Al-Anaam · Juz 8 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Anaam Ayaat 136 – 140

A Believer Submits to Allah’s Decree

The Arabs claimed to be on the Deen of Ibraheem `alayhi salaam while Ibraheem `alayhi salaam practiced Tawheed and that is what he established. In the following Ayaat the practices of the Mushrikeen are being refuted that they are far away from what Prophet Ibraheem practiced.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,


Shaytan Lured the Idolators to Kill Their Children

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala chastises and criticizes the idolators who invented innovations, Kufr and Shirk, and called on partners and rivals with Allah among His creation, although He created everything.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala was the One Who produced the fruits, produce and cattle. The Mushrikeen would assign a part or a section for the sake of Allah and the remaining to their idols. Notice that the word dharra which means “to scatter or multiply” and not khalaqa meaning “created” has been used. It is because fruits, produce and cattle multiply and grow in number.

This distribution done by the Mushrikeen is a lie. No percentage has been decided by Allah for such a distribution. For example, we have a percentage of 2.5 for Zakat that is assigned “by” Allah. But the distribution that the Mushrikeen did that such and such percentage of fruits, produce and cattle is for the sake of Allah and this much is for the sake of idols is all false.

`Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-`Awfi narrated that Ibn `Abbas radhiAllahu `anhu said, “When they, the enemies of Allah, would cultivate the land or collect produce, they would assign a part of it to Allah and another part to the idol. They would keep the share for the idol, whether land, produce or anything else, and preserve its division to such an extent that they would collect anything that accidentally falls from the share they assigned to Allah and add it to the share of the idol. If the water that they assigned for the idol irrigated something (a section of land, for instance) that they assigned for Allah, they would add whatever this water irrigated to the idol’s share! If the land or produce that they assigned for Allah was accidentally mixed with the share that they assigned for the idol, they would say that the idol is poor. Therefore, they would add it to the share they assigned for the idol and would not return it to the share they assigned for Allah. If the water that they assigned for Allah irrigated what they assigned for the idol they would leave it (the produce) for the idol. They also made some of their other property sacred, like the Baheerah, Sa’ibah, Waseelah and Ham, assigning them to the idols, claiming that they do so as way of seeking a means of approach to Allah.

`Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented, “Every type of slaughter that they would assign for Allah, would never be eaten unless they mentioned the names of their idols when slaughtering it. Yet for what they sacrificed in the names of the idols, they would not mention Allah’s Name when slaughtering it.”

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala ends Ayah 136 by saying, “Evil is that which they rule.” Meaning evil is that which they determined, for they committed error in the division. Certainly, Allah is the Lord, Owner and Creator of all things and His is the dominion. All things are His property and under His supreme control, will and decree. There is no deity worthy of worship, or Lord, except Him. And even when the polytheists made this evil division, they did not preserve it, but cheated in it.

Ayah 137

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, just as the Shayateen lured the idolators to assign a share for Allah from what He created of agriculture and cattle – and a share for the idols, they also made it seem fair for them to kill their children, for fear of poverty, and burying their daughters alive, for fear of dishonor.

Idol worship and Satan worship had beautified for them killing their own children. They did not that they are destroying their own progeny; their own manpower. For example, today people abort their own children without realizing they are destroying themselves.

“…and to cover them with confusion in their religion…” these confusions muddled up the original religion. Now people do not know what was part of the religion and what was not.

“And if Allah had willed, they would not have done so…” meaning, all this occurred by Allah’s leave, will and decree, but He dislikes these practices, and He has the perfect wisdom in every decree. He is never questioned about what He does, but they all will be questioned.

“So leave them and that which they invent,” meaning, avoid and abandon them and what they do, for Allah will judge between you and them.


Ignorant Customs of the Idolators

The second custom that the Mushrikeen of Arabia used to practice was that they would release animals they called Baheerah and Sa’ibah in the name of idols and said that they were doing it for the pleasure of Allah.

The word Hijr [حِجْر] literally means “to prevent or prohibit”. It is from the same root as hajr which means “a rock”. When we place a rock somewhere it blocks the way.

The Mushrikeen would prohibit certain animals and crops. No one could ride over them, consume them as food or sell off to earn something. Restrictions were applied on them.

They would set another share from these animals and crops and would say, “None should eat of them except those whom we allow.” Who were these people that they allowed? The caretakers of their false gods. They were the righteous in their eyes. These were self-made laws. In Surah Yunus Ayah 59, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala said, “Say, ‘Have you seen what Allah has sent down to you of provision of which you have made [some] lawful and [some] unlawful?’ Say, ‘Has Allah permitted you [to do so], or do you invent [something] about Allah?’”

As-Suddi said that cattle forbidden to be used for burden were the Baheerah, Sa’ibah, Waseelah and Haam, as well as cattle for which the idolators did not mention Allah’s Name when slaughtering them nor when they were born.

*We have studied in detail about these animals in tafseer of Surah al-Ma’idah Ayat 103.

