The Quran

Commentaries for 6.109

Al Anam (Cattle) - الأنعام

6.109 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And they swear a solemn oath) an utmost oath, for when one swears by Allah, one swears a solemn oath (by Allah that if there come unto them a portent) as they have asked (they will believe therein) they will believe in that sign. (Say) O Muhammad, to those who sneer and their folk: (Portents are with Allah) the signs come from Allah (and (so is) that which telleth you) and how do you know, O believers (that if such) the signs (came unto them they would not believe) by Allah they will not believe in the sign.
6.109 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
They, that is, the disbelievers of Mecca, have sworn by God the most earnest oaths that if there came to them a sign, of what they requested, they will believe in it. Say, to them: ‘Signs are only with God’, and He sends them down as [and when] He wills; I am but a warner. But what will make you realise?, how would you know if they have believed, if these [signs] did come [to them]? In other words, you would not know this; truly, when they come, they will not believe, because of what I already know (a variant reading [for lā yu’minūna, ‘they will not believe’] has lā tu’minūna, ‘you will not believe’, making the address to the disbelievers; another [variant reading] has annahā [instead of innahā, ‘that truly’] as meaning la‘alla, ‘that perhaps’, or as governed by the preceding clause [la’in jā’athum āyatun, ‘if there came to them a sign’).
6.109 Kashani - Kashani
They have sworn by God the most earnest oaths that if there came to them a sign, to the end [of the verse]: they demanded that habits [within the natural world] be broken and refused clear proofs, because they were veiled by sense and all that is sensory, which is why the call [made] on the basis of wisdom and confirmation through proof, that works with the intelligent ones who are prepared, was of no use with those. Say, 'Signs, that is, the breaking of the habits [of nature] which they requested belong to the world of power which is only with Him. But what will make you realise, that they will not believe when these [signs] comeḍ In other words, I know better than you do that they will not believe in them. Or [it means] what will make you realise that they will believe if these [signs] were to comeḍ Perhaps if they were to come, they would not believe in them. For in the case of he from whom God does not want belief, He will turn his heart and his eyesight over upon the coming of the sign which he had requested and upon the coming of which he claimed that he would believe, such that he will say, 'This is sorcery!' and will not believe in it just as he did not believe before the coming of the sign. He [God] will then leave him to the manifestation of his soul in its attributes and his veiling of himself therewith; that is why He says [the following] at the end of the second verse [in this narrative]:
6.109-110 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Asking for Miracles and Swearing to Believe if They Come
Allah states that the idolators swore their strongest oaths by Allah,
لَئِن جَآءَتْهُمْ ءَايَةٌ
(that if there came to them a sign...) a miracle or phenomenon,
لَّيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا
(they would surely believe therein.) affirming its truth,
قُلْ إِنَّمَا الاٌّيَـتُ عِندَ اللَّهِ
(Say: "Signs are but with Allah.'') 6:109 meaning: Say, O Muhammad - to those who ask you for signs out of defiance, disbelief and rebellion, not out of the desire for guidance and knowledge - "The matter of sending signs is for Allah. If He wills, He sends them to you, and if He wills, He ignores your request.'' Allah said next,
وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَآ إِذَا جَآءَتْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
(And what will make you perceive that (even) if it came, they will not believe) It was said that `you' in `make you preceive' refers to the idolators, according to Mujahid. In this case, the Ayah would mean, what makes you -- you idolators -- preceive that you are truthful in the vows that you swore Therefore, in this recitation, the Ayah means, the idolators will still not believe if the sign that they asked for came. It was also said that `you' in, `what will make you preceive', refers to the believers, meaning, what will make you preceive, O believers, that the idolators will still not believe if the signs come. Allah also said,
مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ
("What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you'') 7:12 and,
وَحَرَامٌ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَـهَآ أَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَرْجِعُونَ
(And a ban is laid on every town (population) which We have destroyed that they shall not return (to this world again).) 21:95 These Ayat mean: `What made you, O Iblis, refrain from prostrating, although I commanded you to do so, and, in the second Ayah, that village shall not return to this world again. In the Ayah above 6:109, the meaning thus becomes: What makes you perceive, O believers, who wish eagerly for the disbelievers to believe, that if the Ayat came to them they would believe Allah said next,
