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The Penalty of Killing Game in the Sacred Area or in the State of Ihram

Allah said,

﴿ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ ۥ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّدً۬ا فَجَزَآءٌ۬ مِّثۡلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ ٱلنَّعَمِ

(And whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is ﴿an offering of livestock equivalent to the one he killed.) Mujahid bin Jabr said, "The meaning of `intentionally' here is that one intends to kill the game while forgetting that he is in the state of Ihram. Whoever intentionally kills the game while aware that he is in the state of Ihram, then this offense is more grave than to make an expiation, and he also loses his Ihram.'' This statement is odd, and the view of majority is that they have to pay the expiation for killing the game whether they forgot that they are in Ihram or not. Az-Zuhri said, "The Book (the Qur'an) asserts the expiation for intentional killing, and the Sunnah included those who forget, as well.'' The meaning of this statement is that the Qur'an mentioned the expiation and sin of those who intentionally kill game,

﴿ لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمۡرِهِۦ‌ۗ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ‌ۚ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِنۡهُ‌ۗ

(that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed. Allah has forgiven what is past, but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.) the Sunnah that includes the rulings issued by the Prophet and his Companions, indicated the necessity of expiation in cases of unintentional killing of game, just as the Book legislated expiation for intentional killing. Killing game is a form of waste, which requires expiation in intentional and unintentional cases, although those who intend it have sinned, rather than those who made an honest error. Allah's statement,

﴿ فَجَزَآءٌ۬ مِّثۡلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ ٱلنَّعَمِ

(The penalty is ﴿an offering of livestock equivalent to the one he killed.) indicates the necessity of offering an equivalent animal to the one the Muhrim killed. The Companions gave rulings that the camel, for instance, is the equivalent of the ostrich, the cow is the equivalent of wild cattle, and the goat for the deer. As for the cases when there is no equivalent for the killed animal, Ibn `Abbas said that one should spend its amount in Makkah (i.e. charity), as Al-Bayhaqi recorded. Allah's statement,

﴿ يَحۡكُمُ بِهِۦ ذَوَا عَدۡلٍ۬ مِّنكُمۡ

(As adjudged by two just men among you;) means, two just Muslim men should determine an animal equivalent to the game killed, or the amount of its price. Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Jarir Al-Bajali said, "I killed a deer when I was in the state of Ihram and mentioned this fact to `Umar, who said, `Bring two of your brethren and let them judge you.' So I went to `Abdur-Rahman and Sa`d and they said that I should offer a male sheep.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Tariq said, "Arbad killed a deer while in the state of Ihram and he went to `Umar to judge him. `Umar said to him, `Let us both judge,' and they judged that Arbad should offer a goat that was fed on abundant water and grass. `Umar commented,

﴿ يَحۡكُمُ بِهِۦ ذَوَا عَدۡلٍ۬ مِّنكُمۡ

(As adjudged by two just men among you;).'' Allah's statement,

﴿ هَدۡيَۢا بَـٰلِغَ ٱلۡكَعۡبَةِ

(...an offering brought to the Ka`bah.) indicates that this equivalent animal should be brought to the Ka`bah, meaning, the Sacred Area, where it should be slaughtered and its meat divided between the poor of the Sacred Area. There is a consensus on this ruling. Allah said,

﴿ أَوۡ كَفَّـٰرَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مَسَـٰكِينَ أَوۡ عَدۡلُ ذَٲلِكَ صِيَامً۬ا

(or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting,) that is, if the Muhrim does not find an equivalent to what he killed, or the animal hunted is not comparable to anything else. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

﴿ هَدۡيَۢا بَـٰلِغَ ٱلۡكَعۡبَةِ أَوۡ كَفَّـٰرَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مَسَـٰكِينَ أَوۡ عَدۡلُ ذَٲلِكَ صِيَامً۬ا

