Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then explained what He made unlawful for them, saying: (Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion) He says: eating carrion is forbidden for you because He has commanded that it be immolated (and blood) which is shed (and swine flesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah) in purpose, (and the strangled) that which is strangled with a rope until it dies, (and the dead through beating) the beast beaten by a piece of wood until it dies, (and the dead through falling from a height) or in a well and which dies as a consequence, (and that which has been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts) as a prey, (saving that which ye make lawful) except that which you find on the verge of dying and make it lawful by immolating it, (and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that you swear by the divining arrows) He says: He has forbidden your use of divining arrows. They were in the habit of writing on some arrows: " My Lord commands me ", and on others " My Lord forbids me " and then use the divination method associated with it to decide their affairs, and so Allah prohibited them from engaging in such activity. (This) that which I have mentioned to you of transgressions and the unlawful (is an abomination) engaging in them is an abomination and declaring them lawful is an act of disbelief. (This day) the day of the greater pilgrimage, the farewell pilgrimage (are those who disbelieve) the unbelievers of Mecca (in despair of your religion) in despair of you religion reverting to theirs after you left their religion and its laws; (so fear them not) in relation to following the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and opposing them (fear Me!) if you abstain from following Muhammad and his religion and follow them. (This day) the day of the pilgrimage (have I perfected your religion for you) I have elucidated to you the prescriptions of your religion: the lawful and the unlawful, the commands and the prohibitions (and completed My favour unto you) I have completed My blessing upon you in that, after today, no idolater will ever gather with you in 'Arafat, Mina, in the circumambulation around the Ka'bah, and in the coming and going between al-Safa and al-Marwah, (and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam.
Whoso is forced by hunger) whoever is forced to eat the meat of carrion upon necessity, (not by will to sin) not wilfully intending to commit a sin; it is also said that this means: not purposefully wanting to eat without a necessity: ((for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving) if he eats to satiety, (Merciful) when He gave legal dispensation to eat the meat of carrion upon necessity in order to gain strength but it is legally reprehensible (makruh) to eat to satiety.
Forbidden to you are carrion and blood, the flesh of swine, that which has been offered up to other than God, the strangled, the beaten down, the fallen, the gored, what has been eaten by predators-except what you slaughter-what is sacrificed on stone alters, and that which you allot by divining arrows-that is ungodliness. Today those who disbelieve have despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. Today I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed My blessings upon you, and I have approved for you the submission as a religion.
Although carrion is vile and forbidden, a measure of it is still allowed at the time of constraint. Among the sorts of carrion is the flesh of a brother Muslim that is eaten by backbiting. In this there is never a concession in any state, whether by constraint or free choice. Hence this carrion is worse than that carrion, and its prohibition is greater. God says, “Do not backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the dead flesh of his brother? You would abhor it” [49:12].
It has been said that an animal whose flesh is eaten has two states: One is that, when it is killed by the stipulation of the Shariah, it is pure. Taking it is allowed and eating it is permitted. When it dies by itself, it is defiled, and eating it is forbidden.
By way of allusion He is saying that when this Adamic soul is killed by the sword of struggle in the path of discipline according to the Shariah-that is, when it has been subjugated by the religion and come to be commanded by the Shariah, made a servant and abased by the burden of obedience-the soul with this description is pure. Nearness to it is allowed, being its companion is lawful, seeing it is the heart's repose, and companionship with it is the spirit's happiness. But whenever a soul dies in the darkness of its own heedlessness such that it no longer perceives the work of the religion and exerts no effort in the limits set down by the Shariah, this soul is like the carrion whose body is defiled and nearness to which is forbidden.
The strangled, the beaten down, the fallen to death, the gored.
Beneath each of these words is an allusion in keeping with the tasting of the chevaliers of the Tariqah and according to the creed of the wayfarers of the Haqiqah's road. The strangled is an allusion to someone who places himself in the bonds of wishes, puts the chains of avarice on his own hands and feet, and throws the rope of wanting around his neck until he is killed by avarice and appetite. It is forbidden for the wayfarers and desirers to walk on the path of someone like this or to follow someone like this.
The beaten down is an allusion to someone who stays a prisoner of caprice and a captive of Satan, beaten down by the fanciful notions of his soul and the disquieting thoughts from Satan, so
that his heart dies in that beating and imprisonment. He becomes the carrion of the Tariqah, and companionship with him is forbidden.
The fallen to death is an allusion to someone who has fallen into the valley of dispersion and been destroyed, losing the road of the Haqiqah.
The gored is an allusion to someone who quarrels with his likes and similars for the sake of this world of carrion and is gored such that his adversary wins; he becomes carrion under the blows of a carrion-eater.
What has been eaten by predators is that toward which the seekers of this world turn their heads; it is carrion and its seeker is like a dog. Only dogs eat carrion.
It is nothing but rotting carrion which dogs try to drag away.
