(2:173) He has made unlawful to you only carrion and blood and the flesh of swine and that over which there has been pronounced the name of anyone other than Allah’s. But he who is constrained (to eat of them) – and he neither covets them nor exceeds the indispensable limit incurs no sin: Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
171. This applies to the flesh of an animal slaughtered in the name of anything and anyone other than God as well as to the food prepared as an offering to someone other than God. God alone is the master of everything – of the animal whose flesh we consume as well as of every other kind of food – and it is He Who has mercifully provided us with them. Hence, if it is appropriate to pronounce any name as an expression of gratitude, of consecration, it can only be the name of God. To use anyone else’s name means that we believe that there is some other being either instead of or in addition to God which deserves to be acknowledged as our Lord and Benefactor.
172. This verse grants permission to use prohibited things with three stipulations. First, one must be in a state of extreme compulsion, for example, being gravely ill or being so hungry and thirsty that one’s very life is in danger, and a prohibited thing is all that is available to save one’s life. Second, the person concerned should have no inclination to violate the Law of God. Third, in consuming the prohibited thing one should not exceed the limits of bare necessity. If a few bites or a few drops are enough to save one’s life, one ought not to go beyond the absolute minimum.
(2:196) Complete Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah. And if you are prevented from doing so, then make the offering which is available to you, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its appointed place.
If any of you should have to shave your head before that because of illness, or injury to the head, then you should make redemption by fasting, or almsgiving, or ritual sacrifice. And when you are secure, then he who avails of ‘Umrah before the time of Hajj shall give the offering he can afford; and if he cannot afford the offering, he shall fast for three days during Hajj and for seven days after he returns home; that is, ten days in all. This privilege is for those whose families do not live near the Holy Mosque. Guard against violating these ordinances of Allah and be mindful that Allah is severe in chastisement.
209. If any obstruction prevents a person from proceeding with the Pilgrimage and he is forced to stay behind, he should make a sacrificial offering to God of whatever is available – for example, either a camel, a cow, a goat or a sheep
210. The statement: ‘until the offering reaches its appointed place’ has been variously interpreted by the jurists. The Hanafi jurists consider this to signify the area which lies within the boundaries of the Haram. In their view this injunction means that if a man has been prevented from Pilgrimage he ought to send to the Haram either the animal itself or the money to purchase it, and have a sacrificial offering made on his behalf. According to Malik and al-Shafi’i this verse enjoins one to perform a sacrifice at the very spot where one is prevented from going any further. (See also Qurtubi’s commentary on the verse – Ed.) The injunction regarding ‘shaving the head’ means that one may not have one’s hair cut until a sacrificial offering has been made.
211. According to the Hadith, in such a situation the Prophet (peace be on him) ordered three days of fasting, or the feeding of six poor people, or the slaughter of one sheep or goat. (See Bukhari, ‘Maghazi’, 35; Muslim, ‘Hajj’, 83 – Ed.)
212. This refers to the change in the situation when the obstacle to proceeding with the Pilgrimage has been removed. Since, in those days, the circumstances which most commonly prevented people from proceeding with their Pilgrimage was the danger of armed attack from tribes hostile to Islam, the removal of that circumstance is described by the words: ‘when you are secure’. ‘To become secure’ refers not only to the removal of the danger of armed attack but to the removal of all such dangers.
213. In pre-Islamic Arabia it was considered a serious sin to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah in one and the same journey. According to the self-made law of the pre-Islamic Arabs, each of these Pilgrimages required a separate journey. God declared this law void for those coming from abroad and who were granted the privilege of performing both types of pilgrimage in the same journey. This privilege, however, was not extended to those living in the environs of Makka, within the miqat, since it is not difficult for them to proceed separately for the major and minor Pilgrimages.
Then you who take advantage of ‘Umrah before the time of Hajj’ means that a person may perform ‘Umrah (minor Pilgrimage) and then may interrupt the state of consecration (ihram) and free himself of the prohibitions and limitations incumbent upon him in that state. Later, when the time for the Hajj (major Pilgrimage) arrives, he should once again assume the state of consecration (ihram).
(5:2) Believers! Neither desecrate the symbols of (devotion to) Allah, nor the holy month, nor the animals of offering, nor the animals wearing collars indicating they are for sacrifice, nor ill-treat those who have set out for the Holy House seeking from their Lord His bounty and good pleasure. But once you are free from Pilgrimage obligations, you are free to hunt. Do not let your wrath against the people who have barred you from the Holy Mosque move you to commit undue transgressions; rather, help one another in acts of righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and transgression. Fear Allah. Surely Allah is severe in retribution.
5. Whatever characteristically represents either a particular doctrine, creed, way of thought or conduct is recognized as its symbol. For example, official flags, uniforms of the armed forces, coins, notes and stamps are symbols used by governments so that their subjects – in fact all those who live within their sphere of influence – treat them with proper respect. Cathedrals, altars and crosses are symbols of Christianity. A special bunch of hair on the head, a special kind of bead-rosary and the temple are symbols of Hinduism. A turban, bracelet and Kirpan (a special dagger kept by the Sikhs) are symbols of the Sikh religion. The hammer and sickle are the symbols of Communism. The swastika has been the symbol of Aryan racialism. The followers of these ideologies are required to treat these symbols with respect. If a man insults any symbol associated with a particular ideology it is regarded as an act of hostility; and if the person concerned is himself a follower of that ideology then that insult is considered tantamount to an abandonment of, and a revolt against it.
The expression ‘sha’a’ir Allah’ refers to all those rites which, in opposition to polytheism and outright disbelief and atheism, are the characteristic symbols of an exclusive devotion to God. Muslims are required to respect these symbols, regardless of the people among whom they are found, provided their underlying spirit is one of godliness and that they have not been tainted by either polytheistic or pagan associations. Hence, whenever a Muslim encounters something in either the creed or practice of a non-Muslim, which embodies any element of devotion and service to the One True God, he will identify himself with it and show respect to the symbols which represent it. For this true element in their religious life constitutes the point of agreement between them and the Muslims. The point of dispute is not that they serve God, but that they associate others in that service.
It should be recalled that this directive to treat the symbols of God with due respect was given at a time when a state of belligerency existed between the Muslims and the polytheists of Arabia, and Makka was under the occupation of the latter. Polytheistic tribes from all over Arabia used to visit the Ka’bah for Pilgrimage, and the routes of many of these tribes were within the reach-of the Muslims if they decided to attack. It was in such circumstances that the Muslims were told that, even though those people were polytheists, they should not be molested if they were proceeding towards the ‘House of God’; that they should not be attacked during the months of Pilgrimage; and that the animals which they were carrying for sacrificial offering should not be touched. The element of godliness which persisted in their otherwise distorted religious life deserved to be respected.
6. Following a general directive that the symbols of God should be treated with proper respect a few such symbols are mentioned specifically lest war fever lead even to the desecration of religious rites and symbols. The enumeration of these particular symbols does not mean that respect is due to these alone.
7. Ihram is also one of the symbols of God and violation of any of the prohibitions which should be observed in that state is an act of sacrilege. The prohibition of hunting while in the state of ihram is mentioned in connection with the desecration of the symbols of God. When ihram is over, the prohibitions become void, and one is permitted to hunt.
8. The unbelievers had prevented the Muslims from visiting the Ka’bah. In fact, in violation of the ancient usage of Arabia they had even deprived them of their right to make Pilgrimage. As a result, the Muslims felt inclined to prevent the pagan tribes from making their pilgrimage by not letting them pass along the routes to Makka which lay close to the Islamic domains, and to attack their trading caravans during the time of Pilgrimage (Hajj). God prevented them from carrying out this plan through the revelation.
(5:3) Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s, the animal which has either been strangled, killed by blows, has died of a fall, by goring or that devoured by a beast of prey – unless it be that which you yourselves might have slaughtered while it was still alive – and that which was slaughtered at the altars.– You are also forbidden to seek knowledge of your fate by divining arrows. All these are sinful acts. This day the unbelievers have fully despaired of your religion. Do not fear them; but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion, and have bestowed upon you My bounty in full measure, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion. (Follow, then, the lawful and unlawful bounds enjoined upon you.) As for he who is driven by hunger, without being wilfully inclined to sin, surely Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
9.’Carrion’ signifies the animal which has died a natural death.
10. This refers to the practice of pronouncing the name of anyone or anything other than God and dedicating the animal, as an offering, to either a holy personage, god or goddess before slaughtering. For details see (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 173) note 171.
