ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنٰہُ نُطۡفَۃً فِیۡ قَرَارٍ مَّکِیۡنٍ ﴿۪۱۴﴾
ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَٰهُ نُطۡفَةٗ فِي قَرَارٖ مَّكِينٖ
a. 22:6. (close)
a. See 22:6. (close)
2519. Important Words:
قرار مکین (a safe depository). قرار is inf. noun from قر. They say قر بالمکان i.e. he or it settled or established, was at rest or rested or resided, in the place. قرار means, a state of settledness, rest, permanence or continuance. It also means, a resting place or a place or time of rest, etc. (Lane & Aqrab). See also 2:37 & 6:99.
مکین (safe or firmly fixed) is derived from مکن (makuna). They say مکن عند الامیر i.e. he became of high position with the prince. مکنه من الشیء (makkana) means, he made him to have mastery or authority and power over the thing. مکین means, possessed of power or authority and ascendancy, therefore well or firmly established in his place (Lane & Aqrab). See also 6:136.
After having mentioned in the first ten verses of the Surah the different stages of spiritual evolution of man the Quran proceeds to describe in this and the next few verses the different stages of his physical development and thus establishes a remarkable parallelism between his physical and spiritual birth and growth. Leaving out biological technicalities the Surah gives the description in a clear and easily understandable language. Biology has not discovered anything which may be said to be opposed to the Quranic description. The present verse refers to the foetal stage. The sperm is deposited in the ovum and there it finds a safe repository and begins to grow. (close)
ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا النُّطۡفَۃَ عَلَقَۃً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡعَلَقَۃَ مُضۡغَۃً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡمُضۡغَۃَ عِظٰمًا فَکَسَوۡنَا الۡعِظٰمَ لَحۡمًا ٭ ثُمَّ اَنۡشَاۡنٰہُ خَلۡقًا اٰخَرَ ؕ فَتَبٰرَکَ اللّٰہُ اَحۡسَنُ الۡخٰلِقِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾
ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلنُّطۡفَةَ عَلَقَةٗ فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡعَلَقَةَ مُضۡغَةٗ فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡمُضۡغَةَ عِظَٰمٗا فَكَسَوۡنَا ٱلۡعِظَٰمَ لَحۡمٗا ثُمَّ أَنشَأۡنَٰهُ خَلۡقًا ءَاخَرَۚ فَتَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ أَحۡسَنُ ٱلۡخَٰلِقِينَ
1985. The words, then We developed it into another creation, show that the soul is not imported into the human body from outside but grows in the body as it develops in the womb. At first it has no separate existence from the body but the processes through which the body passes during its development in the womb distil from the body a delicate essence, which is called the soul. As soon as the relationship between the soul and the body becomes completely adjusted, the heart begins to function. The soul then has a distinct existence of its own independent of body which henceforth serves it as a shell. See also "The Larger Edition of the Commentary," pp. 1787-1790. (close)
2520. Important Words:
For علقة، نطفة and مضغة see 22:6.
نطفة i.e. the impregnated ovum on its arrival in the cavity of the womb chooses by mutual attraction a place for its abode in the inner wall of the womb, and there it becomes attached to it and does not flow out with discharges. After that it makes erosion into this spot, and produces bleeding, thus making its way into the layers of the decidua. Then it becomes increasingly covered up with maternal blood, forming within the ovum a connection with it. At this stage it looks like a mass of congealed blood and therefore the Quran calls it علقة which not only means congealed blood but also signifies an attachment or connection with something else. Thus a brief single word describes this stage of the ovum, i.e. its attractions, connections and the formation of the blood-vessels in it. In the next stage the ovum becomes a blastoderm, which is called مضغة in the Quran. This blastoderm has three layers from which all the organs of the foetus are developed. The Quran then describes the transformation of the layers of the blastoderm by the words, Then We fashioned bones out of this shapeless lump, which means that out of the مضغة (lump) God creates bones. After this God covers the bones with flesh and skin and other organs and then He perfects its creation internally. At this stage the body in the womb develops a soul from within itself. The Quran has described this remarkable change in the words, Then We developed it into another creation. These words show that the soul is not imported into the human body from outside, but grows in the body as it develops in the womb. It is an essence which is distilled from the body in the course of a long process, as beer is distilled from barley. It has at first no separate existence from the body but the processes through which the body passes during its development in the womb distils from the body a delicate essence which is called the soul. As soon as the relationship between the soul and the body becomes completely adjusted, the heart begins to function. The soul then has a distinct existence of its own apart from the body which henceforth serves it as a shell.
