Surah Al An’am Part 1 Ayat 1-26

The Tafsir of Surah Al-An’am

(Chapter 6)

Which was Revealed in Makkah

The Virtue of Surah Al-Anam and When it Was Revealed

Al-Awfi, Ikrimah and Ata’ said that Ibn Abbas said, “Surat Al-An’am was revealed in Makkah” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 3:243) At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “All of Surat Al-An’am was revealed in Makkah at night, accompanied by seventy thousand angels, raising their voices in glorification of Allah” (At-Tabari 12:215) As-Suddi said that Murrah said that Abdullah said, “Surat Al-An’am was revealed in the company of seventy thousand angels.” (Ad-Daurr Al-Manthur 3:243)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

{1. All praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord.

2. He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term. And there is with Him another determined term, yet you doubt.

3. And He is Allah, in the heavens and the earth, He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn.}

All Praise is Due to Allah for His Glorious Ability and Great Power

Allah praises and glorifies His Most Honorable Self for creating the heavens and earth, as a dwelling for His servants, and for making the darkness and the light to benefit them in the night and t he day. In this Ayah, Allah describes darkness in the plural, Zulumat [where Zulmah is singular for darkness], while describing the light in the singular, An-Nur, because An-Nur is more honored. In other Ayat, Allah said, “To the right and to the lefts.” (16:48)

Near the end of this Surah (chapter 6), Allah also said; “And verily, this is my straight path, so follow it, and follow no (other) ways, for they will separate you away from His way.” (6:153) Allah said next, “Yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord.” meaning, in spite of all this, some of Allah’s servants disbelieve in Him and hold others as partners and rivals with Him. Some of Allah’s servants claimed a wife and a son for Allah, hallowed be He far above what they attribute to Him. Allah’s statement, “He it is Who has created you from clay” refers to the father of mankind, Adam, from whom mankind originated, multiplied in numbers and spread about, east and west. Allah said, “Then has decreed a stated term. And there is with Him another determined term…” His saying; “Then has decreed a stated term” refers to death, while, “And there is with Him another determined term…” refers to the Hereafter, according to Said bin Jubayr who reported this from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 11:257) Similar statements were narrated from Mujahid, Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Zayd bin Aslam, Atiyyah, As-Suddi, Muqat il bin Hayyan and others. (At-Tabari 11:256-258) Ibn Abbas and Mujahid said that, “And then has decreed a stated term” is the term of this earthly life, while, “And there is with Him another determined term” refers to man’s extent of life until he dies as mentioned in Allah’s statement; (At-Tabari 11:256) “It is He, Who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep), and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then He raises (wakes) you up again that a term appointed (life) be fulfilled.” (6:60)

The meaning of Allah’s statement, “With Him” is that none but Him knows when it will occur. Allah said in other Ayat, “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord. None can reveal its time but He.” (7:187), and, “They ask you about the Hour – when will be its appointed time You have no knowledge to say anything about it. To your Lord belongs (the knowledge of) the term thereof.” (79:42-44)

Allah said, “Yet you doubt.” the coming of the (last) Hour, according to As-Suddi. (At-Tabari 11:260) Allah said next,“And He is Allah in the heavens and the earth, He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn.” Meaning, it is He Who is called Allah, throughout the heavens and the earth, that is, it is He who is worshipped, singled out, whose divinity is believed in by the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. They call Him Allah, and they supplicate to Him in fear and hope, except those who disbelieve among the Jinns and mankind. In another Ayah, Allah said; “It is He Who is God in the heavens and the earth.” (43:84) meaning, He is the God of those in heaven and those on earth, and He knows all affairs, public and secret. “And He knows what you earn” all the good and bad deeds that you perform.

{4. And never an Ayah comes to them from the Ayat of their Lord, but that they have been turning away from it.

5. Indeed, they rejected the truth when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that which they used to mock at.