11. It is lawful to eat the flesh of an animal which may have suffered from any of the above-mentioned accidents providing it was still alive until slaughtered. This verse also makes it clear that the flesh of an animal becomes lawful only by slaughtering ritually, and that no other method of killing is valid. The words dhabh and dhakah belong to the technical terminology of Islam and denote slitting the throat so that the blood is completely drained from the animal’s body. The disadvantage of killing an animal by either guillotine or strangulation is that the greater part of the blood remains within the body, and at various places it sticks to the flesh and forms congealed lumps. If an animal is slaughtered by slitting the throat, on the other hand, the connection between mind and body remains intact for a short while, with the result that the blood is thoroughly drained out from all the veins and the flesh becomes fully cleansed of blood. We have just come across the injunction prohibiting the eating of blood. So only that flesh which has been purged of blood is declared lawful.
12. The word nusub signifies all the places consecrated for offerings to others than the One True God, regardless of whether they are images of wood, stone or something else.
13. The division of objects of eating and drinking into lawful and unlawful is based on their moral rather than their medicinal properties. God has left matters relating to the physical world to be tackled by man’s own effort and striving. It is for man himself to discover by his own efforts which items of food and drink provide him with healthy nourishment and which are useless and harmful. The Law (Shari’ah) does not take upon itself to guide man in such matters. Had it undertaken such a task, perhaps one of the first things for it to do would have been to pronounce the prohibition of arsenic oxide. But one will notice that the Qur’an and Hadith mention neither arsenic oxide nor other things which either singly or jointly are fatal for man. The underlying considerations of the Law with regard to the various items of eating and drinking are their possible effects on man’s morals and on the purity of his soul. This is in addition to the judgements that the Law makes with regard to the various means adopted by man in his quest for food – whether they are appropriate according to Islamic standards or not. It is impossible for man to determine what is beneficial and what is harmful for his morals; he has not been endowed with the capacities needed to arrive at sound conclusions on these matters, and so he frequently stumbles into error. Hence the Law undertakes to guide him in these matters and these matters alone. Whatever has been prohibited by Islam has been prohibited because of its bad effects on human morals, because of its repugnance to spiritual purity, and because of its association with false beliefs. Things which have been declared lawful have been so declared because they are untainted by these evils.
It may be asked why God did not specify the considerations underlying the prohibition of various things for this would have afforded us very valuable insights. In reply, it must be pointed out that it is impossible for us to fully grasp such considerations. The kind of questions we face are for instance: What are the corrupting effects of the consumption of either blood or the flesh of swine and carrion on our morals? The extent to which this corruption affects our morals, and the way in which certain things affect our morals is a matter that we are incapable of investigating, for we do not possess the means of weighing and measuring the moral properties of various things. To mention some of these bad effects would carry little weight with the sceptic, for how could he test the soundness of statements on such questions? Hence, God considers faith rather than man’s own judgement as the main basis for observing the standards of lawfulness and prohibition. Whoever is fully convinced that the Qur’an is the Book of God, that the Prophet (peace be on him) was designated by Him, and that God is All-Knowing and All-Wise, will necessarily commit himself to observe the restrictions enjoined by God regardless of whether he is able to grasp the wisdom underlying them or not. Whoever lacks this basic conviction will avoid only those evils which are fully evident to human beings, and will remain a prey to all those which have not yet become apparent but which in fact are intrinsically harmful.
14. The things which are prohibited in this verse fall into the following categories:
(1) Polytheistic divination, which is a form of omen-seeking whereby knowledge either about one’s future or about matters beyond human perception, is sought from gods and goddesses. The polytheists of Makka had consecrated the idol Hubal in the Ka’bah for this purpose. Seven arrows had been placed at its altars and on each of them different words and sentences had been inscribed. Whenever people were faced with the question whether a certain course was wise or not, or they wanted to trace something lost, or sought a judgement in a murder case, or had other similar problems, they would approach the oracle of Hubal, present him with an offering as his fee, and pray to Hubal to issue a verdict on the question concerned. Then the oracle would draw arrows, and the inscription on the arrow which fell to a person’s lot was deemed to represent the verdict of Hubal.
(2) Superstitious divination, which has also been prohibited, means that instead of deciding the problems of life in a rational way one should decide them on fanciful grounds. Or it could mean deciding matters by arbitrary interpretation of accidental events, or to have one’s future prophesied by means which have not been reasonably established as adequate for obtaining knowledge about the future. This includes geomancy, astrology, fortune-telling and the numerous other methods adopted to determine omens.
