Al-An’am (The Cattle)

Makkah Period
This surah was revealed in its entirety during the final year of the Makkah period of Islam. Coming in order in the Qur’an after al-Baqarah, Al-Imran, an-Nisa’, and al-Maedah, and all of which were revealed in Madinah, this surah dwells on such themes as rejecting polytheism and unbelief, the establishment of Tawhid (pure monotheism), the Revelation, Messengership, and Resurrection.

1. All praise and gratitude are for God, who has created the heavens and the
earth, and (as a dimension of their existence and result of their movement)
brought into being veils of darkness and the light. Yet those who disbelieve
ascribe equals to their Lord (who raises, sustains, and maintains them, such
things as idols, certain celestial bodies, and certain people). 1
1. The verse uses creating for the heavens and the earth, and bringing into being or ap-
pointing for darkness and light. This means that darkness and light are not things that
have been created as independent entities, but are rather the result of the movement of the
heavens (or certain heavenly objects) and the earth as a dimension of their existence.
The fact that darkness is mentioned before light signifies that non-existence precedes ex-
istence in the life of the universe, and that it has an existence in God’s Knowledge. For this
reason, the start of the day actually begins with the fall of night.
Both darkness and light are used in their spiritual connotation also. since the sources and
kinds of “spiritual” darkness (materialism, atheism, agnosticism, polytheism of all sorts, and
hypocrisy) are numerous, while the “spiritual” light is one and comes from the same, single
source, darkness is used in the plural and light is in the singular. This also explains the
reason why, even though philosophers and thinkers differ in their ideas greatly, as they have
all based their thinking on their own reasoning, all the Prophets, numbering more than
100,000 throughout human history, have agreed on the same principles.
In addition to all the shades of meaning mentioned, by referring to those who disbelieve,
in rejecting polytheism and emphasizing that God is the Lord of unbelievers also, the verse
points out that every kind of polytheism amounts to unbelief, and even if many people as-
sociate partners, rivals, or equals to God, God is the Lord – the Creator, sustainer, raiser,
the Provider – of the whole of creation, including humankind, and, therefore, polytheism
has absolutely no sound, justifiable basis. Thus, this short, single verse summarizes the
whole of the sūrah .
2. He it is who has created you from clay (in the beginning, and the material surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 274
origin of every one of you is clay), and then decreed a term (of life for you), and
there is with Him another unchanging term determined by and known to Him. 2
Yet, you are in doubt (concerning these manifest truths, some of which you ex-
perience, and some others you can deduce).
2. For an indirect explanation of this verse and the relevant theological terms, ajal or al-qa-
dar al-mu‘allaq (the term or destiny suspended) and ajal musammā (the term determined,
or al-qadar al-mubram (the destiny decisive) , see note 13 in this sūrah ; sūrah 13, note 13;
and sūrah 10, note 19.
some interpreters of the Qur’ān are of the opinion that the first term mentioned in the
verse is the “natural” term determined by God for beings. For example, a doctor can say of
a patient, in view of the kind and gravity of their sickness: “He (or she) will die within ten
days,” but the patient can live for many years more. The term presumed by the doctor is the
“natural” term. But the final term of the patient is known to God only.
3. He is (the one, True) God (executing His absolute sovereignty, and manifest-
ing His Attributes and Names), both in the heavens and on the earth. He knows
what you keep concealed and what you declare (and do) openly, and He knows
what you earn (of good or bad – what you are doing in your life).
4. Yet whenever any of their Lord’s signs and revelations comes to them, they
turn away from it in aversion.
5. And so they willfully deny the truth (embodied by the Qur’ān) when it has
come to them (and mock the truths, warnings, and especially the tidings of the
resurrection). even so, they will come to understand what it was they were
mocking.
6. do they not see (even though they pass by the ruins on their journeys) how
many a generation we have destroyed before them, whom we established on
the earth more firmly than we ever established you (we gave them means and
possibilities such as we have not given you), and upon whom we showered
blessings from heaven (above them), and from beneath them we made rivers
flow. And yet we destroyed them for their sins, and after them we raised up
another generation.
7. Had we sent down on you (o Messenger) a book on parchment such that
they touched it with their hands, yet those who insist on their unbelief would
indeed have said: “This is clearly nothing but sorcery.”
8. “why has not an angel been sent down on him?” they say. Yet, had we sent
down an angel (i.e. one they could see, as we did to some of the previous peoples
such as those of Lot), then the matter would surely have long been decided, and surah 6 275 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
they would have been allowed no respite (since angels coming in this way herald
destruction).
9. Had we appointed an angel (as our Messenger), we would surely have made
him (since he would have to guide humankind in all aspects of life, in the form
of) a man, and thus we would have confused for them what they themselves
are confusing.
10. Messengers indeed were mocked before you (o Messenger), but what they
used to mock overwhelmed those who scoffed (at the Messengers to humiliate
them).
11. say: “Go about on the earth and look: how was the outcome for those who
denied (God’s signs and Messengers)? 3
3. Having demonstrated the truth with substantial, indisputable arguments along the way,
the sūrah now invalidates unbelief and polytheism, establishing pure monotheism by pre-
senting the end that awaited those who did not follow God’s way. The arguments are made
clear by providing historical and sociological foundations. This verse severely warns the
polytheists and consoles the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. It continues with
concrete and incontestable truths concerning God’s divinity and Lordship.
The Qur’ān draws attention to, and takes the human mind and heart through, all the fields
and aspects of life, as a bee goes from flower to flower to collect nectar, and leaves its audi-
ence face and face with the unquestionable proofs of the truths it propounds. This style
is called ta s rīf . whatever subject the Qur’ān deals with, be it from individual life to the
earth, from the heavens to social life, from human conscience to human history, it extracts
the water with a miraculous “staff ” to quench the thirst of the human intellect, heart and
all the other faculties. It is the human soul that spreads a veil of conjecture made up of ar-
rogance, prejudices, incorrect viewpoints, and wrongdoing over the Qur’ānic truths; these
truths, when apparent, are such that the human conscience, heart, and intellect cannot but
concede. It is this blanketing attitude of the human soul that the Qur’ān calls kufr, mean-
ing ‘to veil’ and which is rendered in english as “unbelief.” when a person disbelieves, that
is, when they veil the truths, they are not able to cancel or obliterate these truths. unbelief
is the same as closing one’s eyes to the sun and claiming that there is neither a sun nor
sunlight, and that everywhere is dark. Those who destroy themselves by misusing their in-
nate, God-given faculties, such as the intellect and the potential to believe, these are, then,
people who do not believe.
12. say: “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on the earth?”, and say:
“To God.” He has bound Himself to mercy (so that, despite the errors and false
beliefs of His servants, He sustains all that is in the heavens and the earth by His
Mercy. He does not leave anybody to their own devices and, as a requirement of
His Mercy) He will assuredly gather you together on the day of resurrection,
about (the coming of) which there is no doubt: yet those who ruin their own
selves (by misusing and corrupting their primordial nature, sound reasoning and surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 276
the capacity to believe, which are their capital share in God’s Mercy) – they do
not believe.
13. And His is whatsoever dwells in the night and the day; and He is the All-
Hearing, the All-Knowing.
14. say: “shall I take for guardian and confidant anyone other than God, the
originator of the heavens and the earth each with particular features, and He
who feeds and Himself never needs to be fed?” say: “Moreover, I have surely
been ordered to be the foremost in submitting to Him wholly, and (I have been
warned): ‘do not be among those who associate partners with Him.’”
15. say: “Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of an awe-
some day.”
16. whoever has been spared punishment on that day, surely God has had
mercy on him; and that is the manifest triumph.
17. If God touches you with affliction, there is none who can remove it but He;
and if He touches you with good – it is He who has full power over every-
thing.
18. He is the All-omnipotent over His servants; He is the All-wise, the All-
Aware.
19. say: “what is most weighty in testimony?” say: “God: a witness between me
and you; and to me is being revealed this Qur’ān so that I may warn you thereby,
and whomever it may reach.” (o you who associate partners with God:) do you
truly testify that there are deities besides God? say (to them): “I give no such
testimony.” say: “He is only one God, and surely I am absolutely free from your
association of partners with Him and from whatever you associate with Him as
partners.”
200. Those who were given the Book (before) know him (the Messenger, with
all his distinguishing attributes) as they know their own sons; yet those who
ruin their own selves (by concealing this truth, being overcome by their lusts and
worldly interests) – they do not believe.
21. who is more in wrong than he who fabricates falsehood in attribution to
God and denies His signs (in the universe and their own selves pointing to
Him) and His revelations? Assuredly, the wrongdoers will not prosper.
22. A day will come when we raise them all from the dead and gather them
together, and then ask those who (while they were in the world) associated
partners with God: “where, now, are those of yours whom you asserted to have surah 6 277 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
a part in divinity?”
23. Then they will have no argument except to say: “By God, our Lord, we were
not of those who associated partners with God.”
24. Look! – How they lie against themselves, and (how) what they fabricated as
partners (to worship besides God) has failed them!
25. There are among them such as could not help but listen to you (reciting the
Qur’ān), but we have laid veils over their hearts (made by their ill-intention,
wrongdoing, and arrogance, which caused them to lose the capacity to believe)
so that they do not comprehend it (and so cannot believe), and in their ears,
heaviness: even if they see whatever manifest sign (pointing to God’s unity and
other truths of faith), they will not believe in it – so much so that when they
come to you (only in order) to dispute with you, they, who have disbelieved, say:
“This is nothing but fables of the ancients.”
26. They bar others from it (the Qur’ān), as they themselves keep afar from it;
and in doing so, they destroy only their own selves, though they do not perceive
it. 4
4. The attitude of those who resist the truths of faith has never changed during human his-
tory: derision; claiming that the truths of faith are nothing but myth, falsehood, or legend;
making out that the believers are a band of reactionary, regressive people with uncultivated,
arid minds; preventing others from listening to them; silencing those who speak for them;
and if all else fails, resorting to force – imprisonment, exile, and assassinations. whatever
the unbelievers resort to, it only indicates that they are devoid of sufficient thought and
knowledge to compete with the truths of faith, and it only demonstrates their weakness, ig-
norance, and mental inadequacy. They lack the consciousness to perceive that what they do
will ultimately cause their ruin—all this despite the fact that there may even be sociologists,
historians, and anthropologists among them who study history and events. what is impor-
tant for the believers is that they should perceive this fact and, without being influenced by
cultural pressure, they should always pursue the truth in Islam. It must never be forgotten
that the greatest power of the unbelievers feeds upon the weakness of the believers in belief
and submission.
27. If you (o Messenger) could see them when they are made to stand by the
Fire, and (in dread of being thrown into it, as if they forgot that they denied
their associating partners with God) they say: “oh, would that we were brought
back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the signs and revelations of our
Lord and would be among the believers!”
