Surah Al-An'aam: Reading and Tafsir and Download

This page contains all verses of surah Al-An'aam in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الأنعام ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah Al-An'aam

Surah Al-An'aam
سُورَةُ الأَنۡعَامِ
Page 128 (Verses from 1 to 8)

ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَجَعَلَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ وَٱلنُّورَ ۖ ثُمَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ بِرَبِّهِمْ يَعْدِلُونَ هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن طِينٍ ثُمَّ قَضَىٰٓ أَجَلًا ۖ وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى عِندَهُۥ ۖ ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ تَمْتَرُونَ وَهُوَ ٱللَّهُ فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَفِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهْرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ وَمَا تَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ ءَايَةٍ مِّنْ ءَايَٰتِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَّا كَانُوا۟ عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا۟ بِٱلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِيهِمْ أَنۢبَٰٓؤُا۟ مَا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ أَلَمْ يَرَوْا۟ كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن قَرْنٍ مَّكَّنَّٰهُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مَا لَمْ نُمَكِّن لَّكُمْ وَأَرْسَلْنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيْهِم مِّدْرَارًا وَجَعَلْنَا ٱلْأَنْهَٰرَ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهِمْ فَأَهْلَكْنَٰهُم بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَأَنشَأْنَا مِنۢ بَعْدِهِمْ قَرْنًا ءَاخَرِينَ وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ كِتَٰبًا فِى قِرْطَاسٍ فَلَمَسُوهُ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ لَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ إِنْ هَٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ وَقَالُوا۟ لَوْلَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ ۖ وَلَوْ أَنزَلْنَا مَلَكًا لَّقُضِىَ ٱلْأَمْرُ ثُمَّ لَا يُنظَرُونَ

Listen to Surah Al-An'aam (Arabic and English translation)

Tafsir of Surah Al-An'aam (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light. Then those who disbelieve equate [others] with their Lord.

English Transliteration

Alhamdu lillahi allathee khalaqa alssamawati waalarda wajaAAala alththulumati waalnnoora thumma allatheena kafaroo birabbihim yaAAdiloona


Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas ؓ has said that one of the distinctions of Surah Al-An'am is that the whole of it, except some 'Ayat, was revealed at one time in Makkah with the complement of seventy thousand angels following it with recitation of the name of Allah. Early Tafsir authorities Mujahid, al-Kalbi, Qatadah and others have said more or less the same thing.

Abu Ishaq Al-Asfra'ini has said that this Surah consists of all principles and subsidiaries of Tauhid (Oneness of Allah). This Surah has been prefaced with الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ (Al-Hamdulillah) whereby people have been told that all praises belong to Allah. The purpose is to educate and help people get the right perspective - that Allah needs no praise from anyone, whether or not anyone praises Him, He is, in terms of His own intrinsic perfection, by Himself, the Praised One. By bringing in the sentence which follows immediately, which mentions the creation of the heavens and the earth and the darkness and the light, given there is the very proof of His being the Praised One. Isn't it that the Being which holds such Power and Wisdom would have to be the One deserving of all praise?

In this verse, ` samawat' (heavens) has been mentioned in the plural while 'ard (earth), in the singular - though, in another verse (65:12), earth has been identified as being seven like the heavens. Perhaps, it is indicative of the mutual distinction the seven heavens have in terms of their form and attributes while the seven earths are like each other, therefore, they were taken as one in number. (Mazhari)

Similarly, by mentioning ` zulumat' (darkness, or layers of darkness) in the plural, and 'nur' (light) in the singular, the indication given may be that nur or light signifies the correct way and the straight path - and that is just one, while zulumat, or many layers of darkness, signifies the path of error - and their number runs in thousands. (Mazharl al-Bahr al-Muhit)

Also noticeable here is that the origination of the heavens and the earth has been expressed through the word, 'khalaqa' (created) while that of darkness and light with the word, ja‘ala' (made). The hint implied is that darkness and light are not independent and self-existent like the heavens and the earth, instead, they are contingents and attributes. And zulumat (darkness) has been given precedence over nur (light) perhaps because zulumat is basic to this world while nur is associated with particulars - when they are there, there is light; and when they are not there, there is darkness.

By pointing out to the reality of Tauhid (Oneness of Allah) and its open proof in this verse the purpose is to warn all those peoples who do not simply believe in Tauhid, or have forsaken the reality of Tauhid despite professing it.

The Magians (Majus) believe in two creators, Yazdan and Ahriman (or Ahraman). Yazdan, according to them, is the creator of good and Ahriman, the creator of evil. They also identify these as (the principles of) light and darkness.

