Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 68-105

{68. Say: ‘O People of the Scripture! You have nothing till you act according to the tawrah, the Injil, and what has (now) been sent down to you from you Lord (the Qur’an).’ Verily, the revelation that has come to you from your Lord makes many of them increase in rebellion and disbelief. So do not grieve for the people who disbelieve.”

69. Surely, those who believe, and those who are the Jews and sabians and the Christians, whoever believed in Allah and the Last day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, not shall they grieve.}

There is no Salvation Except through Faith in the Qur’an

Allah says: O Muhammad, say, “Surely, those who believe” referring to Muslims, “those who are the Jews” who were entrusted with the Tawrah, “O People of the Scripture! You have nothing…” meaning no real religion until you adhere to and implement the Tawrah and the Injil. That is, until you believe in all the Books that you have that Allah revealed to the Prophets. These Books command following Muhammad and believing in his prophecy, all the while adhering to his Law. Before, we explained Allah’s statement, “Verily, the revelation that has come to you from your Lord makes many of them increase in rebellion and disbelief.” “So do not grieve for the people who disbelieve”, Do not be sad or taken aback by their disbelief. Allah said next, “and the Sabians…” a sect from the Christians and Magians who did not follow any particular religion, as Mujahid stated. As for the Christians, they are known and were entrusted with the Injil. The meaning here is that if each of these groups believed in Allah and the Hereafter, which is the Day of Judgement and Reckoning, and performed good actions, which to be so, must conform to Muhammad’s Law, after Muhammad was sent to all mankind and the Jinns. If any of these groups held these beliefs, then they shall have no fear of what will come or sadness regarding what they lost, nor will grief ever affect them. We discussed a similar Ayah before in Surat Al-Baqarah (2:62).

{70. Verily, We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent Messengers to them. Whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not, a group of them they called liars, and others among them they killed.

71. They thought there will be no Fitnah (trial or punishment), so they became blind and deaf; after that Allah turned to them (with forgiveness); yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allah is the All-Seer of what they do.}

Allah reminds that He took the covenant and pledges from the Children of Israel to hear and obey Him and His Messenger. They broke these pledges and covenants and followed their lusts and desires instead of the law, and whichever part of the law they agreed with, they took it. Otherwise, they abandoned it, if it did not conform to their desires. This is why Allah said, “Whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not – a group of them they called liars, and others among them they killed. They thought there will be no Fitnah (trial or punishment) so they became blind and deaf.” thinking that they would suffer no repercussions for of the evil that they committed. Consequently, they were blinded from the truth and became deaf, incapable of hearing the truth. For these reasons they were unable to be guided by it. Allah forgave that, then, “yet they became blind and deaf” again, “many of them, and Allah is the All-Seer of what they do.” He has perfect knowledge of what they do and whomever among them deserves the guidance and whomever deserves misguidance.

{72. Surely, they have disbelieved who say: “Allah is the Messiah [Isa], son of Maryam.” But the Messiah said: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.

73. Surely, they have disbelieved who say: “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god but One God (Allah). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall on the disbelievers among them.

74. Will they not repent to Allah and ask His forgiveness For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

75. The Messiah [Isa], son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam] was a Siddiqah. They both used to eat food. Look how We make the Ayat clear to them; yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).}

The Disbelief of the Christians; Isa Only called to Tawhid

Allah states that the Christians such sects as Monarchite, Jacobite and Nestorite are disbelievers, those among them who say that Isa is Allah. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. They made this claim in spite of the fact that Isa made it known that he was the servant of Allah and His Messenger. The first words that Isa uttered when he was still a baby in the cradle were, “I am Abdullah (the servant of Allah).” He did not say, “I am Allah,” or, “I am the son of Allah.” Rather, he said, “Verily, I am a servant of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.” until he said, “And verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the straight path.”

He also proclaimed to them when he was a man, after he was sent as a Prophet, commanding them to worship his Lord and their Lord, alone without partners, “But the Messiah said, “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Verily, whosoever sets up partners with Allah…” in worship; “…then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode.” as He will send him to the Fire and forbid Paradise for him. Allah also said; “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills.” and, “And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise; “Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provide you with.” They will say: “Allah has forbidden both to the disbelievers.”

It is recorded in the Sahih (Fath Al-Bari 6:207) that the Prophet had someone proclaim to the people, “Only a Muslim soul shall enter Paradise.” In another narration, “Only a believing soul…” This is why Allah said that Isa said to the Children of Israel, “Verily, whosoever sets up partners with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And there are no helpers for the wrongdoers.” There is no help from Allah, nor anyone who will support or protect them from the state they will be in. Allah’s statement, “Surely, they have disbelieved who say: “Allah is the third of three.” Mujahid and several others said that this Ayah was revealed about the Christians in particular. As-Suddi and others said that this Ayah was revealed about taking Isa and his mother as gods besides Allah, thus making Allah the third in a trinity. (At-Tabari 10:483) As-Suddi said, “This is similar to Allah’s statement towards the end of the Surah, “And (remember) when Allah will say: “O Isa, son of Maryam! Did you say unto men: ‘Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah’ He will say, “Glory be to You!” (5:116). (At-Tabari 10:483)

Allah replied, “But there is no god but One God.” meaning there are not many worthy of worship but there is only One God without partners, and He is the Lord of all creation and all that exists. Allah said next, while threatening and admonishing them, “And if they cease not from what they say,” their lies and false claims, “verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them.” in the Hereafter, shackled and tormented. Allah said next, “Will they not repent to Allah and ask His Forgiveness For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This demonstrates Allah’s generosity, kindness and mercy for His creatures, even though they committed this grave sin and invented such a lie and false allegation. Despite all of this, Allah calls them to repent so that He will forgive them, for Allah forgives those who sincerely repent to Him.

Isa is Allah’s Servant and His Mother is a Truthful Believer

Allah said, “The Messiah, son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him.” Isa is just like the previous Prophets, and he is one of the servants of Allah and one of His honorable Messengers. Allah said in anot her Ayah, “He [Isa] was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.” Allah said next, “His mother was a Siddiqah” for she believed in Allah with complete trust in Him. This is the highest rank she was given, which proves that she was not a Prophet. Allah said next, “They both used to eat food” needing nourishment and to relieve the call of nature. Therefore, they are just servants like other servants, not gods as ignorant Christian sects claim, may Allah’s continued curses cover them until the Day of Resurrection. Allah said next, “Look how We make the Ayat clear to them.” making them unequivocal and plain, “yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).” look at the opinions, misguided ideas, and claims they cling to, even after Our clarification and plain, unequivocal explanation.

 {76. Say: “How do you worship besides Allah something which has no power either to harm or to benefit you But it is Allah Who is the All-Hearer, All-Knower.”

77. Say: “O People of the Scripture! Exceed not the limits in your religion beyond the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path.”}

The Prohibition of Shirk (Polytheism) and Exaggeration in the Religion

Allah admonishes those who take up rivals with Him and worship the idols, monuments and false deities. Allah states that such false deities do not deserve any degree of Divinity. Allah said, “(Say) O Muhammad, to those from among the Children of Adam, such as the Christians, who worship other than Allah, How do you worship besides Allah something which has no power either to harm or to benefit you?” meaning, which cannot prevent harm for you nor bring about your benefit, “But it is Allah Who is the All-Hearer, All-Knower.” He hears what His servants say and has knowledge of all things. Therefore, how did you worship inanimate objects that do not hear, see or know anything – having no power to bring harm or benefit to themselves let alone others – instead of worshipping Allah. Allah then said, “Say: “O People of the Scipture! Exceed not the limits in your religion beyond the truth,” Meaning: Do not exceed the limits concerning the truth and exaggeration in praising whom you were commanded to honor. You exaggerated in his case and elevated him from the rank of Prophet to the rank of a god. You did this with Isa, who was a Prophet, yet you claimed that he is god besides Allah. This error occurred because you followed your teachers, the advocates of misguidance who came before your time and who, “…and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path,” deviated from the straight path, to the path of misguidance and deviation.

