The Meaning and Message of Surah Al Kausar
Verily, we have blessed You with Al Kausar (a river in Paradise). So,offer prayer and sacrifice to your Lord. Indeed your enemy is the one cut off.
(Quran Surah Al-Kausar 108)
Surah Kausar sums up the doctrine of spiritual riches through devotion and sacrifice. This Surah is foremost directly addressed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and through him to the rest of the Muslims. It is the 108th and the shortest of the Quran, composed of only 3 verses. This is one of the most popular surahs due to the fact that there is hardly a Muslim who has not memorized it. Even though it is a short surah, its meaning and message is of monumental importance and hope.
This Surah was revealed in an especially difficult time in the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), for it was the time the enemies of the prophet used to call him Abtar which mean the one cut off due to the fact that both of his male children from Hazrat Khadija (RA) had passed away. This was also the time when the Muslims were few in numbers and weak compared to the enemies of Islam.
Allah (SWT) said to His Prophet (SAW):
Verily, we have blessed You with Al Kausar (a river in Paradise).
The fountain is also the abundant bounty granted to Holy Prophet (SAW) of all that is good in the spiritual sense like prophet hood and revelation, grace and knowledge, truth and wisdom, mercy and goodness, spiritual power and insight. Kausar in Arabic means abundance and is also the name of a river in Paradise that Allah (SWT) has granted Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from which the righteous will drink on the day of Resurrection.With the reference to the believers, Kausar signifies the ability to acquire knowledge, to do good work, to be kind to all beings and thus, to attain inner peace and dignity.
Allah (SWT) is the one Who grants all these blessings to the believer, so it is only to him that we must turn to worship, give praise to and sacrifice in His name. In the end of the surah Allah (SWT) informs Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that in the end of all things, it will be his enemies which are also the enemies of Islam and Allah (SWT) that will be cut off not only from the benefits of this world but the hereafter.
Meaning of Kausar According to Hadiths
The word Kausar in Arabic refers to great abundance.
In Islamic terminology it has two meanings:
1 – A River in Paradise
It is a river in Paradise which Allah (SWT) has given to His Prophet (SAW). This meaning is what is meant in the verse where Allah (SWT)says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al-Kausar (a river in Paradise).”
(Quran Surah Al-Kausar 108:1)
This is how the Prophet (SAW) interpreted it. It was narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh (607) that Anas (RA) said: Whilst we were with the Prophet (SAW), he dozed off then he raised his head and he was smiling. We said, “Why are you smiling, O Messenger of Allah (SWT)?” He said: “A Surah has been revealed to me.” And he recited (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have granted you (O Muhammad) Al-Kausar (a river in Paradise)…”to the end of the surah. Then he said: “Do you know what is al-Kausar?” We said: Allah (SWT)and His Messenger (SAW) know best.” He said: “It is a river that my Lord has promised to me in which there is much goodness. And it is a cistern to which my ummah will come on the Day of Resurrection.”
Al-Tirmidhi (3284) narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Al-Kausar is a river in Paradise. Its banks are made of gold and its bed is of pearls and rubies…”
Al-Tirmidhi said: It is hasansaheeh; it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in SaheehSunan al-Tirmidhi, 3/135.
2 – Cistern – a Tank for Holding Water
This Cistern will be set up in the place of gathering on the Day of Resurrection, to which the ummah of Muhammad (SAW) will come. The water of this cistern will come from the river of al-Kausar which is in Paradise, hence it is called the Cistern of al-Kausar. The evidence for that is the hadith narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh(4255) from Abu Dharr, that “into the Cistern will flow two pipes from Paradise.” The apparent meaning of this hadith is that the Cistern will be next to Paradise so that the water from the river that is inside Paradise will be able to flow into it, as IbnHajar said in al-Fath 11/466. According to another report narrated in al-Musnad (12827) also from Anas (RA), the Prophet (SAW) was asked about al-Kausar and he said: “That is a river which Allah (SWT) has given to me, in Paradise. It is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, and in it are birds whose necks are like the necks of camels.” ‘Umar (RA) said: “Those are soft birds.” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Eating them is even softer, O ‘Umar.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheebwa’l-Tarheeb, 3740.
Features of the Cistern
Al-Bukhaari (6093) and Muslim (4244) narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr(RA) said: The Prophet (SAW) said: “My Cistern is (as big as) the distance of a month’s (journey). Its length and width are equal and its water is whiter than milk and its scent is better than musk. Its drinking vessels are like the stars of the sky and whoever drinks from it will never thirst again.”
In Saheeh Muslim (4261) it is narrated from Anas (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “In it can be seen vessels of gold and silver whose number is as the stars of the sky”and according to another report, “More than the number of stars in the sky.”
It is also narrated in Saheeh Muslim (4256) from Thawbaan (may Allah (SWT) be pleased with him) that the Prophet (SAW) was asked about its drink and he said: “It is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. Two pipes feed into it from Paradise, one of gold and the other of silver.”
And Allah (SWT) knows best.