Current Date:

Saturday, 18 November 2017
 

SURAT AL-AN’AM/CATTLE – MECCAN – AYATS 165

INTRODUCTION TO SURAT AL-AN’AM:

This is a Sura of the late Meccan period. The greater part of it was revealed entire. Its place in the traditional order of arrangement is justified by logical considerations. We have already had the spiritual history of mankind, a discussion of the earlier revelations and how they were lost or corrupted, the regulations for the outer life of the new Community, and the points in which the Jews and Christians failed to maintain the central doctrine of Islam – the Unity of God. The next step now taken is to expound this doctrine in relation to Pagan Arabia.

Summary:- The nature of God and the method by which He reveals Himself are first expounded, and the weakness of Paganism is exposed. (Verses 1-30).

·         The emptiness of this world’s life is contrasted with the evidences of God’s wonderful handwork in all Creation. It is He who holds the keys of the Unseen and the secrets of all that we see. (Verses 31-60).

·         God’s working in His world and His constant care and guidance should give a clue to His unity, as it did to Abraham/Ibrahim when he argued with those who worshipped false gods. (Verses 61-82).

·         The succession of prophets after Abraham/Ibrahim kept God’s truth alive, and led up to the Qur’an. How can man fail to understand the majesty and goodness of God, when he contemplates God’s nature and His Messages to mankind? (Verses 83-110).

·         The obstinate and the rebellious are deceived: they should be avoided, though they turn for assistance to each other, but they will receive due punishment. (Verses 111-129).

·         God’s decrees will come to pass, inspite of the crimes and superstitions of the ungodly.     (Verses 130-150).

·         The better course is to follow the Straight Way -the Way of God- as directed in the Qur’an, with unity and the full dedication of our lives. (Verses 151-165).

COMMENTARY:   

God did separate Light from Darkness; He reigns not only in heaven but also on earth; Mercy is His Law; to Him we shall all return at the end of of all things. How can we then depart from truth and forge lies against Him? It is folly to say that there is nothing beyond this pur present life.

(Verse 1)(a)- Adala: has various meanings: (1) to hold something as equal to something else –as here- to balance nicely: (2) to deal justly, as between one party and another (see Surat Al-Shura 42 verse 15); (3) to give compensation or reparation, or something equivalent to something else (see verse 70); (4) to turn the balance the right way, to give a right disposition, to give a just bias or proportion (see Surat Al-Infitar 82 verse 7); (5) to turn the balance the wrong way, to swerve, to show bias (see verse 135). (b) The argument is three fold: (1) God created everything you see and know, how can you then set up any of His own creatures as equal to Him? (2) He is your own Guardian-Lord; He cherishes and loves you; how can you be so ungrateful as to run after something else? (3) Darkness and Light are to help you to distinguish between the true from the false; how can you then confound the true God with your false ideas and superstitions? There may also be a repudiations of the Duality of the old Persian theology: Light and Darkness are not conflicting Powers, they are both creatures of the one true God.

(Verse 2) (a)- After the general argument, the argument comes to man persoanlly. Can such a miserable creature  -created from clay- put himself in opposition to his Creator? And can man forget or doubt that he is here only for a short term of probation? And then –after a period- comes the Day of Account before God. (b) This life is a period of probation. The other term leads up to Judgment.

(Verse 3) – It is folly to suppose that God only reigns in the heavens. He also reigns on earth. He knows all our secret thoughts and motives, and the real worth of all that behind what we care to show. It is by our deeds that He judges us; for our deeds, whether good or evil, we shall get due recompence in due time.

(Verses 4-5-6)- Now comes the agrument from history, looking backwards and forwards. If we are so short-sighted or arrogant as to suppose that we are firmly established on this earth, secured in our privileges, we are reminded of much greater nations in the past, who failed in their duty and were wiped out. In their fate we must read our own fate, if we fail likewise! But those without faith instead of facing facts squarely “turn away therefrom”.