Then He says, “except what you slaughter.” In the outward Shariah, He is saying that whenever a Shari'ite slaughtering takes place in the forbidden things that He mentioned such that it is allowed by the Shariah, then it is allowed and eating it is permitted. So also in the road of the Tariqah, whatever may be the traveling supplies of the road of the next world and the goods of this world necessary for life, taking them and having them is permissible in the religion and seeking them is allowed. The supplies for the religion's road pertain to the road of the religion. God says, “And take along supplies, but the best of supplies is godwariness” [2:197].
What is sacrificed on stone alters. Everything that is done for the caprice of wanting and not in conformity with the Shariah is sacrificed on stone alters.
Making the caprice of your soul your object of worship and going forth according to what it desires is not the work of the religious, nor is it the state of the faithful. God says, “Hast thou seen him who has taken his caprice as his god?” [25:43]. And that which you allot by divining arrows-that is ungodliness. Every transaction and companionship that does not go forth with the permission of the Shariah and in conformity with the religion, the goal being to obtain this world and what is desired by the soul, is nothing but gambling. Its form is deception and deceit, its result ungodliness and corruption, and its final outcome
punishment and chastisement.
Today I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed My blessings upon you. Jaʿfar ibn MuḤammad said that “today” is an allusion to the day when MuṣṬafā was sent to creation and the crown of messengerhood was placed on the head of his prophecy. The carpet of his Shariah was pulled around the world and the rug of mercy was spread out. The smoke of associationism was wrapped up in its own misfortune and the traces and remnants of unbelief were effaced and dissolved. From the four corners of world the sound of the drum of Muhammad the Arab's good fortune rose up: “The truth has come, and falsehood has vanished away” [17:81].
God bless the son of āmina, who
brought him forth open-handed and generous. Say to those who hope for Ahmad's intercession,
“Bless him and wish him great peace.”
O you whose visage is everyone's gazing place before you all have fallen in the road.
O Venus of the months and moon of all,
your beauty has taken away everyone's luster and rank!
The night of mortal nature still did not exist when the sun of his prophethood was set firmly in place in the heaven of its loftiness, for “I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay.” “O great one! Show your beauty, so all of existence may become a sun. O master! Open the
oyster shell of mercy, so these destitute ones may fill their pockets with pearls.
“Why don't you take that face to the idol-worshipers-
why not display it and take the unbelief from their hearts?
“O master, We will mention your innate beauty only within By thy life! [15:72].
We will make the kiblah of the first and the last only the circle of your servants. O master, if We open up the desire of the sun you have in your heart, no crucifix will remain in Byzantium, no unbelief or sash in the world.”
Have mercy on the creatures' hearts and come out from the veil so that the seventy-two creeds may end their disputes.
And I have completed My blessings upon you. This is addressed to MuṣṬafā's Companions. He is saying, “I have completed My blessings upon you in that I have singled you out among My servants to contemplate him. I have made you an argument for all the nations that will come until the Day of Resurrection.”
It has also been said that Today I have perfected for you your religion alludes to the first day of the beginningless covenant. He is saying, “In the Beginningless, I completed this religion for you and took care of your work, marking you with My brand. This is nothing new that I have done, for I have long taken care of it. But I have completed it and made manifest to you what I already knew, showing what I have done. And I have completed My blessings upon you. The completion of the work is that tomorrow in the Palisades of Holiness I will bestow upon you My approval. And I have approved for you the submission as your religion. I will make you worthy of union with My Presence, I will approve of you for My neighborhood, and I will also increase My caresses. I will say, 'My servant. I have approved of you as a neighbor. Do you approve of Me as a neighbor?'” It has been said that the perfection of the religion is the realization of recognition in the guidance at the beginning of the state, and the completion of blessings is the obtainment of forgiveness at the end of the work. He is laying a favor on the faithful: “At first I give recognition and at last I forgive.” This is addressed to the congregation of the faithful. And there is no doubt about the forgiveness of the community of the faithful. If there is doubt, it is about instances and individu-
als-whether or not they remained with faith. But the generality of the faithful are forgiven.
It has been said that this is the submission that is approved by God. And I have approved for you the submission as your religion is an allusion to it. It is like a house that is reached by four gates, behind which are four bridges, and behind the bridges are degrees and levels. As long as people do not pass through the gates and over the bridges, they will not reach the degrees and levels.
The first gate of the traveler is performing the obligations, the second is avoiding forbidden things, the third is having confidence in God's assurance, and the fourth is having patience in trials and sufferings.
When you have passed through these gates, the bridges appear. The first bridge is approval: approving of God's decree, placing it on one's neck, and leaving aside the road of protest. The second bridge is trust in God: relying on God, taking Him as one's support and refuge, and recognizing Him as one's trustee. The third bridge is gratitude: recognizing God's blessings on oneself and putting these blessings to work in obedience to Him. The fourth bridge is self-purification in deeds, in the Shahadah, in service, and in recognition: the Shahadah in submission, service in faith, and recognition in the Haqiqah.
