent down when the unbelievers of Makkah taunted the Holy Prophet ﷺ because he had lost all his male issues, and called him 'abtar' or insulted him for some other reason. The present Surah gives an answer to the taunts of the unbelievers, and maintains that there is no justification for calling the Holy Prophet ﷺ an 'abtar' only because he had no male child alive, not only because his lineal offspring will remain till the Day of Judgment, though from his daughters, but he was destined to be the spiritual father of a multitude of sons in all ages to the end of time, sons who were to be far more faithful, obedient and loving than the sons of any father, and they will outnumber the followers of all the Prophets (علیہم السلام) that came before him. The Surah has also dismissed the statement of Ka'b Ibn Ashraf, and highlights the great honor and respect given to him by Allah.
The River or Fountain of Kauthar
Verse [ 108:1]إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ ([ 0 Prophet,] surely, We have given you Al-Kauthar [ a river in Paradise ].) The word 'Al-Kauthar' literally means 'abundant goodness'. Imam Bukhari (رح) has recorded on the authority of Said Ibn Jubair ؓ that Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said about 'al-Kauthar': 'It is the abundant goodness that Allah gave to him [ Holy Prophet ﷺ ] '. A special pupil of Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said: "I asked Said Ibn Jubair ؓ that people claim that it is a river in Paradise." Said Ibn Jubair ؓ replied that the river in Paradise is part of the goodness that Allah gave him. Therefore, Mujahid interprets that it is the abundant goodness of this world, as well as of the next world. This explanation includes the river in Paradise and other things as well.
The following Hadith is recorded in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Nasa'i رحمۃ اللہ علیہم from Sayyidna Anas ؓ that he said:
بینا رسول اللہ ﷺ بین اظھرنا فی المسجد اذ اغفی اغفاء ۃً ، ثم رفع رأسہ متبسّمّاً ۔ قلنا : ما اضحکک یا رسول اللہ ؟ قال : لقد انزلت علیّ آنفاً سورة فقرأ بسم اللہ الرحمٰن الرحیم انّا اعطینٰکَ الکوثر الخ ثم قال : اتدرون ما الکوثر ؟ قلنا : اللہ و رسولہ اعلم ۔ قال : فانّہ نھرٌ وعدنیہ ربّی عزوجل علیہ خیر کثیر ۔ وھا حوض ترد علیہ امّتی یوم القیامۃ ۔ آنیتہ عدد نجوم فی السّماء ۔ فیحتلج العبد منھم ۔ فاقول : ربّ انّہ من امتی فیقول : انّک لا تدری ما احدث بعدک ۔
"While we were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in the mosque, he went into some kind of slumber or doziness. Then he lifted his head smiling. We asked: '0 Messenger of Allah! What has caused you to smile?' He replied: 'A Surah has just been revealed to me.' Then he recited Bismillah and Surah Al-Kauthar. Then he asked: 'Do you know what is Al-Kauthar?' We replied: 'Allah and His Messenger ﷺ know best,' He said: 'It is a river that my Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, has promised me and it has abundant goodness. It is a fountain where my Ummah will come on the Day of Judgment. Its containers are as numerous as the stars in the sky. Then a servant of Allah from among them will be prevented from it, and I will say: '0 Lord! Verily, he is from my Ummah [ followers.] 'Then Allah will say: 'You do not know what he introduced [ or innovated ] after you.'
This is the wording of Muslim. Ibn Kathir, having cited this Tradition, writes further:
و قد ورد فی صفۃ الحوض یوم القیامۃ انّہ یشخب فیہ میزابان من السّماء من نھر الکوثر و ان آنیتہ عدد نجوم السّماء۔
"It is reported regarding the description of the fountain on the Day of Judgment that two channels will lead from the sky to supply the fountain with the water of Kauthar. It will have more cups than the stars in the sky."
The Tradition cited above clarifies many points.
[ 1] It indicates the cause of the revelation of Surah Al-Kauthar.
[ 2] It gives its authentic interpretation, that is, 'abundant goodness' and that it includes the fountain of Kauthar which will quench the thirst of the Prophet's followers on the Day of Judgment.
[ 3] The actual river of Kauthar is in Paradise, and the fountain of Kauthar will be on the Plain of Gathering. Two channels will flow from the river of Paradise into the fountain of Gathering, augmenting its supply of water.
[ 4] It reconciles the narratives that tell us that the believers will arrive at the fountain of Kauthar before their entry into Paradise.