As referred to above there exists a remarkable parallelism between the spiritual development of man as described in the first ten verses of the Surah and the physical development of the embryo mentioned in this and the preceding verse.
The initial stage of spiritual advancement of man is described in the words, "who humble themselves in their Prayers" (v. 3 above), i.e. who assume an attitude of humility and submission while offering their prayers and supplications to God. The stage of physical development corresponding to this initial stage of spiritual progress is the stage of نطفة, or the impregnated ovum which is a seed that combines in itself, in a miniature form, all the different faculties, properties, external and internal organs, and all other features that become prominent in the later stages of physical development. The نطفة however, remains much more exposed to danger than the embryo in its later advanced stages. It is only like a seed which has just been cast into the ground and which has as yet formed no connection with its environments. The attraction of the womb has not yet given it a proper place of development. It is therefore liable to flow out and become destroyed in the passages of the organs of generation like a seed that falls on rocky ground.
What is true of نطفة which forms the first stage in the physical development of man is equally true of man in the first stage of his spiritual progress. This first stage is that condition of humility in which the believer prays to God. It is like a mere seed which is cast in the soul of man, and comprises in an undeveloped form all the faculties and features which reveal themselves in a most attractive form in the last stages of his spiritual advancement. But just as the نطفة continues to remain in a precarious state until it forms a connection with the womb, similarly humility in Prayers is exposed to constant risk until man forms some spiritual connection with his Creator. Without this connection humility in Prayers is but a slippery stage where the spiritual wayfarer is at every step liable to fall.
The next stage in the physical development of man is that of نطفة (a clot) when the sperm forms blood connection with the womb. It assumes the form of congealed blood and becomes safe from being destroyed.
Corresponding to this stage of علقة i.e. a clot, which is the second stage in the development of the foetus is that spiritual condition which has been described in the words, who shun all that which is vain. At this second stage the connection which man establishes with God is like the connection which the ovum establishes with the uterus on reaching the second stage. Just as it is not possible completely to get rid of vain desires and useless pursuits until one reaches the second stage of spiritual advancement,––mere humility and lowliness being liable to fail; similarly the ovum may come to nought before it becomes علقة.
But the connection which a person has formed with God in the second stage and which enables him to give up vain things and fruitless pursuits is at best a temporary and weak one, for his mind is not yet completely free from the love of material comforts and desires of the flesh. This stage is thus compared to which is still tainted with the impurity of blood.
The third stage in the physical development of man is described in the words, Then We fashioned the clot into a lump of flesh. At this stage the physical frame of man is very much freed from the taint of impurity and becomes purer and firmer in substance. Similarly, in the third stage of his spiritual advancement which is referred to in the words, And who are active in paying the Zakah, a true believer not only shuns vain things but in order to cleanse himself of the impurity of miserliness, spends a part of his property in the way of God. The stage of physical development that corresponds to this spiritual stage has been called مضغة (blastoderm) in the Quran.
The مضغة stage, like its corresponding spiritual stage is superior to the earlier two stages of نطفة and علقة because it is more advanced and is more strongly attached to the uterus and is marked by greater density and solidity. The third spiritual stage described in v. 5 is marked by three characteristics which correspond to the three characteristics of the مضغة stage. At this stage, a believer voluntarily spends a portion of his property in the way of God and gives to others what he has earned with the sweat of his brow and thus spiritually he is more advanced than one who merely keeps aloof from fruitless pursuits. Moreover, his connection with God becomes more firm inasmuch as it involves a greater sacrifice to part with his hard earned money than merely to abandon vain things. Lastly, a greater sacrifice is followed by greater firmness and solidity in faith.
The words, then We fashioned bones out of this shapeless lump, refer to the fourth stage of embryonic development. At this stage there is greater solidity in the bones than in the مضغة which is like a lump of flesh. The bones also become firmer and stronger. This fourth stage of physical growth of man corresponds to the fourth stage of spiritual advancement referred to in v.6 above. Just as the bone is the hardest and most lasting part of the body, similarly the faith which gives a believer the power to hold his own against the violent storm of carnal passions must be exceptionally strong and enduring.
