Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 48

Praising the Qur’an

In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam and says that He revealed the Qur’an which confirms the Torah and Injeel as well as acts a guardian upon them.

After people made changes in the Torah and the Injeel, it was the Qur’an which out to be the kind of overseer and protector which exposed the alterations made.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَأَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَـبِ وَمُهَيْمِناً عَلَيْهِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَآءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَآءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ

“And We have sent down to you the Book (this Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Muhayminan over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you.”

The Qur’an contains the truth. All the commands, incidents and prophecies present in it are based on the truth. It confirms the Scriptures which came before it.

The word muhaymin is from the root letters ha-meem-noon. This word is one of the names of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as well as the characteristics of the Qur’an. It means to control or to protect. Qur’an prevails over all the previous Scriptures. It preserves the unaltered messages of the previous Book. Therefore, Qur’an is to be followed.

In this ayah, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam has been told that since Qur’an is muhaymin over other Scriptures, now all the judgments will be made according to the law of the Qur’an. Previously, the Prophet used to make judgments according to the nation. For example, if the Christians came with a question he would refer to their Book and then give a judgment. Similarly, if the Jews came to him, he would consult the Torah and then give an opinion. Now he is being told that Qur’an is to be referred for all the judgments because it preserves the laws of other Scriptures.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says,

لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَـجاً وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَحِدَةً وَلَـكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِى مَآ ءَاتَـكُم فَاسْتَبِقُوا الخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى الله مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعاً فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

“To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ.”

The word shirah is that way of life that leads a person to salvation in this life and in the Hereafter. It is the Divine law. Minhaj, on the other hand, is used for the way that’s open and wide.

Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu said that shirah is Qur’an while minhaj is the Sunnah. Shirah teaches us what to do and minhaj tells us how to do it.

For each nation, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent a law as well as methodology. If He will He could have given each nation the same shirah and minhaj. But He didn’t do that. Why? It is because a particular shirah and minhaj applied to a certain situation only. For example, at the time of Adam aalyhi salaam the law was that siblings could get married to one another. This was the necessity of that time because there was no other family. However, in today’s time this law is no more applicable. It is not relevant anymore.

The laws that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent at a particular time for a test for those people. When He sent another revelation it indicated that the previous law is no more applicable and now this is the new law.

We are being told not to get lost in disputes and arguments but rather hasten towards performing good deeds.


– We learn about the obligation of judging by the Qur’an because the Qur’an has been sent down with haq, it is mussadiq and it is muhaymin.

– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala kept variation in His laws that He sent for different nations. The people of Torah accepted Torah but when the Injeel came a problem arose. It was a test whether they are going to follow Torah or Injeel. Similarly, when the Qur’an came this was a test for the people of Injeel. What are they going to follow now? Are they going to accept the new law of Allah and hang on to the previous law?

Today, when we see differences without our deen between different schools of thoughts. Are we following our desires or are we following some evidence [daleel]? One school says riba is haram other says riba is not haram. One says niqaab is wajib other says it is not wajib but mustahab. What are we looking for? Is it the law of Allah that we wish to follow or something that suits our desire? This is a test for us.

– These differences and arguments cannot be settled in the world. These differences have existed since the world was created. Our focus should be our deeds. If it’s a law of Allah then we accept it. We don’t have a choice of picking and choosing what we like.


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