28. No! rather, they say this because what they used to hide (the manifest truth,
and their own evil intentions, intrigues, and actions in response to it) has be-
come obvious to them; and if they were brought back to the world, they would surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 278
revert to the very thing they were forbidden: indeed, they are just liars.
29. (They always behaved so whenever they got into distress while in the world,
but when relieved of it) they would say: “There is no life beyond our present life
of the world, and we are not to be raised (from the dead).”
30. But if you could see when they are made to stand in their Lord’s Presence:
He says: “Is not this (your being raised from the dead and gathered in My Pres-
ence) the truth?” They say: “Yes indeed, by our Lord!” He says: “Taste, then, the
punishment for what you used to disbelieve.”
31. Assuredly, those have lost who deny the (truth of the final) meeting with
God until, as the Hour comes upon them, all of a sudden, they cry, “Alas for
us! How negligent we have been in this regard,” when they have already loaded
their burdens onto their backs . evil indeed is the burden they are loading them-
selves with!
32. And the present, worldly life is nothing but a play and pastime, and better
is the abode of the Hereafter for those who keep from disobedience to God in
reverence for Him and piety. will you not, then, reason and understand? 5
5. The world has three aspects. The first aspect looks to the fact that it is the realm where
God’s Names are manifested and, therefore, whatever is there and whatever takes place
in it is a mirror to God with His Attributes and Names. The second aspect, which looks
to the Hereafter, is that the world is the tillage for the Hereafter. The building-blocks to
make up one’s Paradise or Hell in the Hereafter are the seeds of one’s belief or unbelief and
the deeds that one sows here. with these two aspects, the world is very important and is
regarded as being the equal of the heavens; in fact, the Qur’ān mentions it alongside the
heavens. The third aspect of the world is that which looks to our carnal desires, passions,
lusts, and ambitions. It is this aspect that the Qur’ān condemns, as these consist of games,
pastimes, greed (hoarding things), and competing in having more goods—in short, the
source of all vice and evil.
33. (o Messenger!) we know indeed that the things (lies, mockery, and slan-
ders) that they say grieve you: yet, it is not you that they deny and give the lie to
(they cannot very well call you a liar, since they themselves have called you ‘the
trustworthy one’); rather, it is the signs and revelations of God that the wrong-
doers obstinately reject.
34. (do not be grieved at what they do!) Indeed, Messengers before you were
denied (regarding the Message they brought), but they endured with patience
the charge of falsehood and the hurt done to them, until our help reached
them: there is none that can change God’s words (alter His decrees and His
execution of them). And, indeed, some account of those Messengers has already
come to you.surah 6 279 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
35. If their recalcitrance is distressful for you, then, if you are able seek a way
down into the earth or a ladder up to the heavens to bring them a sign (a miracle
of the kind that they wrongly think would persuade them to believe) – then
know that had God so willed, He could surely have gathered them all to the
true guidance (whether by a single miracle or by some other means. seeing that
God wills otherwise: that the truth be set before people with its supporting
arguments through Messengers, and people should choose their way by exercise
of their free will and judgment, then,) not be among those who act as if ignorant
(of this fact). 6
6. In addition to the deep desire which God’s Messenger had to guide people, and His
endless efforts and the great success he exhibited in conveying God’s Message, these verses
also show the intensity of the suffering he endured, the hardships he encountered, and the
obstinate resistance of the unbelievers, which all made heavy impressions on his human
spirit. The following verses will interpret and elucidate these; they express the greatness of
God’s Messenger, along with demonstrating his profound knowledge of God, his perfect
conviction of the truth of the Message he brought, and his deep concern for the guidance
and salvation of people. It is these verses which consoled him and kept in check the intense
passion he felt for the salvation of people.
36. only they who have the ability to hear can respond (to a call); as for the
dead, God will raise them to life, and then to Him they will be returned. 7
7. using many literary arts, such as metaphor, simile, comparison, and allusion, the verses
of the Qur’ān attain various depths of meaning. This short verse contains several mean-
ings and truths, as well as an admonition:There are people through whose ears the Qur’ān
cannot penetrate to their hearts and who resist faith; these are the “spiritually” deaf. A deaf
person cannot hear the call, nor can they respond to it. one who has the ability to hear can-
not be indifferent to the Qur’ān. only one who can remain indifferent to the Qur’ān and
its call can be “deaf.” Those through whose ears the Qur’ān does not enter are no different
from the dead, for like the dead, they have no life in their heart, and one whose heart is not
“alive” is “dead,” even if he is physically alive. The true life is the life of the heart. The same
is true for biological life, which depends on the health of the heart. No one will be saved by
dying, and no one will stay in the grave eternally. God will raise all of the dead, gathering
them together in His Presence and the truth in which they believed or rejected, while in the
world will appear in their faces. This second life is eternal, either in bliss or despair.
37. And they say: “why is not a miraculous sign (of the kind we desire) sent
down on him from his Lord?” say (to them): “surely God has the power to send
down a sign (of any kind).” But most of them have nothing to do with knowl-
edge (so that they would know the nature of the signs, revelation, and Prophet-
hood, and the purpose for them).
38. (should not those whose ears are closed to the Qur’ān look around them-
selves to see the signs of the truth?) No living creature is there moving on the surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 280
earth, no bird flying on its two wings, but they are communities like you. 8 we
have neglected nothing in the Book (the Qur’ān, the supreme Preserved Tab-
let, which is the source of all books, and the book of creation: we have created
everything just in its place and for a purpose, so that the universe is maintained
in perfect balance and order). Then, (a day will come when the universe will be
changed into a new one, and) they will be raised from the dead and gathered to
their Lord.
8. “God, who does not leave the bees without a queen nor the ants without a leader, does
not leave humankind without a Prophet” ( The Letters , 2: 303).
39. Those who deny our signs and revelations are deaf and dumb in veils of
darkness. whomever God wills, He leads astray, and whomever He wills, He
sets on a straight path.9
9. It is sometimes necessary to explain what making one’s guidance or misguidance by
God’s absolute will means. Here we will give a brief overview: The original word rendered
as “will” is Mashīah . God has two kinds of will, one Mashīah , and the other Irādah . God
does not will ( irādah ) unbelief, polytheism, hypocrisy, and sins, but these are all—like
faith, good deeds, and virtues— [J1] [J2] included in His Mashīah , which is associated
with His Knowledge or which can be regarded as “Pre-knowledge.” As knowledge depends
on what is known, and since it is eternally known to God how each person will use his
free will, God’s Mashīah encompasses human free will. In other words, as God cannot be
contained by time, as He is beyond all time and space, and therefore, as He knows how
each person will use his free will, He wills accordingly. A person uses his free will to believe
or not to believe. But it is God who puts into effect human free will and who creates the
deeds of people. Human choices and inclinations, including every thing and every event in
the universe, even the movement of a leaf, occur within the universal system that God has
established. so, nothing is excluded from God’s Knowledge and will ( Mashīah ).
40. say (to them): “do you ever consider: if some punishment of God comes
upon you or the Last Hour comes upon you, do you then invoke other than God?
(Answer that) if you are truthful (and admit the voice of your conscience)!”
41. (No indeed!) rather, it is Him alone that you invoke, and He may, if He
wills, remove that which caused you to invoke Him, 10 and you forget (then)
whatever partners you have been associating with Him.
10. This part of the verse expresses a very important truth:
we should not expect God to give us exactly what we pray for. God dominates and rules
the whole universe by manifesting all of His Names. That is, He has universal rules derived
from all His Names which compose the magnificent universal order with its manifesta-
tions. These rules encompass everything within the universal frame and operate according
to His universal wisdom. The wheel of the universe does not turn according to the wishes
of each thing or person. so God gives what is asked for in compliance with this wisdom.surah 6 281 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
However, this does not mean that God does not have special concern for each thing or be-
ing; this concern stems from His Compassion. But this concern does not require that He
will give exactly the thing that is asked for. He gives whatever is good for the person who
prays. For example, a patient who has undergone a medical operation may ask for water,
even though this may be very dangerous for him. The doctor then does the patient good by
refusing him water. similarly, God gives what is good for His servant who prays to Him,
and this is why He sometimes does not give us what we desire in this world, but rather
delays it to the Hereafter.
42. And we did indeed send Messengers to the communities before you, and
we seized those (communities) with trials and tribulations so that they might
invoke us with humility (seeking the truth and forgiveness).
43. If only, when our trial came upon them, they had invoked us with humility!
But their hearts grew hard, and satan decked out whatever they were doing as
appealing to them.
44. Then, when they forgot (the advice and warnings) that they were reminded
of, we opened for them the gates of all things, until, even while they were re-
joicing in what they were granted, we seized them suddenly, so then they were
plunged into despair. 11
11. These last verses discuss some recurring patterns in the history of different peoples and
societies:
If the divine Message begins to spread in a place, varying conditions, such as abundance or
famine appear there, according to the devotion of its followers and their efforts to spread it,
and the attitude of the opposing side.
usually God Almighty first sends misfortune and hardship to the people among whom the
divine Message has begun to be spread. This is in order to urge them to renounce their
false beliefs and wrong ways and to accept the Message; in most cases, especially for uncivi-
lized peoples, force and hardship are more effective than gentle persuasion. This method
also aims at perfecting those who had believed in the Message first, equipping them with
the necessary patience to endure all future hardships.
If people do not renounce their ways, despite the hardships and misfortune they are suf-
fering, and if they remain deaf and blind to the Message, God will then provide them
with abundance. That is, as a result of their being lost in the world and exerting all their
abilities and strength to achieve a luxurious life, God opens the gates of the world to them.
This causes many of them to become extremely rich at the cost of many others, who grow
poorer, and these blind people increase in their dissipation, debauchery, corruption, and
similar evils.
The loss of balance in society and the increase in dissipation and corruption all herald
general misfortune or disaster. If there is a formidable group that can shoulder the divine
Message and apply it to life, the destruction that will befall society results in the rising of surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 282
this group. If there is no such group, the destruction becomes more encompassing.
If, despite all their vices and sins, a person grows in prosperity with nothing adverse befall-
ing them, and if there is welfare in society despite all the wrongdoing, injustices, dissipation
and corruption prevalent in it, this means a misfortune or destruction is imminent for that
society, and that that person will see the consequence of their misdeeds.
45. And so (in the end) was uprooted that people who had been bent on wrong-
doing. All praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!
46. say: “what do you think, if God should take away your hearing and your
sight and set a seal upon your hearts, what deity but God is there that could
restore it 12 to you?” Look how we set out the revelations and signs (of God’s
existence and unity, and other truths of faith) in diverse ways, and yet they turn
away.
