Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 4

Clarifying the Lawful

Lawful and unlawful animals were mentioned in the previous ayaat. An answer to a question on the same subject appears in the present ayah. Some Companions radhiAllahu anhum asked the Messenger sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam about the rule governing hunting with the help of a trained dog and falcon. Given in this ayah is an answer to that question.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَآ أُحِلَّ لَهُمْ قُلْ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَـتُ

“They ask you what is lawful for them. Say: “Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat (the good things).”

In the previous ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentioned the prohibited types of food, the impure and unclean things, harmful for those who eat them, either to their bodies, religion or both, except out of necessity. In Surah Al-A`raf Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes Muhammad sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam allowing the good things and prohibiting the filthy things. Muqatil said, “At-Tayyibat includes everything Muslims are allowed and the various types of legally earned provision.”

وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ

“And those Jawarih (beasts and birds of prey) which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah….”

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu said that, وَمَا عَلَّمْتُمْ مِّنَ الْجَوَارِحِ مُكَلِّبِينَ  refers to trained hunting dogs, falcons and all types of birds and beasts that are trained to hunt, including dogs, wild cats, falcons, and so forth. The method of hunting of these beasts and birds is either through their claws or talons.

Ibn Jareer recorded that Ibn Umar radhiAllahu anhu said, “You are permitted the animal that the trained birds, such as falcons, hunt for you if you catch it (before it eats from it). Otherwise, do not eat from it.” The majority of scholars say that hunting with trained birds is just like hunting with trained dogs, because bird’s of prey catch the game with their claws, just like dogs. Therefore, there is no difference between the two.

Ibn Jareer recorded that Adi bin Hatim radhiAllahu anhu said that he asked the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam about the game that the falcon hunts and the Messenger said,

مَا أَمْسَكَ عَلَيْكَ فَكُل

“Whatever it catches for you, eat from it.” These carnivores that are trained to catch game are called Jawarih in Arabic, a word that is derived from Jarh, meaning, what one earns. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so has Jaraha something good for his family,” meaning, he has earned them something good. The Arabs would say, “So-and-so does not have a Jarih for him,” meaning, a caretaker.

Therefore, if the game is killed by the weight of its blow, not with its claws, then we are not allowed to eat from the game.

Allah’s statement,

تُعَلِّمُونَهُنَّ مِمَّا عَلَّمَكُمُ اللَّهُ

“….training them in the manner as directed to you by Allah…”

Indicates that it is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Who gives the aqal to man to teach a beast which can hunt food for him. It is a great favor of Allah. The beast is trained to go after another animal, catch it and hold it till the master arrives. The beast doesn’t start satisfying his own hunger from the animal caught. Even the animal has been caught by another beast Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala puts a condition to make it halal for us. He says,

فَكُلُواْ مِمَّآ أَمْسَكْنَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ

“….so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it…”

When the beast is trained, and it catches the game for its owner who mentioned Allah’s Name when he sent the beast after the game, then this game is allowed according to the consensus of scholars, even if it was killed.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends this ayah by saying,

وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ 

“and have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is swift in reckoning.”

This indicates that we should not take the matters of halal and haram casually, but fear Allah as much as we can.

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One thought on “Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 4

  1. Assalamu Alykum W. R. B.

    May Allah Azawajal finds you in peace and tranquillity. Jazakallahu Khairun for this Quanic Tafseer. I am curious to know why do we have to follow ibn e Kateer’s Tafseer. We are in modern world, we need modern translations. I am not raising doubts about the Tafseers of our Asalaaf such as Ibn e Kateer. Many people read, including my self the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi. Some are impressed with Gazali’s works. Some are of Ibn Taimiyyah. They are all our Aslaaf. But they were not perfect. However, every work has its expiry date. Whether it is Aristotle or Gazali or Abul Ala Maudidi or Ibn e Kateer. They all have expiry dates. They were humans like us. Quran stands out. It does not have expiration date. We need modern scholarship to deal with modern issues. Why do we have to read a modern and protected Quran with unprotected material. After reading the tafseer of Abul Ala Maudidi, I am started to feel that his work gradually getting expiry also. The world is evolving. We have no arguments and differences in fundamentals of Islam. They will always be same. The other issues should be addressed with modern scholarship. Ibn Kateer is quite good for the purpose of references. No doubt. But, modern issues require modern translations. May Allah Azawajal give all our great and illustrious Aslaaf jannat ul Firdaus for their superb services to Islam. Ameen.

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