{78. Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dawud and Isa, son of Maryam. That was because they disobeyed (Allah and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing (beyond the bounds).

79. They used not to forbid one another from the evil they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do.

80. You see many of them taking the disbelievers as their friends. Evil indeed is that which they have sent forward before themselves; for that (reason) Allah is wrath with them, and in torment they will abide.

81. And had they believed in Allah, and in the Prophet and in what has been revealed to him, never would they have taken them as friends; but many of them are rebellious.}

Allah Cursed the Disbelievers Among the Children of Israel

Allah states that He has cursed the disbelievers among the Children of Israel long ago, and revealed this fact to His Prophets Dawud and Isa, son of Maryam. He cursed them because they disobeyed Allah and transgressed against His creatures. Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “They were cursed in the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur (Psalms) and the Furqan (Qur’an).” Allah then states that during their time, their habit was that, “They used not to forbid one another from the evil they committed.” They did not forbid each other from committing sins and the prohibitions. Allah chastised them for this behavior, so that their behavior would not be imitated. Allah said, “Vile indeed was what they used to do.”

Hadiths that Order Enjoining Righteousness and Forbidding Evil

There are many Hadiths that order enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet said,

“By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment on you from Him. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.” (Ahmad 5:388) 

At-Tirmidhi also recorded it and said, “This Hadith is Hasan.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 6:391)

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

“He among you who witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand, if he cannot do that, then by his tongue, if he cannot do even that, then with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.” (Muslim 1:69)

Abu Dawud said that Al-Urs, meaning Ibn Amirah, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“When sin is committed on the earth, then whoever witnesses it and hates – (once he said): forbids it, will be like those who did not witness it. Whoever was absent from it, but agreed with it, will be like those who witness it.” (Abu Dawud: 4345)

Abu Dawud recorded that one of the Companions said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “The people will not perish until they do not leave -or- have any excuse for themselves.”  (Abu Dawud: 4347)

Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, gave a speech once and said,

“Behold! Fear from people should not prevent one from saying the truth if he knows it.”  Abu Said then cried and said, “By Allah! We have seen some errors, but we feared (the people).” (Ibn Majah: 4007) 

Another Hadith that Abu Said narrated states that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “The best Jihad is a word of truth proclaimed before an unjust ruler.” (Abu Dawud 4:514)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “It is not required of the Muslim that he humiliate himself.”

They said, ‘How does one humiliate himself?” he said;

 “He takes on trials that he is not capable of enduring.” (Ahmad 5:1405)

Censuring the Hypocrites

Allah said, “You see many of them taking the disbelievers as their friends.” Mujahid said that this Ayah refers to the hypocrites. Allah’s statement, “Evil indeed is that which they have sent forward before themselves” by giving their loyalty and support to the disbelievers, instead of the believers. This evil act caused them to have hypocrisy in their hearts and brought them the anger of Allah, that will remain with them until the Day of Return. Allah said; “for that (reason) Allah is wrath with them” because of what they did. Allah next said that, “in torment they will abide” on the Day of Resurrection. Allah’s statement, “And had they believed in Allah, and in the Prophet and in what has been revealed to him, never would they have taken them as friends.” meaning, had they sincerely believed in Allah, His Messenger and the Qur’an, they would not have committed the evil act of supporting the disbelievers in secret and being enemies with those who believe in Allah, the Prophet and what was revealed to him, “but many of them are rebellious”, disobedient to Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and defiant of the Ayat of His revelation that He sent down.

 {82. Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and those who commit Shirk, and you will find the nearest in love to the believers those who say: “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.

83. And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.”

84. “And why should we not believe in Allah and in that which has come to us of the truth And we wish that our Lord will admit us along with the righteous people.”

85. So because of what they said, Allah awarded them with Gardens under which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever. Such is the reward of good- doers.

86. But those who disbelieved and belied Our Ayat, they shall be the dwellers of Hell.}

The Reason Behind Revealing these Ayat

Said bin Jubayr, As-Suddi and others said that these Ayat were revealed concerning a delegation that An-Najashi (King of Ethiopia) sent to the Prophet in order to hear his words and observe his qualities. When the delegation met with the Prophet and he recited the Qur’an to them, they embraced Islam, cried and were humbled. Then they returned to An-Najashi and told him what happened. (At-Tabari 10:499, 500) Ata’ bin Abi Rabah commented, “They were Ethiopians who embraced Islam when the Muslims who migrated to Ethiopia resided among them.” Qatadah said, “They were some followers of the religion of Isa, son of Maryam, who when they saw Muslims and heard the Qur’an, they became Muslims without hesitation.” (At-Tabari 10:501)  Ibn Jarir said that these Ayat were revealed concerning some people who fit this description, whether they were from Ethiopia or otherwise.

Allah said, “Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and those who commit Shirk” This describes the Jews, since their disbelief is that of rebellion, defiance, opposing the truth, belittling other, people and degrading the scholars. This is why the Jews killed many of their Prophets and tried to kill the Messenger of Allah several times, as well as, performing magic spells against him and poisoning him. They also incited their likes among the polytheists against the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Allah’s statement, “and you will find the nearest in love to the believers those who say: “We are Christians.” refers to those who call themselves Christians, who follow the religion of the Messiah and the teachings of his Injil. These people are generally more tolerant of Islam and its people, because of the mercy and kindness that their hearts acquired through part of the Messiah’s religion. In another Ayah, Allah said; “And We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him, compassion, mercy, and monasticism…” (57:27). [Ibn Kathir only mentioned this much of the ayah, and what he intended by it should be clear to the reader. However, the remainder of the ayah, which can be translated as “that they invented which We did not prescribe of them” (referring to monasticism) obviously contradicts Ibn Kathir’s objective here. He himself discusses the issue shortly, as well as at the end of Surah Al-Hadid, as will appear later if Allah wills.]

In their book is the saying; “He who strikes you on the right cheek, then turn the left cheek for him.” And fighting was prohibited in their creed, and this is why Allah said, “That is because among them are Qissisin (priests) and Ruhban (monks), and they are not proud.” This means that among them are Qissisin (priests). The word Ruhban refers to one dedicated to worship. Allah said, “That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.” This describes them with knowledge, worship and humbleness, along with following the truth and fairness. “And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized.” This refers to the good news that they have about the advent of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.” who testify to the truth and believe in it.

“And why should we not believe in Allah and in that which has come to us of the truth And We wish that our Lord will admit us (in Paradise) along with the righteous people.” Such sect of Christians are those mentioned in Allah’s statement, “And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah.” (3:199) and, “Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it, they believe in it (the Qur’an). And when it is recited to them, they say, “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we were Muslims” (28:52-53), until, “We seek not the ignorant.” (28:55) This is why Allah said here, “So because of what they said, Allah awarded them…” rewarding them for embracing the faith and recognizing and believing in the truth, “Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), they will abide therein forever.” and they will never be removed from it, for they will dwell and remain in it forever and ever, “Such is the reward of good-doers” who follow the truth and obey it wherever, whenever and with whomever they find it. Allah then describes the condition of the miserable. “But those who disbelieved and belied Our Ayat” defied and opposed them, “they shall be the dwellers of the (Hell) Fire.” For they are the people of the Fire who will enter and reside in it (eternally).

