Allah tells us about His creation of the upper realm, which is the heavens, and the lower realm, which is the earth, and everything in them. They have been created for a true purpose, not in vain, so that
(He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done (i.e. punish them in Hell), and reward those who do good, with what is best (i.e. Paradise).)(53:31) Then He declares Himself to be above the Shirk of those who worship others besides Him. He is independent of His creation, alone with no partner or associate. For this reason He deserves to be worshipped Alone, without partners. Then He mentions how man has been created from a Nutfah, i.e., something that is insignificant, weak and has no value - but when man becomes independent and is able to fend for himself - then he begins to dispute with his Lord, may He be exalted, and disbelieves in Him and fights His Messengers. But man was created to be a servant, not an opponent, as Allah says:
(And it is He Who has created man from water, and gave him descendants, and made Him kindred by marriage, and your Lord is capable (of all things). And they worship besides Allah, that which can neither profit them nor harm them; and the disbeliever is ever a helper (of Shaytan) against his Lord) (25: 54-55). And;
(Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah. Yet, behold he stands as an open opponent. And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust'' Say: "He will give life to them Who created them the first time! And He is the knower of every creature!'') (36:77-79). Imam Ahmad and Ibn Majah reported that Busr bin Jahhash said: "The Messenger of Allah spat in his palm, then he said,
(Allah, may He be exalted, says: "O son of Adam, how could you be more powerful than I when I have created you from something like this, and when I have fashioned you perfectly and made you complete, you walk wearing your two garments and the earth makes a sound (beneath your feet). You collect money but do not give anything to anyone, then when the soul of a dying person reaches the throat, you say, `I want to give in charity', but it is too late for charity.'')
(5. And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them there is warmth (warm clothing), and numerous benefits, and you eat from them.) (6. And there is beauty in them for you, when you bring them home in the evening, and as you lead them forth to pasture (in the morning).) (7. And they carry your loads to a land that you could not reach yourselves except with great trouble. Truly, your Lord is full of kindness, Most Merciful.)
Allah reminds His servants of the blessing in His creation of An`am, this term includes camels, cows and sheep, as was explained in detail in Surat Al-An`am where the "eight pairs'' are mentioned. The blessings include the benefits derived from their wool and hair, from which clothes and furnishings are made, from their milk which is drunk, and their young which are eaten. Their beauty is a kind of adornment, thus Allah says,
(And there is beauty in them for you, when you bring them home in the evening.) which is when they are brought back from the pasture in the evening. This is a reference to how their flanks become fat, their udders fill with milk and their humps become bigger.
(and as you lead them forth to pasture (in the morning).) meaning when you send them out to the pasture in the morning.
(And they carry your loads) meaning the heavy burdens that you cannot move or carry by yourselves
(to a land that you could not reach except with great trouble to yourselves) meaning journeys for Hajj, `Umrah, military campaigns, and journeys for the purpose of trading, and so on. They use these animals for all kinds of purposes, for riding and for carrying loads, as Allah says:
(And verily, there is indeed a lesson for you in the An'am (cattle). We give you to drink (milk) of that which is in their bellies. And there are numerous (other) benefits in them for you. Of them you eat, and on them and on ships you are carried.) (23:21-22)
(Allah, it is He Who has made cattle for you, so that some you may ride, and some you may eat. And you find (many other) benefits in them; you may reach by their means a desire that is in your breasts (i.e. carry your goods, loads), and on them and on ships you are carried. And He shows you His Ayat. Which, then of the Ayat of Allah do you deny) (40:79-81). Thus here Allah says, after enumerating these blessings,
(Truly, your Lord is full of kindness, Most Merciful.) meaning, your Lord is the One Who has subjugated the An`am (cattle) to you. This is like the Ayat:
(Do they not see, that of what Our Hands have created, We created the An'am (cattle) for them, so that they may own them, and We subdued them so that they may ride some and they may eat some.)(36:71-72).
(And He made mounts for you out of ships and cattle. In order that you may ride on their backs, and may then remember the favor of your Lord when you mount upon them, and say: "Glory be to the One Who subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our efforts). And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return!'') (43:12-14) Ibn `Abbas said,
(In them there is warmth) refers to clothing;
(and numerous benefits) refers to the ways in which they derive the benefits of food and drink from them.''
(8. And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride, and as an adornment. And He creates (other) things of which you have no knowledge.)
This is the main purpose for which these animals were created. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Jabir bin `Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah forbade us to eat the meat of domestic donkeys, but he allowed us to eat the meat of horses.'' Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud reported with two chains of narration, each of which meet the conditions of Muslim, that Jabir said: "On the day of Khaybar we slaughtered horses, mules and donkeys. The Messenger of Allah forbade us from eating the mules and donkeys, but he did not forbid us from eating the horses.'' According to Sahih Muslim, Asma' bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "At the time of the Messenger of Allah we slaughtered a horse and ate it when we were in Al-Madinah.''