The words, Then We clothed the bones with flesh, refer to the fifth stage in the embryonic development which corresponds to the fifth stage of spiritual advancement referred to in v. 9. Just as righteousness adds to the spiritual beauty of a person, similarly the covering of the bones with flesh makes the skeleton of bones look beautiful. There is a peculiar resemblance between these two stages. God speaks of righteousness as لباس (garment). Similarly the expression used in describing the corresponding stage of embryonic development is کسونا (We clothed). Thus the flesh which covers the bones is described as and serves the purpose of, a garment just as righteousness or piety is like a garment adding to the spiritual beauty of a person. But even this fifth stage of physical development is far from perfect because the body has not yet been endowed with the soul and a soulless or lifeless body is but a useless thing. Similarly, in the fifth stage of spiritual advancement, though the spiritual wayfarer has traversed a long distance towards his celestial goal he is yet far away from it. He tries faithfully to discharge his duties and obligations to God, yet he lacks something without which his spiritual development remains incomplete.
The sixth and last stage in the physical development of man in the womb is described in the words, then We developed it into another creation. At this stage the body is endowed with the soul. The words, "another creation" imply that this new creation is beyond human comprehension. Man has so far been quite at a loss to understand what soul is. According to the Quran the body itself is the mother of the soul. As mentioned above the soul does not come from anywhere outside the body but is a light that lies hidden in the seed itself and grows with the growth of the body. This last stage of embryonic development corresponds to the sixth and highest stage of spiritual development referred to in v.10 above. At this stage a heavenly light descends upon the heart of a believer and Divine love consumes his whole being, illuminating and animating it. At this stage prayer and remembrance of God becomes, as it were, part and parcel of his being without which he cannot live. He receives a new spiritual life and becomes wholly lost in God.
Such is the beautiful parallelism described by the Quran which exists between the physical and spiritual development of man. When one comes to have a complete comprehension and realization of it he spontaneously exclaims, "Blessed be Allah, the Best of creators." Thus God created man and perfected him in six stages and six stages also has He ordained for his spiritual development. For a fuller and more exhaustive treatment of this subject see Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah vol. 5, by Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. (close)
ثُمَّ اِنَّکُمۡ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ لَمَیِّتُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۶﴾
ثُمَّ إِنَّكُم بَعۡدَ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَيِّتُونَ
b. 39:31. (close)
1986. After man has attained full development, there sets in a process of decay which ends in his death. It is an immutable law of nature that all life must end in decay, dissolution and death. God alone is Ever-Living. (close)
a. 39:31. (close)
After man has attained full development, there sets in a process of decay which ends in death. It is an immutable law of nature that all life must end in decay, dissolution and death. God alone is Ever-Living. (close)
ثُمَّ اِنَّکُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ تُبۡعَثُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾
ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ تُبۡعَثُونَ
a. 39:32. (close)
1987. After death man again will be restored to life in order that he might continue to make spiritual progress in the life to come which knows no end. The progress he makes in the present life constitutes only a preparatory stage. Here, he is like a child in his mother’s womb. After death he is born into a new and fuller life which is the beginning of a never-ending progress. (close)
b. 39:32. (close)
After death man again will be restored to life in order that he might continue to make spiritual progress in the life to come. If there had been no life after death, man’s creation would have been in vain, and all spiritual progress he might have made in this life would have been to no purpose. But man’s life serves a grand and noble aim. He has not been created in vain (75:37-41). On the contrary he has been created for spiritual progress that knows no end. The progress he makes in the present life constitutes only a preparatory stage. Here he is like a child in the mother’s womb. After death he is born into a new and fuller life which is the beginning of a never-ending progress. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا فَوۡقَکُمۡ سَبۡعَ طَرَآئِقَ ٭ۖ وَ مَا کُنَّا عَنِ الۡخَلۡقِ غٰفِلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾
وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا فَوۡقَكُمۡ سَبۡعَ طَرَآئِقَ وَمَا كُنَّا عَنِ ٱلۡخَلۡقِ غَٰفِلِينَ
b. 78:13. (close)
1988. The six stages of spiritual progress described in the first ten verses of this Surah become seven if "Paradise" (v. 12) be counted as the last stage of spiritual development. Similarly, if the preparatory stage previous to the formation of the sperm (v. 13) be added to the six stages of the embryonic development, this number also becomes seven. Thus the 'seven ways in the spiritual heaven' to which reference has been made in this verse correspond to the seven stages of the physical development of man mentioned in vv. 13-15. (close)
c. 78:13. (close)
2522A. Important Words:
طرائق (stages of heaven) is the plural of طریقة which means, a way, course, rule, mode or manner of acting or conduct; the way or course of an event; a line; streak or stripe in a thing; stage of heaven; a web; or a tall palm-tree. طرائق means, stages of heaven, so called because they lie one above another. طرائق الدھر means, the vicissitudes of times or fortune. According to Raghib اطباق السماء (stages of heaven) are called طرائق (Lane & Aqrab). See also 20:64.
