Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 9

وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَٰهُ مَلَكًا لَّجَعَلْنَٰهُ رَجُلًا وَلَلَبَسْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّا يَلْبِسُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And if We had made him [i.e., the messenger] an angel, We would have made him [appear as] a man, and We would have covered them with that in which they cover themselves [i.e., confusion and doubt].

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

What they demand is that God sends an angel to confirm the Prophet’s message. As creatures, angels are different from human beings. They have their own nature which is known only to God. Since we know nothing about them other than what we are told by God who has created them, we know that they cannot walk on earth in their own form of creation, because they do not live on this planet. However, they have the ability to take human form when they undertake a task relevant to human life, such as conveying God’s message or destroying those unbelievers whom God wishes to destroy, or giving support to believers or fighting against their enemies. The Qur’ān tells us of other duties they may be commanded to fulfil, and they do not disobey God in whatever He bids them to do. They simply do what they are bid.
 
Therefore, if God wanted to send an angel to confirm His Prophet’s message, that angel would have appeared to mankind in the form of a man, not in his own angelic form. This would have made the confusion persist, especially when Muĥammad (peace be upon him) would sometimes say to them, “I am Muĥammad whom you have known very well. God has sent me as a messenger to warn you and give you happy news”. How much greater would their confusion be if an angel came to them in the form of a man whom they did not know and said, “I am an angel sent by God to confirm the message preached by His Messenger”? To them, that angel would only appear as a man like them. They were confusing simple facts. If God were to send an angel, He would have given it human form and would have confused the very thing the unbelievers were themselves confusing. They would not have been able to see right guidance.

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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