They ask you what has been made lawful to them.


5) سورة المائدة

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُمْ بَهِيمَةُ الأَنْعَامِ إِلاَّ مَا يُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنْتُمْ حُرُمٌ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ (المائدة: 1).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لاَ تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْيَ وَلاَ الْقَلاَئِدَ وَلاَ آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنْ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (المائدة: 2).
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالأَزْلاَمِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِي الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمْ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا فَمَنْ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (المائدة: 3).
يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِنْ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمْ اللَّهُ فَكُلُوا مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ (المائدة: 4).
الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنْ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ (المائدة: 5).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمْ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (المائدة: 6).
وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُمْ بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (المائدة: 7).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (المائدة: 8).
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ (المائدة: 9).
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (المائدة: 10).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ هَمَّ قَوْمٌ أَنْ يَبْسُطُوا إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَكَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلْ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (المائدة: 11).
وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمْ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا وَقَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَيْتُمْ الزَّكَاةَ وَآمَنْتُمْ بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمْ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ فَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ مِنْكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ (المائدة: 12).
فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِمْ مِيثَاقَهُمْ لَعَنَّاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا قُلُوبَهُمْ قَاسِيَةً يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَنْ مَوَاضِعِهِ وَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ وَلاَ تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى خَائِنَةٍ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً مِنْهُمْ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (المائدة: 13).
وَمِنْ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَى أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمْ اللَّهُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ (المائدة: 14).
يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِمَّا كُنْتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنْ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنْ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُبِينٌ (المائدة: 15).
يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّهُ مَنْ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلاَمِ وَيُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (المائدة: 16).
لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قُلْ فَمَنْ يَمْلِكُ مِنْ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا يخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (المائدة: 17).
وَقَالَتْ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُمْ بِذُنُوبِكُمْ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بَشَرٌ مِمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (المائدة: 18).
يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَى فَتْرَةٍ مِنْ الرُّسُلِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا جَاءَنَا مِنْ بَشِيرٍ وَلاَ نَذِيرٍ فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ بَشِيرٌ وَنَذِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (المائدة: 19).
وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَاءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُلُوكًا وَآتَاكُمْ مَا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِنْ الْعَالَمِينَ (المائدة: 20)

SURAH AL MAIDAH (1 to 20)TRANSLATION ONLY:

 

(5:1) Believers! Honor your bonds!: All grazing beasts of the flock2 are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter, but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of Ihram (a state of pilgrim sanctity).2 Indeed Allah decrees as He wills.4

 

(5:2) Believers! Neither desecrates the symbols of (devotion to) Allah,3 nor the holy

month, nor the animals of offering, nor the animals wearing collars indicating they are for sacrifice, nor ill-treat those who have set out for the Holy House seeking from their Lord His bounty and good pleasure.‘ But once you are free from Pilgrimage obligations, you are free to hunt.2 Do not let your wrath against the people who have barred you from the Holy Mosque move you to commit undue transgressions; rather, help one another in acts of righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and transgression. Fear Allah. Surely Allah is severe in retribution.

 

(5:3) Forbidden to you are carrion,? blood, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s,“ the animal which has either been strangled, killed by blows have died of a fall, by goring or that devoured by a beast of prey – unless it be

 9.’Carrion’ signifies the animal which has died a natural death.

 

(5:4) They ask you what has been made lawful to them. Say: ‘All clean things have been made lawful to you,18 and such hunting animals as you teach, training them to hunt, teaching them the knowledge Allah has given you – you may eat what they catch for youl? – but invoke the name of Allah on it. Have fear of Allah (in violating His Law). Allah is swift in His reckoning.

 

(5:5) This day all good things have been made lawful to you. The food of the People of the Book is permitted to you, and your food is permitted to them.2! And permitted to you are chaste women, be they either from among the believers or from among those who have received the Book before you,2provided you become their protectors in wedlock after paying them their bridal due, rather than go around committing fornication and taking them as secret companions. The work of he who refuses to follow the way of faith will go waste, and he will be among the utter losers in the Hereafter.

 

(5:6) Believers! When you stand up for Prayer wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles. And if you are in the state of ritual impurity, purify yourselves (by taking a bath).25 But if you are either ill, travelling, have satisfied a want of nature or have had contact with women and find no water then have recourse to clean earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith.2 Allah does not want to lay any hardship upon you; rather He wants to purify you and complete His favors upon you so that you may give thanks.

 

(5:7) Remember Allah’s favor upon you2s and His covenant which He made with you when you said: ‘We have heard and we obey.’ So do fear Allah. Allah has full knowledge even of that which is hidden in the breasts of people.

 

(5:8) Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.

 

(5:9) Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness from sins and a great reward.

 

 

(5:10) As for those who disbelieve and give the lie to Our signs, they are destined for the Blazing Flame.

 

 

(5:11) Believers! Remember Allah’s favor upon you. When a certain people decided to stretch their hands against you, He restrained their hands from you. Do fear Allah. Men of faith should put their trust in Allah alone.

 

(5:12) Surely Allah took a covenant with the Children of Israel, and We raised up from them twelve of their leaders, and Allah said: ‘Behold, [am with you; if you establish Prayer and pay Zakah and believe in My Prophets and help them,22 and lend Allah a good loan,33 I will certainly efface from you your evil deeds,“ and will surely cause you to enter the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. Whosoever of you disbelieves thereafter has indeed gone astray from the right way.

 

(5:13) Then, for their breach of the covenant We cast them away from Our mercy and caused their hearts to harden. (And now they are in such a state that) they pervert the words from their context and thus distort their meaning, and have forgotten a good portion of the teaching they were imparted, and regarding all except a few of them you continue to learn that they committed acts of treachery. Pardon them, then, and overlook their deeds. Surely Allah loves those who do good deeds.

 

(5:14) We also took a covenant from those who said: ‘We are Christians’;3¢ but they forgot a good portion of the teaching they had been imparted with. Wherefore We aroused enmity and spite between them till the Day of Resurrection, and ultimately Allah will tell them what they had contrived.

 

(5:15) People of the Book! Now Our Messenger has come to you: he makes clear to you a good many things of the Book which you were wont to conceal, and also passes over many things.22 There has now come to you alight from Allah, and a clear Book.

 

(5:16) through which Allah shows to all who seek to me Him the paths leading to safety.38 He brings them out, by His leave, from darkness to light and directs them on to the straightway.

 

(5:17) Indeed those who said: ‘Christ, the son of Mary, he is indeed God”, disbelieved. 39 Say (O Muhammad)!): ‘Who could have overruled Allah had He so willed to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, and his mother, and all those who are on earth?’ For to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; He creates what He wills.40 Allah is All-Powerful.

 

(5:18) The Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are Allah’s children and His beloved ones. Ask them: ‘Why, then, does He chastise you for your sins?’ You are the same as other men He has created. He forgives whom He wills and chastises whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. To Him is the eventual return.

 

(5:19) People of the Book! After a long interlude during which no Messengers have appeared there has come to you Our Messenger to elucidate the teaching of the true faith lest you say: ‘No bearer of glad tidings and no warner has come to us.’ For now there indeed has come to you a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, Allah is All- Powerful 

 

(5:20) Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘My people, remember Allah’s favor upon you when He raised Prophets amongst you and appointed you rulers, and granted to you what He had not granted to anyone else in the world.

 

Translation with Commentary: Surah Al Maidah (1 to 20)

 

NAME

This Sarah takes its’ name from verse 112 in which the word mai’dah occurs. Like the names of many other surahs, this name has no special relation to the subject of the Surah but has been used merely as a symbol to distinguish it from other surahs.

 

Period of Revelation

The theme of this Surah indicates, and traditions support it, that it was revealed after the treaty of Hudaibiyah at the end of 6 A. H. at in the beginning of 7 A. H. That is why it deals with those problems that arose from this treaty.

The Holy Prophet with 1400 Muslims went to Makkah in Zil-Qaadah 6 A.H. to perform ‘Umrah, but the Quraish spurred by their enmity, prevented him from its performance, though it was utterly against all the ancient religious traditions of Arabia.

After a good deal of hard and harsh negotiations, a treaty was concluded at Hudaibiyah according to which it was agreed that he could perform ‘Umrah the following year. That was a very appropriate occasion for teaching the Muslims the right way of performing a pilgrimage to Makkah with the true Islamic dignity, and enjoining that they should not prevent the disbelievers from performing pilgrimage to Makkah as a retaliation for their misbehavior. This was not difficult at all as many disbelievers had to pass through Muslim territory on their way to Makkah. This is why the introductory verses deal with the things connected with the pilgrimage to Makkah and the same theme has been resumed in Vv. 101-104.

The other topics of this Surah also appear to belong to the same period.

The continuity of the subject shows that most probably the whole of the Surah was revealed as a single discourse at one and the same time. It is also possible that some of its verses were revealed at a later period and inserted in this Surah at different places where they fitted in.

But there appears to be not the least gap anywhere in the Surah to show that it might have comprised two or more discourses.

Occasion of Revelation

 This Surah was revealed to suit the requirements of the changed conditions which were now different from those prevailing at the time of the revelation of Al-i-‘Imran and An- Nisa.

Then the shock of the set-back at Uhad had made the very surroundings of Al-Madinah dangerous for the Muslims, but now Islam had become an invulnerable power and the Islamic State had extended to Najd on the east, to the Red Sea on the west, to Syria on the north and to Makkah on the south. This set back that the Muslims had suffered at Uhad had not broken their determination. It had rather spurred them to action. As a result of their continuous struggle and unparalleled sacrifices, the power o f. the surrounding clans, within a radius of 200 miles or so, had been broken. The Jewish menace which was always threatening Al-Madinah had been totally removed and the Jews in the other parts of Hijaz had-become tributaries of the State of Al-Madinah. The last effort of the Quraish to suppress Islam had been thwarted in the Battle of the Ditch. After this, it had become quite obvious to the Arabs that no power could suppress the Islamic movement. Now Islam was not merely a creed which ruled over the minds and hearts of the people but had also become a State which dominated over every aspect of the life of the people who lived within its boundaries.

This had enabled the Muslims to live their lives without let or hindrance, in accordance with their beliefs.

 

Another development had also taken place during this period. The Muslim civilization had developed in accordance with the principles of Islam and the Islamic viewpoint. This civilization was quite distinct from all other civilizations in all its’ details, and distinguished the Muslims clearly from-non Muslim in their moral, social and cultural behavior.

Mosques had been built in all territories, prayer had been established and’ Imam (leader) for every habitation and clan had been appointed. The Islamic civil and criminal laws had been formulated in detail and were being enforced through the Islamic courts. New and reformed ways of trade and commerce had taken the place of the old ones. The Islamic laws of marriage and divorce, of the segregation of the sexes, of the punishment for adultery and calumny and the like had cast the social life of the Muslims in a special mold. Their social behavior, their conversation, their dress, their very mode of living, their culture etc., had taken a definite shape of its own. As a result of all these changes, the non-Muslims could not expect that the Muslims would ever return to their former fold.

 

Before the treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Muslims were so engaged in their struggle with the non-Muslim Quraish that they got no time to propagate their message. This hindrance was removed by what was apparently a defeat but in reality a victory at Hudaibiyah. This gave the Muslims not only peace in their own territory but also respite to spread their message in the surrounding territories. Accordingly the Hol,y Prophet addressed letters to the rulers of Iran, Egypt and the Roman Empire and the chiefs of Arabia, inviting them to Islam. At the same time the missionaries of Islam spread among the clans and tribes and invited them to accept the Divine Way of Allah. These were the circumstances at the time when Al-Ma’idah was revealed.

Surah:

(5:1) Believers! Honor your bonds!: All grazing beasts of the flock2 are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter, but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of Ihram (a state of pilgrim sanctity).2 Indeed Allah decrees as He wills.4

 

 

1.People should abide by the limitations and prohibitions laid down in this surah and elsewhere in the law of God. This brief introductory statement is followed by an enunciation of those prohibitions which people are required to observe.

 

 

2.The Arabic word an’‘am (cattle) denotes camels, oxen, sheep, and goats, whereas the word bahimah means all grazing quadrupeds. Had God said that an’am had been made lawful for them, this permission would have included only those animals to which the term an’am is applicable. But the terms in which the injunction is conveyed are bahimat al-an’am (all grazing beasts of the flock). Hence the permission is of wider import and embraces all grazing quadrupeds of the cattle type, i.e. which do not possess canine teeth, which feed on plants rather than animals, and which resemble the cattle found in Arabia in other characteristics. This implies that the flesh of those animals which have canine teeth and are carnivorous is not permissible. This implication was elucidated by the Prophet (peace be on him) and is embodied in a tradition in which he prohibited those beasts which kill and eat other animals. Likewise, the Prophet (peace be on him) also prohibited birds with claws and those that feed on carrion. According to a tradition transmitted by Ibn ‘Abbas: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) prohibited all beasts with canine teeth and all birds with claws.’ (Bukhari, ‘Dhaba’ih’, 28, 29; ‘Tibb’, 53; Abu Da’ud, ‘At’imah’, 32; Tirmidhi, ‘At’imah’, 9, 11; Muslim, ‘Sayd’, 11-16; Nasa’i, ‘Sayd wa Dhaba’ih’, 28, 30, 33; Ibn Majah, ‘Sayd’, 13; etc. – Ed.)

 

3.[hram is the name of the simple apparel worn at the time of Pilgrimage. In every direction around the Ka’bah, there are certain fixed points beyond which no Pilgrim may proceed without donning this special Pilgrim’s garment in place of his normal clothes. This apparel consists of two sheets of untailored cloth, one of which is wrapped around the lower part of the body while the other is thrown over the upper part. This manner of dressing is termed ihram because once a man has assumed it he must treat as prohibited a number of things which are ordinarily lawful, for example either shaving or trimming the hair, or using perfumes and other items of toiletry and the gratification of sexual desires. These restrictions also extend to both killing and hunting, and to leading anyone else to either kill or hunt an animal.

 

 

4.God is the absolute sovereign and has absolute authority to issue whatever command He might will. His creatures do not have the right to complain about any of these orders. Even though wisdom (hikmah) underlies the ordinances of God, a true believer does not obey them because he considers them either appropriate or conducive to his best interests. He obeys them simply because they are the ordinances of his Lord. He holds unlawful all that God has declared unlawful, because God has so decreed it; whatever He has declared lawful is regarded as such for no other reason than that God, the Lord of all, has allowed His servants the use of it. Hence the Qur’an establishes very firmly the principle that nothing except permission from the Lord – or lack of it – is to be taken into consideration in deciding what is lawful and what is not.

 

(5:2) Believers! Neither desecrates the symbols of (devotion to) Allah,3 nor the holy month, nor the animals of offering, nor the animals wearing collars indicating they are for sacrifice, nor ill-treat those who have set out for the Holy House seeking from their Lord His bounty and good pleasure.‘ But once you are free from Pilgrimage obligations, you are free to hunt.2 Do not let your wrath against the people who have barred you from the Holy Mosque move you to commit undue transgressions; rather, help one another in acts of righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and transgression. Fear Allah. Surely Allah is severe in retribution.

 

5.Whatever characteristically represents either a particular doctrine, creed, way of thought or conduct is recognized as its symbol. For example, official flags, uniforms of the armed forces, coins, notes, and stamps are symbols used by governments so that their subjects – in fact all those who live within their sphere of influence – treat them with proper respect.

Cathedrals, altars, and crosses are symbols of Christianity. A special bunch of hair on the head, a special kind of bead-rosary and the temple are symbols of Hinduism. A turban, bracelet and Kirpan (a special dagger kept by the Sikhs) are symbols of the Sikh religion.

The hammer and sickle are the symbols of Communism. The swastika has been the symbol of Aryan racialism. The followers of these ideologies are required to treat these symbols with respect. If a man insults any symbol associated with a particular ideology it is regarded as an act of hostility; and if the person concerned is himself a follower of that ideology then that insult is considered tantamount to an abandonment of, and a revolt against it.

The expression ‘sha’a’ir Allah’ refers to all those rites which, in opposition to polytheism and outright disbelief and atheism, are the characteristic symbols of an exclusive devotion to God. Muslims are required to respect these symbols, regardless of the people among whom they are found, provided their underlying spirit is one of godliness and that they have not been tainted by either polytheistic or pagan associations. Hence, whenever a Muslim encounters something in either the creed or practice of a non-Muslim, which embodies any element of devotion and service to the One True God, he will identify himself with it and show respect to the symbols which represent it. For this true element in their religious life constitutes the point of agreement between them and the Muslims. The point of dispute is not that they serve God, but that they with associate others in that service.

 

It should be recalled that this directive to treat the symbols of God with due respect was given at a time when a state of belligerency existed between the Muslims and the polytheists of Arabia, and Makka was under the occupation of the latter. Polytheistic tribes from all over Arabia used to visit the Ka’bah for Pilgrimage, and the routes of many of these tribes were within the reach-of the Muslims if they decided to attack. It was in such circumstances that the Muslims were told that, even though those people were polytheists, they should not be molested if they were proceeding towards the ‘House of God’; that they should not be attacked during the months of Pilgrimage; and that the animals which they were carrying for sacrificial offering should not be touched. The element of godliness which persisted in their otherwise distorted religious life deserved to be respected.

 

Following a general directive that the symbols of God should be treated with proper respect a few such symbols are mentioned specifically lest war fever lead even to the desecration of religious rites and symbols. The enumeration of these particular symbols does not mean that respect is due to these alone.

 

 

7.Ihram is also one of the symbols of God and violation of any of the prohibitions which should be observed in that state is an act of sacrilege. The prohibition of hunting while in the state of ihram is mentioned in connection with the desecration of the symbols of God. When ihram is over, the prohibitions become void, and one is permitted to hunt.

 

8.The unbelievers had prevented the Muslims from visiting the Ka’bah. In fact, in violation of the ancient usage of Arabia, they had even deprived them of their right to make Pilgrimage. As a result, the Muslims felt inclined to prevent the pagan tribes from making their pilgrimage by not letting them pass along the routes to Makka which lay close to the Islamic domains, and to attack their trading caravans during the time of Pilgrimage (Hajj).

God prevented them from carrying out this plan through the revelation.

 

(5:3) Forbidden to you are carrion,? blood, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s,“ the animal which has either been strangled, killed by blows has died of a fall, by goring or that devoured by a beast of prey – unless it be

 

 

that which you yourselves might have slaughtered while it was still alive! – and that which was slaughtered at the altars.12-‘3 You are also forbidden to seek knowledge of your fate by divining arrows. All these are sinful acts. This day the unbelievers have fully despaired of your religion. Do not fear them, but fear Me.15 This day I have perfected for you your religion, and have bestowed upon you My bounty in full measure, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion. (Follow, then, the lawful and unlawful bounds enjoined upon you.) As for he who is driven by hunger, without being wilfully inclined to sin, surely Allah is All-Forgiving, All- Compassionate.

9.’Carrion’ signifies the animal which has died a natural death.

 

10.This refers to the practice of pronouncing the name of anyone or anything other than God and dedicating the animal, as an offering, to either a holy personage, god or goddess before slaughtering. (For details see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n.171)

 

 

11.It is lawful to eat the flesh of an animal which may have suffered from any of the above- mentioned accidents providing it was still alive until slaughtered. This verse also makes it clear that the flesh of an animal becomes lawful only by slaughtering ritually, and that other another method of killing is valid. The words dhabh and dhakah belong to the technical terminology of Islam and denote slitting the throat so that the blood is completely drained from the animal’s body. The disadvantage of killing an animal by either guillotine or strangulation is that the greater part of the blood remains within the body, and at various places it sticks to the flesh and forms congealed lumps. If an animal is slaughtered by slitting the throat, on the other hand, the connection between mind and body remains intact for a short while, with the result that the blood is thoroughly drained out from all the veins and the flesh becomes fully cleansed of blood. We have just come across the injunction prohibiting the eating of blood. So only that flesh which has been purged of blood is declared lawful.

