Day 10 – Surah Al-Anaam (Part-1)

​Surah Al-Anaam has many interesting qualities that make it special:  

  • It is the first Meccan Surah out of the long ones that the Quran starts with
  • It was revealed in one night, all at once (other Surahs are revealed in separate occasions over the course of months or even years and then assembled together)
  • It was accompanied by many angels who almost blocked the horizon, all praising Allah while the Surah was revealed. 
​The message of Surah Al-Anaam is to revive one’s faith, by confirming the majesty and oneness of Allah and debating with those who reject him or worship other deities with him. The Surah uses a combination of discussions and arguments that open the mind and shake the heart and invite both of them to accept Allah as the creator, sustainer, and Lord of all things.
This Surah sends a clear message and addresses different audiences:  

  1. Believers who need an iman boost and motivation to worship Allah & call people to Him
  2. Disbelievers, idol worshippers, atheists, or anyone who denies God’s existence or power
  3. Those who keep their faith as a theological discussion, without interfering with their daily life.  

Between Faith and Action: قل … هو  

One cannot but notice how many Ayahs use similar keywords, mainly: قل  ( say), and هو  (HE, it is HIM); as though the surah is teaching us to (1) Reflect on the greatness of Allah (هو), then (2) Go ahead oh Muhammad PBUH (or whoever is reciting the Quran) and say your argument with the world (قل).  For example, the following Ayahs remind us how great Allah is:

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن طِينٍ ثُمَّ قَضَى أَجَلاً وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى عِندَهُ ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ تَمْتَرُونَ. وَهُوَ اللَّهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الأَرْضِ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهْرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ

He is the one who created you from clay and specified a term [for you] and another fixed time, known only to Him; yet still you doubt! He is God in the heavens and on earth, He knows your secrets and what you reveal, and He knows what you do [6:2-3]

وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ
He is the Supreme Master over His creatures, the All Wise, the All Aware [6:18]

Later on, you’ll read a series of Ayahs mentioning how to use that emotional energy in your discussion against those who disbelieve in Allah:

قُلْ سِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ ثُمَّ انظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
Say, ‘Travel throughout the earth and see what fate befell those who rejected the truth.’ [6:11]

قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلاَ يُطْعَمُ قُلْ إِنِّيَ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Say,  ‘Shall I take for myself a protector other than God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who feeds but is not fed? [6:14]

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتَكُم إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَتَتْكُمُ السَّاعَةُ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَدْعُونَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Say, ‘Think: if the punishment of God or the Hour should come to you, would you call on anyone other than God, if you are being truthful?’ [6:40]
 
Consequences of Disbelief

In addition to the many arguments about Allah and his qualities, the Surah warns the disbelievers about the consequences of their actions, and gives them scenes from the judgment day:

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُواْ أَيْنَ شُرَكَاؤُكُمُ الَّذِينَ كُنتُمْ تَزْعُمُونَ
When We gather them all together and say to the polytheists, ‘Where are those you claimed were partners with God?’ in their utter dismay [6:22]

وَلَوْ تَرَىَ إِذْ وُقِفُواْ عَلَى النَّارِ فَقَالُواْ يَا لَيْتَنَا نُرَدُّ وَلاَ نُكَذِّبَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّنَا وَنَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
If you could only see, when they are made to stand before the Fire, how they will say, ‘If only we could be sent back, we would not reject the revelations of our Lord, but be among the believers.’ [6:27]

وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ وُقِفُواْ عَلَى رَبِّهِمْ قَالَ أَلَيْسَ هَذَا بِالْحَقِّ قَالُواْ بَلَى وَرَبِّنَا قَالَ فَذُوقُواْ الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ
If you could only see, when they are made to stand before their Lord, how He will say, ‘Is this not real?’ They will say, ‘Yes indeed, by our Lord.’ He will say, ‘Then taste the torment for having disbelieved.’ [6:30]
 
  
Emotional Support to a Beloved Messenger

The prophet PBUH needed a lot of emotional and intellectual support during his early years in Mecca. This Surah – in addition to equipping him with arguments – shows him that Allah is always on his side, and those who reject him are in fact rejecting Allah himself, and He has taken offense when this happens:

قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ يَجْحَدُونَ. وَلَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَصَبَرُواْ عَلَى مَا كُذِّبُواْ وَأُوذُواْ حَتَّى أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا وَلاَ مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
We know well that what they say grieves you [Prophet]. It is not you they disbelieve: the evildoers reject God’s revelation. Other messengers were disbelieved before you, and they bore their rejection and persecution steadfastly until Our aid arrived– no one can alter God’s promises. You have already received accounts of these messengers. [6:33-34]
 
Action Items: Tawheed 101 course

Surah Al-Anaam can be considered a Tawheed 101 course (Tawheed is confirming oneness of Allah); while some Muslims tend to teach Tawheed through abstract terminologies and dry material, the Quranic approach in teaching people about Allah is not like that: the Quran talks to the mind and heart at the same time, and Surah Al-Anaam is a big proof of that. Here’s another sequence of (هو)  followed by (قل)

وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لاَ يَعْلَمُهَا إِلاَّ هُوَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلاَّ يَعْلَمُهَا وَلاَ حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الأَرْضِ وَلاَ رَطْبٍ وَلاَ يَابِسٍ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ. وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا جَرَحْتُم بِالنَّهَارِ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُكُمْ فِيهِ لِيُقْضَى أَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ. وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُم حَفَظَةً حَتَّىَ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُفَرِّطُونَ.

He has the keys to the unseen: no one knows them but Him. He knows all that is in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowledge, nor is there a single grain in the darkness of the earth, or anything, fresh or withered, that is not written in a clear Record. [6:59]
It is
He who calls your souls back by night, knowing what you have done by day, then raises you up again in the daytime until your fixed term is fulfilled. It is to Him that you will return in the end, and He will tell you what you have done. [6:60]
He is the Supreme Master over His subjects. He sends out recorders to watch over you until, when death overtakes any of you, those sent by Us take his soul– they never fail in their duty [6:61]
 
قُلْ مَن يُنَجِّيكُم مِّن ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ تَدْعُونَهُ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً لَّئِنْ أَنجَانَا مِنْ هَذِهِ لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ. قُلِ اللَّهُ يُنَجِّيكُم مِّنْهَا وَمِن كُلِّ كَرْبٍ ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ تُشْرِكُونَ.

Say, [Prophet], ‘Who is it that saves you from the dark depths of land and sea when you humbly and secretly call to Him [and say], “If He rescues us from this, We shall truly be thankful”?’ Say, ‘God rescues you from this and every distress; yet still you worship others beside Him.’ [6:63-64]

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