Allah orders His believing servants to eat the good and lawful things that He has provided, and to give thanks to Him for that, for He is the Giver and Originator of all favors, Who alone deserves to be worshipped, having no partners or associate. Then Allah mentions what He has forbidden things which harm them in both religious and worldly affairs, i.e., dead meat, blood and the flesh of pigs.
(and any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah.) meaning, it was slaughtered with the mention of a name other than that of Allah. Nevertheless,
(But if one is forced by necessity.) meaning, if one needs to do it, without deliberately disobeying or transgressing, then,
(Allah is Pardoning, Most Merciful.) We have already discussed a similar Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah, and there is no need to repeat it here. And to Allah be praise. Then Allah forbids us to follow the ways of the idolaters who declare things to be permitted or forbidden based upon their own whims and whatever names they agree on, such as the Bahirah (a she-camel whose milk was spared for the idols and nobody was allowed to milk it), the Sa'ibah (a she-camel let loose for free pasture for their false gods, idols, etc., and nothing was allowed to be carried on it), the 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 the Ham (a stallion camel freed from work for the sake of their idols, after it had finished a number of acts of copulation assigned for it), and so on. All of these were laws and customs that were invented during jahiliyyah. Then Allah says:
(And do not describe what your tongues have lied about, saying: "This is lawful and this is forbidden,'' to invent lies against Allah.) This includes everyone who comes up with an innovation (Bid`ah) for which he has no evidence from the Shari`ah, or whoever declares something lawful that Allah has forbidden, or whoever declares something unlawful that Allah has permitted, only because it suits his opinions or whim to do so.
(describe what...) meaning, do not speak lies because of what your tongues put forth. Then Allah warns against that by saying:
(Verily, those who invent lies against Allah, will never succeed.) meaning, either in this world or the Hereafter. As for this world, it is transient pleasure, and in the Hereafter, theirs will be a severe punishment, as Allah says:
(We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We will drive them into an unrelenting punishment.) (31:24) and
(Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah, will never be successful. (A brief) enjoyment in this world! and then to Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they disbelieved.) (10:69-70)
(118. And for those who are Jews, We have forbidden such things as We have mentioned to you before. And We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves.) (119. Then, your Lord for those who did evil out of ignorance and afterward repent and do righteous deeds - verily, after that, your Lord is Pardoning, Most Merciful.)
After mentioning that He has forbidden us to eat dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, and after making allowances for cases of necessity - which is part of making things easy for this Ummah, because Allah desires ease for us, not hardship - Allah then mentions what He forbade for the Jews in their laws before they were abrogated, and the restrictions, limitations and difficulties involved therein. He tells us:
(And for those who are Jews, We have forbidden such things as We have mentioned to you before.) meaning in Surat Al-An`am, where Allah says:
(And unto those who are Jews, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep except what adheres to their backs) Until,
(We are indeed truthful) (6:146) Hence Allah says here:
(And We did not wrong them,) meaning, in the restrictions that We imposed upon them.
(but they wronged themselves. ) meaning, they deserved that. This is like the Ayah:
(Because of the wrong committed of those who were Jews, We prohibited certain good foods which had been lawful for them - and (also) for their hindering many from Allah's way.) (4:160) Then Allah tells us, honoring and reminding believers who have sinned of His blessings, that who- ever among them repents, He will accept his repentance, as He says:
(Then, your Lord for those who did evil out of ignorance) Some of the Salaf said that this means that everyone who disobeys Allah is ignorant.
(and afterward repent and do righteous deeds) meaning, they give up the sins they used to commit and turn to doing acts of obedience to Allah.
(verily, after that, your Lord is...) means, after that mistake
(...Pardoning, Most Merciful.)
(120. Verily, Ibrahim was (himself) an Ummah, obedient to Allah, a Hanif (monotheist), and he was not one of the idolaters.) (121. (He was) thankful for His favors. He (Allah) chose him and guided him to a straight path.) (122. And We gave him good in this world, and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous.) (123. Then, We have sent the revelation to you: "Follow the religion of Ibrahim (he was a) Hanif, and he was not one of the idolaters.'')
(And before, We indeed gave Ibrahim his integrity, and We were indeed most knowledgeable about him)(21:51). Then Allah says:
(and guided him to a straight path.) which means to worship Allah alone, without partners or associate, in the manner that He prescribed and which pleases Him.
(And We gave him good in this world,) meaning, `We granted him all that a believer may require for a good and complete life in this world.'
(and in the Hereafter he shall be of the righteous.) Concerning the Ayah:
(And We gave him good in this world,) Mujahid said: "This means a truthful tongue.''
(Then, We have sent the revelation to you: "Follow the religion of Ibrahim (he was a) Hanif...) meaning, `because of his perfection, greatness, and the soundness of his Tawhid and his way, We revealed to you, O Seal of the Messengers and Leader of the Prophets ,'
(Follow the religion of Ibrahim (he was a) Hanif and he was not of the idolaters.) This is like the Ayah in Surat Al-An`am:
(Say: "Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, (he was a) Hanif and he was not of the idolaters.'') (6:161). Then Allah rebukes the Jews,
(124. The Sabbath was only prescribed for those who differed concerning it, and verily, your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection about what they differed over.)