[ 5] Some people will be turned away from the fountain, because they later on turned away from Islam, or they were not Muslims at all, but expressed their Islam only hypocritically. Their hypocrisy was exposed after the Holy Prophet ﷺ . Allah knows best!
There are Traditions that describe the cleanness and sweetness of water of Kauthar, and that its banks are adorned with pearls. These qualities cannot be compared with anything in this world.
If the revelation of Surah Al-Kauthar is in response to the taunting of the heathens who called him 'abtar' because he had lost his sons, as explained earlier, this Surah comforts him. They used to say that when he would pass away, there shall be none to take his name on account of having no male offspring and his activities will cease. This Surah tells him that he has been granted Al-Kauthar and completely dismisses the reproach of his enemies, in that his lineage does not stop here in this world, but his spiritual lineage will continue till the Day of Gathering. His spiritual sons and daughters will outnumber the Ummahs of the previous Prophets. They will also enjoy the greatest respect and honor.
Prayer and Sacrifice
Verse [ 108:2] فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ (So, offer salah [ prayer ] to your Lord, and sacrifice.) The imperative inhar is derived from nahr which means 'to sacrifice by stabbing upwards into the jugular vein [ the way of slaughter for camels as opposed to other cattle ] '. As the Arabs generally used to sacrifice camels, the verse employs the imperative wanhar. Occasionally, the word nahr is used in the general sense of 'sacrifice'.
Verse [ 108:1] vehemently denounces the false notion of the unbelievers and gives glad tidings of Kauthar to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in this world as well as in the next world. He will have the abundant goodness in both the worlds immeasurably. The current verse directs the Holy Prophet ﷺ the way to express his gratitude to Allah on this good tiding: [ 1] prayer; and [ 2] sacrifice. Salah is the highest form of physical worship; and sacrifice is highest form of pecuniary or monetary form of worship. Sacrifice in the name of Allah is a fight against idolatry, because the idolaters used to sacrifice in the name of their idols. On that basis, Islamic sacrifice is distinctive and important. On another occasion, the Qur'an jointly mentions prayer and sacrifice, thus: [ 6:162]
إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
My prayer, my offering, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. [ 6:162]
According to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ ، ` Ata', Mujahid, Hasan Basri رحمۃ اللہ علیہما and others, the imperative wanhar means 'sacrifice or offer oblation'. Some people have attributed to some leading exegetes that they have taken this imperative to mean: 'Fold your hands or arms on the chest' Ibn Kathir holds such narrations as 'munkar', (that is, a narration which is narrated by a weak narrator and contradicts the narration of a stronger and more reliable authority.)
The Enemy of the Prophet ﷺ is Cut Off
Verse [ 108:3] إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ (Surely, it is your enemy whose traces are cut off.) The word shani' as used in the original is derived from sha'n and means 'one who hates, traducer, insulter'. This verse was revealed in connection with the unbelievers who used to taunt the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and referred to him as 'abtar'. Most narratives identify the traducer as ` As Ibn Wa'il, others identify him as 'Uqbah and yet others identify him as Ka'b Ibn Ashraf. Allah granted the Messenger of Allah ﷺ the Kauthar, that is, abundant goodness which includes a multitude of children. How wonderful are the works of Allah! There is no scarcity of lineal children of the holy Prophet ﷺ . Furthermore, a Prophet ﷺ is the spiritual father of his entire Ummah which comprises his spiritual children. The Holy Prophet ﷺ is the spiritual father of his entire Ummah till the end of time and as such will have the largest number of spiritual children compared to the Ummahs of the previous Prophets (علیہم السلام) . In this way, the enemy has been rebutted, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, their argument has been rebuffed that it is not the Prophet ﷺ ، but his enemies are, 'abtar' or cut off.
Imagine how Allah has raised the name of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and exalted his reputation in every nook and corner of the world since the inception of his prophet-hood till today, and it will continue to be so until the end of time. His blessed name is recited along with Allah's name five times a day from the minarets. In the Hereafter, he will be granted the (Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud) Praised Station where he will make the Grand Intercession on behalf of the entire progeny of 'Adam (علیہ السلام) . On the contrary, ask the world history: Where are the children of ` As Ibn Wa'il? Where are the children of Ka'b Ibn Ashraf? where are the children of 'Uqbah, and what happened to their families? Their very own names have been lost to the world. No one cares to remember them. They have become unknown who thought that soon the Holy Prophet ﷺ will become unknown. They have left this world and the strings of their lineage have been cut off. Their names have been preserved in Islamic traditions only for purposes of interpretation of relevant verses. فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ "So, 0 People of insight, take note !" [ 59:2].
The Commentary on