 

 

12.The word nusub signifies all the places consecrated for offerings to others than the One True God, regardless of whether they are images of wood, stone or something else.

 

 

13.The division of objects of eating and drinking into lawful and unlawful is based on their moral rather than their medicinal properties. God has left matters relating to the physical world to be tackled by man’s own effort and striving. It is for man himself to discover by his own efforts which items of food and drink provide him with healthy nourishment and which are useless and harmful. The Law (Shari’ah) does not take upon itself to guide man in such matters. Had it undertaken such a task, perhaps one of the first things for it to do would have been to pronounce the prohibition of arsenic oxide. But one will notice that the Qur’an and Hadith mention neither arsenic oxide nor other things which either singly or jointly are fatal for man. The underlying considerations of the Law with regard to the various items of eating and drinking are their possible effects on man’s morals and on the purity of his soul. This is in addition to the judgments that the Law makes with regard to the various means adopted by a man in his quest for food – whether they are appropriate according to Islamic standards or not. It is impossible for man to determine what is beneficial and what is harmful to his morals; he has not been endowed with the capacities needed to arrive at sound conclusions on these matters, and so he frequently stumbles into error. Hence the Law undertakes to guide him in these matters and these matters alone.

Whatever has been prohibited by Islam has been prohibited because of its bad effects on human morals, because of its repugnance to spiritual purity, and because of its association with false beliefs. Things that have been declared lawful have been so declared because they are untainted by these evils.

 

It may be asked why God did not specify the considerations underlying the prohibition of various things for this would have afforded us very valuable insights. In reply, it must be pointed out that it is impossible for us to fully grasp such considerations. The kind of questions we face are for instance: What are the corrupting effects of the consumption of either blood or the flesh of swine and carrion on our morals? The extent to which this corruption affects our morals, and the way in which certain things affect our morals is a matter that we are incapable of investigating, for we do not possess the means of weighing and measuring the moral properties of various things. To mention some of these bad effects would carry little weight with the skeptic, for how could he test the soundness of statements on such questions? Hence, God considers faith rather than man’s own judgment as the main basis for observing the standards of lawfulness and prohibition. Whoever is fully convinced that the Qur’an is the Book of God, that the Prophet (peace be on him) was designated by Him, and that God is All-Knowing and All-Wise, will necessarily commit himself to observe the restrictions enjoined by God regardless of whether he is able to grasp the wisdom underlying them or not. Whoever lacks this basic conviction will avoid only those evils which are fully evident to human beings, and will remain a prey to all those which have not yet become apparent but which in fact are intrinsically harmful.

 

 

14.The things which are prohibited in this verse fall into the following categories: 

(1) Polytheistic divination, which is a form of omen-seeking whereby knowledge either about one’s future or about matters beyond human perception, is sought from gods and goddesses. The polytheists of Makka had consecrated the idol Hubal in the Ka’bah for this purpose. Seven arrows had been placed at its altars and on each of the different words and sentences had been inscribed. Whenever people were faced with the question of whether a certain course was wise or not, or they wanted to trace something lost, or sought a judgment in a murder case, or had other similar problems, they would approach the oracle of Hubal, present him with an offering as his fee, and pray to Hubal to issue a verdict on the question concerned. Then the oracle would draw arrows, and the inscription on the arrow which fell to a person’s lot was deemed to represent the verdict of Hubal.

 

(2) Superstitious divination, which has also been prohibited, means that instead of deciding the problems of life in a rational way one should decide them on fanciful grounds. Or it could mean deciding matters by arbitrary interpretation of accidental events, or to have one’s future prophesied by means which have not been reasonably established as adequate for obtaining knowledge about the future. This includes geomancy, astrology, fortune- telling and the numerous other methods adopted to determine omens.

 

(3) Games of chance are also prohibited and include all those transactions in which one receives depends on chance and other purely accidental factors rather than on rational considerations such as either due payment or recompense for services rendered. This applies, for instance, to lotteries where the holder of an arbitrarily-drawn number receives a huge amount of money which has been obtained from thousands of other people. It also applies to crossword where were the award of prizes does not depend on the actual correctness of the solution (since several correct solutions are possible) but on accidental conformity with the particular solution which is arbitrarily chosen as the only correct one by the sponsors of the puzzle. After prohibiting each of these three categories, the only kind of lot-drawing which Islam permits is that which one resorts to when obliged to make a decision either in favor of one of the numerous permissible options or in favor of one out of two or more equally legitimate claimants. For instance, two persons have an equal claim over a thing which neither of them is prepared to relinquish, and at the same time, there is no reasonable basis for preferring one to the other. In such a case, with the consent of the claimants, the matter may be settled by drawing lots. The Prophet (peace be on him) himself used to resort to drawing lots when he had to make a decision between two equal claimants, and when preferring one of them would cause distress and grievance to the other. (For such instances see Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 373; Bukhari, ‘Nikah’, 97 and ‘Shahadat’, 30; Muslim, ‘Fada’il al-Sahabah’, 88; Ibn Majah, ‘Ahkam’, 20, etc. – Ed.)

 

 

15.’This day’, here, does not signify a particular day or specific date. It refers to that period of time when these verses were revealed. In our own usage, too, expressions like ‘today’ or ‘this day’ often have the sense of the ‘present time’. ‘This day the unbelievers have fully despaired of your religion’ refers to the fact that the Muslims’ religion had developed into a full-fledged system of life, reinforced by the authority and governmental power which it had acquired. The unbelievers who had hitherto resisted its establishment now despaired of destroying Islam and of forcing the believers back to their former state of Ignorance. The believers therefore no longer needed to fear men: they should fear God alone instead.

Indeed, the Muslims were repeatedly asked to fear God, for they would not be treated lightly if they failed to carry out His commands, especially as there was no longer any justifiable excuse for such failure. If they still violated the law of God, there could be no basis for supposing that they did so under constraint: it must mean that they simply had no intention of obeying Him.

 

 

16.The ‘perfection of religion’ mentioned in this verse refers to making it a self-sufficient system of belief and conduct, and an order of social life providing its own answers to the questions with which man is confronted. This system contains all necessary guidance for man, either by expounding fundamental principles from which detailed directives can be deduced or by spelling out such directives explicitly so that in no circumstances would one need to look for guidance to any extraneous source.

 

The bounty referred to in the statement: ‘l have bestowed upon you My bounty in full measure’, is the bounty of true guidance.

 

The statement: ‘I have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion’ means that, since the Muslims had proved by their conduct and their striving that they were honest and sincere about the commitment they had made to God in embracing Islam – the commitment to serve and obey Him – He had accepted their sincerity and created conditions in which they were no longer yoked in bondage to anyone but Him. Thus the Muslims were not prevented from living in submission to God out of extraneous constraints just as there were no constraints preventing them from subscribing to true beliefs. Having recounted these favors, God does not point out what should be the proper response to those favors. But the implication is obvious: the only appropriate response on the part of the believers must be unstinting observance of the law of God out of gratitude to Him.

