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Wednesday, 18 October 2017


O’ you who believe! Fulfill (all your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the all four-footed animals, except that which will be announced to you (herein); game –also- unlawful to you while you are in the Sacred Precincts, or in the pilgrim garb/Ihram (for Hajj or Umrah). Verily, God commands according to His Will and His Plan. (1) 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُمْ بَهِيمَةُ الْأَنْعَامِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنْتُمْ حُرُمٌ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ (1)

O’ you who believe! Do not violate the sanctity of the Symbols of God, nor of the Sacred month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands that mark out such animals, nor the people resorting to the Sacred House, seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you are clear of the Sacred Precincts and of pilgrim garb, you may hunt, and do not let the hatred of some people in (once) stopping/shutting/ obstructing you from the Sacred Mosque lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part); but co-operate and help one another in (the virtue of) righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear God. Verily, God is Severe in punishment. (2) 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آَمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآَنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (2)

Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat (carcass/carrion), blood, the flesh of swine, and that of which has been invoked in the name of other than God (for idols), that which has been killed by strangling, or killed by violent blow, or by headlong fall, or being gored –by horns- to death, or that has been –partly- eaten by the wild animals –unless you are able to slaughter it in due before its death-, and that which is sacrificed/slaughtered on stone/altars; (Forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day, those who disbelief/rejected faith have given up all hope of your religion, so do not fear them, 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 if any is forced severe hunger, with no inclination to transgression, then Surely God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (3)      

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَنْ تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (3)

They ask you [O’ Muhammad PPBUH]; what is lawful to them (as food). Say:”lawful to you are –all things good and pure, and what you have taught your trained hunting animals –to catch- in the manner directed to you by God, so eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of God over it; and fear God. Verily, God is Swift in taking account/reckoning”. (4)

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ فَكُلُوا مِمَّا أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ (4)

This day-Today all things good and pure are made lawful to you. The food (slaughtered eatable animals) of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians)is lawful to you, and yours is lawful to them; (lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers, and chaste women from those who were given the Book/Scripture (Jews and Christians)revealed  before your time, when you have given them their due dower, and desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. And whosoever rejects/disbelief in faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost all spiritual good. (5)     

الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آَتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (5)

