Overview - Surah 28: al-Qasas (The Stories)

Surah Introduction

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The basic theme of this Surah is the prophethood. Some aspects of the life of Prophet Moses -peace be upon him- are mentioned to show the similarity between him and Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon all the prophets of Allah. There are also answers here to the questions and doubts that were raised by some non-believers.


  1. Story of Moses and Pharaoh is related.  Pharaoh was persecuting the Israelites. Allah wished to show his favor to the oppressed people.  Birth of Moses and then his growing up in Pharaoh's own palace.
  2. Moses' encounter with an Egyptian and his escape to Madyan.
  3. Moses' marriage in Madyan.
  4. Moses receives Prophethood and especial signs from Allah. His appearance before Pharaoh. Pharaoh's denial and then Allah's punishment for him and his armies.
  5. The Prophet relating these stories by inspiration from Allah and for a purpose.
  6. Allah's guidance is continuos.
  7. The message of Islam is tawhid.
  8. The story of Qarun: his character and his end.
  9. Allah's promise for the Believers.

Surah al-Qasas [The Story] takes it name from being mentioned in [28:25], 'Then one of the two women came to him walking with shyness. She said, "Indeed, my father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us." So when he came to him and related to him the story, he said, "Fear not. You have escaped from the wrongdoing people."

This Surah has 88 Ayat.


Total Ayat88
Total Words *1430
Root Words *304
Unique Root Words *9
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 49th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 6th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
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 1,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2,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
Musa, Harun
Surah Index
Aaron, Adversity (patience during) , Death (those communities who have no revelation will not be destroyed) , Haman, Hell, Iblis, Knowledge, Knowledge (obligation upon man to obtain and impart) , Madyan, Materialism, Moses, Pharaoh, Pharaoh (punishment of) , Qarun, Qur’an, Resurrection (Day) , Revelation, Shu’ayb, Sin, Torah

Central Theme

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Theme 1: God will fulfill His Promise.

Theme 2: To remove the doubts and objections that were being raised against the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad and to invalidate the excuses which were being offered for not believing in him. The story of the Prophet Moses has been related, which by analogy with the period of revelation impresses the following points in the listener’s mind:

1.         First God provides the means and motives of whatever He wills in an undetectable way. Thus did God arrange things such that the child through whom Pharaoh had to be removed from power was brought up in his own house, without him knowing whom he was fostering. Who can challenge God and disrupt His plans?

2.         Secondly, Prophethood is not granted to a person amid festivities by issuing a proclamation from the heavens. You wonder how Muhammad has been blessed with Prophethood unexpectedly but Moses, whom you acknowledge as a Prophet (v.48) was also appointed Prophet unexpectedly while on a journey.  This event occurred in the desert at the foot of Mt. Sinai and there were no witnesses. Even Moses himself did not anticipate what he was going to be blessed with. He in fact had seen a fire in the distance and sought to either seek directions or at least return with a branch – little did he know that he would return with the gift of Prophethood.

3.         Thirdly, those whom God wishes to use in his service are often without military might and manage to successfully overcome much stronger and better equipped opponents. The contrast that existed between the might of Moses and Pharaoh was far more prominent and obvious than that which existed between Muhammad and the Quraysh; yet the world came to know who the victor was.

4.         Fourthly, objections were raised time and time again saying, ‘Why has Muhammad not been given the same which was given to Moses?’ i.e. miracles of the staff and the shining hand etc. as if to suggest that they would readily believe only if they were shown the kind of the miracles that were shown by Moses to Pharaoh. But then they are reminded, ‘Do you know what sort of response was made by those who were shown those miracles?’ They had not believed even after seeing the miracles and had only said, ‘This is magic’ for they were adamant in their stubbornness and hostility to the Truth. Will you then only believe when you are shown the same kind of miracles? Are you aware what fate the disbelievers were met with after seeing the miracles? They were annihilated by God. Do you now wish to meet the same fate by asking for miracles in your stubbornness.

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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  • Promise of Allah. There is a promise in the begining of the Surah to the mother of Musa, that her child shall be returned to her (28:7). Indeed, Allah fulfilled His promise. The Surah ends with Allah promising the Prophet Muhammad, that He shall return him back home (28:85). This seems to be towards the end of the Makki period and just prior to the Hijrah [migration] to Madinah. Indeed, Allah did fulfill His promise with the conquest of Makkah. This is a demonstration of the fact that, with out doubt, Allah does help and give victory to His friends and this adds to the Yaqin [certainty] of the Believer.
  • Those arrogant on Earth. In the beginning of the Surah, Allah mentions in [28:4] that Pharaoh was arrogant in the land. Towards the end in [28: 83], Allah mentions that He has reserved the after-life for those who are not arrogant on Earth.

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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123 Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

9 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah *

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
ق و ل 50 1722
ك و ن 37 1390
أ ل ه 34 2851
إِلَىٰ 24 742
أ ت ي 19 549
ر ب ب 19 980
ٱلَّذِى 16 1464
ع ل م 15 854
ق و م 14 660
ه د ي 12 316

Period of Revelation

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According to Ibn Abbas (a great companion of the Prophet) the Surah 26: ash-Shu’ara’ (The Poets), Surah 27: an-Naml (The Ants) and Surah 28: al-Qasas (The Story) were sent down one after the other. The language, the style and the theme also show that the period of the revelation of these three Surahs is nearly the same. Another reason for their close resemblance is that the different parts of the story of Prophet Moses are mentioned in these Surahs together to make up a complete story.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • The promise of Allah to His slaves is fulfilled without doubt.
  • The story of Pharaoh who plotted to kill all the male children of the Israelites. How Allah saved Musa (pbuh) and arranged for him to be brought up in Pharaoh's own household.
  • Youth of Prophet Musa (pbuh), his folly of killing a man, his escape to Madyan, his marriage, his seeing a fire at Mount Tur, and his assignment as a Rasool to Fir'on.
  • The stories of prior generations are related in The Qur'an as an eye opener for the disbelievers to learn a lesson.
  • Unbiased Jews and Christians; when they hear The Qur'an, can recognize the Truth and feel that they were Muslims even before hearing it.
  • The Prophets cannot give guidance; it is Allah Who gives guidance.
  • The fact that on the Day of Judgement, disbelievers will wish that they had accepted guidance and became Muslims.
  • Allah has not allowed the mushrikin to assign His powers to whom they want.
  • The story of Qarun, the legendary rich man.
  • Allah's commandment that the revelation of The Qur'an is His mercy; a believer should let no one turn him away from it.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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