Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 19

قُلْ أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَٰدَةً ۖ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ ۖ شَهِيدٌۢ بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَكُمْ ۚ وَأُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِۦ وَمَنۢ بَلَغَ ۚ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ ءَالِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ ۚ قُل لَّآ أَشْهَدُ ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَٰحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِى بَرِىٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Say, "What thing is greatest in testimony?" Say, "Allāh is witness between me and you. And this Qur’ān was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you [truly] testify that with Allāh there are other deities?" Say, "I will not testify [with you]." Say, "Indeed, He is but one God, and indeed, I am free of what you associate [with Him]."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Now comes the climax of this passage, which employs a profound rhythm so as to re-emphasise the right attitude of a believer. The final verse of the passage serves as a clear statement of position, a warning and a move away from everything that has an element of setting partners with God. The style here is both strong and decisive.

Thus, God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) confronts the unbelievers. He makes it clear to them that he and they follow two separate roads that cannot meet. He outlines the difference between what he advocates of believing in God’s oneness and submitting to Him and their beliefs and practices which associate partners with God. He tells  them that the starting points of both camps are so wide apart that no compromise between them can be worked out unless they abandon their beliefs and accept His faith.
The Prophet is ordered to put the question, and he is also ordered to provide the answer. The addressees themselves acknowledge that there is no other answer to give: “Say: God.” Yes, indeed. God — limitless is He in His glory — is the One who provides the weightiest testimony. He tells the truth and He is the best to provide the final answer to all issues and questions. When He has made His testimony, all matters are settled.
When the principle of referring to God for arbitration in this central issue has been established, the Prophet declares to the unbelievers that God’s testimony is included in the Qur’an which He has revealed to him to warn them as well as everyone who comes to know of the Qur’an during the Prophet’s lifetime or subsequently. Thus, the Qur’an is taken in evidence against them and against all those whom it reaches, because it contains God’s testimony in this central issue which provides the basis of human existence and universal existence as a whole. “This Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may thereby warn you and all whom it may reach.” 
Thus, every human being who becomes aware of the Qur’an and what it contains in a language he understands has been duly warned. He incurs God’s punishment if he rejects the message of Islam after it has been conveyed to him. A person who does not know the language of the Qur’an and, therefore, cannot understand its message is not held accountable in the same way. However, Muslims are deemed to be at fault for not conveying the message of the Qur’an to others in a language which they know well enough to understand the true meaning of this testimony.

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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  • "And this Qur'an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches.... " [6:19] - The Prophet Muhammad [saw] said, الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلأُ الْمِيزَانَ ‏.‏ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلآنِ - أَوْ تَمْلأُ - مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالصَّلاَةُ نُورٌ وَالصَّدَقَةُ بُرْهَانٌ وَالصَّبْرُ ضِيَاءٌ وَالْقُرْآنُ حُجَّةٌ لَكَ أَوْ عَلَيْكَ  “Cleanliness is half of faith and Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fills the scale, and Subhan Allah [Glory be to Allah] and Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fill upwhat is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one’s faith] and patience is a brightness and the Qur’ān is a proof on your behalf or against you.” [Muslim no. 223 - صحيح [Sahih]

10. Wiki Forum

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11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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