Al-Maidah · Juz 6 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 77

Exceed Not in Religion

Previously, we learned that the Bani Israel became so intense in their transgression that they began killing the messengers of Allah. In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about another extremism displayed by the People of Scripture.

قُلْ يَـأَهْلَ الْكِتَـبِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِى دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ أَهْوَآءَ قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيراً وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ

Say, “O People of the Scripture! Exceed not the limits in your religion beyond the truth, and do not follow the vain desires of people who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path.”

The word ‘ghuluww’ mentioned in the ayah denotes overstepping or crossing the limits. For example, if someone is a messenger do not raise him to the level of a god. He is a teacher, an ordinary human being. Do not associate Divinity to him.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands the People of the Scripture not to exceed the limits concerning the truth and exaggeration in praising whom you were commanded to honor. You exaggerated in his case and elevated him from the rank of Prophet to the rank of a god. You did this with Eesa, who was a Prophet, yet you claimed that he is god besides Allah. This error occurred because you followed your teachers, the advocates of misguidance who came before your time and who, deviated from the straight path, to the path of misguidance and deviation.

Don’t follow the desires or inclinations of misguided people. They don’t know what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants. They are astray from before and they have misguided many people so avoid their company.


– The reason behind why the People of the Book exaggerated in matters of religion or went astray was that they followed the desires of other msiguided people.

– If ghuluww concerning Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or His Prophet is forbidden than this applies to every aspect of the Deen. There should be no extremism in our devotion to Islam. We should practice the Deen as it was brought to us by Rasoolullah salAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. We are no one to alter the religion of Allah.

– This ayah is a warning against those people who are impressed by the misguided people. We are being warned against apologetic behavior towards the Deen because we are in awe with those who reject the Deen.

– We learn about the prohibition of making human thought and logic the basis of Shariah. For example, if there’s something in the Qur’an and Science also confirms it, we say, “Look Science proves it.” However, it should be the other way around. We should say, “Qur’an proves Science.” We are to believe in Qur’an whether Science approves of it or not. Be confident about your deen.

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