The Qur'an contains many verses that are either addressed to or intended for various categories of people.

Some examples:

  • Mankind in general

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ  إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ

    O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing.

  • Jews

    قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ هَادُوا إِن زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ لِلَّـهِ مِن دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

    Say (O Muhammad ﷺ): "O you Jews! If you pretend that you are friends of Allah, to the exclusion of (all) other mankind, then long for death if you are truthful."

  • Christians

    يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ  إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ  فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ  وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ
    O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"

  • Polytheists

    وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ  قُلْ أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ إِنْ أَرَادَنِيَ اللَّـهُ بِضُرٍّ هَلْ هُنَّ كَاشِفَاتُ ضُرِّهِ أَوْ أَرَادَنِي بِرَحْمَةٍ هَلْ هُنَّ مُمْسِكَاتُ رَحْمَتِهِ  قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّـهُ  عَلَيْهِ يَتَوَكَّلُ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ

    And verily, if you ask them: "Who created the heavens and the earth?" Surely, they will say: "Allah (has created them)." Say: "Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah, if Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm, or if He (Allah) intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His Mercy?" Say: "Sufficient for me is Allah; in Him those who trust (i.e. believers) must put their trust."


  • Believers

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ  إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

    O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones).

Which brings about an interesting question:

Do any Qur'anic verses address atheists - those who deny the existence of a Divine Being?

  • 2
    I've always read من اتخذ إلهه هواه (e.g. Al-Jathiyah 23, Al-Furqan 43) as referring to atheists, but that's just personal opinion: No clue what the scholarly interpretation of it is.
    – goldPseudo
    May 2, 2017 at 22:29
  • @goldPseudo But atheists do not believe there is God.
    – Casanova
    May 2, 2017 at 22:32
  • 1
    @Casanova "Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire" that doesn't necessary mean they believe in a God. The verse could be interpreted to refer to an atheist, who makes his own desire (i.e himself) a god. But the context (given in tafsir Tabari) says: مَنِ اتَّـخَذَ إلَههُ } شهوتَه التـي يهواها وذلك أن الرجل من الـمشركين كان يعبد الـحجر، فإذا رأى أحسن منه رمى به، وأخذ الآخر يعبده، فكان معبوده وإلهه ما يتـخيره لنفسه
    – Kilise
    May 2, 2017 at 22:48
  • @Kilise But still that mushrik believes there is a God. Atheists do not.
    – Casanova
    May 2, 2017 at 22:59
  • @Casanova Yes, but the verse itself doesn't say it is a mushrik or not. Therefore its open for interpretation, but as you said and which is said in the tafsirs, the intention of the verse seems to be directed to a polytheist. I explained the same thing in my answer, but with different verses.
    – Kilise
    May 2, 2017 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


There are verses that could be interpreted to address people not believing in God (i.e atheists). But, we can't be too certain about that because, the people (or polytheists) the verses was reveled too somehow believed in a god, but their beliefs where rather incomplete. With other words, they believed in Allah, the Creator, as you quoted:

And verily, if you ask them: "Who created the heavens and the earth?" Surely, they will say: "Allah (has created them)."

But yet, they did not believe in other things as in the resurrection of the dead, which is mentioned many times in the Quran; "shall we be ressurected after we have become bones?" or:

أَإِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا ۖ ذَٰلِكَ رَجْعٌ بَعِيدٌ
When we are dead and have become dust (shall we be brought back again)? That would be a far return!

Anyway, some verses that addressed the polytheist, could be argued to also address atheists:

أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ
Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?
- Surat At-Tur, verse 35


كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave you life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life; then you shall be brought back to Him.
- Surat Al Baqarah, 28

You could of course quote the verses and address atheists with them. But to say they were revealed explicitly to atheists can't be proven. Maybe one have to define what one means with the word atheist then. I have yet not received an answer for my question "Did the Prophet meet any atheists?", and considering the time and place the prophet (PBUH) lived in, the odds are pretty low.

Therefore I also think the odds are low that these verses addressed atheists. But that doesn't mean one cannot use the same argument when talking with an atheist, for instance; "how comes you don't believe in God when you didn't exist a while ago, but now you do and so on...!", i.e 2:28...

  • Anyone who denies the existence of a divine being also denies that they were created by a divine being. To that end, 53:35-36 are very relevant to the atheist. Ibn Katheer's exegesis is fairly relevant to the discussion as well.
    – Zaid
    May 3, 2017 at 3:12
  • 1
    @Zaid There are many verses one could add and say that they could be addressed to atheists, but as I explained, the verses was reveled to the polytheists (not atheists). 53:35 for instance; "وذُكر أن هذه الآية نزلت في الوليد بن المغيرة"
    – Kilise
    May 3, 2017 at 8:44

Atheists in Quran

69:33 For he did not believe in God, the Great.

4:38 And those who spend their money to show off to the people, and they do not believe in God or the Last Day. And whoever has the devil as his associate, then what a miserable associate!

9:45 Those who ask leave are the ones who do not believe in God and the Last Day, and their hearts are in doubt. In their doubts they are wavering.

52:35 Or were they created from nothing? Or was it they who created?


Atheist are what Qur'an refers to as کافر. It's very literal meaning is one who conceals.

In Islam people are either mo'men, mustaz'af (someone who the truth hasn't been revealed to) or kafir (someone who has seen the truth e.g. has seen a miracle but still doesn't want to believe). All three have different levels e.g. a normal Muslim is a believer so is the prophet.

For what's it's worth atheist and kafir are very similar but not exactly the same thing.

Atheist: someone who doesn't believe in God.

  • Some atheists will become believers as soon as they see the truth. <-- This is a mustaz'af but also an atheist
  • Yet some even after seeing the truth will not want to become believers < This is a to be kaffir but also an atheist
  • Some who has seen the truth and is concealed it because he simply doesn't want to obey/worship Allah.

Most verses of Qur'an address the kaffir kind of atheist, not the mustaz'af kind

So to specifically answer your question, almost any verse that contains کافر/ کافرون / یکفرون / کفر is your answer.

  • 1
    Please provide evidences about atheist being a synonym to Kafir.
    – Kilise
    May 2, 2017 at 22:56
  • The two options for atheists you list, mustazaf and kafir, leave out the obvious option of "wasn't convinced by Islam's claims".
    – G. Bach
    May 2, 2017 at 22:56
  • What do you mean by mustaz'af?. Is this mentioned in the Quran?
    – Casanova
    May 2, 2017 at 23:51
  • 1
    All atheists are kaafir, but not all kaafirs are atheists. From this IslamQA page, Ibn Taymiyah said: "The one who denies the Hereafter but believes that this universe is created is described by Allah as a kaafir. The one who denies it and says that this universe existed from eternity is a worse kaafir in the sight of Allah, may He be exalted." so the two terms are not always synonymous.
    – Zaid
    May 3, 2017 at 2:35
  • 1
    @I'm not siting his view. Some atheists have never had the chance ie from the age of 4 their parents have injected bad things into their hearts/minds and there was barely anything good introduced to them so they could believe into. These are مستضعف and not كافر
    – Thaqalain
    May 3, 2017 at 2:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .