Home Quran English Translation 6. (Al-An’am) The Cattle)

6. (Al-An’am) The Cattle)

by I Need Allah

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In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

1. Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and made the darkness and the light. Yet those who disbelieve ascribe equals to their Lord.
2. It is He who created you from clay, then de- cided a term—a term determined by him. Yet you doubt.
 

3. He is Allah in the heavens and the earth. He knows what you keep secret and what you make public; and He knows what you earn.

4. Not one of their Lord’s signs comes to them, but they turn away from it.

5. They denied the truth when it has come to them; but soon will reach them the news of what they used to ridicule.

6. Have they not considered how many gener- ations We destroyed before them? We had established them on earth more firmly than We established you, and We sent the clouds pouring down abundant rain on them, and We made rivers flow beneath them. But We destroyed them for their sins, and established other civilizations after them.

7. Had We sent down upon you a book on pa- per, and they had touched it with their hands, those who disbelieve would have said, “This is nothing but plain magic.”

8. And they say, “Why was an angel not sent down to him.” Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been settled, and they would not have been reprieved.

9. Had We made him an angel, We would have made him a man, and confused them when they are already confused.

10. Messengers before you were ridiculed, but those who mocked them became besieged by what they ridiculed.

11. Say, “Travel the earth and observe the final fate of the deniers.”

12. Say, “To whom belongs what is in the heav- ens and the earth?” Say, “To Allah.” He has inscribed for Himself mercy. He will gather you to the Day of Resurrection, in which there is no doubt. Those who lost their souls do not believe.

13. To Him belongs whatever rests in the night and the day. He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

14. Say, “Shall I take for myself a protector other than Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, and He feeds and is not fed?” Say, “I am instructed to be the first of those

who submit.” And do not be among the idol- aters.
15. Say, “I fear, should I defy my Lord, the pun- ishment of a tremendous Day.”
16. Whoever is spared on that Day—He had mercy on him. That is the clear victory.
17. If Allah touches you with adversity, none can remove it except He. And if He touches you with good—He is Capable of everything.
18. He is the Supreme over His servants. He is the Wise, the Expert.
19. Say, “What thing is more solemn in testi- mony?” Say, “Allah is Witness between you and me. This Quran was revealed to me, that I may warn you with it, and whomever it may reach. Do you indeed testify that there are other gods with Allah?” Say, “I myself do not testify.” Say, “He is but One God, and I am innocent of your idolatry.”
20. Those to whom We have given the Book recognize it as they recognize their own chil- dren; but those who have lost their souls do not believe.
21. Who does greater wrong than someone who fabricates lies against Allah, or denies His revelations? The wrongdoers will not succeed.
22. On the Day when We gather them all to- gether, then say to the idolaters, “Where are your idols, those you used to claim?”
23. Then their only argument will be to say, “By Allah, our Lord, we were not idolaters.”
24. Look how they lied to themselves. And what they invented deserted them.
25. Among them are those who listen to you; but We place covers over their hearts, to pre- vent them from understanding it, and heavi- ness in their ears. Even if they see every sign, they will not believe in it. Until, when they come to you, to argue with you, those who disbelieve will say, “These are nothing but myths of the ancients.”
26. They keep others from it, and avoid it themselves; but they ruin only their own souls, and they do not realize.

27. If only you could see, when they are made to stand before the Fire; they will say, “If only we could be sent back, and not reject the rev- elations of our Lord, and be among the faith- ful.”

28. What they used to conceal before will be- come clear to them. And even if they were sent back, they would revert to what they were forbidden. They are liars.

29. And they say, “There is nothing but our life in this world, and we will not be resurrected.”

30. If only you could see, when they are sta- tioned before their Lord. He will say, “Is this not real?” They will say, “Yes indeed, by our Lord.” He will say, “Then taste the torment for having disbelieved.”

31. Losers are those who deny the encounter with Allah. Then, when the Hour comes upon them suddenly, they will say, “Alas for us, how we have neglected it.” And they will carry their burdens on their backs—evil is what they carry.

32. The life of this world is nothing but game and distraction, but the Home of the Hereaf- ter is better for those who are righteous. Do you not understand?

33. We know that what they say grieves you. It is not you they reject, but it is Allah’s revela- tions that the wicked deny.

34. Other messengers before you were re- jected, but they endured rejection and perse- cution until Our help came to them. There can be no change to Allah’s words. News of the Messengers has already reached you.

35. If you find their rejection hard to bear, then if you can, seek a tunnel into the earth, or a stairway into the heaven, and bring them a sign. Had Allah willed, He could have gath- ered them to guidance. So do not be of the ig- norant.

36. Only those who listen will respond. As for the dead, Allah will resurrect them; then to Him they will be returned.

37. And they say, “If only a sign could come down to him from his Lord.” Say, “Allah is

Able to send down a sign, but most of them do not know.”
38. There is no animal on land, nor a bird fly- ing with its wings, but are communities like you. We neglected nothing in the Scripture. Then to their Lord they will be gathered.
39. Those who reject Our revelations are deaf and dumb, in total darkness. Whomever Al- lah wills, He leaves astray; and whomever He wills, He sets on a straight path.
40. Say, “Have you considered? if Allah’s pun- ishment came upon you, or the Hour over- took you, would you call upon any other than Allah, if you are sincere?”
41. In fact, it is Him you will call upon; and if He wills, he will remove what you called Him for, and you will forget what you idolized.
42. We sent messengers to communities be- fore you, and We afflicted them with suffer- ing and hardship, that they may humble themselves.
43. If only, when Our calamity came upon them, they humbled themselves. But their hearts hardened, and Satan made their deeds appear good to them.
44. Then, when they disregarded what they were reminded of, We opened for them the gates of all things. Until, when they delighted in what they were given, We seized them sud- denly; and at once, they were in despair.
45. Thus the last remnant of the people who did wrong was cut off. And praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
46. Say, “Have you considered? If Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and set a seal on your hearts, what god other than Al- lah would restore them to you?” Note how We explain the revelations in various ways, yet they still turn away.
47. Say, “Have you considered? if Allah’s pun- ishment descended on you suddenly or grad- ually, would any be destroyed except the wrongdoing people?”
48. We sent the messengers only as bearers of good news and as warners. Those who believe and reform have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.

49. But as for those who reject Our revelations, torment will afflict them because of their de- fiance.

50. Say, “I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of Allah, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is inspired to me.” Say, “Are the blind and the seeing alike? Do you not think?”

51. And warn with it those who fear to be gath- ered before their Lord—they have no protec- tor or intercessor apart from him—perhaps they will grow in piety.

52. And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His attention. You are not accountable for them in any way, nor are they accountable for you in any way. If you drive them away, you would be one of the unjust.

53. Thus We try some of them by means of others, that they may say, “Are these the ones whom Allah has favored from among us?” Is Allah not aware of the appreciative?

54. When those who believe in Our revelations come to you, say, “Peace be upon you, your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself. Whoever among you does wrong out of igno- rance, and then repents afterwards and re- forms—He is Forgiving and Merciful.”

55. Thus We explain the revelations, and ex- pose the path of the unrighteous.

56. Say, “I am forbidden from worshiping those you pray to besides Allah.” Say, “I will not follow your desires; else I would be lost and not be of those guided.”

57. Say, “I stand on clear evidence from my Lord, and you have rejected Him. I do not possess what you seek me to hasten; the deci- sion belongs solely to Allah. He states the truth, and He is the Best of Judges.”

58. Say, “If I possessed what you seek me to hasten, the matter between you and me

would have been settled. Allah is well aware of the unjust.”
59. With Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except He. And He knows eve- rything on land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it; and there is not a single grain in the darkness of earth, nor is there an- ything wet or dry, but is in a clear record.
60. It is He Who takes you by night, and He knows what you earn by day. Then He raises you up in it, until a fixed term is fulfilled. Then to Him is your return, then He will in- form you of what you used to do.
61. He is the Conqueror over His servants, and He sends guardians over you, until, when death overtakes one of you, Our envoys take him away, and they never fail.
62. Then they are brought back to Allah, their True Master. Unquestionably, His is the judgment, and He is the Swiftest of reckon- ers.
63. Say, “Who delivers you from the darkness of land and sea?” You call upon Him humbly and inwardly: “If He delivers us from this, We will surely be among the thankful.”
64. Say, “It is Allah who delivers you from it, and from every disaster. Yet then you associ- ate others with Him.”
65. Say, “He is Able to send upon you an afflic- tion, from above you, or from under your feet. Or He can divide you into factions, and make you taste the violence of one another. Note how We explain the revelations, so that they may understand.”
66. But your people rejected it, though it is the truth. Say, “I am not responsible for you.”
67. For every happening is a finality, and you will surely know.
68. When you encounter those who gossip about Our revelations, turn away from them, until they engage in another topic. But should Satan make you forget, do not sit after the recollection with the wicked people.

