Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 14

قُلْ أَغَيْرَ ٱللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلَا يُطْعَمُ ۗ قُلْ إِنِّىٓ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ ۖ وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Say, "Is it other than Allāh I should take as a protector, Originator of the heavens and earth, while it is He who feeds and is not fed?" Say, [O Muhammad], "Indeed, I have been commanded to be the first [among you] who submit [to Allāh] and [was commanded], ‘Do not ever be of the polytheists.’ "

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This is, indeed, the basic issue: taking God alone for our Master, or waliy, in every sense of the word. He alone is the Lord to be worshipped. We submit to Him as He is the only Sovereign. No support may be sought from anyone other than Him. In every grave situation, we appeal to Him alone for help. This is the basic question of faith. When we take Him as master, in every sense of the word, and submit to Him alone, we are true Muslims. Those who associate others with Him in any aspect of His mastery are guilty of associating partners with God. This is something that cannot be entertained by any Muslim.
 
This  Qur’anic  verse  reflects  human  nature’s  powerful  logic.  To  whom  does mastery belong and who alone is to be viewed as patron, if not the Creator who has originated the heavens and the earth? To whom, if not to the One who provides sustenance and nourishment to every creature in the heavens and on earth while He Himself needs none? “Say: ‘Am I to take for my master anyone but God’”, when such are His attributes? What logic allows that anyone other than God be taken as master? If it is help and support that one needs from a master, then God, the originator of the heavens and the earth has the supreme power in both. If the objective of taking a master is to get provisions and sustenance, then it is God who provides sustenance to all creatures in the universe. How then can mastery be attributed to anyone other than the Almighty who provides for all?
 
It is all a single issue that admits no equivocation. Either we turn to God alone, receive His instructions, submit to Him and obey Him, seek His support, worship Him alone, and acknowledge only His authority over all matters, pledge our loyalty and allegiance to Him in both worship and law-making and thus become Muslims, or we claim that any one of His creatures has a say or partnership with Him in any of these matters and we, thus, become guilty of polytheism.
 
God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was commanded to declare all this without ambiguity. He was ordered to face the unbelievers with it, that is those who were trying to persuade him to accept a compromise and allow a place in his faith for their gods in return for their acceptance of it. They also tried to obtain a concession from him such that some of them were allowed certain attributes of Godhead in order that they could retain their prestige and safeguard their interests. Had he afforded them this concession and allowed them in particular the authority to forbid things or make them lawful, they would have offered to stop opposing him, would have made him their chief, given him much of their wealth and married him to the prettiest of their girls. They tried hard, waving a stick in one hand, representing torture, hardship and war, and holding a carrot of reconciliation and peace in the other.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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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

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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.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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