6. Have they not seen how many a generation before them We have destroyed whom We had established on the earth such as We have not established you? And We poured out on them rain from the sky in abundance, and made the rivers flow under them. Yet We destroyed them for their sins, and created after them other generations.}

Threatening the Idolators for their Stubbornness

Allah states that the rebellious, stubborn polytheists will turn away from every Ayah, meaning, sign, miracle and proof that is evidence of Allah’s Uniqueness and the truth of His honorable Messengers. They will not contemplate about these Ayat or care about them. Allah said, “Indeed, they rejected the truth when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that which they used to mock at.”

This Ayah contains a warning and a stern threat for the disbelievers’ rejection of the truth, stating that the disbelievers will surely know the truth of what they used to deny and taste the evil end of their behavior. Allah advises and warns the disbelievers, that they should avoid the torments and afflictions of this life, similar to what befell their likes from previous nations, who were stronger, wealthier, had more offspring, and were more exploitive on the earth. Allah said, “Have they not seen how many a generation before them We have destroyed whom We had established on the earth such as We have not established you?” meaning, they had more wealth, children, buildings, abundant provision, riches and soldiers. Allah said next, “and We poured out on them rain from the sky in abundance,” in reference to rain that comes often, “And made the rivers flow under them.” as rain was abundant and the springs were plentiful, so that We deceived them.“Yet We destroyed them for their sins” meaning the mistakes and errors that they committed, ”and created after them other generations” for, these generations of old perished and became as legends and stories, ”And created after them other generations.” so that We test the new generations, as well. Yet, they committed similar errors and were destroyed, as their ancestors were destroyed. Therefore, beware of the same end that might befall you, for you are not dearer to Allah than these previous nations, but the Messenger whom you defied is dearer to Allah than the Messengers they defied. Thus, you are more liable than them to receive torment, if it was not for Allah’s mercy and kindness.

{7. And even if We had sent down unto you a Message written on paper so that they could touch it with their hands, the disbelievers would have said: “This is nothing but obvious magic!”

8. And they say: “Why has not an angel been sent down to him?” Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been judged at once, and no respite would be granted to them.

9. And had We appointed him an angel, We indeed would have made him a man, and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion.

10. And indeed Messengers were mocked before you, but their scoffers were surrounded by the very thing that they used to mock at.

11. Say: “Travel in the land and see what was the end of those who rejected truth.”}

Censuring the Rebellious and their Refusal to Accept Human Messengers

Allah describes the rebellion and stubbornness of the idolators in defying the truth and arguing against it, ”And even if We had sent down unto you a Message written on paper so that they could touch it with their hands,” meaning, if they saw this Message’s descent and were eye-witnesses to that, ”the disbelievers would have said: “This is nothing but obvious magic!”

This is similar to Allah’s description of the disbelievers’ defiance of facts and truth, “And even if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they were to continue ascending thereto. They would surely say: “Our eyes have been (as if) dazzled. Nay, we are a people bewitched.” (15:14-15), and, “And if they were to see a piece of the heaven falling down, they would say, “Clouds gathered in heaps!” (52:44). “And they say: “Why has not an angel been sent down to him” to convey the Message with admonition along with him. Allah replied, “Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been judged at once, and no respite would be granted to them.”

Consequently, even if the angels descend, while the disbelievers still had the same attitude, then the torment will surely befall them from Allah as a consequence. Allah said in other Ayat, “We send not the angels down except with the truth (i.e. for torment, etc.), and in that case, they (the disbelievers) would have no respite!” (15:8), and, “On the Day they will see the angels, no glad tidings will there be for the criminals that day.” (25:22) Allah’s statement, “And had We appointed him an angel, We indeed would have made him a man, and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion.” meaning, if We send an angel along with the human Messenger, or if We send an angel as a Messenger to mankind, he would be in the shape of a man so that they would be able to speak to him and benefit from his teachings. In this case, the angel “in the shape of a human” will also cause confusion for them, just as the confusion they caused themselves over accepting humans as Messengers! Allah said, “Say: “If there were on the earth, angels walking about in peace and security, We should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger.” (17:95)