69. The righteous are in no way accountable for them; it is only a reminder, that they may be careful.

70. So leave alone those who take their religion for play and pastime, and whom the worldly life has deceived. But remind with it, lest a soul becomes damned on account of what it has earned. It has no helper or intercessor be- sides Allah. Even if it offers every equivalent, none will be accepted from it. These are the ones who are delivered to perdition by their actions. They will have a drink of scalding water, and a painful punishment, because they used to disbelieve.

71. Say, “Shall we invoke besides Allah some- thing that can neither benefit us nor harm us, and turn back on our heels after Allah has guided us; like someone seduced by the devils and confused on earth, who has friends call- ing him to guidance: ‘Come to us’?” Say, “The guidance of Allah is the guidance, and we are commanded to surrender to the Lord of the Universe.”

72. “And to perform the prayers, and to revere Him; it is to Him that you will be gathered.”

73. It is He who created the heavens and the earth in truth. On the Day when He says: “Be,” it will be. His saying is the truth, and His is the sovereignty on the Day when the trumpet is blown. The Knower of secrets and declarations. He is the Wise, the Expert.

74. Abraham said to his father Azar, “Do you take idols for gods? I see that you and your people are in evident error.”

75. Thus We showed Abraham the empire of the heavens and the earth, that he might be one of those with certainty.

76. When the night fell over him, he saw a planet. He said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “I do not love those that set.”

77. Then, when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “If my Lord does not guide me, I will be one of the erring people.”

78. Then, when he saw the sun rising, he said, “This is my lord, this is bigger.” But when it

set, he said, “O my people, I am innocent of your idolatry.
79. I have directed my attention towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth—a monotheist—and I am not of the idolaters.”
80. And his people argued with him. He said, “Do you argue with me about Allah, when He has guided me? I do not fear what you asso- ciate with Him, unless my Lord wills it. My Lord comprehends all things in knowledge. Will you not reconsider?
81. And why should I fear those you associate with Him, and you do not fear associating others with Allah for which He sent down to you no authority? Which side is more enti- tled to security, if you are aware?”
82. Those who believe, and do not obscure their faith with wrongdoing—those will have security, and they are guided.
83. That was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We elevate by degrees whomever We will. Your Lord is Wise and Informed.
84. And We gave him Isaac and Jacob—each of them We guided. And We guided Noah previously; and from his descendants David, and Solomon, and Job, and Joseph, and Mo- ses, and Aaron. Thus We reward the right- eous.
85. And Zechariah, and John, and Jesus, and Elias—every one of them was of the upright.
86. And Ishmael, and Elijah, and Jonah, and Lot—We favored each one of them over all other people.
87. And of their ancestors, and their descend- ants, and their siblings—We chose them, and guided them to a straight path.
88. Such is Allah’s guidance. He guides with it whomever He wills of His servants. Had they associated, their deeds would have gone in vain.
89. Those are they to whom We gave the Book, and wisdom, and prophethood. If these reject them, We have entrusted them to others who do not reject them.

90. Those are they whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance. Say, “I ask of you no compensation for it; it is just a reminder for all mankind.”

91. They do not value Allah as He should be valued, when they say, “Allah did not reveal anything to any human being.” Say, “Who re- vealed the Scripture which Moses brought— a light and guidance for humanity?” You put it on scrolls, displaying them, yet concealing much. And you were taught what you did not know—neither you, nor your ancestors. Say, “Allah;” then leave them toying away in their speculation.

92. This too is a Scripture that We revealed— blessed—verifying what preceded it, that you may warn the Mother of Cities and all around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and are dedicated to their prayers.

