Great Dental Coverage! 3 Months FREE! B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m Teachings of the Qur`aan Al-Maaidah Soorah 5 Aayah 3 Ayub A.Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2006View Source
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B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m___________________________________
The first verse of this Soorah had given the general rule that the animals allowed for food are those that are similar to the Arabian livestock (camels, cattle, sheep, goats). It also indicated that there are certain exceptions and conditions that apply to these animals that are allowable under this general rule and that they would be shortly reiterated. The next verse, verse 3, gives those commands in detail. They were previously mentioned in Al-Baqarah verse 173, but now they are being given with additional details as the final commands in this regard.
3 Forbidden to you for food are: Dead animals, blood, pork, and whatever has been consecrated to anyone other than Allaah or slaughtered mentioning a name other than Allaah’s, including animals killed by strangulation, by a violent blow, by a fall, by goring of horns, that which wild beasts have killed to eat unless you slaughter it while it is still alive, and what is sacrificed on altars or religious monuments (associated with anyone besides Allaah). Also forbidden is dividing up through a raffle or making decisions based on the outcome of divining tools. These are all transgressions. Now the disbelievers have given up their hopes about dissuading you away from your Deen, so do not fear them but fear Me. This day, I have perfected for you your Deen and completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a Deen. However, if someone is compelled by starvation, without wilfully inclining to sin, then surely Allaah is Forgiving, Merciful.
As mentioned earlier, the first requirement is that the animal must not be of a kind prohibited for consumption,as food such as the beasts or birds of prey, but it should be of a kind allowed in Islam such as herbivorous quadrupeds similar to Arabian livestock. However, specifically prohibited is eating the meat of any animal belonging to the swine species. Although some people may think of them as being similar to the allowed animals, the Qur-aan makes swine a clear exception and disallows eating of all pork products.
If the animal is of the right kind, the next requirement is that it must not be a dead animal. It must be deliberately and purposefully slaughtered for human consumption with the pronouncement of Allaah’s name according to the teachings of Islam. The Islamic method of slaughter is that the main arteries of the neck and the windpipe are cut with a single fatal strike of a super-sharp instrument without severing the spinal cord so that the blood is fully drained out of all the blood vessels, including the tiniest capillaries, and so that the animal dies because of the loss of blood. If an animal is not purposefully slaughtered for human consumption -- it dies accidentally, or it is slaughtered without reciting Allaah’s name -- it is considered a “dead animal” disallowed for consumption by a believer. Thus, according to Islamic regulations, a dead animal is not only the animal that died of natural causes or sickness, but also any animal that is not slaughtered properly. To remove any confusion about this point, the verse itself describes that consumption of meat from any animal killed in any other way is disallowed. It does so by listing animals that have been killed by strangulation, a violent blow, falling, goring of horns or wild beasts and bird of prey – unless after being hurt because of any of the aforementioned causes, the animal is found alive and is deliberately slaughtered reciting Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala’s name in the Islamic manner before it dies of the wounds.
The third prohibition is that the blood from circulation system (the heart, arteries, capillaries, veins, etc.) of any animal is disallowed as a food item in any form. It is one of the reasons that the Islamic method of slaughter is designed to ensure a complete drainage of blood from every part of the animal. When the major arteries and the windpipeare severed with a super sharp instrument, it cuts the supply of the blood to the brain while leaving the nervous system intact. This lets the nervous system squeeze every drop of blood from every cell of the flesh in an effort to provide it to the brain. Thus, it drains the blood completely, while at the same time, it is the most humane and least painful way of slaughtering an animal because depriving the brain immediately of oxygen and blood makes the animal numb, unable to feel pain.
Another matter that makes any animal disallowed for human consumption is that it is slaughtered in anyone else’s name other than Allaah’s or if it is consecrated to anyone other than Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. If it is consecrated to anyone other than Allaah, its meat remains disallowed, even if Allaah’s name is recited while slaughtering it. Similarly, if an animal is slaughtered at any altar or religious monument that is associated with anyone besides Allaah, it is also disallowed for consumption, even if it is slaughtered reciting Allaah’s name.