12. Like many other verses which present physical and spiritual elements together, this
verse also contains and presents such elements in both a literal and figurative way. The
hearing, sight and heart mentioned here are our both the physical and spiritual powers of
hearing and seeing and the center of our physical and spiritual life. As it is God who cre-
ated our ears, eyes, and hearts and as there is nobody else who can create them or restore
them to us when we lose them, it is also He who makes them spiritually alive.
This verse in its Arabic original uses the sense of hearing in the singular, while the sense
of seeing is expressed in the plural. This means that the duty of the ears with respect to
belief is hearing and listening to the divine revelation and that there is a single source of
revelation. By contrast, there are innumerable signs of belief which a person can see with
their eyes. In the excerpt, what deity but God is there that could restore it to you?, the verse
uses the singular pronoun it for the powers of hearing and seeing and the heart; in short,
in order to attain belief the powers of hearing and sight, and the heart must be alive and all
these faculties must work together.
47. say: “what do you think, if God’s punishment comes upon you unawares or
perceptibly (so that you see its approach), will any be destroyed but the people
of wrongdoing?”
48. we do not send the Messengers except as bearers of glad tidings (of prosper-
ity, in return for faith and righteousness) and warners (against the consequences
of misguidance). so, whoever believes and mends his way, they will have no fear,
nor will they grieve.
49. And as for those who deny our signs and revelations, the punishment will
touch them on account of their transgressing (the bounds in belief and con-
duct).
50. say (to them, o Messenger): “(You want me to do miracles. However,) I surah 6 283 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
never tell you that with me are the treasures of God, or that I know the unseen;
nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” And
say: “Are the blind and the seeing alike? will you not, then, reflect?”
51. warn with this (Qur’ān) those who (whether they already have true belief
or not yet) are fearful in their hearts because they will be raised from the dead
and gathered to their Lord, that they have, apart from Him, no guardian and
confidant, nor intercessor, so that they may keep from disobedience to God in
reverence for Him and piety, and be protected against His punishment.
52. And do not (in the hope of persuading the chieftains of the unbelievers)
drive away any of those (poor believers of humble social standing) who, in the
morning and afternoon, invoke their Lord, seeking His “Face” (i.e. the meeting
with Him hereafter and His eternal, good pleasure). You are not accountable for
them in anything, just as they are not accountable for you in anything, that you
should drive them away, and so become among the wrongdoers.
53. And it is in this way that we try people through one another: so that they
(who think that such things as wealth and social status are the means of superi-
ority) say (of the believers who are poor and lacking in recognized social status):
“Are these the ones among us on whom God has bestowed His favor?” does
God not know best who are the thankful (who recognize the real source and
bestower of every good thing one receives, and act accordingly)?
54. when those who believe in all of our revelations and signs (whenever they
come to them,) come to you, say in welcome: “Peace be upon you! Your Lord
has bound Himself to mercy (to treat His servants with mercy) – so that if any
of you does a bad deed due to ignorance (an instance of defeat to the evil-com-
manding soul), and thereafter repents and mends his way and conduct, surely
He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.”
55. Thus, we set out in detail the signposts of our way and the relevant revela-
tions (included in the Qur’ān), and (we do so) so that the path of the disbeliev-
ing criminals might become distinct (from that of the righteous believers).
56. say (to those associating partners with God): “I have been forbidden to
worship those beings whom you deify and invoke apart from God.” say: “I do
not follow your lusts and fancies – or else I would go astray and would not be of
those who are rightly guided.”
57. say: “I take my stand on clear evidence from my Lord, whereas you deny
it. Not within my power is what you (deridingly) ask to be hastened (saying: ‘If
there is a punishment with which you threaten us, let it come immediately’). (In surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 284
the absolute sense) judgment and authority rest with none but God alone. He
always relates the truth, and He is the Best Judge between truth and falsehood.
58. say: “If it were within my power (to bring) what you ask to be hastened, the
matter between me and you would have been decided.” God best knows the
wrongdoers.
59. with Him are the keys to the unseen; none knows them but He. And He
knows whatever is on land and in the sea; and not a leaf falls but He knows it;
and neither is there a grain in the dark layers of earth, nor anything green or dry,
but is (recorded) in a Manifest Book. 13
13. The Qur’an
60. He it is who recalls your souls at night (while you sleep, a state comparable
to death), and He knows what You already worked in the daytime. Then He
raises you to life therein (the next daytime) so that the term appointed by Him is
fulfilled. (He causes you to die after the completion of this term and, just as He
raises you again to life each day after sleep, He resurrects you from that death
when the appointed time is due.) Your final return is to Him; and then He will
make you understand what you were doing (and call you to account for it).
61. He is the All-omnipotent over His servants; and He sends to you (angel)
guardians (who watch over, and keep a record of, whatever you do). when death
finally approaches any of you, our envoys (the angels assigned to this duty) take
his soul, and they do not neglect (any part of their tasks).
62. Then they are restored to God, their All-True Master and Protector. Indeed,
His alone is the judgment and authority, and He is the Most swift in reckon-
ing.
63. say: “who is it who saves you from the veils of darkness on land and the
sea, (when) you call upon Him most humbly and in the secrecy of your hearts: ‘If
You but save us from this (distress), we will most certainly be among the thank-
ful (who turn to You in faith and righteousness)!’?”
64. say: “God alone saves you from this and from every distress, but then you
associate partners with Him (instead of being thankful to Him, by believing in
and obeying Him).”
65. say: “He it is who has the power to send punishment upon you from above
you or from beneath your feet, or to confound you by splitting you into hostile
groups and make you taste the violence of one another. Look how we set out
the signs (of God’s existence and unity, and other truths of faith) in diverse surah 6 285 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
ways, so that they may ponder and penetrate the essence of matters to grasp the
truth.
66. And yet, your people (o Messenger) deny the Qur’ān, even though it is
the truth. say: “I am not one appointed as a guardian over you to assume your
responsibility for you.”
67. every tiding (from God) has a term appointed for its fulfillment; and, in
time, you will come to know (the truth).
68. when you meet such as indulge in (blasphemous) talk about our revela-
tions, turn away from them until they enter into some other discourse. And
should satan cause you to forget, no longer remain, after recollection, in the
company of such wrongdoing people.
69. Those who keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety
are not accountable for them in anything. But (what rests with them is) to re-
mind and thereby admonish them so that they may fear (the evil of what they
do) and avoid it.
70. Quit those who take their religion (the one appointed for them by God) for
play and pastime (and have made play and fun their own religion), and whom
the present, worldly life has deluded. But remind them (through the Qur’ān),
lest any soul should be given up to destruction for what it has earned, for there
will neither be any protecting friend nor intercessor apart from God, and even
though it may offer any ransom (in return for its unforgivable sins, such as un-
belief and associating partners with God), it will not be accepted from it. They
are those who are given up to destruction for what they have earned; for them is
a drink of boiling water and a painful punishment because they were persistently
disbelieving.
71. say: “shall we invoke, apart from God, the things that can neither benefit us
(when we invoke them) nor harm us (when we do not invoke them), and (thus)
be turned back on our heels after God has guided us – like the one whom the
satans have infatuated on earth, so that they blunder about in valleys of misguid-
ance, though he has companions calling him to the Guidance, saying: ‘Come to
us!’?” say: “surely God’s guidance is the (only true) Guidance, and we have been
commanded to submit with all our being to the Lord of the worlds;
72. And to establish the Prayer in conformity with all its conditions, and keep
from disobedience to Him in reverence for Him and piety.” He it is to whom
you will be gathered.
73. He it is who has created the heavens and the earth in truth (meaningfully, surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 286
and for definite purpose, and on solid foundations of truth). whenever He says,
“Be!” it is. His word is the truth. And His is the sovereignty on the day when
the Trumpet is blown, 14 the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the
All-wise, the All-Aware. 15
14. we do not know the exact nature of the Trumpet and what is really meant by its being
blown. It will be blown twice (see also 39: 68, note 22) by the archangel Isrāfīl; when it is
blown the first time, the entire order of the universe will be disrupted, and on its second
blowing, all the dead will be raised in a completely fresh world and order.
God has absolute ownership and dominion over the whole of creation, even in this world.
But, since this world is the world of wisdom, His acts are screened by some apparent
causes; that is, He allows things to occur according to certain (apparent) causes, and beings
like humans and jinn, endowed with free will, are allowed to have property and exercise
some sort of dominion, and are tested. However, in the next world, which will be the world
of Power and where there will be no causes nor time or duration for a thing to occur, He
will act without the intervention of causes, and no one will be allowed to enjoy any property
or dominion.
15. The verses which so far have concentrated on the pillars of faith, in particular the two
most cardinal, namely belief in God’s existence and unity and belief in the resurrec-
tion, present us with observable, manifest truths and evidence:It is God who has created
the heavens and the earth and, in connection with them, brings darkness and light into
existence. It is also He who gives existence to people’s will and preference for belief or
unbelief, along with the causes of these. God also created the first human being from clay, a
material propitious for cultivation, and all succeeding men and women, from the food that
is obtained from earth. He appoints for each person, as well as appointing for humanity,
a fixed term in this world; after the completion of this term, He takes us all into another,
eternal world. God has not left the universe and humankind to their own devices after
creating them. He is the All-omnipotent and has full sway over them. He knows whatever
happens in the universe, down to the fall of a leaf, and He knows all the deeds, thought,
and intentions of humankind. His appointed angels record these, and people will be called
to account for these acts in the other world. To avoid punishment, people must follow the
way He has established for them through His Messengers.
Having presented the cardinal pillars of faith along with their indisputable proofs, which
the Qur’ān calls “signs,” that are understandable to and observable by everybody, the verses
proceed to reject polytheism in all its forms and consolidate the truths of faith with mani-
fold proofs:despite the evidence of belief that is observable by everybody, God also sent
Messengers to people to teach them and bring the message to their attention. But, unfor-
tunately, most people, particularly those who have some status in society, such as the
wealthy, aristocrats, the governing elite and some intellectuals, willfully reject the messages
brought by the Messengers, as well as their manifest signs that are derived from the uni-
verse and life, including the miracles which the Messengers work when necessary and when
God allows them to do so. Those who reject the truths of faith have no truth at all on
which they base their claims. This is why they attempt to oppose the Messengers with
derision, demanding that they work miracles, and claiming that the miracles they work are
nothing but magic. This openly shows their intellectual defeat and bankruptcy when placed surah 6 287 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
before the truth brought by the Messengers. The true reason for their unbelief and resis-
tance against the divine Message is that they fear losing their status; they cannot give up
their lifestyle or bear to be together with those they have despised as being poor and lacking
status in society; that is, arrogance, having the wrong viewpoint and world-view, wrongdo-
ing, and luxury prevent them from believing. These attitudes have caused them to lose their
senses of hearing and seeing, and they can no longer hear the revealed message nor see its
manifest evidence (signs) in life and the universe, and, as a consequence, they lose the ca-
pacity to believe, a capacity which God has ingrained in their nature. The life of the world
is not only transient; it also consists of play and pastimes in respect to human carnal life.