(...an offering brought to the Ka`bah, or, for expiation, he should feed the poor, or its equivalent in fasting.) "If the Muhrim killed game, then his judgement is its equivalent. If he kills an antelope, he offers a sheep slaughtered in Makkah. If he cannot, then he feeds six poor people, otherwise he should fast for three days. If he kills a deer, he offers a cow. If unable, he feeds twenty poor people, or otherwise if unable, he fasts for twenty days. If he kills an ostrich or zebra, he offers a camel, or he feeds thirty poor people, or fasts thirty days.'' Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded this statement, and in Ibn Jarir's narration, the food measurement is a Mudd (4 handfuls of food) each that suffices for the poor. Allah's statement,

﴿ لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمۡرِهِۦ‌ۗ

(that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed.) means, We have required him to pay this expiation so that he tastes the punishment of his error,

﴿ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ‌ۚ

(Allah has forgiven what is past.) during the time of Jahiliyyah, provided that one becomes good in Islam and follows Allah's Law, all the while avoiding the sin. Allah then said,

﴿ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِنۡهُ‌ۗ

(but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.) meaning, whoever does this after it has been prohibited in Islam and having knowledge that it is prohibited,

﴿ فَيَنتَقِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِنۡهُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ۬ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ

(Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is Almighty, All-Able of retribution.) Ibn Jurayj said, "I said to `Ata', `What is the meaning of,

﴿ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ‌ۚ

(Allah has forgiven what is past.)' He said, `Meaning, during the time of Jahiliyyah.' I asked about,

﴿ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ ٱللَّهُ مِنۡهُ‌ۗ

(but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him.) He said, `Whoever commits this offense again in Islam, then Allah will take retribution from him and he also has to pay the expiation.' I asked, `Is there any punishment for repeating this offense that you know of' He said, `No.' I said, `Do you think that the authorities should punish him' He said, `No, for it is a sin that he committed between him and Allah. He should pay the expiation.''' Ibn Jarir recorded this statement. It was said that the `Allah will take retribution' refers to the expiation, according to Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ata', and the majority among the earlier and later generations. They stated that when the Muhrim kills game, the expiation becomes necessary, regardless of whether it was the first, second or third offense, and whether intentional or by error. Ibn Jarir commented on Allah's statement;

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ۬ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ

(And Allah is Almighty, All-Able of retribution.) "Allah says that He is invincible in His control, none can resist Him, prevent Him from exacting retribution from anyone, or stop Him from punishing anyone. This is because all creation is His creation and the decision is His, His is the might, and His is the control. His statement,

﴿ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ

(All-Able of retribution.) meaning, He punishes those who disobey Him for their disobedience of Him.''

﴿ أُحِلَّ لَكُمۡ صَيۡدُ ٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَطَعَامُهُ ۥ مَتَـٰعً۬ا لَّكُمۡ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ‌ۖ وَحُرِّمَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ صَيۡدُ ٱلۡبَرِّ مَا دُمۡتُمۡ حُرُمً۬ا‌ۗ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُونَ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡكَعۡبَةَ ٱلۡبَيۡتَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا لِّلنَّاسِ وَٱلشَّہۡرَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ وَٱلۡهَدۡىَ وَٱلۡقَلَـٰٓٮِٕدَ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ لِتَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ ٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ مَّا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا تَكۡتُمُونَ

(96. Lawful to you is water game and its use for food -- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel, but forbidden is (the pursuit of) land game as long as you are in a state of Ihram. And have Taqwa of Allah to Whom you shall be gathered back.) (97. Allah has made the Ka`bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits for mankind, and also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded, that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything.) (98. Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (99. The Messenger's duty is but to convey. And Allah knows all that you reveal and all that you conceal.)

Water Game is Allowed for the Muhrim

Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others commented on Allah's statement;

﴿ أُحِلَّ لَكُمۡ صَيۡدُ ٱلۡبَحۡرِ

(Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water game...) that it means, what one eats fresh from it, while,

﴿ وَطَعَامُهُ ۥ

(And its use for food) what is eaten dry and salted. Ibn `Abbas said that `water game' refers to what is taken from water while still alive, while,

﴿ وَطَعَامُهُ ۥ

(and its use for food) refers to what the water throws ashore dead. Similar statements were reported from Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, Zayd bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin `Amr, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, `Ikrimah, Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and Al-Hasan Al-Basri. Allah's statement,

﴿ مَتَـٰعً۬ا لَّكُمۡ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ‌ۖ

(for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel,) as food and provision for you,

﴿ وَلِلسَّيَّارَةِ‌ۖ

(and those who travel, ) those who are in the sea and traveling along the sea, according to `Ikrimah. Other scholars said that water game is allowed for those who fish it from the sea, as well as, when it is salted and used as food for travelers inland. A similar statement was reported from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and As-Suddi and others. Imam Malik bin Anas recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, "Allah's Messenger sent an army towards the east coast and appointed Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah as their commander, and the army consisted of three hundred men, including myself. We marched on until we reached a place where our food was about to finish. Abu `Ubaydah ordered us to collect all the food for our journey, and it was collected in two bags of dates. Abu `Ubaydah kept on giving us our daily ration in small amounts from it, until it was exhausted. The share of each of us used to be one date only.'' I (one of the narrators from Jabir) said, "How could one date suffice for you'' Jabir replied, "We came to know its value when even that finished.'' Jabir added, "When we reached the seashore, we saw a huge fish which was like a small mountain. The army ate from it for eighteen days. Then Abu `Ubaydah ordered that two of its ribs be affixed in the ground. Then he ordered that a she-camel be ridden, and it passed under the two ribs (forming an arch) without touching them.'' This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "A man asked Allah's Messenger, `O Allah's Messenger! We go to sea and carry little water with us. If we use it for Wudu', we get thirsty, so should we use seawater for Wudu'' The Messenger of Allah said,

« هُوَ الطَّهُورُ مَاؤُهُ الْحِلُّ مَيْتَتُه »

(Its water is pure and its dead are lawful).'' The two Imams, Ash-Shafi`i and Ahmad bin Hanbal, recorded this Hadith, along with the Four Sunan compilers. Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban graded it Sahih. This Hadith was also recorded from the Prophet by several other Companions.

Hunting Land Game is Prohibited During Ihram

Allah said,

﴿ وَحُرِّمَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ صَيۡدُ ٱلۡبَرِّ مَا دُمۡتُمۡ حُرُمً۬ا‌ۗ

(but forbidden is land game as long as you are in a state of Ihram.) Therefore, hunting land game during Ihram is not allowed, and if someone who is in the state of Ihram hunts, he will have to pay expiation, along with the sin he earns if he does it intentionally. If he hunts by mistake, he will have to pay the expiation and is not allowed to eat from it, because this type of game is just like dead animals, be he a Muhrim or a non-Muhrim. If someone who is not in the state of Ihram hunts and gives the food to a Muhrim, the Muhrim is not allowed to eat from its meat if it was killed for him in particular. As-Sa`b bin Jaththamah said that he gave a zebra as a gift to the Prophet in the area of Waddan or Abwa', the Prophet gave it back. When the Prophet saw the effect of his returning the gift on As-Sa`b's face, he said,

« إِنَّا لَمْ نَرُدَّهُ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا أَنَّا حُرُم »

(We only gave it back to you because we are in a state of Ihram.) This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. The Prophet thought that As-Sa`b hunted the zebra for him, and this is why he refused to take it. Otherwise, the Muhrim is allowed to eat from the game if one who is not in Ihram hunts it. For when Abu Qatadah hunted a zebra when he was not a Muhrim and offered it to those who were in the state of Ihram, they hesitated to eat from it. They asked the Messenger of Allah and he said,

« هَلْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ أَحَدٌ أَشَارَ إِلَيْهَا أَوْ أَعَانَ فِي قَتْلِهَا »

(Did any of you point at it or help kill it) They said, "No.'' He said,

« فَكُلُوا »

(Then eat,) and he also ate from it. This Hadith is also in the Two Sahihs with various wordings. ﴿Ibn Kathir only mentioned Ayat 96 to 99 here and explained the better part of Ayah number 96, but he did not mention the explanation of the rest of that Ayah or the other Ayat (97 to 99). This is the case in all of the copies of his Tafsir in existence, and he might have forgotten to do that, for it is less likely that all who copied this book forgot to copy only this part. So we used a summary of the Tafsir of these Ayat from the Imam of Tafsir, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari. We tried to summarize At-Tabari's eloquent words to the best of our ability, by Allah's help and leave.