 

According to authentic traditions, this verse was revealed in 10 A.H. on the occasion of the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage. The context, however, seems to indicate that it was revealed soon after the conclusion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah (ie. in 6 A.H.). All parts of the discourse in which this verse occurs are so tightly interwoven and so closely inter-connected that it hardly seems conceivable that it should have been inserted here several years later.

My own estimate – and true knowledge of this lies with God alone – is that this verse was originally revealed in its present context (i.e. commenting upon the conditions prevailing at the time of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah). It is conceivable that the true significance of the verse was not then fully appreciated. But later on, when Islam prevailed over the whole of Arabia and the power of Islam reached a high point, God once again revealed this sentence to His Messenger and ordered him to proclaim it.

 

 

171.See Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 2, n. 172).

 

(5:4) They ask you what has been made lawful to them. Say: ‘All clean things have been made lawful to you,18 and such hunting animals as you teach, training them to hunt, teaching them the knowledge Allah has given you – you may eat what they catch for youl? – but invoke the name of Allah on it.22 Have fear of Allah (in violating His Law). Allah is swift in His reckoning.

 

 

 

18.There is a certain subtlety in how the query is answered. Religious- minded people often fall into a prohibitionist mentality by tending to regard as unlawful everything not expressly declared as lawful. This makes them excessively fastidious and over-suspicious, and inclined to ask for a complete list of all that is lawful and permitted. The Qur’an’s response to this question seems to be aimed, in the first place, at the reform of this mentality. The questioners want a list of what is lawful so they can treat everything else as prohibited, but the Qur’an provides them with a list of what is prohibited and then leaves them with the guiding principle that all ‘clean things’ are lawful. This means a complete reversal of the old religious outlook according to which everything that has not been declared lawful is considered prohibited. This was a great reform, and it liberated human life from many unnecessary constraints. Henceforth, except for a few prohibitions, the lawful domain embraced virtually everything.

 

The lawfulness of things has been tied, however, to the stipulation of their being clean so that no one can argue for the lawfulness of things which are unclean. The question which arises at this point is: How are we to determine which things are clean? The answer is that everything is clean apart from those things which can be reckoned unclean either according to any of the principles embodied in the Law or which are repellent to man’s innate sense of good taste or which civilized human beings have generally found offensive to their natural feelings of cleanliness and decency.

 

 

19.The expression ‘hunting animals’ signifies hounds, cheetahs, hawks and all those beasts and birds which men use in hunting. It is a characteristic of animals which have been trained to hunt that they hold the prey for their masters rather than devour it. It is for this reason that while the catch of these trained animals is lawful, that of others is prohibited.

There is some disagreement among the jurists as to the hunting animals whose catch is lawful. Some jurists are of the opinion that if the hunting animal, whether bird or beast, eats any part of the game, it becomes prohibited since the act of eating signifies that the animal hunted for its own sake rather than for the sake of its master. This is the doctrine of Shafi’1. Other jurists hold that the prey is not rendered unlawful even if the hunting animal has eaten part of the game; even if it has devoured one-third of the animal, the consumption of the remaining two-thirds is lawful, irrespective of whether the hunting animal is a bird or a beast. This is the view of Malik. A third group of jurists is of the opinion that if the hunting animal which has eaten part of the game is a beast it becomes prohibited, but not so if the hunting animal is a bird. The reason for this distinction is that hunting beasts can be trained to hold the game for their master whereas experience shows that hunting birds are not fully capable of receiving such instruction. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah and his disciples.

‘Ali, however, is of the opinion that it is unlawful to eat the catch of hunting birds because they cannot be trained to refrain from eating the game and to hold it merely for the sake of their master. (See the commentaries of Ibn Kathir, Jassas, Ibn al-‘Arabi and Qurtubi on this verse. See also Ibn Rushd, Bidayat al-Mujtahid, vol. 2, pp. 440 ff. -Ed.)

 

20.They should pronounce the name of God at the time of dispatching animals to the hunt.

It is mentioned in a tradition that ‘Adi b. Hatim asked the Prophet (peace be on him) whether he could use hounds for hunting. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied: ‘If you have pronounced the name of God while dispatching your trained hound, eat what he has caught for, you. And if it has eaten from the game, then do not eat for I fear that the hound had caught the game for itself.’ Then he inquired what should be done if one had pronounced the name of God while dispatching one’s own hound, but later found another hound close to the prey. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied: ‘Do not eat that, for you have pronounced the name of God on your own hound, but not on the other one.’ (For relevant traditions see Bukhari, ‘Dhaba’ih’, 4, 10; Ibn Majah, ‘Sayd’, 3; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 231 and vol. 4, p. 195 – Ed.) The verse under discussion makes it clear that it is necessary to pronounce the name of God while dispatching a hound to the hunt. If a man later finds the prey alive he should slaughter it. But if he does not find it alive it will still be lawful to eat it since the name of God has already been pronounced. The same rule applies with regard to shooting arrows in hunting.

 

(5:5) This day all good things have been made lawful to you. The food of the People of the Book is permitted to you, and your food is permitted to them.2! And permitted to you are chaste women, be they either from among the believers or from among those who have received the Book before you,2provided you become their protectors in wedlock after paying them their bridal due, rather than go around committing fornication and taking them as secret companions. The work of he who refuses to follow the way of faith will go waste, and he will be among the utter losers in the Hereafter.23

 

 

21.The food of the People of the Book includes the animals slaughtered by them. The rule that ‘our food is lawful to them and theirs lawful to us’ signifies that there need be no barriers between us and the People of the Book regarding food. We may eat with them and they with us. But this general proclamation of permission is preceded by a reiteration of the statement: ‘All good things have been made lawful to you.’ This indicates that if the People of the Book either do not observe those principles of cleanliness and purity which are considered obligatory by the Law or if their food includes prohibited items, then one should abstain from eating them. If, for instance, they either slaughter an animal without pronouncing the name of God or if they slaughter it in the name of anyone else but God it is not lawful for us to eat that animal. Likewise, if intoxicating drinks, the flesh of swine, and any other prohibited thing is found on their dining table we may not justify our partaking of such items on the ground that the persons concerned are People of the Book.

The same applies to those non-Muslims who are not People of the Book, except for one difference – that whereas the animals slaughtered by the People of the Book are lawful provided they have pronounced the name of God at the time of slaughtering them, we are not permitted to eat the animals killed by non-Muslims who are not People of the Book.

 

22.This expression signifies the Jews and the Christians. Of non-Muslim women, Muslims may marry only Christians and Jews and of them only those who have been characterized as muhsanat (i.e. ‘well-protected women’).