Once you have passed over the bridges, then there are degrees and levels-as is worthy for everyone and as God wants. This is why the Lord of the Words says, “They have degrees with their Lord, and forgiveness, and a generous provision” [8:4].
Forbidden to you is carrion, that is, the consumption of it, and blood, that is, what has been spilt, as mentioned in [sūrat] al-An‘ām [Q. 6:145], and the flesh of swine, and what has been hallowed to other than God, in that it was sacrificed in the name of something other than Him, and the beast strangled, to death, and the beast beaten down, to death, and the beast fallen, from a height to its death, and the beast gored, to death by another, and what beasts of prey have devoured, of such animals — except for what you have sacrificed duly, catching it while it still breathes life and then sacrificing it — and what has been sacrificed in, the name of, idols (nusub is the plural of nusāb) and that you apportion, that is, that you demand an oath or a ruling, through the divining of arrows (azlām: the plural of zalam or zulam, which is a qidh, ‘a small arrow’, without feathers or a head). There were seven of these [arrows], [marked] with flags, and they were retained by the keeper of the Ka‘ba. They would use them for abitrations and when they commanded them they obeyed, and if they prohibited them they would desist; that is wickedness, a rebellion against obedience. And on the Day of ‘Arafa in the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the following was revealed: Today the disbelievers have despaired of your religion, of you apostatising from it, having hoped for it [earlier], for now they perceived its strength; therefore do not fear them, but fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, that is, its rulings and obligations (after this [verse] nothing about [what is] lawful or unlawful was revealed) and I have completed My favour upon you, by perfecting it [your religion], but it is also said by [effecting] their safe entry into Mecca; and I have approved, chosen, Islam for you as religion. But whoever is constrained by emptiness, by hunger, to consume some of what has been forbidden him and consumes it, not inclining purposely to sin, to an act of disobedience — then God is Forgiving, to him for what he has consumed, Merciful, to him by permitting it to him, in contrast to the one who [purposely] inclines to sin, that is, the one actively engaged in it, such as a waylayer or a criminal, for whom [such] consumption is forbidden.
Forbidden to you is carrion: these are the exceptions from among the kinds of lawful enjoyments and they are carrion, that is, extinguished desire which is the vice of excess that is incompatible with contentment, such as effeminacy or the inability to pursue the [minimal] necessary of enjoyments or to partake of enjoyment with a loss of moderation in the appetitive faculty as is the case with effeminates and certain flirts, as well as those ascetics and renouncers in character, who fall short of [the requirements of] wayfaring by their lack of preparedness; and blood, that is, enjoying the caprices of the soul in deeds, for the admixing of caprice and its tarnishing effect spoils all deeds; and the flesh of swine, and all aspects of enjoyment that are actualised through covetousness and avarice, for the faculty of covetousness is the vilest of faculties and the most obstructive of the paths to perfection and salvation; and what has been hallowed to other than God, that is acts of spiritual discpline and deeds performed for show and all that is done for other than God, as the breaking of the soul, curbing it and opposing it does not count as a beautiful and meritorious act and an aid to wayfaring unless it is [done] for the sake of God. If it is done for other than God, it is an act of [idolatrous] association and association is the greatest of grave sins; and the beast strangled, that is, restricting the soul from vices and preventing it from despicable acts by the actualisation of forms of virtues and the issuing forth of good acts in forms [contaminated] with caprice, for acts of the soul are virtuous when it is curbed and vanquished for the sake of God, and when [its] caprice, its source of vigour and life, leaves it so that it subsists by the will of the heart, similar to when blood, which is the life force of an animal, is let out upon its being slaughtered for the sake of God; and the beast beaten down, that is, when qualities of excellence issue forth outwardly from the soul while it is averse to that and must be coerced to it; and the beast fallen, those [enjoyments] which are connected to excess, diminution and inclination to the lower aspect and the soul's lapsing from [its] sublime aspirations and the powerful degree; and the beast gored, that which issues forth out of fear and of being compelled out of the like, such as the probity that comes about by means of the reprimands of the market inspector and out of the fear of being disgraced; and what beasts of prey have devoured, such as the virtues of probity that come about as a result of the intensity of the irascible faculty in the way of pride and passion and the mastery of wrath.
For when wrath becomes master it prevents the intensity from working, or [that come about] as a result of a repression of a repressor such as a king or a commander - except for what you have sacrificed duly, except what has become conjoined to you and a habit for you and is obedient to you after being repressed by another such that virtues issue from it by the will of the heart without any admixture of caprice; and what has been sacrificed in [the name of] idols, what is done on the basis of habits which must be eliminated, unless it relates to a rational or law-fulfilling purpose; and that you apportion through the divining of arrows, and that you seek felicities and perfections by means of descriptions and risings relying on what God has decreed and determined, neglecting conscious effort and industry in the pursuit [of these]; and you make that an excuse for falling short [of the required] by saying, 'there is no share in it for us, for had there been a share for us [therein] it would have materialised'. Perhaps this was simply an excuse while according to the [divine] decree his perfection has been made contingent on his conscious effort, but he has failed to discover that; that is wickedness, a violation of religion, that which is the path of truth. Today, that is, at the moment of the actualisation of perfection resulting from the training of the soul with qualities of excellence and its firm adherence to resolutions, the disbelievers have despaired, that is, the veiled faculties of your souls, or your offspring and your ilk from among the natural philosophers and the belief-feigning atheists, of your religion, that is [they have despaired] from barring you from the path of truth; therefore do not fear them, for then they will overcome you, but fear Me, by not stopping at the self-disclosure of any one of My attributes and being in awe of the tremendousness of My Essence until you have arrived at the station of annihilation.