These rules had been in force in the Sharee‘ah of all prophets. The same rules applied during the time of Ibraaheem, Moosa and ‘Eesa`alayhimussalaam. They were contained in their Scriptures to be consistently applied through the ages. Unfortunately, one of the major areas that is manipulated by Shayŧaan to misguide people is the area of rules about Ĥalaal and Ĥaraam. He incites people to invent their own customs and traditions which are deviant from Islamic rules, and thus are in disobedience to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. People usually become so devoted to their customs and traditions that even when they adopt Islamic practices, they remain sensitive about their customs and find it hard to violate them. In that way, it becomes Shirk (equating others with Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala).
Arabs had also developed many such practices, while thinking all along that they were following the way of Ibraaheem`alayhissalaam. When the Qur-aan explained the true Islamic teachings practiced by Ibraaheem`alayhissalaam and indicated the baselessness of some of their self-invented traditions, some Muslims were reluctant to violate those traditions. This issue was discussed during the Makkan period in Soorah Al-An‘aam. Then, the basic rules were reiterated in Soorah Al-Baqarah, verse 173. While explaining that verse, we had given examples of such heresies of the people of the past and the present.
Currently, the Christians have generally abandoned pronouncing Allaah’s name while slaughtering animals for food. In other words, they are eating dead animals according to the definition of dead animal by the Qur-aan. Many Muslims living in Christian dominated societies who face difficulty in finding resources to slaughter animals in the Islamic manner have tried to cope with such issues by interpreting the commands of the Qur-aan in a way to suit their needs. One of the new heresies in this regard is the suggestion that one can pronounce Allaah’s name while cutting or eating the meat that was slaughtered without pronouncing Allaah’s name. This is a baseless, heretical idea.
The mention of Allaah’s name in this context means mentioning it at the time of slaughtering, not at the time of eating. Eating with Allaah’s name is a different Islamic practice that applies to all food, not merely the meat products. The fact that it was to be done at the time of slaughter was clearly understood in the Arab society at that time. That is why the Qur-aan uses the phrase “mention of Allaah’s name” as if it was well known to be at the time of slaughter. For example, the Muslims in Makkah should have had no hesitation to eat meat of a Ĥalaal (allowed) animal that was slaughtered in Allaah’s name. They should have refused to eat the meat of a Ĥalaal animal only when it was slaughtered without pronouncing Allaah’s name. But some Muslims were reluctant to eat a Ĥalaal animal which had been slaughtered in the name of Allaah, if eating of such an animal was against Arabian traditions. They were told the following:
"So eat of that on which Allaah’s name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His signs. And why should you not eat of that upon which the name of Allaah has been mentioned." (Al-An‘aam 6:118-119)
And do not eat of that upon which Allaah’s name has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is a grave disobedience. (Al-An‘aam 6:121)
Thus, they were clearly told that if an animal is Ĥalaal, the only thing that should stop a Muslim from eating it is if it slaughtered without pronouncing the name of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. The point which should be noted is that the Qur-aan uses “mention of Allaah’s name” for expressing “the act of slaughtering with the mention of Allaah’s name”, as if they both are one and the same thing. In fact, the mention of Allaah’s name is such an integral part of slaughtering an animal for food that the Holy Qur-aan uses “mention of Allaah’s name” to describe “the act of slaughtering an animal while reciting or pronouncing Allaah’s name”. For example, “mentioning Allaah’s name” has been used for “slaughtering while mentioning Allaah’s name” in the following two verses of Al-Ĥajj:
For every nation We have designated a rite to mention the name of Allaah over what He has provided for them of the livestock… And the sacrificial animals We have designated as Allaah’s symbols. For you therein is good. So mention the name of Allaah upon them as they are lined up (for sacrifice). (Al-Ĥajj 22:34 and 36)
Thus, it is clear from the above that firstly, the animal must be Ĥalaal (herbivorous quadruped similar to the Arabian livestock, but excluding swine), then it must not be a dead animal but the one that has been slaughtered purposefully for food while pronouncing Allaah’s name in the Islamic manner, ensuring the complete drainage of the blood and the most humane slaughter.