The wealth, posts and positions, and social status, to which people tend to attach much
importance and on which they depend, are not lasting. God, who gives these favors as a
means of testing people, may take them away at an unexpected time. History is full of in-
stances of this giving and taking away; there are many lessons to be learned from destroyed
civilizations and the lost wealth and positions of our ancestors. God is, first of all, the All-
Merciful, the All-Compassionate; all His acts are based on mercy. For this reason, He
provides for every living thing in the world without discriminating between believers and
unbelievers, maintaining the lives of everything. so it should not be expected that He will
immediately destroy those who are bent on unbelief, those who associate partners with
Him, and those whoindulge in sins. The place where people are rewarded or punished for
their beliefs and deeds is the Hereafter. God has special laws for the worldly life, and people
usually see the consequences of their deeds in the world according to these laws. However,
this does not mean that God does not have special concern and compassion for His believ-
ing, righteous servants in the world. He helps them according to His wisdom, accepts their
repentance, forgives them, and protects them as long as they remain devoted to His cause
and religion. when wrongdoing and transgression exceed all limits, God punishes people
in the world through calamities, such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, epidemics;
or wars, internal conflicts, anarchy, terror; or causing them to lose their wealth, status or
jobs. But since this punishment usually appears to be in accordance with the (sociological)
laws of life and “(physical) laws of nature,” not everyone can see the divine Hand behind
them. God is not of the same kind as the created, so He cannot be conceived of in terms of
the created. He never eats and drinks, nor does He need anything. He feeds, sustains, and
provides. His existence and unity are more manifest than anything else, and it is ratio-
nally impossible to accept the existence of anything without accepting His existence. The
universe, with whatever is and happens in it, testifies to this, as does the Qur’ān, the other
divine scriptures, tens of thousands of Prophets, and billions of people who followed them
throughout history. Those who deny Him have nothing substantial on which to base their
claims, for denial cannot be proved, and, therefore, it has no rational or scientific weight.
denial consists in mere conjecture and hypothesis. even if a person denies the truths of
faith, defeated by his carnal soul, he will see, when he dies, the true nature of those truths
that are manifested in our world with their outer dimensions, and he will understand the
truth of the other life clearly; yet, it will be of no use for this person to feel remorse. He will
desire to be returned to the world, but it will be of no avail! even if he were allowed to re-
turn, he would not act otherwise. No one can go to the Hereafter with a valid excuse for his
or her wrong beliefs or acts. everybody feels the existence of a supreme Power in their
conscience, especially when they are facing danger or death. They invoke only God with
both their tongue and their conscience, for God has inculcated in the conscience of every-
one a point where we seek help, and a point where we seek support. Both of these manifest
themselves, especially when there is no apparent, material means to escape from peril or
difficulties, and this causes a person to turn to God alone. every person has had this expe-surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 288
rience several times in his or her life. But most people, upon reaching safety, behave as if
they have had no such experience. They pursue their ambitions, and under the pressure of
such attitudes as arrogance, wrongdoing, and having the wrong viewpoint of things and
events, they insist on unbelief or the association of partners with God. In order to show
people that the way they follow is wrong and to warn them against its consequences, God
Almighty repeatedly presents to them evidence, and He renews His admonitions. A time
will come when He will expose them to different hardships and disasters, such as famine
and warfare, in order to help them to come to their senses, and, at other times, He will pour
on them His bounties in order to stir up feelings of gratitude in them. But, if a person has
already lost his or her inborn capacity to believe, none of these will be of any avail. Further-
more, they will be deluded by satan into seeing their way as being good. Those who persist
in unbelief or polytheism are too arrogant to find themselves side-by-side with those whom
they see as being devoid of any social status and attempt to excuse their own unbelief by
mocking the belief of those others. This is because they are beguiled by satan into judging
the degree of intelligence and worth of a human by the post, wealth or social status one has,
and, therefore, think of themselves as much more intelligent or better than those who are
poor and devoid of status. This leads such people to conclude that if the Message brought
by the Prophet is true, then they should have been among the first to accept it. But this is
satan’s trickery; they become the victims of their carnal souls, for wealth and social status
are not the criterion to judge one’s intelligence or worth. There are many people who are
very knowledgeable and intelligent, but who are poor and have neither positions nor social
status. Imam Ghazzālī calls the intelligence that grasps worldly affairs the intelligence of
worldly life. It can never be asserted that one who is advanced in the intelligence of world-
ly life is also advanced in grasping the perennial truths and principles that lie at the root of
and govern life, existence, things and events, and their meaning. Moreover, the divine cri-
teria to judge people are different. At the foremost of these criteria comes the grasping of
the truths and principles mentioned, which automatically lead to believing in God and to
the other pillars of faith, and living according to these truths and principles in reverence for
God and piety; this is what the Qur’ān calls taqwā . If life and existence consisted only of
economy, then there would be no philosophy, religion, and contemplative thought, nor even
art and literature, which are the elevated products of the human mind and heart. Human
thought should be based on, and guided by, the truths and principles mentioned here so
that there will be no deviation in thought and belief; these deviations are what lead to un-
belief or associating partners with God. As mentioned above, God is not, as some think, “a
passive deity” who created the universe and humanity and left everyone to their own de-
vices. He has full knowledge of everything, is fully aware of whatever one thinks, intends,
and does, and the reins of all things and events are in His Hand. whatever happens in the
world occurs by His commanding “Be!” He makes His appointed angels record all the
deeds of human beings, and He will call people to account in the other world for what they
have done in this world. Going to sleep every night and waking up every morning is evi-
dence of the fact that we will, one day, be raised from the dead; it is a means of comparison
for us.
After all these truths and all the evidence which has been presented in this sūrah , the
Qur’ān goes on to narrate a very significant event from the life of the Prophet Abraham,
upon him be peace, one of the greatest heroes of the truth of Taw h īd (believing in and
declaring God’s oneness), from whom all the greatest Messengers descended, including
Muhammad, Jesus and Moses, upon them be peace.surah 6 289 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
74. And (call to mind) when Abraham spoke to his father, āzar: “do you take
idols for deities? Indeed, I see you and your people lost in obvious error.” 16
16. The nation that Abraham was sent to as a Messenger was that of the ancient Chaldeans,
who lived in modern-day Iraq. Abraham began his mission in ur, the capital of the state,
located in southern Iraq, in around 2100 bc . The founder of the ruling dynasty was ur-
Nammu, who established a vast kingdom that stretched from susa in the eastto Lebanon
in the west, and which extended a little beyond the boundaries of modern-day Iraq to the
north. This dynasty was called Nammu, becoming Nimrud in Arabic.
It was estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 people lived in ur at that time. The
majority of these people were merchants and craftsmen; these people had a purely materi-
alistic outlook on life. They were comprised of three classes: (1) the priests and government
and military officers; (2) the merchants, craftsmen, and farmers; and (3) slaves. Abraham’s
family belonged to the first class, and his father had a high position in the government.
The people worshipped about 5,000 deities. The chief deity of ur was Nannar (the moon
god). The idol carved in its image was kept in a palace-like building. every night, a female
worshipper went to the bedroom of the god, adorned as a bride. A great number of women
were consecrated in the name of this deity; they were considered as a means to salvation,
and it was generally the priests who made most use of this institution.
The other major city was Larsa, which later replaced ur as the capital. Its chief deity was
shamash (the sun deity). under these major deities, there was a myriad of minor deities;
these were generally chosen from among the heavenly bodies. Polytheism in this state, as in
almost all others, did not consist merely of a set of religious beliefs and polytheistic rites; it
also provided the foundation on which the order of economic, cultural, social, and political
life rested.
even though we are not exactly sure of the impact of Abraham’s teachings on the people
and the state, after his emigration, both the ruling dynasty and the nation of ur were
subjected to a succession of disasters. First, the elamites sacked ur and captured Nimrud
along with the idols of Nannar. Later on, an elamite state was established in Larsa, which
governed ur as well. Later still, Babylon prospered under a dynasty of Arabian origin, and
both Larsa and ur came under its dominion. The laws which were codified by the Baby-
lonian king, Hammurabi, in 1910 bc , show the impression of the prophetic influence (al-
Mawdūdī, 2: 246–248, note 52, from Leonard wooley, Abraham , London 1935).
75. Thus (he spoke and acted for) we had showed Abraham (the ugliness and
irrationality of polytheism and) the inner dimension of (the existence of) the
heavens and the earth, and the eternal truth (which this outer, corporeal dimen-
sion manifests and depends upon) – this we had done so that he might be one
of those who have achieved certainty of faith (that he might attain the final
degree in his certainty as a Messenger of God):
76. when the night overspread over him, he saw a star; and he exclaimed: “This
is my Lord (is it)?” But when it set (sank from sight), he said: “I love not the surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 290
things that set.” 17
17. Bediüzzaman said Nursi (1877-1960) writes:
This verse, which illustrates the decay of the universe uttered by the Prophet Abraham,
upon him be peace, made me weep. The eyes of my heart wept bitter tears for it. each tear
was so bitterly sad that it caused others to fall, as though the tears themselves were weeping.
Those tears make up the lines that follow. They are like a commentary on the words of that
wise Prophet of God contained in the Qur’ān.
A beloved one who disappears is not beautiful, for one doomed to decline cannot be truly
beautiful. It is not, and should not be, loved in the heart, for the heart is created for eternal
love and mirrors the eternally-Besought-of-All. A desired one doomed to disappear is
unworthy of the heart’s attachment or the mind’s preoccupation. It cannot be the object of
desire, and is unworthy of being missed. so why should the heart adore, and be attached
to, it?
I do not seek or desire anything mortal, for I am myself mortal.
I am impotent, so I do not desire the impotent.
I surrendered my spirit to the All-Merciful one, so I desire no one else.
I want only one who will remain my friend forever.
I am but an insignificant particle, but I desire an everlasting sun.
I am nothing in essence, but I wish for the whole of creation.
I do not invoke or seek refuge with something that will decay, for I am infinitely needy and
impotent. That which is powerless cannot cure my endless pain or solve my infinitely deep
wounds. How can anything subject to decay be an object of worship? A mind obsessed with
appearance wails upon seeing that which it adores begin to decay, while the spirit, which
seeks an eternal beloved, also wails, saying: ‘I love not the things that set.’
I do not want or desire separation, for I cannot endure it. Meetings followed immediately
by separation are not worthy of thought or longing. Just as the disappearance of pleasure
is painful, imagining it is also painful. The works of lovers (poetry on metaphorical love
for the opposite sex) are lamentations caused by the pain that arises from imagining this
disappearance. If you condensed their spirit, this lament would flow from each. The pain
coming from such meetings and painful metaphorical loves causes my heart to cry out, like
Abraham: ‘I love not the things that set.’
