Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 1-19

The Tafsir of Surat Al-Ma’idah (5)

The Virtues of Surat Al-Ma’idah and When It was Revealed

At -Tirmidhi recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said, “The last Surahs to be revealed were Surat Al-Ma’idah and Surat Al-Fath (chapter 48).” At-Tirmidhi commented, “This Hadith is Hasan, Gharib.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:436) and it was also reported that Ibn Abbas said that the last Surah to be revealed was, “When there comes the help of Allah and the Conquest” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:437)

Al-Hakim narrated that Jubayr bin Nufayr said, “I performed Hajj once and visited A’ishah and she said to me, ‘O Jubayr! Do you read (or memorize) Al-Ma’idah? ‘ I answered ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘It was the last Surah to be revealed. Therefore, whatever permissible matters you find in it, then consider (treat) them permissible. And whatever impermissible matters you find in it, then consider (treat) them impermissible.”’Al-Hakim said, “It is Sahih according to the criteria of the Two Shaykhs and they did not record it. ” (Al-Hakim 2:311)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdur-Rahman bin Mahdi related that Muawiyah bin Salih added this statement in the last Hadith, “I (Jubayr) also asked A’ishah about the Messenger of Allah’s conduct and she answered by saying, ‘The Qur’an.”’ An-Nasa’i also recorded it. (Ahmad 6:188)

{In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

1. O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram. Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.

2. O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the Hady brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands, nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram, then hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression. Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.}

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that a man came to Abdullah bin Masud and said to him, “Advise me.” He said, “When you hear Allah’s statement, “O you who believe!” then pay full attention, for it is a righteous matter that He is ordaining or an evil thing that He is forbidding.” Khaythamah said, “Everything in the Qur’an that reads, “O you who believe!” reads in the Tawrah, ‘O you who are in need.”’ Allah said, ”Fulfill (your) obligations.” Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and others said that ‘obligations’ here means treaties. (At-Tabari 9:450)  Ibn Jarir mentioned that there is a consensus for this view. Ibn Jarir also said that it means treaties, such as the alliances that they used to conduct. (At-Tabari 9:449) Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented: “O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” “Refers to the covenants, meaning, what Allah permitted, prohibited, ordained and set limits for in the Qur’an. Therefore, do not commit treachery or break the covenants. Allah emphasised this command when He said, “And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined” until, “unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell)” Ad-Dahhak said that, “Fulfill your obligations.” “Refers to what Allah has permitted and what He has prohibited. Allah has taken the covenant from those who proclaim their faith in the Prophet and the Book to fulfill the obligations that He has ordered for them in the permissible and the impermissible.”

Explaining the Lawful and the Unlawful Beasts

Allah said, “Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle” camels, cows and sheep, as Al-Hasan, Qatadah and several others stated. Ibn Jarir said that this Tafsir conforms to the meaning of (‘beasts of cattle’) that the Arabs had. We should mention that Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas and others relied on this Ayah as evidence to allow eating the meat of the fetus if it is found dead in the belly of its slaughtered mother. There is a Hadith to the same effect collected in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah and narrated by Abu Said who said, “We asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! When we slaughter a camel, cow or sheep, we sometimes find a fetus in its belly, should we discard it or eat its meat’ He said,

”Eat it if you want, because its slaughter was fulfilled when its mother was slaughtered.” (Abu Dawud 3:253)

Abu Dawud recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Proper slaughter of the fetus is fulfilled with the slaughter of its mother.” (Abu Dawud 3:253)

Allah’s statement, ”except that which will be announced to you (herein),” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that it refers to, “The flesh of dead animals, blood and the meat of swine.” (At-Tabari 9:458) Qatadah said, “The meat of dead animals and animals slaughtered without Allah’s Name being pronounced at the time of slaughtering.” (At-Tabari 9:458) It appears, and Allah knows best, that the Ayah refers to Allah’s other statement,

”Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals), blood, the flesh of swine, and what has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal.” (5:3),

for although the animals mentioned in this Ayah are types of permissible cattle (except for swine), they become impermissible under the circumstances that the Ayah (5:3) specifies. This is why Allah said afterwards, “Unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars)” as the latter type is not permissible, because it can no longer be slaughtered properly. Hence, Allah’s statement, “Lawful to you are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you” means, except the specific circumstances that prohibit some of these which will be announced to you. Allah said, “game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram.”

Some scholars said that the general meaning of ‘cattle’ includes domesticated cattle, such as camels, cows and sheep, and wild cattle, such as gazzelle, wild cattle and wild donkeys. Allah made the exceptions mentioned above (dead animals blood, flesh of swine etc.), and prohibited hunting wild beasts while in the state of Ihram. It was also reported that the meaning here is, “We have allowed for you all types of cattle in all circumstances, except what We excluded herewith for the one hunting game while in the state of Ihram.” Allah said, “But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, and not transgressing, then, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This Ayah means, “We allowed eating the meat of dead animals, when one is forced by necessity, under the condition that one is not transgressing the limits or overstepping them.” Here, Allah states, “Just as We allowed the meat of cattle in all conditions and circumstances, then do not hunt game when in the state of Ihram, for this is the decision of Allah, Who is the Most Wise in all that He commands and forbids.” So Allah said, “Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.”

The Necessity of Observing the Sanctity of the Sacred Area and the Sacred Months

Allah continues, “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of Sha’a’ir Allah (the symbols of Allah)” Ibn Abbas said, “Shaa’ir Allah means the rituals of Hajj.”  Mujahid said, “As-Safa and Al-Marwah, and the sacrificial animal are the symbols of Allah.” (At-Tabari 9:463) It was also stated that Sha’a’ir Allah is what He prohibited. Therefore, it means, do not violate what Allah prohibited. Allah said afterwards, “nor of the Sacred Month” for you are required to respect and honor the Sacred Month and to refrain from what Allah forbade during it, such as fighting. This also lays emphasis on avoiding sins during that time. As Allah said; “They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Month. Say, “Fighting therein is a great (transgression).” and, “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year)”

Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that Abu Bakrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said during the Farewell Hajj,

“The division of time has returned as it was when Allah created the Heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, four of which are sacred: Three are in succession, (they are:) Dhul- Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada (Ath-Thaniyah) and Sha’ban.” (Fath Al-Bari 10:10)

This Hadith testifies to the continued sanctity of these months until the end of time.

Taking the Hady to the Sacred House of Allah, Al-Kabah

Allah’s statement, ”nor of the Hady brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands” means, do not abandon the practice of bringing the Hady (sacrificial animals) to the Sacred House, as this ritual is a form of honoring the symbols of Allah. Do not abandon the practice of garlanding these animals on their necks, so that they are distinguished from other cattle. This way, it will be known that these animals are intended to be offered as Hady at the Kabah, and thus those who might intend some harm to them would refrain from doing so. Those who see the Hady might be encouraged to imitate this ritual, and indeed, he who calls to a type of guidance, will earn rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow his lead, without decrease in their own rewards. When the Messenger of Allah intended to perform Hajj, he spent the night at Dhul- Hulayfah, which is also called Wadi Al-Aqiq. In the morning, the Prophet made rounds with his wives, who were nine at that time, performed Ghusl (bath), applied some perfume and performed a two Rakah prayer. He then garlanded the Hady and announced aloud his intention to perform Hajj and Umrah. The Prophet’s Hady at the time consisted of plenty of camels, more than sixty, and they were among the best animals, the healthiest and most physically acceptable, just as Allah’s statement proclaims, “Thus it is, and whosoever honors the symbols of Allah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts.”

Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Allah’s statement, “nor the garlands” means, “Do not breach their sanctity.” During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to garland themselves with animal hair and pelts when they left their areas in months other than the Sacred Months. The idolators of the Sacred House Area used to garland themselves with the tree-stems of the Sacred Area, so that they were granted safe passage.” This statement was collected by Ibn Abi Hatim, who also recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “There are two Ayat in this Surah (Al-Ma’idah) that were abrogated, the Ayah about the garlands (5:2), and “So if they come to you (O Muhammad), either judge between them, or turn away from them.” (At-Tabari 10:332)

The Necessity of Preserving the Sanctity and Safety of those who Intend to Travel to the Sacred House

Allah said, “nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord.” The Ayah commands: Do not fight people who are heading towards the Sacred House of Allah, which if anyone enters it, he must be granted safe refuge. Likewise, those who are heading towards the Sacred House seeking the bounty and good pleasure of Allah, must not be stopped, prevented, or frightened away from entering the Sacred House. Mujahid, Ata’, Abu Al-Aliyah, Mutarrif bin Abdullah, Abdullah bin Ubayd bin Umayr, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Qatadah and several others said that, “seeking the bounty of their Lord.” refers to trading. A similar discussion preceded concerning the Ayah; “There is no sin on you if you seek the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading).” Allah said; “and pleasure.” Ibn Abbas said that the word ‘pleasure’ in the Ayah refers to, “seeking Allah’s pleasure by their Hajj.” Ikrimah, As-Suddi and Ibn Jarir mentioned that this Ayah was revealed concerning Al-Hutam bin Hind Al-Bakri, who had raided the cattle belonging to the people of Al-Madinah. The following year, he wanted to perform Umrah to the House of Allah and some of the Companions wanted to attack him on his way to the House. Allah revealed, “nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord.”

Hunting Game is Permissible After Ihram Ends

Allah said, “But when you finish the Ihram, then hunt” When you end your Ihram, it is permitted for you to hunt game, which was prohibited for you during Ihram. Although this Ayah contains a command that takes effect after the end of a state of prohibition (during Ihram in this case), the Ayah, in fact, brings back the ruling that was previously in effect. If the previous ruling was an obligation, the new command will uphold that obligation, and such is the case with recommended and permissible matters. There are many Ayat that deny that the ruling in such cases is always an obligation. Such is also the case against those who say that it is always merely allowed. What we mentioned here is the correct opinion that employs the available evidence, and Allah knows best.

Justice is Always Necessary

Allah said, “and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part).” The meaning of this Ayah is apparent, as it commands: Let not the hatred for some people, who prevented you from reaching the Sacred House in the year of Hudaybiyyah, make you transgress Allah’s Law and commit injustice against them in retaliation. Rather, rule as Allah has commanded you, being just with every one. We will explain a similar Ayah later on, “And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety,” which commands: do not be driven by your hatred for some people into abandoning justice, for justice is ordained for everyone, in all situations. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Zayd bin Aslam said, “The Messenger of Allah and his Companions were in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah when the idolators prevented them from visiting the House, and that was especially hard on them. Later on, some idolators passed by them from the east intending to perform  Umrah. So the Companions of the Prophet said, ‘Let us prevent those (from Umrah) just as their fellow idolators prevented us.’ Thereafter, Allah sent down this Ayah.” (At-Tabari 9:478)  Ibn Abbas and others said that “Shana’an” refers to enmity and hate. Allah said next, ”Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa; but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” Allah commands His believing servants to help one another perform righteous, good deeds, which is the meaning of  ‘Al-Birr’, and to avoid sins, which is the meaning of  ‘At- Taqwa’. Allah forbids His servants from helping one another in sin, ‘Ithm’ and committing the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir said that, “Ithm means abandoning what Allah has ordained, while transgression means overstepping the limits that Allah set in your religion, along with overstepping what Allah has ordered concerning yourselves and others.” Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

 ”Support your brother whether he was unjust or the victim of injustice.”

He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah! We know about helping him when he suffers injustice, so what about helping him when he commits injustice” He said,

”Prevent and stop him from committing injustice, and this represents giving support to him.” (Ahmad 3:99)

Ahmad recorded that one of the Companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, narrated the Hadith,

”The believer who mingles with people and is patient with their annoyance, earns more reward than the believer who does not mingle with people and does not observe patience with their annoyance.” (Ahmad 5:365)

Muslim recorded a Hadith that states,

”He who calls to a guidance, will earn a reward similar to the rewards of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their rewards. Whoever calls to a heresy, will carry a burden similar to the burdens of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their own burdens.” (Muslim 4:2060)

{3. Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals), blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) – and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to make decisions wit h Al-Azlam (arrows) (all) that is Fisq (disobedience and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above mentioned animals), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

The Animals that are Unlawful to Eat

Allah informs His servants that He forbids consuming the mentioned types of foods, such as the Maytah, which is the animal that dies before being properly slaughtered or hunted. Allah forbids this type of food due to the harm it causes, because of the blood that becomes clogged in the veins of the dead animal. Therefore, the Maytah is harmful, religiously and physically, and this is why Allah has prohibited it. The only exception to this ruling is fish, for fish is allowed, even when dead, by slaughtering or otherwise. Malik in his Muwatta, also Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah in their Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs, all recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked about seawater. He said,

“Its water is pure and its dead are permissible.” (Abu Dawud 1:64)

The same ruling applies to locusts, as proven in a Hadith that we will mention later. Allah’s statement, “blood…” This refers to flowing blood, according to Ibn Abbas and Said bin Jubayr, and it is similar to Allah’s other statement, “Blood poured forth…” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas was asked about the spleen and he said, “Eat it.” They said, “It is blood.” He said, “You are only prohibited blood that was poured forth.” Abu Abdullah, Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafii recorded that Ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”We were allowed two dead animals and two (kinds of) blood. As for the two dead animals, they are fish and locust. As for the two bloods, they are liver and spleen.” (Musnad Ash-Shafi 2:173)

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ibn Majah, Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Bayhaqi also recorded this Hadith through Abdur- Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, who is a weak narrator. Allah’s statement, ”the flesh of swine…” includes domesticated and wild swine, and also refers to the whole animal, including its fat, for this is what the Arabs mean by Lahm or ‘flesh’. Muslim recorded that Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Al-Aslami said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”He who plays Nardshir (a game with dice that involves gambling) is just like the one who puts his hand in the flesh and blood of swine.” (Muslim 4:1770)

If this is the case with merely touching the flesh and blood of swine, so what about eating and feeding on it? This Hadith is a proof that Lahm means the entire body of the animal, including its fat. In is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah made the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols illegal.”

The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What about the fat of dead animals, for it was used for greasing the boats and the hides; and people use it for lanterns?” He said,

”No, it is illegal.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:495)

In the Sahih of Al-Bukhari, Abu Sufyan narrated that he said to Heraclius, Emperor of Rome, “He (Muhammad) prohibited us from eating dead animals and blood.” Allah said, “And that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah.” Therefore, the animals on which a name other than Allah was mentioned upon slaughtering it, is impermissible, because Allah made it necessary to mention His Glorious Name upon slaughtering the animals, which He created. Whoever does not do so, mentioning other than Allah’s Name, such as the name of an idol, a false deity or a monument, when slaughtering, he makes this meat unlawful, according to the consensus.

Allah’s statement, “and that which has been killed by strangling…” either intentionally or by mistake, such as when an animal moves while restrained and dies by strangulation because of its struggling, this animal is also unlawful to eat. ”or by a violent blow…” This refers to the animal that is hit with a heavy object until it dies. Ibn Abbas and several others said it is the animal that is hit with a staff until it dies. Qatadah said, “The people of Jahiliyyah used to strike the animal with sticks and when it died, they would eat it.” It is recorded in the Sahih that Adi bin Hatim said, “I asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I use the Mi’rad for hunting and catch game with it.’ He replied,

 “If the game is hit by its sharp edge, eat it. But, if it is hit by its broad side, do not eat it, for it has been beaten to death.”(Fath Al-Bari 9:518)

Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between killing the animal with the sharp edge of an arrow or a hunting stick, and rendered it lawful, and what is killed by the broad side of an object, and rendered it unlawful because it wasbeaten to death. There is a consensus among the scholars of Fiqh on this subject. As for the animal that falls headlong from a high place and dies as a result, it is also prohibited. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that an animal that dies by a headlong fall, “Is that which falls from a mountain.” Qatadah said that it is the animal that falls in a well. As-Suddi said that it is the animal that falls from a mountain or in a well. (At-Tabari 9:498)

As for the animal that dies by being gorged by another animal, it is also prohibited, even if the horn opens a flesh wound and it bleeds to death from its neck. Allah’s statement, “and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal” refers to the animal that was attacked by a lion, leopard, tiger, wolf or dog, then the wild beast eats a part of it and it dies because of that. This type is also prohibited, even if the animal bled to death from its neck. There is also a consensus on this ruling. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to eat the sheep, camel, or cow that were partly eaten by a wild animal. Allah prohibited this practice for the believers. Allah’s statement, “unless you are able to slaughter it” before it dies, due to the causes mentioned above. This part of the Ayah is connected to, “and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “unless you are able to slaughter it” “Unless you are able to slaughter the animal in the cases mentioned in the Ayah while it is still alive, then eat it, for it was properly slaughtered.” Similar was reported from Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and As-Suddi. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “If you are able to slaughter the animal that has been hit by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the gorging of horns while it still moves a foot or a leg, then eat from its meat.” Similar was reported from Tawus, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ubayd bin Umayr, Ad-Dahhak and several others, that if the animal that is being slaughtered still moves, thus demonstrating that it is still alive while slaughtering, then it is lawful. The Two Sahihs recorded that Rafi bin Khadij said, “I asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! We fear that we may meet our enemy tomorrow and we have no knives, could we slaughter the animals with reeds?’ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”You can use what makes blood flow and you can eat what is slaughtered with the Name of Allah. But do not use teeth or claws (in slaughtering). I will tell you why, as for teeth, they are bones, and claws are used by Ethiopians for slaughtering.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:554)

Allah said next, “and that which is sacrificed on An-Nusub.” Nusub were stone altars that were erected around the Kabah, as Mujahid and Ibn Jurayj stated. Ibn Jurayj said, “There were three hundred and sixty Nusub  (around the Kabah) that the Arabs used to slaughter in front of, during the time of Jahiliyyah. They used to sprinkle the animals that came to the Kabah with the blood of slaughtered animals, whose meat they cut to pieces and placed on the altars.” Allah forbade this practice for the believers. He also forbade them from eating the meat of animals that were slaughtered in the vicinity of the Nusub, even if Allah’s Name was mentioned on these animals when they were slaughtered, because it is a type of Shirk that Allah and His Messenger have forbidden.