Today I have perfected your religion for you, by explaining the sacraments and the method of wayfaring, and I have completed My favour upon you, by guiding [you] to Me, and I have approved for you, submission and obedience through effacement upon the self-disclosure of [My] acts and attributes, or [I have approved for you] the surrender of [your] faces for annihilation upon the self-disclosure of the Essence, as religion. But whoever is constrained, to [engage in] one of the forbidden things which we have enumerated, by emptiness, by a severe agitation of the soul or an overwhelming as a result of the manifestation of one its attributes, not inclining purposely to sin, not deviating from religion and the orientation [of the wayfaring] toward a preventive vice deliberately and resolutely, then God is Forgiving, covering that up for him by the light of one of His attributes that counters it, Merciful, with the reinforcement of divine assistance in order to manifest perfection and remove the barriers to it.
Allah informs His servants that He forbids consuming the mentioned types of foods, such as the Maytah, which is the animal that dies before being properly slaughtered or hunted. Allah forbids this type of food due to the harm it causes, because of the blood that becomes clogged in the veins of the dead animal. Therefore, the Maytah is harmful, religiously and physically, and this is why Allah has prohibited it. The only exception to this ruling is fish, for fish is allowed, even when dead, by slaughtering or otherwise. Malik in his Muwatta, also Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah in their Sunan, Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban in their Sahihs, all recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah was asked about seawater. He said,
«هُوَ الطَّهُورُ مَاؤُهُ الْحِلُّ مَيْتَتُه»
(Its water is pure and its dead are permissible.) The same ruling applies to locusts, as proven in a Hadith that we will mention later. Allah's statement,
(blood...) This refers to flowing blood, according to Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id bin Jubayr, and it is similar to Allah's other statement,
(Blood poured forth...) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas was asked about the spleen and he said, "Eat it.'' They said, "It is blood.'' He said, "You are only prohibited blood that was poured forth.'' Abu `Abdullah, Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi`i recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(We were allowed two dead animals and two (kinds of) blood. As for the two dead animals, they are fish and locust. As for the two bloods, they are liver and spleen.) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ibn Majah, Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Bayhaqi also recorded this Hadith through `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam, who is a weak narrator. Allah's statement,
(the flesh of swine...) includes domesticated and wild swine, and also refers to the whole animal, including its fat, for this is what the Arabs mean by Lahm or `flesh'. Muslim recorded that Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Al-Aslami said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(He who plays Nardshir (a game with dice that involves gambling) is just like the one who puts his hand in the flesh and blood of swine.) If this is the case with merely touching the flesh and blood of swine, so what about eating and feeding on it This Hadith is a proof that Lahm means the entire body of the animal, including its fat. In is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah made the trade of alcohol, dead animals, pigs and idols illegal.) The people asked, "O Allah's Messenger! What about the fat of dead animals, for it was used for greasing the boats and the hides; and people use it for lanterns'' He said,
«لَا، هُوَ حَرَام»
(No, it is illegal.) In the Sahih of Al-Bukhari, Abu Sufyan narrated that he said to Heraclius, Emperor of Rome, "He (Muhammad) prohibited us from eating dead animals and blood.'' Allah said,
وَمَآ أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ
(And that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah.) Therefore, the animals on which a name other than Allah was mentioned upon slaughtering it, is impermissible, because Allah made it necessary to mention His Glorious Name upon slaughtering the animals, which He created. Whoever does not do so, mentioning other than Allah's Name, such as the name of an idol, a false deity or a monument, when slaughtering, he makes this meat unlawful, according to the consensus. Allah's statement,
(and that which has been killed by strangling...) either intentionally or by mistake, such as when an animal moves while restrained and dies by strangulation because of its struggling, this animal is also unlawful to eat.
