Allah states that most of the people of the earth, are misguided. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And indeed most of the men of old went astray before them.) (37:71) and,
(And most of mankind will not believe even if you eagerly desire it.) (12:103) They are misguided, yet they have doubts about their way, and they rely on wishful thinking and delusions.
(They follow nothing but conjecture, and they do nothing but lie.) Thus, they fulfill Allah's decree and decision concerning them,
(It is He Who knows best who strays from His way.) and facilitates that for him,
(And He knows best the rightly guided.) He facilitates that for them, all of them are facilitated for what He created them.
(118. So eat of that on which Allah's Name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His Ayat.) (119. And why should you not eat of that on which Allah's Name has been mentioned, while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity And surely, many do lead astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly your Lord knows best the transgressors.)
This is a statement of permission from Allah, for His servants, allowing them to eat the slaughtered animals wherein His Name was mentioned when slaughtering them. It is understood from it that He has not allowed that over which Allah's Name was not mentioned when slaughtering. This was the practice of the pagans of Quraysh who used to eat dead animals and eat what was slaughtered for the idols. Allah next encourages eating from the meat of sacrificed animals on which His Name was mentioned upon slaughtering,
(And why should you not eat of that on which Allah's Name has been mentioned, while He has explained to you what is forbidden to you...) meaning, He has explained and made clear to you what He has prohibited for you in detail,
(except under compulsion of necessity.) In which case, you are allowed to eat whatever you can find. Allah next mentions the ignorance of the idolators in their misguided ideas, such as eating dead animals and what was sacrificed while other than Allah's Name was mentioned when slaughtering them. Allah said,
(And surely, many do lead astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly your Lord knows best the transgressors.) He has complete knowledge of their transgression, lies and inventions.
(120. Leave sin, open and secret. Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit.) Mujahid said that,
(Leave evil, open and secret...) refers to all kinds of sins committed in public and secret. Qatadah said that,
(Leave sin, open and secret...) encompasses sins committed in public and secret, whether few or many. In another statement, Allah said,
(Say: "(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (evil sins) whether committed openly or secretly.) (7:33) This is why Allah said,
(Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit.) Whether the sins they committed were public or secret, Allah will compensate them for these sins. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said, "I asked Allah's Messenger about Al-Ithm. He said,
(The sin is that which you find in your heart and you dislike that people become aware of it.)
(121. Eat not of that on which Allah's Name has not been pronounced, for surely it is disobedience. And certainly, the Shayatin do inspire their friends to dispute with you, and if you obey them, then you would indeed be polytheists.)
This Ayah is used to prove that slaughtered animals are not lawful when Allah's Name is not mentioned over them -- even if slaughtered by a Muslim. The Ayah about hunting game,
(So eat of what they (trained hunting dogs or birds of prey) catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it.) (5:4) supports this. The Ayah here emphasized this ruling, when Allah said,
(for surely it is disobedience.) They say that "it'' refers to eating it, and others say that it refers to the sacrifice for other than Allah. There are various Hadiths that order mentioning Allah's Name when slaughtering and hunting. The Hadith narrated by `Adi bin Hatim and Abu Tha`labah (that the Prophet said);
(When you send your trained hunting dog and mention Allah's Name on releasing it, then eat from whatever it catches for you.) This Hadith was collected in the Two Sahihs. The Rafi` bin Khadij narrated that the Prophet said;
(You can use what would make blood flow (i.e., slaughter) and you can eat what is slaughtered and the Name of Allah is mentioned at the time of slaughtering.) This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. Ibn Mas`ud narrated that Allah's Messenger said to the Jinns.
