Theme of Juz Seven – TawheedSurah Al-An’aam
is, chronologically, the first Makkan Surah in the Qur’an after Surah Al-Fatiha and as a result, the theme is very different from the themes covered thus far. While the Madinan Surahs dealt with Shariah and Politics, the central theme of all Makkan Surahs is that of Aqeedah (Belief).* So it is no surprise that this Surah which is the longest Makkan Surah revolves entirely around the most important aspect of our Aqeedah – Tawheed (The Oneness of Allah).
Surah Al-An’aam begins the same way Surah Al-Fatiha does, with the words “Alhamdulillah” (All Praise is for Allah). It is one of only five Surahs that begin with these words, and all five of these Surahs are Makkan Surahs dealing with Tawheed. Alhamdulillah is a statement of praising Allah for who He is and recognition of His position as our Lord and God.
We are instructed to say Alhamdulillah whenever we are asked about how we are, or receive any good news. We are even advised to say Alhamdulillah when things are not going our way, because Allah deserves praise regardless of our situation. This is a sign of humility that we accept ourselves as the servants, and we accept Allah as the perfect Creator worthy of all praise.
A unique feature of this Surah is that it gives us insight into the arguments brought forward by the disbelievers of Makkah and provides clear logical responses to them. The responses to their false arguments generally begin with the command ‘Qul’ (Say) and this word is repeated forty times in this Surah. A reflective study of such verses helps one learn the clear logic behind the concept of Tawheed. The word Qul is used in these verses to address the Prophet Muhammad
and in this context, it is a command to reply to the arguments of the disbelievers with the logic presented.
Another key feature of this Surah is that the Asma Al-Husnaa (beautiful names) of Allah are frequently mentioned throughout this Surah. Very often, people brush over such names and move on to the next verse in their reading. However, this approach does not do justice to the names of Allah.
Whenever you come across a name of Allah, reflect over the following:
1. What are the implications of this name?
2. How does it impact my life and personality?
3. What is the link between this name and the verse it is mentioned in?
Such questions help one derive maximum benefits from one’s recital. For example, the name Ar-Rahman (Most Merciful) should make us reflect on all of Allah’s Mercy we see around us, whether we ourselves are merciful to our fellow creation and what aspect of Allah’s mercy is discussed in that particular verse.
Another example is the name Al-Hakeem (Most Wise). This name should make us reflect on the Wisdom of Allah. He is perfect in His Wisdom so that means that every law He has revealed is full of wisdom, and that everything He allows to happen to us, He allows based on His Wisdom and Knowledge of the good it will eventually cause.
The story of Prophet Ibrahim
and his quest to teach his people Tawheed is also mentioned in this Surah, and it fits in perfectly with the theme of the Surah. He faced similar opposition and false arguments to what the Prophet Muhammad
was dealing with at that time.
Tawheed is the single most important aspect of Islam, and yet today in many cultures it is the most ignored. Many people spend years studying Fiqh and History, yet never reflect on the greatness of Allah and their relationship with Him.
Traditional scholars have two approaches to the topic of Tawheed. Some divide it into two categories: Our Belief in Allah’s Oneness and Uniqueness and Our Action, i.e. our worship of Him alone. Others divide it into three categories by dividing belief further into belief in His Lordship over us, and belief in His unique Names and Attributes. The divisions are complementary and are just a means to understand Tawheed deeper and avoid deviation.
The issue of action is most crucial, as there exist today many Muslims who claim to believe in Allah but it is not reflected in any way in their lives and actions. Can there be true belief in something, if it doesn’t impact the way we live our lives?
The Surah ends with a verse showing the motto of a true believer, “Say: Indeed, my Salah, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the universe, who has no partner. That is what I have been commanded with and I am among the foremost of Muslims.” (6:162-163)
The believer is not one who claims He believes in Allah, but the true Muslim is one whose life and death revolve around the worship of Allah and earning His pleasure. This verse sums up the core theme of this Surah: There is only One Allah and we must submit to Him and dedicate our lives to earning His Pleasure.*The reason for this is because the Makkan Era was the early period of the message. There were very few Muslims and most of them were converts from pagan backgrounds. In order to weed out any remaining superstitions and replace them with correct beliefs, the early messages of the Qur’an focused primarily on matters of the unseen i.e. Aqeedah.
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar