Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 1 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 1
O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur’an] – hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends.
O ye who believe! fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals, with the exceptions named: But animals of the chase are forbidden while ye are in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb: for Allah doth command according to His will and plan.
Believers! Honour your bonds! All grazing beasts of the flock are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter, but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of Ihram (a state of pilgrim sanctity). Indeed Allah decrees as He wills.
O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.
O ye who believe! Fulfil your indentures. The beast of cattle is made lawful unto you (for food) except that which is announced unto you (herein), game being unlawful when ye are on the pilgrimage. Lo! Allah ordaineth that which pleaseth Him.
O you who have believed, fulfil your contracts. The brute of cattle (Ancam = cattle, camels, sheepand goats) has been made lawful to you, except whatever is (now) recited to you without violating the prohibition against (game) hunting (Literally: making hunting lawful) when you are in pilgrim sanctity (i.e. whether in the Inviolable precincts or in the special garment). Surely Allah judges (according to) whatever He wills.
You who believe, fulfil your obligations. Livestock animals are lawful as food for you, with the exception of what is about to be announced to you. You are forbidden to kill game while you are on pilgrimage––God commands what He will,
Quran 5 Verse 1 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 1, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(5:1) Believers! Honour your bonds! All grazing beasts of the flock are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter, but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of Ihram (a state of pilgrim sanctity). Indeed Allah decrees as He wills.
1. People should abide by the limitations and prohibitions laid down in this surah and elsewhere in the law of God. This brief introductory statement is followed by an enunciation of those prohibitions which people are required to observe.
2. The Arabic word an’am (cattle) denotes camels, oxen, sheep and goats, whereas the word bahimah means all grazing quadrupeds. Had God said that an’am had been made lawful for them, this permission would have included only those animals to which the term an’am is applicable. But the terms in which the injunction is conveyed are bahimat al-an’am (all grazing beasts of the flock). Hence the permission is of wider import and embraces all grazing quadrupeds of the cattle type, i.e. which do not possess canine teeth, which feed on plants rather than animals, and which resemble the cattle found in Arabia in other characteristics. This implies that the flesh of those animals which have canine teeth and are carnivorous is not permissible. This implication was elucidated by the Prophet (peace be on him) and is embodied in a tradition in which he prohibited those beasts which kill and eat other animals. Likewise, the Prophet (peace be on him) also prohibited birds with claws and those that feed on carrion. According to a tradition transmitted by Ibn ‘Abbas: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) prohibited all beasts with canine teeth and all birds with claws.’ (Bukhari, Dhaba’ih’, 28, 29; ‘Tibb’, 53; Abu Da’ud, ‘At’imah’, 32; Tirmidhi, ‘At’imah’, 9, 11; Muslim, ‘Sayd’, 11-16; Nasa’i, ‘Sayd wa Dhaba’ih’, 28, 30, 33; Ibn Majah, Sayd’, 13; etc. – Ed.)
3. Ihram is the name of the simple apparel worn at the time of Pilgrimage. In every direction around the Ka’bah, there are certain fixed points beyond which no Pilgrim may proceed without donning this special Pilgrim’s garment in place of his normal clothes. This apparel consists of two sheets of untailored cloth, one of which is wrapped around the lower part of the body while the other is thrown over the upper part. This manner of dressing is termed ihram because once a man has assumed it he must treat as prohibited a number of things which are ordinarily lawful, for example either shaving or trimming the hair, or using perfumes and other items of toiletry and the gratification of sexual desires. These restrictions also extend to both killing and hunting, and to leading anyone else to either kill or hunt an animal.
4. God is the absolute sovereign and has absolute authority to issue whatever command He might will. His creatures do not have the right to complain about any of these orders. Even though wisdom (hikmah) underlies the ordinances of God, a true believer does not obey them because he considers them either appropriate or conducive to his best interests. He obeys them simply because they are the ordinances of his Lord. He holds unlawful all that God has declared unlawful, because God has so decreed it; whatever He has declared lawful is regarded as such for no other reason than that God, the Lord of all, has allowed His servants the use of it. Hence the Qur’an establishes very firmly the principle that nothing except permission from the Lord – or lack of it – is to be taken into consideration in deciding what is lawful and what is not.
1. O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram. Verily, Allah commands that which He wills. 2. O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the Hady brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands, nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram, then hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression. Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that a man came to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud and said to him, “Advise me.” He said, “When you hear Allah’s statement,
(O you who believe!) then pay full attention, for it is a righteous matter that He is ordaining or an evil thing that He is forbidding.” Khaythamah said, “Everything in the Qur’an that reads,
(O you who believe!) reads in the Tawrah, `O you who are in need.”’ Allah said,
(Fulfill (your) obligations.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said that `obligations’ here means treaties. Ibn Jarir mentioned that there is a consensus for this view. Ibn Jarir also said that it means treaties, such as the alliances that they used to conduct. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented:
(O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.) “Refers to the covenants, meaning, what Allah permitted, prohibited, ordained and set limits for in the Qur’an. Therefore, do not commit treachery or break the covenants. Allah emphasized this command when He said,
(And those who break the covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined,) until,
(unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell).)” Ad-Dahhak said that,
(Fulfill your obligations.) “Refers to what Allah has permitted and what He has prohibited. Allah has taken the covenant from those who proclaim their faith in the Prophet and the Book to fulfill the obligations that He has ordered for them in the permissible and the impermissible.”
(Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle) camels, cows and sheep, as Al-Hasan, Qatadah and several others stated. Ibn Jarir said that this Tafsir conforms to the meaning of (`beasts of cattle’) that the Arabs had. We should mention that Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Abbas and others relied on this Ayah as evidence to allow eating the meat of the fetus if it is found dead in the belly of its slaughtered mother. There is a Hadith to the same effect collected in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah and narrated by Abu Sa`id who said, “We asked, `O Messenger of Allah! When we slaughter a camel, cow or sheep, we sometimes find a fetus in its belly, should we discard it or eat its meat’ He said,
(Eat it if you want, because its slaughter was fulfilled when its mother was slaughtered.)” At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan.” Abu Dawud recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Proper slaughter of the fetus is fulfilled with the slaughter of its mother.) Only Abu Dawud collected this narration. Allah’s statement,
(except that which will be announced to you (herein), ) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it refers to, “The flesh of dead animals, blood and the meat of swine.” Qatadah said, “The meat of dead animals and animals slaughtered without Allah’s Name being pronounced at the time of slaughtering.” It appears, and Allah knows best, that the Ayah refers to Allah’s other statement,
(Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals), blood, the flesh of swine, and what has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, 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.)﴿5:3﴾, for although the animals mentioned in this Ayah are types of permissible cattle (except for swine), they become impermissible under the circumstances that the Ayah ﴿5:3﴾ specifies. This is why Allah said afterwards,
(Unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars)) as the latter type is not permissible, because it can no longer be slaughtered properly. Hence, Allah’s statement,
(Lawful to you are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you, ) means, except the specific circumstances that prohibit some of these which will be announced to you. Allah said,
(game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram.) Some scholars said that the general meaning of `cattle’ includes domesticated cattle, such as camels, cows and sheep, and wild cattle, such as gazzelle, wild cattle and wild donkeys. Allah made the exceptions mentioned above (dead animals blood, flesh of swine etc.), and prohibited hunting wild beasts while in the state of Ihram. It was also reported that the meaning here is, “We have allowed for you all types of cattle in all circumstances, except what We excluded herewith for the one hunting game while in the state of Ihram.” Allah said,
(But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, and not transgressing, then, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) This Ayah means, “We allowed eating the meat of dead animals, when one is forced by necessity, under the condition that one is not transgressing the limits or overstepping them.” Here, Allah states, “Just as We allowed the meat of cattle in all conditions and circumstances, then do not hunt game when in the state of Ihram, for this is the decision of Allah, Who is the Most Wise in all that He commands and forbids.” So Allah said;
(Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.)
(O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of Sha’a’ir Allah (the symbols of Allah),) Ibn `Abbas said, “Sha`a’ir Allah means the rituals of Hajj.” Mujahid said, “As-Safa and Al-Marwah, and the sacrificial animal are the symbols of Allah.” It was also stated that Sha`a’ir Allah is what He prohibited. Therefore, it means, do not violate what Allah prohibited. Allah said afterwards,
(nor of the Sacred Month,) for you are required to respect and honor the Sacred Month and to refrain from what Allah forbade during it, such as fighting. This also lays emphasis on avoiding sins during that time. As Allah said;
(They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Month. Say, “Fighting therein is a great (transgression).”) and,
(Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year). ) Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that Abu Bakrah said that the Messenger of Allah said during the Farewell Hajj,
(The division of time has returned as it was when Allah created the Heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, four of which are sacred: Three are in succession, (they are) Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada (Ath-Thaniyah) and Sha’ban.) This Hadith testifies to the continued sanctity of these months until the end of time.