The polytheists in India take an incredibly high number of gods as partners in the divinity of God. The Arya Samajists, despite acknowledging Tauhid, take spirit and matter to be infinitely pre-existent, and independent of the power and creation of God, whereby they have moved way away from the reality of Tauhid. Similarly, the Christians who, despite professing the creed of Tauhid, started taking Sayyidna ` Isa (علیہ السلام) and his blessed mother as partners in the divinity of God - and then, in order to prop their belief in one God, they to rely on the irrational theory of Unity in Trinity. As for the disbelievers and polytheists of Arabia, they demonstrated such philanthropy in dishing out Godhood that, according to them, every piece of rock on a hill could be good enough to become an object of worship for the whole human-kind! Thus, the wonderful human being whom Allah had made to be the noblest of His creation, someone whom the whole universe was to serve, went so astray from the right path that he took - not just the moon, the sun, the stars, but the fire, water, trees and rocks too - even crawling insects as objects of prostration and worship, providers of needs and resolvers of problems.

By saying in this verse of the Holy Qur'an that Allah Ta` ala is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and He is the Maker of darkness and light, all such false notions have been refuted - when He is the sole Creator and Maker of everything, ascribing partners to His Divinity makes no sense.

English Translation

It is He who created you from clay and then decreed a term and a specified time [known] to Him; then [still] you are in dispute.

English Transliteration

Huwa allathee khalaqakum min teenin thumma qada ajalan waajalun musamman AAindahu thumma antum tamtaroona

In the first verse, by saying that all those great bodies of things in this big universe created by Allah Ta` ala on Whom they depend, an open and correct lesson has been given to all human beings. After that, in other verses which follow, human beings have been told that their very own being is a small universe. If one were to make a start from this point, right from the beginning to the end - birth, living, death among a great mesh of internal dimensions and distances - it would show that the belief in the Oneness of Allah is a reality all too clear. It is about this that the verse said: هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن طِينٍ ثُمَّ قَضَىٰ أَجَلًا ; (He is the One who created you from clay, then destined a term). The verse is saying that Allah is the One who created Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) with clay, and then, gave him life - and common human food comes from the moist substance of clay, and from food the sperm, and from the sperm comes the creation of the human being.

Sayyidna Abu Musa al-Ash'ari ؓ عنہ says that he has heard from the Holy Prophet ﷺ that Allah Ta` ala created Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) from a particular blend of clay included wherein are essential ingredients of the whole earth. This is the reason why the children of Adam are different in colour, shape, morals and habits with some black or white or red, and some hard or soft or good-natured or evil-tempered. (Mazhari, from a narration of Ibn ` Adiyy, with good authority)

This was about the human origin. After that, mentioned here are the two stages at the end. One of these is the personal end of a human being which is called death. The other stage is the combined end of the entire humankind along with that of all cosmic servants waiting on them, which is known as the Qiyamah (the day of Doom). The expression - ` the personal end of a human being' - is used here because Allah Ta` ala destined a term for his or her life (on the earth). Reaching the completion of this term is death - though human beings do not know it - but, the angels do. In fact, a human being too, in a way, knows death as incidents of the children of Adam dying all around, everywhere, all the time, are common experience.

After that, comes the mention of the end of the whole world, that is, the Qiyamah, in the following words: وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى عِندَهُ , that is, there is yet another term which stands fixed and which is known to Allah alone. The full knowledge of this ` term' has not been given to any angel, or human being.

Summing up in a sequence, we can say that, in the first verse, we have been told about the ` big universe', that is, the whole wide world, which has been created and made by Allah Ta` ala. Then, in the second verse, very similarly, we have been told that the ` small universe', that is, the human beings, have also been created by Allah. Then, it is to shake human beings out of their negligence that they have been told that every human being has a particular age, after which death is certain. This is a constant fact of life observed by human beings all the time. The words: وَأَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى عِندَهُ ۖ ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ تَمْتَرُ‌ونَ (And the fixed term lies with Him, yet you are in doubt) carry the instruction that using the personal death of a human being as the proof of the general and collective death of the whole world system, that is, the Qiyamah, is something very natural and logical. Therefore, there is absolutely no doubt about the coming of the Qiyamah (the much publicized but least believed ` Apocalypse' of the West). Therefore, towards the end of the verse (2), the text wonders as to why would people keep doubting the coming of Qiyamah which stands proved so clearly.

English Translation

And He is Allah, [the only deity] in the heavens and the earth. He knows your secret and what you make public, and He knows that which you earn.