 

There are differences among jurists as to the detailed application of this rule. The view of Ibn ‘Abbas is that the expression ‘People of the Book’ here signifies only those People of the Book who are subjects of the Domain of Islam (Dar al-Islam). It is also unlawful to marry Jewish and Christian women who are either living in the Domain of War (Dar al-Harb) or in the Domain of Disbelief (Dar al-Kufr). The Hanafi jurists hold a slightly different opinion. Although they disapprove of marrying such women, it is not considered unlawful. Sa’id b. al-Musayyib and Hasan al-Basri are of the opinion that the verse warrants general application and hence there is no need to differentiate between those who are ahl al- Dhimmah (the non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic State) and those who are not.

 

There is also disagreement among the jurists about the connotation of the term muhsanat. ‘Umar considered this word to signify only those women who are chaste and possess good moral character, and hence ahl al-Kitab women who are of loose character are excluded from this permission. This is also the opinion of Hasan al-Basri, Sha’bi and Ibrahim al- Nakha’i and of the Hanafi jurists. But Shafi’i considers this expression to have been used as an antonym of ‘slave women’, and hence it signifies all those ahl al-Kitab women who are not slaves. (Cf. the commentaries of Ibn Kathir, Ibn al-‘Arabi and Qurtubi – Ed.)

 

23.The declaration that marriage to ahl al-Kitab women is permitted is immediately followed by this warning which, in effect, means that those who avail themselves of this permission ought to be mindful of their faith and morals. They are urged to beware of infatuation with disbelieving women lest they also become enamored of the ideas and beliefs which they cherish, thereby allowing their faith to dissipate. They are warned against adopting social patterns and modes of conduct inconsistent with the true requirements of their faith.

 

(5:6) Believers! When you stand up for Prayer wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles. And if you are in the state of ritual impurity, purify yourselves (by taking a bath).25 But if you are either ill, travelling, have satisfied a want of nature or have had contact with women and find no water then have recourse to clean earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith.2 Allah does not want to lay any hardship upon you; rather He wants to purify you and complete His favors upon you so that you may give thanks.

 

 

24.The explanation of this injunction by the Prophet (peace be on him) indicates that washing of the face includes rinsing one’s mouth and inhaling water into the nostrils. Unless this is done the washing of the face is not considered complete. Likewise, since the ears are part of the head, ‘wiping the head’ includes wiping one’s hands over the external and internal parts of the ears as well. Moreover, before starting to wash the other parts one should first wash one’s hands so that the instruments of washing are themselves clean.

 

 

25.Janabah (the state of major ritual impurity) – whether caused by the sexual act or merely by seminal discharge – renders it unlawful to perform the ritual Prayer and to touch the Qur’an for further details see (Surah 4, nn. 67-9 )above.

 

26.For explanation see (Surah 4, nn. 69-70 )above.

 

 

27.Just as purity of the soul is a blessing, so is the cleanliness of the body. God’s favor to man can be completed only when he has received comprehensive direction in respect of both spiritual purity and physical cleanliness.

 

(5:7) Remember Allah’s favor upon you2s and His covenant which He made with you when you said: ‘We have heard and we obey.’ So do fear Allah. Allah has full knowledge even of that which is hidden in the breasts of people.

 

 

28.The ‘favor’ mentioned here denotes illuminating the Straight Way, and entrusting to the believers the task of guidance and leadership of the whole world.

 

 

(5:8) Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is well aware of what you do.

 

(5:9) Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness from sins and a great reward.

 

(5:10) As for those who disbelieve and give the lie to Our signs, they are destined for the Blazing Flame.

 

 

(5:11) Believers! Remember Allah’s favor upon you. When a certain people decided to stretch their hands against you, He restrained their hands from you. Do fear Allah. Men of faith should put their trust in Allah alone.

 

 

30.This alludes to the incident reported by Ibn ‘Abbas when a group of Jews invited the

Prophet (peace be on him) and a number of his close Companions to dinner. They had in fact hatched a plot to pounce upon the guests and thus undermine the very foundation of Islam. But by the grace of God the Prophet (peace be on him) came to know of the plot at the eleventh hour and did not go. Since the following section is addressed to the Children of Israel, this incident is alluded to here in order to mark the transition to a new subject.

The discourse which begins here has two purposes. The first is to warn the Muslims against following the ways of their predecessors, the People of the Book. The Muslims are told, therefore, that the Israelites and the followers of Jesus had made a covenant with God in the past, in the manner that the Muslims had recently done so. The Muslims should, therefore, take heed lest they also break their covenant and fall a prey to error and misguidance as their predecessors had done.

The second is to sensitize the Jews and Christians to the errors they have committed and invite them to the true religion.

 

(5:12) Surely Allah took a covenant with the Children of Israel, and We raised up from them twelve of their leaders, and Allah said: ‘Behold, [am with you; if you establish Prayer and pay Zakah and believe in My Prophets and help them,22 and lend Allah a good loan,33 I will certainly efface from you your evil deeds,“ and will surely cause you to enter the Gardens beneath which rivers flow. Whosoever of you disbelieves thereafter has indeed gone astray from the right way.%

 

 

31.The word naqib in Arabic denotes supervisor and censor. There were twelve tribes among the Israelites and each tribe was required to appoint one of its members as a naqib, to look after their affairs and try to prevent them from becoming victims of irreligiousness and moral corruption. Although the Book of Numbers in the Bible does mention these twelve men, it does not seem to convey the sense of their being religious and moral mentors, as the term naqib employed by the Qur’an does. The Bible simply mentions them as the chiefs and dignitaries of their tribes.

 

32.The assurance of God’s support is made conditional upon their continuous response to the call of God and for support of His Prophets.

 

 

33.This expression signifies spending one’s wealth for the sake of God. Since God has promised to return to man every penny that he spends in His way along with His reward, which will be several-fold, the Qur’an characterizes this spending as a loan to God. This spending is considered a loan provided it is a ‘good loan’, that is, provided the money spent in the cause of God has been acquired by legitimate means and has been spent in accordance with the laws of God and with sincerity and earnestness.

 

 

34.To efface someone’s evil deeds signifies two things. First, that if a man decides to follow the Straight Path and strives to follow God’s directives in both thought and action his soul will be purged of many evils and his way of life will gradually become free of corruption.

Second, if, in spite of this reform, weaknesses still persist in a man’s life he is assured that God will not punish him and will have his failing erased from his record. For God is not too exacting over trivial errors, providing a man has sincerely accepted the basic guidance and reformed his character.

