The Quran

Commentaries for 2.173

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.173 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah exposited what He made unlawful for them, saying: (He hath forbidden you only carrion) which He has commanded to immolate, (and blood) and shed blood, (and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to any other than Allah) that which is offered as sacrifice purposefully in any other thing than the Name of Allah, i.e. to idols. (But he who is driven by necessity) compelled to eat carrion (neither craving) neither rebelling nor declaring it lawful (nor transgressing) nor committing highway robbery nor purposefully eating it without being driven by necessity, (it is no sin for him) then such a person, who is compelled to eat it without having his fill and without taking anything with him, has not transgressed. (Lo! Allah is Forgiving) that he ate more than he needs to preserve himself, (Merciful) when He gave him legal dispensation to eat carrion.
2.173 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
He has only forbidden you: carrion, that is, the consumption of it, since this is the subject of the general address here, and similarly [the consumption of] what follows, [all of] which is what has not been slaughtered in accordance with [prescriptions of] the Law; to this the Sunna adds [as also constituting carrion] what has been severed from a living creature. A special status is, however, accorded fish and locusts; blood, poured forth, as in [sūrat] al-An‘ām [see Q. 6:145], the flesh of swine, the meat is singled out for mention because that [part] is what people mostly seek, every other [part] being implied thereby; what has been hallowed to other than God, that is to say, what has been slaughtered in other than His Name (al-ihlāl is the raising of one’s voice, which they used to do when sacrificing for their gods). Yet whoever is constrained, forced by dire need to eat of the above-mentioned, not desiring, to rebel against Muslims, nor transgressing, committing aggression against them by waylaying them, no sin shall be on him, for eating it. God is Forgiving, to His friends, Merciful, to those who are obedient to Him, for He has granted them wide berth in this matter. The aggressor and the transgressor are excluded from this [dispensation], and to these two [categories] one should also add every person that sets out on a journey in disobedience, such as the fugitive or the excise collector, for whom it would be unlawful to eat any of the mentioned, unless they repent [of their disobedience]; this is the opinion of al-Shāfi‘ī.
2.173 Kashani - Kashani
He has only forbidden you: carrion, because blood in it is congealed and [because the consumption of] it is far removed from [the principle of] moderation by the deviation of that [creature's] constitution; blood, because it mixes with impure faeces which do not receive life, justice and luminosity and because of its ineligibility for such [things] thereafter on account of the lack of maturity; the flesh of swine, because of the prevalence of predatorialness and voraciousness and because it [swine] by nature openly engages in filth and unrestricted sexual behaviour, and the same is caused by the consumption of it; what has been hallowed to other than God, that for which the voice has been raised that it be sacrificed for other than God, in other words, that by whose sacrifice and consumption association [of things with God] was intended, since this is contradictory to the affirmation of Oneness and revealing of an associationism; from this [statement] one is given to understand that [it] also [includes] whatever encourages the one consuming it to speak of, and raise his voice [in support of], anything other than God. In other words, every thing that is not consumed in affirmation of [His] Oneness is forbidden to the one consuming it. Yet whoever is constrained, from among the community, not desiring, [sinfulness] against another constrained person by withholding it [from him], nor transgressing, but just to stay alive, no sin shall be on him. [God is Forgiving, Merciful.]
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.
2.173 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
He has only forbidden you carrion blood the flesh of swine and what has been hallowed to other than God. Yet whoever is constrained not desiring nor transgressing no sin shall be on him. God is Forgiving Merciful. He has forbidden in outward circumstances these specific things which have been hallowed to other than God. He has forbidden to the innermost hearts companionship with other than God and even witnessing anything other than God. Yet whoever is constrained that is anyone who has not found a means to annihilation in the realities of the Real should only travel by way of the law. Either he should be effaced in God or stand by means of God or act for God. Otherwise he is a foolish man of no account.