English Transliteration

Wahuwa Allahu fee alssamawati wafee alardi yaAAlamu sirrakum wajahrakum wayaAAlamu ma taksiboona

The third verse contains the consequential outcome of what was said in the first two verses. It declares that Allah is the only Being who is worthy of worship and obedience in all the heavens and the earth, and He is the One who knows everything human beings conceal or reveal and, particularly, everything they say or do.

English Translation

And no sign comes to them from the signs of their Lord except that they turn away therefrom.

English Transliteration

Wama tateehim min ayatin min ayati rabbihim illa kanoo AAanha muAArideena

The fourth verse carries a complaint against the anti-truth doggedness and obstinacy of the chronically heedless human race by saying:

وَمَا تَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ آيَةٍ مِّنْ آيَاتِ رَ‌بِّهِمْ إِلَّا كَانُوا عَنْهَا مُعْرِ‌ضِينَ ﴿4﴾ that is, despite the many clear proofs and open signs of the Oneness of Allah, the dissenters and rejectionists among human beings have taken to a way of their own, using which, they would turn their faces away from whatever sign is shown to them for their guidance, without ever paying the least attention to it.

English Translation

For they had denied the truth when it came to them, but there is going to reach them the news of what they used to ridicule.

English Transliteration

Faqad kaththaboo bialhaqqi lamma jaahum fasawfa yateehim anbao ma kanoo bihi yastahzioona

In the fifth and the last verse here, further details of this heedlessness have been indicated through some events. It was said: فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ ۖ (So, they have belied the truth when it came to them). The word, ` Al-Haqq' (the truth) here, could mean the Qur'an - and the blessed person of the noble Prophet ﷺ also.

The reason is that he lived his whole life among these Arab tribes. He grew up from a child into a young man and from his youth into his later years right before their eyes. They also knew fully well that the Holy Prophet ﷺ had remained absolutely untaught by any human teacher, so much so that he could not write even his name by himself. The whole Arabia knew him by his appellation of Ummiyy (unlettered, unschooled). For forty years, this was him amongst them. He never demonstrated any marked interest in poetry (a traditional distinction of the age) nor he had any aptitude for formal education and learning. Then, after having completed his forty years, there came a sudden change, an instant flowering of the unimaginable. His blessed tongue became such fountainhead of insights and realities, learning and arts that went on to disarm the best minds of the world. He challenged every eloquent and learned master of words in Arabia to match the Word brought by him. But his' antagonists, who would have not hesitated to sacrifice anything they had - life, wealth, honour, children, family, anything, anytime - just to defeat him, did not have the courage to accept his challenge and, at the least, produce one 'Ayah (verse) like the 'Ayah of the Holy Qur'an.

Thus, the very presence of the Holy Prophet , U1 and the Glorious Qur'an, was a great sign of irrefutable legitimacy. In addition to that, there were thousands of miracles and open signs which came to pass at his blessed hands and which cannot be denied by any sane person. But, those people belied all such signs totally. Therefore, it was said in the verse: فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ ۖ (So, they have belied the truth when it came to them).

Now, pointed out at the conclusion of the verse is the sad end of their effort to falsify truth: فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِيهِمْ أَنبَاءُ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (Now, there shall come to them the full account of what they have been laughing at). It means that right now these people who are heedless to their fate mock at the miracles and commandments of Allah brought by the Holy Prophet ﷺ and at the all true message that there is a Qiyamah (Doomsday) and Akhirah (Hereafter), but very soon will come the time when all these realities will be before their eyes. There will be a Qiyamah in fact. There will be a Reckoning (Hisab) when everyone will have to account for one's faith and deed - and everyone shall get the reward or punishment for what he or she has done. But, believing and confessing at that time is not going to work for them because that will be no day of deeds - rather, that day will be the day of Retribution. The time to think is now. Allah Almighty has given the respite - a God-sent piece of luck, so to say. Act now, for it is by having faith alone that you will succeed in this world and in the lasting world to come.

English Translation

Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them which We had established upon the earth as We have not established you? And We sent [rain from] the sky upon them in showers and made rivers flow beneath them; then We destroyed them for their sins and brought forth after them a generation of others.