 

 

  1. That is, they once found the ‘right way’ and then allowed it to be lost and thus put themselves on the road to perdition. We have translated the Qur’anic expression ‘sawa’ al- sabil’ as the ‘right way’ for the sake of brevity. A better rendering could be, ‘the highroad of balance and moderation, but even this would fail to bring out the meaningfully. In order to grasp the full significance of what is being said here one should bear in mind that in himself man constitutes a microcosm of society. He has innumerable powers and potentialities, myriad desires, feelings and inclinations, and a host of divergent urges. Social life consists of a huge network of complex relationships, and with the growth of civilization , and culture the complexity of these relationships increases. There is also a rich fund of resources in the world and there are countless possibilities for their utilization; as a result, man is confronted with a plethora of choices and problems. The fact that man has inherent limitations means that he is incapable of viewing in one sweep and in a balanced way the entire span of existence. Hence, man is in no position to prescribe for his kind a judicious way of life – a way of life wherein justice is done to all his powers and capacities; in which a wholesome balance is maintained between all his inherent potentialities; in which all his urges are given their due; in which his two-fold need for inner satisfaction and external self-realization is fully met; in which various aspects of human life are taken into proper consideration, giving birth to an integrated scheme with a built-in capacity to harmonize the multifarious strains and stresses of social life; in which material resources are fully exploited in the best interests of both the individual and society and within the framework of equity, justice and righteousness. When man takes upon himself the task of prescribing the guidelines for his life and becomes his own law-maker, his mind tends to become preoccupied with one specific aspect of human life, with one of the numerous demands of his nature, with one of the myriad problems calling for solution. His mental involvement is liable to be so intense that he adopts – consciously or otherwise – an unjust attitude towards all the other aspects, requirements and problems of human life.

Consequently, when such opinions are imposed, the balance which ought to prevail in man’s life is disrupted and he begins to swing either towards one extreme or the other.

Gradually, this deviation assumes intolerable proportions. A reaction sets in, and justice is demanded for the neglected aspects of human life. Still, human life remains deprived of justice. The reason for this failure is that man’s reaction to imbalance is itself devoid of balance. The new dispensation in turn persists in excessive preoccupation with either one specific aspect, problem or requirement of human life at the expense of all the others. Thus human life is denied judicious and balanced progress. Man continues to stumble hither and thither; from one form of self-destruction to another. All courses of life charted by man himself are winding and crooked. They move in the wrong direction, reach the wrong end and then turn back in another wrong direction.

Among these numerous ways – all false – there is just one way that lies exactly in the middle.

This way alone does full justice to all of man’s various potentialities and urges, to all his instincts and predispositions, to all the multifarious claims of both the body and the spirit; in short, to all aspects of his life. In this way there is no crookedness; it is the one course of life in which nothing is given either too much consideration or too little, and nothing suffers inequity and injustice. Man’s very nature thirsts for such a way and the succession of revolts against false ways of life is merely a manifestation of his constant quest for this right and straightway. Left to himself, man is incapable of charting this way. It is God alone Who can direct him to it, and indeed the Prophets were sent for this very purpose.

The Qur’an designates this way as sawa al-sabil (‘the right way’) in the present verse and elsewhere as al-sirat al-mustaqim (‘the straight way’). (See Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. I, (Surah 1, verse 5, and n. 8.) This is the road that goes amidst the countless winding and crooked paths of life; the road which leads man, disregarding all the curved and crooked paths, straight on to his success, right from this world to the Hereafter.

Whoever goes along it enjoys rectitude in this world and success and felicity in the Next, but whoever loses this road is bound to become a victim of false beliefs and false ways of conduct and thus comes to have a wrong orientation in life. This will lead him to Hell, where all bent and crooked paths end. The following illustrates man’s dilemma.

In modern times some philosophers have been so impressed by this constant swinging in human life, from one extreme to another, as to have mistakenly argued that the dialectical the process is the natural course of human life. They conclude, therefore, that the only way for human life to progress is that a thesis should first swing it in one direction, and then an antithesis swing it in the opposite direction, after which there will emerge a synthesis which constitutes the course of human progress. These curved lines from one extreme to the other do not indicate the correct course of human progress. Rather they represent the tragic stumbling which again and again obstruct the true progress of human life. Every extreme thesis sets life on a certain course and continues to pull it in that direction for some time.

When human life is thus thrown off its ‘right course’ the result is that certain realities of life – which had not received their due – rise up in revolt, and this revolt often assumes the form of an antithesis. This revolt begins to pull life in the opposite direction. As the ‘right way’ is approached the conflicting ideas – the thesis and antithesis – begin to effect some kind of mutual compromise, leading to the emergence of a synthesis. This synthesis comprises many elements conducive to the good of mankind. But since societies which do not submit to the guidance of the Prophets are deprived both of the signposts that might indicate the ‘right way’ and of faith to help steady man’s feet thereon this synthesis does not permit human life to maintain the golden mean. Its momentum is so powerful that it once more pushes life to the opposite extreme. At this point, certain realities are once again denied their due, with the result that another antithesis emerges in reaction to the iniquities of the earlier ideology. Had the light of the Qur’an been available to these short-sighted philosophers, and had they been able to perceive the ‘right way’ envisaged by the Qur’an, they would have realized that this was the true course of human progress.

 

(5:13) Then, for their breach of the covenant We cast them away from Our mercy and caused their hearts to harden. (And now they are in such a state that) they pervert the words from their context and thus distort their meaning, and have forgotten a good portion of the teaching they were imparted, and regarding all except a few of them you continue to learn that they committed acts of treachery. Pardon them, then, and overlook their deeds. Surely Allah loves those who do good deeds.

 

(5:14) We also took a covenant from those who said: ‘We are Christians’;3¢ but they forgot a good portion of the teaching they had been imparted with. Wherefore We aroused enmity and spite between them till the Day of Resurrection, and ultimately Allah will tell them what they had contrived.

 

 