﴿ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُونَ

(And have Taqwa of Allah to Whom you shall be gathered back. ) Allah says, fear Allah, O people, and beware of His might, by obeying what He commands you and avoiding what He prohibits for you in these Ayat revealed to your Prophet . These Ayat forbid Khamr, gambling, Al-Ansab and Al-Azlam, along with hunting land game and killing it while in the state of Ihram. To Allah will be your return and destination, and He will punish you for disobeying Him and will reward you for obeying Him.

﴿ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡكَعۡبَةَ ٱلۡبَيۡتَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا لِّلنَّاسِ

(Allah has made the Ka`bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits for mankind,) Allah says, Allah made the Ka`bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of safety for the people who have no chief to prevent the strong from transgressing against the weak, the evil from the good-doers, and the oppressors from the oppressed.

﴿ وَٱلشَّہۡرَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ وَٱلۡهَدۡىَ وَٱلۡقَلَـٰٓٮِٕدَ‌ۚ

(And also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded.) Allah says that He made these symbols an asylum of safety for the people, just as He made the Ka`bah an asylum of safety for them, so that He distinguishes them from each other, for this is their asylum and symbol for their livelihood and religion. Allah made the Ka`bah, the Sacred Month, the Hady, the garlanded animals and people an asylum of safety for the Arabs who used to consider these symbols sacred. Thus, these symbols were just like the chief who is obeyed by his followers, and who upholds harmony and public safety. As for the Ka`bah, it includes the entire sacred boundary. Allah termed it "Haram'' because He prohibited hunting its game and cutting its trees or grass. Similarly, the Ka`bah, the Sacred Month, the animals of offerings and the garlands were the landmarks of existing Arabs. These symbols were sacred during the time of Jahiliyyah and the people's affairs were guided and protected by them. With Islam they became the symbols of their Hajj, their rituals, and the direction of the prayer. (i.e., the Ka`bah in Makkah.)

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ لِتَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ

(that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything.) Allah says; O people, I made these symbols an asylum for you, so that you know that He Who made these symbols that benefit your life and provide you with security, also knows everything in the heavens and earth that brings about your immediate or eventual benefit. Know that He has perfect knowledge of everything and that none of your deeds or affairs ever escapes His observation; and He will count them for you so that He rewards those who do good with the same and those who do evil in kind.

﴿ ٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

(Know that Allah is severe in punishment and that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Allah says, know that your Lord, Who has perfect knowledge of whatever is in the heavens and earth, and Who is never unaware of your deeds - public or secret - is severe in punishment for those who disobey and defy Him. He also pardons the sins of those who obey and repent to Him, more Merciful than to punish them for the sins that they repented from.

﴿ مَّا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا تَكۡتُمُونَ

(The Messenger's duty is but to convey. And Allah knows all that you reveal and all that you conceal.) This is a warning from Allah for His servants in which He says: Our Messenger, whom We sent to you, has only to convey Our Message and then the reward for the obedience, and punishment for the disobedience is on Us. The obedience of those who accept Our Message never escapes Our knowledge, just as in the case of those who disobey and defy Our Message. We know what one of you does, demonstrates physically, announces, and utters with his tongue, and what you hide in your hearts, be it of faith, disbelief, certainty, doubt or hypocrisy. He Who is so capable, then nothing that the hearts conceal, nor any of the apparent acts of the souls in the heavens and earth could escape His knowledge. In His Hand, alone, is the reward and punishment, and He is worthy to be feared, obeyed and never disobeyed.

﴿ قُل لَّا يَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡخَبِيثُ وَٱلطَّيِّبُ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكَ كَثۡرَةُ ٱلۡخَبِيثِ‌ۚ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَـٰٓأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ إِن تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ تَسُؤۡكُمۡ وَإِن تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡہَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنۡہَا‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ۬ قَدۡ سَأَلَهَا قَوۡمٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ ثُمَّ أَصۡبَحُواْ بِہَا كَـٰفِرِينَ

(100. Say: "Not equal are the bad things and the good things, even though the abundance of the bad may please you. '' So have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding in order that you may be successful.) (101. O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you. Allah has forgiven that, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.) (102. Before you, a community asked such questions, then on that account they became disbelievers.) Allah says to His Messenger ,

﴿ قُل

(Say,) O Muhammad ,

﴿ لَّا يَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡخَبِيثُ وَٱلطَّيِّبُ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكَ

(Not equal are the bad things and the good things, even though they may please you) O human,

﴿ كَثۡرَةُ ٱلۡخَبِيثِ‌ۚ

(the abundance of bad.) This Ayah means, the little permissible is better than the abundant evil.

