Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 50
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(do) I say
(that) with me
(are the) treasures
(that) I know
(do) I follow
and the seeing one
you give thought
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
Ignorant communities, including those that deviated from the proper concept elaborated by the divine messages, were rife with such false ideas about the nature of prophethood and prophet. People expected anyone who claimed to be a prophet to come up with such miracles. They required him at times to make prophecies and at other times to influence natural phenomena, either through fortune-telling or sorcery. Indeed, it was in this vein that the pagan Arabs in Makkah made their demands of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). To rectify such misconceptions, the Qur’an makes repeated statements on the nature of the divine message and the Messenger conveying it such as this one.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is commanded by his Lord to introduce himself as an ordinary human being who entertains nothing of the misconceptions that prevailed in jahiliyyah communities about the nature of prophets and prophethood. He is further commanded to present his faith free of any temptation: no wealth is promised and no wild claims are made. It is simply a faith conveyed by a Messenger who is granted divine guidance. He follows nothing but divine revelations informing him of things that he has not known. He does not possess God’s treasures in order to make rich gifts to those who follow him. Nor does he know what has been hidden in order to inform his followers of what may happen in the future. Nor is he an angel, nor can he meet their demands that God sends them an angel. He is simply a human Messenger preaching a faith that is clear, pure and simple.
The Prophet is, therefore, ordered to present it to people as it is, without adornment or temptation. It requires none of these. Those who adopt it should know that they are not going to gain any material wealth or position by it. They shall have no distinction over other people except through their good actions. They are only opting for divine guidance which is much more valuable than wealth, position or distinction. “Say: ‘I do not say to you that God’s treasures are with me; nor do I know what is beyond the reach of human perception; nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.’”
Equipped with divine revelation and guidance, the human mind can see things clearly. Deprived of them, it is blind. We note that in the Qur’anic verse, the statement that the Prophet follows only what is revealed to him from on high is immediately followed by a reference to blindness and clear sight. It concludes with an exhortation to think and reflect: “I only follow what is revealed to me. Say: Can the blind and the seeing be deemed equal? Will you not reflect?” Such a sequence is particularly significant. Reflection is certainly needed, and the Qur’an calls on people to reflect. However, reflection must be guided by divine revelation so that it remains enlightened. There is no virtue in reflection that is blind, groping in the dark, without guidance.
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.