{87. O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.

88. And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, and have Taqwa of Allah in Whom you believe.}

There is No Monasticism in Islam

Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “This Ayah (5:87) was revealed about some of the Companions of the Prophet who said, ‘We should cut off our male organs, abandon the desires of this life and travel in the land, just as the Ruhban (monks) do.’ When the Prophet heard of this statement, he summoned them and asked them if they made this statement and they answered ‘Yes.’ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“I fast and break my fast, pray and sleep, and marry women. Whoever follows my Sunnah is of me, and whoever abandons my Sunnah is not of me.” (At-Tabari 10:518; a similar hadith is also mentioned in Al-Bukhari)

Ibn Abi Hatim also collected this Hadith. Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas narrated a similar Hadith. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that A’ishah said that some of the Companions asked the wives of the Prophet about the acts of worship that he performed in private. One of them said, “I will not eat meat,” another said, “I will not marry women,” while the third said, “I will not sleep on the bed.” When the Prophet heard this statement, he said,

”What is the matter with some people who said such and such I fast and break the fast, sleep and wake to stand to pray, eat meat, and marry women. He who is not pleased with my Sunnah is not of me.”  (Fath Al-Bari 9:5)

Allah’s statement, “and transgress not.” means, do not exaggerate and make it hard for yourselves by prohibiting the permissible things. Do not transgress the limits by excessively indulging in the permissible matters; only use of it what satisfies your need; and do not fall into extravagance. Allah said in other Ayat, “And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance.” (7:31), and, “And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).” (25:67) So Allah legislated a medium way between those who are extreme and those who fall into shortcomings, and it does not allow excessive application, nor lack of application. This is why Allah said here, “Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.” then He said, “And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good,” (5:88), eat of those items that are pure and lawful for you, “and have Taqwa of Allah,” in all your affairs, obey Him and seek His pleasure, all the while staying away from defiance and disobedience of Allah, “and have Taqwa of Allah in Whom you believe.”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 3 Pages 231-251

{89. Allah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths; for its expiation feed ten poor, on a scale of the Awsat of that with which you feed your own families; or clothe them; or free a slave. But whosoever cannot afford, then he should fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths when you have sworn. And protect your oaths. Thus Allah makes clear to you His Ayat that you may be grateful.}

Unintentional Oaths

We mentioned the subject of unintentional oaths in Surat Al-Baqarah, all praise and thanks are due to Allah, and so we do not need to repeat it here. We also mentioned that the Laghw in oaths refers to one’s saying, “No by Allah,” or, “Yes, by Allah,” unintentionally.

Expiation for Breaking the Oaths

Allah said, ”but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths.” in reference to the oaths that you intend in your hearts, “for its expiation (a deliberate oath) feed ten poor”, who are needy, not able to find necessities of the life. Allah’s statement, ”a scale of the Awsat of that with which you feed your own families” means, “On the average scale of what you feed your families,” according to Ibn Abbas, Said bin Jubayr and Ikrimah. Ata’ Al-Khurasani commented on the Ayah, “From the best of what you feed your families”. Allah’s statement, “or clothe them” refers to clothing each of the ten persons with what is suitable to pray in, whether the poor person was male or female. Allah knows best. Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah means a robe or garment for each poor person (of the ten). Mujahid also said that the least of clothing, referred to in the Ayah, is a garment, and the most is whatever you wish. Al-Hasan, Abu Jafar Al-Baqir, Ata’, Tawus, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Hammad bin Abi Sulayman and Abu Malik said that it means (giving each of the ten poor persons) a garment each. Allah’s statement, “or free a slave” refers to freeing a believing slave. In the Muwatta’ of Malik, the Musnad of Ash- Shafii and the Sahih of Muslim, a lengthy Hadith was recorded that Umar bin Al-Hakam As- Sulami said that he once had to free a slave (as atonement) and he brought a black slave girl before the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who asked her;

‘Where is Allah?”

She said, “Above the heavens.” He said,

“Who am I?”

She said, “The Messenger of Allah.” He said,

“Free her, for she is a believer.” (Al-Muwatta 2:776; Muslim 1:38)

There are three types of expiation for breaking deliberate oaths, and whichever one chooses, it will suffice, according to the consensus (of the scholars). Allah mentioned the easiest, then the more difficult options, since feeding is easier than giving away clothes, and giving away clothes is easier than freeing a slave. If one is unable to fulfill anyof these options, then he fasts for three days for expiation, just as Allah said, ”But whosoever cannot afford (that), then he should fast for three days.”

Ubayy bin Kab and Ibn Masud and his students read this Ayah as follows, “Then he should fast three consecutive days.” Even if this statement was not narrated to us as a part of the Qur’an through Mutawatir narration, it would still be an explanation of the Qur’an by the Companions that has the ruling of being related from the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Allah’s statement, “That is the expiation for the oaths when you have sworn.” (5:89) means, this is the legal way to atone for deliberate oaths, “And protect your oaths.” Do not leave your broken oaths without paying the expiation for them, according to the meaning given by Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 10:560)

 “Thus Allah makes clear to you His Ayat” and explains them to you, “that you may be grateful.”

{90. O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are a Rijs of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.

91. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr and Maysir, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain

92. And obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and beware. Then if you turn away, you should know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to convey in the clearest way.

93. Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they have Taqwa and believe and do righteous good deeds, and they (again) have Taqwa and believe, and then (once again) have Taqwa and perform good. And Allah loves the good-doers.}

Prohibiting Khamr (Intoxicants) and Maysir (Gambling)

Allah forbids His believing servants from consuming Khamr and Maysir which is gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ali bin Abi Talib, the Leader of the Faithful, said that chess is a type of gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ata’, Mujahid and Tawus, or, two of them, said that every type of gambling, including children’s playing with (a certain type of) nuts, is Maysir. Ibn Umar said that Al-Maysir means gambling, and this is the same statement that Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn Abbas, who added, “They used to gamble during the time of Jahiliyyah, until Islam came. Allah then forbade them from this evil behavior.”

Meaning of Ansab and Azlam

Al-Ansab were altar stones, in whose vicinity sacrifices were offered (during the time of Jahiliyyah), according to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ata’, Said bin Jubayr and Al-Hasan. They also said that Al-Azlam were arrows that they used for lotteries to make decisions, as Ibn Abi Hatim narrated. Allah said, “A Rijs of Shaytan’s handiwork” meaning, abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork, according to Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported it from Ibn Abbas. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rijs means ‘sin’ while Zayd bin Aslam said; “An evil handiwork of Shaytan.” “So avoid that” avoid all of these abominations, “in order that you may be successful.” and this is a statement of encouragement. Allah said next, “Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr (intoxicants) and Maysir (gambling), and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain” This is a threat and a warning.

Hadiths that Prohibit Khamr (Intoxicants)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “There were three stages to prohibiting Khamr (intoxicants). When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, the people were consuming alcohol and gambling, so they asked the Messenger of Allah about these things, Allah revealed, “They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.” (2:219), until the end of the Ayah. The people said, ‘They (intoxicants and gambling) were not prohibited for us. Allah only said, “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.”