The Prohibition of Using Al-Azlam for Decision Making

Allah said, “(Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam” The Ayah commands, “O believers! You are forbidden to use Al-Azlam (arrows) for decision making,” which was a practice of the Arabs during the time of Jahiliyyah. They would use three arrows, one with the word ‘Do’ written on it, another that says’Do not’, while the third does not say anything. Some of them would write on the first arrow, ‘My Lord commanded me,’ and, ‘My Lord forbade me,’ on the second arrow and they would not write anything on the third arrow. If the blank arrow was picked, the person would keep trying until the arrow that says do or do not was picked, and the person would implement the command that he picked. Ibn Abbas said that the Azlam were arrows that they used to seek decisions through. Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said that the major idol of the tribe of Quraysh was Hubal, which was erected on the tip of a well inside the Kabah, where gifts were presented and where the treasure of the Kabah was kept. There, they also had seven arrows that they would use to seek a decision concerning matters of dispute. Whatever the chosen arrow would tell them, they would abide by it!  (At-Tabari 9:513) Al-Bukhari recorded that when the Prophet entered Al-Kabah (after Makkah was conquered), he found pictures of Ibrahim and Ismail in it holding the Azlam in their hands. The Prophet commented,

”May Allah fight them (the idolaters)! They know that they never used the Azlam to make decisions.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:446)

Mujahid commented on Allah’s statement, “(Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam” “These were arrows that the Arabs used, and dice that the Persians and Romans used in gambling.” This statement by Mujahid, that these arrows were used in gambling, is doubtful unless we say that they used the arrows for gambling sometimes and for decisions other times, and Allah knows best. We should also state that Allah mentioned Azlam and gambling in His statement before the end of the Surah (5:90, 91), “O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?” In this Ayah, Allah said, “(Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam, (all) that is Fisq.” meaning, all these practices constitute disobedience, sin, misguidance, ignorance and, above all, Shirk. Allah has commanded the believers to seek decisions from Him when they want to do something, by first worshipping Him and then asking Him for the best decision concerning the matter they seek.

Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and the collectors of Sunan recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said, “The Prophet used to teach us how to make Istikharah (asking Allah to guide one to the right action), in all matters, as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’an. He said,

 “If anyone of you thinks of doing any matter, he should offer a two Rak’ah prayer, other than the compulsory, and say (after the prayer) ‘O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, from Your ability and I ask for Your great bounty, for You are capable and I am not, You know and I do not, and You know the Unseen. O Allah! If You know that this matter (and one should mention the matter or deed here) is good for my religion, my livelihood and the Hereafter (or he said, ‘for my present and later needs’) then ordain it for me, make it easy for me to have, and then bless it for me. O Allah! And if You know that this is harmful to me in my religion and livelihood and for the Hereafter then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it.”  (Ahmad 3:344)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 3 Pages 71-91

{3. …This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above mentioned animals), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

Shaytan and the Disbelievers Do Not Hope that Muslims Will Ever Follow Them

Allah said, “This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah means, “They gave up hope that Muslims would revert to their religion.” (At-Tabari 9:516)  This meaning is supported by a Hadith recorded in the Sahih that states,

”Verily, Shaytan has given up hope that those who pray in the Arabian Peninsula, will worship him. But he will still stir trouble among them.” (Muslim 4:2166)

It is also possible that the Ayah negates the possibility that the disbelievers and Shaytan will ever be like Muslims, since Muslims have various qualities that contradict Shirk and its people. This is why Allah commanded His believing servants to observe patience, to be steadfast in defying and contradicting the disbelievers, and to fear none but Allah. Allah said, “So fear them not, but fear Me.” meaning, ‘do not fear them when you contradict them. Rather, fear Me and I will give you victory over them, I will eradicate them, and make you prevail over them, I will please your hearts and raise you above them in this life and the Hereafter.’

Islam Has Been Perfected For Muslims

Allah said, ”This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” This, indeed, is the biggest favor from Allah to this Ummah, for He has completed their religion for them, and they, thus, do not need any other religion or any other Prophet except Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This is why Allah made Muhammad the Final Prophet and sent him to all humans and Jinn. Therefore, the permissible is what he allows, the impermissible is what he prohibits, the Law is what he legislates and everything that he conveys is true and authentic and does not contain lies or contradictions. Allah said, ”And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice” meaning, it is true in what it conveys and just in what it commands and forbids. When Allah completed the religion for Muslims, His favor became complete for them as well. Allah said, ”This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” meaning, accept Islam for yourselves, for it is the religion that Allah likes and which He chose for you, and it is that with which He sent the best of the honorable Messengers and the most glorious of His Books. Ibn Jarir recorded that Harun bin Antarah said that his father said, “When the Ayah, ”This day, I have perfected your religion for you…” was revealed, during the great day of Hajj (the Day of Arafah, the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah) Umar cried. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”What makes you cry?”

He said, ‘What made me cry is that our religion is being perfected for us. Now it is perfect, nothing is perfect, but it is bound to deteriorate.’ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”You have said the truth.” (At-Tabari 9:519)

What supports the meaning of this Hadith is the authentic Hadith,

 ”Islam was strange in its beginning and will return strange once more. Therefore, Tuba [good news] for the strangers.” (Muslim 1:130)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Tariq bin Shihab said, “A Jewish man said to `Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘O Leader of the Believers! There is a verse in your Book, which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.’ Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, ‘Which is that verse?’ The Jew replied,  “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you…” Umar replied, ‘By Allah! I know when and where this verse was revealed to Allah’s Messenger. It was the evening on the Day of Arafah on a Friday.” (Ahmad 1:38) In the narration collected by Al-Bukhari in the book of Tafsir, through Tariq, he said, “The Jews said to Umar, ‘By Allah! There is a verse that is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.’ Umar said, ‘By Allah! I know when and where this verse was revealed and where the Messenger of Allah was at that time. It was the day of  Arafah, and I was at Arafah, by Allah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:119) Sufyan (one of the narrators) doubted if Friday was mentioned in this narration. Sufyan’s confusion was either because he was unsure if his teacher included this statement in the Hadith or not. Otherwise, if it was because he doubted that the particular day during the Farewell Hajj was a Friday, it would be a mistake that could not and should not have come from someone like Sufyan Ath-Thawri. The fact that it was a Friday, is agreed on by the scholars of Sirah and Fiqh. There are numerous Hadiths that support this fact that are definitely authentic and of the Mutawatir type. This Hadith was also reported from Umar through various chains of narration.

Permitting the Dead Animals in Conditions of Necessity

Allah said, ”But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above mentioned animals), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Therefore, when one is forced to take any of the impermissible things that Allah mentioned to meet a necessity, he is allowed and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful with him. Allah is well aware of His servant’s needs during dire straits, and He will forgive and pardon His servant in this case. In the Musnad and the Sahih of Ibn Hibban, it is recorded that Ibn Umar said that Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah likes that His Rukhsah (allowance) be used, just as He dislikes that disobedience to Him is committed.” (Ibn Hibban 4:182)

We should mention here that it is not necessary for one to wait three days before eating the meat of dead animals, as many unlettered Muslims mistakenly think. Rather, one can eat such meat when the dire need arises. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Waqid Al- Laythi said that the Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah! We live in a land where famine often strikes us. Therefore, when are we allowed to eat the meat of dead animals?” The Prophet replied,

”When you neither find food for lunch and dinner nor have any produce to eat, then eat from it.” (Ahmad 5:218)

Allah said, ”with no inclination to sin” meaning, one does not incline to commit what Allah has prohibited. Allah has allowed one when necessity arises to eat from what He otherwise prohibits, under the condition that his heart does not incline to eat what Allah prohibited. Allah said in Surat Al- Baqarah, ”But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Some scholars used this Ayah as evidence that those who travel for the purpose of committing an act of disobedience are not allowed to use any of the legal concessions of travel, because these concessions are not earned through sin, and Allah knows best.

