Surah Al-An’am Ayat 143 -165

{143. Eight pairs: of the sheep two (male and female), and of the goats two (male and female). Say: “Has He forbidden the two males or the two females, or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose Inform me with knowledge if you are truthful. “

(144. And of the camels two, and of oxen two. Say: “Has He forbidden the two males or the two females or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose? Or were you present when Allah ordered you such a thing? Then who does more wrong than one who invents a lie against Allah, to lead mankind astray without knowledge. Certainly Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.”}

These Ayat demonstrate the ignorance of the Arabs before Islam. They used to prohibit the usage of some of their cattle and designate them as Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham etc. These were some of the innovations they invented for cattle, fruits and produce. Allah stated that He has created gardens, trellised and untrellised, and cattle, as animals of burden and as Farsh. Allah next mentioned various kinds of cattle, male and female, such as sheep and goats. He also created male and female camels and the same with cows. Allah did not prohibit any of these cattle or their offspring. Rather, they all were created for the sons of Adam as a source for food, transportation, work, milk, and other benefits, which are many. Allah said, “And He has sent down for you of cattle eight pairs…” (39:6)

Allah said; “…or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose…” This refutes the idolators’ statement, “What is in the bellies of such and such cattle is for our males alone, and forbidden to our females.” (6:139)

Allah said, “Inform me with knowledge if you are truthful.” meaning, tell me with sure knowledge, how and when did Allah prohibit what you claimed is prohibited, such as the Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham etc.

Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said, “Allah’s statement, “Eight pairs: of the sheep two, and of the goats two…” these are four pairs, “Say: “Has He forbidden the two males or the two females…” I (Allah) did not prohibit any of these. “or (the young) which the wombs of the two females enclose?” and does the womb produce but males and females? So why do you prohibit some and allow some others “Inform me with knowledge if you are truthful.” Allah is saying that all of this is allowed.” (At-Tabari 12:187) Allah said, “Or, were you present when Allah ordered you such a thing?” mocking the idolators’ innovations, and their lies that Allah made sacred what they have prohibited. “Then who does more wrong than one who invents a lie against Allah, to lead mankind astray without knowledge.”

Therefore, no one is more unjust than the people described here and “Certainly, Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers.” The person most worthy of this condemnation is Amr bin Luhay bin Qumah. He was the first person to change the religion of the Propehts and designate the Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham, as mentioned in the Sahih. (Fath Al-Bari 8:132)

 

{145. Say: “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine; for that surely, is unclean (Rijs), or immorally slaughtered in the name of other than Allah. But whosoever is forced by necessity without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits; (for him) certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”}

 

Forbidden Things

Allah commands His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Say” O Muhammad to those who prohibited what Allah has provided them, claiming this falsehood to be from Allah, ”I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it,”

This Ayah means, I do not find any animals that are prohibited, except these mentioned here. We should mention here that the prohibited things mentioned in Surat Al- Ma’idah and the Hadiths on this subject amend the meaning of this Ayah. “or blood poured.” Qatadah commented, “Poured blood was prohibited, but the meat that still has some blood in it is allowed.” (At-Tabari 12:193)

Al-Humaydi said that Sufyan narrated to us that Amr bin Dinar narrated to us, “I said to Jabir bin Abdullah, ‘They claim that the Messenger of Allah prohibited the meat of donkeys during (the day of) Khaybar.’ He said, Al-Hakam bin Amr narrated that from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. That scholar – refering to Ibn Abbas – denied it, reciting the Ayah; “Say: “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it…”’ (Al-Humaydi 2:379) (Fath Al-Bari 9:570 and Abu Dawud 4:162)

Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah and Al-Hakim, in his Mustadrak, recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to eat some things and avoid some other things, because they disliked them. Later on, Allah sent His Prophet , revealed His Book, allowed what He allowed, and prohibited what He prohibited. Therefore, whatever Allah allowed is lawful and whatever He prohibited is unlawful. Whatever He did not mention, there is no sin in it.” He then recited the Ayah, “Say: “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it…” This is the wording with Ibn Marduwyah. Abu Dawud also recorded this statement, and Al-Hakim said, “Its chain is Sahih and they did not record it.” (Abu Dawud 3800 and Al-Hakim 4:115)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “A sheep belonging to Sawdah bint Zamah died and she said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! So-and-so (sheep) has died.’ He said,

“Why did you not use its skin?”

She said, ‘Should we use the skin of a sheep that has died?’ Allah’s Messenger said,

“Allah only said, ‘Say: “I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, except Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine….” You will not be eating it if you tan its skin and benefit from it.”

So she had the sheep skinned, the skin was tanned and made into a water skin that she kept until it wore out.” (Ahmad 1:327) Al-Bukhari and an-Nasa’i collected a similar Hadith. (Fath Al-Bari 11:557 and An-Nasai 7:173)

Allah said, “But whosoever is forced by necessity without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits” Therefore, whoever is forced by necessity to eat anything that Allah has forbidden in this honorable Ayah, without transgressing his limits, then for him, “certainly, your Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” We mentioned the explanation of this Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah. This honorable Ayah contradicts the idolators’ innovated prohibitions for certain kinds of wealth, relying merely on their misguided ideas, such as the Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham. Allah commanded His Messenger to inform them that he does not find that such types of animals are prohibited in what Allah revealed to him. In this Ayah, Allah only prohibited dead animals, poured blood, the flesh of swine and what has been slaughtered for something other than Allah. Other things were not prohibited here, but rather treated as that which does not have a ruling, i.e., permissible. Therefore, how do you – idolators – claim that such items are prohibited, and why did you prohibit them when Allah did not prohibit them?

