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['Aalim Network QR] The word "Qareen" (Associate) in the Qur'an

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun `Alaykum

The following question was kindly answered by Mulla Bashir.

Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim
Moderator - 'Aalim Network

---------- Forwarded message ----------


I would like one of you to tell me about the word "Qareen" mentioned in
the Qur'an. (Reference: 50:23 and 50:27) 

I was sitting with some sunnies and the topic came out, they say that the
every one has a qareen which encourage him to do bad, and that the Prophet
(S) had one also, but Allah (S) made to become Muslim? 

What do the sunni think about Qareen, and what is our explanation for it?


Thank you for posing this interesting question.

The word 'qareenun' with its grammatical variations appears in several
places in the Holy Qur'an. The dictionary meaning of the word is a
comrade, a friend or an associate. I do not think that the expression in
itself means any evil force though in most places in the Holy Qur'an it
has been used in relation to taking shaitan as a friend, comrade or
associate. In order to better understand this let us examine some of the
other verses where the term has been used.

I) Suratun Nisa (IV) Ayah 38 Allah says:

".............and as for him whose associate (qareenan) is shaitan, an
evil associate is he !" 

In Suratuz Zukhruf (XLIII) the word appears in the following ayaah:

36: And whoever turns away from the remembrance of the Beneficent we
    appoint for him a shaitan who becomes his associate (qareenun). 

38: Until he comes to us, he says: (addressing his associate) O would that
    between me and you there were the distance of east and west; so evil
    is the associate. 

Because the word has been used in relation to shaitan being an associate,
it is not very difficult to understand why some ignorant Muslims have
taken the word to mean shaitan. 

Now let us examine in their proper context the two ayaah of Suratu Qaaf
(L) cited by you. Allah first describes the scene of death and then
proceeds to describe the Day of Judgement. 

21: And every soul shall come, with it a driver and a witness. 
22: Certainly you were heedless of it, but now We have removed from you
    your veil, so your sight today is sharp.
23: And his companion (qareenuhu) shall say : This is what is ready with
24: Do cast into hell every ungrateful, rebellious one.
25: Forbidder of good, exceeder of limits, doubter. 
26: Who sets up another god with Allah, so do cast him into severe
27: His companion (qareenuhu) will say : Our Lord ! I did not lead him
    into excesses but he himself was in great error.

There is a consensus amongst both the Shiah Mufassireen and those of Ahlul
Sunnah, notably Daryabadi and Yusufali, that the word qareen used in ayah
23 refers to the angel who maintains the record of deeds or to the record
itself. In ayah 27 it refers to the shaitan who was the comrade of that

It is clear from our analysis above that not all human beings have shaitan
as a comrade. Indeed in ayaah 99 & 100 of Suratun Nahl (see below) Allah
has categorically stated that shaitan has no authority over those who
believe and rely on their Lord. His authority is only over those who
befriend him and associate others with Allah. 

Suratun Nahl (XVI):

 99: Verily he has no authority over those who believe and put their trust
     in their Lord.
100: His authority is only over those who befriend him and those who
     associate others with Him.

Now only if someone believes that the Holy Prophet (na'udhubillah) was an
unbeliever or had befriended shaitan or was a mushrik (something which not
even a non-Muslim has ever dared assert), one can not say that he could
possibly have shaitan as his qareen. 

We are now left with the question as to why your Sunni friends should want
to say that the Holy Prophet had shaitan as a qareen. 

The answer lies in the fact that firstly they do not believe in his 'ismah
(infallibility). For this they rely upon the long discredited story of how
the Holy Prophet had been misled by shaitan to alter certain ayah of
Suratun Najm so as to appease the Meccans with regard to their goddesses
al-Laat, al-Uzza and al Manat conceding them the power of intercession. 
The following day, the story goes, the Holy Prophet withdrew these
offending ayaah (which have come to be known as the satanic verses) and
recited the surah as revealed. This scurrilous and utterly false story is
found in ibn Sa'd's al Tabaqaat al Kubra in Tabari's Taarikh. Although
many authoritative Sunni historians have emphatically denied the story,
the Christian orientalists have cited it ad nauseum. Some Sunnis still
believe the story to be true in spite of the efforts of leading Sunni
writers to establish its falsity. Haykal spends an entire chapter in his
"the Life of Muhammad" to show how untrue this fabrication is.

If there is any further clarification you require please do not hesitate
to refer your questions to the Alim Network. 

With salaams and du'aas from a humble servant of Ahlul Bayt and their
followers, and with a request to be remembered by you in your prayers,

Bashir Rahim

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