93. Who does greater wrong than someone who invents falsehood against Allah, or says, “It was revealed to me,” when nothing was re- vealed to him, or says, “I will reveal the like of what Allah revealed”? If only you could see the wrongdoers in the floods of death, as the angels with arms outstretched: “Give up your souls. Today you are being repaid with the torment of shame for having said about Allah other than the truth, and for being too proud to accept His revelations.”

94. “You have come to Us individually, just as We created you the first time, leaving behind you everything We gave you. We do not see with you your intercessors—those you claimed were your partners. The link be- tween you is cut, and what you had asserted has failed you.”

95. It is Allah Who splits the grain and the seed. He brings the living from the dead, and He brings the dead from the living. Such is Allah. So how could you deviate?

96. It is He Who breaks the dawn. And He made the night for rest, and the sun and the moon for calculation. Such is the disposition of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.

97. And it is He Who created the stars for you, that you may be guided by them in the dark- ness of land and sea. We thus explain the rev- elations for people who know.
98. And it is He who produced you from a sin- gle person, then a repository, then a deposi- tory. We have detailed the revelations for people who understand.
99. And it is He who sends down water from the sky. With it We produce vegetation of all kinds, from which We bring greenery, from which We produce grains in clusters. And palm-trees with hanging clusters, and vine- yards, and olives, and pomegranates—similar and dissimilar. Watch their fruits as they grow and ripen. Surely in this are signs for people who believe.
100. Yet they attributed to Allah partners—the sprites—although He created them. And they invented for Him sons and daughters, with- out any knowledge. Glory be to Him. He is exalted, beyond what they describe.
101. Originator of the heavens and the earth— how can He have a son when He never had a companion? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things.
102. Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no god except He, the Creator of all things; so wor- ship Him. He is responsible for everything.
103. No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Subtle, the Expert.
104. “Insights have come to you from your Lord. Whoever sees, it is to the benefit of his soul; and whoever remains blind, it is to its detriment. I am not a guardian over you.”
105. We thus diversify the revelations, lest they say, “You have studied,” and to clarify them for people who know.
106. Follow what was revealed to you from your Lord. There is no god but He. And turn away from the polytheists.
107. Had Allah willed, they would not have practiced idolatry. We did not appoint you as a guardian over them, and you are not a man- ager over them.

108. Do not insult those they call upon besides Allah, lest they insult Allah out of hostility and ignorance. We made attractive to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them of what they used to do.

109. They swear by Allah, with their most sol- emn oaths, that if a miracle were to come to them, they would believe in it. Say, “The mir- acles are only with Allah.” But how do you know? Even if it did come, they still would not believe.

110. And We turn away their hearts and their visions, as they refused to believe in it the first time, and We leave them blundering in their rebellion.

111. Even if We sent down the angels to them, and the dead spoke to them, and We gathered all things before them, they still would not believe, unless Allah wills; but most of them are ignorant.

112. Likewise, We have assigned for every prophet an enemy—human and jinn devils— inspiring one another with fancy words in or- der to deceive. But had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. So leave them to their fabrications.

113. So that the hearts of those who do not be- lieve in the Hereafter may incline to it, and be content with it, and that they may perpetrate whatever they perpetrate.

114. “Shall I seek a judge other than Allah, when He is the One who revealed to you the Book, explained in detail?” Those to whom We gave the Book know that it is the truth re- vealed from your Lord. So do not be of those who doubt.

115. The Word of your Lord has been com- pleted, in truth and justice. There is no changing to His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower.

116. If you were to obey most of those on earth, they would divert you from Allah’s path. They follow nothing but assumptions, and they only conjecture.

117. Your Lord knows best who strays from His path, and He knows best the guided ones.
118. So eat of that over which the Name of Al- lah was pronounced, if you indeed believe in His revelations.
119. And why should you not eat of that over which the Name of Allah is pronounced, when He has detailed for you what is prohib- ited for you, unless you are compelled by ne- cessity? Many lead astray with their opinions, through lack of knowledge. Your Lord knows best the transgressors.
120. So abandon sin, outward and inward. Those who commit sins will be repaid for what they used to perpetrate.
121. And do not eat from that over which the Name of Allah was not pronounced, for it is abomination. The devils inspire their follow- ers to argue with you; but if you obey them, you would be polytheists.
122. Is he who was dead, then We gave him life, and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like he who is in total darkness, and cannot get out of it? Thus the doings of disbelievers are made to appear good to them.
123. And thus We set up in every city its lead- ing wicked sinners, to conspire in it, but they conspire only against themselves, and they do not realize it.
124. When a sign comes to them, they say, “We will not believe unless we are given the like of what was given to Allah’s messengers.” Allah knows best where to place His message. Hu- miliation from Allah and severe torment will afflict the criminals for their scheming.
125. Whomever Allah desires to guide, He spreads open his heart to Islam; and whom- ever He desires to misguide, He makes his heart narrow, constricted, as though he were climbing up the sky. Allah thus lays defile- ment upon those who do not believe.
126. This is the straight path of your Lord. We have explained the revelations in detail for people who recollect.