Also prohibited is any food consecrated to anyone other than Allaah or offered at any altar or religious monument associated with anyone other than Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
Another trend that has recently become quite common is that people want to find out the reasons and rationale for Islamic prohibitions. As we stated while discussing the first verse of this Soorah, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala does not give the reasons or rationale for commands. In the absence of explicit reasons given by Allaah Himself, people try to second-guess the intentions of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and His rationale for decisions. In the case of food items, they try to interpret His commands from the perspective of physical health. This is done especially by those Muslims who feel pressured by their non-Muslims friends when asked about why they do you not eat certain things. Instead of boldly and proudly declaring that Muslims do not because their Lord has so commanded, they take an apologetic approach and try to “prove” the health reasons as to why Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has forbidden what He has forbidden. As will be evident from the list of prohibitions mentioned in this verse, they are not necessarily forbidden for their physical impact on our health, but for many other moral, spiritual and psychological reasons, all of which we have no way or means of knowing. Someone may ask why Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has not given us the reasons? Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has not given us the reasons because as our Lord, He does not have to give reasons to His slaves. Slaves should just submit and obey without asking for reasons. But even if Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala would have given us those reasons, many of those would be beyond our comprehension or beyond our means to verify them. We would not be in any better position than being not told at all. These points have been discussed in very much detail in the author’s books “Islam – Adopting its Paradigms” and “Succeeding as a Muslim”.
There is still one more prohibition contained in the verse under discussion: “Dividing up through raffle”. How is this matter related to the other prohibitions mentioned in this verse and what are its implications?
Young Arab men at that time used to have drinking parties where, in the heat of the party, they would slaughter a camel that they could get their hands on, divide its meat into portions and then gamble on each portion or raffle it off. The winning persons would then barbecue it, eat it and serve it to the party participants and to anyone who came to partake in it. This partying went all through the night. Many poor people would gather at the news of such a party to avail the free food. The winners who provided the meat they won could boast their generosity and build a reputation. It was their version of having fun and helping the poor also have fun. However, it was not always fun. Often, as is common in such parties, fights would breakout that would set out long tribal wars.
Because the verse is discussing the rules about the consumption of meat, the Qur-aan has taken this opportunity to outlaw this practice of dividing meat. As is the normal Qur-aanic style, when an opportunity arises to give a pronouncement on a matter, it responds to the specific opportunity but does it in such a general manner that all other related matters are covered. In this case, although the raffling of the meat was the main consideration, it gave its pronouncement in a manner to outlaw all kinds of raffles including the following:
Seeking to make decisions on the basis of the outcome of divining tools in an effort to find the decision of a god, matters of unseen, best course of action, settling disputes and the like. The Arabs thought that their idol Hubal helped them in these matters. The caretaker of Hubal kept seven arrows with various inscriptions on them. People would come, make a tributary offering and put their matter for divination. The caretaker would draw an arrow to provide the response from the idol. People of 21st century use many different tools for the same purpose. Use of any such tools where a decision is based on a chance occurrence is totally outlawed by this verse. The prohibition extends to other superstitious practices such as making decisions on the basis of horoscope or Tarot card readings, etc.
Any raffling or lottery where a winner or a few winners of the pooled money or purse are decided by drawing a lot is also outlawed by this verse. Thus, a Muslim cannot participate in a lottery even if it is for a very worthy cause and even if the chances of winning are high. This, of course, includes “playing” the Lotto 6/49 types of games, regardless of the size of the purse, or joining a football or hockey pool.
There is only one exception to the abovementioned raffle/lottery prohibition. If there are two parties equally eligible for something and there is no identifiable reason to favour one over other, lottery can be used to decide a matter between them.
After completing the mention of prohibitions, the Qur-aan makes a categoric statement emphasizing that violating any of the prohibitions will be a grave disobedience or transgression. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala considers these matters serious. People should not take any of them lightly.