This Surat deals –by way of recapitulation- with the backsliding of the Jews and Christians from their pure religions, to which the coping stone was placed by Islam. It refers particularly to the Christians, and their solemn Sacrament of the Last Supper, to whose mystic meaning they are declared to have been false.                                                                                                                                        As a logical corollary to the corruption of the earlier religions of God, the practical precepts of Islam –about food- cleanliness, justice, and fidelity are recapitulated. The third verse contains the memorable declaration:” This day I have perfected your religion for you”: which was promulgated in 10th Hijri, during the Apostle’s last pilgrimage to Mecca. Chronologically it was the last verse to be revealed.
Summary: Beginning with an appeal to fulfill –as sacred- all obligations, human and divine, it points to certain regulations about food, as conducive to a sober and social life, without superstition and without bias or hatred verses 1-5.
Cleanliness of body, and justice and uprightness of dealing are nearest to Piety -6-12.
If the Jews and Christians turned back from the Truth and violated their Covenants, they have their warning- verses 13-26.
The murder of Abel by Cain is the type of the treatment which the just man suffers from the envious. There is punishment from God. The just man must not grieve- verses 27-43.
Muslims must do impartial justice, but must protect their own Brotherhood and their Faith from insult and scorn; they must appreciate piety, humility, and other good points among the Christians- verses 44-86.
They must enjoy with gratitude all that is good and lawful, but guard themselves against excess. Swearing, intoxication, gambling, violation of Sanctuary, superstitions of all kinds, and false evidence are condemned verses 87-109.
The Miracles of Jesus and how they were misused by those who bore his name verses 110-120.
 (Verses 1-5)- All obligations are sacred, human or divine. In the spiritual world we owe duties to God, which must be fulfilled. But whilst we are in this world of sense, those duties are by no means isolated from what we owe to ourselves and our fellows in the world of men. We must respect the laws and customs of the Sacred Mosque and the Sacred Sanctuary. In food our laws are simple: all things good and pure are lawful. We refuse not social intercourse with men and women of the People of the Book.
Verse 1) - This line has been justly admired for tenseness and comprehensiveness. Obligations {Uqud - ????}: the Arabic word implies so many things that a whole chapter of commentary can be written on it. First, there are the divine obligations that arise from our spiritual nature and our relation to God. He created us and implanted in us the faculty of knowledge and foresight; besides the intuition and reason which He gave us, He made Nature responsive to our needs, and His Signs in Nature are so many lessons to us in our own inner life; He further sent Messengers and Teachers, for the guidance of our conduct in individual, social, and public life. All these gifts create corresponding obligations, express and implied. We make a promise: we enter into a commercial or social contract; we enter into a contract of marriage; we must faithfully fulfill all obligations in all these relationships. Our group or our State enters into a treaty, every individual in that group or State is bound to see that as far as lies in his power, such obligations are faithfully discharged. There are tacit obligations in the characters of host and guest, wayfarer or companion, employer or employed, etc, etc, which every man of Faith must discharge conscientiously. The man who deserts those who need him and goes to pray in a desert is a coward who disregards his obligations.     
All those obligations are inter-connected. Truth and fidelity are parts of religion in all relations of life.    Hunting and the use of game are forbidden “while you Hurumun-???” i.e. while you are:(1) you are in the Sacred Precincts, or (2) in the special pilgrim garb (Ihram), as to which see in Surat Al-Bagara-2 verse 196. In most cases the two amount to the same thing. The Sacred Precincts are sanctuary both for man and beast.  God’s commands are not arbitrary. His Will is the perfect Archetype or Plan of the world. Everything He wills has regard to His Plan, in which are reflected His perfect wisdom and goodness.   (Verse 2)- In Surat Al-Bagara-2 verse 158, where Al-Safa and Al-Marwa are called:”Symbols –Sha’air= ????? – of God”. Here the Symbols are everything connected with the Pilgrimage; i.e. (1) the places (like Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, or the Ka’aba, or Arafat, etc. (2) the rites and ceremonies prescribed; (3) prohibitions (such as that of hunting, etc): (4) the times and seasons prescribed. There is spiritual and moral symbolism in all these – as seen in verses 158 and 194-200 of Al-Bagara 2. The months of the pilgrimage -or else- are collectively the four sacred months (Surat Al-Tawba 9 verse 36) i.e. Rajab -7th month, Zul-Qa’da-11th month, Zul-Hijja-12th (the month of Pilgrimage), and Muharram, the first of the year. In all these months Wars are prohibited. Excepting Rajab, the other three months are consecutive. The immunity from attack or interference extended to the animals brought as offerings for sacrifice and the garlands or fillets, or distinguishing marks which gave them immunity. They were treated as sacred symbols. And of course every protection or immunity was enjoyed by the Pilgrims. This is the state opposite to that described in the previous verse, i.e. when you have left the Sacred Precincts, and have doffed the special pilgrim garb, showing your return to ordinary life. See Surat Al-Bagara 2- verse 191. In the sixth year of the Hijra the Pagans –by way of hatred and persecution of the Muslims- had prevented them from access to the Sacred Mosque. When the Muslims were re-established in Mecca, some of them wanted to retaliate and exclude the Pagans, or in some way to interfere with them in the Pilgrimage. This is condemned. Passing from the immediate event to the general principle, we must not retaliate or return evil for evil. The hatred of the wicked does not justify hostility on our part. We have to help each other in righteousness and piety, not in perpetuating feuds of hatred and enmity. We may have to fight and put down evil, but never in spirit of malice or hatred, but always in spirit of justice and righteousness.
(Verse 3)- In Surat Al-Bagara 2 –verse 173. The prohibition of dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which other names than that of God has been invoked, has there been explained. If an animal dies by strangling, or by a violent blow, or a headlong fall, or by being gored to death, or by being attacked by a wild animal, the presumption is that it becomes carrion, as the life-blood is congealed before being taken out of the body. But the presumption can be rebutted. If the life-blood still flows and the solemn mode of the slaughter (Zabh=???) in the name of God as a sacrifice is carried out, it becomes lawful as food. This was also an idolatrous rite, different from that in which a sacrifice was devoted to a particular idol or a false god. Gambling of all kinds is forbidden; see Al-Bagara 2 verse 291. A sort of lottery or raffle practiced by Pagan Arabs has been described in verse 219 from S. Al-Bagara. Division of meat in this way is here forbidden, as it is a form of gambling. So long as Islam was not organized with its own community and its own laws, the Unbelievers had hoped to wean the Believers from the new Teaching. Now that hope was gone, with the complete organization of Islam. The last verse revealed chronologically, marking the approaching end of Al-Mustafa’s [PPBUH] ministry in his earthly life.
(Verse 4)- The previous verse was negative; it defined what was not lawful for food, i.e. things gross, or disgusting, or dedicated to superstition. This verse is positive; it defines what is lawful, i.e. all things that are good and pure. In the matter of killing for meat, the general rule is that the name of the true God should be pronounced as a rite in order to call our attention to the fact that we do not take life thoughtlessly, but solemnly for food, with permission of God, to whom we render the life back. The question of hunting is then raised. How can this solemn rite be performed when we send forth trained hawks, trained hounds, or trained cheetahs or other animals trained for chase? They must necessarily kill at some distance from their masters. Their game is legalized on these conditions: (1) that they are trained to kill –not merely for their own appetite, or out of mere wantonness, but for their master’s food; the training implies that something of the solemnity which God has taught us in this matter goes into their action: and (2) we are to pronounce the name of God over the quarry; this is interpreted to mean that the (Takbir= ????? ) should be pronounced when the hawk or dog, etc, is released to the quarry.
(Verse 5)- The question if for food generally, such as ordinarily “good and pure”: in the matter of meat it should be killed with some sort of solemnity analogous to that of the Takbir. The rules of Islam in this respect being analogous to those of the People of the Book, there is no objection to mutual recognition, as opposed to meat killed by Pagans with superstition rites. In this respect the Christian rule is the same: “That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication”-(Acts, xv.29). Notice the brcketing of fornication with things unlawful to eat. Islam is not exclusive. Social intercourse –including inter-marriage- is permitted with the People of the Book. A Muslim man may marry a woman from their ranks on the same terms as he would marry a Muslim woman, i.e. he must give her an economic and moral status, and must not be actuated merely by motives of lust or physical desire. A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man, because her Muslim status would be affected: the wife ordinarily takes the nationality and status given by her husband’s law. A non-Muslim woman marrying a Muslim husband would be expected eventually to accept Islam. Any man or woman, of any race or faith, may, on accepting Islam, freely marry any Muslim woman or man, provided it is from motives of purity and chastity and not of lewdness. As always, food, cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in life, are linked with our duty to God and faith in Him. Duty and faith are for our own benefit, here and in the Hereafter.