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The Order to eat the Lawful Things, and the Prohibition of following the Footsteps of Shaytan

After Allah stated that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him and that He Alone created the creation, He stated that He is the Sustainer for all His creation, and He mentioned a favor that He granted them; He has allowed them to eat any of the pure lawful things on the earth that do not cause harm to the body or the mind. He also forbade them from following the footsteps of Shaytan, meaning his ways and methods with which he misguides his followers, like prohibiting the Bahirah (a she-camel whose milk was spared for the idols and nobody was allowed to milk it), or Sa'ibah (a she-camel let loose for free pasture for the idols and nothing was allowed to be carried on it), or a Wasilah (a she-camel set free for idols because it has given birth to a she-camel at its first delivery and then again gives birth to a she-camel at its second delivery), and all of the other things that Shaytan made attractive to them during the time of Jahiliyyah. Muslim recorded `Iyad bin Himar saying that Allah's Messenger said that Allah the Exalted says,

يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: إِنَّ كُلَّ مَالٍ مَنَحْتُهُ عِبَادِي فَهُوَ لَهُمْ حَلَالٌ، وَفِيهِ وَإِنِّي خَلَقْتُ عِبَادِي حُنَفَاءَ، فَجَاءَتْهُمُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فَاجْتَالَتْهُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِمْ، وَحَرَّمَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحْلَلْتُ لَهُم »

(`Every type of wealth I have endowed My servants is allowed for them...' (until), `I have created My servants Hunafa' (pure or upright), but the devils came to them and led them astray from their (true) religion and prohibited them from what I allowed for them. ')

Allah said:

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ

(...he is to you an open enemy.)

warning against Satan. Allah said in another instance:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ فَٱتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّاۚ إِنَّمَا يَدۡعُواْ حِزۡبَهُ ۥ لِيَكُونُواْ مِنۡ أَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلسَّعِيرِ

(Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.) (35:6), and:

﴿ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ ۥ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ ۥۤ أَوۡلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِى وَهُمۡ لَكُمۡ عَدُوُّۢ‌ۚ بِئۡسَ لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بَدَلاً۬

(Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you What an evil is the exchange for the Zalimin (polytheists, and wrongdoers, etc).) (18:50)

Qatadah and As-Suddi commented on what Allah said:

﴿ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ‌ۚ

(...and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan)):

Every act of disobedience to Allah is among the footsteps of Satan.

`Abd bin Humayd reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "Any vow or oath that one makes while angry, is among the footsteps of Shaytan and its expiation is that of the vow. '' Allah's statement:

﴿ إِنَّمَا يَأۡمُرُكُم بِٱلسُّوٓءِ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(He (Satan) commands you only what is evil and Fahsha (sinful), and that you should say about Allah what you know not.)

The verse means: `Your enemy, Satan, commands you to commit evil acts and what is worse than that, such as adultery and so forth. He commands you to commit what is even worse, that is, saying about Allah without knowledge.' So this includes every innovator and disbeliever.

﴿ وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ٱتَّبِعُواْ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ قَالُواْ بَلۡ نَتَّبِعُ مَآ أَلۡفَيۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ءَابَآءَنَآ‌ۗ أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ كَمَثَلِ ٱلَّذِى يَنۡعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسۡمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَآءً۬ وَنِدَآءً۬‌ۚ صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡىٌ۬ فَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ

(170 When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah has sent down.'' They say: "Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.'' (Would they do that!) even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided) (171. And the example of those who disbelieve is as that of him who shouts to those (flock of sheep) that hear nothing but calls and cries. (They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand.)

The Polytheist imitates Other Polytheists

Allah states that if the disbelievers and polytheists are called to follow what Allah has revealed to His Messenger and abandon the practices of misguidance and ignorance that they indulge in, they will say, "Rather. We shall follow what we found our fathers following,'' meaning, worshipping the idols and the false deities. Allah criticized their reasoning:

﴿ أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ

((Would they do that!) even though their fathers), meaning, those whom they follow and whose practices they imitate, and:

﴿ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ

(...did not understand anything nor were they guided) meaning, they had no sound understanding or guidance. Ibn Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this was revealed about a group of Jews whom Allah's Messenger called to Islam, but they refused, saying, "Rather, we shall follow what we found our forefathers following.'' So Allah revealed this Ayah (2:170) above."

The Disbeliever is just like an Animal

Allah then made a parable of the disbelievers, just as He said in another Ayah:

﴿ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مَثَلُ ٱلسَّوۡءِ‌ۖ

(For those who believe not in the Hereafter is an evil description.) (16:60)

Similarly, Allah said here (2:171 above)

﴿ وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ

(And the example of those who disbelieve...) meaning, in their injustice, misguidance and ignorance, they are just like wandering animals, not understanding what they are told; if the shepherd heralds them or calls them to what benefits them, they would not understand what is actually being said to them, for they only hear unintelligible sounds. This is what is reported from Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Al-Hasan, Qatadah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.

﴿ صُمُّۢ بُكۡمٌ عُمۡىٌ۬

(They are deaf, dumb, and blind.) means, they are deaf, as they do not hear the truth; mute, as they do not utter it; and blind, as they do not see or recognize its path and way.

﴿ فَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ

(So they do not understand.) means, they do not comprehend or understand anything.

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ڪُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا رَزَقۡنَـٰكُمۡ وَٱشۡكُرُواْ لِلَّهِ إِن ڪُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلۡمَيۡتَةَ وَٱلدَّمَ وَلَحۡمَ ٱلۡخِنزِيرِ وَمَآ أُهِلَّ بِهِۦ لِغَيۡرِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ فَمَنِ ٱضۡطُرَّ غَيۡرَ بَاغٍ۬ وَلَا عَادٍ۬ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ

(172. O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship). (173. He has forbidden you only the Maitah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah. But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

The Command to eat Pure Things and the Explanation of the Prohibited Things

Allah commands His believing servants to eat from the pure things that He has created for them and to thank Him for it, if they are truly His servants. Eating from pure sources is a cause for the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, just as eating from impure sources prevents the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, as mentioned in a Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad, that Abu Hurayrah said that Allah's Messenger said:

« أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللهَ طَيِّبٌ، لَا يَقْبَلُ إِلَّا طَيِّـبًا، وَإنَّ اللهَ أَمَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ، فَقَالَ:
﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلرُّسُلُ كُلُواْ مِنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَٱعۡمَلُواْ صَـٰلِحًا‌ۖ إِنِّى بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ۬
وَقَالَ:
﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ڪُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا رَزَقۡنَـٰكُمۡ
ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أَشْعَثَ أَغْبَرَ يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ: يَا رَبِّ يَا رَبِّ، وَمَطْعَمُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَمَشْرَبُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَملْبَسُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَغُذِّيَ بالْحَرَامِ فَأَنَّى يُسْتَجَابُ لِذلِكَ؟ »

(O people! Allah is Tayyib (Pure and Good) and only accepts that which is Tayyib. Allah has indeed commanded the believers with what He has commanded the Messengers, for He said: (O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am well-acquainted with what you do) (23:51), and: (O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with) He then mentioned a man, (who is engaged in a long journey, whose hair is untidy and who is covered in dust, he raises his hands to the sky, and says, `O Lord! O Lord!' Yet, his food is from the unlawful, his drink is from the unlawful, his clothes are from the unlawful, and he was nourished by the unlawful, so how can it (his supplication) be accepted'') It was also recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi

After Allah mentioned how He has blessed His creatures by providing them with provisions, and after commanding them to eat from the pure things that He has provided them, He then stated that He has not prohibited anything for them, except dead animals. Dead animals are those that die before being slaughtered; whether they die by strangling, a violent blow, a headlong fall, the goring of horns or by being partly eaten by a wild animal. Dead animals of the sea are excluded from this ruling, as is explained later, Allah willing, as Allah said:

﴿ أُحِلَّ لَكُمۡ صَيۡدُ ٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَطَعَامُهُ ۥ

(Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water game and its use for food) (5:96), and because of the Hadith about the whale recorded in the Sahih. The Musnad, Al-Muwatta' and the Sunan recorded the Prophet saying about the sea:

« هُوَ الطَّهُورُ مَاؤُهُ والْحِلُّ مَيْتَتُه »

(Its water is pure and its dead are permissible.)

Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ad-Daraqutni reported that Ibn `Umar said that the Prophet said:

« أُحِلَّ لَنَا مَيْتتَانِ وَدَمَانِ، السَّمَكُ وَالْجَرَادُ وَالْكَبِدُ وَالطِّحَال »

(We have been allowed two dead things and two bloody things: fish and locusts; and liver and spleen).

We will mention this subject again in Surat Al-Ma'idah (chapter 5 in the Qur'an), In sha' Allah (if Allah wills).

Issue: According to Ash-Shafi`i and other scholars, milk and eggs that are inside dead unslaughtered animals are not pure, because they are part of the dead animal. In one narration from him, Malik said that they are pure themselves, but become impure because of their location. Similarly, there is a difference of opinion over the cheeses (made with the milk) of dead animals. The popular view of the scholars is that it is impure, although they mentioned the fact that the Companions ate from the cheeses made by the Magians (fire worshippers). Hence, Al-Qurtubi commented: "Since only a small part of the dead animal is mixed with it, then it is permissible, because a minute amount of impurity does not matter if it is mixed with a large amount of liquid.'' Ibn Majah reported that Salman said that Allah's Messenger was asked about butter, cheese and fur. He said:

« الْحَلَالُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَالْحَرَامُ مَا حَرَّمَ اللهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ، وَمَا سَكَتَ عَنْهُ فَهُوَ مِمَّا عَفَا عَنْه »

(The allowed is what Allah has allowed in His Book and the prohibited is what Allah has prohibited in His Book. What He has not mentioned is a part of what He has pardoned.)

Allah has prohibited eating the meat of swine, whether slaughtered or not, and this includes its fat, either because it is implied, or because the term Lahm includes that, or by analogy. Similarly prohibited are offerings to other than Allah, that is what was slaughtered in a name other than His, be it for monuments, idols, divination, or the other practices of the time of Jahiliyyah. Al-Qurtubi mentioned that `A'ishah was asked about what non-Muslims slaughter for their feasts and then offer some of it as gifts for Muslims. She said, "Do not eat from what has been slaughtered for that day, (or feast) but eat from their vegetables.''

The Prohibited is Allowed in Cases of Emergency

Then Allah permitted eating these things when needed for survival or when there are no permissible types of food available. Allah said:

﴿ فَمَنِ ٱضۡطُرَّ غَيۡرَ بَاغٍ۬ وَلَا عَادٍ۬

(But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits), meaning, without transgression or overstepping the limits,

﴿ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(...then there is no sin on him.) meaning, if one eats such items, for,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ

(Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

Mujahid said, "If one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing the set limits. For example, if he didn't, then he would have to resort to highway robbery, rising against the rulers, or some other kinds of disobedience to Allah, then the permission applies to him. If one does so transgressing the limits, or continually, or out of disobedience to Allah, then the permission does not apply to him even if he is in dire need.'' The same was reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr. Sa`id and Muqatil bin Hayyan are reported to have said that without willful disobedience means, "Without believing that it is permissible.'' It was reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah:

﴿ غَيۡرَ بَاغٍ۬ وَلَا عَادٍ۬

(...without willful disobedience nor transgressing) saying, "Without willful disobedience means eating the dead animal and not continuing to do so. Qatadah said:

﴿ غَيۡرَ بَاغٍ۬

(without willful disobedience) "Without transgressing by eating from the dead animals, that is when the lawful is available.''

Issue: When one in dire straits finds both ـ dead animals, and foods belong to other people which he could get without risking the loss of his hands or causing harm, then it is not allowed for him to eat the dead animals. Ibn Majah reported that `Abbad bin Shurahbil Al-Ghubari said, "One year we suffered from famine. I came to Al-Madinah and entered a garden. I took some grain that I cleaned, and ate, then I left some of it in my garment. The owner of the garden came, roughed me up and took possession of my garment. I then went to Allah's Messenger and told him what had happened. He said to the man:

« مَا أَطْعَمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَائِعًا أَوْ سَاغِبًا وَلَا عَلَّمْتَهُ إِذْ كَانَ جَاهِلًا »
فَأَمَرَهُ فَرَدَّ إِلَيْهِ ثَوْبَهُ، فَأمَرَ لَهُ بِوَسْقٍ مِنْ طَعَامٍ أَوْ نِصْفِ وَسْقٍ.

(You have not fed him when he was hungry - or he said starving - nor have you taught him if he was ignorant.)

The Prophet commanded him to return `Abbad's garment to him, and to offer him a Wasq (around 180 kilograms) - or a half Wasq - of food

This has a sufficiently strong chain of narrators and there are many other witnessing narrations to support it, such as the Hadith that `Amr bin Shu`ayb narrated from his father that his grandfather said: Allah's Messenger was asked about the hanging clusters of dates. He said:

« مَنْ أَصَابَ مِنْهُ مِنْ ذِي حَاجَةٍ بِفِيهِ غَيْرَ مُتَّخِذٍ خُبْنَةً، فَلَا شَيْءَ عَلَيْه »

(There is no harm for whoever takes some of it in his mouth for a necessity without putting it in his garment.)

Muqatil bin Hayyan commented on:

﴿ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ

(...then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) "For what is eaten out of necessity.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "Allah is pardoning for what has been eaten of the unlawful, and Merciful' in that He allowed the prohibited during times of necessity.'' Masruq said, "Whoever is in dire need, but does not eat or drink until he dies, he will enter the Fire.'' This indicates that eating dead animals for those who are in need of it for survival is not only permissible but required.

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ وَيَشۡتَرُونَ بِهِۦ ثَمَنً۬ا قَلِيلاً‌ۙ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَا يَأۡكُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمۡ إِلَّا ٱلنَّارَ وَلَا يُڪَلِّمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ وَلَا يُزَڪِّيهِمۡ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱشۡتَرَوُاْ ٱلضَّلَـٰلَةَ بِٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡعَذَابَ بِٱلۡمَغۡفِرَةِ‌ۚ فَمَآ أَصۡبَرَهُمۡ عَلَى ٱلنَّارِ ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ نَزَّلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۗ وَإِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَفِى شِقَاقِۭ بَعِيدٍ۬

(174. Verily, those who conceal what Allah has sent down of the Book, and purchase a small gain therewith (of worldly things), they eat into their bellies nothing but fire. Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment). (175. Those are they who have purchased error at the price of guidance, and torment at the price of forgiveness. So how bold they are (for evil deeds which will push them) to the Fire). (176. That is because Allah has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) in truth. And verily, those who disputed as regards the Book are far away in opposition).