(44) أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلاَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
44. " Do you think that most of them do hear or understand? They are (nothing) but like the cattle; nay they are farther astray from the path."
Criticizing pagans, the holy Qur'ān uses the word 'Akhtar' (most) to differentiate those who will be guided from others. The verse says:
"Do you think that most of them do hear or understand? ..."
An animal has got no intellect to know goodness, badness, falsehood and truth, but deviated men act according to their low desires and do not follow intellect, although they have intellect.
To show the importance of the matter, this holy verse says:
"... They are (nothing) but like the cattle; nay, but they are farther astray from the path !"
Something like this meaning is mentioned in verse 179 of Sura Al-'A'rāf No. 7, which is about hell-dwellers who have got such a fate because of not using their eye, ear and intellect. It says: "... These are as the cattle, rather they are more astray..."
Though it is, in short, clear that they have gone astray, commentators have said interesting matters about this subject:
1. The reason that beasts can not know anything and do not have a heedful ear and a clear-sighted eye, is that they do not have such abilities, but man is more miserable than them, for he has been bestowed the essence of all talents. Allah has
offered him so much talent that he can be His vicegerent on the earth, but he will reach a state that he will be reduced to the level of a beast. He has wasted all his merits and is reduced from the rank of being prostrated by the angels down to the abject rank of evils. This is really painful and it is a clear misleading.
2. Beasts will somehow not be reckoned and will not be divinely punished, while misled men must take the burden of all their deeds on their shoulder and be punished without any reduction.
3. Beasts provide men many services and do various jobs, but mutinous and disobedient men provide no services and even so they cause many disasters and destructions.
4. Beasts do not pose anyone threat and if they do, it is limited. But arrogant, wistful, and faithless man begins a war in which millions of people are murdered.
5. If beasts do not have any program and law, they follow the path that creation has determined for their instincts and they go that way only. But obstinate and disobedient men respect neither laws of creation nor divine legislation and count their wishes and desires as the ruler of everything.
6. Beasts never justify their actions. If they do a wrong action, it is a wrong action and if they follow their own way, that they do, it is the natural way. But it happens many times that an arrogant, tyrannical and wistful man justifies all his crimes as though he has done his humane and divine duties!
Therefore, no creature is more dangerous and harmful than a wistful, disobedient, faithless man, and because of this such a man is named 'the worst of beasts' in Sura Al-'Anfāl, No.8, verse 22. What a proper name! So man, who is the vicegerent of Allah, will be worse than beast if he neglects his nature.
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