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DY Fifty Six (A Journey with Quran)

Today the fifth chapter of the Quran starts: Al Maidah which means The Banquet Table. This chapter was revealed over many months in Medina near the later days of the Prophet’s mission. Thus, it addresses a wide variety of issues, many of them reflecting the intense interfaith dialogues going on within the city. The memorable lines contained in the middle of verse three, which speak of the completing of Islam as a way of life, were revealed during the Prophet’s last pilgrimage in the year 632. Some believe that that passage may have been the last Qur’anic revelation the Prophet received. It was this passage that led many of Muhammad’s closest followers to conclude that the ministry of their beloved guide was coming to a close. The Prophet reportedly said of this chapter: “The chapter of the Banquet Table has been revealed as the last stage in the revelation of the Qur’an. Therefore, take what has been pronounced as lawful within it as lawful forever, and take what has been pronounced unlawful in it as unlawful forever.” (Ma’ariful Qur’an)

Surah Al Maidah: Ayats 1–10

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

All you who believe! Fulfill your obligations! You’re allowed (to eat) all domestic livestock, except for (the animals) that have been forbidden to you by mention (of their names or categories). You’re also forbidden to hunt (wild animals) while you’re under (pilgrimage) restrictions, and Allah certainly makes rules that He wants. [1]

All you who believe! Don’t violate (the holiness) of the symbols of Allah, nor violate the holy month (of Hajj) nor (the animals) brought for sacrifice nor the garlands that identify them, nor the safety (of those who visit) the Sacred House looking for the bounty and approval of their Lord. However, when you’re freed from the restrictions of the holy places and pilgrim’s clothes, you may go hunting (animals for food) once more. Don’t let (your) hatred for some people, who once kept you out of the Sacred Mosque, lead you into being spitefully wrong in return. Help each other in righteousness and mindfulness (of Allah), but don’t help each other in sinfulness or aggression. Be mindful of Allah, for Allah is strict in the final outcome. [2]

You’re forbidden to (eat the following things): meat from animals that died by themselves; blood; pork; anything that was dedicated to any other name besides Allah’s name; anything that was killed by strangling, a blunt strike, falling or by being slashed to death, as well as anything that’s been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you’re able to slaughter it (properly); and anything that was sacrificed on stone (altars). You’re also (forbidden) to divide (up meat portions among people) by drawing marked (arrowheads) to make random selections, for that method is immoral. This day, those who cover over (the truth of Allah) have given up all hope of (destroying) your way of life. So don’t be afraid of them; rather, fear only Me. This day, I have perfected your way of life for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your way of life. If anyone is forced by desperate hunger (to eat the forbidden things that were mentioned before), with no desire to do wrong, (then they may eat the forbidden foods for survival purposes only), for Allah is forgiving and merciful. [3]

Now they’re asking you what else is allowed for them (to eat), so tell them, “You’re allowed to (eat) anything that’s healthy and pure, and also what you’ve taught your trained hunting animals (to catch), as you were already directed by Allah. (You may) eat what they capture for you, but be sure to declare the name of Allah over it. Be mindful of Allah, for Allah is quick in taking account.” [4]

This day, everything healthy and pure has been made lawful for you. The (ritually slaughtered) food of those who received scripture in the past is also lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. (With regards to marriage, you’re allowed to marry) virtuous believing women, and (you may also marry) virtuous women from among those who received scripture before your time, but only if you give them their required marriage gifts and only if you desire decency and not lustful behavior or secret affairs. If someone rejects (faith in Allah), then his deeds will be rendered useless, and in the next life he’ll be among the losers. [5]

All you who believe! When you prepare yourselves for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows. Wipe the top of your heads (with water), and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If you’re in a state of greater impurity, then bathe your whole body. However, if you’re sick, on a journey, answered the call of nature or were intimate with the opposite sex and you can’t find any water (to wash yourselves), then you can take either clean sand or earth and use it to wipe your faces and hands. Allah doesn’t want to put you into any hardship; rather, (He wants to) purify you and complete His favor towards you, so you can be thankful. [6]

Remember the favors of Allah that have been bestowed upon you, and remember His covenant that He concluded with you when you said, “We hear, and we obey.” Be mindful (of Allah) for Allah knows what you’re thinking. [7]

All you who believe! Stand forth firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing. Don’t let the hatred of others towards you make you swerve towards injustice or towards being unfair (to them in return). Be fair, for that’s the closest to being mindful (of Allah). So be mindful then, for Allah is well-informed of everything you do. [8]

Allah made a promise to those who believed and who did what was morally right that they’ll receive forgiveness and a great reward. [9]

Whoever rejects (their natural faith in Allah) and denies Our (revealed) verses will be among the companions of the raging blaze. [10]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Footnote to the middle lines in Ayat 3:

This was one of the last passages revealed to Prophet Mohammad, (Peace be upon him) indicating that his ministry was coming to an end. The name of the religion Islam, or surrender to Allah’s will is given in this verse.

It was revealed on a Friday during the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage in the year 632, and recited to the gathering throng of 100,000 people on what is known as the Day of Arafat. While many Muslims were elated at this confident statement of Allah, Umer bin al Khattak began to weep openly. When the Prophet asked him why he was weeping, Umer replied, “This verse signals that your time in this world is drawing to a close“. The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Eighty days later, the Prophet passed away.

Footnote to Ayat four:

All permitted, or halal meats, as well as produce such as fruits, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and grains are considered good, and pure. The Prophet specifically forbade the eating of animals that hunt, and kill other animals with their teeth, such as lions, wolves, snakes, or lizards. He also prohibited eating birds that hunt, and kill others with their claws, such as falcons, and hawks.

Footnote to Ayat 5:

In the Prophet’s time, most Jews, and Christians in Arabia observed some basic slaughtering standards that included mentioning Allah’s name before felling the animal, cutting the jugular vein swiftly, thus minimizing the pain felt by the animals, and then draining the excess blood from the animal. (See Acts 15:29, 21:25, and 1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

While Orthodox Judaism retained this practice, as the centuries progressed, Christian culture has largely abandoned such methods. Meat prepared today by Christians, and others does not meet the requirement of halal meat, and therefore forbidden.

Day Forty (A Journey with Quran)

Surah An Nisa: Ayats 21— 30

21. And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each other, and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?

22. And marry not women whom your fathers married,— except what is past: It was shameful and odious,- an abominable custom indeed.

23. Prohibited to you (for marriage) are:- Your mothers, daughters, sisters, father’s sisters, mother’s sisters, brother’s daughters, sister’s daughters; foster-mothers (who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives’ mothers, your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,—no prohibition if ye have not gone in;— (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;-

24. Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained for you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

25. If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And Allah hath full knowledge about your faith. Ye are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that ye practise self-restraint. And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

26. Allah doth wish to make clear to you (what is lawful, and what is unlawful), and to show you the ways of those before you; and (He doth wish to) turn to you (In Mercy): And Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

27. Allah doth wish to Turn to you, but the wish of those who follow their lusts is that ye should turn away (from Him),—far, far away.

28. Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties): for man was created weak (in resolution).

29. O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves unjustly. But let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful!

30. If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for Allah.

Translation: Abdullah Yusuf