If you desire permanence in this transient world, permanence is born out of self-anni-
hilation. Annihilate your evil-commanding soul so that you may gain permanence. Free
yourself of bad morals, the basis of worldly adoration, and realize self-annihilation. sac-
rifice what is under your control in the way of the True Beloved. see the end of beings,
which marks extinction. The way leading from this world to permanence passes through
self-annihilation.
The human mind, absorbed in causality, laments the upheavals caused by the world’s decay.
The conscience, desiring true existence, wails like Abraham: ‘I love not the things that set.’
It severs the connection with metaphorical lovers and decaying beings, and attaches itself surah 6 291 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
to the Truly existent one, the eternal Beloved.
o my base soul. This world and all beings are mortal. However, you may find two ways to
the All-Permanent Being in each mortal thing, and may discern two glimpses or mysteries
of the manifestations of the undying Beloved’s Grace – if you sacrifice your mortal being.
The act of bestowing is discerned, and the All-Merciful’s favor is perceived in each bounty.
If you discern this act through what is bestowed, you will find the Bestower. each work of
the eternally-Besought-of-All indicates the Names of the All-Majestic Maker, like a mis-
sive. If you understand the meaning through the inscription, the Names will lead you to the
one called by those Names. If you can find the kernel, the essence, of these transient things,
obtain it. discard their meaningless shells into the flood of mortality. every item that exists
is a word of embodied meaning and shows many of the Names of the All-Majestic Maker.
since beings are words of divine Power, understand their meanings and place them in your
heart. Fearlessly cast the letters left without meaning into the wind of transience and forget
about them.
The worldly mind, preoccupied with appearance, and whose capital consists only of
knowledge of the material world, cries out in bewilderment and frustration as its chains of
thought end in nothingness and non-existence. It seeks a true way leading to truth. since
the heart has withdrawn from what sets and what is mortal, and has abandoned the deceiv-
ing beloveds, and since the conscience has turned away from transitory beings, you, my
wretched soul, must seek help in, ‘I love not the things that set,’ and be saved.
see how well Mawlānā Jāmi‘, who was intoxicated with the “wine” of love, as if created
from love, expressed it:
want only one (the rest are not worth wanting);
Call one (the others will not help you);
seek one (the others are not worth seeking);
see and follow one (the others are not seen all the time; they become invisible behind
the veil of mortality);
Know one (knowledge other than that which adds to your knowledge of Him is useless);
Mention one (words not concerning Him are useless).
o Jāmi‘, I admit that you spoke the truth. The True Beloved, the True sought one, the
True desired one, and the True object of worship is He alone. In the mighty circle of
remembering and reciting God’s Names, this universe and its inhabitants declare, in vari-
ous tongues and tones: ‘There is no deity but God,’ and testify to divine oneness. It salves
the wound caused by those that set, and points to the undying Beloved. ( The words , “the
17 th word,” 229–231).
77. And when (on another night) he beheld the full moon rising in splendor, he
said: “This is my Lord (is it)!” But when it set, he said: “unless my Lord guided
me, I would surely be among the people gone astray.”
78. Then, when he beheld the sun rising in all its splendor, he said: “This is my surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 292
Lord (is it)? This one is the greatest of all!” 18 But when it set, he said: “o my
people! surely I am free from your association of partners with God and from
whatever you associate with Him as partners.”
18. This verse hints at an important reality through a grammatical rule which is impossible
to render in translation: The sun is a feminine word in Arabic; whereas the Prophet Abra-
ham, upon him be peace, used a masculine pronoun when pointing to it. This means that
his people, like almost all other polytheist peoples, considered their greatest deity as being
male. It was pointed out in 4: 117, note 25, that whatever they may claim, in nearly all com-
munities that reject divine religion in the establishment of their society, women are only
objects exploited by men for their interest and tools used to satisfy their carnal desires. Men
hold the sovereignty. This is because those who reject God’s authority depend on and adore
force and might; this is possessed and represented by men, rather than women. Therefore a
(supreme) god, in such a system, cannot be seen as being female.
79. “I have turned my face (my whole being) with pure faith and submission
to the one who has originated the heavens and the earth each with particular
features, and I am not one of those associating partners with God.” 19
19. The conclusion of the verse 3: 67, He (Abraham) was never of those who associate
partners with God , removes a serious misunderstanding concerning the verses above. un-
fortunately, some interpreters of the Qur’ān have misunderstood from the Prophet Abra-
ham’s mentioning a star, and then the moon, and then the sun, as his Lord, that he took
these heavenly objects as Lord for a short time one after the other before being chosen
as Prophet. However, the verses are explicit about the fact that he made a mental and
spiritual journeying in the malakūt (the inner dimension of existence) to have certainty of
faith, not faith simply, according to his rank as one near-stationed to God. In addition, He
mentioned them as his Lord also to demonstrate to his people that none of the heavenly
objects could be the Lord. He openly declared before he beheld the sun and said that it was
his Lord: “unless my Lord guided me, I would surely be among the people gone astray.” If
he had not yet found his true Lord – God Almighty, he would not have said: “unless my
Lord guided me.” And the conclusion of the verse 3: 67 quoted above explicitly states that
Abraham, upon him be peace, was never of the idolaters.
80. His people set out to remonstrate with him. Abraham said: “do you remon-
strate with me concerning God, when He has guided me? I do not fear those
that you associate with Him as partners (and that cannot even benefit or harm
themselves, so what do I have to fear of your threats?). whatever my Lord wills
happens, and no evil befalls me unless He so wills. My Lord embraces all things
in His Knowledge. will you not, then, reflect and take heed?
81. “And how should I fear those that you associate with God as partners, when
you do not fear to associate partners with Him without His having sent down
on you any authority (to do so)? (Tell me,) then, which of the two parties has
right to feel secure, if you have anything of knowledge?surah 6 293 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
82. “Those who have believed and not obscured their belief with any wrongdo-
ing (of which, associating partners with God is the most grave, unforgivable
kind) 20 – they are the ones for whom there is true security, and they are rightly
guided.”
20. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessing, explained that what is meant by
wrongdoing in this verse is the association of partners with God. Literally meaning not
putting a thing in its place, z ulm (wrongdoing) has many degrees, the worst of which is
unbelief and the association of partners with God. denying the existence of God or asso-
ciating partners with Him without having a correct judgment of Him with His Attributes
and acts is the greatest error one can ever commit in life, and causes darkness upon dark-
ness in one’s heart and mind. This darkness also envelops one’s whole life and causes one to
always remain in darkness in the grave and in the other world.
Associating partners with God is of various kinds and degrees. Ascribing divinity or lord-
ship with divine functions and absolute sovereignty in the heavens and the earth, in-
cluding the human realm, to others is one of the gravest forms of associating partners
with God; hypocrisy, ostentation and desiring others to hear of the good things one does
are also forms of associating partners with Him, especially for people who are spiritually
evolved. Not aiming to obtain God’s good pleasure in the thing one does in the name of
the religion, or not doing it only because God wants it to be done, taking credit for one’s
abilities and accomplishments and feeling proud of them, and making use of the religion
for worldly purposes, such as acquiring wealth and positions, or satisfying one’s feeling of
superiority – each of these is a kind of wrongdoing that obscures one’s belief. For this rea-
son, belief that is free from all such kinds of wrongdoing – associating partners with God
– means true security for those who have it.
83. That was our argument which we granted to Abraham against his people.
we raise in degrees whom we will. Your Lord is All-wise (having many wise
purposes for what He does), All-Knowing (whatever He does is based on His
absolutely comprehensive Knowledge).
84. And later, we bestowed upon him (a son) Isaac and (a grandson) Jacob, and
each of them we guided (and distinguished them with Prophethood). earlier
we had guided Noah (and distinguished him with Prophethood). And of Abra-
ham’s descendants, (we guided and distinguished with Prophethood) david
and solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do we reward those devoted
to doing good as if seeing God.
85. And Zachariah, John, Jesus and elijah: every one of them was of the righ-
teous.
86. And Ishmael, elisha, Jonah, and Lot: every one of them we favored above
all other people.
87. And some from among their forefathers, and their descendants, and their surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 294
brothers: we chose them and guided them to a straight path (which has charac-
teristics particular to each according to his epoch).
88. That is God’s guidance, with which He guides whomever He wills of His
servants. 21 And had they (the ones mentioned above) associated partners with
God, then all that they did (of good and the recompense they had earned) would
have gone to waste.
21. even though Prophethood and being chosen are a special grace and favor of God which
He bestows upon His servants as He wills, this does not mean that human free will has no
part in it. since God knew (beforehand) how those chosen people would act in the world
and in what direction they would use their free will, He determined and decreed for them
accordingly. Like all other people, the Prophets are also tested in the world; their testing is
more stringent, according to the degree of each. They are not a “privileged class” of human
beings in God’s sight. The second part of the verse corroborates this.
89. Those are the ones to whom we granted the Book, and authority with sound,
wise judgment, and Prophethood. Then if those (people of yours, o Messenger,)
disbelieve it (our guidance, which we have sent them with you), then certainly
we entrust it to a people who do believe therein.
90. Those are the (illustrious) ones whom God guided. Follow, then, their guid-
ance, and say (to your people): “I ask of you no wage for it (for conveying the
Message); it is a reminder (an admonition and advice) to all created, conscious
beings (humankind and jinn).
91. And they (some of the Jews) had no true judgment of God as His right (in
being God requires), when they say: “God has not sent anything down on any
human being.” say: “Then, who sent down the Book which Moses brought as a
light, and guidance for the people (you know), and which you put into, and treat
as, mere leaves of paper to make show of, while you conceal much of it, and you
have been taught (by it) what neither you knew nor your forefathers?” say: “God
(sent it down),” and then leave them to their game of plunging into vanities.
92. And this (the Qur’ān) is a (divine) Book that we send down – blessed and
full of blessing, confirming (the divine authorship of) whatever was revealed
before it – so that you may warn (the people of) the Mother of Cities (Makkah)
and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter do believe in it; and
they are ever mindful guardians of their Prayers.
93. who is more in wrong than he who fabricates falsehood in attribution to
God, or says, “I receive revelation from God,” when nothing has been revealed
to him, and he who claims, “I will produce the like of what God has sent down”?
If you could but see how it will be when those wrongdoers find themselves in surah 6 295 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
the agonies of death when the angels (appointed to take their souls), stretching
forth their hands (say): “Yield up your souls! Today you will be recompensed
with the punishment of humiliation for having continuously and persistently
spoken about God other than the truth, and in persistent arrogance scorned His
revelations.”
