Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 2

The Necessity of Observing the Sanctity

The first ayah emphasized the fulfillment of contracts. Included among these contracts is the contract or pledge to abide the restrictions of the lawful and the unlawful as ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. the second ayah describes two important articles of this contract. The first relates to the sanctity of the signs, symbols or hallmarks of Allah with the specific instruction to stay away from desecrating them. The second article recommends an even-handed dispension of justice to everyone, your own or not your own, friend or foe, which has been combined with a corresponding prohibition of any counter injustice inflicted in return for some injustice done.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,


يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تُحِلُّواْ شَعَآئِرَ اللَّهِ

 “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of Sha’a’ir Allah (the symbols of Allah)…”

Sha’a’ir is the plural of sha’eera from the root letters sheen-ayn-ra. The word sha’oor means perception. Sha’a’ir means religious places or symbols because they remind a person of Allah. They are also major acts of worship such as Hajj, Umrah. Salah can be offered anywhere and in any type of clean clothes that cover our aura. On the other hand, for Hajj and Umrah we have to be at a certain place to offer it.

Ibn Abbas said, “Sha`a’ir Allah means the rituals of Hajj.” Mujahid said, “As-Safa and Al-Marwah, and the sacrificial animal are the symbols of Allah.” It was also stated that Sha`a’ir Allah is what He prohibited. Therefore, it means, do not violate what Allah prohibited and give His symbols due respect. Allah said afterwards,

وَلاَ الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلاَ الْهَدْىَ وَلاَ الْقَلَـئِدَ

 “…..nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the sacrificial animal brought for sacrifice, nor the garlands….”

It means do not violate the sanctity by fighting and killing during the months in which it is prohibited. These months are Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. Violation of the sanctity of sacrificial animals within the Haraam of Makkah was also prohibited. One form of violating the sanctity of these animals could be that they are stopped from reaching the Haraam or are snatched away. The second form could be that of using the animals for a purpose other than sacrifice, such as using them to ride or milk.

Qiladah is a necklace or a strap put around the neck of the sacrificial animal to distinguish it from other cattle. This way, it will be known that these animals are intended to be offered as “Hady” at the Ka`abah, and thus those who might intend some harm to them would refrain from doing so. Those who see the Hady might be encouraged to imitate this ritual, and indeed, he who calls to a type of guidance, will earn rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow his lead, without decrease in their own rewards.

Allah said,

وَلا ءَامِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَناً

“….nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord.”

The Ayah commands: Do not fight people who are heading towards the Sacred House of Allah, which if anyone enters it, he must be granted safe refuge. Not violating the sanctity of such people also means that they should neither be stopped during their journey not should any pain be caused to them.

Likewise, those who are heading towards the Sacred House seeking the bounty and good pleasure of Allah, must not be stopped, prevented, or frightened away from entering the Sacred House.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,

وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَـدُواْ

“But when you finish the Ihraam, then hunt,”

When you end your Ihram, it is permitted for you to hunt game, which was prohibited for you during Ihram. Although this Ayah contains a command that takes effect after the end of a state of prohibition (during Ihram in this case), the Ayah, in fact, brings back the ruling that was previously in effect. If the previous ruling was an obligation, the new command will uphold that obligation, and such is the case with recommended and permissible matters. There are many Ayat that deny that the ruling in such cases is always an obligation. Such is also the case against those who say that it is always merely allowed.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,

وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُواْ

“…and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part).”

The meaning of this Ayah is apparent, as it commands: Let not the hatred for some people, who prevented you from reaching the Sacred House in the year of Hudaybiyyah, make you transgress Allah’s Law and commit injustice against them in retaliation. Rather, rule as Allah has commanded you, being just with everyone.

وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى

“And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety…”

Do not be driven by your hatred for some people into abandoning justice, for justice is ordained for everyone, in all situations. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Zayd bin Aslam said, “The Messenger of Allah and his Companions were in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah when the idolators prevented them from visiting the House, and that was especially hard on them. Later on, some idolators passed by them from the east intending to perform Umrah. So the Companions of the Prophet said, `Let us prevent those (from `Umrah) just as their fellow idolators prevented us.’ Thereafter, Allah sent down this Ayah.” Ibn Abbas and others said that “Shana’an” refers to enmity and hate. Allah said next,

وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ

“Help one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa; but do not help one another in sin and transgression.”

Allah commands His believing servants to help one another perform righteous, good deeds, which is the meaning of `Al-Birr’, and to avoid sins, which is the meaning of `At-Taqwa’. Allah forbids His servants from helping one another in sin, `Ithm’ and committing the prohibitions. Ibn Jarir said that, “Ithm means abandoning what Allah has ordained, while transgression means overstepping the limits that Allah set in your religion, along with overstepping what Allah has ordered concerning yourselves and others.”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik radhiAllahu anhu said that the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

انْصُرْ أَخَاكَ ظَالِمًا أَوْ مَظْلُومًا

‘Support your brother whether he was unjust or the victim of injustice.’ He was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! We know about helping him when he suffers injustice, so what about helping him when he commits injustice?’’ He said,


تَحْجُزُهُ وَتَمْنَعُهُ مِنَ الظُّلْمِ فَذَاكَ نَصْرُه

‘Prevent and stop him from committing injustice, and this represents giving support to him.’ [Bukhari]

Imam Ahmad recorded that one of the Companions of the Prophet narrated the hadeeth,

الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ وَيَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ أَعْظَمُ أَجْرًا مِنَ الَّذِي لَا يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ وَلَا يَصْبِرُ عَلى أَذَاهُم

“The believer who mingles with people and is patient with their annoyance, earns more reward than the believer who does not mingle with people and does not observe patience with their annoyance.”

Muslim recorded a hadeeth that states,

مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الْأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا يَنْقُصُ ذلِكَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا، وَمَنْ دَعَا إِلَى ضَلَالَةٍ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ مِثْلُ آثَامِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، لَا يَنْقُصُ ذلِكَ مِنْ آثَامِهِمْ شَيْئًا

“He who calls to a guidance, will earn a reward similar to the rewards of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their rewards. Whoever calls to a heresy, will carry a burden similar to the burdens of those who accept his call, until the Day of Resurrection, without decreasing their own burdens.”


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