So they went on drinking Khamr until one day, one of the emigrants lead his companions in the Maghrib prayer and mixed up the Ayat in his recitation. Thereafter, Allah sent down a tougher statement, “O you who believe! Approach not the Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning of) what you utter.” (4:43) Then, the people would drink before the time of the prayer so that they would attend the prayer while sober. A firmer Ayah was later revealed, “O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.” (5:90-91) So they said, ‘We abstained, O Lord!’ Later, some people said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Some people died in the cause of Allah, while some others died in their beds, but they used to drink alcohol and indulge in gambling, which Allah has made a Rijs of the work of Shaytan.’ So Allah sent down, “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate…” (5:93), until the end of the Ayah. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Had they been made impermissible for them, they would have abandoned them as you have abandoned them.”  (Ahmad: 2:351)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umar bin Al- Khattab said, “O Allah! Explain the verdict about Khamr to us clearly.” The Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed, “They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin.” (2:219

Umar was summoned and this Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict of Khamr clear to us.” Then the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed, “O you who believe! Do not approach the Salah when you are in a drunken state.” (4:43)

Thereafter, the Prophet had someone herald when it was time to pray, “Those in a drunken state are not to approach the prayer.” Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, “O Allah! Make the verdict concerning Khamr clear to us.” Then, the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah (5:91) was revealed, and Umar was summoned and it was recited to him. When he reached the part of the Ayah that reads, “So, will you not then abstain” (5:91), Umar said, “We abstained, we abstained.” (Ahmad 1:53) Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i recorded this Hadith. Ali bin Al-Madini and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sahih.

It is recorded in the Two Sahihs, that Umar bin Al-Khattab said in a speech; while standing on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah (in the Prophet’s Masjid in Al-Madinah) “O people! The prohibition of Khamr was revealed; and Khamr was extracted from five things: From grapes, dates, honey, wheat and barley. Khamr is what intoxicates the mind.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:126)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Umar said, “The prohibition of Khamr was revealed when there were five kinds of intoxicants in Al-Madinah, besides what was produced from grapes.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:126)

Another Hadith

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said, “I once was giving an alcoholic beverage to Abu Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah, Ubayy bin Kab, Suhayl bin Bayda and several of their friends meeting at Abu Talhah’s house. When they were almost intoxicated, some Muslims came and said, ‘Did you not know that Khamr has been prohibited?’ They said, ‘We’ll wait and ask.’ They then said, ‘O Anas! Spill the remaining alcohol out of your container.’ By Allah! They never drank it again, and their Khamr at that time was made from unripe and normal dates.”’ (Ahmad 3:181) This is also recorded in the Two Sahihs. In another narration by Anas, “I was the butler of the people in the house of Abu Talhah when Khamr was prohibited, and in those days alcohol was made from unripe and normal dates. A caller then heralded, and Abu Talhah ordered me to see what it was about. So I found that a person was announcing that alcoholic drinks had been prohibited. Abu Talhah ordered me to go out and spill the wine. I went out and spilled it, and it flowed in the streets of Al-Madinah. Some people said, ‘Some people were killed and wine was still in their stomachs.’ Later on, Allah’s revelation came, “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate…”(5:93).” (Fath Al-Bari 5:133)

Ibn Jarir recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “I was serving Abu Talhah, Abu Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah, Abu Dujanah, Muadh bin Jabal and Suhayl bin Bayda’, until they became intoxicated from an alcoholic drink made of mixed unripe and normal dates. Then I heard someone herald, ‘Khamr has been made illegal.’ So no one went in or out until we spilled the alcohol and broke its barrels. Some of us then performed ablution and others took a shower, and we wore some perfume. We then went out to the Masjid while the Messenger of Allah was reciting, “O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are only an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that…” (5:90) , until, “So, will you not then abstain” (5:91). A man asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What about those who died drinking it?’ Allah sent down the verse, “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate.” (5:93) (At-Tabari 10:578)

Another Hadith

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

“Ten matters related to Khamr were cursed. Khamr itself was cursed, whoever drinks it, its server, seller, buyer, brewer, who asks for it to be brewed, whoever carries it, whomever it is carried to and whoever consumes its price.” (Ahmad 2:25)

Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith. Ahmad recorded that Ibn Umar said, “Once, the Messenger of Allah went out and I went out with him. I walked to his right, but Abu Bakr came along and I gave way to him, and Abu Bakr was walking on the Prophet’s right, while I was walking on his left. Then Umar came along and he was walking on the Prophet’s left, since I gave way to him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then found a leather skin hanging containing alcohol, so he asked for a knife and ordered that the skin be cut open. He then said,

“Khamr was cursed, and so are those who drink it, serve it, sell it, buy it, carry it, have it carried to them, brew it, have it brewed and consume its price.” (Ahmad 2:71)

Another Hadith

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Sad said, “There were four Ayat revealed about Khamr…” He then said, “A man from Al-Ansar made some food and invited us. We drank Khamr before it was prohibited and became intoxicated, and thus started to boast about our status. The Ansar said that they were better, while Quraysh (the Muhajirin) said that they were better. So a man from the Ansar took a bone and struck Sa` d’s nose with it and made a flesh wound on it. Ever since that happened, Sa` d’s nose had a scar from that wound. The Ayah, “Intoxicants, gambling,” until, “So, will you not then abstain” was later revealed.” (Muslim no.1748)

Another Hadith

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abdullah bin Amr said, “This Ayah in the Qur’an, “O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are only an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.”  (5:90), was also in the Tawrah; Allah has sent down truth to eradicate falsehood, joyful play, flute or wind instruments, Zafan (dances) and Kibarat (refering to cabarets using the lute and bagpipe), tambourine, guitar, harp and lyric and love poetry. And Khamr is bitter for those who taste it. Allah has vowed by His grace and power, ‘Whoever drinks it after I prohibited it, I will make him thirsty on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever abandons it after I prohibited it, I will let him taste it in the residence of Grace (Paradise).”’ Its chain of narration is Sahih. (Ibn Abi Hatim 4:1196)

Another Hadith

Ash-Shafii narrated that Malik narrated that Nafi` said that Ibn ` Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “Whoever drinks Khamr in the life of this world and does not repent from it, will be deprived of it in the Hereafter.” (Al-Bukhari no. 5575; Muslim no. 2003)

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

“Every intoxicant is Khamr, and every intoxicant is unlawful. Whoever drinks Khamr and dies while addicted to it, without repenting from drinking it, will not drink it in the Hereafter.” (Muslim no. 2003)

Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham said that he heard Uthman bin Affan saying, “Avoid Khamr, for it is the mother of all sins. There was a man before your time who used to worship Allah secluded from the people. Later, an evil woman loved him and sent her female servant to him saying that they wanted him to witness something. So he went with the servant. Whenever they went through the door, she locked it behind them, until he reached a beautiful woman with a young servant boy and some alcohol. She said to him, ‘By Allah! I did not invite you to be a witness for anything, but called you to have sex with me, kill this boy or drink this alcohol.’ So she gave him some alcohol, and he kept asking for more until he [became intoxicated and] had sex with her and killed the boy. Therefore, avoid Khamr, because it is never combined with faith, but one of them is bound to expel the other (from the heart).” This was recorded by Al-Bayhaqi. (Al-Bayhaqi 8:287,288)  This statement has an authentic chain of narration. Abu Bakr bin Abi Ad-Dunya recorded this statement in his book on the prohibition of intoxicants, but he related it from the Prophet. Relating it from Uthman is more authentic, and Allah knows best.

Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “When Khamr was prohibited, some people said,  ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What about our brethren who died while still drinking Khamr?’ Allah sent down the Ayah “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate” until the end of the Ayah. When the Qiblah (direction of the prayer) was changed (from Jerusalem to Makkah), some people asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What about our brethren who died while still praying toward Jerusalem?’ Allah sent down, “And Allah would never make your faith to be lost.” (2:143) Abdullah bin Masud said that the Prophet said when the Ayah, “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they have Taqwa, and believe…” was revealed, “I was told, that you are among them.” This is the narration that Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i (Muslim 4:1910) collected.

{94. O you who believe! Allah will certainly make a trial for you with something in the game that is well within reach of your hands and your lances, that Allah may test who fears Him in the unseen. Then whoever transgresses thereafter, for him there is a painful torment.

95. O you who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of Ihram, and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is an offering, brought to the Kabah, of livestock equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting, that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed. Allah has forgiven what is past, but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is Almighty, All-Able of Retribution.}

Prohibiting Hunting Game in the Sacred Area and During the State of Ihram

Ali bin Abi Talhah Al-Walibi said that Ibn Abbas said that Allah’s statement, “Allah will certainly make a trial for you with something in (the matter of) the game that is well within reach of your hands and your lances,” (5:94), refers to, “The weak and young game. Allah tests His servants with such game during their Ihram, that if they wish, they would be able to catch it with their hands. Allah has commanded them to avoid catching it.” Mujahid said that, “well within reach of your hands” refers to the young game and chicks, while “and your lances” refers to mature game. (At-Tabari 10:583) Muqatil bin Hayyan said that this Ayah was revealed during the Umrah of Al-Hudaybiyyah, when wild game and birds were coming to the Muslim camping area, which they had never seen the likes of before. Allah prohibited them from hunting the game while in the state of Ihram, “that Allah may test who fears Him in the unseen.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 3:185)

Therefore, Allah tests His servants with the game that comes near their camping area, for if they wish, they can catch it with their hands and spears in public and secret. This is how the obedience of those who obey Allah in public and secret becomes apparent and tested. In another Ayah, Allah said; “Verily! Those who fear their Lord in the unseen, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise).” Allah said next, “Then whoever transgresses thereafter.” after this warning and threat, according to As-Suddi, then, “for him there is a painful torment.” for his defiance of Allah’s command and what He has decreed. Allah said next, “O you who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of Ihram,” This Ayah prohibits killing the game in the state of Ihram, except what is exempt from this as mentioned in the Two Sahihs; A’ishah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Five are Fawasiq, they may be killed while in Ihram or not; the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the mouse and the rabid dog.”(Al-Bukhari no.3314)

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

 “It is not harmful in a state of Ihram to kill five kinds of animals: the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the mouse and the rabid dog.” (Al-Muwatta 1:356)

This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs. Ayyub narrated that Nafi narrated similar wordings for this Hadith from Ibn Umar. Ayyub said, “So I said to Nafi, ‘What about the snake?’ He said, ‘There is no doubt that killing the snake is allowed.”'(Fath Al-Bari 6:44)  The ruling concerning the rabid dog also includes the wolf, lion, leopard, tiger and their like, since they are more dangerous than the rabid dog, or because the term Kalb (dog) covers them. Allah knows best.

Abu Said narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked about the animals that the Muhrim is allowed to kill and he said,

”The snake, the scorpion, the mouse, and the crow – which is shot at but not killed – the rabid dog, the kite and wild beasts of prey.” (Abu Dawud 2:424)

The Penalty of Killing Game in the Sacred Area or in the State of Ihram

Allah said, “And whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is [an offering of] livestock equivalent to the one he killed.”

Mujahid bin Jabr said, “The meaning of ‘intentionally’ here is that one intends to kill the game while forgetting that he is in the state of Ihram. Whoever intentionally kills the game while aware that he is in the state of Ihram, then this offense is more grave than to make an expiation, and he also loses his Ihram.” (At-Tabari 11:8) This statement is odd, and the view of majority is that they have to pay the expiation for killing the game whether they forgot that they are in Ihram or not. Az-Zuhri said, “The Book (the Qur’an) asserts the expiation for intentional killing, and the Sunnah included those who forget, as well.” (At-Tabari 11:11) The meaning of this statement is that the Qur’an mentioned the expiation and sin of those who intentionally kill game, “that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed. Allah has forgiven what is past, but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.” the Sunnah that includes the rulings issued by the Prophet and his Companions, indicated the necessity of expiation in cases of unintentional killing of game, just as the Book legislated expiation for intentional killing. Killing game is a form of waste, which requires expiation in intentional and unintentional cases, although those who intend it have sinned, rather than those who made an honest error.

Allah’s statement, ”The penalty is [an offering of] livestock equivalent to the one he killed.” indicates the necessity of offering an equivalent animal to the one the Muhrim killed. The Companions gave rulings that the camel, for instance, is the equivalent of the ostrich, the cow is the equivalent of wild cattle, and the goat for the deer. As for the cases when there is no equivalent for the killed animal, Ibn Abbas said that one should spend its amount in Makkah (i.e. charity), as Al-Bayhaqi recorded.

Allah’s statement, “As adjudged by two just men among you” means, two just Muslim men should determine an animal equivalent to the game killed, or the amount of its price. Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Jarir Al-Bajali said, “I killed a deer when I was in the state of Ihram and mentioned this fact to Umar, who said, ‘Bring two of your brethren and let them judge you.’ So I went to ‘Abdur-Rahman and Sad and they said that I should offer a male sheep.” (At-Tabari 11:27) Ibn Jarir recorded that Tariq said, “Arbad killed a deer while in the state of Ihram and he went to Umar to judge him. Umar said to him, ‘Let us both judge,’ and they judged that Arbad should offer a goat that was fed on abundant water and grass. Umar commented, “As adjudged b ytwo just men among you”.

Allah’s statement, “…an offering brought to the Kabah.” indicates that this equivalent animal should be brought to the Kabah, meaning, the Sacred Area, where it should be slaughtered and its meat divided between the poor of the Sacred Area. There is a consensus on this ruling. Allah said, “or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting,” that is, if the Muhrim does not find an equivalent to what he killed, or the animal hunted is not comparable to anything else. Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “…an offering brought to the Ka`bah, or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting.” “If the Muhrim killed game, then his judgement is its equivalent. If he kills an antelope, he offers a sheep slaughtered in Makkah. If he cannot, then he feeds six poor people, otherwise he should fast for three days. If he kills a deer, he offers a cow. If unable, he feeds twenty poor people, or otherwise if unable, he fasts for twenty days. If he kills an ostrich or zebra, he offers a camel, or he feeds thirty poor people, or fasts thirty days.” Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded this statement, and in Ibn Jarir’s narration, the food measurement is a Mudd (four handfuls of food) each that suffices for the poor. (At-Tabari 11:31)

Allah’s statement, ”that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed.” means, We have required him to pay this expiation so that he tastes the punishment of his error, “Allah has forgiven what is past.” during the time of Jahiliyyah, provided that one becomes good in Islam and follows Allah’s Law, all the while avoiding the sin. Allah then said, “but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.” meaning, whoever does this after it has been prohibited in Islam and having knowledge that it is prohibited, “Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is Almighty, All-Able of retribution.”

