5 - Al Maida (The food)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 5.1


O you who believe, fulfil your bonds, the covenants confirmed between you and God and [between you and other] people. Lawful to you is the beast of the flocks, camels, cattle, and sheep [and goats], to eat after slaughtering [them], except that which is now being recited to you, as forbidden in [the verse below] Forbidden to you are carrion…[Q. 5:3]; the exceptive clause here is a discontinuous one, but may also be continuous; the forbidding concerns that which has succumbed to death and the like; game not being lawful to you when you are on pilgrimage (hurum means muhrimūn; ghayra, ‘not’, is in the accusative as [it introduces] a circumstantial qualifier referring to the subject of the pronoun lakum, ‘to you’). Verily, God decrees whatever He desires, in the way of making [things] lawful or otherwise, and there can be no objection thereto.


O you who believe, with cognitive faith, fulfil your bonds, that is, the resolutions which you have consolidated in the wayfaring. The difference between the covenant (ʿahd) and the bond (ʿaqd) here is that the covenant was the depositing in them of [the knowledge of] the Oneness since pre-eternity, as has been mentioned, while the bond is the consolidation of the resolutions to [fulfil] the obligations [of religion] imposed upon them so that they might be led to the fulfilment of what they were covenanted to. Thus the covenant comes first and the bond follows. Every resolution to do something requires the bringing out of what is in the preparedness from potentiality into actuality, a bond between the person and God which must be fulfilled and which must avoid invalidating by any neglectfulness or shortcoming. Lawful to you, are all types of enjoyments and shares through healthy souls, [souls] which are not overcome by predatorialness or covetousness, such as the souls whose natures are those of the three types of animal flocks, except that which is [now] being recited to you, of the enjoyments that are incompatible with virtuous traits and justness: these are forbidden [to you] because they veil [you] from [realising] perfection [at the level] of the individual or of the species, game not being lawful to you when you are on pilgrimage, that is, not enjoying shares while disengaging for the wayfaring and embarking on spiritual discipline for the journey to God desiring arrival; for in this case it is necessary to make do with what one is entitled to [only], because entering into pilgrim sanctity is manifestly the [outward] form of real entry into sanctity for those wayfaring along the path of the Kaʿba of connection and for those seeking to enter into the divine sanctuary and the pavilions of the attributes of Majesty and Perfection. Verily, God decrees whatever He desires, for whomever of His friends (awliyāÌ) He wishes.

Kashf Al-Asrar

O you who have faith!

It is narrated that Jaʿfar ibn MuḤammad said that these words have four traits through which the Lord of the Worlds honored and caressed the community. One is that they are a call, second an intimation, third an allusion, and fourth a bearing witness. O is a call, you is an intimation, who is an allusion, and have faith is a bearing witness. The call is an honor, the intimation of mercy, the allusion to love, and the bearing witness to recognition.

"He called them before He made them appear, and He named them before He saw them." They were in the concealment of nonexistence when He called them to honor. They had not yet come into the circle of existence when He named them with a beautiful name: He named you sub- mitters from before [22:78]. He saw the faults and He approved of the faults. He saw the offenses,

and He bought the offenses. He saw the pure ones of the high world, and He chose the tainted ones of the low world, for "The sinner's sobs are more beloved to Me than the glorifier's murmur." Given the beginningless solicitude of the Unneedy Threshold toward the Adamite, his situ- ation is like that of a child whose mother sews him new clothes. She says, "Beware, beware, O

child! Do not let this fancy garment get dirty!"

The child goes outside and busies himself playing with the other children and dirties the clothes. He comes back home with dirty clothes, so he hides in a corner, helpless and bewildered. He keeps on saying, "Mother, I'm sleepy." The mother knows that the child is afraid of her rebuke. "Dearest," she says, "come. I only sent you outside after I had soap and water in hand, for I knew what you would do."

The Adamite's state is like this. When that center point of good fortune and chosen one of the empire was sent out from the concealment of nonexistence to the confines of existence, the pure spirits and holy ones began to shout, and they aimed arrows of denial at the world that God was setting forth: "Wilt Thou set therein one who will work corruption there? [2:30]. You are creating a group who will blacken the garment of Today I have perfected your religion for you [5:3] with the smoke of disobedience and the dust of associationism.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

The Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and whatever is therein belongs to Allah and He has power over everything.

The Arabic word an `am applies to camel, cow (ox), sheep and goat and bahimah to all kinds of grazing quadrupeds. The combination of the two words has made the meaning more comprehensive by including all the grazing quadrupeds that resemble those four contained in the word an'am. It also implies that the carnivore that kill other animals for food are unlawful. The Holy Prophet made this explicit in a Tradition declaring the carnivore unlawful. Likewise he also declared unlawful those birds that have claws and kill other animals for food or eat dead bodies According to Ibn `Abbas, the Holy Prophet prohibited the eating of the flesh of the carnivore and of the birds with claws. Other Traditions from several Companions also support the same.

Ihram is the pilgrim's robe which has to be put on at fixed boundaries at the known distances from the Ka'abah. It is not lawful for any pilgrim to proceed to the Ka`abah until he puts off his usual dress and puts on the pilgrim's garb. This consists of two pieces of cloth without seam or ornament, one of which is wrapped round the loins and the other thrown over the shoulders. The instep, heel and head must be bare. This is called the state of Ihram because it makes unlawful even some of the things that are ordinarily lawful. For instance, one should not have a shave or a hair-cut and should not wear other clothes or ornaments nor use perfumes nor indulge in sensual desires and the like. Another restriction is the prohibition against killing any animate object or against hunting or against directing any one else to help hunt an animal. (Please refer also to E.N. 213, Al-Baqarah).

This means that Allah has absolute authority to issue any decree He wills, and that the servants have no right at all to question it. Though all His Decrees and Commands are based on wisdom and are full of excellence, yet a Muslim, His servant, does not obey these just because they are proper and conducive to his good, but obeys them because they are commandments from his Sovereign. If He declares anything to be un-lawful, it becomes un-lawful for no other reason than that it has been made unlawful by Him. Likewise if He makes anything lawful, it becomes lawful for no other reason than that its Owner and the Owner of everything permits His servants to use it. That is why the Qur'an establishes with full force the fundamental principle that the only basis which makes a thing lawful or unlawful is whether there is the permission of the Owner for its use or not. Likewise there is no other basis for the servant to consider a thing to be lawful or un-lawful except that it is lawful if Allah makes it lawful and un-lawful if He prohibits it.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And on his authority Ibn 'Abbas said regarding Allah's saying: (O ye who believe! Fulfil your undertakings): '(O ye who believe! Fulfil your undertakings) fulfil the pledges that are between you and Allah or between you and other people; it is also said that this means: fulfil the obligations which have been made obligatory upon you and which you accepted on the Day of the Covenant and in this Book. (The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food)) you have a legal dispensation to eat of the meat of game such as wild oxen, wild camels and gazelles (except that which is announced unto you) except that which is recited to you in this surah, (game being unlawful when ye are on pilgrimage) or in the Sacred Precinct. (Lo! Allah ordaineth that which pleaseth Him) He says: He makes lawful and prohibits what He wills whether you are in a state of ritual consecration or not.