The Quran

Commentaries for 16.5

An Nahl (The bee) - النحل

16.5 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And the cattle) i.e. the camels (hath He created, whence ye have warm clothing) made of their skin (and uses) you drink their milk and use them as a means of transport, (and whereof ye eat) and you eat their meat.
16.5 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And the cattle, camels, cows and sheep (al-an‘āma, ‘cattle’, is in the accusative because of the implied verb [governing it], as explained by [the following words, khalaqahā lakum]), He created them for you, [you being] included among the number of mankind. In them there is warmth, that by which you keep warm in the way of clothes and garments, [taken] from their hairs and wools, as well as [other] uses, such as [their] offspring, milk and for you to ride, and of them you eat (the adverbial clause [wa-minhā, ‘of them’] precedes [the verb] for the purpose of [establishing harmony with] the end-rhyme [of the Qur’ānic verse]);
16.5-7 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Cattle are part of the Creation of Allah and a Blessing from Him
Allah reminds His servants of the blessing in His creation of An`am, this term includes camels, cows and sheep, as was explained in detail in Surat Al-An`am where the "eight pairs'' are mentioned. The blessings include the benefits derived from their wool and hair, from which clothes and furnishings are made, from their milk which is drunk, and their young which are eaten. Their beauty is a kind of adornment, thus Allah says,
وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا جَمَالٌ حِينَ تُرِيحُونَ
(And there is beauty in them for you, when you bring them home in the evening.) which is when they are brought back from the pasture in the evening. This is a reference to how their flanks become fat, their udders fill with milk and their humps become bigger.
وَحِينَ تَسْرَحُونَ
(and as you lead them forth to pasture (in the morning).) meaning when you send them out to the pasture in the morning.
وَتَحْمِلُ أَثْقَالَكُمْ
(And they carry your loads) meaning the heavy burdens that you cannot move or carry by yourselves
إِلَى بَلَدٍ لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ بَـلِغِيهِ إِلاَّ بِشِقِّ الأَنفُسِ
(to a land that you could not reach except with great trouble to yourselves) meaning journeys for Hajj, `Umrah, military campaigns, and journeys for the purpose of trading, and so on. They use these animals for all kinds of purposes, for riding and for carrying loads, as Allah says:
وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِى الاٌّنْعَـمِ لَعِبْرَةً نُّسْقِيكُمْ مِّمَّا فِى بُطُونِهَا وَلَكُمْ فيِهَا مَنَـفِعُ كَثِيرَةٌ وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ - وَعَلَيْهَا وَعَلَى الْفُلْكِ تُحْمَلُونَ
(And verily, there is indeed a lesson for you in the An'am (cattle). We give you to drink (milk) of that which is in their bellies. And there are numerous (other) benefits in them for you. Of them you eat, and on them and on ships you are carried.) (23:21-22)
اللَّهُ الَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الاٌّنْعَـمَ لِتَرْكَـبُواْ مِنْهَا وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ - وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَنَـفِعُ وَلِتَـبْلُغُواْ عَلَيْهَا حَاجَةً فِى صُدُورِكُمْ وَعَلَيْهَا وَعَلَى الْفُلْكِ تُحْمَلُونَ - وَيُرِيكُمْ ءَايَـتِهِ فَأَىَّ ءَايَـتِ اللَّهِ تُنكِرُونَ
(Allah, it is He Who has made cattle for you, so that some you may ride, and some you may eat. And you find (many other) benefits in them; you may reach by their means a desire that is in your breasts (i.e. carry your goods, loads), and on them and on ships you are carried. And He shows you His Ayat. Which, then of the Ayat of Allah do you deny) (40:79-81). Thus here Allah says, after enumerating these blessings,
إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(Truly, your Lord is full of kindness, Most Merciful.) meaning, your Lord is the One Who has subjugated the An`am (cattle) to you. This is like the Ayat:
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْاْ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَا لَهُم مِمَّا عَمِلَتْ أَيْدِينَآ أَنْعـماً فَهُمْ لَهَا مَـلِكُونَ - وَذَلَّلْنَـهَا لَهُمْ فَمِنْهَا رَكُوبُهُمْ وَمِنْهَا يَأْكُلُونَ
(Do they not see, that of what Our Hands have created, We created the An'am (cattle) for them, so that they may own them, and We subdued them so that they may ride some and they may eat some.)(36:71-72).
وَالَّذِى خَلَقَ الأَزْوَجَ كُلَّهَا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ الْفُلْكِ وَالاٌّنْعَـمِ مَا تَرْكَبُونَ - لِتَسْتَوُواْ عَلَى ظُهُورِهِ ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُواْ سُبْحَـنَ الَّذِى سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَـذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ - وَإِنَّآ إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ
(And He made mounts for you out of ships and cattle. In order that you may ride on their backs, and may then remember the favor of your Lord when you mount upon them, and say: "Glory be to the One Who subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our efforts). And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return!'') (43:12-14) Ibn `Abbas said,
لَكُمْ فِيهَا دِفْءٌ
(In them there is warmth) refers to clothing;
وَمَنَـفِعُ
(and numerous benefits) refers to the ways in which they derive the benefits of food and drink from them.''
16.4-9 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This has two meanings and both are meant here.
(1) Though Allah created man from an insignificant sperm-drop, he is capable of arguing and giving reasons in support of his claim.
(2) Man who has such an insignificant origin, has become so vain that he does not hesitate to dispute even with his Creator.
If considered in its first sense, it is a chain in the series of arguments given in many succeeding verses to prove the truth of the Message of the Holy Prophet. (Please refer to E.N. 15). If taken in the second sense, it is meant to warn man that he should not forget the insignificant origin of his existence while engaged in his rebellious arguments against his Creator. If he remembered the different stages of his humiliating birth and growth, he would consider many times before he assumed a haughty and rebellious attitude towards his Creator.
That is, "There are many agencies which are working for the good of man but he is quite unaware of such servants and the services rendered by them."
This contains an argument for Prophethood along with a proof of Tauhid and of Allah's Compassion and Providence. The argument is this:
There are many divergent ways of thought and action open for man to choose from. Obviously all these divergent ways cannot be straight ways, because there can be only one straight way; therefore, there can be only one right theory of life which is based on that way, and only one right way of life which is based on that right theory. Thus it is clear that the choice of the right way of life is man's most important and basic need, for its wrong choice would inevitably lead to his ruin. This is because all other things fulfill his animal needs only, but this is the greatest necessity of his life as a human being and without its fulfillment his life would be an utter failure.
Now, it cannot be expected that Allah Who made so many provisions, and on such a large scale, for the fulfillment of the animal life of man, did not make any arrangement for the fulfillment of this real and greatest necessity of man. Just as He has provided for all the necessities of his life, so He has also provided for this greatest need of his through Prophethood. If Prophethood is denied then it should be pointed out in what way Allah has fulfilled this basic need of man. Experience of centuries has shown that mankind has always blundered whenever it. has chosen a way of life by itself. This is because Man's wisdom and intelligence are limited, and he cannot depend on these for the choice of the right way of life. Above all, one cannot say that Allah has made no arrangement for this basic need of man, for this will be the greatest misconception of Allah that He may make most elaborate arrangements for man's animal life but should leave him in the lurch to search out a way for himself for the fulfillment of this most important and basic need.
Here a question arises: "Why didn't Allah will to guide all the people aright inherently when He had taken upon Himself to show the Right Way ?" It is true that Allah could have imbued Man, like other creatures, with the inborn instinct and enabled him to choose the Right Way without conscious thought, experience or teaching. But this would have been against His will which was to create a being, having will and power and freedom to follow the Right Way or the wrong way, whichever he chose for himself. This is why he has been endowed with different means of knowledge and powers of conscious thought, deliberation and will, and has been empowered with the authority to make use of all powers in him and all things around him. Moreover, He has placed in him and all around him such factors as might lead him to guidance or deviation. All these things would have become meaningless, had he been created righteous by birth, and he could never have attained the heights of progress, which can be achieved only by the right use of freedom. That is why Allah has chosen Prophethood for Man's guidance, and left him free to follow or reject a Prophet. This is a test by means of which Allah judges whether Man accepts the guidance that is presented to him in a rational way."