The six stages of spiritual progress described in the first twelve verses of this Surah become seven if "Paradise" (v. 12) be counted as the last stage of spiritual development when man attains the object of his creation. Similarly, if the preparatory stage previous to the formation of the sperm (referred to in v. 13) be added to the six stages of the embryonic development, this number also becomes seven. Thus the seven stages to which reference has been made in this verse correspond to the seven stages of the physical development of man mentioned in vv. 13-15. It is through these seven stages that man has to pass in order to achieve the highest point of spiritual development. These seven spiritual stages are as follows:
1. The first stage may be called the stage of lack of spiritual perception or that of spiritual feelinglessness. At this stage, like inanimate things, a person is completely devoid of all capacity to distinguish between right or wrong or good or evil. He is devoid of any high aims and his whole life seems to consist in providing for and meeting his physical needs. This stage of spiritual lifelessness is described by the Quran in the words "Then your hearts became hardened after that till they were like stones or harder still" (2:75).
2. The second stage may be likened to vegetable life when, like vegetables, man comes to develop some capacity and power to grow and make spiritual progress, but spiritually he is yet too weak adequately to defend himself against the onslaughts of evil beings and spirits. This stage is described in the Quranic words:
"And if you invite them to guidance, they hear not. And thou seest them looking towards thee, but they see not" (7:199).
3. The third stage may be called the animal stage when spiritually a person is no better than animals, when on being called he hears the voice of the caller but does not understand the significance or meaning of the call. The Quran beautifully describes the spiritual condition of such people in the words: "They have hearts but they comprehend not therewith, and they have eyes but they see not therewith, and they have ears but they hear not therewith. They are like cattle; nay, they are even more astray" (7:180).
4. The fourth stage is reached when the believer happens to develop greater love for God and greater righteousness and comes to realize the significance of his actions and to distinguish between good and evil. At this stage he acquires the power to resist satanic promptings in large measure but occasionally he falters and falls but then speedily comes to his own. This stage is described in the Quranic words: "And those who are righteous, when a suggestion from Satan assails them, they remember God: and behold! They begin to see things rightly" (7:202).
5. The fifth is a still higher stage of spiritual progress when the God-fearing man attains such degree of Divine realization that submission to God’s commandments and resignation to His decrees becomes, as it were, a part of his being and like angels he carries out fully and completely all Divine commandments. This stage is portrayed in the words: "And they do what they are commanded" (16:51).
6. The sixth stage is a much higher stage. At this stage the spiritual way-farer drinks so deep at the fountain of God’s love that he entrusts all his affairs fully into God’s safe keeping and becomes, as it were, a lifeless instrument in God’s hands which He uses as He chooses, and all his actions and movements are in perfect unison with God’s will. The Quran gives a graphic description of the believers who have attained this high stage of spiritual progress in the words: "Nay, whoever submits himself completely to Allah, and he is the doer of good, shall have his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon such, neither shall they grieve" (2:113).
7. The final and most developed stage of spiritual perfection is described in the Quranic words: "Then we perfect it into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the Best of creators" (23:15). At this stage the God-intoxicated believer is a totally changed being, a quite new creation. In the sixth stage he had completely subordinated his will to the will of God so much so that God’s will had become his will; at this stage, however, his will becomes, as it were, the will of his Creator and Lord and he attains to such high degree of spiritual perfection that Divine attributes become increasingly reflected in the mirror of his heart and he becomes a manifestation of God’s beauty and majesty. His hands and feet become, so to say, God’s own hands and feet and he speaks with God’s own tongue. "He does not speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but pure revelation that has been revealed by God," says the Quran (53:4).