127. For them is the Home of Peace with their Lord, and He is their Master—because of what they used to do.

128. On the Day when He gathers them all to- gether: “O assembly of jinn, you have ex- ploited multitudes of humans.” Their adher- ents among mankind will say, “Our Lord, we have profited from one another, but we have reached the term that you have assigned for us.” He will say, “The Fire is your dwelling, wherein you will remain, except as Allah wills. Your Lord is Wise and Informed.

129. Thus We make some of the wrongdoers befriend one another, because of what they used to do.

130. “O assembly of jinn and humans, did there not come to you messengers from among you, relating to you My revelations, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say, “We testify against ourselves.” The life of the world seduced them. They will testify against themselves that they were disbelievers.

131. That is because your Lord would not de- stroy towns for injustice while their inhabit- ants are unaware.

132. They all have ranks according to what they did; and your Lord is not unaware of what they do.

133. Your Lord is the Rich Beyond Need, the Possessor of Mercy. If He wills, He can do away with you, and substitute whomever He wills in your place, just as He produced you from the descendants of another people.

134. What you are promised is coming, and you cannot thwart it.

135. Say, “O my people! Work according to your ability, and so will I.” You will come to know to whom will belong the sequel of the abode.” The wrongdoers will not prevail.

136. And they set aside for Allah a share of the crops and the livestock He created, and they say, “This is for Allah,” according to their claim, “and this is for our idols.” But the share of their idols does not reach Allah, yet the

share of Allah reaches their idols. Evil is their judgment.
137. Likewise, their idols entice many idolaters to kill their children, in order to lead them to their ruin, and confuse them in their religion. Had Allah willed, they would not have done it; so leave them to their fraud.
138. And they say, “These animals and crops are restricted; none may eat them except those we permit,” by their claims, and ani- mals whose backs are forbidden, and animals over which they do not pronounce the name of Allah—fabricating lies against Him. He will repay them for what they used to invent.
139. And they say, “What lies in the wombs of these animals is exclusively for our males, and prohibited to our wives.” But if it is still- born, they can share in it. He will surely pun- ish them for their allegations. He is Wise and Knowing.
140. Lost are those who kill their children fool- ishly, with no basis in knowledge, and forbid what Allah has provided for them—innova- tions about Allah. They have gone astray. They are not guided.
141. It is He who produces gardens, both culti- vated and wild, and date-palms, and crops of diverse tastes, and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of its fruit when it yields, and give its due on the day of its har- vest, and do not waste. He does not love the wasteful.
142. Among the livestock are some for trans- portation, and some for clothing. Eat of what Allah has provided for you, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. He is to you an out- right enemy.
143. Eight pairs: two of the sheep, and two of the goats. Say, “Did He forbid the two males, or the two females, or what the wombs of the two females contain? Inform me with knowledge, if you are truthful.”
144. And two of the camels, and two of the cat- tle. Say, “Did He forbid the two males, or the two females, or what the wombs of the two females contain? Were you present when Al- lah enjoined this upon you?” Who does greater wrong than he who invents lies and attributes them to Allah, in order to mislead people without knowledge? Allah does not guide the wicked people.

145. Say, “In what was revealed to me, I find nothing forbidden to a consumer who eats it, except carrion, or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine—because it is impure—or a sinful offering dedicated to other than Allah. But if someone is compelled by necessity, without being deliberate or malicious—your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.

146. For the Jews We forbade everything with claws. As of cattle and sheep: We forbade them their fat, except what adheres to their backs, or the entrails, or what is mixed with bone. This is how We penalized them for their inequity. We are indeed truthful.

