Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 12
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and the earth
He has decreed
Surely He will assemble you
(of) the Resurrection
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
Here, the surah adopts an attitude of confrontation that aims to state the issues very clearly before drawing the lines that separate the believers from all others. It gives the Prophet certain instructions to take up this confrontation with those who are fully aware that God is the Creator of the whole universe, but who, nevertheless, worship other beings even though these have no power to create anything equal to Him. That is, they associate partners with Him whom they claim have a say in how they conduct their lives. The Prophet is instructed to confront them with a question about the ownership, which follows creation, of everything in the heavens and on earth. As the question is put, it is meant to include every single element in the whole universe. It is followed by a statement of fact over which they did not and could not argue. The Qur’an tells us elsewhere that they used to acknowledge it fully: “Say: To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth? Say: To God.”
The Qur’anic verse follows this statement asserting God’s ownership of the heavens and earth by stating that “He has committed Himself to bestow grace and mercy.” He is the sole, undisputed owner of the whole universe. He, however, out of His generosity and by His own will, has committed Himself to bestow grace and mercy. No one could suggest this exercise of bestowing grace to Him or require it of Him, apart from His absolutely freewill and His compassionate lordship over the universe. Grace and mercy provide the basic rules in His treatment of, and judgement over, His servants both in this present life and in the life to come. Believing in this rule is one of the constituents of the Islamic concept of life. Even when God tests His servants with hardship, His mercy takes precedence. Indeed, the test is meant to prepare a group of them for the fulfilment of the trust He assigns to them after they have proven their dedication to His cause and preparedness to sacrifice themselves for it. He actually sorts out the good from the bad among them: those among them who are keen to follow God’s Messenger distinguish themselves from those who turn back on their heels. The exercise of mercy and the bestowing of grace in all this are clearly manifest.
What immediately attracts our attention in this statement is the fact that God, the Creator, the Owner, the Almighty who has power over all His servants, has granted them the favour of making the exercise of His mercy and grace a commitment to which He has bound Himself out of His own free-will. This is a great fact, one which we can hardly contemplate let alone appreciate. There is, however, yet another favour here which attracts our attention. This is manifested in the fact that He has also favoured His servants by telling them about this commitment. Who are human beings that they deserve the favour of being told of what God has willed, and for the communication to be given in God’s own words through His Messenger? It is nothing short of a great favour that can only be bestowed by God, the Most Gracious.
It is further reflected in the fact that God forgives man his sins every time he repents of them. In the same vein, we can mention the fact that when God punishes man, His punishment is administered on the basis of what is exactly equivalent to his bad deeds. On the other hand, God rewards man for his good deeds at least ten times their value and He may increase that manifold for whomever He wills. Furthermore, a good deed erases bad ones. All this is part of God’s grace because no human being can earn admission into heaven on the basis of his or her actions alone, unless God bestows His mercy on them. God’s Messenger states that this also applies to him, thereby acknowledging man’s shortcomings and God’s grace.
Before God favoured the Arabs with this religion and elevated them to its noble level, they used to deny the Day of Resurrection in the same way as the proponents of the present-day jahiliyyah deny it. Hence, this fact of gathering God’s creatures has been expressed in the most emphatic style: “He will certainly gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt.”
The only losers on that day are those who have not believed during this life. These shall not gain anything to compensate for their loss, because they have lost everything. Indeed, they have lost themselves and are no longer capable of anything. After all, man tries to make a gain for himself. When he has lost his own soul, what can he gain? And for whom? “Those who squandered their own souls will not believe.” (Verse 12)
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
According to Ibn Abbas, the whole of the Surah was revealed at one sitting at Makkah [during the night]. Asma bint Yazid says, ‘During the revelation of this Surah the 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 narrations that it was revealed during the last year before the migration (Hijrah) and that the Prophet dictated the whole of the Surah the same night that it was revealed. [Mawdudi]
8. Reasons for Revelation[ edit ]
After determining the period of its revelation it is easier to visualize the background of the Surah. Twelve years had passed since the Prophet had been inviting the people to Islam. The antagonism and persecution by the Quraysh had become most savage and brutal and the majority of the Muslims had to migrate to Abyssinia. Additionally, the two great supporters of the Prophet, Abu Talib and his wife Khadijah were no longer there to help him, so he was deprived of all worldly support. In spite of this he carried on his mission. As a result of this all the good people of Makkah and the surrounding clans gradually began to accept Islam but there the community as a whole was still bent on obstinacy and rejection. Therefore if anyone showed an inclination towards Islam they were 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 the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, who had embraced Islam at Makkah. At that time, none but God knew the great hidden potential in this.
To a casual observer it appeared as if Islam was a weak movement, with no material backing, except for some limited support from the Prophet's own family and a few poor followers. Obviously the latter could not give much help because they themselves were being persecuted.