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ
(And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time,) Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said about this Ayah, "When the idolators rejected what Allah sent down, their hearts did not settle on any one thing and they turned away from every matter (of benefit).'' Mujahid said that Allah's statement,
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ
(and We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, ) means, We prevent them from the faith, and even if every sign came to them, they will not believe, just as We prevented them from faith the first time. Similar was said by `Ikrimah and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah mentions what the servants will say before they say it and what they will do before they do it. Allah said;
وَلاَ يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيرٍ
(And none can inform you like Him Who is the All-Knower.) 35:14 and,
أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يحَسْرَتَى عَلَى مَا فَرَّطَتُ فِى جَنبِ اللَّهِ
(Lest a person should say, "Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allah.'') 39:56 until,
لَوْ أَنَّ لِى كَـرَّةً فَأَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
("If only I had another chance, then I should indeed be among the doers of good.'') 39:58. So Allah, glory be to Him, states that if they were sent back to life, they would not accept the guidance,
وَلَوْ رُدُّواْ لَعَـدُواْ لِمَا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَـذِبُونَ
(But if they were returned, they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) 6:28 Allah said,
وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ
(And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away (from guidance), as they refused to believe therein for the first time,) meaning: `If they were sent back to this life, they would be prevented from embracing the guidance, just as We prevented them from it the first time, when they were in the life of this world.'' Allah said,
وَنَذَرُهُمْ
(and We shall leave them...) and abandon them,
فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ
(in their trespass...) meaning, disbelief, according to Ibn `Abbas and As-Suddi. Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah said that `their trespass' means, `their misguidance'. m
يَعْمَهُونَ
(to wander blindly) or playfully, according to Al-A`mash. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi`, Abu Malik and others commented, "to wander in their disbelief.''
6.109-113 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here "Sign" stands for such a tangible miracle seeing which they should have no alternative left but to acknowledge that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) was a true Prophet appointed by Allah.
That is, "I have no power to bring about and present Signs, for these are entirely in the power of Allah and He may or may not show them."
These words are addressed to those Muslims, who ardently wished (and sometimes even expressed their wish) that their misguided brethren should be shown such a Sign as might bring them to the Right Way. To this Allah has answered, 'You should realize that they would not believe even if a Sign were shown to them, for this demand is merely a pretext for their disbelief.
That is, there has been no change in their mentality since the first time they heard and rejected the Message of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). They are still following the same crooked and perverted way of looking at the Message and, therefore, are unable to see and understand it rightly.
That is, "As they are not going to reject falsehood and accept the Truth by making a free and deliberate choice, the only alternative left for making them follow it is that Allah should force it upon them: He should change their nature so as to deprive them of the freedom of thought and action like other species which have not been made responsible for what they do. But this is against the wisdom of the object for which Allah has created man. You should not, therefore, expect that Allah would make them believers by His supernatural intervention."
Allah is consoling His Messenger, so as to say, "You should not worry at all about the united and active antagonism of the satans from among men and jinn against your Mission. This is not a new thing only happening to you for it has always been happening like this to the Messengers. Whenever a Messenger came to show the Right Way, all the satanic powers girded up their loins to make his Mission a failure.
"Charming things" are all those devices, schemes, suspicions, objections, etc., that are employed by the satans to excite and incite the common people against the Message and the Messenger who invites them to the Truth. Then all these things have been called the means of deceit and delusion as a whole, for all the weapons that the opponent use against the Truth are, in fact, deceptions not only for others but also for the deceivers themselves, though they appear to be very useful and effective weapons.