{4. They ask you what is lawful for them. Say: “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat (the good things). And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is swift in reckoning.”}

Clarifying the Lawful

In the previous Ayah Allah mentioned the prohibited types of food, the impure and unclean things, harmful for those who eat them, either to their bodies, religion or both, except out of necessity, ”while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity”. After that, Allah said, ”They ask you what is lawful for them. Say, “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat…” In Surat Al- Araf Allah describes Muhammad allowing the good things and prohibiting the filthy things. Muqatil said, “At-Tayyibat includes everything Muslims are allowed and the various types of legally earned provision.” Az-Zuhri was once asked about drinking urine for medicinal purposes and he said that it is not a type of Tayyibat.” Ibn Abi Hatim also narrated this statement. Using Jawarih to Hunt Game is Permissible Allah said, ”And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds…” That is, lawful for you are the animals slaughtered in Allah’s Name, and the good things for sustenance. [The game you catch] with the Jawarih are also lawful for you. This refers to trained dogs and falcons, as is the opinion of the majority of the Companions, their followers, and the Imams. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that, ”And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds…” refers to trained hunting dogs, falcons and all types of birds and beasts that are trained to hunt, including dogs, wild cats, falcons, and so forth. (At-Tabari 9:548)  Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Umar said, “You are permitted the animal that the trained birds, such as falcons, hunt for you if you catch it (before it eats from it). Otherwise, do not eat from it.” I say, the majority of scholars say that hunting with trained birds is just like hunting with trained dogs, because bird’s of prey catch the game with their claws, just like dogs. Therefore, there is no difference between the two. Ibn Jarir recorded that Adi bin Hatim said that he asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, about the game that the falcon hunts and the Messenger said,

”Whatever it catches for you, eat from it.” (At-Tabari 9:550)

These carnivores that are trained to catch game are called Jawarih in Arabic, a word that is derived from Jarh, meaning, what one earns. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so has Jaraha something good for his family,” meaning, he has earned them something good. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so does not have a Jarih for him,” meaning, a caretaker. Allah also said, ‘‘And He knows what you have done during the day…” meaning, the good or evil you have earned or committed. Allah’s statement, ”trained as hounds” those Jawarih that have been trained to hunt as hounds with their claws or talons. Therefore, if the game is killed by the weight of its blow, not with its claws, then we are not allowed to eat from the game. Allah said, ”training them in the manner as directed to you by Allah” as when the beast is sent, it goes after the game, and when it catches it, it keeps it until its owner arrives and does not catch it to eat it itself. This is why Allah said here, “so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it” When the beast is trained, and it catches the game for its owner who mentioned Allah’s Name when he sent the beast after the game, then this game is allowed according to the consensus of scholars, even if it was killed. There are Hadiths in the Sunnah that support this statement. The Two Sahihs recorded that Adi bin Hatim said, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I send hunting dogs and mention Allah’s Name.’ He replied,

”If, with mentioning Allah’s Name, you let loose your tamed dog after a game and it catches it, you may eat what it catches.”

I said, ‘Even if it kills the game?’ He replied,

”Even if it kills the game, unless another dog joins the hunt, for you mentioned Allah’s Name when sending your dog, but not the other dog.” 

I said, ‘I also use the Mirad and catch game with it.’ He replied,

”If the game is hit by its sharp edge, eat it, but if it is hit by its broad side, do not eat it, for it has been beaten to death.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:527)

In another narration, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”If you send your hunting dog, then mention Allah’s Name and whatever it catches for you and you find alive, slaughter it. If you catch the game dead and the dog did not eat from it, then eat from it, for the dog has caused its slaughter to be fulfilled.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:527)

In yet another narration of two Sahihs, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”If the dog eats from the game, do not eat from it for I fear that it has caught it as prey for itself.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:527)

Mention Allah’s Name Upon Sending the Predators to Catch the Game

Allah said, ”so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it” meaning, upon sending it. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Adi bin Hatim,

”When you send your trained dog and mention Allah’s Name, eat from what it catches for you.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:524)

It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Thalabah related that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”If you send your hunting dog, mention Allah’s Name over it. If you shoot an arrow, mention Allah’s Name over it.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:527)

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented, “but pronounce the Name of Allah over it” “When you send a beast of prey, say, ‘In the Name of Allah!’ If you forget, then there is no harm.” It was also reported that this Ayah commands mentioning Allah’s Name upon eating. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah taught his steps on Umar bin Abu Salamah saying,

”Mention Allah’s Name, eat with your right hand and eat from the part of the plate that is in front of you.” (Fath Al-BAri 9:431)

Al-Bukhari recorded that A’ishah said, “They asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Some people, – recently converted from disbelief – bring us some meats that we do not know if Allah’s Name was mentioned over or not.’ He replied,

”Mention Allah’s Name on it and eat from it.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:550)

{5. Made lawful to you this day are At-Tayyibat. The food of the People of the Scripture is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture before your time when you have given them their due, desiring chastity, not illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends (or lovers). And whosoever rejects faith, then fruitless is his work; and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.}

Permitting the Slaughtered Animals of the People of the Book

After Allah mentioned the filthy things that He prohibited for His believing servants and the good things that He allowed for them, He said next, ”Made lawful to you this day are At-Tayyibat.” Allah then mentioned the ruling concerning the slaughtered animals of the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians, ”The food of the People of the Scripture is lawful to you..” meaning, their slaughtered animals, as Ibn Abbas, Abu Umamah, Mujahid, Said bin Jubayr, Ikrimah, Ata’, Al-Hasan, Makhul, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan stated. (At-Tabari 9:573-577) This ruling, that the slaughtered animals of the People of the Book are permissible for Muslims, is agreed on by the scholars, because the People of the Book believe that slaughtering for other than Allah is prohibited. They mention Allah’s Name upon slaughtering their animals, even though they have deviant beliefs about Allah that do not befit His majesty. It is recorded in the Sahih that Abdullah bin Mughaffal said, “While we were attacking the fort of Khaybar, a person threw a leather bag containing fat, and I ran to take it and said, ‘I will not give anyone anything from this container today.’ But when I turned I saw the Prophet (standing behind) while smiling.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:552) The scholars rely on this Hadith as evidence that we are allowed to eat what we need of foods from the booty before it is divided. The scholars of the Hanafi, the Shafi’i and the Hanbali Madhhabs rely on this Hadith to allow eating parts of the slaughtered animals of the Jews that they prohibit for themselves, such as the fat. They used this Hadith as evidence against the scholars of the Maliki Madhhab who disagreed with this ruling. A better proof is the Hadith recorded in the Sahih that the people of Khaybar gave the Prophet a gift of a roasted leg of sheep, which they poisoned. The Prophet used to like eating the leg of the sheep and he took a bite from it, but it told the Prophet that it was poisoned, so he discarded that bite. The bite that the Prophet took effected the palate of his mouth, while Bishr bin Al-Bara’ bin Marur died from eating from that sheep. The Prophet had the Jewish woman, Zaynab, who poisoned the sheep, killed. Therefore, the Prophet and his Companions wanted to eat from that sheep and did not ask the Jews if they removed what the Jews believed was prohibited for them, such as its fat. (Fath Al-Bari 7:569)

Allah’s statement, ”and your food is lawful to them.” means, you are allowed to feed them from your slaughtered animals. Therefore, this part of the Ayah is not to inform the People of the Scriptures that they are allowed to eat our food – unless we consider it information for us about the ruling that they have – i.e, that they are allowed all types of foods over which Allah’s Name was mentioned, whether slaughtered according to their religion or otherwise. The first explanation is more plausible. So it means: you are allowed to feed them from your slaughtered animals just as you are allowed to eat from theirs, as equal compensation and fair treatment. The Prophet gave his robe to Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, who was wrapped with it when he died. They say that he did that because Abdullah had given his robe to Al-Abbas when Al-Abbas came to Al-Madinah. As for the Hadith,

 ”Do not befriend but a believer, nor should other than a Taqi (pious person) eat your food.” (Abu Dawud 5:167)

This is to encourage such behavior, and Allah knows best.

The Permission to Marry Chaste Women From the People of the Scriptures

Allah said, ”(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers” The Ayah states: you are allowed to marry free, chaste believing women. This Ayah is talking about women who do not commit fornication, as evident by the word ‘chaste’. Allah said in another Ayah,

“Desiring chastity not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as boyfriends (lovers).” (4:25)

Abdullah Ibn Umar used to advise against marrying Christian women saying, “I do not know of a worse case of Shirk than her saying that Isa is her lord, while Allah said, ”And do not marry idolatresses till they believe.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Malik Al- Ghifari said that Ibn Abbas said that when this Ayah was revealed, ”And do not marry idolatresses till they believe,” the people did not marry the pagan women. When the following Ayah was revealed, ”(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture before your time” they married women from the People of the Book.” Some of the Companions married Christian women and did not see any problem in this, relying on the honorable Ayah, ”(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from those who were given the Scripture before your time”.  Therefore, they made this Ayah an exception to the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah, ”And do not marry the idolatresses till they believe” considering the latter Ayah to include the People of the Book in its general meaning. Otherwise, there is no contradiction here, since the People of the Book were mentioned alone when mentioning the rest of the idolators. Allah said, ”Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Scripture and the idolators, were not going to leave (their disbelief) until there came to them clear evidence.” and, ”And say to those who were given the Scripture and to those who are illiterates: “Do you (also) submit yourselves” If they do, they are rightly guided.”