Ibn Jurayj said, “I said to Ata, ‘What is the meaning of, “Allah has forgiven what is past.”?” He said, ‘Meaning, during the time of Jahiliyyah.’ I asked about, “but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.” He said, ‘Whoever commits this offense again in Islam, then Allah will take retribution from him and he also has to pay the expiation.’ I asked, ‘Is there any punishment for repeating this offense that you know of?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Do you think that the authorities should punish him?’ He said, ‘No, for it is a sin that he committed between him and Allah. He should pay the expiation.”’ (At-Tabari 11:48) Ibn Jarir recorded this statement.

It was said that the ‘Allah will take retribution’ refers to the expiation, according to Said bin Jubayr, Ata, and the majority among the earlier and later generations. (At-Tabari 11:50) They stated that when the Muhrim kills game, the expiation becomes necessary, regardless of whether it was the first, second or third offense, and whether intentional or by error.

Ibn Jarir commented on Allah’s statement; “And Allah is Almighty, All-Able of retribution.” “Allah says that He is invincible in His control, none can resist Him, prevent Him from exacting retribution from anyone, or stop Him from punishing anyone. This is because all creation is His creation and the decision is His, His is the might, and His is the control. His statement, “All-Able of retribution.” meaning, He punishes those who disobey Him for their disobedience of Him.”

{96. Lawful to you is water game and its use for food – for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel, but forbidden is (the pursuit of) land game as long as you are in a state of Ihram. And have Taqwa of Allah to Whom you shall be gathered back.

97. Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits for mankind, and also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded, that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All- Knower of each and everything.

98. Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

99. The Messenger’s duty is but to convey. And Allah knows all that you reveal and all that you conceal.}

Water Game is Allowed for the Muhrim

Said bin Al-Musayyib, Said bin Jubayr and others commented on Allah’s statement; ”Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water game…” that it means, what one eats fresh from it, while, ”And its use for food” what is eaten dry and salted. (At-Tabari 11:59) Ibn Abbas said that ‘water game’ refers to what is taken from water while still alive, while, ”and its use for food” refers to what the water throws ashore dead.

Allah’s statement,”for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel” as food and provision for you, ”and those who travel,” those who are in the sea and traveling along the sea, according to Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 11:71) Other scholars said that water game is allowed for those who fish it from the sea, as well as, when it is salted and used as food for travelers inland. A similar statement was reported from Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and As-Suddi and others. Imam Malik bin Anasr ecorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said, “Allah’s Messenger sent an army towards the east coast and appointed Abu Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah as their commander, and the army consisted of three hundred men, including myself. We marched on until we reached a place where our food was about to finish. Abu Ubaydah ordered us to collect all the food for our journey, and it was collected in two bags of dates. Abu Ubaydah kept on giving us our daily ration in small amounts from it, until it was exhausted. The share of each of us used to be one date only.” I (one of the narrators from Jabir) said, “How could one date suffice for you’?’ Jabir replied, “We came to know its value when even that finished.” Jabir added, “When we reached the seashore, we saw a huge fish which was like a small mountain. The army ate from it for eighteen days. Then Abu Ubaydah ordered that two of its ribs be affixed in the ground. Then he ordered that a she- camel be ridden, and it passed under the two ribs (forming an arch) without touching them.” (Al-Muwatta 2:930) This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. (Fath Al-Bari 5:152)

Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “A man asked Allah’s Messenger, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! We go to sea and carry little water with us. If we use it for Wudu’, we get thirsty, so should we use seawater for Wudu” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Its water is pure and its dead are lawful.” (Al-Mauwatta 1:22)

The two Imams, Ash-Shafii and Ahmad bin Hanbal, recorded this Hadith, along with the Four Sunan compilers. Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban graded it Sahih. This Hadith was also recorded from the Prophet by several other Companions. (Musnad Ash-Shafi no.25)

Hunting Land Game is Prohibited During Ihram

Allah said, ”but forbidden is land game as long as you are in a state of Ihram.” Therefore, hunting land game during Ihram is not allowed, and if someone who is in the state of Ihram hunts, he will have to pay expiation, along with the sin he earns if he does it intentionally. If he hunts by mistake, he will have to pay the expiation and is not allowed to eat from it, because this type of game is just like dead animals, be he a Muhrim or a non-Muhrim. If someone who is not in the state of Ihram hunts and gives the food to a Muhrim, the Muhrim is not allowed to eat from its meat if it was killed for him in particular. As-Sab bin Jaththamah said that he gave a zebra as a gift to the Prophet in the area of Waddan or Abwa, the Prophet gave it back. When the Prophet saw the effect of his returning the gift on As-Sab’s face, he said,

”We only gave it back to you because we are in a state of Ihram.”

This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. (Al-Buhkaru no.1825, Muslim 2:850) The Prophet thought that As-Sab hunted the zebra for him, and this is why he refused to take it. Otherwise, the Muhrim is allowed to eat from the game if one who is not in Ihram hunts it. For when Abu Qatadah hunted a zebra when he was not a Muhrim and offered it to those who were in the state of Ihram, they hesitated to eat from it. They asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and he said,

”Did any of you point at it or help kill it?”

They said, “No.” He said,

“Then eat” and he also ate from it.

This Hadith is also in the Two Sahihs with various wordings. (Fath Al-Bari 9:528, Muslim 2:362)

[Ibn Kathir only mentioned Ayat 96 to 99 here and explained the better part of Ayah number 96, but he did not mention the explanation of the rest of that Ayah or the other Ayat (97 to 99). This is the case in all of the copies of his Tafsir in existence, and he might have forgotten to do that, for it is less likely that all who copied this book forgot to copy only this part. So we used a summary of the Tafsir of these Ayat from the Imam of Tafsir, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari. We tried to summarize At-Tabari’s eloquent words to the best of our ability, by Allah’s help and leave.]

“And have Taqwa of Allah to Whom you shall be gathered back.” Allah says, fear Allah, O people, and beware of His might, by obeying what He commands you and avoiding what He prohibits for you in these Ayat revealed to your Prophet . These Ayat forbid Khamr, gambling, Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam, along with hunting land game and killing it while in the state of Ihram. To Allah will be your return and destination, and He will punish you for disobeying Him and will reward you for obeying Him. “Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits for mankind,” 

Allah says, Allah made the Kabah, the Sacred House, an asylum of safety for the people who have no chief to prevent the strong from transgressing against the weak, the evil from the good-doers, and the oppressors from the oppressed.“And also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded.”

Allah says that He made these symbols an asylum of safety for the people, just as He made the Kabah an asylum of safety for them, so that He distinguishes them from each other, for this is their asylum and symbol for their livelihood and religion. Allah made the Kabah, the Sacred Month, the Hady, the garlanded animals and people an asylum of safety for the Arabs who used to consider these symbols sacred. Thus, these symbols were just like the chief who is obeyed by his followers, and who upholds harmony and public safety. As for the Kabah, it includes the entire sacred boundary. Allah termed it “Haram” because He prohibited hunting its game and cutting its trees or grass. Similarly, the Kabah, the Sacred Month, the animals of offerings and the garlands were the landmarks of existing Arabs. These symbols were sacred during the time of Jahiliyyah and the people’s affairs were guided and protected by them. With Islam they became the symbols of their Hajj, their rituals, and the direction of the prayer. (i.e. the Kabah in Makkah.)

