Al-Anaam · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Anaam Ayaat 109 – 110

Asking for Miracles and Swearing to Believe if They Come

From time to time, the Mushrikeen demanded a miracle to be shown for them to affirm the truth. When they would make this demand they would swear by Allah their strongest oaths. This demand was made out of their defiance, disbelief and rebellion and not out of the desire for guidance and knowledge.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,


The word jahda [جَهْدَ] is from the root letters jeem-ha-dal and jahd is “to put one’s maximum strength in something”. The idolaters swore by Allah their strongest oaths that if a miracle is shown to them they will surely believe in it. The Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam was told to reply that the Signs that they sought were with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. If He wills, He will send them, and if He wills, He can ignore their requests.

The reality is that there was a long list of miracles that the unbelievers demanded. We read about some of them in Surah Al-Isra Ayaat 90 – 93, “And they say, ‘We will not believe you until you break open for us from the ground a spring. Or [until] you have a garden of palm trees and grapes and make rivers gush forth within them in force [and abundance]. Or you make the heaven fall upon us in fragments as you have claimed or you bring Allah and the angels before [us]. Or you have a house of gold or you ascend into the sky. And [even then], we will not believe in your ascension until you bring down to us a book we may read.’”

Therefore, the address at the end of Ayah 109 changes from the idolaters to the Muslims, “…And what will make you perceive that even if a sign came, they would not believe…” It means O believers what will make you realize that if even the idolaters are shown the miracle they will still not believe. The demand for miracles is not made out of their genuine yearning for the truth. Rather a person that does not want to believe only he puts demands. These are mere excuses for not believing.

The word nuqallibu [نُقَلِّبُ] appearing in Ayah 110, means “to turn something about”.

The word afidatahum [أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ] is from the root letters fa-hamza-dal and it means “hearts”. While absarahum [أَبْصَـرَهُمْ] is the plural of basar which means “vision”. Meaning that the unbelievers’ hearts will be turned away such that they will see the miracles yet they will not feel it. Fuad is a heart that feels emotions. Why will their heart not feel anything? It is because when the first time they were shown a miracle they did not believe. Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas radhiAllahu `anhu said about this Ayah, “When the idolaters rejected what Allah sent down, their hearts did not settle on any one thing and they turned away from every matter (of benefit).”

This tells us that the people of Makkah were shown a miracle before this ayah was revealed. What miracle was that? It was the splitting of the moon. When they saw the moon split they called it magic and denied the Messenger sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala ends the Ayah by saying, Wanadharuhum “…And We will leave them…” meaning abandon them to wander blindly in their disbelief and misguidance.


– In Ayah 109, we learn that the Muslims have been directly instructed that their duty is to stay firm on the true faith in their individual capacity, as well as convey it to others correctly and properly. If they, even then, show signs of rigidness and obstinacy, one should not worry about them because no one has to be forced into becoming a Muslim. If this was what could be done by force, who can claim to have greater coercive power than Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. He Himself would have made everyone a Muslim.

– In Ayah 110, we learn that when Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala invites us towards guidance or gives us an opportunity to do good we should hasten towards it. If we delay our response or show our indifference Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has the capability of blocking our hearts permanently. We will be deprived of benefiting from blessed opportunities in the future. This is a punishment.

DOWNLOAD PDF: al-Anaam Ayaat 109-110

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