﴿ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَـٰٓأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

(have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding...) who have sound minds, avoid and abandon the impermissible, and let the permissible be sufficient for you,

﴿ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

(in order that you may be successful.) in this life and the Hereafter. '' So have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding in order that you may be successful.) (101. O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you. Allah has forgiven that, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.) (102. Before you, a community asked such questions, then on that account they became disbelievers.) Allah says to His Messenger ,

﴿ قُل

(Say,) O Muhammad ,

﴿ لَّا يَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡخَبِيثُ وَٱلطَّيِّبُ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكَ

(Not equal are the bad things and the good things, even though they may please you) O human,

﴿ كَثۡرَةُ ٱلۡخَبِيثِ‌ۚ

(the abundance of bad.) This Ayah means, the little permissible is better than the abundant evil.

﴿ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَـٰٓأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

(have Taqwa of Allah, O men of understanding...) who have sound minds, avoid and abandon the impermissible, and let the permissible be sufficient for you,

﴿ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

(in order that you may be successful.) in this life and the Hereafter.

Unnecessary Questioning is Disapproved of

Allah said next,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ إِن تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ تَسُؤۡكُمۡ

(O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.) This Ayah refers to good conduct that Allah is teaching His believing servants, by forbidding them from asking about useless things. Since if they get the answers they sought, they might be troublesome for them and difficult on their ears. Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "The Messenger of Allah gave a speech unlike anything I heard before. In this speech, he said,

« لَو تَعْلَمُونَ مَا أَعْلَمُ، لَضَحِكْتُمْ قَلِيلًا، وَلَبَكَيْتُمْ كَثِيرًا »

(If you but know what I know, you will laugh little and cry a lot.) The companions of Allah's Messenger covered their faces and the sound of crying was coming out of their chests. A man asked, `Who is my father' The Prophet said, `So-and-so'. This Ayah was later revealed,

﴿ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ

(Ask not about things...).'' Muslim, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith. Ibn Jarir recorded that Qatadah said about Allah's statement,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ إِن تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ تَسُؤۡكُمۡ

(O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.) Anas bin Malik narrated that once, the people were questioning the Messenger of Allah until they made him angry. So he ascended the Minbar and said,

« لَا تَسْأَلُونِي الْيَوْمَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا بَيَّنْتُهُ لَكُم »

(You will not ask me about anything today but I will explain it to you.) So the Companions of the Messenger of Allah feared that it was the commencement of a momentous event, and I looked to my right and left and found only people who covered their faces, crying. An argumentative man who was said to be the son of someone other than his true father asked, "O Allah's Messenger! Who is my father The Prophet said, `Your father is Hudhafah.'' `Umar stood up (when he saw anger on the Prophet's face) and said, "We accept Allah as our Lord, Islam as our religion and Muhammad as our Messenger, I seek refuge with Allah from the evil of the Fitan (trials in life and religion).'' The Messenger of Allah said,

« لَمْ أَرَ فِي الْخَيْرِ وَالشَّرِّ كَالْيَومِ قَطُّ، صُوِّرَتْ لِي الجَنَّةُ وَالنَّارُ حَتَّى رَأَيْتُهُمَا دُونَ الْحَائِط »

(I have never witnessed both goodness and evil like I have today. Paradise and the Fire were shown to me and I saw them before that wall.) This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs from Sa`id. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Some people used to question the Messenger of Allah to mock him. One of them would ask, `Who is my father,' while another would ask, `Where is my camel,' when he lost his camel. Allah sent down this Ayah about them,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ إِن تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ تَسُؤۡكُمۡ