(Verse 7)- (a) Qirtas= in the Apostle’s [Muhammad PPBUH] life, could only mean “parchment” which was commonly used as writing material in Western Asia from the 2nd century B.C. The word was derived from the Greek Charles = Latin “Charia”. The paper –as we know it made from rags- was first used by the Arabs after the conquest of Samarqand in 751 A.D. The Chinese had used it by the 2nd century B.C. The Arabs introduced it into Europe; it was used in Greece in the 11th or 12th century, and in Spain through Sicily in the 12th century. The Papyrus, which is made from an Egyptian reed, was used in Egypt as early as 2500 B.C. It gave place to paper in Egypt in the 10th century. (b) The materialisits want to see actual physical things before them, but if such a thing came from an unusual source or expressed things they cannot understand, they give it some name like magic, or superstition, or whatever name is in fashion, and they are not helped at all in attaining faith, because their “hearts are diseased” (see Al-Bagara 2 verse 10).

(Verse 8)- (S. Al-Bagara 2 verse 210)- An angel is a heavenly being, a manifestation of God’s glory, invisible to men who live gross material lives. Such men are given plenty of respite in which to turn in repentance to God and make themselves worthy of His light. But if their prayer to see an angel were granted, it would do them no good, for they would be destroyed as darkness is destroyeds by light.

(Verse 9) – Supposing an angel should appear to their grosser senses, he could only do it in human form. In that case their present confused notions about spiritual life would be still more confounded. They would say:”We wanted to see and angel, and we have only seen a man!”.

(Verser 10)- “The scoffers were mocked by the thing that they mocked” would express epigrammatically part of the sense, but not the whole, “Hemmed in” implies that the logic of events turned the tables, and as a man might be besieged and surrounded by an enemy in war, and would be forced to surrender, so these mockers will find that events would justify Truth, not them. The mockers of Jesus; where were they when Titus destroyed Jerusalem? The mockers who drove out Muhammad [PPBUH] from Mecca; what was their plight when Muhamad [PPBUH] came back in triumph and they sued for mercy;- AND HE GAVE IT TO THEM. According to the Latin proverb: {Great is Truth, and must prevail).

(Verses 11-12) – History, travel, human experiences, all prove the Mercy of God and the Law that without it those who reject Truth tend to lose their own souls and destroy themselves.

-HADEETH SHAREEF: ( verse 12) A/ Narrated Abu Hurairah: I heard Allah’s Messenger [PPBUH] saying:”Allah has diveded Mercy into one hundred parts, and He kept ninety-nie parts with Him and sent down one part to the earth, and because of that one single part, His creatures are merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoof away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it” {Sahih Al-Bukhary}. B/ Narrated Abu-Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger [PPBUH] sid: “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “Verily, My Mercy has overcome My anger” –Sahih Al-Bukhary.

(Verse 13)- (a)- Sakana= (1) to dwell: (2) to rest, to be still, to stop (moving), to lurk: (3) to be quiecent, as a letter which is not moved with vowel. If we imagine Night and Day to be places, and each to have (dwelling in them) things that are open and things that are concealed, things that move and things that are still, things that are sounded and things that are quiecent, we get some idea of the imagery implied. The mystery of Time (which seems more abstract than Space) is thusa explaineds and illustrated by the idea of Place or Space, which also is a notion and not a concrete thing. But He Who has control of all these things is the One True God. (b) Throughout this section we have a sort of implied dialogue, of which one part is understood from the other part, which is expressed. In verse 11, we have an imaginary objector saying:”Why go back to the past?” The answer is:” Well, travel through the world, and see whether it is not true that virtue and godliness exalt a nation, and the opposite are causes of ruin. Both the past and the present prove this”. In verse 12 the objector may say:”But you speak of God’s power?” Then the man of God replies:”Yes, but Mercy is God’s own attribute, and knowledge and wisdom beyond what man can conceive”.