Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 3 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 3
Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah, and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
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.
Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, 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 – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) – and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion and blood and swineflesh, and that which hath been dedicated unto any other than Allah, and the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which hath been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which ye make lawful (by the death-stroke), and that which hath been immolated unto idols. And (forbidden is it) that ye swear by the divining arrows. This is an abomination. This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Prohibited to you are carrion, (i.e. dead meat) and blood, and the flesh of swine, and what has been acclaimed to other than Allah, and the strangled, and the beaten (to death), and the toppled (to death), and the gored (to death), and that eaten by wild beasts of prey-excepting what you have immolated-and whatever has been slain on the altars (for the idols), and that you adjure division (i.e. by gambling with arrows or in any similar way) by divining: that is immorality. Today the ones who have disbelieved have despaired of your religion, so do not be apprehensive of them and be apprehensive of Me. Today I have completed your religion for you, and I have perfected My favor on you, and I am satisfied with Islam as a religion for you. And whoever is constrained in scantiness, (i.e., compelled by need) without unfairly (inclining) to vice, then surely Allah is EverForgiving, Ever-Merciful.
You are forbidden to eat carrion; blood; pig’s meat; any animal over which any name other than God’s has been invoked; any animal strangled, or victim of a violent blow or a fall, or gored or savaged by a beast of prey, unless you still slaughter it [in the correct manner]; or anything sacrificed on idolatrous altars. You are also forbidden to allot shares [of meat] by drawing marked arrows -a heinous practice- today the disbelievers have lost all hope that you will give up your religion. Do not fear them: fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed My blessing upon you, and chosen as your religion islam: [total devotion to God]; but if any of you is forced by hunger to eat forbidden food, with no intention of doing wrong, then God is most forgiving and merciful.
تم پر حرام کیا گیا مردار اور خون اور خنزیر کا گوشت اور جس پر اللہ کے سوا دوسرے کا نام پکارا گیا ہو اور جو گلا گھٹنے سے مرا ہو اور جو کسی ضرب سے مر گیا ہو اور جو اونچی جگہ سے گر کر مرا ہو اور جو کسی کے سینگ مارنے سے مرا ہو اور جسے درندوں نے پھاڑ کھایا ہو لیکن اسے تم ذبح کر ڈالو تو حرام نہیں اور جو آستانوں پر ذبح کیا گیا ہو اور یہ بھی کہ قرعہ کے تیروں کے ذریعے فال گیری کرو یہ سب بدترین گناه ہیں، آج کفار تمہارے دین سے ناامید ہوگئے، خبردار! تم ان سے نہ ڈرنا اور مجھ سے ڈرتے رہنا، آج میں نے تمہارے لئے دین کو کامل کردیا اور تم پر اپنا انعام بھرپور کردیا اور تمہارے لئے اسلام کے دین ہونے پر رضامند ہوگیا۔ پس جو شخص شدت کی بھوک میں بے قرار ہو جائے بشرطیکہ کسی گناه کی طرف اس کا میلان نہ ہو تو یقیناً اللہ تعالیٰ معاف کرنے واﻻ اور بہت بڑا مہربان ہے
Quran 5 Verse 3 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 3, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(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.
3. Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals), blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for other 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 ـand that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal ـunless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) – and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to make decisions with Al-Azlam (arrows) (all) that is Fisq (disobedience and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. 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.
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,
(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,
(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,
(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,
(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,
(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,
(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,
(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.
((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,
((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.”
(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,
(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;
(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,
(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.
(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,
(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.
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