(or by a violent blow...) This refers to the animal that is hit with a heavy object until it dies. Ibn `Abbas and several others said it is the animal that is hit with a staff until it dies. Qatadah said, "The people of Jahiliyyah used to strike the animal with sticks and when it died, they would eat it.'' It is recorded in the Sahih that `Adi bin Hatim said, "I asked, `O Allah's Messenger! I use the Mi`rad for hunting and catch game with it.' He replied,
(If the game is hit by its sharp edge, eat it. But, if it is hit by its broad side, do not eat it, for it has been beaten to death.) Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between killing the animal with the sharp edge of an arrow or a hunting stick, and rendered it lawful, and what is killed by the broad side of an object, and rendered it unlawful because it was beaten to death. There is a consensus among the scholars of Fiqh on this subject. rAs for the animal that falls headlong from a high place and dies as a result, it is also prohibited. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that an animal that dies by a headlong fall, "Is that which falls from a mountain.'' Qatadah said that it is the animal that falls in a well. As-Suddi said that it is the animal that falls from a mountain or in a well. As for the animal that dies by being gorged by another animal, it is also prohibited, even if the horn opens a flesh wound and it bleeds to death from its neck. Allah's statement,
وَمَآ أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ
(and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal,) refers to the animal that was attacked by a lion, leopard, tiger, wolf or dog, then the wild beast eats a part of it and it dies because of that. This type is also prohibited, even if the animal bled to death from its neck. There is also a consensus on this ruling. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to eat the sheep, camel, or cow that were partly eaten by a wild animal. Allah prohibited this practice for the believers. Allah's statement,
إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ
(unless you are able to slaughter it,) before it dies, due to the causes mentioned above. This part of the Ayah is connected to,
(and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,
إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ
(unless you are able to slaughter it, ) "Unless you are able to slaughter the animal in the cases mentioned in the Ayah while it is still alive, then eat it, for it was properly slaughtered.'' Similar was reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and As-Suddi. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "If you are able to slaughter the animal that has been hit by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the gorging of horns while it still moves a foot or a leg, then eat from its meat.'' Similar was reported from Tawus, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Ad-Dahhak and several others, that if the animal that is being slaughtered still moves, thus demonstrating that it is still alive while slaughtering, then it is lawful. The Two Sahihs recorded that Rafi` bin Khadij said, "I asked, `O Allah's Messenger! We fear that we may meet our enemy tomorrow and we have no knives, could we slaughter the animals with reeds' The Prophet said,
(You can use what makes blood flow and you can eat what is slaughtered with the Name of Allah. But do not use teeth or claws (in slaughtering). I will tell you why, as for teeth, they are bones, and claws are used by Ethiopians for slaughtering.)'' Allah said next,
وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ
(and that which is sacrificed on An-Nusub. ) Nusub were stone altars that were erected around the Ka`bah, as Mujahid and Ibn Jurayj stated. Ibn Jurayj said, "There were three hundred and sixty Nusub around the Ka`bah that the Arabs used to slaughter in front of, during the time of Jahiliyyah. They used to sprinkle the animals that came to the Ka`bah with the blood of slaughtered animals, whose meat they cut to pieces and placed on the altars.'' Allah forbade this practice for the believers. He also forbade them from eating the meat of animals that were slaughtered in the vicinity of the Nusub, even if Allah's Name was mentioned on these animals when they were slaughtered, because it is a type of Shirk that Allah and His Messenger have forbidden.
The Prohibition of Using Al-Azlam for Decision Making
وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالاٌّزْلاَمِ
((Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam) The Ayah commands, "O believers! You are forbidden to use Al-Azlam (arrows) for decision making,'' which was a practice of the Arabs during the time of Jahiliyyah. They would use three arrows, one with the word `Do' written on it, another that says `Do not', while the third does not say anything. Some of them would write on the first arrow, `My Lord commanded me,' and, `My Lord forbade me,' on the second arrow and they would not write anything on the third arrow. If the blank arrow was picked, the person would keep trying until the arrow that says do or do not was picked, and the person would implement the command that he picked. Ibn `Abbas said that the Azlam were arrows that they used to seek decisions through. Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said that the major idol of the tribe of Quraysh was Hubal, which was erected on the tip of a well inside the Ka`bah, where gifts were presented and where the treasure of the Ka`bah was kept. There, they also had seven arrows that they would use to seek a decision concerning matters of dispute. Whatever the chosen arrow would tell them, they would abide by it! Al-Bukhari recorded that when the Prophet entered Al-Ka`bah (after Makkah was conquered), he found pictures of Ibrahim and Isma`il in it holding the Azlam in their hands. The Prophet commented,
(May Allah fight them (the idolaters)! They know that they never used the Azlam to make decisions. ) Mujahid commented on Allah's statement,
وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالاٌّزْلاَمِ
((Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam,) "These were arrows that the Arabs used, and dice that the Persians and Romans used in gambling.'' This statement by Mujahid, that these arrows were used in gambling, is doubtful unless we say that they used the arrows for gambling sometimes and for decisions other times, and Allah knows best. We should also state that Allah mentioned Azlam and gambling in His statement before the end of the Surah (5:90, 91),
(O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan's handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain) In this Ayah, Allah said,
((Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam, (all) that is Fisq.) meaning, all these practices constitute disobedience, sin, misguidance, ignorance and, above all, Shirk. Allah has commanded the believers to seek decisions from Him when they want to do something, by first worshipping Him and then asking Him for the best decision concerning the matter they seek. Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and the collectors of Sunan recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, "The Prophet used to teach us how to make Istikharah (asking Allah to guide one to the right action), in all matters, as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur'an. He said,
(If anyone of you thinks of doing any matter, he should offer a two Rak'ah prayer, other than the compulsory, and say (after the prayer) `O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, from Your ability and I ask for Your great bounty, for You are capable and I am not, You know and I do not, and You know the Unseen. O Allah! If You know that this matter (and one should mention the matter or deed here) is good for my religion, my livelihood and the Hereafter (or he said, `for my present and later needs') then ordain it for me, make it easy for me to have, and then bless it for me. O Allah! And if You know that this is harmful to me in my religion and livelihood and for the Hereafter then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it.') This is the wording collected by Ahmad, and At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih Gharib.''
