Overview - Surah 25: al-Furqan (The Criterion )

Surah Introduction

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The Surah answers some of the objections of the non-believers against the Qur'an and the teachings of Islam. It also presents the character of the Believers as criteria to prove the truth of Islam.


  1. Prophet Muhammad came as a Warner for the whole world. The evil of Shirk. The objections of those who denied the Prophet and his message.
  2. The Punishment of those who deny Allah and His message.
  3. Non-believers' demand to see the angels or Allah. Non-believers say why the whole Qur'an was not sent down at once.
  4. Examples of the people of Prophets Moses, Aaron, Noah and 'Ad, Thamud and the People of al-Rass.
  5. Examples from the natural world: shadows, night and day, winds of rain, oceans with two different types of waters, creation of human beings, creation of the heaven and earth in six days.
  6. The character and qualities of the most faithful servants of Allah. 

Surah al-Furqan [The Criterion] takes its name from the first Ayat, تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ  "Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant..." [25:1]

This Surah has 77 Ayat.


Total Ayat77
Total Words *893
Root Words *257
Unique Root Words *0
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 42nd (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 8th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, 2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3,Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey,1st Pledge of Aqabah,2nd Pledge of Aqabah,,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Nuh, Musa, Harun
Surah Index
‘Aad, Aaron, Al Rass, God (remembering him standing--- sitting--- lying down) , Angels, Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (moon), Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (sun), Astronomy (constellations) , Beasts, Behaviour (community should be moderate) , Biology (living things made of water) , Charity (niggardliness) , Commandments (general religious) , Contract Law (witnesses told to be truthful) , Deities (none besides God) , Disbelievers (striving hard against) , Earth (creation of) (in six days), Earth (rotation of) , Hell, Iblis, Jihad (striving hard against disbelievers) , Judgement (Day) , Judgement (Day) (and clouds will burst apart), Killing (don’t) , Knowledge (obligation upon man to obtain and impart) , Marriage, Marriage (adultery) (forbidden), Moses, Night, Noah, Noah (flood) , Prayer (prostration) , Prophet (only mortal human) , Qur’an, Religion, Resurrection (Day) , Resurrection (of humans) , Resurrection (of soul) , Revelation, Thamud, Water (two great bodies of) , Weather (clouds) , Weather (rain) , Weather (wind)

Central Theme

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Theme 1: The Qur'an is the critereon between truth and falsehood

The Surah deals with the doubts and objections that were being raised against the Qur’an, the Prophethood of Muhammad and his teachings by the disbelievers of Makkah. Appropriate answers to each and every objection have been given and the people have been warned of the consequences of rejecting the Truth. At the end of the Surah a clear picture of the moral superiority of the Believers has been depicted as in the beginning of Surah 23: al-Mu’minun (The Believers) as if to say ‘Here is the criterion for distinguishing the genuine from the counterfeit. This is the noble character of those people who have believed in and followed the teachings of the Prophet and this is the kind of people that he is trying to train. You may yourselves compare and contrast this type of people with those Arabs who have not as yet accepted the Message and who are upholding “ignorance” and exerting their utmost to defeat the Truth. Now you may judge for yourselves as to which you would like to choose.” Though this question was not posed in so many words it was placed before every one in Arabia in a tangible shape. It may be noted that during the next few years the practical answer given to this question by the whole nation with the exception of a small minority was that they chose Islam.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • Usage of the word 'Tabarak' - 'Blessed'.
    The Surah begins with the phrase, تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا "Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner -" [25:1] and it is also used at the end of the Surah as the first Ayat after the Ayat of Sajdah [prostration], before begining the description the Slaves of ar-Rahman, is تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُوجًا وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُّنِيرًا "Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous moon." [25:61].