It is a mercy from Allah to His creation that He sends every type of creation, Messengers from among their kind, so that they are able to call their people to Allah, and their people able to talk to them, ask them and benefit from them. In another Ayah, Allah said; “Indeed Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His verses (the Qur’an), and purifying them.” (3:164)

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said about the Ayah (6:9 above), “If an angel was sent to them, he would come in the shape of a man. This is because they will not be able to look at the angel due to light.” (At-Tabari 11:268) “… and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion.” meaning, We would confuse them over their confusion. And Al-Walibi reported Ibn Abbas saying; “We brought doubts around them.”

Allah’s statement, “And indeed Messengers were mocked before you, but their scoffers were surrounded by the very thing that they used to mock at.” comforts the Messenger concerning the denial of him by his people. The Ayah also promises the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and his believers, of Allah’s victory and the good end in this life and the Hereafter. Allah said next, “Say: “Travel in the land and see what was the end of those who rejected truth.” meaning, contemplate about yourselves and think about the afflictions Allah struck the previous nations with, those who defied His Messengers and denied them. Allah sent torment, afflictions and punishment on them in this life, as well as the painful torment in the Hereafter, while saving His Messengers and believing servants.

{12. Say: “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth?” Say: “To Allah.” He has prescribed mercy for Himself. Indeed He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Those who destroy themselves will not believe.

13. And to Him belongs whatsoever exists in the night and the day, and He is the All-Hearing, the All- Knowing.”

14. Say: “Shall I take as a guardian any other than Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth And it is He Who feeds but is not fed.” Say: “Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit. ”And be not you of the idolators.

15. Say: “I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the torment of a Mighty Day.”

16. Who is averted from (such a torment) on that Day; then He (Allah) has surely been Merciful to him. And that would be the obvious success.}

Allah is the Creator and the Sustainer

Allah states that He is the King and Owner of the heavens and earth and all of what is in them, and that He has written mercy on His Most Honorable Self. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs, that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“When Allah created the creation, He wrote in a Book that He has with Him above the Throne; ‘My mercy overcomes My anger.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:395)

Allah said; “Indeed He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt.” swearing by His Most Honored Self that He will gather His servants, “For appointed meeting of a known Day.” (56:50), the Day of Resurrection that will certainly occur, and there is no doubt for His believing servants in this fact. As for those who deny and refuse, they are in confusion and disarray. Allah’s statement, “Those who destroy themselves” on the Day of Resurrection, “will not believe.” in the Return and thus do not fear the repercussions of that Day. Allah said next, “And to Him belongs whatsoever exists in the night and the day.” meaning, all creatures in the heavens and earth are Allah’s servants and creatures, and they are all under His authority, power and will; there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, “and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”

He hears the statements of His servants and knows their actions, secrets and what they conceal. Allah then said to His servant and Messenger Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, whom He sent with the pure Tawhid and the straight religion, commanding him to call the people to Allah’s straight path; “Say: “Shall I take as a guardian any other than Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth?” Similarly, Allah said, “Say: “Do you order me to worship other than Allah, O you fools?” (39:64).

The meaning here is, I will not take a guardian except Allah, without partners, for He is the Creator of the heavens and earth Who orignated them without precedent, “And it is He Who feeds but is not fed.” For He sustains His creatures without needing them. Allah also said; “And I created not the Jinn and humans except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (51:56) Some scholars read it, “And it is He Who feeds but He does not eat.” meaning, Allah does not eat. Abu Hurayrah narrated, “A man from Al-Ansar from the area of Quba’ invited the Prophet to eat some food, and we went along with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When the Prophet ate and washed his hands, he said,

