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Last Updated: 2011/04/20
Summary of question
What is meant by the Makr of Allah that has been mentioned in the Quran?
question
What is meant by the Makr of Allah that has been mentioned in the Quran?
Concise answer

Makrmeans to devise for good or evil and this is why it is described by the word “السَّیئ” (bad/evil) in the Quran.

Allah’s Makr: The many verses that attribute “Makr” to Allah refer to his supreme direction and regulation of matters.  Since he is the true owner of all management, there is no devising separate from His. Therefore, Allah has supremacy over all planners as it is mentioned in the Quran: “اللَّه خیر الماکرین”. The Almighty also says in the Quran: Those who were before them [also schemed]; yet all devising belongs to Allah. He knows what every soul earns. Soon the faithless will know in whose favor the outcome of that abode will be. This verse clearly asserts that Allah is the supreme deviser and others’ thoughts and devising will do them no good in opposition to His.

Detailed Answer

The meaning of “Makr”: The literal meaning of “Makr” is devising and planning.  It can be good or evil[1] as well as it being capable for being for good or for evil. However, some believe “Makr” to mean tricking and when attributed to Allah, to refer to the punishment of tricking and deception.[2]

The “Makr of Allah”: When examining the verses in which the word “Makr” has been used,[3] we realize that the meaning of “Makr” is simply devising and planning and that it could be good or evil. For example in the verse “وَ یمکرون و یکمر اللَّه واللَّه خَیر الماکِرین”,[4] the word “یَمکُرُون” refers to the plotting of the Mushrikin (Pagans) that intended to kill the prophet or imprison him and the phrase “یَمکُرُ اللَّهُ” refers to Allah’s devising and commanding the prophet to immigrate. The very fact that the word “مکر” is used along with the adjective “السَّیِئّى” (evil) in the Quran[5] proves that “Makr” can be good or evil. Therefore, the many verses that attribute Makr to Allah refer to his supreme regulation and management of matters, because He is the true owner of all devising and there is no devising separate from his. As a result, Allah has supremacy over all planners[6], and the verse from Surah Ra’d[7] clearly states that Allah is the supreme deviser and that the plotting of others is nothing compared to His.[8]



[1] Qurashi, Seyyed Ali Akbar, Qamuse Quran, vol. 6, pg. 265.

[2] Al-Munjid, translation, Muhammad Bandar Riki, vol. 2, pg. 1820.

[3] A’raf:99 and 123; Fater:10 and 43; Ra’d:33 and 42; Saba’:33; Yunus:21; Ale Imran:54; Nahl:26 and 45; Naml:50 and 51; Nuh:22; Ibrahim:46; Yusuf:13; Ghafir:45.

[4] Anfal:30.

[5] Fater:43.

[6] Ale Imran:54.

[7] Ra’d:42.

[8] Tabatabai, Seyyed Muhammad Husein, Al-Mizan, Farsi translation, Musavi Hamedani, vol. 12, pg. 355, 20 volume version, Entesharate Eslami Publications.

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