147. If they accuse you of lying, say, “Your Lord is Possessor of infinite mercy, but His wrath cannot be averted from the guilty people.”

148. The polytheists will say, “Had Allah willed, we would not have practiced idolatry, nor would have our forefathers, nor would we have prohibited anything.” Likewise those before them lied, until they tasted Our might. Say, “Do you have any knowledge that you can produce for us? You follow nothing but conjecture, and you only guess.”

149. Say, “To Allah belongs the conclusive ar- gument. Had He willed, He would have guided you all.”

150. Say, “Produce your witnesses who would testify that Allah has prohibited this.” If they testify, do not testify with them. And do not follow the whims of those who deny Our rev- elation, and those who do not believe in the Hereafter, and those who equate others with their Lord.

151. Say, “Come, let me tell you what your Lord has forbidden you: that you associate nothing with Him; that you honor your parents; that you do not kill your children because of pov- erty—We provide for you and for them; that you do not come near indecencies, whether

outward or inward; and that you do not kill the soul which Allah has sanctified—except in the course of justice. All this He has en- joined upon you, so that you may under- stand.”
152. And do not come near the property of the orphan, except with the best intentions, until he reaches maturity. And give full weight and full measure, equitably. We do not burden any soul beyond its capacity. And when you speak, be fair, even if it concerns a close rela- tive. And fulfill your covenant with Allah. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may take heed.
153. This is My path, straight, so follow it. And do not follow the other paths, lest they divert you from His path. All this He has enjoined upon you, that you may refrain from wrong- doing.
154. Then We gave Moses the Scripture, per- fect for the righteous, and explaining every- thing clearly, and a beacon, and mercy, that they may believe in the encounter with their Lord.
155. This too is a blessed Scripture that We re- vealed; so follow it, and be righteous, that you may receive mercy.
156. Lest you say, “The Scripture was revealed to two parties before us, and we were una- ware of their teachings.”
157. Or lest you say, “Had the Scripture been revealed to us, we would have been better guided than they.” Clarification has come to you from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy. Who then does greater wrong than he who gives the lie to Allah’s messages, and turns away from them? We will repay those who turn away from Our messages with the worst kind of punishment, because of their turning away.
158. Are they waiting for anything but for the angels to come to them, or for your Lord to arrive, or for some of your Lord’s signs to come? On the Day when some of your Lord’s signs come, no soul will benefit from its faith unless it had believed previously, or had earned goodness through its faith. Say, “Wait, we too are waiting.”
159. As for those who divided their religion and became sects—you have nothing to do with them. Their case rests with Allah; then He will inform them of what they used to do.
160. Whoever comes up with a good deed will have ten times its like; and whoever comes up with an evil deed will be repaid only with its equivalent—they will not be wronged.
161. Say, “My Lord has guided me to a straight path, an upright religion, the creed of Abra- ham the Monotheist, who was not a polythe- ist.”
162. Say, “My prayer and my worship, and my life and my death, are devoted to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
163. No associate has He. Thus I am com- manded, and I am the first of those who sub- mit.
164. Say, “Am I to seek a Lord other than Allah, when He is the Lord of all things?” No soul gets except what it is due, and no soul bears the burdens of another. Then to your Lord is your return, then He will inform you regard- ing your disputes.
165. It is He who made you successors on the earth, and raised some of you in ranks over others, in order to test you through what He has given you. Your Lord is Quick in retribu- tion, and He is Forgiving and Merciful.
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Name

This Surah takes its name from vv. 136, 138 and 139 in which some superstitious beliefs of the idolatrous Arabs concerning the lawfulness of some cattle (an\`am) and the unlawfulness of some others have been refuted.

Period of Revelation

According to a tradition of Ibn Abbas, the whole of the Surah was revealed at one sitting at Makkah. Asma, a daughter of Yazid and a first cousin of Hadrat Mu’az-bin Jabl, says, “During the revelation of this Surah, the Holy Prophet was riding on a she-camel and I was holding her nose-string. The she-camel began to feel the weight so heavily that it seemed as if her bones would break under it.” We also learn from other traditions that the Holy Prophet dictated the whole of the Surah the same night that it was revealed.