Shaytan and the Disbelievers Do Not Hope that Muslims Will Ever Follow Them
(This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion;) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means, "They gave up hope that Muslims would revert to their religion.'' This is similar to the saying of `Ata' bin Abi Rabah, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan. This meaning is supported by a Hadith recorded in the Sahih that states,
(Verily, Shaytan has given up hope that those who pray in the Arabian Peninsula, will worship him. But he will still stir trouble among them.) It is also possible that the Ayah negates the possibility that the disbelievers and Shaytan will ever be like Muslims, since Muslims have various qualities that contradict Shirk and its people. This is why Allah commanded His believing servants to observe patience, to be steadfast in defying and contradicting the disbelievers, and to fear none but Allah. Allah said,
فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ
(So fear them not, but fear Me.) meaning, `do not fear them when you contradict them. Rather, fear Me and I will give you victory over them, I will eradicate them, and make you prevail over them, I will please your hearts and raise you above them in this life and the Hereafter.'
(This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.) This, indeed, is the biggest favor from Allah to this Ummah, for He has completed their religion for them, and they, thus, do not need any other religion or any other Prophet except Muhammad. This is why Allah made Muhammad the Final Prophet and sent him to all humans and Jinn. Therefore, the permissible is what he allows, the impermissible is what he prohibits, the Law is what he legislates and everything that he conveys is true and authentic and does not contain lies or contradictions. Allah said;
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقاً وَعَدْلاً
(And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice,) meaning, it is true in what it conveys and just in what it commands and forbids. When Allah completed the religion for Muslims, His favor became complete for them as well. Allah said,
(This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.) meaning, accept Islam for yourselves, for it is the religion that Allah likes and which He chose for you, and it is that with which He sent the best of the honorable Messengers and the most glorious of His Books. Ibn Jarir recorded that Harun bin `Antarah said that his father said, "When the Ayah,
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ
(This day, I have perfected your religion for you...) was revealed, during the great day of Hajj (the Day of `Arafah, the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah) `Umar cried. The Prophet said, `What makes you cry' He said, `What made me cry is that our religion is being perfected for us. Now it is perfect, nothing is perfect, but it is bound to deteriorate.' The Prophet said,
(You have said the truth.)'' What supports the meaning of this Hadith is the authentic Hadith,
(Islam was strange in its beginning and will return strange once more. Therefore, Tuba for the strangers.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Tariq bin Shihab said, "A Jewish man said to `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `O Leader of the Believers! There is a verse in your Book, which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.' `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, `Which is that verse' The Jew replied, s
(This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you...) `Umar replied, `By Allah! I know when and where this verse was revealed to Allah's Messenger. It was the evening on the Day of `Arafah on a Friday.''' Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith through Al-Hasan bin As-Sabbah from Ja`far bin `Awn. Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith. In the narration collected by Al-Bukhari in the book of Tafsir, through Tariq, he said, "The Jews said to `Umar, `By Allah! There is a verse that is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.' `Umar said, `By Allah! I know when and where this verse was revealed and where the Messenger of Allah was at that time. It was the day of `Arafah, and I was at `Arafah, by Allah.'' Sufyan (one of the narrators) doubted if Friday was mentioned in this narration. Sufyan's confusion was either because he was unsure if his teacher included this statement in the Hadith or not. Otherwise, if it was because he doubted that the particular day during the Farewell Hajj was a Friday, it would be a mistake that could not and should not have come from someone like Sufyan Ath-Thawri. The fact that it was a Friday, is agreed on by the scholars of Sirah and Fiqh. There are numerous Hadiths that support this fact that are definitely authentic and of the Mutawatir type. This Hadith was also reported from `Umar through various chains of narration.
Permitting the Dead Animals in Conditions of Necessity
(But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above mentioned animals), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Therefore, when one is forced to take any of the impermissible things that Allah mentioned to meet a necessity, he is allowed and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful with him. Allah is well aware of His servant's needs during dire straits, and He will forgive and pardon His servant in this case. In the Musnad and the Sahih of Ibn Hibban, it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said that Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah likes that His Rukhsah (allowance) be used, just as He dislikes that disobedience to Him is committed.) We should mention here that it is not necessary for one to wait three days before eating the meat of dead animals, as many unlettered Muslims mistakenly think. Rather, one can eat such meat when the dire need arises. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Waqid Al-Laythi said that the Companions asked, "O Messenger of Allah! We live in a land where famine often strikes us. Therefore, when are we allowed to eat the meat of dead animals'' The Prophet replied,
(When you neither find food for lunch and dinner nor have any produce to eat, then eat from it.) Only Imam Ahmad collected this narration and its chain meets the criteria of the Two Sahihs. Allah said,
غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لإِثْمٍ
(with no inclination to sin,) meaning, one does not incline to commit what Allah has prohibited. Allah has allowed one when necessity arises to eat from what He otherwise prohibits, under the condition that his heart does not incline to eat what Allah prohibited. Allah said in Surat Al-Baqarah,
(But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Some scholars used this Ayah as evidence that those who travel for the purpose of committing an act of disobedience are not allowed to use any of the legal concessions of travel, because these concessions are not earned through sin, and Allah knows best.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, the flesh of the animal that dies a natural death.
That is, the flesh of the animal which has been slaughtered in the name of another than Allah or has been slaughtered with the intention of dedicating. it to a saint or a god or a goddess etc. (Please also see E.N. 171 of Al-Baqarah).
That is, "If an animal falls a victim to any of these accidents but is still alive and is duly slaughtered, it is lawful to eat its flesh". This also implies that the flesh of a clean animal becomes lawful only when it is slaughtered in the prescribed way and that there is no other way of making it lawful. In the prescribed way only that much of the throat is cut that enables the blood to flow out freely. This cannot happen if the whole of the neck is cut off or if the animal is strangled or killed in any other way because in that case most of the blood remains in the body and congeals at different places and sticks to the flesh. But when it is slaughtered in the prescribed way, the whole of the body remains connected with the brain for a sufficiently long time to allow the blood to flow totally out of the body and the flesh is cleansed of the blood which in itself is unlawful. Therefore it is essential that the flesh should be cleansed of blood in order to become lawful.
The Arabic word nusub applies to all those places which have been specifically dedicated to any saint or god, etc., for making offerings to them or for any other kind of ungodly worship whether there is or is not any sort of stone or wooden idol therein.
In this connection, it should be understood well that the limits prescribed by the Law for making eatables lawful or unlawful are not laid down from the point of view of physical health but from the moral and spiritual points of view. As regards the matters concerning physical health, these have been left to man's own judgment and discretion, It is his own business to find out what things are useful or harmful for his physical health and nourishment and the Law does not take any responsibility for his guidance in this respect. Had it done so, poison would have been the first thing to be made unlawful, but there is absolutely no mention of this or other deadly things in the Qur'an or the Traditions. The Law is only concerned about what is morally or spiritually harmful or beneficial and also about the right or wrong means for obtaining lawful things. It is obvious that man has no means of finding out these things by himself and is consequently liable to commit errors in this matter without the guidance of the law. For whatever has been prohibited, has been prohibited because it is harmful from the point of view of cleanliness or morality or belief. On the contrary, whatever has been made lawful, has been made so because it is free from all these evils.
One might ask why Allah has not explained the philosophy underlying the prohibition of certain things for the clear understanding of the people. This is because it is not possible for mankind to comprehend this. For instance, it is not possible for us to make a research into the nature of moral evils that are produced by eating carrion, blood or the flesh of swine, nor is it easy to find out how they are produced and to what extent, because we have no means of measuring or weighing morality, It is, therefore, obvious that, even if their evil effects had been explained, the position of the skeptic would have remained the same as before for the lack of means of testing their veracity.
This is why Allah has declared the observance of the limits prescribed for the lawful and the unlawful as a matter of belief. One, who believes in the Qur'an as the book of God and in the Holy Prophet as His Messenger and in Allah as All Knowing and All-Wise, will observe the prescribed limits whether one understands their philosophy or not. On the other hand, if one does not believe in this basic creed, one will avoid only those things which are harmful according to human knowledge and will go on suffering from the consequences of those which man has not learned to be harmful.
This verse comprises three categories of prohibitions:
(1) It prohibits the pagan ways of taking omens from a god or a goddess and the like, about one's fortune or getting indications as to the future or deciding disputes. For instance, the pagan Quraish of Makkah had specified the idol of Hubal at the Ka`abh for this purpose and kept near it seven divining arrows. They would, after presenting the offering to the priest and performing certain ceremonies, pull out an arrow and regard the words engraved on it as the verdict of Hubal.
(2) The second category consists of the superstitious ways and irrational methods of taking decisions about the daily problems of life for anything regarded as portending good or evil regardless of reason or knowledge, or of finding out future events blindly by the ominous significance of particular things, circumstances, occurrences or proceedings or the like. In short, it included all the so-called arts of prediction and prophetic significance.
(3) The third category includes all kinds of gambling in which the distribution of things etc., is based on mere chance and not on merit, right, service or other rational considerations. For instance, all the schemes of lottery which entitle a certain holder of a ticket to a prize merely on chance, and at the expense of a large number of other holders of such tickets, or the award of prizes for cross-word puzzles in which a certain answer out of a large number of correct ones corresponds, by mere chance, to the answer that has been ear-marked as correct for the purpose - all these things are unlawful.
