Sūrat al-Anbiyā’

Sūrt al-Anbiyā’, No. 21, Revealed in Makkah, 112 verses.

As indicated by its name, the Sūrah talks mostly about the Prophets and their missions, especially their most difficult times. It shows how they supplicated to God during those times and received an answer from Him.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Whoever recites Sūrar al-Anbiyā’ with love for it will be from among the companions of all the Propjets in the gardens of heaven and will be revered by people in the world.

Imam al-Sādiq (a) (Tafsīr Nūr al-Thaqalayn)

Note: Tafsīr Namūne mentions that the word ‘love for it’ is important. It is not just recitation of the Sūrah but an attachment to its contents which in turn spurs action.

General synopsis of contents

1) Stories of 16 Prophets – some mentioned briefly and some in detail.

2) Belief in God and the hereafter.

3) Oneness of the Creator, of purpose in life, and of the system created by God for all creation.

4) Victory of truth over falsehood.

5) The beginning and end of the Sūrah warns the heedless people about the final accounting.

Selected Lessons

1) Human beings do not take the message of God seriously (vv. 2-3).

2) All Prophets were humans, like the beings they came to guide (vv. 7-8).

3) Falsehood cannot stand up against the truth (verse 18).

4) Righteous children and grandchildren are a gift from God (verse 72)

5) Religion has been fragmented by people (verse 93)

Important Messages

1) Understanding the purpose behind all of creation is one of the ways to strengthen faith.

2) Knowing the struggles of others consoles the human heart.

3) The number of people on a certain path, or the span of time they are on it, are not proofs of the truth of that path.

4) All things that exist have an inner perception that can be addressed.

5) Imamate, like Nubuwwah, is designated by God.

6) In the most difficult times, hope lies in God.

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 21:35 – Every soul shall taste death, and We will test you with good and ill by way of test, and to Us you will be brought back.

2) 21:37 – Man is a creature of haste. Soon I will show you, My signs. So do not ask Me to hasten.

3) 21:47 – We shall set up just scales on the Day of Resurrection, and no soul will be wronged in the least. Even if it be the weight of a mustard seed, We shall produce it and We suffice as reckoners.

4) 21:69-70 – We said, ‘O fire! Be cool and safe for Abraham!’. They plotted to harm him, but We made them the biggest losers.

Activities for self-study

1) List the signs of Allah in creation mentioned in verses 30-33.

2) Read the conversation of Prophet Ibrāhīm (a) with his people after breaking the idols (vv. 62-67). What is the attitude of the people?

3) How do these Prophets pray to God; Ayyub, Yunus, and Zakariyya (see vv. 83- 90).