(O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble...).'' Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ali said, "When this Ayah was revealed,

﴿ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬‌ۚ

(And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can bear the journey.) (3:97), they asked, `O Allah's Messenger! Is it required every year' He did not answer them, and they asked again, `Is it every year' He still did not answer them, so they asked, `Is it every year' He said,

« لَا، وَلَوْ قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ لَوَجَبَتْ وَلَوْ وَجَبَتْ لَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُم »

(No, and had I said `yes', it would have become obligated, and had it become obligated, you would not be able to bear it.) Allah sent down,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡ أَشۡيَآءَ إِن تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ تَسُؤۡكُمۡ

(O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.).'' At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah also recorded this Hadith. The apparent wording of this Ayah indicates that we are forbidden to ask about things that if one has knowledge of, he would be sorry he had asked. Consequently, it is better to avoid such questions. Allah’s statement,

﴿ وَإِن تَسۡـَٔلُواْ عَنۡہَا حِينَ يُنَزَّلُ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ تُبۡدَ لَكُمۡ

(But if you ask about them while the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you.) means, if you ask about things that you are prohibited from asking about, then when the revelation about them comes to the Messenger , they will be made plain for you,

﴿ وَذَٲلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ۬

(Verily! That is easy for Allah.) Allah said next,

﴿ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنۡہَا‌ۗ

(Allah has forgiven that,) what you did before this,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ۬

(and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.) Do not ask about things that do not have a ruling yet, for because of your questions, a difficult ruling may be ordained. A Hadith states,

« أَعْظَمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ جُرْمًا مَنْ سَأَلَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ لَمْ يُحَرَّمْ، فَحُرِّمَ مِنْ أَجْلِ مَسْأَلَتِه »

(The worst criminal among the Muslims is he who asks if a matter is unlawful (or not), and it becomes unlawful because of his asking about it.) It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,

« ذَرُونِي مَا تَرَكْتُكُمْ، فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ كَثْرَةُ سُؤَالِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافُهُمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِم »

(Leave me as I have left you, those before you were destroyed because of many questions and disputing with their Prophets.) An authentic Hadith also states,

« أَنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى فَرَضَ فَرَائِضَ فَلَا تُضَيِّعُوهَا، وَحَدَّ حُدُودًا فَلَا تَعْتَدُوهَا، وَحَرَّمَ أَشْيَاءَ فَلَا تَنْتَهِكُوهَا، وَسَكَتَ عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ رَحْمَةً بِكُمْ غَيْرَ نِسْيَانٍ فَلَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْهَا »

(Allah, the Most Honored, has ordained some obligations, so do not ignore them; has set some limits, so do not trespass them; has prohibited some things, so do not commit them; and has left some things without rulings, out of mercy for you, not that He forgot them, so do not ask about them.) Allah said next,

﴿ قَدۡ سَأَلَهَا قَوۡمٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ ثُمَّ أَصۡبَحُواْ بِہَا كَـٰفِرِينَ

(Before you, a community asked such questions, then on that account they became disbelievers.) meaning, some people before your time asked such questions and they were given answers. They did not believe the answers, so they became disbelievers because of that. This occurred because these rulings were made plain to them, yet they did not benefit at all from that, for they asked about these things not to gain guidance, but only to mock and defy.

﴿ مَا جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنۢ بَحِيرَةٍ۬ وَلَا سَآٮِٕبَةٍ۬ وَلَا وَصِيلَةٍ۬ وَلَا حَامٍ۬‌ۙ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يَفۡتَرُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَ‌ۖ وَأَكۡثَرُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمۡ تَعَالَوۡاْ إِلَىٰ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ وَإِلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ قَالُواْ حَسۡبُنَا مَا وَجَدۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ءَابَآءَنَآ‌ۚ أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَہۡتَدُونَ

(103. Allah has not instituted things like Bahirah or a Sa'ibah or a Wasilah or a Ham. But those who disbelieve invent lies against Allah, and most of them have no understanding.) (104. And when it is said to them: "Come to what Allah has revealed and unto the Messenger.'' They say: "Enough for us is that which we found our fathers following,'' even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever and no guidance.)