 

{146. And unto those who are Jews, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep except what adheres to their backs or their Hawaya, or is mixed up with a bone. Thus We recompensed them for their rebellion. And verily, We are Truthful.}

 

Foods that were Prohibited for the Jews Because of their Transgression

Allah says, We forbade for the Jews every bird and animal with undivided hoof, such as the camel, ostrich, duck and goose. (See the comments on Surah Ali Imran 3:93) Allah said here, “and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep…”

The Jews used to forbid these types of foods saying that Isra’il, or Yaqub, used to forbid them for himself so they too forbid them. This was mentioned by As-Suddi. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that, “except what adheres to their backs” refers to the fat that clings to their backs. (At-Tabari 12:202) Allah said next, “or their Hawaya” that is, the entrails, according to Abu Jafar bin Jarir. He also said, “The meaning here is, ‘And from ox and sheep, We forbade their fat for the Jews, except the fat on their backs and what the entrails carry.” Ali bin Abi Talhah said that, Ibn Abbas said that the, Hawaya, are the entrails. (At-Tabari 12:203) Similar was reported from Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr and Ad-Dahhak. Allah’s statement, “….or is mixed up with a bone.” means, We allowed the Jews the fat that is mixed with bones. Ibn Jurayj commented, “The fat on the rump that is mixed with the tailbone was allowed for them, and also the fat on the legs, head, eyes and what adheres to the bones.” (At-Tabari 12:205) As-Suddi said similarly. Allah said, “Thus We recompensed them for their rebellion.” meaning, We imposed this restriction on them as recompense for their rebellion and defying Our commandments. Allah said in another Ayah, “For the wrongdoing of the Jews, We made unlawful for them certain good foods which had been lawful for them – and for their hindering many from Allah’s way” (4:160). Allah’s statement, “And verily, We are Truthful.” means, We were justified in the penalty We gave them. Ibn Jarir commented, “We are Truthful in what We informed you of, O Muhammad; Our forbidding these foods for them, not as they claimed, that Israel merely forbade these things for himself (so they imitated him, they claimed).” (At-Tabari 12:206)

The Tricks of the Jews, and Allah’s Curse

Abdullah bin Abbas narrated, “When Umar bin Al-Khattab was told that Samurah sold liquor, he commented, ‘May Allah fight Samurah! Did he not know that the Messenger of Allah said,

“May Allah curse the Jews! The fats were forbidden for them, so they melted the fat and sold it.”

This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.(Fath Al-Bari 4:483 and Muslim 3:1207)  Jabir bin Abdullah said, “In the year of the victory of Makkah, I heard Allah’s Messenger saying;

”Allah and His Messenger have forbidden selling alcoholic drinks (intoxicants), dead animals, swine and idols.” 

He was asked, ‘What about the fat of dead animals? They are used to dye skins, paint ships and are used as light by the people.’ He said,

“No, it is still unlawful.” Then he said,

“May Allah fight the Jews! When Allah forbade them the fats of animals, they melted the fat, sold it and ate its price.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:495, Muslim 3:1207, Abu Dawud 3:356)

 

{147. If they deny you say: “Your Lord is the Owner of vast mercy, and never will His wrath be turned back from the people who are criminals.”}

 

Allah says, if your opponents among the idolators, Jews and their likes reject you, O Muhammad, “Say: “Your Lord is the Owner of vast mercy…” encouraging them to seek Allah’s vast mercy and follow His Messenger, “and never will His wrath be turned back from the people who are criminals.” discouraging them from defying the Messenger, the Final Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Allah often joins encouragement with threats in the Qur’an. Allah said at the end of this Surah: “No, it is still unlawful.” He then said, “Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (6:165) Allah also said, “But verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind in spite of their wrongdoing. And verily, your Lord is (also) severe in punishment.” (13:6), and “Declare unto My servants, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.” (15:49-50), and “The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment.” (40:3) and, “Verily, the punishment of your Lord is severe and painful. Verily, He it is Who begins and repeats. And He is Oft-Forgiving, full of love.” (85:12-14). There are many other Ayat on this subject.

 

{148. Those who committed Shirk say: “If Allah had willed, we would not have commited Shirk, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His will).” Likewise belied those who were before them, till they tasted Our wrath. Say: “Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow the Zann and you do nothing but lie.”

149. Say: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument; had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.”

150. Say: “Bring forward your witnesses, who can testify that Allah has forbidden this.” Then if they testify, do not testify with them. And do not follow the vain desires of those who belie Our Ayat, and such as believe not in the Hereafter, and they hold others as equal with their Lord.}

 

A False Notion and its Rebuttal

Here Allah mentioned a debate with the idolators, refuting a false notion they have over their Shirk and the things that they prohibited. They said, surely, Allah has full knowledge of the Shirk we indulge in, and that we forbid some kinds of wealth. Allah is able to change this Shirk by directing us to the faith, – they claimed – and prevent us from falling into disbelief, but He did not do that. Therefore – they said Allah indicated that He willed, decided and agreed that we do all this. They said, “If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything.” Allah said in another Ayah, “And they said: “If it had been the will of the Most Gracious (Allah), we should not have worshipped them (false deities)” (43:20).

Similar is mentioned in Surat An-Nahl. Allah said next, “Likewise belied those who were before them” for by using and relying on this understanding, the misguided ones before them were led astray. This notion is false and ungrounded, for had it been true, Allah would not have harmed them, destroyed them, aided His honorable Messengers over them, and made them taste His painful punishment. “Say: “Have you any knowledge…” that Allah is pleased with you and with your ways, “that you can produce before us.” and make it plain, apparent and clear for us. However, “Verily, you only follow the Zann” doubts and wishful thinking, “and you do nothing but lie” about Allah in the false claims that you utter. Allah said next, “Say: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument; had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.” Allah said to His Prophet “(Say) O Muhammad, to them, “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument…” the perfect wisdom and unequivocal proof to guide whom He wills and misguide whom He wills. “had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.” All of this happens accordng to His decree, His will, and His choice. So in this way, He is pleased with the believers, and angry with the disbelievers.

Allah said in other Ayat, “And had Allah willed, He could have gathered them together (all) on true guidance,” (6:35) and “And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together.” (10:99) and, “And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah, but they will not cease to disagree. Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His mercy and for that did He create them. And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled: “Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinns and men all together.” (11:118-119)

Ad-Dahhak said, “No one has an excuse if he disobeys Allah. Surely, Allah has the perfect proof established against His servants.” Allah said, “Bring forward your witnesses” produce your witnesses, “who can testify that Allah has forbidden this” which you have forbidden and lied and invented about Allah in t his regard, “Then if they testify, do not testify with them” because in this case, their testimony is false and untrue, “And do not follow the vain desires of those who belie Our Ayat, and such as believe not in the Hereafter, and they hold others as equal with their Lord” by associating others with Allah in worship and treating them as equals to Him.

{151. Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be kind and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them. Come not near to Al-Fawahish (immoral sins) whether committed openly or secretly; and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. This He has commanded you that you may understand.”}

 

Ten Commandments

Dawud Al-Awdy narrated that, Ash-Shabi said that, Alqamah said that Ibn Masud said, “Whoever wishes to read the will and testament of the Messenger of Allah on which he placed his seal, let him read these Ayat, ”Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him…” until, “…so that you may have Taqwa” (6:153).” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:446)

In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “In Surah Al-Anam [6], there are clear Ayat, and they are the Mother of the Book (the Qur’an).” He then recited, “Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from…” Al-Hakim said, “Its chain is Sahih, and they did not record it.” In his Mustadrak Al-Hakim also recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Who among you will give me his pledge to do three things?” He then recited the Ayah, ”Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from…” until the end of the Ayat. He then said,

”Whoever fulfills (this pledge), then his reward will be with Allah, but whoever fell into shortcomings and Allah punishes him for it in this life, then that will be his recompense. Whoever Allah delays (his reckoning) until the Hereafter, then his matter is with Allah. If He wills, He will punish him, and if He wills, He will forgive him.”

Al-Hakim said, “Its chain is Sahih and they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:318)

As for the explanation of this Ayah, Allah said to His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad: Say, O Muhammad, to those idolators who worshipped other than Allah, forbade what Allah provided them with and killed their children, following their opinions andtheluresof the devils,’ “Say” to them “Come” come here, come close “I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from.” meaning, I will inform you about what your Lord has forbidden for you in truth, not guessing or wishful thinking. Rather, it is revelation and an order from Him.

Shirk is Forbidden

“Join not anything in worship with Him” this Allah has ordained, for He said at the end of the Ayah, “This He has commanded you that you may understand.” In the the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Jibril came to me and conveyed the good news that, “Whoever among your followers dies, worshipping none along with Allah, will enter Paradise.” I said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse” He said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse?” I said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse” He said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse?” I said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse” He said, “Even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse or even if drank alcohol?” (Al-Bukhari no. 1237 and Muslim no. 94)

Some of the Musnad and Sunan compilers recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah said, ‘O Son of Adam! As long as you supplicate to Me and hope of Me, I will forgive whatever you committed, and it will be easy for Me to do that. And even if you brought the earth’s fill of sins to Me, I will bring forth its fill of forgiveness, as long as you do not associate anything or anyone in worship with Me. And even if you err and your errors accumulate until they reach the boundaries of the sky and you then ask Me for forgiveness, I will forgive you.” (Ahmad 5:172 and Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi from Anas 9:524) 

This subject is also mentioned in the Qur’an, for Allah said, “Verily, Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners (in worship) with Him, but He forgives whom He wills, sins other than that.” (4:116)

Muslim recorded a Hadith in the Sahih that reads,

“Whoever dies associating none with Allah will enter Paradise.” (Muslim 1:94)

There are many Ayat and Hadiths on this subject.

The Order for Kindness to Parents

Allah said next, “be kind and dutiful to your parents” meaning, Allah has commanded and ordered you to be kind to your parents. Allah said in another Ayah, “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents.” (17:23) Allah often mentions obeying Him and being dutiful to parents together. Allah said, “Give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination. But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in this world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (31:14-15)

Therefore, Allah ordered children to be dutiful and kind to their parents, even if they were idolators. Allah also said, “And (remember) when We took a covenant from the Children of Israel, (saying): Worship none but Allah and be dutiful and kind to parents.” (2:83) There are several Ayat on this subject.

It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Masud said, “I asked Allah’s Messenger about which deed is the best. He said,

“The prayer, when it is performed on time.”

I said, ‘Then?’ He said,

“Being dutiful to parents.”

I asked, ‘Then?’ He said,

“Jihad in Allah’s cause.”

Ibn Masud said, “The Messenger of Allah said these words to me, and had I asked him for more, he would have said more.” (Fath Al-Bari 2:12 and Muslim 1:89)

Killing Children is Forbidden

Allah said, “Kill not your children because of poverty, We shall provide sustenance for you and for them.” After Allah commanded kindness to parents and grandparents, He next ordered kindness to children and grandchildren. Allah said, “kill not your children because of poverty” because the idolators used to kill their children, obeying the lures of the devils. They used to bury their daughters alive for fear of shame, and sometimes kill their sons for fear of poverty. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abdullah bin Masud said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah , ‘Which sin is the biggest?’ He said,

“To call a rival for Allah, while He Alone created you.”

I said, ‘Then what?’ He said,

”To kill your son for fear that he might share your food.”

I said, ‘Then what?’ He said,

“To commit adultery with your neighbour’s wife.”

Then the Messenger of Allah recited the Ayah, “And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse…” (25:68). (Fath Al-Bari 8:350 and Muslim 1:98)

Allah’s statement,“Because of Imlaq” refers to poverty, according to Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others. (At-Tabari 12:217) The Ayah means, do not kill your children because you are poor. Allah said in Surat Al-Isra’, “And do not kill your children for fear from Imlaq.” (17:31), that is, do not kill your children for fear that you might become poor in the future. This is why Allah said, “We shall provide sustenance for them and for you” (17:31), thus mentioning the provision of the children first, meaning, do not fear poverty because of feeding your children. Certainly, their provision is provided by Allah. Allah said, “We provide sustenance for you and for them” thus starting with parents, because this is the appropriate subject here and Allah knows. Allah said next, “Come not near Al-Fawahish (immoral sins) whether committed openly or secretly” Allah said in a similar Ayah, “Say: “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (immoral sins) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” (7:33)

We also explained this meaning in the explanation of the Ayah, “Leave sin, open and secret” (6:120). The Two Sahihs recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“None is more jealous than Allah. This is why He has forbidden the immoral sins committed openly or secretly.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:146 and Muslim 4:2114)

Abdul-Malik bin Umayr said that Warrad narrated that Al-Mughirah said that Sad bin Ubadah said, “If I see a man with my wife (committing adultery), I will kill him with the sword.” When the matter came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he said,

“Do you wonder at Sad’s jealousy? By Allah, I am more jealous than Sad, and Allah is more jealous than I. This is why He has forbidden the immoral sins committed openly and in secret.” 

This Hadith is in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 13:411 and Muslim 2:1136)

The Prohibition of Unjustified Killing

Allah said, “And kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law)” This part of the Ayah emphasizes this prohibition in specific, although it is included in the immoral sins committed openly and in secret. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The blood of a Muslim person who testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah is prohibited, except for three offenses: a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse, life for life, and whoever reverts from the religion and abandons the Jama’ah (the community of faithful believers)” (Fath Al-Bari 12:209 and Muslim 3:1302)

There is a prohibition, a warning and a threat against killing the Muahid, i.e., non-Muslims who have a treaty of peace with Muslims. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever killed a person having a treaty of protection with Muslims, shall not smell the scent of Paradise, though its scent is perceived from a distance of forty years.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:370)

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Whoever killed a person having a treaty of protection with the Muslims, and who enjoys the guarantee of Allah and His Messenger, he will have spoiled the guarantee of Allah [for him]. He shall not smell the scent of Paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of seventy years.” 

Ibn Majah and At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith, and At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 4:658 and Ibn majah 2:896) Allah’s statement, “This He has commanded you that you may understand” means, this is what He has commanded you that you may comprehend His commandments and prohibitions.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Pages 493-517

{152. “And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice.” – We burden not any person, but that which he can bear – “And whenever you speak, say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the covenant of Allah. This He commands you, that you may remember.”}

The Prohibition of Consuming the Orphan’s Property

Ata’ bin As-Sa’ib said that Said bin Jubayr said that Ibn Abbas said, “When Allah revealed, “And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it.” and, “Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans.” those who were guardians of orphans separated their food from the orphans’ food and their drink from their drink. When any of that food or drink remained, they used to keep it for the orphan until he or she ate it or it spoiled. This became difficult for the companions and they talked about it to the Messenger of Allah , and Allah sent down the Ayah, “And they ask you about orphans. Say: “The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers.” (2:220) Thereafter, they mixed their food and drink with food and drink of the orphans.” Abu Dawud collected this statement. (Abu Dawud 3:291) Allah’s statement, “until he (or she) attains the age of full strength”, refers to reaching the age of adolescence, according to Ash-Shabi, Malik and several others among the Salaf. (At-Tabari 12:223)

The Command to Give Full Measure and Full Weight with Justice

Allah’s statement, “and give full measure and full weight with justice.” is a command to establish justice while giving and taking. Allah has also warned against abandoning this commandment, when He said, “Woe to Al-Mutaffifin. Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure. And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be resurrected (for reckoning). On a Great Day The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of all that exists.” (83:1-6).

Allah destroyed an entire nation that was accustomed to giving less in weights and measures. [That is, the nation of Prophet Shu’ayb, see Surat Al-Araf 7:85-92)

Allah said next, “We burden not any person, but that which he can bear.” that is, whoever strives while pursuing his rights and giving other peoples’ full rights, then there is no sin on him if he commits an honest mistake after trying his best and striving to do what is right.

The Order for Just Testimony

Allah said; And whenever you give your word, say the truth even if a near relative is concerned.” This is similar to His statement, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses.” (5:8) And there is a similar Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’. So Allah commands justice in action and statement, with both near relatives and distant relatives. Indeed, Allah orders justice for everyone at all times and in all situations.

Fulfilling the Covenant of Allah is an Obligation

Allah said next, “and fulfill the Covenant of Allah.” Ibn Jarir commented, “Allah commands: Fulfill Allah’s commandments that He has ordered you. You will do so when you obey Him in what He commanded, refrain from what He prohibited and abide by His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This constitutes fulfilling the covenant of Allah, “…This He commands you, that you may remember.” Allah says here, that this is what He has ordered and commanded, and He stressed its importance for you, “…that you may remember.”, that you may be advised and thus refrain from what you used to do before this.” (At-Tabari 12:225)

 

{153. “And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may have Taqwa.”}

 

The Command to Follow Allah’s Straight Path and to Avoid All Other Paths

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statements, “And follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.”, and, “(Saying) that you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.” (42:13), and similar Ayat in the Qur’an, “Allah commanded the believers to adhere to the Jama’ah and forbade them from causing divisions and disputes. He informed them that those before them were destroyed because of divisions and disputes in the religion of Allah.” (At-Tabari 12:229) Similar was said by Mujahid and several others. (At-Tabari 12:229)

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said, “The Messenger of Allah drew a line with his hand (in the sand) and said,

“This is Allah’s path, leading straight.”

He then drew lines to the right and left of that line and said,

“These are the other paths, on each path there is a devil who calls to it.”

He then recited, “And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.” (6:153)  (Ahmad 1:465)

Al-Hakim also recorded this Hadith and said; “Its chain is Sahih, but they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:318)

Imam Ahmad and Abd bin Humayd recorded (and this is the wording of Ahmad) that Jabir said; “We were sitting with the Prophet when he drew a line in front of him and said,

“This is Allah’s path.”

He also drew two lines to its right and two lines to its left and said,

“These are the paths of Shaytan.”