English Transliteration

Alam yaraw kam ahlakna min qablihim min qarnin makkannahum fee alardi ma lam numakkin lakum waarsalna alssamaa AAalayhim midraran wajaAAalna alanhara tajree min tahtihim faahlaknahum bithunoobihim waanshana min baAAdihim qarnan akhareena


In previous verses, mention was made of grave consequences to be faced by those who avoid or oppose Divine commandments and prophetic teachings. In the present verses, the same deniers of the truth have been given an opportunity to learn and correct themselves by observing conditions around them as well as those prevailing in times before them. No doubt, events of the past are documents full of chastening lessons which, if seen to find wisdom, would prove to be more effective than a thousand sermons. So, still valid is the saying of the sage: The world is the best book and time, the best teacher. That is why wisdom-based historical anecdotes form a good part of the Holy Qur'an. But, speaking generally, people have not given world history any serious role in conducting lives properly. They have, rather than benefiting from it, made it into an intellectual pastime which would either help to sleep or to while away spare time.

Perhaps, it is for this reason that the Holy Qur'an has taken the essence of history as a server of warning and a dispenser of good counsel. But, this is unlike the customary historical fiction where the story or the event are an end in themselves. So, the Qur'an has not taken up historical events as ongoing events in their own right. Instead of doing something like that, it has chosen to place part of the narrative as relevant to the given subject and setting of the message in the text. Then, there would be another occasion, another place, when it would describe another part of the story as relevant there. This may be indicative of the reality that a report or story is not an end by itself, instead, the purpose is to identify the outcome of the report and the practical implication of the event, therefore, one should be concerned with what is necessary for the objective in sight, move ahead and survey his circumstances in that light - that is, learn that vital lesson from what has gone before and thereby correct oneself.

In the first verse, it was said about the people of Makkah, the direct addressees of the Holy Prophet ﷺ : أَلَمْ يَرَ‌وْا كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن قَرْ‌نٍ Havethey not seen how many generations We have destroyed prior to them?' Here, ` seen' means to ponder about, because these generations were not present before them at that time to see. It was after that, that the destruction of many generations (` qarn' ) was mentioned.

The word, قَرن qarn, is used for a group of people collectively present at a given time and period. It is also used to denote a long period of time which could be, depending on different interpretations, between ten to one hundred years. But, some events and narrations do support the position that this word is used for one hundred years as it appears in a Hadith in which the Holy Prophet ii had told Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn Busr al-Ma'ziniyy that he will live for one Qarn. Also when the Holy Prophet ﷺ prayed for a certain child that may he live for a whole qarn, he did live for a full one hundred years. The majority of ` Ulama' take the famous Hadith خَیرُالقُرونِ قَرنِی ثُمَّ الَّذین یلونھُم ثُمَ الَّذینَ یَلُونَھُم (still recited as part of the Khutbah of Jumu'ah all over the world) to be meaning exactly this, that is, every qarn is one hundred years.

About past peoples of the world, first it was said that the kind of power and well-being given to them was not given to people later than them, but when these very people took to the ways of belying prophets and disobeying Divine injunctions, all that majesty of power and wealth was rendered futile against the punishment of Allah which annihilated them totally. So, this was a lesson for the addressees of today, the people of Makkah who did not have the power of the legendary people of ` Ad and Thamud, nor the affluence of the people of Syria and Yaman. For them, the need of the hour was to learn a lesson from what happened to the peoples of the past and turn towards an examination of their doings and think where they are going to end up by op-posing the truth.

At the end of the verse, it was said: وَأَنشَأْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ قَرْ‌نًا آخَرِ‌ينَ (and raised up, after them, another generation). It means that the great power of Allah Jalla Sha'nuhu was not simply limited to seeing that nations of strength, authority and power lay destroyed in a flash, but it was right there on the ashes of their destruction that other peoples were made to rise and populate places, as if nothing had happened there and no one was missing from the scene. This spectacle of Divine power and wisdom is something observable in its own ways during every time and period when thousands die every day but there is no vacuum left anywhere. We never come to realize that people who belonged here are not here anymore.

Once, while on the plains of Arafat with a million men and women spread around, came the thought that only a mere seventy or eighty years earlier, none among this whole assembly of people existed. Yet, on this same place of ` Arafat, nearly that many other human beings were present, no trace of whom exists today. On this analogy, imagine about any assembly of human beings, any animated gathering of people, think about their past and future, and then figure out what you get - somebody telling you. to wise up to the ultimate truth of things فَتَبَارَ‌كَ اللَّـهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ (Praised be Allah, the best of creators).

English Translation

And even if We had sent down to you, [O Muhammad], a written scripture on a page and they touched it with their hands, the disbelievers would say, "This is not but obvious magic."

