The Forbidden Foods in Surah al-Nahl: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says towards the end of surah al-Nahl:

فَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَ‌زَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَاشْكُرُ‌وا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ * إِنَّمَا حَرَّ‌مَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ‌ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ‌ اللَّـهِ بِهِ ۖ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ‌ غَيْرَ‌ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ * وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَـٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَـٰذَا حَرَ‌امٌ لِّتَفْتَرُ‌وا عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُ‌ونَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ * مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ * وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّ‌مْنَا مَا قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَمَا ظَلَمْنَاهُمْ وَلَـٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah has provided for you. And be grateful for the Graces of Allah, if it is He Whom you worship. * He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced, without desire nor trangression – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. * And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” to invent falsehood about Allah. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. * A brief enjoyment, and they will have a painful punishment. * And to those who are Jews We have prohibited that which We related to you before. And We did not wrong them [thereby], but they were wronging themselves. [16:114-118]

Commenting on these ayaat in his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

يأمر تعالى عباده بأكل ما رزقهم الله من الحيوانات والحبوب والثمار وغيرها. { حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا } أي: حالة كونها متصفة بهذين الوصفين بحيث لا تكون مما حرم الله أو أثرا عن غصب ونحوه. فتمتعوا بما خلق الله لكم من غير إسراف ولا تَعَدٍّ. { وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ } بالاعتراف بها بالقلب والثناء على الله بها وصرفها في طاعة الله. { إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ } أي إن كنتم مخلصين له العبادة، فلا تشكروا إلا إياه، ولا تنسوا المنعم. ـ

Allah is commanding His slaves to eat of the animals, produce, and other things which He has provided for them.

حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا

Lawful and good

meaning: in a state characterized by these two attributes, such that they do not fall under what Allah has forbidden nor were obtained by forced coercion or other similar methods. So they enjoy what Allah has created for them without wastefulness or infringing on the rights of others.

وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ

And be grateful for the blessings of Allah

by recognizing them with one’s heart, praising Allah for them, and using them for obedience to Allah.

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

If it is He Whom you worship.

meaning: if you are really sincerely devoted to Him in worship, then do not thank anyone other than Him and do not forget the Granter of blessings.

 ـ { إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ } الأشياء المضرة تنزيها لكم، وذلك: كـ { الْمَيْتَةَ } ويدخل في ذلك كل ما كان موته على غير ذكاة مشروعة، ويستثنى من ذلك ميتة الجراد والسمك. ـ

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ

He has only forbidden to you

the things which are harmful, in order to keep you safe from them, and these are the likes of

الْمَيْتَةَ

… dead animals …

and this includes everything which died in any way other than legislated slaughtering, with the exception of locusts and fish.

ـ { والدم } المسفوح وأما ما يبقى في العروق واللحم فلا يضر. ـ

وَالدَّمَ

… and blood …

which pours out. But as for that which remains in the veins and the meat, this is not harmful.

ـ { وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ } لقذارته وخبثه وذلك شامل للحمه وشحمه وجميع أجزائه. { وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ } كالذي يذبح للأصنام والقبور ونحوها لأنه مقصود به الشرك. ـ

وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ

… and the flesh of swine …

due to its uncleanliness and filthy nature. This includes its meat, its fat/grease and all of its parts.

وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ

… and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah.

such as that which has been slaughtered to idols, graves, etc. because al-shirk is what in intended by these actions.

ـ { فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ } إلى شيء من المحرمات -بأن حملته الضرورة وخاف إن لم يأكل أن يهلك- فلا جناح عليه إذا لم يكن باغيا أو عاديا، أي: إذا لم يرد أكل المحرم وهو غير مضطر، ولا متعد الحلال إلى الحرام، أو متجاوز لما زاد على قدر الضرورة، فهذا الذي حرمه الله من المباحات. ـ

فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ

But whoever is forced

into one of these forbidden things – out of necessity and fearing that he may perish if he does not eat it – then there is no blame on him so long as he is neither enjoying it nor transgressing the limits. Meaning; he does not want to consume the forbidden thing when he is no longer forced to do so, nor does he cross over from the permissible to the impermissible or transgress by going beyond the scale of his necessity, for Allah has forbidden that kind of behavior even with the legally permissible things.

ـ { وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَذَا حَرَامٌ } أي: لا تحرموا وتحللوا من تلقاء أنفسكم، كذبا وافتراء على الله وتقولا عليه. ـ

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَذَا حَرَامٌ

And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful” …

meaning: do not declare things to be unlawful or lawful according to your own whims and caprices, thereby lying and fabricating about Allah and speaking falsely about Him.

ـ { لِتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ } لا في الدنيا ولا في الآخرة، ولا بد أن يظهر الله خزيهم وإن تمتعوا في الدنيا فإنه { مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ } ومصيرهم إلى النار { وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ } ـ

لِتَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ

… in order to invent falsehood about Allah. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed.

neither in this worldly life not in the hereafter, and certainly Allah will expose their shame. But even if they do enjoy some things in this worldly life, then certainly it is only

مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ

a brief enjoyment

and their final destination is the Hell-Fire

وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

and they will have a painful punishment.

 فالله تعالى ما حرم علينا إلا الخبيثات تفضلا منه، وصيانة عن كل مستقذر. وأما الذين هادوا فحرم الله عليهم طيبات أحلت لهم بسبب ظلمهم عقوبة لهم، كما قصه في سورة الأنعام في قوله: { وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلَّا مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ذَلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِبَغْيِهِمْ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ } ـ

For Allah did not forbid anything from us except for the filthy things. This was as blessing from Himself and as a protection from every unclean thing. But as for the Jews, Allah forbade them from good things which had previously been permissible for them due to their wrong-doing as a punishment for them. This is as He narrated in surah al-An’aam in His statement:

وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلَّا مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ذَلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِبَغْيِهِمْ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ

And to those who are Jews We prohibited every animal of uncloven hoof; and of the cattle and the sheep We prohibited to them their fat, except what adheres to their backs or the entrails or what is joined with bone. [By] that We repaid them for their injustice. And indeed, We are truthful. [6:146]

♦ ♦ ♦   ♦ ♦ ♦   ♦ ♦ ♦

ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ عَمِلُوا السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابُوا مِن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُوا إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Then, indeed your Lord, to those who have done wrong out of ignorance and then repent after that and correct themselves – indeed, your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful. [16:119]

وهذا حض منه لعباده على التوبة، ودعوة لهم إلى الإنابة، فأخبر أن من عمل سوءا بجهالة بعاقبة ما تجني عليه، ولو كان متعمدا للذنب، فإنه لا بد أن ينقص ما في قلبه من العلم وقت مفارقة الذنب. فإذا تاب وأصلح بأن ترك الذنب وندم عليه وأصلح أعماله، فإن الله يغفر له ويرحمه ويتقبل توبته ويعيده إلى حالته الأولى أو أعلى منها. ـ

This is an exhortation from Allah to His slaves for them to make repentance and calling them to turn back to Him. So He informs us that whoever commits evil while being ignorant of the consequences that it entails – even if he committed the sin intentionally –  then this surely decreased the knowledge that was in his heart at the time when he committed the sin. But then if he repents and makes right by abandoning the sin and regretting it and rectifying his deeds, then Allah will certainly forgive him, show mercy towards him, accept his repentance and return him to his previous condition or even higher than that.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 524]

See also: “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s