The Quran

Commentaries for 2.172

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.172 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah mentions the lawfulness of eating what is cultivated on the land and the meat of cattle, saying: (O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you) of the lawful things We have given you, (and render thanks to Allah) for it (if it is (indeed) He whom ye worship) it is also said that this means: if you really intend to worship Allah by declaring these to be unlawful, then do not declare them unlawful, for to worship Allah entails that you declare them to be lawful.
2.172 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
O you who believe, eat of the good things, that are lawful, wherewith We have provided you, and give thanks to God, for what He has made lawful for you, if it be Him that you worship.
2.172 Kashani - Kashani
O you who believe: if you are [true] affirmers of Oneness devoting worship exclusively to God, then do not, eat of, anything but, the good things wherewith We have provided you: in other words, those things provided which justfully ought to be used, and give thanks to God [if it be Him that you worship], by using them for their intended purpose in the proper manner and in the proper measure, for affirmation of Oneness entails paying attention moderation and justice in all things, as the essence entails its shadow and its concomitant. [It is reported] from the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, that God, exalted be He, said: 'Verily I with humankind and the jinn are [involved] in an awesome tiding: I create, yet others are worshipped, and I provide, but others are thanked'.
2.172-173 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Command to eat Pure Things and the Explanation of the Prohibited Things
Allah commands His believing servants to eat from the pure things that He has created for them and to thank Him for it, if they are truly His servants. Eating from pure sources is a cause for the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, just as eating from impure sources prevents the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, as mentioned in a Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad, that Abu Hurayrah said that Allah's Messenger said:
«أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللهَ طَيِّبٌ، لَا يَقْبَلُ إِلَّا طَيِّـبًا، وَإنَّ اللهَ أَمَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ، فَقَالَ:
يأَيُّهَا الرُّسُلُ كُلُواْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَـتِ وَاعْمَلُواْ صَـلِحاً إِنِّى بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ
، وَقَالَ:
يـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ
ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أَشْعَثَ أَغْبَرَ يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ: يَا رَبِّ يَا رَبِّ، وَمَطْعَمُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَمَشْرَبُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَملْبَسُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَغُذِّيَ بالْحَرَامِ فَأَنَّى يُسْتَجَابُ لِذلِكَ؟»
(O people! Allah is Tayyib (Pure and Good) and only accepts that which is Tayyib. Allah has indeed commanded the believers with what He has commanded the Messengers, for He said: (O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am well-acquainted with what you do) (23:51), and: (O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with) He then mentioned a man, (who is engaged in a long journey, whose hair is untidy and who is covered in dust, he raises his hands to the sky, and says, `O Lord! O Lord!' Yet, his food is from the unlawful, his drink is from the unlawful, his clothes are from the unlawful, and he was nourished by the unlawful, so how can it (his supplication) be accepted'') It was also recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi
After Allah mentioned how He has blessed His creatures by providing them with provisions, and after commanding them to eat from the pure things that He has provided them, He then stated that He has not prohibited anything for them, except dead animals. Dead animals are those that die before being slaughtered; whether they die by strangling, a violent blow, a headlong fall, the goring of horns or by being partly eaten by a wild animal. Dead animals of the sea are excluded from this ruling, as is explained later, Allah willing, as Allah said:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ صَيْدُ الْبَحْرِ وَطَعَامُهُ
(Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) watergame and its use for food) (5:96), and because of the Hadith about the whale recorded in the Sahih. The Musnad, Al-Muwatta' and the Sunan recorded the Prophet saying about the sea:
«هُوَ الطَّهُورُ مَاؤُهُ والْحِلُّ مَيْتَتُه»
(Its water is pure and its dead are permissible.)
Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ad-Daraqutni reported that Ibn `Umar said that the Prophet said:
«أُحِلَّ لَنَا مَيْتتَانِ وَدَمَانِ،السَّمَكُ وَالْجَرَادُ وَالْكَبِدُ وَالطِّحَال»
(We have been allowed two dead things and two bloody things: fish and locusts; and liver and spleen).
We will mention this subject again in Surat Al-Ma'idah (chapter 5 in the Qur'an), In sha' Allah (if Allah wills).
Issue: According to Ash-Shafi`i and other scholars, milk and eggs that are inside dead unslaughtered animals are not pure, because they are part of the dead animal. In one narration from him, Malik said that they are pure themselves, but become impure because of their location. Similarly, there is a difference of opinion over the cheeses (made with the milk) of dead animals. The popular view of the scholars is that it is impure, although they mentioned the fact that the Companions ate from the cheeses made by the Magians (fire worshippers). Hence, Al-Qurtubi commented: "Since only a small part of the dead animal is mixed with it, then it is permissible, because a minute amount of impurity does not matter if it is mixed with a large amount of liquid.'' Ibn Majah reported that Salman said that Allah's Messenger was asked about butter, cheese and fur. He said:
«الْحَلَالُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَالْحَرَامُ مَا حَرَّمَ اللهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ مِمَّا عَفَا عَنْه»
(The allowed is what Allah has allowed in His Book and the prohibited is what Allah has prohibited in His Book. What He has not mentioned is a part of what He has pardoned.)
Allah has prohibited eating the meat of swine, whether slaughtered or not, and this includes its fat, either because it is implied, or because the term Lahm includes that, or by analogy. Similarly prohibited are offerings to other than Allah, that is what was slaughtered in a name other than His, be it for monuments, idols, divination, or the other practices of the time of Jahiliyyah. Al-Qurtubi mentioned that `A'ishah was asked about what non-Muslims slaughter for their feasts and then offer some of it as gifts for Muslims. She said, "Do not eat from what has been slaughtered for that day, (or feast) but eat from their vegetables.''
