Al-Anaam · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Anaam Ayaat 40 and 41

The Idolators Call on Allah Alone During Torment and Distress

In these ayaat, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala states that He does what He wills with His creatures and none can resist His decision or avert what He decrees for them. He is the One Who has no partners, Who accepts the supplication from whomever He wills.

Addressing the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,


Say, “Have you considered: if there came to you the punishment of Allah or there came to you the Hour – is it other than Allah you would invoke, if you should be truthful?”

The disbelievers and idolators are being asked that if the Day of Judgment comes suddenly who they are going to invoke for help. Will it be their idols and others or is it going to be Allah only?

The disbelievers will not call other than Allah in this case, because they know that none except Him is able to remove their afflictions. If there are going to call upon Him during distress wouldn’t it be wise to call upon Him during other times as well?

We read in the incident of the elephants when the army of Abrahah was determined to destroy Ka`bah, the idolators firmly believed only Allah Almighty could protect the House from this invasion. They invoked only Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala for help, and for quite a few years the Quraysh having been impressed by this event, worshiped none but Allah.

Similarly, some non-practicing Muslim, when they are struck by a calamity they call out to Allah. Some people’s lives change entirely when they go through a trial. We see them becoming practicing Muslims.

Ayat 41


No, it is Him [alone] you would invoke, and He would remove that for which you invoked Him if He willed, and you would forget what you associate [with Him].

The word iyyahu [إِيَّـهُ] means “only Him”. When we are in pain, we call our parents, spouse, friends or siblings but when one has no one they call out to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala.

The word fayakshifu [فَيَكْشِفُ] means “and He would remove”. When we call upon Allah, He will alleviate that for which we have called Him. However, it is not always that He would remove the difficulty from us, “if He wills”, He will. During such a time we forget all our false deities, our friends or parents. When they ask us, “Why didn’t you call me?” We reply, “I was panicking so much I didn’t know what to do, so I just made du’a and Allah eased the matter for me.”

In the ayah, it means that in times of necessity, you only call on Allah and forget your idols and false deities. In another Ayah, Allah said,


And when adversity touches you at sea, lost are [all] those you invoke except for Him. [Qur’an 17:67]

Ikramah ibn Abi Jahl, the son of the fiercest opponents of Islam killed a man erroneously. As a punishment, he was to be killed. He decided to escape to Ethiopia. On the way, his ship was caught by a storm. The other people on the ship started calling out to their idols. Someone from the group said that no one could save them besides Allah. Ikramah said to himself that if none but Allah can save us in the sea then surely only He can save us on the land as well. He said, “O Allah! I promise You, if You bring me safely out of this then I’ll go and put my hand in the hands of Muhammad sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam. And surely, I’ll find him full of pity, kindness and mercy.”

He came out safely, accepted Islam and strove for Islam making up for the wrong that he had done as a disbeliever.


– If at the time of extreme difficulty we call upon Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala then at other times too we should call upon Him. When things are fine we don’t pray but when we are struck by a calamity we pray. A believer should pray throughout his life whether he is distressed or in comfort.

– Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala responds to the one who is inflicted even if it’s a disbeliever as we learn from the story of Ikramah radhiAllahu `anhu. His mercy proceeds His anger. We should never think Allah doesn’t listen to du’as, if He can listen to a mushrik’s du’a then why won’t He hear us out? All it requires is confidence and yaqeen while making du’a.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Al Anaam Ayah 40 and 41

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