94. (God says:) “Now assuredly you (having died and been buried alone) have
come to us quite alone, as we created you in the first instance; and you have
left behind all that we bestowed upon you (in the world). And we do not see
with you any of those intercessors (whom you associated with God as partners,
and) of whom you supposed that they had shares in you (i.e. authority to order
your life in certain ways). Indeed, all the bonds between you and them have now
been severed, and all that you supposed (to be God’s partners in your affairs) has
failed you.
95. God is He who splits the grain and the fruit-stone (so that they germinate
by His command). He brings forth the living from the dead, and He is one
who brings forth the dead from the living; such is God: how then are you
turned away from the truth and make false claims? 22
22. Life and death form a cycle. death is an inevitable end that awaits every living being; it
is a reality more manifest than life. For this reason, the verse uses the simple present tense
with respect to God’s bringing forth the living from the dead, which denotes repetition and
renewal; it uses the present participle and noun clause with respect to His bringing forth
the dead from the living, which denotes stability and constancy.
The verse also points out that living beings are in a state of death before they are brought
to life. This is what the verse “How can you disbelieve in God, seeing that you were dead;”
(2: 28) indicates. By being brought to the worldly life, living beings attain the first life or,
in other words, they are raised to life while they are dead. so life in every phase is the result
of death and death is the foundation of life. water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and inorganic
salts in soil change into organic substances forming the life-substance in plants and animals
by means of sunlight, vegetation, and certain bacteria. Inorganic elements die in plants, and
in animal and human bodies, and become vegetable, animal and human life respectively,
and plants die in animal and human bodies to become animal and human life, and animals
whose flesh is edible by human beings die in human bodies to become part of human life.
This leads one to understand that human beings falling into soil like seed will wake up into
a higher rank of life in another world.
Bringing forth the living from the dead and bringing forth the dead from the living is also
observed in the life of the earth in the cycles of day and night, and spring and winter, and
in the lives of individuals and communities. Individuals frequently change spiritual states
and are guided to belief from unbelief or turn to unbelief from belief. small seed-like com-
munities grow into great states and civilizations, which, in time, are gradually destroyed. It
is God who causes all these to happen and the events in which human free will has a part
also happen according to the (psychological, sociological, and historical) laws that God has surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 296
established. Nevertheless, most people waste away in the valleys of misguidance despite
this manifest reality.
96. He it is who splits the dawn (from the darkness of night). He has made the
night for repose, and the sun and the moon a means for reckoning (the divisions
of time). This is the ordaining of the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the
All-Knowing.
97. He it is who has made for you the stars (in their present conditions and po-
sitions), so that you may find your way by them in the darkness of the land and
the sea. Assuredly, we have set out in detail the signs and proofs (of the truth)
for a people seeking knowledge.
98. He it is who developed you from a single human self, and has appointed (in
each station of your journeying from mother’s womb to eternal life) for each of
you a lodging-place where, and time-limit during which, you will stay and then
be transferred. we have certainly set out in detail the signs and proofs (of the
truth) for a people seeking to attain profound understanding.
99. He it is who sends down water from the sky, and therewith we bring forth
vegetation of every kind (from their seeds under the soil), and then from it we
bring forth a lively shoot, from which we bring forth close-packed and com-
pounded ears of grain, and from the palm-tree – from the spathe of it – dates
thick-clustered hanging (ready to the hand), and gardens of vines, and the olive
tree, and the pomegranate: alike (in the fundamentals of life and growth) and
diverse (in structure, look, taste, and smell). Look at their fruit, when they begin
to fruit and as they ripen. surely in that there are signs for people who will be-
lieve and who will deepen in faith (as they see new signs).
100. Yet they associate the jinn as partners with God, although He created them,
and, devoid of any knowledge, they invent for Him sons and daughters. All-
Glorified He is, and absolutely exalted above what they attribute (to Him).
101. The originator of the heavens and the earth with nothing before Him to
imitate. How can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort, and He
has created all things (i.e. nothing created can be a consort for Him)? And He
has full knowledge of everything.
102. such is God, your Lord; there is no deity but He, the Creator of all things;
therefore, worship Him alone. He holds all things in His care and control.
103. eyes comprehend Him not, but He comprehends all eyes. He is the All-
subtle (penetrating everything no matter how small), the All-Aware. 23surah 6 297 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
23. Based on this verse, the Mu‘tazilah, the shī‘ah scholar, and some others who trust ex-
clusively in their own reason, have claimed that God will not be seen in the Hereafter. Yet,
this verse states that God is not a ‘body’ whom people are able to see, to comprehend with
their eyes, and it relates God’s comprehending all eyes not to His being the All-seeing (
Al-Basīr ) but to His being the All-subtle penetrating everything, no matter how small (
Al-La t īf ), and to His being the All-Aware ( Al-Khabīr ). so God is beyond all physical
conceptions, and people can only “see” Him, have knowledge of Him, with the “eye of the
heart,” or with insight and through knowledge.
secondly, it is clear that seeing in the Hereafter will not be the same as seeing here in this
world. It is not the eyes which see, even in this world, and how we see is still not fully un-
derstood by science. seeing means comprehending something with its outer dimensions,
and it is neither the eyes nor the brain which comprehends this. eyes are totally blind to
the inner dimension of existence. Yet, eyes can serve for penetrating the inner dimension
of existence if the spirit or heart, which is what truly “sees,” can be refined and acquire
sufficient keenness. However, when people die, the veil preventing them from seeing the
metaphysical dimension of existence is removed, and people will acquire in the Hereafter
a keen sight and the ability to penetrate beyond the obvious. Believers will observe God
beyond all qualitative and quantitative conceptions with their eyes, which will be equipped
with the required ability, according to the conditions of the Hereafter; they will observe
God to the extent of their insight and the knowledge of Him that they have obtained in
this world, and as a reward of this insight and knowledge. However, this does mean that
they will comprehend or encompass God with their eyes. God, being all infinite, is exalted
above comprehension or encompassing.
As with the verse, Indeed it is not the eyes that have become blind, it is rather the hearts
in the breasts that are blind (22: 46), the following verse illustrates the same truth dealt
with here.
104. Lights of discernment and insight have come to you from your Lord. who-
ever, therefore (by choosing to open the eye of his heart and place his eyes in its
service), discerns, does so for his own good; and whoever chooses to be blind (to
the truth), does so to his own harm. And (o Messenger, say to them): “I am not
a keeper or watcher over you.”
105. Thus do we set out the signs of the truth and revelations in diverse ways,
so that they (who choose blindness) say, “You have learned it (from somebody
else)”; this we do in order that we may make it (the truth, the Qur’ān) clear to
a people seeking knowledge.
106. Follow (o Messenger) what has been revealed to you from your Lord; there
is no deity but He; and withdraw from those who associate partners with God
(do not care what they say and do).
107. Yet if God had so willed (and not enabled their free choice), they would not
have associated partners with Him (so do not torment yourself to death with surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 298
grief because they do not believe). And we have not made you a keeper over
them, and you are not charged with care and control of them.
108. And do not (o believers) revile the things or beings that they have, apart
from God, deified and invoke, lest (if you do so) they attempt to revile God out
of spite, and in ignorance. Thus have we made their deeds seem fair to every
people; 24 then to their (true) Lord is the return of all of them, and He will make
them understand what they were doing (and call them to account for it).
24. That is, it is in the nature of human to see their beliefs and deeds as good, even as the
best and the only true ones.
109. They swear by God with their most solemn oaths that if a miracle (of the
kind they desire) is shown to them, they will believe in it (and, therefore, in the
Message). say: “Miracles are in God’s power alone (His is the sole authority
to produce them or not).” (o believers, who think that if such a miracle were
produced, the unbelievers would believe:) Are you not aware that even if such a
miracle were shown to them, they would not believe?
110. Just as they did not believe in it (the Qur’ān) before (despite many evi-
dences sufficient to convince one who really means to believe), and (because of
their actions and attitudes, preventing them from belief,) we confound their
hearts and eyes, and leave them blindly wandering in their rebellion.
111. even if we were to send down angels to them (whenever they wished it),
and the dead were to speak to them, and we were to assemble before them, face
to face, all the creatures (to bear witness to the truth of the Message you bring),
they would still not believe, unless God so willed (and came to their aid out of
His pure grace); but most of them are ignorant (they pursue worldly pleasures,
completely unaware of belief and mindless of their own selves).
112. And thus it is that (as a dimension of human earthly life taking place ac-
cording to our eternal will, embracing human free will, and according to the
wisdom in sending the religion) we have set against every Prophet a hostile
opposition from among the satans of humankind and jinn, whispering and sug-
gesting to one another specious words, by way of delusion. Yet had your Lord
willed (and compelled everybody to behave in the way He wills), they would not
do it. so leave them alone with what they have been fabricating.
113. And the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter incline towards
it (their deluding speech) and take pleasure in it, and they continue (perpetrat-
ing the evils, and) earning what (the sin) they have long been earning.
114. (say to them, o Messenger:) “what! shall I seek other than God for judge surah 6 299 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
(to settle the matters between you and me), when it is He who has sent down
to you this (unique, most perfect) Book (in which truth and falsehood, right and
wrong are) fully distinguished?” (The scholars among) those to whom we gave
the Book before know that it is one being sent down in parts, in truth, by your
Lord. so never be among the doubters (concerning the truth of your way).
115. The word of your Lord (which He sent down in parts in different periods,
considering the conditions of each period) is perfected (with the Qur’ān) as
the embodiment of truth (with respect to the essentials of belief, principles of
worship and good conduct, the rules to govern human life, and all the tidings
it gives considering the past and future, including the Hereafter), and of justice
(regarding all the commandments it contains): there is no altering of His words
(the laws He has established for life, and the operation of the universe; attempt-
ing to interfere with them will bring about great disasters, so no one must ever
attempt to change His commandments, which are contained in the Book). He
is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing (who knows every need of every creature,
and every requirement of every age, just as He knows how you respond to His
commandments).
116. And if you pay heed to the majority of those on the earth, they will lead you
astray from God’s way. They follow only conjecture (not knowledge), and they
themselves do nothing but make guesses (they pronounce and act according to
their fancies, selfish interests, and personal value judgments).
117. Indeed your Lord is He who knows best who goes astray from His way,
and He knows best (those who are) the rightly-guided.
118. eat, then, of (the flesh of) that over which God’s Name has been pro-
nounced, if you are sincere believers in His revelations.
119. And why should you not eat of (the flesh of) that over which God’s Name
has been pronounced, seeing that He has clearly spelled out to you what He has
made unlawful to you unless you are constrained to it by dire necessity? 25 But,
indeed many people lead others astray, driven by their lusts and fancies without
any knowledge (from God). Indeed your Lord is He who knows best those
who exceed the bounds.