The Prohibited is Allowed in Cases of Emergency
Then Allah permitted eating these things when needed for survival or when there are no permissible types of food available. Allah said:
فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلاَ عَادٍ
(But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits), meaning, without transgression or overstepping the limits,
فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ
(...then there is no sin on him.) meaning, if one eats such items, for,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
Mujahid said, "If one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing the set limits. For example, if he didn't, then he would have to resort to highway robbery, rising against the rulers, or some other kinds of disobedience to Allah, then the permission applies to him. If one does so transgressing the limits, or continually, or out of disobedience to Allah, then the permission does not apply to him even if he is in dire need.'' The same was reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr. Sa`id and Muqatil bin Hayyan are reported to have said that without willful disobedience means, "Without believing that it is permissible.'' It was reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah:
غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلاَ عَادٍ
(...without willful disobedience nor transgressing) saying, "Without willful disobedience means eating the dead animal and not continuing to do so. Qatadah said:
غَيْرَ بَاغٍ
(without willful disobedience) "Without transgressing by eating from the dead animals, that is when the lawful is available.''
Issue: When one in dire straits finds both ـ dead animals, and foods belong to other people which he could get without risking the loss of his hands or causing harm, then it is not allowed for him to eat the dead animals. Ibn Majah reported that `Abbad bin Shurahbil Al-Ghubari said, "One year we suffered from famine. I came to Al-Madinah and entered a garden. I took some grain that I cleaned, and ate, then I left some of it in my garment. The owner of the garden came, roughed me up and took possession of my garment. I then went to Allah's Messenger and told him what had happened. He said to the man:
«مَا أَطْعَمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَائِعًا أَوْ سَاغِبًا وَلَا عَلَّمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَاهِلًا»
فَأَمَرَهُ فَرَدَّ إِلَيْهِ ثَوْبَهُ، فَأمَرَ لَهُ بِوَسْقٍ مِنْ طَعَامٍ أَوْ نِصْفِ وَسْقٍ.
(You have not fed him when he was hungry - or he said starving - nor have you taught him if he was ignorant.)
The Prophet commanded him to return `Abbad's garment to him, and to offer him a Wasq (around 180 kilograms) - or a half Wasq - of food
This has a sufficiently strong chain of narrators and there are many other witnessing narrations to support it, such as the Hadith that `Amr bin Shu`ayb narrated from his father that his grandfather said: Allah's Messenger was asked about the hanging clusters of dates. He said:
«مَنْ أَصَابَ مِنْهُ مِنْ ذِي حَاجَةٍ بِفِيهِ غَيْرَ مُتَّخِذٍ خُبْنَةً،فَلَا شَيْءَ عَلَيْه»
(There is no harm for whoever takes some of it in his mouth for a necessity without putting it in his garment.)
Muqatil bin Hayyan commented on:
فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(...then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) "For what is eaten out of necessity.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "Allah is pardoning for what has been eaten of the unlawful, and Merciful' in that He allowed the prohibited during times of necessity.'' Masruq said, "Whoever is in dire need, but does not eat or drink until he dies, he will enter the Fire.'' This indicates that eating dead animals for those who are in need of it for survival is not only permissible but required.
2.172-173 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Believers are enjoined to break all sorts of unnecessary, improper and unlawful restrictions imposed by the pundits, the priests, the rabbis, the clergies, the forefathers, etc.
For if they really believe in Allah, as they profess, they should abstain from eating only what Allah has forbidden and eat, without any hesitation, only what Allah has declared lawful.
According to a Tradition of the Holy Prophet, "One who offers the Salat in the way we offer, turns his face towards the giblah to which we turn our face, and eats what we have slaughtered, is a Muslim." Therefore if one has any scruples regarding the eating of those things which Allah has declared lawful, he has not as yet become a true Muslim, even if he offers the Salat, turning his face towards the Ka`bah. He should give up the prejudices and superstitions of ignorance if he really and sincerely has become a Muslim. For the very observance of old traditions and customs is a proof that he is still imbued with the poison of ignorance.
This applies both to the flesh of the animal which is slaughtered in the name of any other than Allah and to the food which is offered as a vow to any other than Allah. As a matter of fact, everything whether animal, corn, or another eatable:, actually belongs to Allah and is given by Him; therefore it should be offered as charity, or as vow, only in His name as a mark of gratitude to Him. If it is offered in any other name it means that one regards it also, instead of Allah, or along with Allah, as supreme, and the bestower of favours and blessings.
In this verse, permission for the use of an unclean thing has been given on three conditions: (1) It must be really a case of extremity. For instance, if one is dying of hunger or thirst or if one's life is in danger because of some disease and there is nothing available except an unclean thing, one is permitted to take it. (2) One should not cherish any desire in one's heart to break the law of Allah. (3) One should not take even a bit more than what is absolutely necessary. For example, if in a certain case, a few bits or drops of an unclean thing can save life, then nothing more than this absolute minimum should be taken.
2.172 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
O you who believe eat of the good things Ṭayyibāt wherewith We have provided you and give thanks to God if it be Him that you worship. The permitted ḥalāl is that for which there is no [bad] consequence. The good thing Ṭayyib is that thing whose blessing is not attributed to any created thing. When the servant finds something that combines these two qualities it is permitted and good. The true meaning of thankfulness to Him is that you do not take a breath in anything other than the pleasure of the Real so long as the energy given to you by that [permitted and good] food remains.