((For food) you have every bone on which Allah's Name was mentioned on slaughtering.) Muslim collected this Hadith. Jundub bin Sufyan Al-Bajali said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever slaughtered before he prayed (the `Id prayer), let him slaughter another sacrifice in its place. Whoever did not offer the sacrifice before we finished the prayer, let him slaughter and mention Allah's Name.) The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
(And certainly, the Shayatin do inspire their friends to dispute with you,) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ishaq said that a man said to Ibn `Umar that Al-Mukhtar claimed that he received revelation. So Ibn `Umar said, "He has said the truth,'' and recited this Ayah,
(And certainly, the Shayatin do inspire their friends...) Abu Zamil said, "I was sitting next to Ibn `Abbas at a time when Al-Mukhtar bin Abi `Ubayd was performing Hajj. So a man came to Ibn `Abbas and said, `O Ibn `Abbas! Abu Ishaq (Al-Mukhtar) claimed that he received revelation this night.' Ibn `Abbas said, He has said the truth.' I was upset and said, `Ibn `Abbas says that Al-Mukhtar has said the truth' Ibn `Abbas replied, `There are two types of revelation, one from Allah and one from the devil. Allah's revelation came to Muhammad , while the Shaytan's revelation comes to his friends.' He then recited,
(And certainly, the Shayatin do inspire their friends...) We also mentioned `Ikrimah's commentary on the Ayah,
(Inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion.) Allah said next,
(to dispute with you,) Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented;
(Eat not of that on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned...) until,
(...to dispute with you,) "The devils inspire their loyal supporters, `Do you eat from what you kill but not from what Allah causes to die''' As-Suddi said; "Some idolators said to the Muslims, `You claim that you seek Allah's pleasure. Yet, you do not eat what Allah causes to die, but you eat what you slaughter' Allah said,
(and if you obey them...), and eat dead animals,
(then you would indeed be polytheists. ) Similar was said by Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and several others among scholars of the Salaf.
(and if you obey them, then you would indeed be polytheists.) means, when you turn away from Allah's command and Legislation to the saying of anyone else, preferring other than what Allah has said, then this constitutes Shirk. Allah said in another Ayah,
(They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah.) (9:31) In explanation of this Ayah, At-Tirmidhi recorded that `Adi bin Hatim said, "O Allah's Messenger! They did not worship them.'' The Prophet said,
(Yes they did. They (monks and rabbis) allowed the impermissible for them and they prohibited the lawful for them, and they followed them in that. That was their worship of them.)
(122. Is he who was dead, and We gave him life, and set for him a light, whereby he can walk among men -- like him who is in the darkness from which he can never come out Thus it is made fair seeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do.)
This is an example that Allah has given of the believer who was dead, meaning, wandering in confusion and misguidance. Then, Allah brought life to him, by bringing life to his heart with faith, guiding him to it and guiding him to obeying His Messengers,
(And set for him a light whereby he can walk amongst men.) for he became guided to where he should go and how to remain on the correct path. The light mentioned here is the Qur'an, according to Ibn `Abbas, as Al-`Awfi and Ibn Abi Talhah reported from him. As-Suddi said that the light mentioned here is Islam. Both meanings are correct.
(Like him who is in the darkness) of ignorance, desires and various types of deviation,
(From which he can never come out) for he is unable to find a way out from what he is in. In Musnad Ahmad, it is recorded that the Prophet said;
(Allah created creation in darkness, then He showered His Light upon them. Whoever was struck by that light is guided, whoever it missed is astray.) Allah said in other Ayat,
(Allah is the Guardian of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their friends are Taghut, they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.) (2:257), and
(Is he who walks prone on his face, more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on the straight way) (67:22), and
(The parable of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal when compared Will you not then take heed) (11:24), and,
(Not alike are the blind and the seeing. Nor are darkness and light. Nor are the shade and the sun's heat. Nor are the living and the dead. Verily, Allah makes whom He wills to hear, but you cannot make hear those who are in the graves. You are only a warner.) (35:19-23) There are many other Ayat on this subject. We explained before why Allah mentioned the light in the singular sense and the darkness in the plural sense when we explained the Ayah at the beginning of the Surah,
(And originated the darknesses and the light.) (6:1) Allah's statement,
(Thus it is made fair seeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do.) means, We made their ignorance and misguidance appear fair to them, as Allah decreed out of His wisdom, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him alone without partners.
(123. And thus We have set up in every town great ones of its wicked people to plot therein. But they plot not except against themselves, and they perceive (it) not.) (124. And when there comes to them a sign they say: "We shall not believe until we receive the like of that which the Messengers of Allah received." Allah knows best with whom to entrust His Message. Humiliation and disgrace from Allah and a severe torment will overtake the criminals for that which they used to plot.)