Sūrat al-Shu‘arā’

Sūrat al-Shu‘arā’, No. 26, Revealed in Makkah except the last four verses, total of 227 verses. It takes its name from verse 224 which mentions the poets who were an important part of the Arab culture. This Sūrah is second after Sūrat al-Baqarah in the number of verses but is shorter than many sūras in the number of words it contains.

A distinguishing aspect of the Sūrah is its rhythmic and poetic nature and the repetition of some verses at the beginning and end of each of the stories of the Prophets, showing that the basic teachings of the Prophets were all the same.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Whoever recites Sūrat al-Shu‘arā’ will receive ten times the reward of the number of those who accepted Nūh (a) and those who rejected him, and [those with] Hūd (a) and Shu‘ayb (a) and Ibrāhīm (a). And those who rejected Īsā (a) and accepted Muhammad a – Holy Prophet a (Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān).

General synopsis of contents

1) Signs of Allah.

2) The story of Prophet Mūsa (a) and Fir‘awn.

3) The challenges faced by other past Prophets – Ibrāhīm, Nūh, Hūd, Sālih, Lūt, and Shu‘ayb (a)  – and the stubbornness of their people. Some stories are discussed in more detail than others.

4) Arguments of the polytheists

5) Origins of the Quran

Selected Lessons

1) The disbelievers refuse to consider the reminders from God (v. 5)

2) Blame and threats are the resort of those who cannot stand up to the truth (v. 49)

3) True believers do not panic in difficulties; they know God is with them (v. 62)

4) People follow the ways of their forefathers even though they were wrong (v. 74)

5) Attaining wisdom is the desire of a believer (v. 83)

6) On the Day of Judgment people will regret and wish they could have an opportunity to live life again in the world and do good (v. 102)

7) Prophets did not want any reward from people, only from God (vv. 109,127 …)

8) Allah is the ultimate judge between people (v. 118)

9) Transgressors corrupt the systems on earth and do not bring reform (v. 152)

10) Previous scriptures had foretold their people about the Quran (v. 196)

Important Messages

1) To counter evil, you must address its source.

2) Guiding and teaching others requires a big inner capacity.

3) Possessors of knowledge appreciate true knowledge when they see it.

4) Belief in resurrection gives courage against tyrants.

5) Guidance is the biggest blessing after creation.

6) Pride and a superiority complex prevent people from joining the group following the right path.

7) Grief of the Prophets was at the loss of their people, not because of personal

threats and rejection.

8) Being blessed with comfort brings responsibility and accountability.

9) It is not enough to dislike corruption. There must be active steps taken to counter it or withdraw from it.

10) A corrupt economy leads to a corrupt society.

11) When spreading the word of God, start with the self, then family, and then society.

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 26:9 – Indeed, your Lord is the All-mighty, the All-merciful. (This verse appears again at 26:68, 104, 122, 140, 159, 175 and 191).

2) 26:15 – He said: By no means [will they harm you], so go you both with Our signs; surely, We are with you, hearing.

3) 26:87-89 – Do not disgrace me on the day that they will be resurrected, the day when neither wealth nor children will avail, except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.

4) 26:129 – You set up structures as if you will be immortal.

5) 26:169 – My Lord! Deliver me and my family from what they do.

6) 26:182-183 – Weigh with an even balance, and do not cheat the people of their goods. Do not act wickedly on the earth, causing corruption.

Activities for self-study

1) Read verses 46-51. What lessons do the magicians of Fir‘awn have to teach us?

2) Verses 77-82 are a description of God by Prophet Ibrāhīm (a). List the qualities he


3) Note the two verses repeated in the stories of Nūh (a), Hūd (a), Sālih (a), Lūt (a) and Shu‘ayb (a). Write them out in Arabic and English. How do these verses link the stories?

4) What different excuses did the people give for their lack of belief in what the Prophets told them?