Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 57
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while you deny
you seek to hasten
(is) the decision
(is the) best
(of) the Deciders
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
The Prophet is then ordered by God to declare to those idolaters who deny the absolute oneness of their Lord his own firm belief and unshakable conviction that God is the only Lord in the universe and that He sends down revelations to him.
This is, indeed, what earlier prophets and messengers felt. They expressed it in similar terms. The Prophet Noah used practically the same wording: “Think, my people! If I take my stand on a clear evidence from my Lord and He has favoured me with grace from Himself, to which you have remained blind, can we force it upon you when you are averse to it?” (11: 28) Similarly did the Prophet Salih speak to his people, the Thamud: “Think, my people! If take my stand on a clear evidence from my Lord and He has bestowed on me His grace, who will save me from God, should I disobey Him? You are, in such case, only augmenting my ruin.” (11: 63) Abraham said it somewhat differently: “His people argued with him. He said: ‘Do you argue with me about God, when it is He Who has given me guidance?” (Verse 80) The Prophet Jacob stated the same idea to his children: “When the bearer of good news arrived [with Joseph’s shirt], he laid it over his face; and he recovered his sight. He said: Did I not say to you that I know from God something that you do not know?” (12: 96)
This is, then, the nature of Godhead as it is fully understood by God’s most obedient servants. They feel its truth bringing them total reassurance and unshakeable faith. When the unbelievers in Arabia demanded miracles from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), God commanded him to declare this truth as he felt it, putting it clearly in front of those unbelievers: “Say: ‘I take my stand on a clear evidence from my Lord, yet you deny Him.’”
They also demanded that the Prophet accomplish for them some miracle or let God’s scourge loose on them so that they could believe that what he preached was revealed by God. He was ordered, in response, to declare to them the true nature of his message and what it meant to be God’s Messenger. He was commanded to make an absolutely clear distinction between this and the nature of Godhead. He had to declare that he had no control whatsoever over what they tried to hurry. It is controlled only by God. He himself was only a messenger, not a deity: “It is not in my power [to produce] that which you so hastily demand. Judgement rests with God alone. He declares the truth and He is the best of arbiters.”
The Prophet thus denies that he himself has any power or any say in what judgement God passes against His servants. The Prophet is no more than a human being who receives revelations which he conveys, discharging his duty as a warner. God alone passes judgement. That is the perfect distinction between the nature of God and His attributes on the one hand and the nature of His servants on the other.
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.