(3) Games of chance are also prohibited and include all those transactions in which what one receives depends on chance and other purely accidental factors rather than on rational considerations such as either due payment or recompense for services rendered. This applies, for instance, to lotteries where the holder of an arbitrarily-drawn number receives a huge amount of money which has been obtained from thousands of other people. It also applies to crossword puzzles were the award of prizes does not depend on the actual correctness of the solution (since several correct solutions are possible) but on accidental conformity with the particular solution which is arbitrarily chosen as the only correct one by the sponsors of the puzzle. After prohibiting each of these three categories, the only kind of lot-drawing which Islam permits is that which one resorts to when obliged to make a decision either in favour of one of numerous permissible options or in favour of one out of two or more equally legitimate claimants. For instance, two persons have an equal claim over a thing which neither of them is prepared to relinquish, and at the same time there is no reasonable basis for preferring one to the other. In such a case, with the consent of the claimants, the matter may be settled by drawing lots. The Prophet (peace be on him) himself used to resort to drawing lots when he had to make a decision between two equal claimants, and when preferring one of them would cause distress and grievance to the other. (For such instances see Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 373; Bukhari, ‘Nikah’, 97 and ‘Shahadat’, 30; Muslim, ‘Fada’il al-Sahabah’, 88; Ibn Majah, ‘Ahkam’, 20, etc. – Ed.)
15. ‘This day’, here, does not signify a particular day or specific date. It refers to that period of time when these verses were revealed. In our own usage, too, expressions like ‘today’ or ‘this day’ often have the sense of the present time’. ‘This day the unbelievers have fully despaired of your religion’ refers to the fact that the Muslims’ religion had developed into a full-fledged system of life, reinforced by the authority and governmental power which it had acquired. The unbelievers who had hitherto resisted its establishment now despaired of destroying Islam and of forcing the believers back to their former state of Ignorance. The believers therefore no longer needed to fear men: they should fear God alone instead. Indeed, the Muslims were repeatedly asked to fear God, for they would not be treated lightly if they failed to carry out His commands, especially as there was no longer any justifiable excuse for such failure. If they still violated the law of God, there could be no basis for supposing that they did so under constraint: it must mean that they simply had no intention of obeying Him.
16. The ‘perfection of religion’ mentioned in this verse refers to making it a self-sufficient system of belief and conduct, and an order of social life providing its own answers to the questions with which man is confronted. This system contains all necessary guidance for man, either by expounding fundamental principles from which detailed directives can be deduced or by spelling out such directives explicitly so that in no circumstances would one need to look for guidance to any extraneous source.
The bounty referred to in the statement: ‘I have bestowed upon you My bounty in full measure’, is the bounty of true guidance.
The statement: ‘I have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion’ means that, since the Muslims had proved by their conduct and their striving that they were honest and sincere about the commitment they had made to God in embracing Islam – the commitment to serve and obey Him – He had accepted their sincerity and created conditions in which they were no longer yoked in bondage to anyone but Him. Thus the Muslims were not prevented from living in submission to God out of extraneous constraints just as there were no constraints preventing them from subscribing to true beliefs. Having recounted these favours, God does not point out what should be the proper response to those favours. But the implication is obvious: the only appropriate response on the part of the believers must be unstinting observance of the law of God out of gratitude to Him.
According to authentic traditions this verse was revealed in 10 A.H. on the occasion of the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage. The context however, seems to indicate that it was revealed soon after the conclusion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah (i.e. in 6 A.H.). All parts of the discourse in which this verse occurs are so tightly interwoven and so closely inter-connected that it hardly seems conceivable that it should have been inserted here several years later. My own estimate – and true knowledge of this lies with God alone – is that this verse was originally revealed in its present context (i.e. commenting upon the conditions prevailing at the time of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah). It is conceivable that the true significance of the verse was not then fully appreciated. But later on, when Islam prevailed over the whole of Arabia and the power of Islam reached a high point, God once again revealed this sentence to His Messenger and ordered him to proclaim it.
17. See Towards Understanding (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 173) note 172.
(5:4) They ask you what has been made lawful to them. Say: ‘All clean things have been made lawful to you, and such hunting animals as you teach, training them to hunt, teaching them the knowledge Allah has given you – you may eat what they catch for you – but invoke the name of Allah on it. Have fear of Allah (in violating His Law). Allah is swift in His reckoning.’
18. There is a certain subtlety in how the query is answered. Religious- minded people often fall into a prohibitionist mentality by tending to regard as unlawful everything not expressly declared as lawful. This makes them excessively fastidious and over-suspicious, and inclined to ask for a complete list of all that is lawful and permitted. The Qur’an’s response to this question seems to be aimed, in the first place, at the reform of this mentality. The questioners want a list of what is lawful so they can treat everything else as prohibited, but the Qur’an provides them with a list of what is prohibited and then leaves them with the guiding principle that all ‘clean things’ are lawful. This means a complete reversal of the old religious outlook according to which everything that has not been declared lawful is considered prohibited. This was a great reform, and it liberated human life from many unnecessary constraints. Henceforth, except for a few prohibitions, the lawful domain embraced virtually everything.