The words "We are not neglectful of the creation" signify that God has not neglected to make full provision for man’s both physical and spiritual developments. From the next verse the Surah proceeds to mention some of those things on which man’s physical as well as his spiritual life depends. (close)
وَ اَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءًۢ بِقَدَرٍ فَاَسۡکَنّٰہُ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ٭ۖ وَ اِنَّا عَلٰی ذَہَابٍۭ بِہٖ لَقٰدِرُوۡنَ ﴿ۚ۱۹﴾
وَأَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءَۢ بِقَدَرٖ فَأَسۡكَنَّـٰهُ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ ذَهَابِۭ بِهِۦ لَقَٰدِرُونَ
c. 15:23. (close)
1989. This verse gives an illustration of how God supplies the physical and spiritual needs of man. All life, it says, depends on water which descends from heaven, in the form of rain, snow or hail. Similarly, spiritual water descends from heaven in the form of Divine revelation without which no spiritual life can exist. (close)
a. 15:23. (close)
This verse gives the first illustration of how God supplies the physical and spiritual needs of man. All life, it says, depends on water which descends from heaven, in the form of rain, snow or hail. Similarly, spiritual water descends from heaven in the form of Divine revelation without which no spiritual life can exist. The verse purports to say that if men out of their perversity and ingratitude reject the Divine Message and the heavenly water which God has sent down, they will become deprived of it. The parallelism in the physical and spiritual life of man with which this Surah has opened, is further developed in the present and the next few verses.
The words, And surely it is We Who determine its taking away, refer to a well-known law of nature. The verse means to say that God sends down rain but rain-water does not stay in the earth permanently. It disappears by evaporation or flows into the sea through streams and rivers. The earth again becomes dry and then fresh rain is needed to make it fertile. The same is the case with Divine teaching. It powerfully influences the lives of men and brings about a great change in them for a certain period. Then it begins to be neglected, ignored and misinterpreted and so a fresh revelation is needed. This law of God came into operation with the life of man on this planet and it will remain in operation till the end of time.
The verse also embodies an implied reference to a prophecy of the Holy Prophet about his second advent in the person of the Promised Messiah and about the spread of irreligious and spiritual darkness in the centuries before the latter’s advent, when there was to remain nothing of Islam but its name and nothing of the Quran but its written words (Mishkat, Kitabul-‘Ilm) and belief would have gone up to the Pleiades (Bukhari, Kitabut-Tafsir). (close)
فَاَنۡشَاۡنَا لَکُمۡ بِہٖ جَنّٰتٍ مِّنۡ نَّخِیۡلٍ وَّ اَعۡنَابٍ ۘ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا فَوَاکِہُ کَثِیۡرَۃٌ وَّ مِنۡہَا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۰﴾
فَأَنشَأۡنَا لَكُم بِهِۦ جَنَّـٰتٖ مِّن نَّخِيلٖ وَأَعۡنَٰبٖ لَّكُمۡ فِيهَا فَوَٰكِهُ كَثِيرَةٞ وَمِنۡهَا تَأۡكُلُونَ
d. 16:12, 68; 36:35. (close)
b. 16:12, 68; 36:35. (close)
In this verse God gives another illustration of the various boons and favours which He has bestowed on man. It also contains a subtle illusion to the fact that the garden of Islam will, forever, remain full of fruit-bearing trees of various kinds which will yield fresh fruits in plenty in every season. (close)
وَ شَجَرَۃً تَخۡرُجُ مِنۡ طُوۡرِ سَیۡنَآءَ تَنۡۢبُتُ بِالدُّہۡنِ وَ صِبۡغٍ لِّلۡاٰکِلِیۡنَ ﴿۲۱﴾
وَشَجَرَةٗ تَخۡرُجُ مِن طُورِ سَيۡنَآءَ تَنۢبُتُ بِٱلدُّهۡنِ وَصِبۡغٖ لِّلۡأٓكِلِينَ
1990. The words, "Mount Sinai", remind us of the following great prophecy of the Bible:
'The Lord came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them' (Deut. 33:2). See also "Once to Sinai" by H.F. Prescott. (close)
The verse embodies yet another instance of God’s bountiful provision for the physical needs of man. The words 'Mount Sinai', however, draw attention to the fact that if God has made provision for man’s physical needs, He has not neglected to make similar provision for his spiritual needs and He has been doing so from time immemorial. The verse reminds us of the great prophecy of the Bible which is to the effect: "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them" (Deut. 33:2). The prophecy refers to the advent of Moses, the appearance of Jesus from Seir and to the coming of the Holy Prophet of Islam with a fiery Law. The Holy Prophet actually had ten thousand Companions with him when he entered Mecca as a conqueror. As to the identity of Paran see 2:130.