25. In order to emphasize the sensitivity which people should have in eating and drinking,
the Qur’ān refers to these activities after it has stressed the importance of accepting and
obeying God’s commandments. This is because people are easily lost to their carnal desires
and act carelessly in the matter of eating and drinking. Also, many nations have imposed
on themselves superfluous religious rules in this matter. If left to their own judgment, every
people, or those with authority, will make some things lawful and others unlawful, accord-
ing to their caprices and own interests. In addition, eating and drinking have an important surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 300
place in one’s personal, social, and spiritual life.
120. Abstain from sinning, whether done in public or secret (and the intentions
and attitudes that accompany either). Indeed, those who record sins to their ac-
count will be recompensed for what they have earned.
121. And do not eat of that which is slaughtered in the name of other than
God and over which God’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of its
slaughtering), for that is indeed a transgression. And the satans do whisper and
make suggestions to their confidants to contend with you. If you obey them, you
are indeed those who associate partners with God. 26
26. As in the part of verse 112 above, we have set against every Prophet a hostile opposition
from among the satans of humankind and jinn, whispering and suggesting to one another
specious words, by way of delusion, in this verse, too, the Qur’ān refers to satans and their
whisperings and suggestions to their confidants. This reference is especially significant on
two points, and contains an important warning to the believers of every age.
There has always been, and will always be, a group composed of satans of the jinn and some
people who are opposed to Islam and its message being conveyed; these people are open to
the suggestions of the satans, and they have been like satan in their opposition to Islam and
in the evils that they have committed. The struggle on the earth is between humankind and
satan, and some people are deluded by satan and his agents, unfortunately becoming like
satan in their enmity toward God and His religion.
This group frequently holds meetings in secret places (also see: 2: 14) and decides on new
methods and ways to struggle against Islam and Muslims, and suggests them to the men
they employ in this struggle. what Muslims must do is to know such people well, be on
the alert against their tricks and intrigues, and never obey them. such people will always
try to make Muslims fall back and turn away from Islam, and those who make “idols” out
of their carnal desires, personal interests, fondness for posts and fame, ostentation, some
systems or ideologies, and certain other people, will follow and obey them. Their doing so
means associating partners with God.
122. Is he who was dead (in spirit), and we raised him to life, and set for him a
light by which he moves (without any deviancy) among people, is he like the one
who is as one lost in depths of darkness, from which he cannot get out? (But)
thus it is: to the unbelievers are the things they have been doing decked out as
appealing.
123. And in that way have we set up in every township as leaders its most promi-
nent criminals so that they scheme (against the believers). But they scheme only
against their own selves – and they do not perceive it.
124. when a revelation is conveyed to them, they say: “we will not believe
unless we are given the like of what God’s Messengers were given.” God knows surah 6 301 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
best upon whom to place His Message. soon will an abasement from God’s
Presence befall these criminals, and a severe punishment for their scheming.
125. Thus, whomever God wills to guide, He expands his breast to Islam, and
whomever He wills to lead astray, He causes his breast to become tight and con-
stricted, as if he were climbing towards the heaven. 27 Thus, God lays ignominy
upon those who do not believe (despite many signs and evidences).
27. It is possible to see here a Qur’ānic miracle concerning scientific developments. As we
now know, as we ascend a mountain, or go up in the air, the amount of oxygen diminishes,
the air pressure decreases, and breathing becomes impossible without special equipment.
The Qur’ān describes the state of one who feels depressed in the face of Islam and insists
on not believing in it, despite many signs and all the evidence that they see, in the terms of
a physical fact, thus alluding to a scientific fact which would be discovered centuries later.
126. And this (the way of Islam) is the straight Path of your Lord. we have
assuredly set out in detail the signs (of the right and wrong ways) for a people
who reflect and are mindful.
127. For them is the Abode of Peace with their Lord (where they will enjoy
perfect bliss, peace, and safety), and He is their Guardian because of what they
have been doing.
128. on the day when He will raise to life and gather them (jinn and human-
kind, believers and unbelievers) all together, (He says): “o you assembly of the
jinn! You have seduced a good many of humankind (and included them in your
company).” Their closest fellows from among humankind will (confess and) say:
“our Lord! we enjoyed one another (in self-interested fellowship, serving one
another’s selfish ends), and now we have reached the end of our term that You
appointed for us.” He (God) will say: “The Fire is now your dwelling to abide
therein – God decrees however He wills.” Indeed your Lord is All-wise, All-
Knowing (whose every decree and act is based on absolute wisdom and knowl-
edge).
129. In this manner, we cause the wrongdoers to befriend and help one another
(with seduction and sinning) because of what they are engaged in earning.
130. “o assembly of the jinn and humankind! did there never come to you
Messengers from among yourselves, relating to you My signs and revelations,
and warning you of encountering this day of yours?” They say: “we bear witness
against ourselves.” The life of the world had deluded them, and (just as their
speeches and actions in the world testified to their unbelief, so) they have borne
witness against themselves that they were unbelievers.surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 302
131. Clearly it is not the way of your Lord that He would destroy lands unjustly
without their people being warned (beforehand of the consequence of their way
of life) and, therefore, unmindful (of the distinctions between right and wrong,
truth and falsehood).
132. For everyone, there are (different) ranks according to what they have done
(of right and wrong). Your Lord is not unmindful of what they do. 28
28. For everyone there are (different) ranks according to what they have done (of right and
wrong), means that people are not of the same rank. People differ in rank from one another
according to whether they are believers, unbelievers, hypocrites, believers but sinful, or
unbelievers who are actively fighting against belief and truth, etc. This also means that not
everybody will have the same reward for the same actions. The reward for an action differs
according to how it is done, the intention of doing it, the degree of sincerity in doing it,
the time when and the conditions where it is done, the care shown in doing it, and similar
other factors.
133. Your Lord, having boundless, all-encompassing mercy, is absolutely self-
sufficient (with no need of any kind, including His servants’ belief and worship).
If He so wills, He can put you away and cause whom He wills to succeed you,
just as He produced you from the seed of another people.
134. what you have been promised (and warned of, concerning your future
and the Hereafter), is indeed bound to happen, and you have no power at all to
frustrate it.
135. say: “o my people! do all that lies within your power, indeed I (too) am at
work (doing my task). so, in time, you will come to know to whom the ultimate
abode of happiness will belong. Indeed the wrongdoers do not prosper and at-
tain their goals.
136. They assign to God, of the produce and cattle that He has created, a por-
tion, and they say: “This is God’s” – so they assert – “and this (the rest) is for our
associate-deities.” Then (acting in what they deem to their own interest), what is
assigned for their “associate-deities” does not reach God, while what is assigned
for God reaches their “associate-deities.” How evil is what they ordain as laws
(and how badly they enforce them)!
137. And, in the way they follow, their associate-deities (their association of
partners with God, or their idol-worshipping, and the satans of jinn and hu-
mankind which they obey) deck out the killing of their children as appealing
to many among those who associate partners with God, so as to bring them to
ruin and confound them in their religion. If God had so willed (if He had not
decreed freedom of will to humankind, thus compelling them to act in a particu-surah 6 303 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
lar way like other beings), they would not be doing all this. so, leave them alone
with what they have been fabricating.
138. (Putting some of the produce and cattle to one side,) they say: “These ani-
mals and crops are taboo; none can eat of them save those whom we will – so
they assert – and there are cattle whose backs they declare are forbidden (to bear
loads), and cattle over which they do not pronounce God’s Name. This (their
attributing these customs to God) is a lie against Him. He will soon recompense
them for all that they fabricate in attribution to God. 29
29. Just as the recompense or punishment mentioned can come in the Hereafter, it may
also come in this world. This can be understood from the fact that the verse uses a tense
that indicates the near future. Those who make false attributions to God, or fabrications,
may lose their dominion, positions, wealth, or even their lives, or they may be subject to
certain natural-seeming calamities, or their system may be replaced by a new one. Muslims
have been suffering the same punishments for their neglect in practicing Islam and for not
paying due respect to it.
139. They also say (concerning certain other cattle they consecrate): “All that is
in the wombs of these cattle is (if they are born alive) exclusively for our males
and is unlawful for our wives. If it (the newborn) is born dead or dies soon after
birth, all of them (men and women) may share therein.” He will soon recom-
pense them for their attributing (these rules falsely to Him). surely, He is All-
wise (in whose every act and commandment are many instances of wisdom),
All-Knowing (whose every act is based on absolute knowledge). 30
30. For a sound state, based on law and which is truly accepted by its people, the principles
of wisdom, the laws of the government, the rules of right, and the directives of power
should all be in accord with and support one another. otherwise, no one thing could be
influential on the people by itself and it would not be possible to talk of a state of law that
is approved of by people nor of solidarity between them.
140. Assuredly those are lost who, in folly and without knowledge, kill their
children (either in the wombs of their mothers or after birth), and make unlaw-
ful (the lawful and pure, wholesome things) that God has provided them as
sustenance, falsely attributing that to God. Assuredly, they have gone astray, and
have never been able to find the right way.
141. (ever providing you with lawful, pure and wholesome food), He it is who
produces gardens (and vineyards, and orchards) trellised and untrellised, and
date-palms, and crops varying in taste, and olives, and pomegranates, resembling
one another and yet so different. eat of their fruits when they come to fruition,
and give (to the poor and the needy) the due thereof on harvest day. And do not
be wasteful (by over-eating or other unnecessary consumption, or by giving to surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 304
others so much as to leave in need those whose maintenance is your responsibil-
ity); indeed He does not love the wasteful.
142. And of the cattle (He has created) some for carrying loads, and some for
the sake of their flesh, and skins and fur. Consume from what God has provided
for you as sustenance, and do not follow in the footsteps of satan (by laying
down rules other than those of God, and adopting ways other than God’s);
surely he is a manifest enemy to you.
143. eight in pairs of cattle: two of sheep, two of goats. say (to them, o Mes-
senger): “Is it the two males that God has made unlawful or the two females, or
what the wombs of the two females may contain? Inform me about this with
sound, authoritative knowledge, if you are truthful (in your claim that God has
made them unlawful).”
144. And, likewise, of camels there are two, and of oxen there are two. say: “Is
it the two males that God has made unlawful or the two females, or what the
wombs of the two females may contain? or were you present there to witness
when God laid down this (the commandment you attribute to Him) for you?”
who is more in wrong than he who fabricates falsehood in attribution to God,
and thus leads people astray without sound, authoritative knowledge? Indeed,
God does not guide wrongdoing people (to the truth and the attainment of
their goals).