“that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything.” Allah says; O people, I made these symbols an asylum for you, so that you know that He Who made these symbols that benefit your life and provide you with security, also knows everything in the heavens and earth that brings about your immediate or eventual benefit. Know that He has perfect knowledge of everything and that none of your deeds or affairs ever escapes His observation; and He will count them for you so that He rewards those who do good with the same and those who do evil in kind.

“Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” Allah says, know that your Lord, Who has perfect knowledge of whatever is in the heavens and earth, and Who is never unaware of your deeds – public or secret – is severe in punishment for those who disobey and defy Him. He also pardons the sins of those who obey and repent to Him, more Merciful than to punish them for the sins that they repented from.

“The Messenger’s duty is but to convey. And Allah knows all that you reveal and all that you conceal.” This is a warning from Allah for His servants in which He says: Our Messenger, whom We sent to you, has only to convey Our Message and then the reward for the obedience, and punishment for the disobedience is on Us. The obedience of those who accept Our Message never escapes Our knowledge, just as in the case of those who disobey and defy Our Message. We know what one of you does, demonstrates physically, announces, and utters with his tongue, and what you hide in your hearts, be it of faith, disbelief, certainty, doubt or hypocrisy. He Who is so capable, then nothing that the hearts conceal, nor any of the apparent acts of the souls in the heavens and earth could escape His knowledge. In His Hand, alone, is the reward and punishment, and He is worthy to be feared, obeyed and never disobeyed.

{100. Say: “Not equal are the bad things and the good things, even though the abundance of the bad may please you. ” So have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding in order that you may be successful.

101. O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you. Allah has forgiven that, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.

102. Before you, a community asked such questions, then on that   account    they be came disbelievers.}

Allah says to His Messenger, “(Say,) O Muhammad, “Not equal are the bad things and the good things, even though they may please you” O human, “the abundance of bad.” This Ayah means, the little permissible is better than the abundant evil. “have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding…” who have sound minds, avoid and abandon the impermissible, and let the permissible be sufficient for you, “in order that you may be successful” in this life and the Hereafter.

Unnecessary Questioning is Disapproved of

Allah said next, ”O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.” This Ayah refers to good conduct that Allah is teaching His believing servants, by forbidding them from asking about useless things. Since if they get the answers they sought, they might be troublesome for them and difficult on their ears. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah gave a speech unlike anything I heard before. In this speech, he said, If you but know what I know, you will laugh little and cry a lot.” The companions of Allah’s Messenger covered their faces and the sound of crying was coming out of their chests. A man asked, ‘Who is my father?’ The Prophet said, ‘So-and-so’. This Ayah was later revealed, ”Ask not about things…” (Fath Al-Bari 8:130) Muslim, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i recorded this Hadith.

Ibn Jarir recorded that Qatadah said about Allah’s statement, ”O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.” Anas bin Malik narrated that once, the people were questioning the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, until they made him angry. So he ascended the Minbar and said,

”You will not ask me about anything today but I will explain it to you.” 

So the Companions of the Messenger of Allah feared that it was the commencement of a momentous event, and I looked to my right and left and found only people who covered their faces, crying. An argumentative man who was said to be the son of someone other than his true father asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! Who is my father?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your father is Hudhafah.” Umar stood up ‘(when he saw anger on the Prophet’s face’) and said, “We accept Allah as our Lord, Islam as our religion and Muhammad as our Messenger, I seek refuge with Allah from the evil of the Fitan (trials in life and religion).” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”I have never witnessed both goodness and evil like I have today. Paradise and the Fire were shown to me and I saw them before that wall.” (At-Tabari 11:100)

This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Said. (Fath Al-Bari 13:47, Muslim 4:1834)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “Some people used to question the Messenger of Allah to mock him. One of them would ask, ‘Who is my father?’ while another would ask, ‘Where is my camel?,’ when he lost his camel. Allah sent down this Ayah about them, O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble…” (Fath Al-Bari 8:130)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ali said, “When this Ayah was revealed, ”And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can bear the journey.” (3:97), they asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Is it required every year?’ He did not answer them, and they asked again, ‘Is it every year?’ He still did not answer them, so they asked, ‘Is it every year?’ He said,

”No, and had I said ‘yes’, it would have become obligated, and had it become obligated, you would not be able to bear it.”

Allah sent down, ”O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble”.” At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah also recorded this Hadith. (Ahmad 1:113)

The apparent wording of this Ayah indicates that we are forbidden to ask about things that if one has knowledge of, he would be sorry he had asked. Consequently, it is better to avoid such questions.

Allah’s statement,

”But if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you.” means, if you ask about things that you are prohibited from asking about, then when the revelation about them comes to the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, they will be made plain for you, ”Verily! That is easy for Allah.” Allah said next, ”Allah has forgiven that” what you did before this, ”and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.” Do not ask about things that do not have a ruling yet, for because of your questions, a difficult ruling may be ordained. A Hadith states,

”The worst criminal among the Muslims is he who asks if a matter is unlawful (or not), and it becomes unlawful because of his asking about it.” (Al-Bukhari no.7289)

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said

”Leave me as I have left you, those before you were destroyed because of many questions and disputing with their Prophets.” (Muslim 4:1831)

An authentic Hadith also states,

”Allah, the Most Honored, has ordained some obligations, so do not ignore them; has set some limits, so do not trespass them; has prohibited some things, so do not commit them; and has left some things without rulings, out of mercy for you, not that He forgot them, so do not ask about them.” (Al-Bukhari 4623 and Muslim 2856)

Allah said next, ”Before you, a community asked such questions, then on that account they  became disbelievers.” meaning, some people before your time asked such questions and they were given answers. They did not believe the answers, so they became disbelievers because of that. This occurred because these rulings were made plain to them, yet they did not benefit at all from that, for they asked about these things not to gain guidance, but only to mock and defy.

 

{103. Allah has not instituted things like Bahirah or a Sa’ibah or a Wasilah or a Ham. But those who disbelieve invent lies against Allah, and most of them have no understanding.

104. And when it is said to them: “Come to what Allah has revealed and unto the Messenger.” They say: “Enough for us is that which we found our fathers following,” even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever and no guidance.}

 

The Meaning of Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah and Ham

Al-Bukhari recorded that Said bin Al-Musayyib said, “The Bahirah is a female camel whose milk was spared for the idols and no one was allowed to milk it. The Sa’ibah is a female camel let loose for free pasture for the idols, and nothing was allowed to be carried on it. Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,

”I saw Amr bin Amir Al-Khuzai pulling his intestines behind him in the Fire, and he was the first to start the practice of Sa’ibah.” (Al-Bayhaqi 10:12)

As for the Wasilah, it is a female camel set free for the idols, because it had given birth to a she-camel in its first delivery and then another she-camel at its second delivery. They used to set such camel free if she gave birth to two females without a male between them. As for the Ham, it is a male camel which would be freed from work for the idols, after it had finished a number of copulations assigned for it. The male camel freed from work in this case is called a Hami.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:133)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Prophet said, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,

”The first to start the practice of Sa’ibah and worshipping idols was Abu Khuzaah, Amr bin Amir. I saw him pulling his intestines behind him in the Fire.” (Ahmad 1:446)

