Iman and kufr word count in the Qur'an
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This article lists all occurrences of the Arabic words iman (إِيمَٰن) and kufr (كُفْر) in the Qur'an. Iman means faith or belief, kufr means disbelief or infidelity. The purpose is to analyze the claim (miracle) that they both appear 25 times when counting without the genitive forms.
In order to count genitive forms we have to know how to determine whether a word is in the genitive.
Most Arabic words have a trilateral root.
- iman has the root امن (i-m-n)
- kufr has the root كفر (k-f-r)
From these roots we can derive many words by adding (or sometimes dropping) letters like:
- kuffar - "disbelievers"
- mumineen - "believers"
- amanna - "we believe"
- nakfuru - "we disbelieve"
Whether the word is in the nominative, accusative or genitive form depends on diacritics on the third letter of the root. So r (ر) in kufr and n (ن) in iman.
To put it very simply:
- و above the letter (looks like this: نُ, رُ or رٌ) mean it is nominative and the vowel after the letter is "u"
- ٱلْإِيمَٰنُ - al-imanu - the faith
- إِيمَٰنُهُمْ - imanuhum - their faith
- line(s) above the letter (نَ, رَ, رً) mean it is accusative and the vowel after the letter is "a".
- ٱلْكُفْرَ - al-kufra - the disbelief
- line(s) under the letter (رِ, نٍ, نِ) mean it is genitive and the vowel after the letter is "i" ("ee")
- ٱلْكُفْرِ - al-kufri - the disbelief
- بِكُفْرِهِمْ -- bi-kufrihim - for their disbelief
Possessive pronouns as suffixes
Words like "her", "my", "their" in Arabic are suffixed to the word. For example the suffix -him (هم) means "their". So kufrihim (كُفْرِهِمْ) is "their disbelief". The word بِإِيمَٰنِهِنَّ (bi-imaanihinna, "of their faith") is genitive, because the root letter is in the middle and the -hinna is just a suffix meaning (feminine) "their". This word ended on -na, but it had -ni- in the middle (the root letter) and it is genitive, so don't just look at the last letter of the word to determine whether it is genitive.
Conjunctions as prefixes
English words like "and", "for", "with" are prefixed to the word in the Arabic language:
- "and" is prefixed as waw- (و)
- "for" or "to" is prefixed as li- (ل)
- "with" or "in" is prefixed as bi- (ب)
The genitive case is actually not needed here to be recognized. In fact, we will see that apologists didn't exclude the genitive forms for this word count. They excluded the words with the suffixes like "their", "her" and "his" and they just call them "genitive".
The occurrences with suffixed possessive pronouns are counted in the "Translation" column.
|Count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Form|
|1||2:93||إِيمَٰنُكُمْ||your faith 1||nominative 1|
|2||2:108||بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||with faith||genitive 1|
|3||2:109||إِيمَٰنِكُمْ||your faith 2||genitive 2|
|4||2:143||إِيمَٰنَكُمْ||your faith 3||accusative 1|
|5||3:86||إِيمَٰنِهِمْ||their faith 4||genitive 3|
|6||3:90||إِيمَٰنِهِمْ||their faith 5||genitive 4|
|7||3:100||إِيمَٰنِكُمْ||your faith 6||genitive 5|
|8||3:106||إِيمَٰنِكُمْ||your faith 7||genitive 6|
|9||3:167||لِلْإِيمَٰنِ||to the faith||genitive 7|
|11||3:177||بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||with the faith||genitive 8|
|12||3:193||لِلْإِيمَٰنِ||to the faith||genitive 9|
|13||4:25||بِإِيمَٰنِكُم||of your faith 8||genitive 10|
|14||5:5||بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||in faith||genitive 11|
|15||6:82||إِيمَٰنَهُم||their faith 9||accusative 3|
|16||6:158||إِيمَٰنُهَا||her faith 10||nominative 2|
|17||6:158||إِيمَٰنِهَا||her faith 11||genitive 12|
|20||9:66||إِيمَٰنِكُمْ||your faith 12||genitive 14|
|23||10:9||بِإِيمَٰنِهِمْ||by their faith 13||genitive 15|
|24||10:98||إِيمَٰنُهَآ||her faith 14||nominative 3|
|25||16:106||إِيمَٰنِهِ||his faith 15||genitive 16|
|26||16:106||بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||with the faith||genitive 17|
|27||30:56||وَٱلْإِيمَٰنَ||and the faith||accusative 7|
|28||32:29||إِيمَٰنُهُمْ||their faith 16||nominative 4|
|30||40:10||ٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||the faith||genitive 18|
|31||40:28||إِيمَٰنَهُۥٓ||his faith 17||accusative 9|
|32||40:85||إِيمَٰنُهُمْ||their faith 18||nominative 5|
|33||42:52||ٱلْإِيمَٰنُ||the faith||nominative 6|
|35||48:4||إِيمَٰنِهِمْ||their faith 19||genitive 19|
|36||49:7||ٱلْإِيمَٰنَ||the faith||accusative 11|
|37||49:11||ٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||the faith||genitive 20|
|38||49:14||ٱلْإِيمَٰنُ||the faith||nominative 7|
|39||49:17||لِلْإِيمَٰنِ||to the faith||genitive 21|
|40||52:21||بِإِيمَٰنٍ||in faith||genitive 22|
|41||58:22||ٱلْإِيمَٰنَ||the faith||accusative 12|
|42||59:9||وَٱلْإِيمَٰنَ||and the faith||accusative 13|
|43||59:10||بِٱلْإِيمَٰنِ||in the faith||genitive 23|
|44||60:10||بِإِيمَٰنِهِنَّ||of their faith 20||genitive 24|
We have 45 forms, when we exclude the 24 genitive ones, we get 21 occurrences.