145. say (o Messenger): “I do not find in what has been revealed to me anything
made unlawful to one who would eat except it be carrion or blood outpoured
(not that which is left in the veins of such organs as the liver and spleen), or the
flesh of swine, which is loathsome and unclean, or that which is profane, having
been slaughtered in the name of other than God (or without pronouncing God’s
Name over it). 31 Yet whoever is constrained by dire necessity (to eat thereof),
provided he does not covet nor exceed (the bounds of the necessity): (no sin
shall be on him). Your Lord is indeed All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
31. when this verse is considered alongside those of 2: 173, 5: 3, and 16: 115, it will be seen
that they elucidate each other, and there are no differences between them in declaring the
things that are unlawful to eat. For example, the flesh of the animals that is mentioned in 5:
3, along with the ways of dying or being killed that are forbidden, is included in carrion.
The animals or kinds of meat that are forbidden are not only these. The forbidden things
mentioned in these two verses pertain only to domestic animals – sheep and cattle. Based
on the revelation, God’s Messenger informed us of the other animals that we are forbid-
den to eat. They can be found in the relevant books of Islamic law. Also see 22: 30, note 9.
146. And for those who are Jews, we have made unlawful all beasts with claws, surah 6 305 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
and of oxen and sheep we have made unlawful for them their fat, save that
which is in their backs or entrails, or that which is mixed with the bone. Thus
did we recompense them for their continuous rebellion. 32 And we are indeed
true (in all our decrees and deeds).
32. The Qur’an is a miracle of eloquence throughout. seeing that this verse begins with the
phrase, “to those who are (had become) Jews,” it can be understood that the commandment
mentioned was in the nature of a recompense. For the Jews mentioned deviated from their
way and made several things unlawful for themselves, and as a punishment, God allowed
these to remain unlawful. (see also 4: 160; 3: 93). These include birds with claws, such
as the ostrich, seagull and water-hen, and also the fat of oxen and sheep. Prohibitions of
these kinds have been interpolated among the injunctions of the Torah (see Leviticus , 3:
17, 22–3; 11: 16–18; deuteronomy , 14: 14–16). This point can be considered as being the
same as that which was explained in note 26 above.
147. Then, if they still deny you (o Messenger), say to them: “Your Lord (who
creates, nourishes, and provides you,) has an all-embracing mercy (and so does
not immediately punish you for your acts of insolence, but gives you respite
so that you may repent and ask Him for forgiveness). However, (if you do not
mend your ways, know that) His punishment cannot be averted from disbeliev-
ing criminals.
148. Those who persist in associating partners with God will say: “Had God
willed, neither we nor our forefathers would have associated partners with Him,
nor would we have declared anything (which God has made lawful) unlawful.”
even so did those who lived before them deny (their Prophets with similar false
excuses) until they tasted our mighty punishment. say (to them): “do you have
any sound, authoritative knowledge (to support your claim)? (If you have) then
bring it out for us! In fact, you follow only conjecture, and you yourselves are
only making false surmises (you pronounce judgments and act only according to
your fancies, interests and personal value judgments).”
149. say: “(As against what you argue) God’s is the final, conclusive argument.
And had He so willed (and compelled you act in a certain way, rather than let-
ting you associate partners with Him and make unlawful what He has made
lawful) He would have guided you all together to the truth. 33
33. God presents signs and evidence of the truth so clearly that human reason and con-
science cannot help but confess the truth of the essentials of faith, in particular that of
God’s existence and unity, but He never compels people to believe. He leaves the choice
to believe or not to believe up to human free will.
150. say: “Bring forward your witnesses who could testify that God has made
unlawful (what you claim to be forbidden.)” Then, if they bear witness (falsely), surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 306
do not bear witness with them, and do not follow the lusts and fancies of those
who deny our signs and revelations, who do not believe in the Hereafter, and
who (as the main source of their unbelief in other essentials of faith) ascribe
equals to their Lord. 34
34. each essential of faith demands the existence of the others. one who believes in God
should believe in Messengership, for divine Lordship requires Messengership to make
Itself known and to convey Its demands to conscious beings. Messengership cannot be
conceived of without Books, which cannot be thought of without the mediation of angels.
The divine Names, such as the All-Compassionate, the Lord (one who creates, sustains,
and brings up), the All-Just, the All-Munificent, the All-Generous, the All-Gracious, the
All-Beautiful, and the All-recording and Preserving require the Hereafter. For absolute
beauty and perfection are loved. The one who creates all-beautifully, and who does best
whatever He does, makes Himself known and loved more perfectly in the eternal world,
not in this fleeting world where His beauties are manifested behind many veils. This per-
fect Tree of Creation, which has been created in order to yield humanity as its final fruit,
cannot be confined to this transient life, for otherwise many things in it would be in vain
and a waste, whereas God is absolutely free from doing anything in vain. we see that in the
world full justice cannot be established in many cases – oppressors die without suffering
the necessary punishment, with many oppressed people leaving the world without having
their rights restored. Yet God is absolutely Just, and this requires absolute justice which, in
turn, demands another world where it will be realized. The seeds of plants and trees are a
way for us to see that everything is recorded, as within them is encapsulated the whole life-
history of the plants and trees; human memory also shows us that everything is recorded.
Human beings have not been sent to this world without purpose, and they have not been
left to their own devices. The faculties with which they have been equipped, such as reason,
spirit, willpower, and the senses and feelings, demonstrate that humanity has an important
duty in life. This is why all the deeds and sayings of humanity are recorded along with the
intentions and the degree of sincerity in performing the action and in saying it; the conse-
quences of these will become apparent in another, eternal world. Like all these, the perfect
order and magnificent accord in the universe display an all-encompassing knowledge and
a perfect plan made by that knowledge. every thing or being is clothed with a body par-
ticular to itself, which is appropriate to its duties or functions in life. In addition, almost
every human being has a dream of some future events. All these show that there is a divine
determination, which we call destiny. To conclude, belief in God requires other essentials
of faith, and these require one another.
151. say: “Come, let me recite what your Lord has made unlawful for you: that
you associate nothing with Him; and (do not offend against but, rather) treat
your parents in the best way possible; and that you do not kill your children for
fear of poverty – it is we who provide for you as well as for them; and that you
do not draw near to any shameful thing (like adultery, fornication, and homo-
sexuality), whether committed openly or secretly; and that you do not kill any
soul, which God has made sacred and forbidden, except in just cause. All this
He has enjoined upon you, that you may use your reason (and so believe, know
right from wrong, and follow His way).surah 6 307 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
152. “And do not draw near to the property of the orphan except in the best way
(such as to improve and increase it) until he comes of age. weigh and balance
with full measure and equity.” we do not burden any soul beyond its capacity.
“And when you speak, be just, even though it be against one near of kin; and
fulfill God’s covenant (and the covenants you make with one another in God’s
Name). All this He has enjoined upon you, that you may reflect and be mind-
ful.
153. “This is my straight path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths, lest
they scatter you from His Path. This He has enjoined upon you, that you keep
from disobedience to Him in reverence for Him and piety to deserve His pro-
tection.”
154. And once again: we gave Moses the Book, completing our favor upon
those devoted to doing good in the awareness that God sees them, and detail-
ing everything (concerning truth and falsehood, and right and wrong), and as
a guidance and mercy, that they may have ever-deepening faith in the (final)
meeting with their Lord.
155. And likewise, this (Qur’ān) is a Book we have sent down, blessed and
giving blessing; so follow it, and keep from disobedience to it, that you may be
shown mercy (to be granted a virtuous life in this world and eternal happiness
in the Hereafter).
156. (we have sent it down) lest you should say (as an excuse), “The Book was
sent down only on the two groups of people before us and, indeed, we were un-
aware of what they were taught by it.”
157. or lest you should say, “Had the Book been sent down on us, we would
surely have been more rightly guided than they are.” Now there has come to you
a manifest proof from your Lord, and a guidance, and a mercy. 35 who, then, is
greater in doing wrong than he who denies God’s revelations and turns away
from them? we will recompense those who turn away from our revelations
with an evil punishment for turning away.
35. It is very interesting that in verse 154 above, God mentions the Book sent to Moses,
upon him be peace, as a Book given as a guidance and a mercy. That is, that Book func-
tioned as a guidance and mercy, and being a guidance and mercy was an attribute of it. But
He mentions the Qur’ān as the Book which itself is a guidance and mercy. That is, guid-
ance and mercy are not merely attributes of the Qur’ān; rather, the Qur’ān is guidance, in
and of itself, and it is a mercy, in and of itself.
158. do they wait only for the angels to come to them (to take their souls or
bring them a disaster), or for your Lord to judge them (and bring forth Hell for surah 6 Al-An’am (The Cattle) 308
them), or for some clear signs of your Lord to appear (such as rocks pouring
down on them, which they want you to show them, or signs signaling the final
destruction of the world)? when some clears signs of your Lord appear, believ-
ing will be of no avail to anyone who did not believe before, or who has earned
no good through his belief. say (to them, o Messenger): “wait on; we, too, are
waiting!”
159. Those who have made divisions in their religion (whereas they must ac-
cept it in its totality), and have been divided into different parties – you have
nothing to do with them. Their case rests with God, and then He will make
them understand what they were doing.
160. whoever comes to God with a good deed will have ten times as much, and
whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed with only the like of it;
and they will not be wronged.
161. say: “surely my Lord has guided me to a straight Path, being an upright
religion leading to prosperity (in both worlds), the way of Abraham based on
pure faith (free from unbelief, associating partners with God and hypocrisy). He
was never of those associating partners with God.”
162. say: “My Prayer, and all my (other) acts and forms of devotion and worship,
and my living and my dying are for God alone, the Lord of the worlds.
163. “He has no partners; thus have I been commanded, and I am the first and
foremost of the Muslims (who have submitted to Him exclusively).”
164. say: “Am I, then, to seek after someone other than God as Lord when He
is the Lord of everything?” every soul earns only to its own account; and no soul,
as bearer of burden, bears and is made to bear the burden of another. Then, to
your Lord is the return of all of you, and He will then make you understand (the
truth) concerning all that on which you have differed.
165. He it is who has appointed you vicegerents over the earth (to improve it
and rule over it according to God’s commandments), and has exalted some of
you over others in degrees (of intelligence, capacity, and then wealth and sta-
tus): thus, He tries you in what He has granted you. (Always remember that)
your Lord is the most swift in retribution (when it is due), and assuredly, He is
the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate (especially toward those who turn to
Him in repentance as His believing servants). 36
36. working around God’s oneness and other essentials of faith from the beginning to
the end, the sūrah ends with the threat that God is most swift in delivering punishments
and with the glad tidings that God is the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate (especially surah 6 309 Al-An’am (The Cattle)
towards those who turn to Him in repentance and to His believing servants). However, the
glad tidings come last, and His being the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate is stressed
and confirmed. This is because God’s Mercy is greater than His punishment and God has
bound Himself to mercy and treating His creatures with mercy; it is also intended to en-
courage His servants to repent and take refuge in His Forgiveness and Mercy.

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