There is no doubt that for every nation, Allah prescribed one day of the week for people to gather to worship Him. For this Ummah He prescribed Friday, because it is the sixth day, on which Allah completed and perfected His creation. On this day He gathered and completed His blessings for His servants. It was said that Allah prescribed this day for the Children of Israel through His Prophet Musa, but they changed it and chose Saturday because it was the day on which the Creator did not create anything, as He had completed His creation on Friday. Allah made observance of the Sabbath obligatory for them in the laws of the Tawrah (Torah), telling them to keep the Sabbath. At the same time, He told them to follow Muhammad when he was sent, and took their promises and covenant to that effect. Hence Allah says:
(The Sabbath was only prescribed for those who differed concerning it,) Mujahid said: "They observed the Sabbath (Saturday) and ignored Friday.'' Then they continued to observe Saturday until Allah sent `Isa bin Maryam. It was said that he told them to change it to Sunday, and it was also said that he did not forsake the laws of the Tawrah except for a few rulings which were abrogated, and he continued to observe the Sabbath until he was taken up (into heaven). Afterwards, the Christians at the time of Constantine were the ones who changed it to Sunday in order to be different from the Jews, and they started to pray towards the east instead of facing the Dome (i.e., Jerusalem). And Allah knows best. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(We are the last, but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection, even though they were given the Book before us. This is the day that Allah obligated upon them, but they differed concerning it. Allah guided us to this day, and the people observe their days after us, the Jews on the following day and the Christians on the day after that.) This version was recorded by Al-Bukhari. It was reported that Abu Hurayrah and Hudhayfah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Allah let the people who came before us stray from Friday, so the Jews had Saturday and the Christians had Sunday. Then Allah brought us and guided us to Friday. So now there are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, thus they will follow us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of the people of this world, but will be the first on the Day of Resurrection, and will be the first to be judged, before all of creation.) It was reported by Muslim.
(125. Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them with that which is best. Truly, your Lord best knows who has strayed from His path, and He best knows those who are guided.)
Allah commands His Messenger Muhammad to invite the people to Allah with Hikmah (wisdom). Ibn Jarir said: "That is what was revealed to him from the Book and the Sunnah.''
(and fair preaching) meaning, with exhortation and stories of the events that happened to people that are mentioned in the Qur'an, which he is to tell them about in order to warn them of the punishment of Allah.
(and argue with them with that which is best.) meaning, if any of them want to debate and argue, then let that be in the best manner, with kindness, gentleness and good speech, as Allah says elsewhere:
(And do not argue with the People of the Book, unless it be with that which is best, except for those who purposefully do wrong.) (29:46) Allah commanded him to speak gently, as He commanded Musa and Harun to do when he sent them to Pharaoh, as He said:
(And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah))(20: 44).
(Truly, your Lord best knows who has strayed from His path,) meaning, Allah already knows who is doomed (destined for Hell) and who is blessed (destined for Paradise). This has already been written with Him and the matter is finished, so call them to Allah, but do not exhaust yourself with regret over those who go astray, for it is not your task to guide them. You are just a warner, and all you have to do is convey the Message, and it is He Who will bring them to account.
(You cannot guide whom you love) (28:56)
(It is not up to you to guide them, but Allah guides whom He wills.) (2:72)
(126. And if you punish them, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. But if you have patience with them, then it is better for those who are patient.) (127. And be patient, and your patience will not be, but by the help of Allah. And do not grieve over them, and do not be distressed by their plots.) (128. Truly, Allah is with those who have Taqwa, and the doers of good.)
Allah commands justice in punishment and equity in settling the cases of rights. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that, concerning the Ayah,
(then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted.) Ibn Sirin said, "If a man among you takes something from you, then you should take something similar from him.'' This was also the opinion of Mujahid, Ibrahim, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, and others. Ibn Jarir also favored this opinion. Ibn Zayd said: "They had been commanded to forgive the idolaters, then some men became Muslim who were strong and powerful. They said, `O Messenger of Allah, if only Allah would give us permission, we would sort out these dogs!' Then this Ayah was revealed, then it was latter abrogated by the command to engage in Jihad.''
(And be patient, and your patience will not be but by the help of Allah.) This emphasizes the command to be patient and tells us that patience cannot be acquired except by the will, help, decree and power of Allah. Then Allah says:
(And do not grieve over them,) meaning, those who oppose you, for Allah has decreed that this should happen.
(and do not be distressed) means do not be worried or upset.
(by their plots.) meaning; because of the efforts they are putting into opposing you and causing you harm, for Allah is protecting, helping, and supporting you, and He will cause you to prevail and defeat them.
(Truly, Allah is with those who have Taqwa, and the doers of good.) meaning; He is with them in the sense of supporting them, helping them and guiding them. This is a special kind of "being with'', as Allah says elsewhere:
((Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels, "Verily, I am with you, so support those who believe.'') (8:12) And Allah said to Musa and Harun:
(Fear not, verily I am with you both, hearing and seeing.) (20:46) The Prophet said to (Abu Bakr) As-Siddiq when they were in the cave:
(Do not worry, Allah is with us.'') The general kind of "being with'' some one, or something is by means of seeing, hearing and knowing, as Allah says:
(And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah sees whatever you do.) (57:4)
(Have you not seen that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth There is no secret counsel of three but He is their fourth, - nor of five but He is their sixth, - nor of less than that or more, but He is with them wherever they may be.) (58:7)
(You will not be in any circumstance, nor recite any portion of the Qur'an, nor having done any deeds, but We are witnessing you.) (10:61)
(those who have Taqwa) means, they keep away from that which is forbidden.
(and the doers of good.) meaning they do deeds of obedience to Allah. These are the ones whom Allah takes care of, He gives them support, and helps them to prevail over their enemies and opponents. This is end of the Tafsir of Surat An-Nahl. To Allah be praise and blessings, and peace and blessings be upon Muhammad and his family and Companions.