However when we exclude the 20 forms with possessive pronoun suffixes, we get the 25 occurrences.
|Count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Form|
|1||2:88||بِكُفْرِهِمْ||for their disbelief 1||genitive 1|
|2||2:93||بِكُفْرِهِمْ||for their disbelief 2||genitive 2|
|3||2:108||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief||accusative 1|
|4||2:217||وَكُفْرٌ||and disbelief||nominative 1|
|5||3:52||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief||accusative 2|
|6||3:80||بِٱلْكُفْرِ||to disbelief||genitive 3|
|8||3:167||لِلْكُفْرِ||to disbelief||genitive 4|
|9||3:176||ٱلْكُفْرِ||the disbelief||genitive 5|
|10||3:177||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief||accusative 4|
|11||4:46||بِكُفْرِهِمْ||for their disbelief 3||genitive 6|
|13||4:155||وَكُفْرِهِم||and their disbelief 4||genitive 7|
|14||4:155||بِكُفْرِهِمْ||for their disbelief 5||genitive 8|
|15||4:156||وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ||and for their disbelief 6||genitive 9|
|16||5:41||ٱلْكُفْرِ||the disbelief||genitive 10|
|17||5:61||بِٱلْكُفْرِ||with disbelief||genitive 11|
|18||5:64||وَكُفْرًا||and disbelief||accusative 6|
|19||5:68||وَكُفْرًا||and disbelief||accusative 7|
|20||9:12||ٱلْكُفْرِ||the disbelief||genitive 12|
|21||9:17||بِٱلْكُفْرِ||with disbelief||genitive 13|
|22||9:23||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief||accusative 8|
|23||9:37||ٱلْكُفْرِ||the disbelief||genitive 14|
|24||9:74||ٱلْكُفْرِ||the disbelief||genitive 15|
|26||9:107||وَكُفْرًا||and disbelief||accusative 10|
|28||16:106||بِٱلْكُفْرِ||to disbelief||genitive 16|
|29||18:80||وَكُفْرًا||and disbelief||accusative 12|
|30||30:44||كُفْرُهُۥ||his disbelief 7||nominative 2|
|31||31:23||كُفْرُهُۥٓ||his disbelief 8||nominative 3|
|32||35:39||كُفْرُهُۥ||his disbelief 9||nominative 4|
|33||35:39||كُفْرُهُمْ||their disbelief 10||nominative 5|
|34||39:7||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief *||accusative 13|
|35||39:8||بِكُفْرِكَ||in your disbelief 11||genitive 17|
|36||49:7||ٱلْكُفْرَ||the disbelief||accusative 14|
(*) This occurrence (39:7) is sometimes translated as "ungratefulness":
- Yusuf Ali: "If ye reject (Allah), Truly Allah hath no need of you; but He liketh not ingratitude (ٱلْكُفْرَ, al-kufra) from His servants: if ye are grateful, He is pleased with you.."
- Shakir: "If you are ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient above all need of you; and He does not like ungratefulness (ٱلْكُفْرَ, al-kufra) in His servants.."
- Dr. Ghali: "In case you disbelieve, then surely Allah is Ever-Affluent (Literally: Ever-Rich) to do without you, and He is not satisfied with disbelief (ٱلْكُفْرَ, al-kufra) from His bondmen. And in case you thank (Him), He is satisfied with it for you.."
- Pickthall: "If ye are thankless, yet Allah is Independent of you, though He is not pleased with thanklessness (ٱلْكُفْرَ, al-kufra) for His bondmen; and if ye are thankful He is pleased therewith for you.."
We have 36 forms. When we exclude the 17 genitive forms, we get 19 occurrences.
However when we exclude the 11 forms with possessive pronoun suffixes we get the 25 occurrences.
There is also the word kufoor (كفور) from the same root which is translated as "disbelief" or "ungratefulness" and was not counted:
- Verse 17:89 "And We have certainly diversified for the people in this Qur'an from every [kind] of example, but most of the people refused [anything] except disbelief (كُفُورًا , kufooran)."
- The word iman appears 45 times in all its forms and the word kufr appears 36 times in all its forms
- When the genitive form is not counted, iman appears 21 times and kufr 19 times.
- When the forms with possessive pronoun suffixes like "their", "her", "his" are excluded, then both iman and kufr have 25 occurrences.
- In this word count, the words with various prefixes are counted, and also the words with the letter ا (alif) at the end of the word, are counted. So these occurrences cannot be called "basic forms" in any way and this method of counting and excluding words is very specific and questionable.
- This word count includes the occurrence in the verse 39:7 which is sometimes translated as "ungratefulness" and not "disbelief"
- This word count does not include occurrences of the word kufoor which are sometimes translated as "disbelief"
- By now it is worth noting how many words are being excluded to arrive at the number 25. This is hardly miraculous; it looks as if a Muslim apologist can select or ignore any occurrences of a word or meaning according to his/her convenience, just to get to the desired number. This is a type of fallacy called cherry picking.
- If Allah intended this word count miracle, then what is its meaning? Is belief equal to disbelief? Shouldn't belief have something like a double word count? And why we do have to exclude some forms to get the miraculous word count?
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