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Deeds of the Disbelievers. In Surah an-Nur, Allah Almighty describes the deeds of the Disbelievers, "But those who disbelieved - their deeds are like a mirage...." [24:39] and in Surah al-Furqan, "And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed." [25:23]

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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  • This is the last time the word 'al-Furqan' appears in the Qur'an
  • The Disbelievers:
    - Deny the Hereafter [25:11], - Do not expect to meet their Lord [25:11]
    - Do not believe they will be raised to life again [25:40]
    - Arrogant [25:21]
    - Criminals and enemies of the Messengers [25:31]
    - Make fun of the Messenger, Muhammad [25:41]
    - Follow their desires their 'ilah' [25:43]
  • The description of the "Slaves of the ar-Rahman" [Expansion needed

Important key and unique words of the Surah

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  • The objections of the Disbelievers have been recorded in this Surah -  through the words like, وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ "And the people said"
    a) The Qur'an was fabricated by the Prophet Muhammad, وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَـٰذَا إِلَّا إِفْكٌ افْتَرَاهُ وَأَعَانَهُ عَلَيْهِ قَوْمٌ آخَرُونَ ۖ فَقَدْ جَاءُوا ظُلْمًا وَزُورًا "And those who disbelieve say, "This [Qur'an] is not except a falsehood he invented, and another people assisted him in it." But they have committed an injustice and a lie." [25:4] b) Why were not the Angels sent - وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَـٰذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ ۙ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا "And they say, "What is this messenger that eats food and walks in the markets? Why was there not sent down to him an angel so he would be with him a warner?" [25:7]
    c) Why cannot we see Allah.  وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ نَرَىٰ رَبَّنَا ۗ لَقَدِ اسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ وَعَتَوْا عُتُوًّا كَبِيرًا "And those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, "Why were not angels sent down to us, or [why] do we [not] see our Lord?" They have certainly become arrogant within themselves and [become] insolent with great insolence." [25:21]
    d) Why was not the Qur'an sent down in one go, وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ الْقُرْآنُ جُمْلَةً وَاحِدَةً ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِ فُؤَادَكَ ۖوَرَتَّلْنَاهُ تَرْتِيلًا "And those who disbelieve say, "Why was the Qur'an not revealed to him all at once?" Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly." [25:32]
    e) Allegation the Prophet was bewitched, وَقَالَ الظَّالِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَّسْحُورًا 2 "...And the wrongdoers say, "You follow not but a man affected by magic." [25:8]
    f) Allegation the Qur'an is mere stories of the past plagarised and taught to him by someone. وَقَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِيَ تُمْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا "And they say, "Legends of the former peoples which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon." [25:5]

Period of Revelation

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It appears from its style and subject matter that like Surah 23: al-Mu’minun (The Believers) it was also revealed during the third stage of Prophethood at Makkah. Scholars and commentators if the Qur’an like Ibn Jarir and Imam Razi have cited a tradition of Dahhak bin Muzahim that this Surah was revealed eight years before Surah 4: an-Nisa’ (The Women).

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  •  Umar bin Al-Khattab, "I heard Hisham bin Hakim bin Hizam reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to that of mine. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) had taught it to me (in a different way). So, I was about to quarrel with him (during the prayer) but I waited till he finished, then I tied his garment round his neck and seized him by it and brought him to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said, "I have heard him reciting Surat-al-Furqan in a way different to the way you taught it to me." The Prophet (ﷺ) ordered me to release him and asked Hisham to recite it. When he recited it, Allah s Apostle said, "It was revealed in this way." He then asked me to recite it. When I recited it, he said, "It was revealed in this way. The Qur'an has been revealed in seven different ways, so recite it in the way that is easier for you." [Bukhari 2419]


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  • The Qur'an is the criterion to distinguish right from wrong.
  • Wrongdoers are those who reject the Truth, disbelieve the Rasool, and deny the Day of Judgement and life after death.
  • On the Day of Judgement those deities whom the mushrikin invoke beside Allah will deny any claim of divinity and hold the mushrikin responsible for their shirk.
  • On the Day of Judgement the disbelievers shall regret not adopting the Right Path.
  • The wisdom behind sending The Qur'an though a piecemeal revelation is explained.
  • Allah's commandment is given to make Jihad against unbelief with the Qur'an.
  • Characteristics of true believers are described.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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