Surah Al-Ma’idah >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 4 (5:4)

Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 4 in Arabic Text

يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَآ أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ ۖ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتُ ۙ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُم مِّنَ ٱلْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِمَّآ أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱسْمَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَرِيعُ ٱلْحِسَابِ
Yas’aloonaka maazaaa uhilla lahum; qul uhilla lakumuttaiyibaatu wa maa’allamtum minal jawaarihi mukallibeena tu’allimoonahunnamimmaa ‘allamakumul laahu fakuloo mimmaaa amsakna ‘alaikum wazkurus mal laahi ‘alaih; wattaqul laah; innal laaha saree’ul hisaab

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 4

Sahih International
They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah.” Indeed, Allah is swift in account.

Yusuf Ali
They ask thee what is lawful to them (as food). Say: lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure: and what ye have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah: eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.

Abul Ala Maududi
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.’

Muhsin Khan
They ask you (O Muhammad SAW) what is lawful for them (as food). Say: “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat [all kind of Halal (lawful-good) foods which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits, etc.)]. And those beasts and birds of prey which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Swift in reckoning.”

Pickthall
They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah’s name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account.

Dr. Ghali
They ask you what is made lawful for them. Say, “The good things are made lawful to you, and (such) hunting creatures as you teach, (training them) as hounds, teaching them (part) of what Allah has taught you.” So eat of whatever they hold back for you, and mention the Name of Allah over it. And be pious to Allah, surely Allah is swift at the reckoning.

Abdel Haleem
They ask you, Prophet, what is lawful for them. Say, ‘All good things are lawful for you.’ [This includes] what you have taught your birds and beasts of prey to catch, teaching them as God has taught you, so eat what they catch for you, but first pronounce God’s name over it. Be mindful of God: He is swift to take account.

Quran 5 Verse 4 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 4, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(5:4) They ask you what has been made lawful to them. Say: ‘All clean things have been made lawful to you,[18] 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[19] – but invoke the name of Allah on it.[20] 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.

Ibn-Kathir

4. They ask you what is lawful for them. Say: “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat (the good things). And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is swift in reckoning.”


Clarifying the Lawful

In the previous Ayah Allah mentioned the prohibited types of food, the impure and unclean things, harmful for those who eat them, either to their bodies, religion or both, except out of necessity,

﴿وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُم مَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلاَّ مَا اضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ﴾

(while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity) After that, Allah said,

﴿يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَآ أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَـتُ﴾

(They ask you what is lawful for them. Say, “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat…”) In Surat Al-A`raf Allah describes Muhammad allowing the good things and prohibiting the filthy things. Muqatil said, “At-Tayyibat includes everything Muslims are allowed and the various types of legally earned provision.” Az-Zuhri was once asked about drinking urine for medicinal purposes and he said that it is not a type of Tayyibat.” Ibn Abi Hatim also narrated this statement. Using Jawarih to Hunt Game is Permissible Allah said,

﴿وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ﴾

(And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds…) That is, lawful for you are the animals slaughtered in Allah’s Name, and the good things for sustenance. ﴿The game you catch﴾ with the Jawarih are also lawful for you. This refers to trained dogs and falcons, as is the opinion of the majority of the Companions, their followers, and the Imams. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,

﴿وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ﴾

(And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds…) refers to trained hunting dogs, falcons and all types of birds and beasts that are trained to hunt, including dogs, wild cats, falcons, and so forth. Ibn Abi Hatim collected this and said, “Similar was reported from Khaythamah, Tawus, Mujahid, Makhul and Yahya bin Abi Kathir.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “You are permitted the animal that the trained birds, such as falcons, hunt for you if you catch it (before it eats from it). Otherwise, do not eat from it.” I say, the majority of scholars say that hunting with trained birds is just like hunting with trained dogs, because bird’s of prey catch the game with their claws, just like dogs. Therefore, there is no difference between the two. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said that he asked the Messenger of Allah about the game that the falcon hunts and the Messenger said,

«مَا أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْكَ فَكُل»

(Whatever it catches for you, eat from it.) These carnivores that are trained to catch game are called Jawarih in Arabic, a word that is derived from Jarh, meaning, what one earns. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so has Jaraha something good for his family,” meaning, he has earned them something good. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so does not have a Jarih for him,” meaning, a caretaker. Allah also said,

﴿وَيَعْلَمُ مَا جَرَحْتُم بِالنَّهَارِ﴾

(And He knows what you have done during the day…) meaning, the good or evil you have earned or committed. Allah’s statement,

