The Quran

Commentaries for 5.88

Al Maida (The food) - المائدة

5.88 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Eat of that which Allah hath bestowed on you as food lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah in Whom ye are believers) fear Allah regarding mutilation and forbidding that which He has made lawful.
5.88 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And eat of the lawful and good food which God has provided you (halālan tayyiban, ‘lawful and good food’, is the direct object and the preceding genitive construction [mimmā, ‘of … which’] is a circumstantial qualifier connected to the former); and fear God, in Whom you are believers.
5.87-88 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
There is No Monasticism in Islam
`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, "This Ayah 5:87 was revealed about some of the Companions of the Prophet who said, `We should cut off our male organs, abandon the desires of this life and travel in the land, just as the Ruhban (monks) do.' When the Prophet heard of this statement, he summoned them and asked them if they made this statement and they answered `Yes.' The Prophet said,
«لكِنِّي أَصُومُ وَأُفْطِرُ، وَأُصَلِّي، وَأَنَامُ، وَأَنْكِحُ النِّسَاءَ، فَمَنْ أَخَذَ بِسُنَّتِي فَهُوَ مِنِّي، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَأْخُذْ بِسُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي»
(I fast and break my fast, pray and sleep, and marry women. Whoever follows my Sunnah is of me, and whoever abandons my Sunnah is not of me.)'' Ibn Abi Hatim also collected this Hadith. Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas narrated a similar Hadith. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that `A'ishah said that some of the Companions asked the wives of the Prophet about the acts of worship that he performed in private. One of them said, "I will not eat meat,'' another said, "I will not marry women,'' while the third said, "I will not sleep on the bed.'' When the Prophet heard this statement, he said,
«مَا بَالُ أَقْوَامٍ يَقُولُ أَحَدُهُمْ كَذَا وَكَذَا، لكِنِّي أَصُومُ وَأُفْطِرُ، وَأَنَامُ وَأَقُومُ، وَآكُلُ اللَّحْمَ، وَأَتَزَوَّجُ النِّسَاءَ، فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي»
(What is the matter with some people who said such and such I fast and break the fast, sleep and wake to stand to pray, eat meat, and marry women. He who is not pleased with my Sunnah is not of me.) Allah's statement,
وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ
(and transgress not.) means, do not exaggerate and make it hard for yourselves by prohibiting the permissible things. Do not transgress the limits by excessively indulging in the permissible matters; only use of it what satisfies your need; and do not fall into extravagance. Allah said in other Ayat,
وكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ
(And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance.)7:31, and,
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَنفَقُواْ لَمْ يُسْرِفُواْ وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُواْ وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ قَوَاماً
(And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).)25:67 So Allah legislated a medium way between those who are extreme and those who fall into shortcomings, and it does not allow excessive application, nor lack of application. This is why Allah said here,
لاَ تُحَرِّمُواْ طَيِّبَـتِ مَآ أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
(Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.) then He said,
وَكُلُواْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ حَلَـلاً طَيِّباً
(And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good,)5:88, eat of those items that are pure and lawful for you,
وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ
(and have Taqwa of Allah,) in all your affairs, obey Him and seek His pleasure, all the while staying away from defiance and disobedience of Allah,
وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ الَّذِى أَنتُم بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ
(and have Taqwa of Allah in Whom you believe.)
5.87-88 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This Divine Commandment implies two things. First, "You have no authority to make certain things lawful and others unlawful. Lawful is only that which Allah has made lawful and unlawful is that which Allah has made unlawful. Therefore if you make a lawful thing unlawful, and vice versa, you will be following your own law and not the Divine Law." Secondly, "You should not adopt the way of asceticism like the Christian monks or the Hindu friars or the Buddhist mendicants and the like." This was meant to warn the Muslims against the general tendency, which has always existed among the religious-minded people, to consider even the normal satiation of the desires of the body and mind to be against spiritual progress. They imagine that self-torture, self-denial and abstinence are virtues in themselves and that one could not approach God without these austerities. As a matter of fact, there were some Companions, who had developed such tendencies. When the Holy Prophet came to know that some of his Companions had taken vows that they would always observe fast during the day and would not go to bed for sleep but keep awake and worship God the whole night, and would abstain from flesh, fat and women, he forbade them from such practices. He said, "I have not ordained such things; your own self has rights on you; therefore observe fast and also eat easefully. Stand in worship at night and also go to sleep. I myself sometimes observe fast and at others I do not. I eat flesh and butter. (This is my way) and the one who does not like my way, is not of me."
According to another 'Tradition, he emphasized the same and said, "Now is it that some people have made unlawful for themselves women, good food, scents and perfumes, sleep and other good things of the world? As for me I have not taught you to become monks and hermits. The way of life taught by me does neither allow abstention from women nor from eating flesh nor retirement and seclusion from the world. The Law has prescribed Fasting for self-discipline, and Jihad for the same benefits that might be obtained from asceticism. Worship Allah and associate none with Him as partner, perform Hajj and `Umrah, establish the Salat and pay Zakat and observe the Fasts during the month of Ramadan. The people who were doomed before you, were doomed because they practiced austerity of their own accord, and when they did so, Allah also prescribed the same for them. Those are of them whom you now see in the Monasteries.
In the same connection, we learn from some Traditions that when the Holy Prophet came to know that a certain Companion had been abstaining from having conjugal relations with his wife for a long time and had been devoting himself to worship, he immediately sent for him and ordered, "Go to your wife instantly. " The Companion replied, "I am with fast" The Prophet again said, "Break the fast and go to your wife. "
There is another instance of the same kind. A woman came to Caliph 'Umar and complained, "My husband observes fast during The day and passes the night in worship and does not have conjugal relations with me." Hadrat `Umar ordered Ka`b bin Saur al-Azdi to hear the case. He decreed that the husband was permitted to pass three nights in worship but he must go to his wife on the fourth night.
"To go beyond the limits" has very extensive meanings. One goes beyond the limits, if one makes lawful things unlawful or abstains from things which Allah has declared to be pure as if they were impure or if one is extravagant in the use of pure things, or if one makes use of unlawful things as if they were lawful. Allah does not like such acts of transgression.