Quran Interpretation with Sheik Ali Gomaa (على جمعة): Al-An’am (سورة الأنعام), “The Cattle” (Quran 6:2)
I have been studying the Qur’an from a non-Western perspective and sharing my notes. My teacher has been Ali Gomaa; a leading Islamic scholar and jurist who studied and taught for many years at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. Ali Gomaa is listed by the Jordanian Royal Islamic Studies Centre as the tenth most influential Muslim in the world out of its list of 500 people.
All 19 episodes are on a single chapter of the Qur’an: Chapter 6, Al-An’am (The Cattle).
Shaikh Ali Gomaa’s Teaching About Surat Al’An’am
Ali Gomaa discuses Surat 6 ayah (verse) 2 in this episode,
YUSUF ALI: He it is created you from clay, and then decreed a stated term (for you). And there is in His presence another determined term; yet ye doubt within yourselves!
PICKTHAL: He it is Who hath created you from clay, and hath decreed a term for you. A term is fixed with Him. Yet still ye doubt!
SHAKIR: He it is Who created you from clay, then He decreed a term; and there is a term named with Him; still you doubt.
“It is as if earth is our mother, because you came from it, therefore your relation must be of that between the son and a mother, not that of a corrupting, using consumer to that which Allah created you from. The fact that we have been created of clay forces us to rise and not indulge in our lusts. We must not behave like those animals and even worse than animals in some of our behaviors. Thinking of clay reminds us of many meanings, that help the concept of good and evil, truth and false, commissioning and honor, taking the stairway of the souls not the body.”
He decreed a term (for you) (Qur’an 2:6) – This is a reference to death.
“This clay must have death, because clay is fragile, that is why when humans are buried their bodies turn to dust, then this dust is scattered by the wind and exists no more or is mixed with the earth once again.”
Ali Gomaa discusses some of the details the Quran gives about creation and notes, “but we don’t find the same amount of details that exists in the Torah for example. That Adam was 60 arms length tall. We don’t find such things in the Qur’an. And that he ate from such and such tree and named the tree. It’s wheat. Also that Satan took the form of a snake and entered in such and such manner. Where is the guidance in such a matter? The Qur’an summarized guidance and gave it to us, without trapping us in historical events. Allah wants to guide us through it, “a guidance to the pious.” This is the reason behind all those who are attracted to Islam throughout the centuries. When they read the book they found out that it has a message. It wants to educate and guid them, that is why they were attracted to it”
Christianity, the Bible, and the Quran
There are significant differences between the Biblical account of creation and that in the Qur’an. One of the most significant is the Quranic teaching that death is a consequence of our being made from clay. The biblical explanation is that mankind’s death is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is important to understand that mankind’s death was a consequence of sin because it highlights the obedience of Jesus Christ Who is contrasted with Adam (see 1 Corinthians 15).