Surat al-Ma’ida continued
The Juz opens with a tribute to Monotheistic and Godly Christians who upon hearing the Quran are moved and accept it’s message. Some people had a habit of asking too many questions, they are warned not to do so, as they could be narrowing their own choices and would regret later. This is followed by a penalty for breaking an oath, feed ten needy persons.
Wine and intoxicants like it (including recreational drugs) and gambling are made unlawful since they sow enmity and hatred between people (90). It is interesting that the revelation gives the reason behind the ban, evidence that the Quranic laws are reasonable and in the interest of society.
What is the role of the Messenger?
Deliver the message, not to coerce, nor to convert people, to believe or to reject; Islam cherishes the principle of ‘no compulsion in religion’ (101).
The Arabs were steeped in superstitions like, piercing the ears of their she-camels and dedicating them to the Idols. They had irrational beliefs in the supernatural influences of these practices believing that they could bring good or bad luck. So, they are told, “rid yourselves of the superstitions of the past generations”.
The next section deals with the appointment of witnesses to one’s will and end of life directives to prevent conflict among the heirs in the future (106).
The subject of Prophet Isa and Christians is revisited. The miracles of Prophet Isa: he blew into clay birds and they would fly; healed the blind and the lepers and raised the dead from their graves; fed large crowds (114). The Human nature of Isa and the significance of his prophethood are stressed. Those who saw his miracles misunderstood and regarded him as God. But in the Hereafter Isa will declare his innocence of this blasphemy (118).
Surat Al-Anam – The Cattle
The second part of the 7th Juz begins with this late Makkan Surah, revealed on a single occasion in full. This was a time of severe tensions between the Muslims and the idolaters. Ibn Abbas said that some Makkans told the Prophet ﷺ, “We shall not believe until you bring us a book which we can see, touch and accompanied by the angels who bear witness that it’s from Allah and that you are His messenger.” The Quran told him that even if they were to touch it with their hands, they wouldn’t believe.
Powerful arguments are presented to support beliefs of Tawhid, Risalah, and Akhirah. The title al-An‘am, “the Cattle” is derived from several references to the idolaters’ superstitious practices of dedicating animals to their idols. A verse praising the creative power of Allah opens the surah and criticises them for equating idols with Him. The only remedy for this stubbornness is submission to Sublime Lord. The Quran is a book of guidance a reminder of Judgement Day.
The Oneness of Allah is self-evident, yet the disbelievers refuse to see it, they fail to appreciate the gifts they have. Their eyes will open on the day of Judgement, they’ll make excuses but to no avail! “If you could see them on Judgement Day when they stand staring at the Fire; they will say, “If only we could be returned and, instead of denying our Lord’s signs, become believers” (27). They were fooled by worldly life, they didn’t see “This worldly life is a sport and an amusement, but the home of the Hereafter is far better for the mindful. Don’t you understand?” (32)
The Messenger was concerned about their fate, but they in return, they taunted and mocked him, so he is consoled and urged to be patient. They say, “If a sign were to come down to him from his Lord?” Say, “Allah has the power to send down a sign,” but most of them have no knowledge (37).
The next four passages teach humility: to understand one’s true worth, to help readers get this message the Quran uses examples. Humility is seen in animals that live in communities “There is no creature on land or a bird flying in the sky that does not belong to a community like yours” (38).
The blessed Messenger ﷺ is reassured that the arrogance of the idolaters is disastrous. The safest policy is to be humble. Patience in tough times makes you humble as does the company of righteous people. Finally, rely on Allah and acknowledge His greatness. Many previous communities suffered since they ignored the message. But Allah gave them a breathing space: “We opened up the floodgates of everything for them and as they were enjoying what they were given, We seized them and left them in despair” (44).
An example of humility is the Messenger himself, he made no extravagant claims for himself. The Prophet is equipped to respond to the hostile disbelievers “Say, “I am forbidden to worship those you serve besides Allah.” Say, “I won’t follow your desires because, if I did so, I would go astray and fail to be guided” (56).
The Evidence of Allah’s control over nature: How the soul travels in sleep, His knowledge of the unseen. To protect your faith, avoid gatherings where Islam is criticised and bad mouthed, do not mix with those who plot against Allah’s religion. They have adopted playful ways but you must have nothing to do with them. From here onward historical evidence for Allah’s Grandeur is provided: Ibrahim’s faith is an example. When he saw the splendour of the Heavens and the Earth, the stars, the moon and the sun rising and setting, he asked – who had created them? Ibrahim was rewarded for his unwavering faith and devoutness. He was the father of many prophets. Fifteen Prophets from his line are mentioned in the Quran.
The next section provides powerful evidence for the resurrection: “They failed to recognise the true greatness of Allah when they said, ‘Allah did not reveal anything to humanity’” (91). The disbelievers in death throes will regret it, but it will be too late. “Let out your souls, today you will be rewarded with the punishment of contempt because of what you falsely said about Allah, arrogantly rejecting His signs” (93). All are reminded they were born alone and will return alone.
More evidence for the creative power of Allah is given: “We produce pods with seeds packed together and from the flowering part of palm trees, low-hanging clusters of dates, and orchards of vines, olives and pomegranates, some alike and others different. Look at their fruits as they grow and ripen; there are signs in that for people who believe.” (99) He is the Originator of the universe. “He created everything, and He knows everything. Such is Allah, your Lord; there is no god but Him, the Creator of everything, so worship Him. He governs everything. Our eyes cannot perceive Him, but He perceives what our eyes see. He is the Subtle, the Aware” (103).
After declaring the Divine Majesty, the Quran instructs: don’t insult or mock the beliefs of non-believers. The Quran predicts that these people will not believe even if they were to witness miracles, so do not fret for them! “Most of them are ignorant”.
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