Allah said next, ”When you have given them their due”, This refers to the Mahr, so just as these women are chaste and honorable, then give them their Mahr with a good heart. We should mention here that Jabir bin Abdullah, Amir Ash-Shabi, Ibrahim An-Nakhai and Al-Hasan Al-Basri stated that when a man marries a woman and she commits illegal sexual intercourse before the marriage is consummated, the marriage is annulled. In this case, she gives back the Mahr that he paid her. Allah said, ”Desiring chastity, not illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girlfriends (or lovers).” And just as women must be chaste and avoid illegal sexual activity, such is the case with men, who must also be chaste and honorable. Therefore, Allah said, ”…not illegal sexual intercourse” as adulterous people do, those who do not avoid sin, nor reject adultery with whomever offersit to them. ”nor taking them as girl-friends (or lovers)” meaning those who have mistresses and girlfriends who commit illegal sexual intercourse with them, as we mentioned in the explanation of Surat An- Nisa.

{6. O you who believe! When you stand (intend) to offer the Salah (the prayer), then wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of Janaba, purify yourselves (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from the Gha’it (toilet) or you have touched women and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favor to you that you may be thankful.}

The Order to PerformWudu’

Allah said, ”When you stand for (intend to offer) the Salah,” Allah commanded performing Wudu’ for the prayer. This is a command of obligation in the case of impurity, and in the case of purity, it is merely a recommendation. It was said that in the beginning of Islam, Muslims had to perform Wudu’ for every prayer, but later on, this ruling was abrogated. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Sulayman bin Buraydah said that his father said, “The Prophet used to perform Wudu’ before every prayer. On the Day of Victory, he performed Wudu’ and wiped on his Khuffs and prayed the five prayers with one Wudu’. Umar said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You did something new that you never did before.’ The Prophet said,

”I did that intentionally O Umar!” (Muslim 1:232)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Fadl bin Al-Mubashshir said, “I saw Jabir bin Abdullah perform several prayers with only one Wudu’. When he would answer the call of nature, he performed Wudu’ and wiped the top of his Khuffs with his wet hand. I said, ‘O Abu Abdullah! Do you do this according to your own opinion’ He said, ‘Rather, I saw the Prophet do the same thing. So, I do what I saw the Messenger of Allah doing.”’ (At-Tabari 10:11) Ahmad recorded that Ubaydullah bin Abdullah bin Umar was asked; “Did you see Abdullah bin Umar perform Wudu’ for every prayer, whether he was in a state of purity or not?” So he replied, “Asma’ bint Zayd bin Al-Khattab told him that Abdullah bin Hanzalah bin Abi Amir Al-Ghasil told her that the Messenger of Allah was earlier commanded to perform Wudu’ for every prayer, whether he needed it or not. When that became hard on him, he was commanded to use Siwak for every prayer, and to perform Wudu’ when Hadath (impurity) occurs. Abdullah (Ibn Umar) thought that he was able to do that (perform Wudu’ for every prayer) and he kept doing that until he died.” (Ahmad 5:225) This practice by Ibn Umar demonstrates that it is encouraged, not obligatory, to perform Wudu’ for every prayer, and this is also the opinion of the majority of scholars. Abu Dawud recorded that Abdullah bin Abbas said that when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, once left the area where he answered the call of nature, he was brought something to eat. They said, “Should we bring you your water for Wudu” He said,

 ”I was commanded to perform Wudu’ when I stand up for prayer.” (Abu Dawud 4:36)

Muslim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “We were with the Prophet when he went to answer the call of nature and when he came back, he was brought some food. He was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do you want to perform Wudu?” He said,

 “Why? Am I about to pray so that I have to make Wudu’.” (Muslim 1:283)

The Intention and Mentioning Allah’s Name for Wudu

Allah said, ”then wash your faces…” The obligation for the intention before Wudu’ is proven by this Ayah, ”When you stand (intend) to offer the Salah then wash your faces…” This is because it is just like the Arabs saying; “When you see the leader, then stand.” Meaning stand for him. And the Two Sahihs recorded the Hadith,

”Actions are judged by their intentions, and each person will earn what he intended.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:15)

It is also recommended before washing the face that one mentions Allah’s Name for the Wudu’. A Hadith that was narrated by several Companions states that the Prophet said,

”There is no Wudu’ for he who does not mention Allah’s Name over it.” (Abu Dawud 1:75)

It is also recommended that one washes his hands before he puts his hands in the vessel of water, especially after one wakes up from sleep, for the Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”If one of you wakes up from his sleep, let him not put his hand in the pot until he washes it thrice, for one of you does not know where his hand spent the night.”(Fath Al-Bari 1:136)

The face according to the scholars of Fiqh starts where the hair line on the head starts, regardless of one’s lack or abundance of hair, until the end of the cheeks and chin, and from ear to ear.

Passing the Fingers through the Beard While Performing Wudu

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Wa’il said, “I saw Uthman when he was performing Wudu’… When he washed his face, he passed his fingers through his beard three times. He said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah do what you saw me doing.”’ (Jami Al-Masanid was-Sunan 17:197)

How to Perform Wudu

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas once performed Wudu’ and took a handful of water and rinsed his mouth and nose with it. He took another handful of water and joined both hands and washed his face. He took another handful of water and washed his right hand, and another handful and washed his left hand with it. He next wiped his head. Next, he took a handful of water and sprinkled it on his right foot and washed it and took another handful of water and washed his left foot. When he finished, he said, “This is how I saw the Messenger of Allah (performing Wudu’).” (Fath Al-Bari 1:290) Allah said, “and your hands (forearms) up to (Ila) the elbows…” meaning, including the elbows. Allah said in another Ayah [using Ila], “And devour not their substance to (Ila) your substance (by adding or including it in your property) Surely, this is a great sin.” It is recommended that those who perform Wudu’ should wash a part of the upper arm with the elbow.  Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”On the Day of Resurrection, my Ummah will be called “those with the radiant appendages” because of the traces of Wudu’. Therefore, whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:283)

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “I heard my intimate friend (the Messenger) saying,

”The radiance of the believer reaches the areas that the water of (his) Wudu’ reaches.” (Muslim 1:219)

Allah said next, “Rub your heads” It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Malik bin Amr bin Yahya Al-Mazini said that his father said that a man said to Abdullah bin Zayd bin Asim, the grandfather of Amr bin Yahya and one of the Companions of the Messenger , “Can you show me how the Messenger of Allah used to perform Wudu?” Abdullah bin Zayd said, “Yes.” He then asked for a pot of water. He poured from it on his hands and washed them twice, then he rinsed his mouth and washed his nose [with water] thrice [by putting water in it and blowing it out]. He washed his face thrice and after that he washed his forearms up to the elbows twice. He then passed his wet hands over his head from its front to its back and vice versa, beginning from the front and taking them to the back of his head up to the nape of the neck and then brought them to the front again from where he had started. He next washed his feet. A similar description of the Wudu’ of the Messenger of Allah was performed by Ali in the Hadith by Abdu Khayr. Abu Dawud recorded that Muawiyah and Al-Miqdad bin Madikarib narrated similar descriptions of the Wudu’ of the Messenger of Allah . These Hadiths indicate that it is necessary to wipe the entire head. Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Humran bin Aban said, “I saw Uthman bin Affan performing Wudu’, and he poured water over his hands and washed them thrice, and then rinsed his mouth and washed his nose [by putting water in it, and then blowing it out]. Then he washed his face thrice, and then his right forearm up to the elbows thrice, and washed the left forearm thrice. Then he passed his wet hands over his head, then he washed his right foot thrice, and next his left foot thrice. After that Uthman said, ‘I saw the Prophet performing Wudu’ like this, and said, ”If anyone performs Wudu’ like that of mine and offers a two-Rak`ah prayer during which he does not think of anything else, then his past sins will be forgiven.”’ (Abdur Razzaq 1:44) In his Sunan, Abu Dawud also recorded it from Uthman, under the description of Wudu’, and in it, that he wiped his head one time.

The Necessity of Washing the Feet

Allah said, ”and your feet up to ankles.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas stated that the Ayah refers to washing (the feet). (At-Tabari 10:55) This clearly indicates the necessity of washing the feet, just as the Salaf have said, and not only wiping over the top of the bare foot.