They would say we are doing this for Allah or to please Allah while Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “…[all of this] an invention of untruth about Him.” The idolators indeed lied when they attributed this evil to Allah’s religion and law; He did not allow them to do that nor did He approve it.

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala ends the Ayah by saying, “He will punish them for what they were inventing,” against Him and falsely attributing to Him.

Another false custom of the Mushrikeen was that whatever was in the bellies of the sacred animals was allowed for the consumption of males alone. This includes both milk and new born baby. The women were prohibited to drink milk of the sacred animals while their men were not. Similarly, the males were allowed to eat of the flesh of the young ones born from the wombs of sacred animals while women were not allowed to eat. However, if the young one was born dead or it died immediately after its birth, both the males and females could partake it.

Commenting on this Ayah Ibn `Abbas said, “When a sheep would give birth to a male sheep, they would slaughter it and feed it to their males, but not to their females. If the newly born lamb was female, they would not slaughter it, but if it was stillborn, they would share in it [with their females]. Allah forbade this practice.”

Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “…He will punish them for their description…” Description refers here the specification their self-asserted claim regarding what is lawful and what’s unlawful. Allah is All-Knowing and Wise in His actions, statements, law and decree. He will recompense His servants for their deeds.

Ayah 140 – A Believer Accepts Allah’s Decree

In Ayah 140, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala talks about the people who kill their children. They suffer loss in this world as well in the Hereafter.

When a person doesn’t have knowledge he acts foolishly or a person may have knowledge but he is not smart or worldly wise. The idolators suffered loss in this world and there is loss for them in the Hereafter, as well.

As for this life, they lost when they killed their children and made it difficult for themselves by prohibiting some types of their wealth, as an act of innovation that they invented on their own. As for the Hereafter, they will end up in the worst dwellings because they used to lie about Allah and invent falsehood about Him.

In Surah Yunus Ayaat 69 and 70 Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “Say, ‘Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed.’ [For them is brief] enjoyment in this world; then to Us is their return; then We will make them taste the severe punishment because they used to disbelieve.”

Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu `anhu commented, “If it pleases you to know how ignorant the Arabs used to be, then recite the Ayaat beyond Ayah one hundred and thirty in Surat al-Anaam.”

All of these practices show foolishness and ignorance.

“…prohibited what Allah had provided for them…” Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala gave them children and they killed them. Allah provided them with provision and they made it haram upon themselves. If a person is given children and provision and he makes it haram upon himself then he suffers loss in this dunya as well as akhirah.

A person should accept the decree of Allah as it is. He cannot make things halal and haram on his own. If Allah gives him children he accepts them. If he is blessed with a daughter he accepts it. He eats from whatever lawful food Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has provided him.


– This ayah teaches us that innovating anything in religion for the sake of “Allah” is forbidden even if it apparently seems good. Today, we have many practices that have no evidence in Deen. For example, when a girl gets married she is made to pass under the Qur’an, is there any evidence for that? A week before her marriage she is clothed in a yellow dress, is there a basis for that? Nothing whatsoever.

– We should check our actions. When it comes to difficult situation such as we have a limited time or resources whose right is it that we compromise? For example, our day is divided into various portions. Some portion of our day is for worship, some for work, some for family and some for rest. There’s a day when we are on a tight schedule which part of our day will we cut down on; time for worship or time for rest? Similarly, when we have some extra time on our hands where will we dedicate that time? Sitting before television catching up the episodes that we missed, chatting on phone, trying out a new recipe, sleeping a little longer or will be spend that extra time with the Qur’an, offering nawafil prayers, doing some extra deeds?

We compromise on the Rights of Allah?

It is sooooooo important for us to check our emails several times during the day but the Qur’an? Once a month or once a week is enough! When it comes to spending on the Deen of Allah we have no money. But when it comes to buying a new dress [as the lawn parade will show] or trying out a new restaurant or that craft that we so adore, we will splurge without a thought.

This is injustice. This is unfair to Allah. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “Evil is what they do.” Whatever we do in this life is the darajah [rank] that we will get in the Hereafter.

– One of the ignorant practices among the Mushrikeen were killing their own children. There were various reasons fear of poverty, fear of embarrassment, fear of dishonor. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in Surah al-Isra Ayah 31, “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.”

This is what the pagan Arabs used to do but today this practice has become so common in our society as well. People are embarrassed of their daughters. So they abort them or give them away after they are born. People abort their children stating, “We cannot afford” it’s because we have set our living standards so high. Allah provides for everyone. Never should the fear of provision lead a person to killing his own child. People get their child aborted when they find out he will be born with some disability. We should rather leave the matter to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala.

The Mushrikeen would dedicate their children to the idols and then also kill their children because of the idols. What right do we have when the child is given to us by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala?

– We learn that gender discrimination has emerged from Shirk.

– This ayah tells us that killing children is a great crime. People kill their children out of fear of hunger. They think as if they are the provider and not Allah.

– True religion is what Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala told us. If one doesn’t follow that path he will suffer loss in this world as well as the next.

DOWNLOAD PDF: al-Anaam Ayaat 136 – 140

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