“All praise is due to Allah, Who feeds but is never fed, He bestowed bounty unto us, Who gave us guidance and fed us, gave us something to drink, covered our nakedness; and for every favor He has given us. All praise is due to Allah, praise that should not be neglected, my Lord, all the while affirming that we will never be able to duly thank Him; nor be appreciative enough of Him, nor be free of needing Him. All thanks and praises are due to Allah Who fed us the food, gave us the drink, covered our nudity, guided us from misguidance, gave us sight from blindness, and honored us above many of His creaturers. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all that exists.” (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:82)

”Say: “Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves to Allah as (Muslims).” from this Ummah, “And be not you of the idolaters. Say: “I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the torment of a Mighty Day.” (6:14-15), the Day of Resurrection, “Who is averted from” such a torment, “on that Day, He has surely been Merciful to him” meaning, Allah will have been merciful to him, “And that would be the obvious success.” Allah also said, “And whoever is moved away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful.” (3:185), success here indicates acquiring profit and negates loss.

{17. And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is able to do all things.

18. And He is the Irresistible, above His servants, and He is the All-Wise, Well-Acquainted with all things.

19. Say: “What thing is the most great in witness?” Say: “Allah is Witness between you and I; this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach. Can you verily bear witness that besides Allah there are other gods” Say “I bear no (such) witness!” Say: “Only He is God, alone, and truly I am innocent of what you join in worship with Him.”

20. Those to whom We have given the Scripture recognize him, as they recognize their own children. Those who have lost (destroyed) themselves will not believe.

21. And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Ayat Verily, the wrongdoers shall never be successful.}

Allah is the Irresistible, Able to Bring Benefit and Protect from Harm

Allah states that He Alone brings benefit or harm, and that He does what He wills with His creatures, none can resist Hisjudgment or prevent what He decrees, “And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is able to do all things.” Similarly, Allah said, “Whatever mercy, Allah may grant to mankind, none can withhold it, and whatever He may withhold, none can grant it thereafter” (35:2).

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to supplicate,

 “O Allah, there is none Who can avert what You grant or give what You deprive, and no fortune ever helps the fortunate against You.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:379)

This is why Allah said, “And He is the Irresistible, above His servants” meaning, to Him the necks are subservient, the tyrants humble before Him and He has complete control over all things. The creatures have all bowed to Allah and are humbled before His grace, honor, pride, greatness, highness and ability over all things. The creatures are insignificant before Him, for they are all under His irresistible decision and power, “and He is the All-Wise,” in all His actions, “Well-Acquainted with all things.” Who places everything in its rightful place, grants and favors whomever deserves His favor. Allah said next, “Say: “What thing is the most great in witness?” or what is the greatest witness, “Say: “Allah (the Most Great!) is Witness between you and I” for He knows what I brought you and what you will answer me with, “this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach.” Therefore, this Qur’an is a warner for all those who hear of it. In another Ayah, Allah said, “But those of the sects that reject it, the Fire will be their promised meeting place.” (11:17)

Ar-Rabi bin Anas said, “Those who follow the Messenger of Allah ought to call to what the Messenger of Allah called to and warn against what he warned against.” Allah said next, “Can you verily bear witness…” O idolators, “that besides Allah there are other gods” Say, “I bear no (such) witness!” Similarly, in another Ayah, Allah said; “Then if they testify, testify not you with them.” (6:150) Allah said next, “Say: “Only He is God, alone, and truly I am innocent of what you join in worship with Him.”

People of the Book Recognize the Prophet Just as They Recognize Their Own Children

Allah says, the People of the Book know what you brought them, O Muhammad , as they know their own children. This is because they received good news from the previous Messengers and Prophets about the coming of Muhammad , his attributes, homeland, his migration, and the description of his Ummah. Allah said next, “Those who have lost (destroyed) themselves” and thus incurred the ultimate loss, “will not believe.” in this clear matter. A matter about which the previous Prophets gave good news, and a matter extolled about in ancient and modern times. Allah said next, “And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Ayat?” meaning, there is no person more unjust than he who lies about Allah and claims that Allah has sent him, while Allah did not send him. There is no person more unjust than he who denies Allah’s proofs, signs and evidences, “Verily, the wrongdoers shall never be successful.” Surely, both of these people will never acquire success, whoever falsely [claims that Allah sent him] and whoever refuses [Allah’s Ayat].