The Hadiths that Indicate the Necessity of Washing the Feet

We mentioned the Hadiths by the two Leaders of the Faithful, Uthman and Ali, and also by Ibn Abbas, Muawiyah, Abdullah bin Zayd bin Asim and Al-Miqdad bin Madikarib, that the Messenger of Allah washed his feet for Wudu’, either once, twice or thrice. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abdullah bin Amr said, “The Messenger of Allah was once late during a trip we were taking, and he caught up with us when the time remaining for the Asr prayer was short. We were still performing Wudu’ (in a rush) and we were wiping our feet. He shouted at the top of his voice,

”Perform Wudu’ thoroughly. Save your heels from the Fire.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:319)

The same narration was also collected in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah. Muslim recorded that A’ishah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Perform Wudu’ thoroughly. Save your heels from the Fire.” (Muslim 1:213)

Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Jaz’ said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“Save your heels and the bottom of the feet from the Fire.” (Al-Bayhaqi 1:70)

Muslim recorded that Umar bin Al-Khattab said that a man once performed Wudu’ and left a dry spot the size of a fingernail on his foot. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saw that and he said to him,

”Go back and perform proper Wudu’.” (Muslim 1:215)

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi also recorded that Anas bin Malik said that a man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him , after he performed Wudu’ and left a dry spot the size of a fingernail on his foot. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to him,

”Go back and perform proper Wudu’.” (Al-Bayhaqi 1:70)

Imam Ahmad recorded that some of the wives of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said that the Prophet saw a man praying, but noticed a dry spot on his foot, the size of a Dirham. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ordered that man to perform Wudu’ again. (Ahmad 3:424) This Hadith was also collected by Abu Dawud from Baqiyyah, who added in his narration, “And (the Prophet ordered him) to repeat the prayer.” (Abu Dawud 1:121) This Hadith has a strong, reasonably good chain of narrators. Allah knows best.

The Necessity of Washing Between the Fingers

In the Hadith that Humran narrated, Uthman washed between his fingers when he was describing the Wudu’ of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The collectors of the Sunan recorded that Laqit bin Sabrah said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell me about Wudu’.’ The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, replied,

”Perform Wudu’ thoroughly, wash between the fingers and exaggerate in rinsing your nose, unless you are fasting.” (Abu Dawud 1:99)

Wiping Over the Khuffs [leather socks] is an Established Sunnah

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Aws bin Abi Aws said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah perform Wudu’ and wipe over his Khuffs. He then stood up for prayer.” (Ahmad 4:8) Abu Dawud recorded this Hadith by Aws bin Abi Aws, who said in this narration, “I saw the Messenger of Allah , after he answered the call of nature, perform Wudu’ and wipe over his Khuffs and feet.” (Abu Dawud 1:113)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir bin Abdullah Al-Bajali said, “I embraced Islam after Surat Al-Ma’idah was revealed and I saw the Messenger of Allah wipe after I became Muslim.” (Ahmad 4:363) It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Hammam said, “Jarir answered the call of nature and then performed Wudu’ and wiped over his Khuffs. He was asked, ‘Do you do this?’ He said, ‘Yes. I saw the Messenger of Allah, after he answered the call of nature, perform Wudu’ and wipe on his Khuffs.”’ Al-Amash commented that Ibrahim said, “They liked this Hadith because Jarir embraced Islam after Surat Al-Ma’idah was revealed.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:589) This is the wording collected by Muslim. The subject of the Messenger of Allah wiping over his Khuffs, instead of washing the feet, if he had worn his Khuffs while having Wudu’, reaches the Mutawatir grade of narration, and they describe this practice by his words and actions.

Performing Tayammum with Clean earth When There is no Water and When One is Ill

Allah said, ‘‘But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from the Gha’it (toilet), or you have touched women and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands.” We discussed all of this in Surat An-Nisa’, and thus we do not need to repeat it here. We also mentioned the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Yet, Al- Bukhari mentioned an honorable Hadith here specifically about the Tafsir of this noble Ayah. He recorded that A’ishah said, “Upon returning to Al-Madinah, a necklace of mine was broken (and lost) in Al-Bayda’ area. Allah’s Messenger stayed there and went to sleep with his head on my lap. Abu Bakr (A’ishah’s father) came and hit me on my flank with his hand saying, ‘You have detained the people because of a necklace?’ So I wished I were dead because (I could not move) the Messenger was sleeping on my lap and because of the pain Abu Bakr caused me. Allah’s Messenger got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allah revealed, ”O you who believe! When you stand (intend) to offer As-Salah (the prayer), then wash your faces’‘ iuntil the end of the Ayah. Usayd bin Al-Hudayr said, ‘O the family of Abu Bakr! Allah has blessed the people because of you. Therefore, you are only a blessing for the people.”

Allah said, ”Allah does not want to place you in difficulty” This is why He made things easy and lenient for you. This is why He allowed you to use Tayammum when you are ill and when you do not find water, to make things comfortable for you and as mercy for you. Allah made Tayammum in place of Wudu’, and Allah made it the same as ablution with water for the one who it is legitimate for, except for certain things, as we mentioned before. For example; Tayammum only involves one strike with the hand on the sand and wiping the face and hands. Allah said, ”but He wants to purify you, and to complete His favor on you that you may be thankful.” for His bounties on you, such as His easy, kind, merciful, comfortable and lenient legislation.

Supplicating to Allah after Wudu

The Sunnah encourages supplicating to Allah after Wudu’ and states that those who do so are among those who seek to purify themselves, as the Ayah above states. Imam Ahmad, Muslim and the collectors of Sunan narrated that Uqbah bin Amir said, “We were on watch, guarding camels, and when my turn to guard came, I took the camels back at night. I found that the Messenger of Allah was giving a speech to the people. I heard these words from that speech:

”Any Muslim who performs Wudu’ properly, then stands up and prays a two Rak’ah prayer with full attention in his heart and face, will earn Paradise.”

I said, ‘What a good statement this is!’ A person who was close by said, ‘The statement he said before it is even better.’ When I looked, I found that it was Umar, who said, ‘I saw that you just came. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”When any of you performs Wudu’ properly and says,’I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger’, the eight doors of Paradise will be opened for him so that he can enter from any door he wishes.” (Muslim 1:209)

The Virtue of Wudu

Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”When the Muslim or the believing servant performs Wudu’ and washes his face, every sin that he looked at with his eyes will depart from his face with the water, or with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, every sin that his hands committed will depart from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water. When he washes his feet, every sin to which his feet took him will depart with the water, or with the last drop of water. Until, he ends up sinless.” (Muslim 1:215)

Muslim recorded that Abu Malik Al-Ashari said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Purity is half of faith and Al-Hamdu Lillah (all the thanks are due to Allah) fills the Mizan (the Scale). And Subhan Allah and Allahu Akbar (all praise is due to Allah, and Allah is the Most Great) fills what is between the heaven and earth. As-Sawm (the fast) is a Junnah (a shield), Sabr (patience) is a light, Sadaqah (charity) is evidence (of faith) and the Qur’an is proof for, or against you. Every person goes out in the morning and ends up selling himself, he either frees his soul or destroys it.” (Muslim 1:203)

Muslim recorded that Ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah does not accept charity from one who commits Ghulul [treachery), or prayer without purity.” (Muslim 1:204)

{7. And remember Allah’s favor to you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said: “We hear and we obey.” And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Knower of that which is in the breasts.

8. O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just, that is nearer to Taqwa; and have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

9. Allah has promised those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, that for them there is forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise).

10. And they who disbelieve and deny Our Ayat are those who will be the dwellers of the Hell-fire.

11. O you who believe! Remember the favour of Allah unto you when some people desired (made a plan) to stretch out their hands against you, but (Allah) held back their hands from you. So have Taqwa of Allah. And in Allah let the believers put their trust.}

Reminding the Believers of the Bounty of the Message and Islam

Allah reminds His believing servants of His bounty by legislating this glorious religion and sending them this honorable Messenger. He also reminds them of the covenant and pledges that He took from them to follow the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, support and aid him, implement his Law and convey it on his behalf, while accepting it themselves. Allah said, “And remember Allah’s favor upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, “We hear and we obey.” This is the pledge that they used to give to the Messenger of Allah when they embraced Islam. They used to say, “We gave our pledge of obedience to the Messenger of Allah to hear and obey, in times when we are active and otherwise, even if we were passed on for rights, and not to dispute leadership with its rightful people.” Allah also said, “And what is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord; and He has indeed taken your covenant, if you are real believers.” It was also said that this Ayah (5:7) reminds the Jews of the pledges and promises Allah took from them to follow Muhammad and adhere to his Law, as Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas stated. Allah then said, “And have Taqwa of Allah.” in all times and situations. Allah says that He knows the secrets and thoughts that the hearts conceal, “Verily, Allah is All-Knower of the secrets of (your) breasts.”

The Necessity of Observing Justice

Allah said, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah…” meaning, in truth for the sake of Allah, not for the sake of people or for fame, “as just witnesses” observing justice and not transgression. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that An-Numan bin Bashir said, “My father gave me a gift, but Amrah bint Rawahah, my mother, said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah’s Messenger as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah’s Messenger to ask him to be a witness to his giving me the gift. Allah’s Messenger asked,

 ”Have you given the like of it to everyone of your offspring?”

