Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 116
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they will mislead you
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
Having stated that the truth is simply what is contained in the Book revealed by God, the surah states that what human beings legislate is the result of following conjecture which is devoid of all certainty. To follow it leads to one clear outcome: error. It also explains that human beings cannot be certain of the truth and cannot follow it unless they receive it from its only source. The surah also warns God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) against obeying people in what they say or advocate, no matter how great their number may be. Ignorance remains the same even though it gathers a very large following:
At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, most people on earth belonged to the world of jahiliyyah, as is certainly the case today. They did not refer to God for judgement in all their affairs. Nor did they make the divine law contained in His revealed Book the law which they implemented. Nor did they derive their concepts, ideas, thoughts and code of living from God’s guidance. Hence, they followed the way of ignorance, as they certainly do today. They could not formulate any opinion or advocate any ruling based on the truth, and they could not lead anyone who followed them except into error. Just as people do today, they abandoned certitude in order to follow conjecture and guesswork. Hence, God warns His Messenger and his followers against obeying them so that they do not stray from His path. This warning has a general import, although it is given in connection with the prohibition of certain types of slaughtered animals and permitting others, as is later explained.
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.