English Transliteration

Walaw nazzalna AAalayka kitaban fee qirtasin falamasoohu biaydeehim laqala allatheena kafaroo in hatha illa sihrun mubeenun

The second verse (7) was revealed in the background of a particular event when ` Abdullah ibn Umaiyyah came up with a hostile demand before the Holy Prophet ﷺ by saying: ` I cannot believe in you until such time that I see you climbing all the way to the heavens and bringing a book from there before our eyes, in which it should be written in my name that I should attest to your prophethood.' And, on top of saying all this, he went on to even declare that he would still not be impressed enough by his accomplishing all that for he does not seem to be likely to convert to Islam anyway.

Strange are the ways of fate, for this very gentleman embraced Islam later on, and embraced it with such fervor and class that he became a winning warrior in the cause of Islam and received his Shahadah (martyrdom) in the Battle of Ta'if.

Such were the uncalled-for and hostile demands made and mocking and insulting dialogues inflicted on the Holy Prophet ﷺ especially when he himself was more affectionate for his people, more than their own parents could ever be to them. What effect these caustic bad manners would have made on his heart is something we cannot fathom. It can only be sensed by one who is consumed with the good of his people in the same manner as the blessed Prophet himself was.

Therefore, to comfort him, it was said that such demands from his antagonists were not being put forward for any useful purpose, nor did they want to follow it. They were a kind of people who would not stop at what they were demanding. Even if they were presented with far more clear proofs of their Prophet's veracity, they would still not believe. For example, if Allah were to send down, as they demanded, a written book from the heavens - and not only that they see it for them-selves that there is no sleight of hand or sight or magic, they may even physically touch it with their hands to make sure that they were not day-dreaming and that it was a reality - still, after all that, they would say nothing but: اَن ھٰذآ اِلَّا سِحرُ مُّبِینُ (This is nothing but sheer magic): This is because what they are saying comes from malice and hostility.

English Translation

And they say, "Why was there not sent down to him an angel?" But if We had sent down an angel, the matter would have been decided; then they would not be reprieved.

English Transliteration

Waqaloo lawla onzila AAalayhi malakun walaw anzalna malakan laqudiya alamru thumma la yuntharoona

The third verse (8) was also revealed because of an event which concerns this very ` Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyyah who, accompanied by Nadr ibn al-Harith and Nawfal ibn Khalid ؓ ، came to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . This time their demand was: ` We shall believe in you only when you go and bring a book from the heavens and let four angels come along with it to testify that the book was from none but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.'

One answer Allah gave to them was that by making such demands, these heedless people were inviting their own destruction, because the Divine law is that, should a people ask their prophet to show a miracle of their choice, and as a result of their demand, such miracle is shown by the power and will of Allah, then, should they, even then, remain reluctant to believe and accept faith any longer, they are destroyed by a mass general punishment. These particular people of Makkah were really not making their demands as based on any good intentions, which may have at the least given some hope of their accepting the truth. Therefore, it was said: وَلَوْ أَنزَلْنَا مَلَكًا لَّقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ‌ ثُمَّ لَا يُنظَرُ‌ونَ (And had We sent down an angel, the whole matter would have been finished). In other words, it means ` If We do send the miracle they demand, that is, send an angel, then, these people who are not the kind who would accept truth will still act contrary and hostile even after having seen the miracle, then, the Divine command to have them destroyed would stand activated. Since they would be given no respite after that hap-pens, therefore, they should understand that the fact of not showing the miracle demanded by them spells out real good for them, without which they would be nowhere.

The second answer to this problem with them was given in the fourth verse (9) in a different manner where it was said that people asking such questions were certainly strange people who were demanding that angels should come down to them. This is so because there are only two ways angels can come down. Firstly, an angel may come as he is, in his form and state of being. If so, no human being can stand before his real awe - in fact, he is more likely to die at the never imagined sight. The second form in which the angel could come down is that the angel comes in human shape and form, as Sayyidna Jibra'il al-Amin (علیہ السلام) has come to the Holy Prophet ﷺ several times in the shape of a human being. In this situation too, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is told, this questioner will have the same objection against this ` angel' as he has against you - because he would take him to be nothing but human.

After having answered all these hostile questions, solace has been given to the Holy Prophet ﷺ in the fifth verse (10) by saying that this attitude of mockery and injury directed against him by his people is not something particular to him. Other prophets and messengers before him had to face similar heart-breaking experiences, but they did not lose hope. Finally, what happened was that those who used to mock were overtaken by the punishment which they mocked at.

In short, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has been assured that his mission is to convey the commandments of Allah. Once he feels he has done that, let his heart be at rest. Whether someone is affected by the message or not, that is not for him to worry about - for it is not a part of his duty as a Messenger of Allah. So, let this concern bring no sorrow to his heart.