The Quran

Commentaries for 16.8

An Nahl (The bee) - النحل

16.8 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And horses and mules and asses (hath He created) that ye may ride them) in the way of Allah, (and for ornament) they are good to look at. (And He createth that which ye know not) He says: He created things that you do not know, since He has not named them to you.
16.8 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And, He created, horses and mules and asses, that you may ride them, and for adornment (wa-zīnatan is an object denoting reason; the use of both of these reasons [‘to ride’ and ‘for adornment’] as illustrations of [God’s] graces does not preclude that they may have been created for other purposes, such as for consumption in the case of horses — which is established [as lawful] by a hadīth in both Sahīhs [of Bukhārī and Muslim]); and He creates what you do not know, of marvelous and strange things.
16.8 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
This refers to another category of animals that Allah has created as a blessing for His servants; horses, mules and donkeys, all of which He made for riding and adornment.
This is the main purpose for which these animals were created. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Jabir bin `Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah forbade us to eat the meat of domestic donkeys, but he allowed us to eat the meat of horses.'' Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud reported with two chains of narration, each of which meet the conditions of Muslim, that Jabir said: "On the day of Khaybar we slaughtered horses, mules and donkeys. The Messenger of Allah forbade us from eating the mules and donkeys, but he did not forbid us from eating the horses.'' According to Sahih Muslim, Asma' bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "At the time of the Messenger of Allah we slaughtered a horse and ate it when we were in Al-Madinah.''
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."
16.8 Tustari - Al-Tustari
…And He creates what you do not know [about].He said:Regarding the outward meaning of the verse, it is as Ibn ʿAbbās y related, that the Prophet said: ‘Among the things which God, Exalted is He, has created is an earth (arḍ) made from white pearl with a length of a thousand years and a width of a thousand years. There is a mountain on it made of red ruby and that planet is surrounded by a sky. On it there is an angel who has filled its space from East to West, who has 660,000 heads, each head having 660,000 mouths and each mouth having 660,000 tongues, and each of these tongues praises God, Exalted is He, 660,000 times a day. When the Day of Resurrection arrives he [that angel] will behold the greatness (ʿaẓama) of God, Exalted is He, and say: “By Your might and majesty, I have not worshipped You as You deserve to be worshipped.”’ God has said, Exalted is He: And He creates what you do not know [about]. The inner meaning of these words [is that] God, glorified be His majesty, has taught you to restrain yourself when your intellect (ʿaql) fails to grasp the effects of [His] creation and the multifarious dimensions of [His] knowledge (funūn al-ʿilm), so that it [your intellect] does not meet them with denial (inkār), for He has created what you do not know about, neither you nor anyone else among His creatures, except those whom God has taught, Mighty and Majestic is He. He was asked about His words: