Quran 16:77. To God belongs the unseen of the heavens and the earth. The coming of the Hour is only as the twinkling of the eye, or even nearer. God has power over everything.
78. God brought you out of your mothers’ wombs, not knowing anything; and He gave you the hearing, and the eyesight, and the brains; that you may give thanks.
79. Have they not seen the birds, flying in the midst of the sky? None sustains them except God. In this are signs for people who believe.
80. And God has given you in your homes habitats for you, and has provided for you out of the hides of livestock portable homes for you, so you can use them when you travel, and when you camp; and from their wool, and fur, and hair, furnishings and comfort for a while.
81. And God has made for you shade out of what He has created, and has given you resorts in the mountains, and has given you garments to protect you from the heat, and garments to protect you from your violence. Thus He completes His blessings upon you, so that you may submit.
82. But if they turn away, your only duty is clear communication.
83. They recognize God’s blessing, but then deny it, as most of them are ungrateful.
84. On the Day when We raise up a witness from every community—those who disbelieved will not be permitted, nor will they be excused.
85. When those who did wrong see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.
86. And when the idolaters see their associates, they will say, “Our Lord, these are our associates whom we used to invoke besides You.” They will strike back at them with the saying, “Surely you are liars.”
87. On that Day they will offer their submission to God, and what they had invented will abandon them.
88. Those who disbelieve and obstruct from God’s path—We will add punishment to their punishment, on account of the mischief they used to make.
89. On the Day when We raise in every community a witness against them, from among them, and bring you as a witness against these. We have revealed to you the Book, as an explanation of all things, and guidance, and mercy and good news for those who submit.
And here's the commentary.
By the unseen is meant the knowledge of the unseen, or the knowledge of the eventual fulfilment of the prophecies; and by the Hour is meant the hour of the doom of the opponents of the Prophet, the hour when their power was to be utterly destroyed.
The withholding of the birds seems to have a deeper significance. Both Arab proverb and Arab poetry bear witness to birds being spoken of as attending a victorious army to feed upon the corpses of the enemy left on the battlefield. Thus we have the well-known Arab proverb tabaddada bi-laƒmi-ka al-∆airu, i.e., may the birds disperse thy flesh! which is a kind of imprecation, meaning “may the man die and his flesh be dispersed and eaten by birds!” (Majma‘ al-Amthål, by Maidånß, Part I). Arab poetry has many references to this, but I cannot quote more than one instance. The famous Nåbighah says: When he goes out with the army, flocks of birds, being guided by the companies of the army, hover over his head. Here the birds are made the attendants of a victorious army, as if they knew that the army which they followed would slay the enemy, and that they would thus feed on dead bodies. In withholding the birds, therefore, there may be a reference to withholding the punishment which must ultimately overtake the enemy.
The mention of one of two contrary things always involves the other. Hence by the preservation from heat spoken of here, preservation from heat and cold alike is meant. Or, as Zj says, since what preserves a man from heat also preserves him from cold, the mention of the other is omitted.
As He has given you of the good things of this life, the physical blessings, He now completes these blessings by giving you the greatest of His blessings, i.e., Divine revelation, so that, submitting to it, you may prosper.
In this verse, as well as in the concluding verse of this section, the broad humanitarian doctrine is taught that a prophet has been raised in every nation. A Christian annotator seems to note with some wonder that “this verse seems to necessitate the belief of some true prophet having existed in India, China, Japan, etc.”, but certainly it is much more surprising that those who claim hundreds of prophets for a single nation, like the house of Israel, should grudge even a single true prophet to those vast countries and nations. Islåm rejects all such narrow views of the spiritual providence of Allåh, Who is not the “Lord God of Israel”, but the Lord of all nations.
By these are meant the Muslim community throughout the world and in all ages.
Brinkman says: “If the Qur’ån explains everything and is a guidance, what need is there for the Sunnah?” Sunnah means way or practice, and by sunnah is meant the practice of the Prophet, as illustrating the precepts of the Qur’ån. Moreover, by everything is meant every basic principle necessary for the spiritual welfare of man. The sunnah supplies the details.
There's a very interesting picture here. The birds.... Just yesterday Hubby and I were talking about all the signs that are pointing to a major earthquake. The volcano going off just off the coast of Africa.... the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Hawaii.... signify the earth is getting hot and cranky. The Northern Lights caused by changes in the earth's magnetic field have been brilliant... that's an indicator. When I said.... there's an earthquake coming.... Hubby said... "yeah right ol' sayer".
That's when I reminded him about the way I can use birds to tell the weather. We have a huge tree across the street.... it can hold hundreds of hot and tired birds. Some of the birds that hide in that tree also frequent a tree over in the park where we take walks. I know they are the same birds... because they are few in number and they sound different than the run of the mill doves etc., they are peach faced parrots. [No I'm not in Maryland]. They talk....
Anyway... before any major wind.... hundreds of birds... including the six parrots that hang together.... move to my tree. We sit and watch as they fly in from everywhere.... some sit on the outer branches until invited in.... hundreds of birds... the tree is about 40' tall and a good 20' wide.... hundreds of birds.... and they get quiet.... even those talking parrots.... right before the storm. It's cool to watch them.... when the storm is over... they go on about their ways. I reminded Hubby that I can tell when a storm is brewing because of the signs God shows us. It's not just me God shows things too.... anyone who will look up can see all those birds coming and going.
So... in these verses the author is talking about the birds that would follow the troops into battle. I think the majority of the battles in those days were fought in open fields.... where one side would line up on one end of the field and the other side on the other end of the field and they would charge each other. This was hand to hand combat... swords and knives.... lots of blood.... and the birds could sit until the stupid humans were done... and then to the birds go the spoils.
It's a sign..... like buzzards circling a dead animal.... it's a sign.
Humans want God to give them a sign..... well....
Birds are a sign.