36.Some are of the opinion that the word Nasara (meaning Christians) is derived from Nasirah (Nazareth), the birthplace of the Messiah. In fact this word is not derived from Nasirah (Nazareth) but from the word nusrah, and the basis of this derivation is the question posed by the Messiah to his disciples: ‘Who are my supporters (ansari) in the way of God?’ In response to this they had said: ‘We are the supporters (ansar) (in the way) of God.’ Christian authors have been misled by the resemblance between the words Nasirah and Nasara into believing that the name of the sect founded in the early history of Christianity, and contemptuously characterized as either Nazarenes or Ebonites served as the basis of the Qur’anic designation of the Christians. But here the Qur’ijo categorically states that they had declared that they were ‘Nasara’ and it is obvious that the Christians never called themselves ‘Nazarenes’.In this connection, it should be recalled that Jesus never called his followers ‘Christians’ for he had not come to found a new religion named after him. His mission was to revive the religion of Moses and of all the Prophets who preceded him as well as of the one who was to appear after him. Hence, he neither formed any cult divorced from the Israelites and the followers of the Mosaic Law nor designated his followers by any distinctive name. Likewise, his early followers neither considered themselves to be separate from the Israelite community nor developed into an independent group nor adopted any distinctive symbol and name. They worshipped in the temple of Jerusalem along with other Jews and considered themselves to be followers of the Mosaic Law (see Acts 3:1-10; 21: 14-15,21). Later on the process of alienation began to operate on both sides. On the one hand, Paul, one of the followers of Jesus, declared independence from the Mosaic Law holding that faith in Christ was all that one needed for salvation. On the other hand, the Jewish rabbis declared the followers of Christ to be heretics and excommunicated them. Despite this, for some time the new sect had no distinct appellation of its own. The followers of Christ variously described themselves as ‘disciples’, as ‘brethren’, as ‘those who believed”, and as ‘saints’ (see Acts 2: 44; 4: 32; 9: 26; 11: 29; 13: 52; 15: 1; 23: 1 and Romans 15: 25 and Colossians 1: 2). The Jews sometimes designated them as ‘Galileans’ and as ‘the sect of Nazarenes’ (see Acts 24: 5; Luke 13: 2). These nicknames, which were originally contrived in,.ojder to ridicule them, referred to Nazareth, the home town of Jesus in the district of Galilee. These names, however, did not gain sufficient popularity to become the permanent names of the followers of Christ. They were called ‘Christians’ for the first time by the people of Antioch in 43 A.D. or 44 A.D. when Paul and Barnabas went there and began to preach their religion (Acts 11: 26). This appellation was flung at them by the opponents of the followers of Christ precisely in order to tease them by using an appellation which was unacceptable to them. But when their enemies began to call them consistently by this name their leaders reacted by saying that if they were called Christians because of their allegiance to Christ they had no reason to be ashamed of it (1 Peter 4: 16). It was thus that the followers of Christ also gradually began to call themselves by the same name which had originally been conferred upon them sarcastically. In the course of time the Christians ceased to realize that theirs had originally been a derogatory appellation chosen for them by outsiders rather than by themselves.

The Qur’an, therefore, does not refer to the followers of Christ as Christians. It reminds them rather that they belong to those who responded to the query of Jesus: ‘Who are my supporters (ansari) in the way of God?’ by saying that they were his ansar (supporters) in God’s cause. See (Surah al-Saff 61: 14 – Ed.) It is an irony of fate that far from feeling grateful at being referred to by a dignified appellation Christian missionaries take offence at the fact that the Qur’an designates them as Nasara rather than as ‘Christians’.

 

(5:15) People of the Book! Now Our Messenger has come to you: he makes clear to you a good many things of the Book which you were wont to conceal, and also passes over many things.22 There has now come to you alight from Allah, and a clear Book.

 

37.God discloses some of the dishonest and treacherous dealings of theirs where He deems it necessary in order to strengthen the cause of the true religion, and ignores the disclosure of those which are not truly indispensable.

 

(5:16) through which Allah shows to all who seek to me Him the paths leading to safety.38 He brings them out, by His leave, from darkness to light and directs them on to the straightway.

 

 

38.The word ‘safety’ here denotes safety from false perception and outlook, safety from misdeeds and their consequences. Whoever seeks guidance from the Book of God and from the example of the Messenger (peace be on him) can find out how to keep himself safe from errors at each of life’s crossroads.

 

 

(5:17) Indeed those who said: ‘Christ, the son of Mary, he is indeed God”, disbelieved.39 Say (O Muhammad)!): ‘Who could have overruled Allah had He so willed to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, and his mother, and all those who are on earth?’ For to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; He creates what He wills.40 Allah is All-Powerful.

 

39.The original mistake committed by the Christians in declaring Jesus to be a combination of human and divine essences turned Jesus into a mystery for them, and the more the Christian scholars tried to solve this mystery by resorting to conjecture and rhetorical extravagance the more involved the whole matter became. Those who were more impressed by the humanity of Jesus stressed his being the son of God and considered him to be one of the three gods. Those who were more impressed by the divinity of Jesus considered him to be none other than God, stressing that he was the human incarnation of God, and worshipped him as God. Those who tried to strike a middle path spent all their efforts hammering out subtle verbal formulations of the Trinity that would allow people to consider the Messiah to be God and man at one and the same time, to affirm that God and the Messiah are independent and simultaneously constitute an inseparable whole see (Surah 4, nn. 212, 213, 215) above.

 

40.This statement hints at the childishness of those who have been misled into believing that the Messiah himself is God either because of his miraculous birth or because of his flawless moral character or because of the miracles which he performed. The Messiah is merely a sign of the innumerable wonders of God’s creation; a sign which somehow dazzled the eyes of those superficial people. Had their perception been wider they would have been able to see that there are even more inspiring examples of His creation and infinite power. If anything their attitude was indicative of the intellectual puerility of those who were so overawed by the excellence of a creature as to mistake him for the Creator. Those whose intelligence penetrates through the excellence of creatures, who look upon them merely as signs of the magnificent power of God, and who are led by such observations to a reinforcement of faith in the Creator are truly wise.

 

 

(5:18) The Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are Allah’s children and His beloved ones. Ask them: ‘Why, then, does He chastise you for your sins?’ You are the same as other men He has created. He forgives whom He wills and chastises whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. To Him is the eventual return.

 

(5:19) People of the Book! After a long interlude during which no Messengers have appeared there has come to you Our Messenger to elucidate the teaching of the true faith lest you say: ‘No bearer of glad tidings and no warner has come to us.’ For now there indeed has come to you a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, Allah is All- Powerful “41

 

41.In the present context this sentence is extremely eloquent and subtle. It signifies that the same God who had sent warner’s and bearers of glad tidings to men in the past has now sent Muhammad (peace be on him) with the same task. At the same time it also means that they {should not treat the message of this warner and bearer of glad tidings lightly. They should bear in mind that if they disregard the injunctions of God, He can chastise them as He wills, for He is All-Powerful and All-Mighty.

 

(5:20) Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘My people, remember Allah’s favor upon you when He raised Prophets amongst you and appointed you rulers, and granted to you what He had not granted to anyone else in the world.

 

42.This refers to the glory the Israelites enjoyed before the time of Moses. There had appeared among them such great Prophets as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Moreover, from the time of Joseph they were able to achieve very considerable power and authority in Egypt. For a considerable period, they were the greatest rulers of the civilized world, reigning supreme in Egypt and the surrounding territories. People are generally inclined to regard the time of Moses as the starting point for the rise of the Israelites. The Qur’an, however, states categorically that the truly glorious period of their history had passed long before Moses, and that Moses himself drew the attention of his people to that period as their time of glory.

 

 

 

Published
Categorized as quran

By Tariq Saleem

I am a student of Quran and keen to make dawah for inviting peoples to save there selves from hellfire. This life is very short then the eternal life after death every body has to think about it and do some research to walk on a true path.

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