However, one simple form of casting lots is lawful in Islam, when there are two equally lawful things or rights and there is no rational method of deciding between them. Supposing two persons have equal rights, in every respect, to something and the judge finds no rational justification to give preference to either of the disputants, neither of whom is willing to forgo his rights. In such a case, if they mutually agree, the matter may be decided by casting lots, or if one has to choose one of the two lawful things and is in difficulty in regard to the choice, one is allowed to cast lots for it. The Holy Prophet adopted this method on such occasions as required a choice to be made between two persons with equal rights, whenever he thought that if he himself decided in favor of one, the other might be grieved.
"Today" does not mean a particular day or date but the time when this verse was revealed.
"The disbelievers have despaired of your religion" means: "After along systematic resistance and opposition, they have lost hope of defeating your religion. Now they do not expect that you wilt ever return to the former way of "ignorance" because your religion has become a permanent way of life and has been established on a firm footing. Therefore. "Do not fear them but fear Me." That is, there is no longer any danger of interference from the disbelievers that they will prevent you from the performance of your religious obligations. You should, therefore, fear God and observe His commands and instructions because no ground for fear has been left for you. Now your disobedience of the Law will mean that you do not intend to obey Allah."
"I have perfected your religion" means: "I have provided it with all the essential elements of a permanent way of life which comprises a complete system of thought and practice and civilization and have laid down principles and given detailed instructions for the solution of all human problems. Hence there is no need for you to seek guidance and instructions from any other source."
The completion of "the blessing" is the completion of the blessing of guidance.
"I have approved Islam as the way of life for you" because you have practically proved by your obedience and devotion to it that you sincerely believe in Islam which you have accepted. As I have practically set you free from every kind of subjection and servitude there is no compulsion for you to submit to any other than Me in your practical life." It also implies, "As a gratitude for these blessings of Mine, you should show no negligence in the observance of the prescribed limits."
Authentic traditions show that this declaration was revealed on the occasion of the last Hajj performed by the Holy Prophet in A.H. 10. I am however of the opinion that it was at first revealed in A.H. 6 close after the treaty of Hudaibiyah as a part of this discourse, but was again sent down to the Holy Prophet for its declaration on that suitable occasion. This is because this verse is so well knit in this context that it would be incomplete without it, Therefore it cannot Be imagined that it was inserted here afterwards when it was revealed in A.H. 10. I believe (and the real knowledge is with Allah) that at the time of its revelation in this context its real significance was not realized, therefore in A.H. 10, when the whole of Arabia was subdued and the power of Islam reached its zenith, Allah again sent down these sentences to His Prophet for their declaration on the occasion of his last Hajj.
…Yet fear them not, but fear Me…That is, ‘Do not fear the disbelievers with regard to obeying Me, but fear Me with regard to following them.’Then he said:The weakest person is he who fears those who can neither benefit him nor harm him. However, the One in whose hand is the power to benefit and harm addresses him with His words, Yet fear them not, but fear Me.His words, Exalted is He:
(This day have I perfected your religion for you…) [5:3]. This verse was revealed on Friday, on the Day of ‘Arafah, at the farewell pilgrimage, after ‘Asr prayer in the tenth year of the Hijrah while the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was present in ‘Arafat on the back of his camel al-‘Adba’. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Hamdan al-‘Adl informed us> Ahmad ibn Ja‘far al-Qati‘i> ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad> his father> Ja‘far ibn ‘Awn> Abu ‘Umays> Qays ibn Muslim> Tariq ibn Shihab who said: “A Jewish man went to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him, and said: ‘O leader of the believers, you recite one verse in your Scripture which, if it had been revealed to us, we would have taken the day in which it was revealed as a day of celebration’. ‘Which verse is this?’ asked ‘Umar. He said: ‘It is (This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you…)’. ‘Umar said: ‘By Allah, I know the day in which it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and the hour in which it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and his family and give him peace. It was revealed on Friday, in the afternoon of the day of ‘Arafah’ ”. This was narrated by Bukhari from al-Hasan ibn Sabah and also by Muslim from ‘Abd ibn Humayd, and Ibn Sabah and Ibn Humayd related it from Ja‘far ibn ‘Awn. Al-Hakim Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shadhyakhi informed us> Zahir ibn Ahmad> al-Husayn ibn Nuhammad ibn Mus‘ab> Yahya ibn Hakim> Abu Qutaybah> Hammad> ‘Ammar ibn Abi ‘Ammar: “Ibn ‘Abbas recited this verse in the presence of a Jewish man, and the latter said: ‘If this verse was revealed to us, we would have taken the day in which it was revealed as a celebration day’. Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘Well, it was revealed in two days of celebration which coincided with each other: it was a Friday which coincided with the day of ‘Arafah’ ”.