He then placed his hand on the middle path and recited this Ayah;

“And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may have Taqwa.” (Ahmad 3:397)

Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah, in the Book of the Sunnah in his Sunan, and Al-Bazzar collected this Hadith. (Ibn Majah:11) Ibn Jarir recorded that a man asked Ibn Masud, “What is As-Sirat Al-Mustaqim (the straight path)?” Ibn Masud replied, “Muhammad left us at its lower end and its other end is in Paradise. To the right of this Path are other paths, and to the left of it are other paths, and there are men (on these paths) calling those who pass by them. Whoever goes on the other paths will end up in the Fire. Whoever takes the Straight Path, will end up in Paradise.” Ibn Masud then recited the Ayah;

“And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.” (At-Tabari 12:230)

Imam Ahmad recorded that, An-Nawwas bin Saman said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah has given a parable of the straight path, and on the two sides of this path, there are two walls containing door ways. On these door ways, there are curtains that are lowered down. On the gate of this path there is a caller heralding, ‘O people! come and enter the straight path all together and do not divide. ‘ There is also another caller that heralds from above the path, who says when a person wants to remove the curtain on any of these doors, ‘Woe to you! Do not open this door, for if you open it, you will enter it. The (straight) path is Islam, the two walls are Allah’s set limits, the open doors lead to Allah’s prohibitions, the caller on the gate of the path is Allah’s Book (the Qur’an), while the caller from above the path is Allah’s admonition in the heart of every Muslim.” (Ahmad 4:182)

At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith, and At- Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:152 and An-Nasai)

Allah’s statement, “so follow it, and follow not (other) paths…” describes Allah’s path in the singular sense, because truth is one. Allah describes the other paths in the plural, because they are many and are divided. Allah said in another Ayah, “Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their supporters are Taghut (false deities), they bring them out from light into darknesses. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.” (2:257)

 

{154. Then, We gave Musa the Book [the Tawrah], complete for that which is best, and explaining all things in detail and a guidance and a mercy that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.

155. And this is a blessed Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa, so that you may receive mercy.}

 

Praising the Tawrah and the Qur’an

After Allah described the Qur’an by saying, “And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it…” He then praised the Tawrah and its Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Then, We gave Musa the Book…” Allah often mentions the Qur’an and the Tawrah together. Allah said, “And before this was the Scripture of Musa as a guide and a mercy. And this is a confirming Book in the Arabic language.” (46:12). Allah said in the beginning of this Surah, “Say: “Who then sent down the Book which Musa brought, a light and a guidance to mankind which you have made into paper sheets, disclosing (some of it) and concealing (much)” (6:91), and “And this is a blessed Book which we have sent down…” (6:92) Allah said about the idolators, “But when the truth has come to them from Us, they say: “Why is he not given the like of what was given to Musa?” (28:48). Allah replied, “Did they not disbelieve in that which was given to Musa of old?” They say: “Two kinds of magic [the Tawrah and the Qur’an], each helping the other!” And they say: “Verily, in both we are disbelievers.” (28:48)

Allah said about the Jinns that they said, “O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa, confirming what came before it, it guides to the truth.” (46:30) Allah’s statement, “…complete for that which is best, and explaining all things in detail…” means; ‘We made the Book that We revealed to Musa, a complete and comprehensive Book, sufficient for what he needs to complete his Law.’ Similarly, Allah said in another Ayah, “And We wrote for him on the Tablets the lesson to be drawn from all things.” (7:145) Allah’s statement, “for that which is best” means: ‘as a reward for his doing right and obeying Our commands and orders.’

Allah said in other Ayat, “Is there any reward for good other than what is best?” (55:60), “And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim tried him with (certain) commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam for mankind.” (2:124) and, “And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they were patient and believed with certainty in Our Ayat.” (32:24) Allah said; “and explaining all things in detail and a guidance and a mercy” praising the Book that Allah sent down to Musa, while, “…that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this is a blessed Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa so that you may receive mercy.”

This calls to following the Qur’an. Allah encourages His servants to follow His Book (the Qur’an) and orders them to understand it, adhere to it and call to it. He also describes it as being blessed, for those who follow and implement it in this life and the Hereafter, because it is the Firm Rope of Allah.

 

{156. Lest you should say: “The Book was sent down only to two sects before us, and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.”

157. Or lest you should say: “If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.” So now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy. Who then does more wrong than one who rejects the Ayat of Allah and Sadafa away therefrom? We shall requite those who turn away from Our Ayat with an evil torment, because of their turning away.}

 

The Qur’an is Allah’s Proof Against His Creation

Ibn Jarir commented on the Ayah, “The Ayah means, this is a Book that We sent down, so that you do not say, “The Book was sent down only to two sects before us.” This way, you will have no excuse. Allah said in another Ayah, “Otherwise, they would have suffered a calamity because of what their hands sent forth, and said: “Our Lord! Why did You not send us a Messenger We would then have followed Your Ayat.” (28:47).” (At-Tabari 12:239) The Ayah, “to two sects before us” refers to the Jews and Christians, according to Ali bin Abi Talhah who narrated it from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 12:240) Similar was reported from Mujahid, As-Suddi, Qatadah and several others. (At-Tabari 12:241)  

Allah’s statement, “…and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.” meaning: ‘we did not understand what they said because the revelation was not in our tongue. We, indeed, were busy and unaware of their message,’ so they said. Allah said next, “Or lest you should say: “If only the Book had been sent down to us, we would surely, have been better guided than they.” meaning: We also refuted this excuse, had you used it, lest you say, “If a Book was revealed to us, just as they received a Book, we would have been better guided than they are.” Allah also said. “And they swore by Allah their most binding oath that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than any of the nations (before them).” (35:42) Allah replied here, “So now has come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy.” Allah says, there has come to you from Allah a Glorious Qur’an revealed to Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the Arab Prophet. In it is the explanation of the lawful and unlawful matters, guidance for the hearts and mercy from Allah to His servants who follow and implement it. Allah said; “Who then does more wrong than one who rejects the Ayat of Allah and Sadafa away therefrom?” This refers to the one who neither benefited from what the Messenger brought, nor followed what he was sent with by abandoning all other ways. Rather, he Sadafa from following the Ayat of Allah, meaning, he discouraged and hindered people from following it. This is the explanation of As-Suddi for Sadafa, while Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah said that Sadafa means, he turned away from it.

