Wednesday 27 April 2022

Who are merely like cattle; nay, even worse than them

Qur'an is not a book of fairy tales that it should be read and shelved. Instead it is a book of wisdom and guidance. Only those who have the capacity to read, think and understand the very dynamics of Qur'an can know how to seek guidance from it.

This is very unfortunate that a vast majority of Muslims, specially those whose mother tongue is not Arabic, only learn to recite the Qur'an in Arabic without consulting translations and Tafsir/exegesis to really understand what is expected of them to do as Muslims. Just like many illiterate Bedouins of the time of revelation of Qur'an most of them did not try to understand what is being told to them and even if they did listen, the shrugged off the Divine revelation and elected to be bounded with what had been transferred to them from their forefathers.

And so is the case today. Most of us who recite Qur'an recite it blindly without understanding it and fail to apply the wisdom contained therein to our practical life. And when they are told to think on a matter, they remain dumb or try to look like so and continue to live a life of oblivion. It is people like them for whom it is being said that they are like cattle, or even worse than them in the 44th verse of Surah 25. Al-Furqan:

اَمۡ تَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ اَكۡثَرَهُمۡ يَسۡمَعُوۡنَ اَوۡ يَعۡقِلُوۡنَ​ ؕ اِنۡ هُمۡ اِلَّا كَالۡاَنۡعَامِ​ بَلۡ هُمۡ اَضَلُّ سَبِيۡلًا‏ 
(25:44) Do you think that most of them hear or understand? For they are merely like cattle; nay, even worse than them.

The same message has been conveyed in the 179th verse of Surah 7 Al A'raf:
And most certainly have We destined for hell many of the invisible beings and men who have hearts with which they fail to grasp the truth, and eyes with which they fail to see, and ears with which they fail to hear. They are like cattle - nay, they are even less conscious of the right way: it is they, they who are the [truly] heedless!
This verse should be an eyeopener for those who follow a pied piper leading them to gaping abyss. Had they tried to think and understand why and where they are being tailed like animals, their lives may have been much better. This is because animals never deviate from their instincts. However, when a human being becomes a slave to his desires, he crosses the limits of his instincts as well as those of nature. This is specially so for the followers of politicians who by the gimmicks of their tongue and false hopes make them follow their lied agenda and yet win over them.
"they are farther astray" - inasmuch as animals follow only their instincts and natural needs and are not conscious of the possibility or necessity of a moral choice.
"They are only like the cattle" because they follow their lusts blindly. Just as the sheep and cattle do not know where their driver is taking them, to the meadow or to the slaughter house, so are these people also following their leaders blindly without knowing or judging where they are being led-to success or to destruction.. The only difference between the two is that the cattle have no intelligence and will not be accountable as to the place where they are being taken by the driver. But it is a pity that human beings who are endowed with reason, should behave like cattle; therefore their condition is worse than that of cattle.

Incidentally it should be noted that this passage (w . 43, 44) is not meant to dissuade the Holy Prophet from conveying the Message to such people, but it is an indirect warning to the disbelievers of the consequences if they continued to behave like cattle .

Qur'an Wiki:
The sūrah hurls further ridicule on those who submit to their lust and worship their desire, turning a blind eye to the truth. It puts them on the same level as animals which are devoid of hearing or logic. This is followed by yet more ridicule which shows such people as even inferior to animals.

This very clear statement that maintains accuracy applies, as the sūrah says, to ‘most of them’, because only a minority of unbelievers showed any inclination to accept guidance, or reflect on what they heard. The majority, who took their desires as their gods which they blindly obeyed, ignored all the signs they heard and saw, and were indeed like cattle. Indeed man is distinguished from animals by his propensity to reflect and understand, as well as by his ability to mould his life in accordance with the truth he accepts upon consideration and reflection. His great human quality is that he is able to change course on being convinced by sound argument. When man deliberately abandons such qualities, he puts himself in a position worse than that of animals. An animal is guided to what suits it by the abilities and susceptibilities God has placed within it. Thus, it fulfils its role without deviation. Man, on the other hand, often disregards the qualities God has given him, making little use of them. In this he is worse than an animal who does not neglect any inclination given to it.

“They are but like cattle. Nay, they are even far worse astray.” This comment expels those who ridicule the Prophet from the ranks of mankind. They are to be looked down upon, never to command respect.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
That is they are worse than grazing cattle. Cattle only do what they were created to do, but these people were created to worship Allah Alone without associating partners with Him, but they worship others with Him, even though evidence has been established against them and Messengers have been sent to them.

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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