(9. And it is up to Allah to show the right way. But there are ways that stray. And had He willed, He would have guided you all.)
When Allah mentioned the animals which may be used for the purpose of physical journeys, He also referred to the moral, religious routes that people may follow. Often in the Qur'an there is a shift from physical or tangible things to beneficial spiritual and religious matters, as when Allah says,
(And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is Taqwa (piety, righteousness).) (2:197) And,
(O Children of Adam! We have granted clothing for you to cover yourselves, as well as for adornment; but the raiment of righteousness, that is better.) (7:26) Since Allah mentioned cattle and other such animals in this Surah, all of which are ridden or can be used in any way necessary, carrying people's necessities for them to distant places and on difficult journeys - then He mentions the ways which people follow to try to reach Him, and explains that the right way is the one that does reach Him. He says:
(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) This is like the Ayat,
(And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and do not follow the (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.) (6:153) and,
((Allah) said: "This is the way which will lead straight to Me.'') (15:41)
(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Mujahid said: "The true way is up to Allah.''
(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said: "It is up to Allah to clarify, to explain the guidance and misguidance.'' This was also reported by `Ali bin Abi Talhah, and was also the opinion of Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak. Hence Allah said:
(But there are ways that stray.) meaning they deviate from the truth. Ibn `Abbas and others said: "These are the different ways,'' and various opinions and whims, such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Ibn Mas`ud recited it as (وَمِنْكُمْ جَائِرٌ) "But among you are those who stray. '' Then Allah tells us that all of that happens by His will and decree. He says:
(And had He willed, He would have guided you all.) And Allah says:
(If your Lord had willed, then all who are in the earth would have believed.) (10:99)
(And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely, have made humanity one Ummah, but they will not stop disagreeing. Except those for whom your Lord has granted mercy. And it is for this that He did create them; and the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (i.e. His saying): "Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinn and men all together.'') (11:118-119).
(10. He it is Who sends water down from the sky; from it you drink and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture.) (11. With it He causes crops to grow for you, the olives, the date palms, the grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily, in this there is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought.)
When Allah mentions the blessings of cattle and other animals that He has granted mankind, He then mentions how He has blessed them by sending rain down from the sky above, which has been fulfilling the needs and bringing joy to people and their cattle. Allah says:
(from it you drink) meaning, He made it fresh and pure so that they can drink it, not salty and undrinkable.
(and from it (grows) the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture.) meaning, from it He raised plants on which your cattle graze. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd, all said that this refers to grazing animals including camels.
(With it He causes crops to grow for you, olives, date palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit.) meaning, with this one kind of water, He makes the earth sprout plants with different tastes, colors, scents and shapes. For this reason He says,
(Verily, in this there is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought.) meaning, this is a sign and a proof that there is no god besides Allah, as He says:
(Is not He (better than your gods) Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends water down for you from the sky, from which We cause wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight to grow You are not able to cause the growth of their trees. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah Nay, but they are a people who make equals (to Him)!) (27:60).
(12. And He has subjected the night and the day for you, and the sun and the moon; and the stars are subjected by His command. Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand.) (13. And all He has created of varying colors on the earth for you. Verily, in this is a sign for people who reflect.)
Allah mentions the mighty signs and immense blessings to be found in His subjection of night and day, which follow one another; the sun and moon, which revolve; the stars, both fixed and moving through the skies, offering light by which people may find their way in the darkness. Each of (these heavenly bodies) travels in its own orbit, which Allah has ordained for it, and travels in the manner prescribed for it, without deviating in any way. All of them are under His subjugation, His control and His decree, as Allah says:
(Indeed, your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose (Istawa) over the Throne. He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars (all) subjected to His command. Surely, His is the creation and commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of all that exists!) (7:54) Thus Allah says;
(Surely, in this are proofs for people who understand.) meaning, they are indications of His immense power and might, for those who think about Allah and understand His signs.
(And whatsoever He has created of varying colors on the earth for you. ) When Allah points out the features of the skies, He also points out the wondrous things that He has created on earth, the variety of its animals, minerals, plants and inanimate features, all having different colors and shapes, benefits and qualities.
(Verily, in this is a sign for people who reflect.) meaning (those who remember) the blessings of Allah and give thanks to Him for them.
(14. And He it is Who subjected the sea (to you), that you may eat from the fresh tender meat, and that you bring forth out of it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, that you may seek from His bounty and that you may perhaps be grateful.) (15. And He has driven firm standing mountains into the earth, lest it should shake with you; and rivers and roads, that you may guide yourselves. (16. And (by the) landmarks; and by the stars, they guide themselves.) (17. Is then He Who creates the same as one who creates, not Will you not then reflect) (18. And if you would try to count the favors of Allah, you would never be able to count them. Truly, Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful.)