The lawfulness of things has been tied, however, to the stipulation of their being clean so that no one can argue for the lawfulness of things which are unclean. The question which arises at this point is: How are we to determine which things are clean? The answer is that everything is clean apart from those things which can be reckoned unclean either according to any of the principles embodied in the Law or which are repellent to man’s innate sense of good taste or which civilized human beings have generally found offensive to their natural feelings of cleanliness and decency.
19.The expression ‘hunting animals’ signifies hounds, cheetahs, hawks and all those beasts and birds which men use in hunting. It is a characteristic of animals which have been trained to hunt that they hold the prey for their masters rather than devour it. It is for this reason that while the catch of these trained animals is lawful, that of others is prohibited.
There is some disagreement among the jurists as to the hunting animals whose catch is lawful. Some jurists are of the opinion that if the hunting animal, whether bird or beast, eats any part of the game, it becomes prohibited since the act of eating signifies that the animal hunted for its own sake rather than for the sake of its master. This is the doctrine of Shafi’i. Other jurists hold that the prey is not rendered unlawful even if the hunting animal has eaten part of the game; even if it has devoured one-third of the animal, the consumption of the remaining two-thirds is lawful, irrespective of whether the hunting animal is a bird or a beast. This is the view of Malik. A third group of jurists is of the opinion that if the hunting animal which has eaten part of the game is a beast it becomes prohibited, but not so if the hunting animal is a bird. The reason for this distinction is that hunting beasts can be trained to hold the game for their master whereas experience shows that hunting birds are not fully capable of receiving such instruction. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah and his disciples. ‘Ali, however, is of the opinion that it is unlawful to eat the catch of hunting birds because they cannot be trained to refrain from eating the game and to hold it merely for the sake of their master. (See the commentaries of Ibn Kathir, Jassas, Ibn al-‘Arabi and Qurtubi on this verse. See also Ibn Rushd, Bidayat al-Mujtahid, vol. 2, pp. 440 ff. -Ed.)
20.They should pronounce the name of God at the time of dispatching animals to the hunt. It is mentioned in a tradition that ‘Adi b. Hatim asked the Prophet (peace be on him) whether he could use hounds for hunting. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied: ‘If you have pronounced the name of God while dispatching your trained hound, eat what he has caught for, you. And if it has eaten from the game, then do not eat for I fear that the hound had caught the game for itself.’ Then he inquired what should be done if one had pronounced the name of God while dispatching one’s own hound, but later found another hound close to the prey. The Prophet (peace be on him) replied: ‘Do not eat that, for you have pronounced the name of God on your own hound, but not on the other one.’ (For relevant traditions see Bukhari, ‘Dhaba’ih’, 4, 10; Ibn Majah, ‘Sayd’, 3; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 231 and vol. 4, p. 195 – Ed.) The verse under discussion makes it clear that it is necessary to pronounce the name of God while dispatching a hound to the hunt. If a man later finds the prey alive he should slaughter it. But if he does not find it alive it will still be lawful to eat it since the name of God has already been pronounced. The same rule applies with regard to shooting arrows in hunting.
(5:97) Allah has appointed the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, as a means of support for (the collective life of) men, and has caused the holy month (of Pilgrimage), and the animals of sacrificial of-fering and their distinguishing collars to assist therein. This is so that you may know that Allah is aware of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; and that Allah has knowledge of everything.
113. In Arabia, the Ka’bah was not merely a sacred place of worship. Thanks to its central position and its sanctity, it nurtured the economic and cultural life of the whole peninsula. Since the entire populace was drawn towards the Ka’bah for the performance of Hajj and ‘Umrah, their coming together brought about a measure of unity in the life of the Arabs which was otherwise rent with disunity. This enabled the people of various regions and tribes to establish social and cultural ties among themselves. Moreover, the security which reigned in the vicinity of the Ka’bah provided an impetus to creative literary activity, with the result that in the fairs held in the sacred territory, poets placed their poetic compositions before the audience, trying to excel one another. This led to the growth and flowering of their language and literature. Thanks, again, to the peace and security which reigned in the sacred territory, it became a major centre of trade and commerce. Moreover, since certain months of the year were regarded as sacred months in which there could be no bloodshed, the Arabs enjoyed peace and security for about a quarter of the year. It was during this period that caravans moved in freedom and with ease from one end of the peninsula to the other. The custom of consecrating animals for sacrifice, marked off from others by the collars around their necks, also facilitated the movement of caravans, for whenever the Arabs saw those animals with their collars signifying consecration for sacrifice, they-bent their heads in reverence and no predatory tribe had the courage to molest them.
114. Were they to consider even the social and economic aspects of the life of their people, the existing arrangements would provide them with clear testimony to the fact that God has deep and thorough knowledge of the interests and requirements of His creatures, and that He can ensure immensely beneficial effects on many sectors of human life by just one single commandment. During the several centuries of anarchy and disorder which preceded the advent of the Prophet (peace be on him), the Arabs were themselves unaware of their own interests and seemed bent upon self-destruction. God, however, was aware of their needs and requirements and by merely investing the Ka’bah with a central position in Arabia He ensured their national survival. Even if they disregarded innumerable other facts and reflected on this alone they would become convinced that the injunctions revealed by God were conducive to their well-being, and that underlying them were a great many benefits and advantages for them which they themselves could neither have grasped nor achieved by their own contriving.
(6:38) There is no animal that crawls on the earth, no bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book (of decree). Then to their Lord will they all be mustered.
There is no commentary by Abul Maududi available for this verse.
(6:146) And to those who had Judaized We have forbidden all beasts with claws, and the fat of oxen and sheep except the fat which is either on their backs or their entrails, or that which sticks to the bones. Thus did We requite them for their rebellion. Surely We state the Truth.
122. This is discussed at three places in the Qur’an. (Surah Al-Imran, ayat 93) states: ‘All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel made unlawful to themselves before the revelation of the Torah. Tell them: “Bring the Torah and recite any passage of it if you are truthful”.’ (Surah Al-Nisa, ayat 160) mentions that because of the misdeeds of the Children of Israel: ‘We forbade them many clean things which had earlier been made lawful to them.’ And now the present verse says that because of the transgression of the Jews, God forbade unto them ‘all beasts with claws; and the fat of oxen and the sheep except the fat which is either on their backs or their entrails or that which sticks to the bones’. If these three verses are taken together, it becomes clear that the differences between Islamic law and Jewish law with regard to what is lawful and what is unlawful in animal foods stem from two considerations. First, that several centuries before the revelation of the Torah, Isra’il (Jacob, peace be on him) had given up the use of certain things, which his descendants also abstained from consuming. The result was that Jewish jurists considered them to be absolutely unlawful and recorded their prohibition in the Torah. They included the camel, the hare and the rock-badger, the prohibition of which is mentioned in the fragments of the Torah embodied in the Bible. (See Leviticus ll: 4; Deuteronomy 14: 7) But the Our’an challenges the Jews to come forward with the Torah itself and show where any of those things had been declared unlawful. Their inability to do so shows that those interdictions must have been later interpolations into the Torah.
Second, when the Jews rebelled against the Law revealed by God and set themselves up as their own law-givers, they made several things unlawful for themselves, and as a punishment God allowed them to remain a prey to that misunderstanding. These include birds with claws such as the ostrich, seagull and water-hen, and also the fat of oxen and sheep. In the Bible prohibitions of these kinds have been interpolated among the injunctions of the Torah. (See Leviticus 3:17; 7:22-3; ll:16-18; Deuteronomy 14:14-16.) But (Surah Al-Nisa, ayat 160) shows that those things had not been made unlawful by the Torah itself. They had rather been prohibited after the time of Jesus, and history bears witness to the fact that the present Jewish law was given a definitive formulation by the Jewish jurist, Yehudah, towards the end of the second century of the Christian calendar.
It might be asked in view of what has been mentioned above, why the expression ‘We forbade for them’ is employed in (Surah Al-Nisa, ayat 160) The answer is that declaration through a Prophet or a heavenly Book is not God’s only way of prohibiting. Another way is to allow fraudulent law-makers and sham jurists to gain predominating influence upon God’s rebels. These in turn deprive them of many good, clean things of life by making them believe that they are prohibited. The first kind of prohibition is an act of His mercy, whereas the second kind is in the nature of a curse and punishment from God.
(16:115) Allah has forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine; also any animal over which the name of any other than Allah has been pronounced. But whoever eats of them under compelling necessity – neither desiring it nor exceeding the limit of absolute necessity – surely for such action Allah is Much Forgiving, Most Merciful.