The Amr mentioned in the above Hadith is the son of Luhay bin Qamah, one of the chiefs of the tribe of Khuzaah who were the caretakers of the House of Allah after the tribe of Jurhum, (and before the Prophet’s tribe, Quraysh). He was the first to change the religion of Ibrahim (Al-Khalil in Makkah) bringing idol worshipping to the area of Hijaz (Western Arabia). He also called the foolish people to worship idols and offer sacrifices to them and started these ignorant rituals concerning the animals as well as ot her rit uals of Jahiliyyah. Allah said in Surat Al-An’am, “And they assign to Allah a share of the tilth and cattle which He has created…” (3:136). As for the Bahirah, Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn ` Abbas said, “It is the female camel that has given delivery five times. After that, they looked at the fifth delivery, if it were a male, they would slaughter it and give it to the men only and not the women. If it were a female, they would cut off its ears and proclaim, ‘This is a Bahirah (no one is allowed to milk it).”’ (At-Tabari 11:129) As for the Sa’ibah, Mujahid said that it is for sheep, and mentioned a similar meaning as for Bahirah. He said that it delivers six females and then a male, female or two males, and that they then would slaughter it (the newly born sheep) and feed its meat to the men, but not to the woman. (At-Tabari 11:128)

Muhammad bin Ishaq said that the Sa’ibah is the female camel that delivers ten females, without giving birth to a single male between them. They would then set it free and no one was allowed to ride it, cut its wool or milk it, except for a guest. Abu Rawq said, “The Sa’ibah was made as such when one goes out for some of his affairs and succeeds in whatever he intended to do. So he would designate a Sa’ibah from his property, a female camel or another type, and would set it free for the idols (in appreciation for his success). Then, whatever this camel gave birth to was set free for the idols too.” As-Suddi said, “When one’s affair was successful, or if he was cured from an illness, or if his wealth increased, he would set some of his wealth free for the idols. Those who would try to acquire any of the Sa’ibah property were punished in this world.”

As for the Wasilah, Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “It is the sheep that gives birth seven times, if she gives birth to a male or a female stillborn at its seventh delivery, the men, but not the women, would eat from it. If she gave birth to a female, or a female and a male, they would set them free, proclaiming (about the male in this case), His sister Wasalat (literally, ‘connected him to being forbidden on us’).” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement. (Ibn Abi Hatim 4:1222) Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Mamar said that Az-Zuhri said that Said bin Al-Musayyib said that, ”Or a Wasilah” “It is the female camel that gives delivery to a female and then another female at its second delivery. They would call such a camel a Wasilah, proclaiming that she has Wasalat (connected) between two females without giving birth to a male between them. So they used to cut off the ears of the Wasilah and let it roam free to pasture for their idols.” (Abdur Razzaq 1:196) A similar explanation was reported from Imam Malik bin Anas. Muhammad bin Ishaq said, “The Wasilah sheep is the ewe that gives birth to ten females in five deliveries, giving birth to two females at each delivery. This sheep would be called Wasilah and would be set free. Whatever this sheep delivers afterwards, male or female, would be given to the men, but not the women, but if it delivers a stillborn, men and women would share it!”

As for the Ham, Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said, “If a man’s camel performs ten copulations, they would call him a Ham, ‘So set him free.,”(At-Tabari 11:129)  Similar was reported from Abu Rawq and Qatadah. Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas said, “The Ham is the male camel whose offspring gave birth to their own offspring; they would then proclaim, ‘This camel has Hama (protected) its back.’ Therefore, they would not carry anything on this male camel, cut his wool, prevent him from grazing wherever he likes or drinking from any pool, even if the pool did not belong to its owner.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 4:1225) Ibn Wahb said, “I heard Malik saying, ‘As for the Ham, it is the male camel who is assigned a certain number of copulations, and when having finished what was assigned to him, would have peacock feathers placed on him and be set free.”’ Other opinions were also mentioned to explain this Ayah.

There is a Hadith on this subject that Ibn Abi Hatim collected from Abu Ishaq As-Subayi from Al-Ahwas Al-Jushami from his father Malik bin Nadlah who said, “I came to the Prophet wearing old clothes. So he said to me, ”Do you have any property?” I said, ‘Yes.’ He asked, ‘‘What type?” I said, ”All types; camels, sheep, horses and slaves.’ He said, ‘‘If Allah gives you wealth, then let it show on you.” He then asked, ”Do your camels deliver calves that have full ears?” I said, ‘Yes, and do camels give birth but to whole calves’ He said, ”Do you take the knife and cut off the ears of some of them saying, ‘This is a Bahirah,’ and tear the ears of some of them and proclaim, ‘This is Sacred” ?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, “Then do not do that, for all the wealth that Allah has given you is allowed for you.” Then he said;”Allah has not instituted things like Bahirah or a Sa’ibah or a Wasilah or a Ham.” 

As for the Bahirah, it is the animal whose ears were cut, one would not allow his wife, daughters, or any of his household to benefit from its wool, hair or milk. But, if it died, they would share it. As for the Sa’ibah, they used to set it free for their idols and announce this fact in the vicinity of the idols. As for the Wasilah, it is the sheep that gives birth to six offspring. When she delivered for the seventh time, they would cut its ears and horns, saying, ‘It has Wasalat (connected deliveries),’ and they would not slaughter it, hit it or prevent it from drinking from any pool.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 4:1220) This Hadith was narrated with the addition of the explanation of these words in it. In another narration for this Hadith from Abu Ishaq from Abu Al-Ahwas, Awf bin Malik used his own words (i.e., he explained these words not as a part of the Hadith itself) and this is more sound. Imam Ahmad recorded this Hadith from Sufyan bin Uyaynah, from Abu Az-Zara’ Amr bin Amr, from his uncle Abu Al-Ahwas Awf bin Malik bin Nadlah from his father, Malik bin Nadlah. (Ahmad 4:136) This narration also does not contain the explanation of Bahirah, Ham etc., that is added to the Hadith above, and Allah knows best.

Allah’s statement, “But those who disbelieve invent lies against Allah, and most of them have no understanding.” means, Allah did not legislate these invented rituals and He does not consider them acts of obedience. Rather, it is the idolators who made them into rituals and acts of worship that they used to draw near to Allah. But they did not and will not help them to draw near to Him, rather, these innovations will only harm them.

“And when it is said to them: “Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger.” They say: “Enough for us is that which we found our fathers following,” meaning, if they are called to Allah’s religion, Law and commandments and to avoiding what He prohibited, they say, ‘The ways and practices that we found our fathers and forefathers following are good enough for us’. Allah said, “even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever…” That is, even though their fathers did not understand or recognize the truth or find its way. Therefore, who would follow their forefathers, except those who are even more ignorant and misguided than they were

 

{105. O you who believe! Take care of yourselves. If you follow the right guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that you used to do.}

 

One is Required to Reform Himself First

Allah commands His believing servants to reform themselves and to do as many righteous deeds as possible. He also informs them that whoever reforms himself, he would not be affected by the wickedness of the wicked, whether they were his relatives or otherwise. Imam Ahmad recorded that Qays said, “Abu Bakr As-Siddiq stood up, thanked Allah and praised Him and then said, ‘O people! You read this Ayah, “O you who believe! Take care of yourselves. If you follow the right guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who are in error.” You explain it the wrong way. I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say,

“If the people witness evil and do not change it , then Allah is about to send His punishment to encompass them.”

I (Qays) also heard Abu Bakr say, ‘O people! Beware of lying, for lying contradicts faith.” (Ahmad 1:5)

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