 

{158. Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some of the Signs of your Lord should come! The day that some of the signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good with his faith. Say: “Wait you! We (too) are waiting.”}

 

The Disbelievers Await the Commencement of the Hereafter, or Some of its Portents

Allah sternly threatens the disbelievers, those who defy His Messengers, deny His Ayat and hinder from His path, “Do they then wait for anything other than that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord (Allah) should come…” on the Day of Resurrection, “or that some of the signs of your Lord should come! The day that some of the signs of your Lord do come no good will it do to a person to believe then.” Before the commencement of the Day of Resurrection, there will come signs and portents of the Last Hour that will be witnessed by the people living at that time. In a section explaining this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The Last Hour will not commence until the sun rises from the west. When the people witness that, they will all believe. This is when. “no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before.”‘ (Fath Al-Bari 8:147)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Three, if they appear, then a soul will not benefit from its faith, if it had not believed before or earned good in its faith: when the sun rises from the west, Ad-Dajjal and the Beast of the earth.” (At-Tabari 12:265)

Ahmad also recorded this Hadith, and in his narration, the Prophet mentioned the Smoke. (Ahmad 2:445)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Amr bin Jarir said, “Three Muslim men sat with Marwan in Al-Madinah and they heard him talking about the signs (of the Last Hour). He said that the first sign will be the appearance of Ad-Dajjal. So these men went to Abdullah bin Amr and told him what they heard from Marwan about the signs. Ibn Amr said, Marwan said nothing. I remember that I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

“The first of the signs to appear are the sun rising from the west and the Beast that appears in the early morning. Whichever comes before the other, then the second sign will appear soon after it.” (Ahmad 2:201)

Then Abdullah said – and he used to read the Scriptures – “And I think the first of them is the sun rising from the west. That is because when it sets it comes under the Throne, prostrates and seeks permission to return. So it is permitted to return until Allah wants it to rise from the west. So it does as it normally would, it comes beneath the Throne, it prostrates and seeks permission to return. But it will get no response. Then it will seek permission to return [again], but it will get no response, until what Allah wills of the night to pass goes by, and it realizes that if it is permitted to return it would not [be able to] reach the east. It says; ‘My Lord! The east is so far, what good would I be to the people?’ Until the horizons appear as a [lightless] ring, it seeks permission to return and is told; ‘Rise from your place,’ so it rises upon the people from where it set.” Then he recited, “no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before” This was also recorded by Muslim in his Sahih, and Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah in their Sunans. (Muslim 4:2260, Abu Dawud 4:490)

Allah’s statement, “no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before” means, when the disbeliever believes then, it will not be accepted from him. As for those who were believers before, if they earned righteous deeds, they will have earned a great deal of good. If they had not done good nor repented before then, it will not be accepted from them, according to the Hadiths that we mentioned. This is also the meaning of Allah’s statement, “…nor earned good through his faith.” meaning, one’s good deeds will not be accepted from him unless he performed good deeds before. Allah said next, “Say: “Wait you! We (too) are waiting.” This is a stern threat to the disbelievers and a sure promise for those who delay embracing the faith and repenting until a time when faith or repentance shall not avail. This will occur when the sun rises from the west because the Last Hour will then be imminent and its major signs will have begun to appear. Allah said in other Ayat, “Do they then await (anything) other than the Hour, that it should come upon them suddenly? But some of its portents have already come; and when it is upon them, how can they benefit then by their reminder?” (47:18), and, “So when they saw Our punishment, they said: “We believe in Allah alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as partners.” Then their faith could not avail them when they saw Our punishment.” (40:84-85)

 

{159. Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern with them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.}

 

Criticising Division in the Religion

Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi said that this Ayah was revealed about the Jews and Christians. (At-Tabari 12:269-270) Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas commented, “Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects…” “Before Muhammad was sent, the Jews and Christians disputed and divided into sects. When Muhammad was sent, Allah revealed to him, “Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern with them in the least.”

It is apparent that this Ayah refers to all those who defy the religion of Allah, or revert from it. Allah sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth so that He makes it victorious and dominant above all religions. His Law is one and does not contain any contradiction or incongruity. Therefore, those who dispute in the religion, “…and break up into sects” religious sects, just like those who follow the various sects, desires and misguidance – then Allah has purified His Messenger from their ways. In a similar Ayah, Allah said, “He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you.” (42:13) A Hadith reads,

“We, the Prophets, are half brothers but have one religion.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:550)

This, indeed, is the straight path which the Messengers have brought and which commands worshipping Allah alone without partners and adhering to the Law of the last Messenger whom Allah sent. All other paths are types of misguidance, ignorance, sheer opinion and desires; and as such, the Messengers are free from them. Allah said here, “You have no concern with them in the least…” (6:159). Allah’s statement, “Their affair is only with Allah, Who then will tell them what they used to do.” is similar to His statement, “Verily, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Majus, and those who worship others besides Allah; truly, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection.” (22:17)  Allah then mentioned His kindness in His decisions and His justice on the Day of Resurrection, when He said,

 

{160. Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged.}

 

The Good Deed is Multiplied Tenfold, While the Sin is Recompensed with the Same

This Ayah explains the general Ayah; “Whoever comes with good, then he will receive better than that.” (28:84) There are several Hadiths that are in agreement with the apparent wording of this honorable Ayah. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said about his Lord,

“Your Lord is Most Merciful. Whoever intends to perform a good deed and does not do it, it will be written for him as a good deed. If he performs it, it will be written for him as ten deeds, to seven hundred, to multifold. Whoever intends to commit an evil deed, but does not do it, it will be written for him as a good deed. If he commits it, it will be written for him as a sin, unless Allah erases it. Only those who deserve destruction will be destroyed by Allah.” (Ahmad 1:279)

Al- Bukhari, Muslim and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith.( Fath Al-Bari 11:331, Muslim 1:118 and An-Nasai 4:396)

Ahmad also recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Allah says, ‘Whoever performs a good deed, will have tenfold for it and more. Whoever commits a sin, then his recompense will be the same, unless I forgive. Whoever commits the earth’s fill of sins and then meets Me while associating none with Me, I will give him its fill of forgiveness. Whoever draws closer to Me by a hand’s span, I will draw closer to him by a forearm’s length. Whoever draws closer to Me by a forearm’s length, I will draw closer to him by an arm’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.” (Ahmad 5:153)

Muslim also collected this Hadith. (Muslim 4:2068)

Know that there are three types of people who refrain from committing a sin that they intended. There are those who refrain from committing the sin because they fear Allah, and thus will have written for them a good deed as a reward. This type contains both a good intention and a good deed. In some narrations of the Sahih, Allah says about this type, “He has left the sin for My sake.” Another type does not commit the sin because of forgetfulness or being busy attending to other affairs. This type of person will neither earn a sin, nor a reward. The reason being that, this person did not intend to do good, nor commit evil. Some people abandon the sin because they were unable to commit it or due to laziness, after trying to commit it and seeking the means that help commit it. This person is just like the person who commits the sin. There is an authentic Hadith that states,

“When two Muslims meet with their swords, then the killer and the killed will be in the Fire.”