He replied in the negative. Allah’s Messenger said,

”Have Taqwa of Allah and treat your children equally.” And said; “I shall not be witness to injustice.”

My father then returned and took back his gift.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:250)

Allah said; “and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice.” The Ayah commands: Do not be carried away by your hatred for some people to avoid observing justice with them. Rather, be just with every one, whether a friend or an enemy. This is why Allah said, “Be just: that is nearer to Taqwa” this is better than if you abandon justice in this case. Although Allah said that observing justice is nearer to Taqwa, there is not any other course of action to take, therefore ‘nearer’ here means ‘is’. Allah said in another Ayah, “The dwellers of Paradise will, on that Day, have the best abode, and have the fairer of places for repose.” Some of the female Companions said to Umar, “You are more rough and crude than the Messenger of Allah ,” meaning, you are rough, not that the Prophet is rough at all. Allah said next, “and have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is Well Acquainted with what you do.” and consequently, He will reward or punish you according to your actions, whether good or evil. Hence Allah’s statement afterwards, “Allah has promised those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, that for them there is forgiveness” for their sins, “and a great reward.” which is Paradise, that is part of Allah’s mercy for His servants. They will not earn Paradise on account of their good actions, but rather on account of His mercy and favor, even though they will qualify to earn this mercy on account of their good actions. Allah has made these actions the cause and path that lead to His mercy, favor, pardon and acceptance. Therefore, all this is from Allah Alone and all thanks are due to Him. Allah said next, “And they who disbelieve and deny our Ayat are those who will be the dwellers of the Hell- fire.” This only demonstrates Allah’s perfect justice, wisdom and judgment, He is never wrong, for He is the Most Wise, Most Just and Most Able.

Among Allah’s Favors is that He Prevented the Disbelievers from Fighting the Muslims

Allah said, “O you who believe! Remember the favor of Allah unto you when some people desired (made a plan) to stretch out their hands against you, but (Allah) withheld their hands from you.” Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Jabir said, “The Prophet once stayed at an area and the people spread out seeking shade under various trees. The Prophet hung his weapon on a tree, and a bedouin man came and took possession of the Prophet’s weapon and held it aloft. He came towards the Prophet and said, ‘Who can protect you from me?’ He replied, ‘Allah, the Exalted, Most Honored.’ The bedouin man repeated his question twice or thrice, each time the Prophet answering him by saying, ‘Allah.’ The bedouin man then lowered the sword, and the Prophet called his Companions and told them what had happened while the bedouin was sitting next to him, for the Prophet did not punish him.’ Mamar said that Qatadah used to mention that some Arabs wanted to have the Prophet killed, so they sent that bedouin. Qatadah would then mention this Ayah, “Remember the favor of Allah unto you when some people desired (made a plan) to stretch out their hands against you…” (Abdur Razzaq 1:185)

The story of this bedouin man, whose name is Ghawrath bin Al- Harith, is mentioned in the Sahih. (Al-Bukhari nos: 4135, 4136, 4139)

Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar, Mujahid and Ikrimah said that this Ayah was revealed about Bani An-Nadir, who plotted to drop a stone on the head of the Messenger when he came to them for help to pay the blood money of two persons whom Muslims killed. The Jews left the execution of this plot to Amr bin Jihash bin Kab and ordered him to throw a stone on the Prophet from above, when he came to them and sat under the wall. Allah told His Prophet about their plot, and he went back to Al-Madinah and his Companions followed him later on. Allah sent down this Ayah concerning this matter. Allah’s statement, ”And in Allah let the believers put their trust.” and those who do so, then Allah shall suffice for them and shall protect them from the evil plots of the people. Thereafter, Allah commanded His Messenger to expel Bani An-Nadir, and he laid siege to their area and forced them to evacuate Al-Madinah.

{12. Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: “I am with you if you perform the Salah and give the Zakah and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend to Allah a good loan, verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise). But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the straight way.”

13. So, because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them and made their hearts grow hard. They changed the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them. But forgive them and overlook (their misdeeds). Verily, Allah loves the doers of good.

14. And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection; and Allah will inform them of what they used to do.}

 

Cursing the People of the Book for Breaking the Covenant

Allah commanded His believing servants to fullfil the promises and pledges that He took from them and which they gave His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him. Allah also commanded them to stand for the truth and give correct testimony. He also reminded them of the obvious and subtle favours of the truth and guidance that He granted them. Next, Allah informed them of the pledges and promises that He took from the People of the Book, who were before them, the Jews and Christians. When they broke these promises and covenants, Allah cursed them as a consequence and expelled them from His grace and mercy. He also sealed their hearts from receiving guidance and the religion of truth, beneficial knowledge and righteous actions. Allah said, “Indeed Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel and We appointed twelve leaders among them.” These twelve people were leaders who gave the pledge to Allah to listen and obey Allah, His Messenger and His Book on behalf of their tribes. Muhammad bin Ishaq and Ibn Abbas said that this occurred when Musa went to fight the mighty enemy (in Palestine), and Allah commanded him to choose a leader from every tribe. (At-Tabari 10:113)

The Leaders of Ansar on the Night of Aqabah

Likewise, when the Messenger of Allah took the pledge from the Ansar in the Aqabah area, there were twelve leaders from the Ansar. There were three men from the tribe of Aws: Usayd bin Al-Hudayr, Sad bin Khaythamah and Rifaah bin Abdul-Mundhir, or Abu Al-Haytham bin At-Tayhan. There were nine people from the tribe of Khazraj: Abu Umamah Asad bin Zurarah, Sad bin Ar-Rabi, Abdullah bin Rawahah, Rafi bin Malik bin Al-Ajlan, Al-Bara bin Marur, Ubadah bin As-Samit, Sad bin Ubadah, Abdullah bin Amr bin Haram and Al-Mundhir bin Umar bin Khunays. Kab bin Malik mentioned these men in his poem, as recorded by Ibn Ishaq. (Ibn Hashim 2:86-87) On that night, these men were the leaders or representatives of their tribes by the command of the Prophet. They gave the pledge and promise of allegiance and obedience to the Prophet on behalf of their people. Allah said, “And Allah said, “I am with you…” with My protection, support and aid, “if you perform the Salah and give the Zakah and believe in My Messengers” concerning what they bring you of the revelation, “and lend to Allah a good loan…” by spending in His cause, seeking to please Him. “verily, I will remit your sins” and errors, I will erase them, cover them, and will not punish you for them, “and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise).” thus, protecting you from what you fear and granting you what you seek.

Breaking the Covenant

Allah said, “But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the straight way.” Therefore, those who break this covenant, even though they pledged and vowed to keep it, yet, they broke it and denied it ever existed, they have avoided the clear path and deviated from the path of guidance to the path of misguidance. Allah then mentioned the punishment that befell those who broke His covenant and the pledge they gave Him, ”honour and assist them…” and support them on the truth, ”So because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them…” Allah states, because of their breaking the promise that We took from them, We cursed them, deviated them away from the truth, and expelled them from guidance, “and made their hearts grow hard…” and they do not heed any word of advice that they hear, because of the hardness of their hearts.

 “They change the words from their (right) places…” Since their comprehension became corrupt, they behaved treacherously with Allah’s Ayat, altering His Book from its apparent meanings which He sent down, and distorting its indications. They attributed to Allah what He did not say, and we seek refuge with Allah from such behaviour. “and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them” by not implementing it and by ignoring it. Allah said next, “And you will not cease to discover deceit in them” such as their plots and treachery against you, O Muhammad, and your Companions. Mujahid said that this Ayah refers to their plot to kill the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. (At-Tabari 10:131)  “But forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds).” This, indeed, is the ultimate victory and triumph. Some of the Salaf said, “You would never treat those who disobey Allah with you better than obeying Allah with them.” This way, their hearts will gather around the truth and Allah might lead them to the right guidance. This is why Allah said, “Verily, Allah loves the doers of good.” Therefore, forgive those who err against you. Qatadah said that this Ayah was abrogated with Allah’s statement, “Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day.” (At-Tabari 10:134)

The Christians Also Broke their Covenant with Allah and the Repercussion of this Behavior

Allah said, “And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant” Meaning: ‘From those who call themselves Christians and followers of Isa, son of Maryam, while in fact they are not as they claim. We took from them the covenant and pledges that they would follow the Prophet, aid him, honor him and follow his footsteps.’ And that they would believe in every Prophet whom Allah sends to the people of the earth. They imitated the Jews and broke the promises and the pledges. This is why Allah said, “but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection” Meaning: ‘We planted enmity and hatred between them, and they will remain like this until the Day of Resurrection.’ Indeed, the numerous Christian sects have always been enemies and adversaries of each other, accusing each other of heresy and cursing each other. Each sect among them excommunicates the other sects and does not allow them entrance to their places of worship. The Monarchist sect accuses the Jacobite sect of heresy, and such is the case with the Nestorians and the Arians. Each sect among them will continue to accuse the other of disbelief and heresy in this life and on the Day when the Witnesses will come forth. Allah then said, “and Allah will inform them of what they used to do.” warning and threatening the Christians because of their lies against Allah and His Messenger and their false claims about Allah, hallowed be He above what they say about Him. The Christians attribute a companion and a son to Allah, while He is the One and Only, the All-Sufficient, Who neither begets nor was He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.