Its subject-matter clearly shows that it must have been revealed during the last year of the Holy Prophet’s life at Makkah. The tradition of Asma, daughter of Yazid, also confirms this. As she belonged to the Ansar and embraced Islam after the migration of the Holy Prophet to Yathrib, her visit to the Holy Prophet at Makkah must have taken place during the last year of his life there. For before this, his relations with those people were not so intimate that a woman from there might have come to visit him at Makkah.

Occasion of Revelation

After determining the period of its revelation, it is easier to visualize the background of the Surah. Twelve years had passed since the Holy Prophet had been inviting the people to Islam. The antagonism and persecution by the Quraish had become most savage and brutal, and the majority of the Muslims had to leave their homes and migrate to Habash (Abyssinia). Above all, the two great supporters of the Holy Prophet. Abu Talib and Hadrat Khadijah, were no more to help and give strength to him. Thus he was deprived of all the worldly support. But in spite of this, he carried on his mission in the teeth of opposition. As a result of this, on the one hand, all the good people of Makkah and the surrounding clans gradually began to accept Islam ; on the other hand, the community as a whole, was bent upon obduracy and rejection. Therefore, if anyone showed any inclination towards Islam, he was subjected to taunts and derision, physical violence and social boycott. It was in these dark circumstances that a ray of hope gleamed from Yathrib, where Islam began to spread freely by the efforts of some influential people of Aus and Khazraj, who had embraced Islam at Makkah. This was a humble beginning in the march of Islam towards success and none could foresee at that time the great potentialities that lay hidden in it. For, to a casual observer, it appeared at that time as if Islam was merely a weak movement it had no material backing except the meager support of the Prophet’s own family and of the few poor adherents of the Movement. Obviously the latter could not give much help because they themselves had been cast out by their own people who had become their enemies and were persecuting them.

Topics

These were the conditions, when this discourse was revealed. The main topics dealt with in this discourse may be divided under seven headings:

  1. Refutation of shirk and invitation to the creed of Tauhid.

  2. Enunciation of the doctrine of the “Life-after- death.” and refutation of the wrong notion that there was nothing beyond this worldly life.

  3. Refutation of the prevalent superstitions.

  4. Enunciation of the fundamental moral principles for the building up of the Islamic Society.

  5. Answers to the objections raised against the person of the Holy Prophet and his mission.

  6. Comfort and encouragement to the Holy Prophet and his followers who were at, that time in a state of anxiety and despondency because of the apparent failure of the mission.

  7. Admonition, warning and threats to the disbelievers and opponents to give up their apathy and haughtiness. It must, however, be noted that the above topics have not been dealt with one by one under separate headings, but the discourse goes on as a continuous whole and these topics come under discussion over and over again in new and different ways.

The Background of Makki Surahs

As this is the first long Makki Surah in the order of the compilation of the Quran, it will be useful to explain the historical background of Makki Surahs in general, so that the reader may easily understand the Makki Surahs and our references to its different stages in connection with our commentary on them.

First of all, it should be noted that comparatively very little material is available in regard to the background of the revelation of Makki Surahs whereas the period of the revelation of all the Madani Surahs is known or can be determined with a little effort. There are authentic traditions even in regard to the occasions of the revelation of the majority of the verses. On the other hand, we do not have such detailed information regarding the Makki Surahs. There are only a few Surahs and verses which have authentic traditions concerning the time and occasion of their revelation. This is because the history of the Makki period had not been compiled in such detail as that of the Madani period. Therefore we have to depend on the internal evidence of these Surahs for determining the period of their revelation: for example, the topics they discuss, their subject. matter, their style and the direct or indirect references to the events and the occasions of their revelation. Thus it is obvious that with the help of such evidence as this, we cannot say with precision that such and such Surah or verse was revealed on such and such an occasion. The most we can do is to compare the internal evidence of a Surah with the events of the life of the Holy Prophet at Makkah, and then come to a more or less correct conclusion as to what particular stage a certain Surah belongs.

If we keep the above things in view, the history of the mission of the Holy Prophet at Makkah can be divided into four stages.

The first stage began with his appointment as a Messenger and ended with the proclamation of Prophethood three years later. During this period the Message was given secretly to some selected persons only, but the common people of Makkah were not aware of it.