They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! We know about the killer, so what about the killed?” He said,

“He was eager to kill his companion.” (Al-Bukhari nos. 31, 6875 and 7083)

Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim At-Tabarani said that Abu Malik Al- Ashari said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Friday (prayer) to the next Friday (preayer), plus three more days, erase whatever was committed (of sins) between them. This is because Allah says: Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit” (At-Tabarani 3:298)

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever fasts three days every month, will have fasted all the time.”

Ahmad, An-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith, and this is Ahmad’s wording. At-Tirmidhi also recorded it with this addition;

“So Allah sent down affirmation of this statement in His Book,”

“Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit”

“Therefore, a day earns ten days.”

At-Tirmidhi said; “This Hadith is Hasan”. (Ahmad 5:146) There are many other Hadiths and statements on this subject, but what we mentioned should be sufficient, Allah willing, and our trust is in Him.

 

{161. Say: “Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan (monotheism) and he was not of the Mushrikin.”

162. Say: “Verily, my Salah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of all that exists.”

163. “He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.”}

 

Islam is the Straight Path

Allah commands His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the chief of the Messengers, to convey the news of being guided to Allah’s straight path. This path is neither wicked, nor deviant, “The religion of Ibrahim, Hanifan and he was not of the Mushrikin.” Allah said in similar Ayat, “And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim except him who deludes himself” (2:130), and, “a right religion…” that is, established on firm grounds, “And strive hard in Allah’s cause as you ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship: it is the religion of your father Ibrahim.” (22:78), and, “Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah (or a nation), obedient to Allah, a Hanif, and he was not one of the Mushrikin. (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) favors. He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous. Then, We have sent the revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim, (he was a) Hanif, and he was not of the Mushrikin” (16:120- 123).

Ordering the Prophet to follow the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanifiyyah, [See the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah no.124] does not mean that Prophet Ibrahim reached more perfection in it than our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Rather, our Prophet perfectly established the religion and it was completed for him; and none before him reached this level of perfection. This is why he is the Final Prophet, the chief of all the Children of Adam who holds the station of praise and glory, the honor of intercession on the Day of Resurrection. All creation (on that Day) will seek him, even Ibrahim the friend of Allah, peace be upon him [to request the beginning of Judgement]. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah was asked, ‘Which religion is the best with Allah, the Exalted?’ He said,

Al-Hanifiyyah As-Samhah (the easy monotheism)” (Ahmad 1:236) 

The Command for Sincerity in Worship

Allah said next, “Say: “Verily, my Salah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the all that exists.” Allah commands the Prophet to inform the idolators who worship other than Allah and sacrifice to something other than Him, that he opposes them in all this, for his prayer is for Allah, and his rituals are in His Name alone, without partners. Allah said in a similar statement, “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice.” (108:2), meaning, make your prayer and sacrifice for Allah alone. As for the idolators, they used to worship the idols and sacrifice to them, so Allah commanded the Prophet to defy them and contradict their practices. Allah, the Exalted, commanded him to dedicate his intention and heart to being sincere for Him alone. Mujahid commented, “Verily, my prayer and my Nusuk…” refers to sacrificing during Hajj and Umrah.

Islam is the Religion of all Prophets

The Ayah,. “and I am the first of the Muslims.” means, from this Ummah, according to Qatadah. (At-Tabari 12:285) This is a sound meaning, because all Prophets before our Prophet were calling to Islam, which commands worshipping Allah alone without partners. Allah said in another Ayah, “And We did not send any Messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): “None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me.” (21:25)

Allah informed us that Nuh said to his people, “But if you turn away, then no reward have I asked of you, my reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims.” (10:72)

Allah said, “And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim except him who deludes himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the all that exists.” And this was enjoined by Ibrahim upon his sons and by Yaqub (saying), “O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except as Muslims.” (2:130-132).

Yusuf, peace be upon him, said,   “My Lord! You have indeed best owed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me somet hing of the interpretation of dreams – the (Only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector) in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous.” (12:101)

Musa said, “And Musa said: “O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims.” They said: “In Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are wrongdoers. And save us by your mercy from the disbelieving folk” (10:84-86)

Allah said, “Verily, We did send down the Tawrah, therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s will, judged for the Jews. And the rabbis and the priests [did also].” (5:44), and, “And when I (Allah) inspired Al-Hawariyyun (the disciples) [of Isa] to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: “We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.” (5:111)

Therefore, Allah states that He sent all His Messengers with the religion of Islam, although their respective laws differed from each other, and some of them abrogated others. Later on, the Law sent with Muhammad abrogated all previous laws and nothing will ever abrogate it, forever. Certainly, Muhammad’s Law will always be apparent and its flags raised high, until the Day of Resurrection.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“We, the Prophets, are half brothers, but our religion is one.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:550)

Half brothers, mentioned in the Hadith, refers to the brothers to one father, but different mothers. Therefore, the religion, representing the one father, is one; worshipping Allah alone without partners, even though the laws which are like the different mothers in this parable, are different. Allah the Most High knows best.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ali said that when the Messenger of Allah used to start the prayer with Takbir [saying, “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Great)] he would then supplicate,

“I have directed my face towards He Who has created the heavens and earth, Hanifan and I am not among the Mushrikin. Certainly, my prayer, sacrifice, living and dying are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds.”

“O Allah! You are the King, there is no deity worthy of worship except You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. I have committed wrong against myself and admitted to my error, so forgive me all my sins. Verily, You, only You forgive the sins. (O Allah!) Direct me to the best conduct, for none except You directs to the best conduct. Divert me from the worst conduct, for only You divert from the worst conduct. Glorified and Exalted You are. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You.” (Ahmad 1:102) 

This Hadith, which was also recorded by Muslim in the Sahih, (Muslim 1:534) continues and mentions the Prophet’s supplication in his bowing, prostrating and final sitting positions.

