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.

Arabic grammar[edit]

In order to count genitive forms we have to know how to determine whether a word is in the genitive.

Trilateral root[edit]

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"

Genitive[edit]

Whether the word is in the nominative, accusative or genitive form depends on diacritics on the third letter of the root [1]. 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[edit]

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[edit]

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)

Iman[edit]

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
10 3:173 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 2
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
18 8:2 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 4
19 9:23 ٱلْإِيمَٰنِ faith genitive 13
20 9:66 إِيمَٰنِكُمْ your faith 12 genitive 14
21 9:124 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 5
22 9:124 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 6
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
29 33:22 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 8
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
34 48:4 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 10
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
45 74:31 إِيمَٰنًا faith accusative 14

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.

Kufr[edit]

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
7 3:90 كُفْرًا disbelief accusative 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
12 4:137 كُفْرًا disbelief accusative 5
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
25 9:97 كُفْرًا disbelief accusative 9
26 9:107 وَكُفْرًا and disbelief accusative 10
27 14:28 كُفْرًا disbelief accusative 11
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)."

Conclusions[edit]

  • 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 have to exclude some forms to get the miraculous word count?

See also[edit]

References[edit]