{22. And on the Day when We shall gather them all together, We shall say to those who joined partners in worship (with Us): “Where are your partners (false deities) whom you used to assert (as partners in worship with Allah)?”

23. There will then be (left) no Fitnah for them but to say: “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others (in worship with Allah).”

24. Look! How they lie against themselves! But the (lie) which they invented will disappear from them.

25. And of them there are some who listen to you; but We have set veils on their hearts, so they understand it not, and deafness in their ears; if they see every one of the Ayat they will not believe therein; to the point that when they come to you to argue with you, those who disbelieve say: “These are nothing but tales of the men of old.”

26. And they prevent others from him and they themselves keep away from him, and (by doing so) they destroy none but themselves, yet they perceive (it) not.}

The Polythiests Shall be Questioned About the Shirk They Committed

About the polytheists, Allah said: “And on the Day when We shall gather them all together” This is on the Day of Resurrection, when He will ask them about the idols and rivals that they worshipped instead of Him. Allah will say to them, “Where are your partners (false deities) whom you used to assert (as partners in worship with Allah)?” (At-Tabari 11:299) Allah said in Surat Al-Qasas, “And (remember) the Day when He will call to them, and say, “Where are My (so-called) partners whom you used to assert?” (28:62). Allah’s statement, “There will then be (left) no Fitnah for them” means, argument. Ata’ Al-Khurasani said that, “There will then be (left) no Fitnah for them” in the face of the affliction that will be placed on them, “but to say: “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others (in worship with Allah).”

Allah said next, “Look! How they lie against themselves! But the (lie) which they invented will disappear from them.” which is similar to His other statement, “Then it will be said to them: “Where are (all) those whom you used to join in worship as partners besides Allah?” They will say, “They have vanished from us: Nay, we did not invoke (worship) anything before.” Thus Allah leads astray the disbelievers.” (40:73-74)

The Miserable Do Not Benefit from the Qur’an

Allah’s statement, “And of them there are some who listen to you; but We have set veils on their hearts, so they understand it not, and deafness in their ears; if they see every one of the Ayat they will not believe therein” means, they come to you, (O Muhammad), so that they hear you recite the Qur’an, but its recitation does not benefit them, because Allah has set veils on their hearts, and so they do not understand the Qur’an, “and (set) deafness in their ears” that prevents them from hearing what benefits them. In another Ayah, Allah said; “And the example of those who disbelieve, is as that of him who shouts at one who hears nothing but calls and cries.” (2:171)

Allah said next, “if they see every one of the Ayat they will not believe therein” meaning, they will not believe in any of the Ayat, proofs, clear evidences and signs they witness because they do not have sound comprehension or fair judgment. In another Ayah, Allah said, “Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen.” (8:23) Allah said, “to the point that when they come to you to argue with you…” using falsehood against truth, “those who disbelieve say: “These are nothing but tales of the men of old.” The disbelievers say, what you (O Muhammad) brought us was taken from the books of those who were before us, meaning plagiarised, “And they prevent others from him and they themselves keep away from him” They discourage people from following the truth, believing in Muhammad and obeying the Qur’an, “and they themselves keep away from him” They thus combine both evil acts, for they neither benefit themselves, nor let others benefit from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah, “And they prevent others from him.” means, they hinder people from believing in Muhammad. (At-Tabari 11:311) Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiyyah said, “The disbelievers of Quraysh used to refrain from meeting Muhammad and they discouraged people from coming to him.” (At-Tabari 11:311) Similar was reported from Qatadah, Mujahid and Ad-Dahhak and several others. (At-Tabari 11:312)  “and (by doing so) they destroy not but themselves, yet they perceive (it) not.” They destroy themselves by committing this evil action, and its harm will only touch them. Yet, they do not perceive this fact!

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