 

{164. Say: “Shall I seek a lord other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things? No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then unto your Lord is your return, so He will tell you that wherein you have been differing.”}

 

The Command to Sincerely Trust in Allah

Allah said, (Say), O Muhammad , to those idolators, about worshipping Allah alone and trusting in Him, “Shall I seek a lord other than Allah…” (6:164), “while He is the Lord of all things” and Who protects and saves me and governs all my affairs But, I only trust in Him and go back to Him, because He is the Lord of everything, Owner of all things and His is the creation and the decision. This Ayah commands sincerely trusting Allah, while the Ayah before it commands sincerely worshipping Allah alone without partners. These two meanings are often mentioned together in the Qur’an. Allah directs His servants to proclaim, “You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help (for each and every thing).” (1:5) Allah said, “So worship Him and put your trust in Him.” (11:123), and “Say: “He is the Most Gracious (Allah), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust”. (67:29), and, “Lord of the east and the west; none has the right to be worshipped but He. So take Him a guardian.” (73:9) There are similar Ayat on this subject.

Every Person Carries His Own Burden

Allah said, “No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” thus emphasizing Allah’s reckoning, decision and justice that will occur on the Day of Resurrection. The souls will only be recompensed for their deeds, good for good and evil for evil. No person shall carry the burden of another person, a fact that indicates Allah’s perfect justice. Allah said in other Ayat, “And if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin.” (35:18), and, “Then he will have no fear of injustice, nor of any curtailment (of his reward).” (20:112) Scholars of Tafsir commented, “No person will be wronged by carrying the evil deeds of another person, nor will his own good deeds be curtailed or decreased.” Allah also said; “Every person is a pledge for what he has earned. Except those on the Right.” (74:38-39), meaning, every person will be tied to his evil deeds. But, for those on the right – the believers – the blessing of their good works will benefit their offspring and relatives, as well. Allah said in Surat At-Tur, “And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.” (52:21), meaning, We shall elevate their offspring to their high grades in Paradise, even though the deeds of the offspring were less righteous, since they shared faith with them in its general form. Allah says, We did not decrease the grades of these righteous believers so that those (their offspring and relatives) who have lesser grades, can share the same grades as them. Rather Allah elevated the lesser believers to the grades of their parents by the blessing of their parents’ good works, by His favor and bounty. Allah said next (in Surat At-Tur), “Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.” (52:21), meaning, of evil. Allah’s statement here, “Then unto your Lord is your return, so He will tell you that wherein you have been differing.” means, work you (disbelievers), and we will also work. Surely, both you and us will be gathered to Allah and He will inform us of our deeds and your deeds and the decision on what we used to dispute about in the life of this world. Allah said in other Ayat, “Say: “You will not be asked about our sins, nor shall we be asked of what you do.” Say: “Our Lord will assemble us all together, then He will judge between us with truth. And He is the Just Judge, the All-Knower of the true state of affairs.” (34:25-26).

 

{165. And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely, your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

 

Allah Made Mankind Dwellers on the earth, Generation After Generation, of Various Grades, in order to Test Them

Allah said, “And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth.” meaning, He made you dwell on the earth generation after generation, century after century and offspring after forefathers, according to Ibn Zayd and others. Allah also said, “And if it were Our will, We would have made angels to replace you on the earth” (43:60), and, “And makes you inheritors of the Earth, generations after generations.” (27:62), and “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.” (2:30), and, “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the earth, so that He may see how you act.” (7:129)

Allah’s statement, “And He has raised you in ranks, some above others” means, He has made you different from each other with regards to provision, conduct, qualities, evilness, shapes, color of skin, and so forth, and He has the perfect wisdom in all this. Allah said in other Ayat, “It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work.” (43:32), and, “See how We prefer one above another (in this world), and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment.” (17:21) Allah’s statement, “that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you.” means, so that He tests you in what He has granted you, for Allah tries the rich concerning his wealth and will ask him about how he appreciated it. He also tries the poor concerning his poverty and will ask him about his patience with it. Muslim recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, this life is beautiful and green, and Allah made you dwell in it generation after generation so that He sees what you will do. Therefore, beware of this life and beware of women, for the first trial that the Children of Israel suffered from was with women.” (Muslim 4:2098)

Allah’s statement, “Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” this is both discouragement and encouragement, by reminding the believers that Allah is swift in reckoning and punishment with those who disobey Him and defy His Messengers, “And certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” for those who take Him as protector and follow His Messengers in the news and commandments they conveyed. Allah often mentions these two attributes together in the Qur’an. Allah said, “But verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind in spite of their wrongdoing. And verily, your Lord is (also) severe in punishment” (13:6), and, “Declare unto My servants, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.” (15:49-50)

There are similar Ayat that contain encouragement and discouragement. Sometimes Allah calls His servants to Him with encouragement, describing Paradise and making them eager for what He has with Him. Sometimes, He calls His servants with discouragement, mentioning the Fire and its torment and punishment, as well as, the Day of Resurrection and its horrors. Sometimes Allah mentions both so that each person is affected by it according to his or her qualities. We ask Allah that He makes us among those who obey what He has commanded, avoid what He has prohibited, and believe in Him as He has informed. Certainly, He is Near, hears and answers the supplication, and He is the Most Kind, Generous and Bestowing.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“If the believer knew Allah’s punishment, no one will hope in entering His Paradise. And if the disbeliever knew Allah’s mercy, no one will feel hopeless of acquiring Paradise. Allah created a hundred kinds of mercy. He sent down one of them to His creation, and they are merciful to each other on that account. With Allah, there remains ninety-nine kinds of mercy.” 

Muslim and At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith, At-Tirmidhi said “Hasan”. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“When Allah created the creation, He wrote in a Book, and this Book is with Him above the Throne: ‘My mercy overcomes My anger.'”

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Anam, all the thanks and appreciation for Allah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abdridged) Volume 3 Pages 516-548 (End of Volume 3)

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