The Quran

Commentaries for 2.168

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.168 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then mentions the lawfulness of cultivating land and raising cattle, saying: (O mankind) O people of Mecca! (Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome) that is not prohibited by Allah (in the earth) of what is cultivated in lands and of cattle, (and follow not the footsteps of the devil) the embellishments and whisperings of the devil concerning the unlawfulness of the cultivation of land and of raising cattle. (Lo! He is an open enemy for you) whose enmity towards you is quite manifest.
2.168 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
The following was revealed when some said that it was unlawful to take a camel that has been let loose (sawā’ib): O people, eat of what is in the earth, lawful (halālan is a circumstantial qualifier) and wholesome (tayyiban is an adjective for emphasis), that is to say, what is delicious; and follow not the steps, the ways, of Satan, meaning, what he embellishes [of temptations]; he is a manifest foe to you, whose enmity is clear;
2.168 Kashani - Kashani
O people, eat of what is in the earth [lawful and wholesome; and follow not the steps of Satan; he is a manifest foe to you]: that is, partake in the pleasures and the enjoyments that are in the lower direction of the world of the soul and the body in a manner that is lawful and wholesome, that is to say, according to the law of moderation as permitted by the Law and as sanctioned by the intellect in the measure that is needed and is necessary. And do not transgress the limit of moderation, within which these [pleasures and enjoyments] are wholesome and beneficial, into the bounds of immoderation, for these are the footsteps of Satan, which is why God says: Indeed squanderers are brothers of devils [Q. 17:27]. For he [Satan] is an enemy to you, [one] whose enmity is clear; he desires to lead you to perdition and make you odious in the eyes of your Lord by your committing of reprehensible acts of immoderation, as He [God] does not love the immoderate. Know that enmity in the world of the soul corresponds to the shadow of familiarity (ulfa) in the world of the heart, while moderation is its shadow in the world of the body. Familiarity is the shadow of love in the world of the spirit, the latter being the shadow of true Oneness. Thus moderation is the fourth shadow of the Oneness and Satan flees from the shadow of the Truth, unable to endure it, he is forever stepping from the realm of these shadows into the side of immoderation, and if he is unable, then to the side of excess, as happens in the case of love and familiarity; which is why the commander of the believers ʿAlī, peace be upon him, said: 'You find that the ignorant is [one of two], either excessive or prodigal'. Verily the ignorant person is the laughingstock of Satan.
2.168-169 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Order to eat the Lawful Things, and the Prohibition of following the Footsteps of Shaytan
After Allah stated that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him and that He Alone created the creation, He stated that He is the Sustainer for all His creation, and He mentioned a favor that He granted them; He has allowed them to eat any of the pure lawful things on the earth that do not cause harm to the body or the mind. He also forbade them from following the footsteps of Shaytan, meaning his ways and methods with which he misguides his followers, like prohibiting the Bahirah (a she-camel whose milk was spared for the idols and nobody was allowed to milk it), or Sa'ibah (a she-camel let loose for free pasture for the idols and nothing was allowed to be carried on it), or a Wasilah (a she-camel set free for idols because it has given birth to a she-camel at its first delivery and then again gives birth to a she-camel at its second delivery), and all of the other things that Shaytan made attractive to them during the time of Jahiliyyah. Muslim recorded `Iyad bin Himar saying that Allah's Messenger said that Allah the Exalted says,
يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى:إِنَّ كُلَّ مَالٍ مَنَحْتُهُ عِبَادِي فَهُوَ لَهُمْ حَلَالٌ، وَفِيهِ وَإِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ، فَجَاءَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِمْ، وَحَرَّمَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحْلَلْتُ لَهُم»
(`Every type of wealth I have endowed My servants is allowed for them...' (until), `I have created My servants Hunafa' (pure or upright), but the devils came to them and led them astray from their (true) religion and prohibited them from what I allowed for them. ')
Allah said:
إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
(...he is to you an open enemy.)
warning against Satan. Allah said in another instance:
إِنَّ الشَّيْطَـنَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوّاً إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُواْ مِنْ أَصْحَـبِ السَّعِيرِ
(Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.) (35:6), and:
أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِى وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّـلِمِينَ بَدَلاً
(Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you What an evil is the exchange for the Zalimin (polytheists, and wrongdoers, etc).) (18:50)
Qatadah and As-Suddi commented on what Allah said:
وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَتِ الشَّيْطَـنِ
(...and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan)):
Every act of disobedience to Allah is among the footsteps of Satan.
`Abd bin Humayd reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "Any vow or oath that one makes while angry, is among the footsteps of Shaytan and its expiation is that of the vow. '' Allah's statement:
إِنَّمَا يَأْمُرُكُم بِالسُّوءِ وَالْفَحْشَآءِ وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
(He (Satan) commands you only what is evil and Fahsha (sinful), and that you should say about Allah what you know not.)
The verse means: `Your enemy, Satan, commands you to commit evil acts and what is worse than that, such as adultery and so forth. He commands you to commit what is even worse, that is, saying about Allah without knowledge.' So this includes every innovator and disbeliever.
2.168-169 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
They have been told to break all those restrictions which superstition and ignorance had imposed upon articles of food and drink.
That is, "Satan makes people believe that these superstitious customs and restrictions upon food and drink are a part of religion and have been enjoined by Allah, although there is no authority to show that they are from Him."
2.168 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
O people eat of what is in the earth lawful and wholesome; and follow not the steps of Satan; he is a manifest foe to you; That which is forbidden even if it is pleasing now is contaminated in the end. That which is permitted even if it is hateful now is wholesome in the end. The pure and permitted [can be understood as] that which is acquired without forgetting the Real. It is said that that which is permitted is what the gatherer obtains for His sake and acquires while witnessing the Real in every state. Anything that causes you to forget the Real or disobey the Real is from the steps of Satan.
2.168 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth…) [2:168]. Reporting from Abu Salih, al-Kalbi said: “This was revealed about Thaqif, Khuza‘ah and ‘Amir ibn Sa‘sa‘a who forbade themselves certain foods and meats. They forbade the Bahirah, al-Sa’ibah, al-Wasilah as well as al-Hamiyah”.