The second stage lasted for two years after the proclamation of his Prophethood. It began with opposition by individuals: then by and by, it took the shape of antagonism, ridicule, derision,, accusation, abuse, and false propaganda then gangs were formed to persecute those Muslims who were comparatively poor, weak’ and helpless.

The third stage lasted for about six years from the beginning of the persecution to the death of Abu Talib and Hadrat Khadijah in the tenth year of Prophethood. During this period, the persecution of the Muslims became’ so savage and brutal that many of them were forced to migrate to Habash. Social and economic boycott was applied against the Holy Prophet and the members of his family, and those Muslims who continued to stay in Makkah were forced to take refuge in Shi’b-i-A’bi Talib which was besieged.

The fourth stage lasted for about three years from the tenth to the thirteenth year of Prophethood. This was a period of hard trials and grievous sufferings for the Holy Prophet and his followers. Life had become unendurable at Makkah and there appeared to be no place of refuge even outside it. So much so that when the Holy Prophet went to Ta’if, it offered no shelter or protection. Besides this, on the occasion of Haj, he would appeal to each and every Arab clan to accept his invitation to Islam but met with blank refusal from every quarter. At the same time, the people of Makkah were holding counsels’ to get rid of him by killing or imprisoning or banishing him from their city. It was at that most critical time that Allah opened for Islam the hearts of the Ansar of Yathrab where he migrated at their invitation.

Now that we have divided the life of the Holy Prophet at Makkah into four stages, it has become easier for us to tell, as far as possible, the particular stage in which a certain Makki Surah was revealed. This is because the Surahs belonging to a particular stage can be distinguished from those of the other stages with the help of their subject matter and style. Besides this, they also contain such references as throw light on the circumstances and events that form the background of their revelation. In the succeeding Makki Surahs, we will determine on the basis of the distinctive features of each stage, and point out in the Preface, the particular stage in which a certain Makki Surah was revealed.

Subject: Islamic Creed.

This Surah mainly discusses the different aspects of the major articles of the Islamic Creed: Tauhid, Life-after-death, Prophethood and their practical application to human life. Side by side with this, it refutes the erroneous beliefs of the “opponents and answers their objections, warns and admonishes them and comforts the Holy Prophet and his followers, who were then suffering from persecution.

Of course, these themes have not been dealt with under separate heads but have been blended in an excellent manner.

Topics and their Interconnection

These verses are of introductory and admonitory nature. The disbelievers have been warned that if they do not accept the Islamic Creed and follow the ‘Light’ shown by the Revelation from the All-Knowing and All-Powerful Allah, they would go to the same doom as the former disbelievers did. Their arguments for rejecting the Prophet and the Revelation sent down to him have been refuted and a warning has been given to them that they should not be deluded by the respite that is being granted to them. 1 – 12

These verses inculcate Tauhid, and refute shirk which is the greatest obstacle in the way of its acceptance. 13 – 24

In these verses, a graphic scene of the life in the Hereafter has been depicted in order to warn the disbelievers of the consequences of the rejection of the Articles of Faith. 25 – 32

Prophethood is the main theme which has been discussed from the point of view of the Holy Prophet, his Mission, the limitations of his powers, the attitude towards his followers and also from the point of view of the disbelievers. 33 – 73

In continuation of the same theme, the story of Prophet Abraham has been related to bring home to the pagan Arabs that the Mission of Prophet Muhammad, which they were opposing, was the same as that of Prophet Abraham (Allah’s peace be upon them). This line of argument was adopted because they considered themselves to be his followers, especially the Quraish who were proud of being his descendants as well. 74 – 90

Another proof of his Prophethood is the Book, which has been sent down to him by Allah, for its teachings show the right guidance in regard to creed and practice. 91 – 108

Divine restrictions have been contrasted with the superstitious restrictions of the pagan Arabs in order to show the striking differences between the two and thus prove the Quran to be a Revealed Book. 109 – 154

The Jews, who were criticized in vv. 144 – 147 along with the pagan Arabs, have been urged to compare the teachings of the Quran with those of the Torah so that they might recognize their similarity and give up their lame excuses against it, and adopt its Guidance to escape the retribution on the Day of Resurrection. 155 – 160

This is the conclusion of the discourse: the Holy Prophet has been instructed in a beautiful and forceful manner to proclaim fearlessly the articles of the Islamic Creed and their implications. 161 – 165

Source: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Quran

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