Al-Anaam · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Anaam Ayaat 80 – 83

The One Who Fears Allah isn’t Afraid of Anything Else

In the previous ayaat, we studied the debate that Ibraheem `alayhi salaam held with his father, `Azar and with his entire Nimrudic people. After having conclusively refuting their worship of idols and stars, the people disputed with him about Tawheed that he called them to. Both parties presented their arguments to justify their stance.

Narrating this incident Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala states,


Explaining the ayah, Ibn Katheer writes in his tafseer what Ibraheem `alayhi salaam meant was, “Do you argue with me about Allah, other than Whom there is no god worthy of worship, while He has guided me to the Truth and made me aware of it. Therefore, how can I ever consider your misguided statements and false doubts?”

The people threatened Prophet Ibraheem that if he didn’t worship their false gods he will be destroyed. Ibraheem `alayhi salaam said, among the proofs to the falsehood of your creed, is that these false gods that you worship do not bring about any effect, and I do not fear them or care about them. Therefore, if these gods are able to cause harm, then use them against me and do not give me respite. Ibraheem’s statement, “Unless my Lord should will something,” means only Allah causes benefit or harm. Allah’s knowledge encompasses all things and nothing escapes His complete observation.

It has been recorded in Tafseer Ibn Katheer that this argument is similar to what Prophet Hud `alayhi salaam used against his people. [See Surah Hud : 53-56]

He ends the ayah by saying, “…then will you not remember?” Meaning that this calls for some thinking on your part. You threaten me with your idols although they have no power over me. While Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is All-Knowing and All-Powerful, then who should be at peace and who should be fearful? Those who worship Him in Whose Hand is harm and benefit, or those who worship what cannot bring harm or benefit? Who among these two parties has more right to be saved from Allah’s torment on the Day of Resurrection? Re-consider your idol worship and refrain from worshipping them.

The question asked in Ayah 81 is answered in Ayah 82. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala states,


Only those who believe in Allah and then do not go on to mix up their faith with injustice shall be the people who can hope to be safe against punishment. They are the guided ones in this life and the Hereafter. Here, Zulm [injustice] refers to Shirk [associating partners with Allah].

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah said when this Ayah was revealed it was hard on the people. The Companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Who among us did not commit Zulm against himself?” The Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam replied,


إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ الَّذِي تَعْنُونَ، أَلَمْ تَسْمَعُوا مَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ الصَّالِحُ

It is not what you understood from it. Did you not hear what the righteous servant (Luqman) said,

يَبُنَىَّ لاَ تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Shirk is a great Zulm indeed. Surah Luqman :13]. Therefore, it is about Shirk.” 

Therefore, the sense of the ayah is that one who enters the bliss of emaan and then does not associate anyone with the Being and the Attributes of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala shall remain safe from punishment and considered guided.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala concludes this narration by reminding us that this triumph of Ibraheem `alayhi salaam in his debate against his people and in which he had silenced them was a blessing of Allah for He inspired him with the arguments to put before his people and to carry out the conversation the way he did.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,


This was a special favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. Sometimes we are in an argument with someone and we don’t know how to defend our religion. We are completely blank. At other times, Ayaat of the Qur’an come naturally to our mind and we can cite proper examples. This is a sign that it is Allah Who is inspiring us. There’s nothing great about us. For our intelligence, our understanding of a matter or our art of oration are all gifts of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. We wouldn’t have acquired them had Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala not willed for us.

By saying, “We raise by degrees whom We will…” Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala hints at the station of special reverence received by Ibraheem `alayhi salaam in this world which would last through generations to come until the Last Day, a homage universally paid by Jews, Christians and Muslims.


– We learn when a person leaves something for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala, other people do not leave him. They threaten him with harmful consequences. For example, a person who refuses to buy his house on Riba people put negative thoughts in his mind that you are only wasting your money on rent. Through mortgage at least the house will be yours in twenty year’s time. Similarly, when a woman chooses to cover herself up people scare her no one is going to like you now. No proposals will come for you or they say that you look ugly in it. When a person leaves a haram job people scare him w.r.t. his provision that how are you going to survive, how are you going to afford this and that. A young student who chooses to practice Islam in its entirety or dedicates time for worship and Islamic studies is sometimes discouraged by others in the garb of sincerity and well-wishing that look you are so young you have an entire life to worship and practice, focus on your studies first, live your life. But what about the good news that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala gives to the youth that those who worship Him while young will be in the shade of Allah on the Day of Judgment?

One can go to university in the old age but youth will not return. Mariyam `alayhi salaam gave up her youth for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. And He gave her a son and named a Surah after her.

– So we learn when you do something good people will come and discourage. Sometimes they will be really sincere but we have to ascertain whether we will choose what they offer us or what Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala commands us to do.

– We should remember that if we suffer any harm or enjoy a blessing it is from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. Everything comes by His permission. This life is a test. If not this test then there would have been another test. We are never free from tests.

– Tawheed makes one confident. A person is focused on Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. He is not scared of Jinns or other people. A person who does Shirk or does not give the Haq of Allah should be fearful and worried. Such a person is always at risk. A person who does even the smallest of injustice cannot live a peaceful life. There’s guilt in his heart.  On the other hand, a person who has Tawheed is at peace. He is not afraid of anything or anyone besides Allah.

– In Ayah 83, we learn we should never be deluded by our accomplishments. Whatever we have, the ilm [knowledge] that we possess or the hikmah [wisdom] that we are blessed with are all blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. A person who is able to apply the right knowledge at the right time is specially favored by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. Such a person has a high status in front of Him.

What is one of the repetitive messages that Qur’an gives us? Acquiring knowledge! Again and again we are reminded of the virtues of learning, acquiring knowledge, and contemplation. For indeed, this is what distinguishes a man from the crowd. After acquiring knowledge Qur’an reminds us through examples of the past that whatever skill that we have should be used in the “right” path. If Allah has blessed us with speech skills we should use that for eloquently presenting our Deen to others, for calling people to Islam, and for connecting people to Allah. If we are able to comprehend a matter correctly, we should not stop there but help others understand that as well.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala allow us to take benefit from the stories of the Prophets [`alayhi salaam] and the rightly guided people, and use our skills and resources in the right way while holding on to sincerity and humility, aameen.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Al Anaam Ayaat 80 – 83

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