The Quran

Commentaries for 16.118

An Nahl (The bee) - النحل

16.118 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And unto those who are Jews) those who stirred away from Islam, i.e. the Jews (We have forbidden that which We have already) before this surah, and specifically in surah al-An'am (related unto thee) that which We have named to you. (And We wronged them not) because of what We forbade them of meats and fats, (but they were wont to wrong themselves) they were wont to harm, i.e. He forbade them those things because of their sins.
16.118 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And to those of Jewry, that is, the Jews, We forbade that which We have related to you already, in the verse, And to those of Jewry We forbade every beast with hoof … to the end [Q. 6:146]; and We did not wrong them, by forbidding [them] that, but they used to wrong themselves, by committing acts of disobedience which necessarily bring about such [consequences].
16.118-119 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Some Good Things were Forbidden for the Jews
After mentioning that He has forbidden us to eat dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, and after making allowances for cases of necessity - which is part of making things easy for this Ummah, because Allah desires ease for us, not hardship - Allah then mentions what He forbade for the Jews in their laws before they were abrogated, and the restrictions, limitations and difficulties involved therein. He tells us:
وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ حَرَّمْنَا مَا قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ
(And for those who are Jews, We have forbidden such things as We have mentioned to you before.) meaning in Surat Al-An`am, where Allah says:
وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِى ظُفُرٍ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَآ إِلاَّ مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَآ
(And unto those who are Jews, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep except what adheres to their backs) Until,
(We are indeed truthful) 6:146 Hence Allah says here:
وَمَا ظَلَمْنَـهُمْ
(And We did not wrong them,) meaning, in the restrictions that We imposed upon them.
وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
(but they wronged themselves. ) meaning, they deserved that. This is like the Ayah:
فَبِظُلْمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُواْ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ طَيِّبَـتٍ أُحِلَّتْ لَهُمْ وَبِصَدِّهِمْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً
(Because of the wrong committed of those who were Jews, We prohibited certain good foods which had been lawful for them - and (also) for their hindering many from Allah's way.) (4:160) Then Allah tells us, honoring and remin- ding believers who have sinned of His blessings, that who- ever among them repents, He will accept his repentance, as He says:
ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ عَمِلُواْ السُّوءَ بِجَهَـلَةٍ
(Then, your Lord for those who did evil out of ignorance) Some of the Salaf said that this means that everyone who disobeys Allah is ignorant.
ثُمَّ تَابُواْ مِن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُواْ
(and afterward repent and do righteous deeds) meaning, they give up the sins they used to commit and turn to doing acts of obedience to Allah.
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا
(verily, after that, your Lord is...) means, after that mistake
لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(...Pardoning, Most Merciful.)
16.118-124 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In this paragraph (vv. 118-124), answers to the objections raised by the disbelievers of Makkah concerning the Commandments contained in vv. 114-117 have been given. Their first objection was: "Besides the above-mentioned unlawful things, there are other unlawful things in the Jewish Law which have been made lawful by you. If that law was from Allah and yours is also from Allah why do they then contradict each other?" Their second objection was: "You have abrogated the sanctity of the Sabbath of the Israelites. Have you done this of your own accord or by Allah's Command? In the latter case then will be an obvious contradiction in the two laws. Or has Allah Himself given two contradictory Commandments?"
This refers to: "And We prohibited all animals with claws to those people who had adopted Judaism...." (VI: 146). In this verse (117) Allah has stated that certain things were made unlawful because of the disobedience of the Jews.
Here a question arises: Which of the two Surahs, Al-An`am or An-Nahl, was first revealed? This is because in verse 118, a reference has been made to verse 146 of Al-An`am and in verse 119 of Al-An`am, "And why should you not eat that thing over which Allah's name has been mentioned, when He has already given you a detail of those things that have been declared to be unlawful for you except m case of extremity....?", a reference has been made to verse 115 of AnNahl. This is because these are the only two Makki Surahs in which details of unlawful things have been given. As regards the question, we are of the opinion that An-NahI was revealed earlier than AI-An`am, for verse 119 of the latter contains a reference to verse 115 of the former. It appears that after the revelation of Surah AI-An`am, the disbelievers raised objections in regard to these verses of An-Nahl. So they were referred to verse 146 of AI-An`am in which a few things were made unlawful, especially for the Jews. As this answer concerned An-Nahl, so verse 118, though it was revealed after the revelation of Al-An`am, was inserted as a parenthetical clause in An-Nahl.
"Abraham was a community in himself" for at that time he was the only Muslim in the whole world who was upholding the banner of Islam, while the rest of the world was upholding the banner of unbelief. As that servant of Allah performed the Mission which is ordinarily carried out by a whole community, he was not one person but an institution in himself.
This is the complete answer to the first objection (E.N. 117) raised by the disbelievers. This has two parts:
(1) There is no contradiction in the Divine Law as you seem to presume on the apparent variance in the Jewish and the Islamic Law. As a matter of fact a few things had been made unlawful especially for the Jews as punishment to them because of their disobedience; therefore, there was no reason why others should be deprived of those good things.
(2) Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) was commanded to follow the way of Abraham and not the way of the Jews, and they themselves knew than these things were not unlawful in the law of Abraham. For instance, the Jews did not eat the flesh of camel but this was lawful according to Abraham. Likewise, ostrich, hare, duck, etc., were unlawful in the Jewish law, but they were lawful according to Abraham. Incidentally the disbelievers of Makkah have been warned that neither they nor the Jews had any relationship with Prophet Abraham for he was not a mushrik while both of them were practicing shirk. Prophet Muhammad and his followers were the only true followers of Prophet Abraham (Allah's peace be upon them) for there was no tinge of shirk in their creed or in their practice.
This is the answer to their second objection. Obviously, there was no need to state that the restrictions about the Sabbath applied only to the Jews and had nothing to do with the law of Prophet Abraham, because they themselves knew it. The restrictions were imposed upon the Jews because of their mischiefs and violations of the law. In order to understand fully the significance of this reference one is requested to read those passages of the Bible in which Commandments about the Sabbath have been stated, e.g., Exodus 20: 8-11, 23: 12-13,31: 1-17, 35: 23, and Numbers 15: 32-36. Besides this, one should also be acquainted with the impudent violations of the Sabbath. See Jeremiah: 17: 21-27 and Ezekiel. 10: 18-24.