 

 {15. O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and passing over much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light and a plain Book.

16. Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His permission unto light and guides them to a straight path.}

 

Explaining the Truth Through the Messenger and the Qur’an

Allah states that He sent His Messenger Muhammad with the guidance and the religion of truth to all the people of the earth, the Arabs and non-Arabs, lettered and unlettered. Allah also states that He sent Muhammad with clear evidences and the distinction between truth and falsehood. Allah said, “O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and passing over much.” So the Prophet explained where they altered, distorted, changed and lied about Allah. He also ignored much of what they changed, since it would not bring about any benefit if it was explained. In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “He who disbelieves in stoning (the adulterer to death) will have inadvertently disbelieved in the Qur’an, for Allah said, “O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture” and stoning was among the things that they used to hide.” (Al-Hakim 4:359)  Al-Hakim said, “Its chain is Sahih, and they did not record it.”

Allah next mentions the Glorious Qur’an that He sent down to His honorable Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,“Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light and a plain Book. Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His pleasure to ways of peace.” meaning, ways of safety and righteousness, “and He brings them out of darkness by His permission unto light and guides them to a straight path.” He thus saves them from destruction and explains to them the best, most clear path. Therefore, He protects them from what they fear, and brings about the best of what they long for, all the while ridding them of misguidance and directing them to the best, most righteous state of being.

 

{17. Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam. Say: “Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Maryam, his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?” And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills. And Allah is able to do all things.

18. And the Jews and the Christians say: “We are the children of Allah and His loved ones.” Say: “Why then does He punish you for your sins?” Nay, you are but human beings of those He has created, He forgives whom He wills and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them; and to Him is the return (of all).}

 

The Polytheism and Disbelief of the Christians

Allah states that the Christians are disbelievers because of their claim that Isa, son of Maryam, one of Allah’s servants and creatures, is Allah. Allah is holier than what they attribute to Him. Allah then reminds them of His perfect ability over everything and that everything is under His complete control and power, “Say: “Who then has the least power against Allah, if He were to destroy the Messiah, son of Maryam, his mother, and all those who are on the earth together?” Therefore, if Allah wills to do that, who would be able to stop Him or prevent Him from doing it Allah then said, “And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them. He creates what He wills.” All things in existence are Allah’s property and creation and He is able to do everything. He is never asked about what He does with His power, domain, justice and greatness so this refutes the Christian creed, may Allah’s continued curses be upon them until the Day of Resurrection.

Refuting the People of the Book’s Claim that they are Allah’s Children

Allah then refutes the Christians’ and Jews’ false claims and lies, “And the Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His loved ones.” They claim: “We are the followers of Allah’s Prophets, who are His children, whom He takes care of. He also loves us.” The People of the Book claim in their Book that Allah said to His servant Isra’il, “You are my firstborn.” But they explained this statement in an improper manner and altered its meaning. Some of the People of the Book who later became Muslims refuted this false statement saying, “This statement only indicates honor and respect, as is common in their speech at that time.” The Christians claim that  Isa said to them, “I will go back to my father and your father,” meaning, my Lord and your Lord. It is a fact that the Christians did not claim that they too are Allah’s sons as they claimed about Isa. Rather this statement by Isa only meant to indicate a closeness with Allah. This is why when they said that they are Allah’s children and loved ones, Allah refuted their claim, “Say, “Why then does He punish you for your sins?” meaning, if you were truly as you claim, Allah’s children and loved ones, then why did He prepare the Fire because of your disbelief, lies and false claims “Nay, you are but human beings, of those He has created” Allah states: you are just like the rest of the children of Adam, and Allah is the Lord of all His creation, “He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills.” Allah does what He wills, there is none who can escape His judgement, and He is swift in reckoning.

 “And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them” Therefore, everything is Allah’s property and under His power and control, “and to Him is the return.” In the end, the return will be to Allah and He will judge between His servants as He will, and He is the Most Just Who is never wrong in His judgment.

 

{19. O People of the Scripture! Now has come to you Our Messenger making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: “There came to us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.” But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And Allah is able to do all things.}

 

Allah is addressing the People of the Book – the Jews and the Christians, saying that He has sent His Messenger Muhammad to them, the Final Prophet, after whom there will be no Prophet or Messenger. Rather, He is the Final Messenger who came after a long time passed between him and Isa, son of Maryam peace be upon them. There is a difference of opinion about the length of time between Isa and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Abu Uthman An- Nahdi and Qatadah were reported to have said that this period was six hundred years. (Al-Baghawi 2:23) Al- Bukhari also recorded this opinion from Salman Al-Farisi. (Fath Al-Bari 7:324) Qatadah said that this period was five hundred and sixty years (Al-Baghawi 2:23) , while Mamar said that it is five hundred and forty years. (Abdur Razzaq 1:186) Some said that this period is six hundred and twenty years. There is no contradiction here if we consider the fact that those who said that this period was six hundred years were talking about solar years, while the second refers to lunar years, since there is a difference of about three years between every one hundred lunar and solar years. As in Allah’s statement, “And they stayed in their Cave three hundred years, adding nine.” meaning, nine more lunar years to substitute for the difference between lunar and solar years, thus agreeing with the three hundred years that the People of the Book knew about. We should assert again that the time period we mentioned here was between Isa, the last Prophet to the Children of Israel, and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the Last Prophet and Messenger among the children of Adam. In the Sahih collected by Al-Bukhari, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

 ”I, among all people, have the most right to the son of Maryam, for there was no Prophet between Him and I.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:550)

This Hadith refutes the opinion of Al-Qudai and others, that there was a Prophet after Isa called Khalid bin Sinan. Allah sent Muhammad after a period of time during which there was no Prophet, clear path, or unchanged religions. Idol worshipping, fire worshipping and cross worshipping flourished during this time. Therefore, the bounty of sending Muhammad was the perfect bounty at a time when he was needed the most. Evil had filled the earth by then, and tyranny and ignorance had touched all the servants, except a few of those who remained loyal to the true teachings of previous Prophets, such as some Jewish rabbis, Christian priests and Sabian monks. Imam Ahmad recorded that Iyad bin Himar Al- Mujashi said that the Prophet gave a speech one day and said,

”My Lord has commanded me to teach you what you have no knowledge of and of which He taught me this day, ‘All the wealth that I gave to My servants is permissible. I created all My servants Hunafa (monotheists). But, the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibited for them what I allowed and commanded them to associate others with Me [in worship], which I gave no permission for.’ Then Allah looked at the people of the earth and disliked them all, the Arabs and non-Arabs among them, except a few from among the Children of Israel. Allah said (to me), ‘I only sent you to test you and to test with you. I sent to you a Book that cannot be washed by water (it is eternal), and you will read it while asleep and while awake.’ Allah has also Commanded me to burn (destroy) Quraysh. So I said, ‘OLord! They will smash my head and leave it like a piece of bread.’ He said, ‘I will drive them out as they drove you out, and when you invade them We will help you. Spend on them (your companions) and We will spend on you, send an army and We will send five armies like it (in its support). Fight with those who obey you, against those who disobey you. And the inhabitants of Paradise are three: a just, prosperous, and charitable ruler; A merciful man who has a kind heart toward every relative and every Muslim; a forgiving, poor man with dependants [who is charitable]. And the inhabitants of the Fire are five: the weak one with no religion; those who follow after you not for family reasons nor wealth; and the treacherous who does not hide his treachery, acting treacherous in even the most insignificant matters; and a person who comes everymorning and every evening, is cheating your family or your wealth.” And he mentioned the stingy, or the liar, and the foulmouthed person.” (Ahmad 4:162)

Therefore, the Hadith states that Allah looked at the people of the earth and disliked them all, both the Arabs and non-Arabs among them, except a few among the Children of Israel, or a few among the People of the Book as Muslim recorded. (Muslim 4:2197)  The religion was distorted and changed for the people of the earth until Allah sent Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and Allah, thus, guided the creatures and took them away from the darkness to the light and placed them on a clear path and a glorious Law. Allah said, ”lest you say, “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.” meaning, so that you, who changed the true religion, do not make it an excuse and say, “No Messenger came to us bringing glad tidings and warning against evil.” There has come to you a bringer of good news and a warner, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. ”And Allah is able to do all things.” Ibn Jarir said this part of the Ayah means, “I am able to punish those who disobey Me and to reward those who obey Me.” (At-Tabari 10:158)

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