(nor of the Hady brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands,) means, do not abandon the practice of bringing the Hady (sacrificial animals) to the Sacred House, as this ritual is a form of honoring the symbols of Allah. Do not abandon the practice of garlanding these animals on their necks, so that they are distinguished from other cattle. This way, it will be known that these animals are intended to be offered as Hady at the Ka`bah, and thus those who might intend some harm to them would refrain from doing so. Those who see the Hady might be encouraged to imitate this ritual, and indeed, he who calls to a type of guidance, will earn rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow his lead, without decrease in their own rewards. When the Messenger of Allah intended to perform Hajj, he spent the night at Dhul-Hulayfah, which is also called Wadi Al-`Aqiq. In the morning, the Prophet made rounds with his wives, who were nine at that time, performed Ghusl (bath), applied some perfume and performed a two Rak`ah prayer. He then garlanded the Hady and announced aloud his intention to perform Hajj and `Umrah. The Prophet’s Hady at the time consisted of plenty of camels, more than sixty, and they were among the best animals, the healthiest and most physically acceptable, just as Allah’s statement proclaims,
(Thus it is, and whosoever honors the symbols of Allah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts.) Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Allah’s statement,
(nor the garlands) means, “Do not breach their sanctity.” During the time of Jahiliyyah, the people used to garland themselves with animal hair and pelts when they left their areas in months other than the Sacred Months. The idolators of the Sacred House Area used to garland themselves with the tree-stems of the Sacred Area, so that they were granted safe passage.” This statement was collected by Ibn Abi Hatim, who also recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “There are two Ayat in this Surah (Al-Ma’idah) that were abrogated, the Ayah about the garlands ﴿5:2﴾, and
(So if they come to you (O Muhammad ), either judge between them, or turn away from them.)”
(nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord.) The Ayah commands: Do not fight people who are heading towards the Sacred House of Allah, which if anyone enters it, he must be granted safe refuge. Likewise, those who are heading towards the Sacred House seeking the bounty and good pleasure of Allah, must not be stopped, prevented, or frightened away from entering the Sacred House. Mujahid, `Ata’, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mutarrif bin `Abdullah, `Abdullah bin `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Qatadah and several others said that,
(seeking the bounty of their Lord.) refers to trading. A similar discussion preceded concerning the Ayah;
(There is no sin on you if you seek the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading).) Allah said;
(and pleasure. ) Ibn `Abbas said that the word `pleasure’ in the Ayah refers to, “seeking Allah’s pleasure by their Hajj.” `Ikrimah, As-Suddi and Ibn Jarir mentioned that this Ayah was revealed concerning Al-Hutam bin Hind Al-Bakri, who had raided the cattle belonging to the people of Al-Madinah. The following year, he wanted to perform `Umrah to the House of Allah and some of the Companions wanted to attack him on his way to the House. Allah revealed,
(nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord.)
(But when you finish the Ihram, then hunt,) When you end your Ihram, it is permitted for you to hunt game, which was prohibited for you during Ihram. Although this Ayah contains a command that takes effect after the end of a state of prohibition (during Ihram in this case), the Ayah, in fact, brings back the ruling that was previously in effect. If the previous ruling was an obligation, the new command will uphold that obligation, and such is the case with recommended and permissible matters. There are many Ayat that deny that the ruling in such cases is always an obligation. Such is also the case against those who say that it is always merely allowed. What we mentioned here is the correct opinion that employs the available evidence, and Allah knows best.
(and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part).) The meaning of this Ayah is apparent, as it commands: Let not the hatred for some people, who prevented you from reaching the Sacred House in the year of Hudaybiyyah, make you transgress Allah’s Law and commit injustice against them in retaliation. Rather, rule as Allah has commanded you, being just with every one. We will explain a similar Ayah later on,
(And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety,) which commands: do not be driven by your hatred for some people into abandoning justice, for justice is ordained for everyone, in all situations. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Zayd bin Aslam said, “The Messenger of Allah and his Companions were in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah when the idolators prevented them from visiting the House, and that was especially hard on them. Later on, some idolators passed by them from the east intending to perform `Umrah. So the Companions of the Prophet said, `Let us prevent those (from `Umrah) just as their fellow idolators prevented us.’ Thereafter, Allah sent down this Ayah.” Ibn Abbas and others said that “Shana’an” refers to enmity and hate. Allah said next,
(Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa; but do not help one another in sin and transgression.) Allah commands His believing servants to help one another perform righteous, good deeds, which is the meaning of `Al-Birr’, and to avoid sins, which is the meaning of `At-Taqwa’. Allah forbids His servants from helping one another in sin, `Ithm’ and committing the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir said that, “Ithm means abandoning what Allah has ordained, while transgression means overstepping the limits that Allah set in your religion, along with overstepping what Allah has ordered concerning yourselves and others.” Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Support your brother whether he was unjust or the victim of injustice.) He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah! We know about helping him when he suffers injustice, so what about helping him when he commits injustice” He said,
(Prevent and stop him from committing injustice, and this represents giving support to him.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith through Hushaym. Ahmad recorded that one of the Companions of the Prophet narrated the Hadith,
(The believer who mingles with people and is patient with their annoyance, earns more reward than the believer who does not mingle with people and does not observe patience with their annoyance.) Muslim recorded a Hadith that states,
(He who calls to a guidance, will earn a reward similar to the rewards of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their rewards. Whoever calls to a heresy, will carry a burden similar to the burdens of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their own burdens.)
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