The next phrase of the verse indicates that these rules are a part of Deen – the Islamic system of excellence, justice and peace – and, indicates that the establishment of Deen in the Islamic state of Madeenah has entered into a new phase. Islamic system has become well-rooted in the society with its own body of laws, culture and civilization that have become deeply entrenched in the society of Muslims. Previously, the disbelievers were hoping that they would be able to overpower Muslims and force them to abandon the Islamic system or influence them to make compromises in adopting Islamic practices. But now, they have seen the writing on the wall. They know that whatever they do, they can no more uproot the Islamic system from the Muslim society or expect Muslims to make any compromises to appease them. The kind of social system and culture pertaining to matters of daily life that Islam has put in place will permanently create separation between the existing Arab culture and the Islamic culture. There will be no meeting ground in the middle. For Muslims, it means that anyone who violates any of these commands cannot use the excuse that he was forced to violate them by the pressures of the society. His violation will be a clear indication that he wanted to violate on his own and that is why it happened.
The next part of the verse declares the completion and perfection of Deen in terms of the rules about food as well as alludes to the perfection of Islam as the system of life that is prescribed and approved by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. The process that started with Adam`alayhissalaam is now completed with the pronouncement made in this Soorah. Those who desire to establish a lifestyle that creates an ideal and the most beautiful human society have available to them the complete guidance contained in the Qur-aan. They do not need to look anywhere else for guidance in that respect. Not only has the conceptual information been provided but also the Prophet Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam has practically established the Deen and demonstrated for the benefit of everyone as to how it should be established. The completion of Deen cannot happen until its opponents give up disappointed in their opposition to Islam.
Also, the inclusion of this declaration of perfection of Deen in this verse is indicative of the importance of Islamic rules about food without which Deen is not complete.
This perfect Deen is a great blessing and bounty of Allaah because it allows human beings to excel and human society to be at its best, permeated with excellence, justice, peace and human dignity. It is actually a great manifestation of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala’s mercy for the people of the world that He has taken it upon Himself to guide them aright through Islam. To ensure that people realize the full benefit from this act of His mercy, it is the only system of life (Deen) that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala wants people to follow and has approved for them. In fact, Islam was always the only Deen Allaah had approved for people and revealed to people through previous prophets and messengers. Other religions such as Judaism and Christianity are deviations from Islam, not the religions of the prophets.
Although Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala’s commands in themselves are His mercy for those who follow them, being extremely merciful, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has provided an exception for those who may be in a desperate life threatening situation. If someone is starving and is in danger of dying because of the starvation, such a person can eat of the prohibited food provided it is taken only as much as the minimum quantity necessary to save one’s life, without inclining towards violating Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala’s command.
 And do not eat of that upon which Allaah’s name has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is a grave disobedience. Al-An‘aam 6:121
Next: Verses 4 - 5
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The following soorahs of 'Teachings of the Qur`aan' series by Ustaadz Ayub A. Hamid, are available upon request.Al-Faatihah: The First Verse of the Qur`aan - Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-RaheemAl-Faatihah: Part 1: Name, Background, Teachings and Commentary.Al-Faatihah: Part 2: The Significance and Summary.Al Baqarah: Name, Background and TopicsAl Baqarah: The Letters: Alif, Laam, Meem - Aayah 1Al Baqarah: 2:2-5 / 2:6-7 / 2:8-16 / 2:17-20 / 2:21-25 / 2:26-27 / 2:28-29 / 2:30-33 / 2:34-39 / 2:40-46 / 2:47-56 / 2:57-61 / 2:62 / 2:63-66 / 2:67-74 / 2:75-77 / 2:78-82 / 2:83-86/ 2:87-88 / 2:89-91 / 2:92-98 / 2:99-103 / 2:104-107 / 2:108-110 / 2:111-114 / 2:115-118 / 2:119-121 / 2:122-124 / 2:125 / 2:126 / 2:127-129 / 2:130-134 / 2:135-141/ A Summary Review of the Context / 2:142-143 / 2:144-152 / 2:153-157 / 2:158-162 / 2:163-167 / 2:168-176 / 2:177
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