About the tree referred to in the verse which springs from Mount Sinai and produces oil the following extract may be read with interest:
The well lying to the east of the Church, and traditionally that from which Moses drew up for the daughters of Jethro, was sufficient to supply the domestic needs of the monks and their guests; the water of the other, led by channels in the rock and carefully disposed pipes down through the sloping garden, made that a fertile and pleasant place, with grass and vegetable plots, rows of salad herbs, and the shade of many fruit trees—apple and pear, grapevines, oranges, figs and almonds, as well as so great a number of olive trees that, together with those in a more distant garden, they produced enough oil for the culinary use of the monastery, and for the multitude of lamps which hung in their Church. ("Once To Sinai" by H. F. M. Prescott). (close)
وَ اِنَّ لَکُمۡ فِی الۡاَنۡعَامِ لَعِبۡرَۃً ؕ نُسۡقِیۡکُمۡ مِّمَّا فِیۡ بُطُوۡنِہَا وَ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا مَنَافِعُ کَثِیۡرَۃٌ وَّ مِنۡہَا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۲﴾
وَإِنَّ لَكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ لَعِبۡرَةٗۖ نُّسۡقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهَا وَلَكُمۡ فِيهَا مَنَٰفِعُ كَثِيرَةٞ وَمِنۡهَا تَأۡكُلُونَ
a. 6:143; 16:6; 36:72, 73; 40:80; 81. (close)
1991. The word, ‘Ibrah, which means an 'indication or evidence whereby one passes from ignorance to knowledge' (Lane), seems to allude to the subtle process which takes place in the bellies of animals and which turns grass or herbage eaten by them into pure and wholesome milk, and by pondering over which one is led to acquire an insight into God’s great power and into the subtle ways through which Divine laws work. (close)
a. 6:143; 16:6; 36:72-73; 40:80-81. (close)
2526. Important Words:
عبرة (lesson) is derived from عبر and means, admonition or exhortation; or an admonition or exhortation by which one takes warning or example; a thing by which one is admonished; an indication or evidence whereby one passes from ignorance to knowledge of what is not seen from the knowledge of what is seen (Lane & Arab). See also 4:44.
The verse means to say that man derives great benefits from the cattle. They are living machines which produce for him such a wholesome and nutritious food as milk, from fodder, grain herbage and leaves of trees, etc. which they eat. Man has so far failed to devise a machine which like these divinely devised machines could produce milk from these things. The word عبرة which as given under "Important Words" above, means an indication or evidence whereby one passes from ignorance to knowledge seems to allude to the subtle process which takes place in the bellies of some of the animals and which turns grass or herbage eaten by them into pure and wholesome milk and by pondering over which one is led to acquire an insight into God’s great power and into the subtle ways through which divine laws work. By this simile of grass and milk we are led to think that just as fodder, grain and grass, without passing through the wonderful machine created by God in the bellies of animals, cannot produce milk, similarly human reason which is like grass and grain, cannot produce, without the aid and assistance of Divine revelation, a teaching which like milk is very useful for man’s moral and spiritual development. (close)
وَ عَلَیۡہَا وَ عَلَی الۡفُلۡکِ تُحۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿٪۲۳﴾
وَعَلَيۡهَا وَعَلَى ٱلۡفُلۡكِ تُحۡمَلُونَ
b. 16:8, 9; 36:42, 43; 43:13. (close)
a. 16:8-9; 36:42-43; 43:13. (close)
The cattle are very useful animals. We eat their flesh, drink their milk and use them also as mounts and as beasts of burden, etc. Similarly, ships are extremely useful things. Reference has been made in this and the preceding few verses to several of the things which are highly beneficial to man for his material needs and upon which to a very large extent his very existence depends. It is quite obvious that God Who has made such vast provision for the physical needs of man could not have failed to make similar provision for his moral and spiritual needs. This is the meaning and purport of this verse. (close)