Almighty Allah has said:
اِنَّاۤ اَعْطَیْنٰكَ الْكَوْثَرَؕ(۱) فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَ انْحَرْؕ(۲) اِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْاَبْتَرُ۠(۳)
O beloved We have indeed bestowed upon you countless excellences. So you offer Salah for your Lord, and sacrifice. Indeed he who is your enemy, only he is deprived of every good.[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)]
Here is a holy reason for the revelation of this verse. When a beloved son of the Holy Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم passed away, disbelievers like Abu Lahab, ‘Uqbah Bin Mu’eet, ‘Aas Bin Waa`il, etc. began to say hurtful words. Someone said, ‘The root of Muhammad (صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم) has been cut off.’ Someone said, ‘Don’t mention Muhammad (صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم). He is the sort of person whose root has been cut off. He does not have any male child. When he passes away, his name will be wiped off the face of the earth.’ Responding to these disbelievers and comforting His Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم, Almighty Allah revealed this Surah. It is as if Allah Almighty said, ‘O Beloved! Do not get grieved at what these people say. Look what benevolence and grace We have bestowed upon you. We have blessed you with countless qualities and bounties. Therefore, offer Salah and make sacrifice in gratitude. As far as your enemies are concerned, it is actually them whose root has been cut off. They are deprived of every good.’
In fact, as long as the world exists, every such person who blasphemes [i.e. shows disrespect to] the Holy Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم is deprived of good and is included in this verse. This Surah is a wonderful proof of the dignity and the great rank of the Holy Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم in the Divine court as well as of Divine love for him صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم. When disbelievers poked fun at him صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم, Almighty Allah Himself replied on behalf of His Prophet that his enemy was deprived of good. This is actually a sign of affection. If anyone objects to one’s beloved, one replies to the objection himself. A similar way of affection is found in many other places of the Holy Quran. For example, when Waleed Bin Mugheerah called the Holy Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم insane and crazy, Almighty Allah mentioned nine of his faults in his denunciation. Almighty Allah also said to the Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم, ‘By the grace of your Lord, you are not insane.’ (Part 29, Surah Al-Qalam, Ayah 2)
Similarly, on one occasion, Abu Lahab blasphemed [i.e. disrespected] the Greatest Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم, so Almighty Allah revealed a complete Surah, denouncing Abu Lahab and saying, ‘May both the hands of Abu Lahab be destroyed, and he has been destroyed.’ (Part 30, Surah Lahab, Ayah 1)
The first verse of the above Surah says that Almighty Allah has bestowed Kawsar, i.e. countless virtues upon His Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم. Derived from the word ‘کثرت’ and strongly emphasized, the word ‘کوثر’ means “a lot; extremely abundant; to be so abundant that people cannot make an estimate of it and this abundance may be in terms of quantity and number and status and rank or any other. It is as if it is being said that your enemies are under the impression that you have nothing and even your son has passed away but, in actual fact, We have bestowed upon you so much that no one can even make an estimate of it”.
“Kawsar” is a very comprehensive word. According to a strong opinion, “Kawsar” means a stream in Paradise. Abu Dawood states that the Holy Prophet (صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم) once dozed off. Afterwards, he صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم lifted his head smilingly and said, ‘A Surah has just been revealed to me.’ He صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم then recited Surah Al-Kawsar up to the end and said, ‘Do you people know what Kawsar is?’ Blessed companions رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهُم respectfully replied, ‘Almighty Allah and His Rasool know the best.’ The Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم said, ‘In Paradise, it’s a stream that my Lord has promised to me.’ (Abu Dawood, vol. 4, pp. 313, Hadees 4747)
It is stated in another Hadees that the Revered and Renowned Rasool صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم said: While walking in Paradise, I suddenly came across a stream whose both the brinks were domes of hollow pearls. I said, ‘O Jibraeel! What is this?’ He respectfully replied, ‘This is Kawsar that Almighty Allah has bestowed upon you.’ Afterwards, I saw that its fragrance or soil was like wafting musk. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 268, Hadees 6581)
Regarding “Kawsar” there is another opinion of Islamic scholars. It means “the pond of Kawsar”. Sayyiduna Anas رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهُ stated: The Holy Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم was sitting among us. Suddenly, he dozed off. Then, he صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم lifted his blessed head smilingly and said, ‘A Surah has just been revealed to me.’ He صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم recited Surah Al-Kawsar and said, ‘Do you know what Kawsar is?’ We replied, ‘Almighty Allah and His Rasool know the best.’ The Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم said, ‘It’s a stream that my Lord has promised to me. It has a lot of good and it’s the pond where my Ummah will come to drink [its water] on the Day of Judgement.’ (Sahih Muslim, pp. 169, Hadees 894)
The stream of Kawsar is in Paradise, whereas the pond of Kawsar will be on the plains of resurrection. Water will be flowing through the pond of Kawsar from two drain spouts of Paradise. It is as if this pond originates from the stream of Kawsar in Paradise. (Fath-ul-Baari, vol. 12, pp. 398)
Here is a summary of a Hadees mentioned in “Sahih Muslim”, describing the glory of the pond of Kawsar. ‘Its pots outnumber even the stars shining on the clear and bright sky in a dark night. One who drinks Kawsar water from it will never be thirsty. The width of this pond is equal to its length, as is the distance between Oman and Eela. Its water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey.’ (Sahih Muslim, pp. 969, Hadees 5989)
Apparently, these are two different opinions about Kawsar, one of which says that it’s a stream and, according to the other, it’s a pond. In actual fact, these two and other opinions are all included in one opinion which says that “Kawsar” is “immense goodness”. It is stated in Sahih Bukhari that Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin ‘Abbas رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ عَنْهُ stated, ‘Kawsar means the goodness that Almighty Allah has bestowed upon His Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم.’ The narrator said: I asked Sa’eed Bin Jubair رَضِیَ اللہُ عَنْہُ, ‘People say that it’s a stream in Paradise?’ Upon this, he replied, ‘The stream in Paradise is also included in this goodness which Almighty Allah has bestowed upon him.’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 3, pp. 390, Hadees 4966)
Overall, in the commentary of “Kawsar”, there are around thirty opinions. In reality, the Greatest and Noblest Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم has been blessed with immense goodness, encompassing all things. For example, the Holy Quran is also definitely included in “immense goodness”. What goodness can be greater than it? In a similar way, the Revered and Renowned Rasool صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم was blessed with greatest wisdom and even the treasure of wisdom. Wisdom has been declared to be immense goodness by the Holy Quran. (Part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 269) Likewise, he صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم has been blessed with the ability of putting many meanings in nutshell known as ‘جوامع الکلم’.
In short, it was said, ‘O Beloved Prophet صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم! Indeed We have bestowed countless virtues upon you including Quran, Nubuwwah, Risalah, Islam, easy Shar’i commandments, wisdom, knowledge, Ma’rifah and Noor in your heart. Your pure character has been adorned with great acts of worship, good manners, excellent attributes and wonderful habits. You have been blessed with many miracles, intercession, Maqaam-e-Mahmood, pond of Kawsar, stream in Paradise and even the entire Paradise. You have been blessed with the pure group of blessed companions, abundance in Ummah, domination of religion and conquests. Your enemies have been made overawed by you. Your lineage has been made great and you have been given perfection in apparent and inner beauty. Whether it is the east or the west, the earth or the sky, the world or the Hereafter, there is elevation of your remembrance everywhere in the form of your praise, eulogy, compliment and admiration.
In gratitude to all of these bounties, offer Salah and make sacrifice for the pleasure of your Lord. The enemy calling you “اَبْتَر” is actually deprived of good, whereas you are blessed with immense good. سُبْحٰنَ اللّٰە! How beautifully Almighty Allah has described the glory of Beloved Mustafa صلّی اللّٰہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلّم! This has also been expressed by A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللّٰەِ عَلَيْه in the following couplet:
Ay Raza khud Sahib-e-Quran hay maddah-e-Huzoor
Tujh say kab mumkin hay phir midhat Rasoolullah ki