We have already explained in E.N. 73 above the fact of this matter, but the fine distinction between Allah's "will" (mashiyat) and His approval (rada) should also be kept in mind; otherwise there might arise very serious misunderstandings. It must be clearly understood that nothing whatsoever can happen without the "will" and permission of Allah, for no incident can happen, unless Allah makes room for it in His vast scheme and provides means for its happening. But it does not necessarily mean that Allah also. approves of and is pleased with that incident. For instance, no thief can commit theft, no murderer can kill, no tyrant can be tyrannical, no breaker of peace can cause disorder, no unbeliever can disbelieve and no mushrik can commit shirk, etc., etc., without the "Will" of Allah. Likewise, no believer can have Faith and no pious person can be pious unless it be the "Will" of Allah; yet He is not pleased with the first kind of bad deeds, whereas He is pleased with and approves of and likes the second kind of good deeds. It is true that the "Will" of Allah is working for an ultimate great good, but that can only come about by means of a conflict between light and darkness, good and bad, peace and disorder. Therefore, He allows, for the sake of His great good designs, the necessary freedom both to the powers of obedience and to those of disobedience, of piety and sin, of Prophethood and the forces of evil, so that both might be allowed to perform the deeds of their own choice and to those of His creatures (men and jinn) who have been delegated with a limited authority and the consequent responsibility. Everyone is free to make a choice of good deeds or of bad deeds for himself in this world. Both the good and the bad people are allowed to have the necessary means, as far as it suits and fits into the Divide Design, but only those who make a choice of good works merit His pleasure and approval, for Allah likes that His servants should make the right use of their freedom of choice and adopt good instead of evil.
In this connection, it will be worthwhile to understand why Allah mentions over and over again that it is by His "Will" that the enemies of Truth have been allowed to carry on their nefarious activities. This is to impress upon the Holy Prophet, and through him on his followers, that the nature of their work is different from that of the angels, who carry out the Commands of Allah without meeting with any resistance. Their Mission, requires that in their conflict with the wicked and rebellious people, they should exert their utmost to make the Way of Allah dominant over their ways. That is why it is the "Will" of Allah to allow such people as have deliberately chosen the way of rebellion against Allah to exert their worst in pursuance of their choice. Likewise, He allows the` Believers also full opportunity to exert their utmost in the service and obedience of Allah that they have deliberately chosen. Though He is pleased with and gives His help and succor to the Believers and guides them to the Right Way because they do the deeds He likes them to do, yet they should not expect that Allah will force, by His supernatural intervention, the unbelievers to believe, if they do not want to believe by their free choice; or that He will remove by force from their way those satans amongst men and jinn who have deliberately chosen to use all the powers of their hearts and minds and bodies against the Truth in order to block its way. They should note it well that, if they sincerely intend to work for the cause of truth, virtue and righteousness, they will have to prove this by putting up hard struggle and exerting their utmost in their conflict with the worshipers of falsehood. If Allah had willed to demolish falsehood and make the Truth dominate by miracles, there was no need to entrust this work to the Believers for in that case He Himself could have arranged the things so as to leave no satan in the world and no room for shirk and disbelief to make their appearance.
6.109-111 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And they swear a solemn oath by Allah that if there come unto them a portent they will believe therein...) [6:109] up to (Howbeit, most of them are ignorant) [6:111]. Muhammad ibn Musa ibn al-Fadl informed us> Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub al-Umawi> Ahmad ‘Abd al-Jabbar> Yunus ibn Bukayr> Abu Ma‘shar> Muhammad ibn Ka‘b who said: “The Quraysh spoke to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. They said: ‘You inform us that Moses, peace be upon him, had a staff with which he struck a stone and twelve springs gushed forth, and that Jesus, peace be upon him, revived the dead, and that Thamud had a camel; why do you not bring us some of those signs so that we believe in you?’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked them: ‘What sign do you want me to bring you?’ They said: ‘Turn [mount] al-Safa into gold’. He said: ‘Would you believe in me if I did as you ask?’ They said: ‘Yes, by Allah, if you do, we will all follow you’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, stood up and began supplicating. Then, Gabriel, peace be upon him, came to him and said: ‘If you wish, I can turn al-Safa into gold. However, never did I send a sign that people disbelieved in except that I sent chastisement after it. If you wish, I will leave them until some of them decide to repent’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Leave them until some of them decide to repent’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (And they swear a solemn oath by Allah that if there come unto them a portent they will believe therein) up to His words (… they would not believe unless Allah so willed…) [6:111]”.