﴿مُكَلِّبِينَ﴾

(trained as hounds,) those Jawarih that have been trained to hunt as hounds with their claws or talons. Therefore, if the game is killed by the weight of its blow, not with its claws, then we are not allowed to eat from the game. Allah said,

﴿تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ﴾

(training them in the manner as directed to you by Allah, ) as when the beast is sent, it goes after the game, and when it catches it, it keeps it until its owner arrives and does not catch it to eat it itself. This is why Allah said here,

﴿فَكُلُواْ مِمَّآ أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ﴾

(so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it,) When the beast is trained, and it catches the game for its owner who mentioned Allah’s Name when he sent the beast after the game, then this game is allowed according to the consensus of scholars, even if it was killed. There are Hadiths in the Sunnah that support this statement. The Two Sahihs recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said, “I said, `O Allah’s Messenger! I send hunting dogs and mention Allah’s Name.’ He replied,

«إِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ الْمُعَلَّمَ وَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللهِ فَكُلْ مَا أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْك»

(If, with mentioning Allah’s Name, you let loose your tamed dog after a game and it catches it, you may eat what it catches.) I said, `Even if it kills the game’ He replied,

«وَإِنْ قَتَلْنَ، مَا لَمْ يَشْرَكْهَا كَلْبٌ لَيْسَ مِنْهَا، فَإِنَّكَ إِنَّمَا سَمَّيْتَ عَلى كَلْبِكَ وَلَمْ تُسَمِّ عَلى غَيْرِه»

(Even if it kills the game, unless another dog joins the hunt, for you mentioned Allah’s Name when sending your dog, but not the other dog.) I said, `I also use the Mi`rad and catch game with it.’ He replied,

«إِذَا رَمَيْتَ بِالْمِعْرَاضِ فَخَزقَ فَكُلْهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ بِعَرْضٍ فَإِنَّهُ وَقِيذٌ فَلَا تَأْكُلْه»

(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.) In another narration, the Prophet said,

«وَإِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ فَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللهِ، فَإِنْ أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْكَ، فَأَدْرَكْتَهُ حَيًّا فَاذْبَحُهُ، وَإِنْ أَدْرَكْتَهُ قَدْ قَتَلَ وَلَمْ يَأْكُلْ مِنْهُ فَكُلْهُ، فَإِنَّ أَخْذَ الْكَلْبِ ذَكَاتُه»

(If you send your hunting dog, then mention Allah’s Name and whatever it catches for you and you find alive, slaughter it. If you catch the game dead and the dog did not eat from it, then eat from it, for the dog has caused its slaughter to be fulfilled.) In yet another narration of two Sahihs, the Prophet said,

«فَإِنْ أَكَلَ فَلَا تَأْكُلْ، فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَمْسَكَ عَلى نَفْسِه»

(If the dog eats from the game, do not eat from it for I fear that it has caught it as prey for itself.)

Mention Allah’s Name Upon Sending the Predators to Catch the Game

Allah said,

﴿فَكُلُواْ مِمَّآ أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ﴾

(so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it,) meaning, upon sending it. The Prophet said to `Adi bin Hatim,

«إِذَا أَرَسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ الْمُعَلَّمَ، وَذَكَرْتَ اسْمَ اللهِ، فَكُلْ مَا أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْك»

(When you send your trained dog and mention Allah’s Name, eat from what it catches for you.) It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Tha`labah related that the Prophet said,

«إِذَا أَرْسَلْتَ كَلْبَكَ فَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللهِ، وَإِذَا رَمَيْتَ بِسَهْمِكَ فَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ الله»

(If you send your hunting dog, mention Allah’s Name over it. If you shoot an arrow, mention Allah’s Name over it.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented,

﴿وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ﴾

(but pronounce the Name of Allah over it,) “When you send a beast of prey, say, `In the Name of Allah!’ If you forget, then there is no harm.” It was also reported that this Ayah commands mentioning Allah’s Name upon eating. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah taught his stepson `Umar bin Abu Salamah saying,

«سَمِّ اللهَ وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيك»

(Mention Allah’s Name, eat with your right hand and eat from the part of the plate that is in front of you.) Al-Bukhari recorded that `A’ishah said, “They asked, `O Allah’s Messenger! Some people, – recently converted from disbelief – bring us some meats that we do not know if Allah’s Name was mentioned over or not.’ He replied,

«سَمُّوا اللهَ أَنْتُمْ وَكُلُوا»

(Mention Allah’s Name on it and eat from it.)”

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