Al-Anaam · Juz 8 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Anaam Ayaat 159 – 160

Criticizing Division in the Religion

Ibn Katheer reports that Ayah 159 was revealed about the Jews and the Christians. Ibn `Abbas radhiAllahu `anhu commented about the Ayah that before Muhammad (salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam) was sent, the Jews and the Christians disputed and divided into sects. When Muhammad was sent, Allah revealed to him this Ayah.

It is also said that the Ayah is about the Mushrikeen who instead of worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala have divided up their worship between various gods.

Today, the Muslims are getting guidance from right and left. They are leaving the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam, disputing among themselves and forming sects. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,


It is apparent that this Ayah refers to all those who defy the religion of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala, or revert from it. Allah sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth so that He makes it victorious and dominant above all religions. His Law is one and does not contain any contradiction or incongruity.

Therefore, those who dispute in the religion, and break up into sects then Allah has purified His Messenger from their ways. What is the correct religion? It was said in Surah al-Hajj Ayah 78, “[It is] the religion of your father, Ibraheem. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people.”

All the Messengers have brought the same message of worshipping Allah alone without partners and adhering to the Law of the last Messenger. All other paths are types of misguidance, ignorance, sheer opinion and desires, and as such, the Messengers are free from them. All the previous nations were ‘Muslims’ then they deviated and became Jews, Christians and polytheists. They became so fond of what they have invented that they went out of the true Deen. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala said to the Prophet Muhammad, “You are not [associated] with them in anything.”

Here is a stern warning against making additions in established religion. According to Tafseer Mazhari, included here are the peoples of the past communities as well, those who had abandoned their basic religion and had added to it things on their own – and with them, there are the deviators and innovators of this Ummah too, who keep adding baseless things, on their own, into Islam.

About this, the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “My Ummah will face the same conditions faced by the Bani Isra`eel. The kind of evil practices in which they got involved will also affect the people of my Ummah. The Bani Isra`eel had split into seventy two sects. My Ummah will break up into seventy three sects – all of them will go to Hell, except one.” The Sahabahs asked about the group which would be so blessed with salvation. He said, “Maa ana `alayhi wa ashabi.” Meaning that on which I am and my Companions. [Reported by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Daw`oud from Ibn `Umar]

Based on a narration from Al-`Irbad ibn Siriyah, Imam Ahmad, Abu Daw`oud, At-Tirmidhi and others have reported the Prophet said,

“Those who live after me will see many differences. Therefore, (I order you that) you should, abiding by my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my rightly guided successors strictly, keep doing what you do while adhering to nothing but these, avoid the temptation of falling for new methods because everything introduced anew into the religion is Bid`ah, and every Bid`ah is error and straying.”

Then in Ayah 160 Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala mentioned His kindness in His decisions and His justice on the Day of Resurrection.

In the previous Ayah the punishments were stated for those who turn away from the straight path and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah. Now, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala mentions the procedure of reward and punishment in the Hereafter. It has been said that a person who does one good deed will get ten times more in return – and a person who commits one sin, the return for him will be equal to that one sin.

There are several ahadeeth that are in agreement with the apparent wording of this honorable Ayah. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said about his Lord,

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ رَحِيمٌ مَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَةً فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ عَشْرًا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةٍ إِلَى أَضْعَافٍ كَثِيرَةٍ. وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَةً فَإِنْ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ وَاحِدَةً أَوْ يَمْحُوهَا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَلَا يَهْلِكُ عَلَى اللهِ إِلَّا هَالِك

“Your Lord is Most Merciful. Whoever intends to perform a good deed and does not do it, it will be written for him as a good deed. If he performs it, it will be written for him as ten deeds, to seven hundred, to multifold. Whoever intends to commit an evil deed, but does not do it, it will be written for him as a good deed. If he commits it, it will be written for him as a sin, unless Allah erases it. Only those who deserve destruction will be destroyed by Allah.”[Al-Bukhari, Muslim and An-Nasa’i also recorded this hadeeth]

While Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala will recompense for a good deed ten times, seven hundred times or even more but for bad deed He will only recorded as one bad deen which too can be erased by true repentance and enthusiasm to do more good deed. This tells us how merciful Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is.


People should not follow their leaders, scholars, sheikhs and peers, the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam is the only leader of Muslims whatever he taught us and performed is what we hold on to.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Al-Anaam Ayaat 159 – 160

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