Day 11 – Surah Al-Anaam (Part-2): The True Tawheed

Prophet Ibrahim: A story of doubt that led to faith

The story of prophet Ibrahim was mentioned several times in the Quran. Each time Allah SWT highlights one angle from the life of that great prophet and forefather of Muslims, and usually that angle is related to the context of the Surah. In Surah Al-Anaam, Ayahs [6:74-90] narrate the story of Ibrahim prior to his faith,

The surah tells us about the different discussions that Prophet Ibrahim PBUH was involved in:

  • A discussion with his father [6:74]
  • A discussion with the universe (planets, stars, the sun, and the moon) [6:76-78]
  • A discussion with himself; an internal debate  [6:79]
  • Lastly, a strong argument with his people [6:80]

​فَلَمَّا رَأَى الشَّمْسَ بَازِغَةً قَالَ هَذَا رَبِّي هَذَا أَكْبَرُ فَلَمَّا أَفَلَتْ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ
Then he saw the sun rising and cried, ‘This is my Lord! This is greater.’ But when the sun set, he said, ‘My people, I disown all that you worship beside God. [6: 78]
This discussion was setting the stage for a revolution in our Islamic ideology, a revolution that challenges the status quo and questions all the inherited beliefs. It shows us that faith and reason go hand-in-hand, and that having a free mind while asking the right question should lead to more faith and further submission.  

وَتِلْكَ حُجَّتُنَا آتَيْنَاهَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَّن نَّشَاء إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ
Such was the argument We gave to Abraham against his people– We raise in rank whoever We will– your Lord is all wise, all knowing. [6:83]
Note that Prophet Ibrahim used the following approach: (1) destroying false beliefs THEN (2) confirming Allah as the creator and the Lord. This is how Allah teaches us to declare the testimony of faith:
لا إله إلا الله   There is (1) NO deity worthy of worship …  (2) EXCEPT Allah.
The origin of all sins:

Ayah [6:91] mentions how denying Allah’s messages is a big disrespect to Him. It shows that the ultimate level of faith is associated with knowing Allah and honoring His value in the heart

وَمَا قَدَرُواْ اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِذْ قَالُواْ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَى بَشَرٍ مِّن شَيْءٍ
They have no grasp of God’s true measure when they say, ‘God has sent nothing down to a mere mortal.’ [6:91]
A series of Ayahs is presented next, reminding the readers about the majesty of Allah, and inviting the people to ponder on his creation in [6:95-103]. After all, the truth has come clear from our Lord, and the job of a messenger is to deliver the message:

قَدْ جَاءَكُم بَصَائِرُ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ أَبْصَرَ فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ عَمِيَ فَعَلَيْهَا وَمَا أَنَاْ عَلَيْكُم بِحَفِيظٍ
Now clear proof has come to you from your Lord: if anyone sees it, that will be to his advantage; if anyone is blind to it, that will be to his loss– [Say], ‘I am not your guardian.’ [6:104]
 Wisdom Behind the Name of The Surah “cattle”

The name of the Surah is a clue that helps us understand the message behind it. Out of all the discussions in Surah Al-Anaam, Allah chose this name, which is referenced in the following Ayahs:
وَجَعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ مِمَّا ذَرَأَ مِنَ الْحَرْثِ وَالأَنْعَامِ نَصِيبًا فَقَالُواْ هَذَا لِلَّهِ بِزَعْمِهِمْ وَهَذَا لِشُرَكَائِنَا
They apportion to God a share of the produce and the livestock He created, saying, ‘This is for God’– so they claim!–‘ and this is for our idols.’ [6:136]​
وَقَالُواْ مَا فِي بُطُونِ هَذِهِ الأَنْعَامِ خَالِصَةٌ لِّذُكُورِنَا وَمُحَرَّمٌ عَلَى أَزْوَاجِنَا
They also say, ‘The contents of these animals’ wombs will be reserved solely for our men and forbidden to our women [6:139]
What is the story behind these claims of the pagans?
The cattle and livestock were the center of economy of the ancient Arabian society. Their travel, business, and warfare depend on what they own and how they use it. They tried to keep Allah and His commands OUT of THEIR LIFE! They insisted on keeping the commands of Allah away from anything that deals with business and economy, represented by the livestock. The message of the Surah in that regards is clear: You either follow Allah and His revealed message, or you choose to follow your desires, and set your own rules for how to run your life:
قُلْ هَلُمَّ شُهَدَاءَكُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَ هَذَا فَإِن شَهِدُواْ فَلاَ تَشْهَدْ مَعَهُمْ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاء الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالآخِرَةِ وَهُم بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ
Say, ‘Bring your witnesses to testify that God has forbidden all this.’ If they do testify, do not bear witness with them. Do not follow the whims of those who have denied Our revelation, who do not believe in the Hereafter, and who set up equals with their Lord. [6:150]

Action Items

  1. Allah can be known through his revealed book, The Quran, and through his open book that was created, the universe. Both guide you towards Allah and His majesty
  2. After recognizing Allah’s greatness, one should submit to Him all the time, in all matters and affairs of his life. A Muslim cannot “”Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” because everything in our lives belong to God 
  • A discussion with his father [6:74]
  • A discussion with the universe (planets, stars, the sun, and the moon) [6:76-78]
  • A discussion with himself; an internal debate  [6:79]
  • Lastly, a strong argument with his people [6:80]

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