Al-Maidah · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 91

In ayah 91, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala elucidates when Shaytan commands us to consume khamr, maysir, and other forbidden things, what is it that he wants.

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَآءَ فِى الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَوةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُّنتَهُونَ

“Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr and Maysir, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?”

The word yuqi’a يُوقِعَ is from the root letters wau-qaf-ayn and it means “to occur or happen”. Shaytan wants that enmity and hatred should grow between people. This is why he tempts us to fall for these things.

When someone is drunk he misbehaves and abuses others. He doesn’t know what words he is uttering. He hurts others by his tongue and actions. Similarly, it is possible that seeing a person in drunken state others around him play a prank to have fun. They misbehave with him. What do such actions result in? Hatred for the other.

When a person puts his money in a lottery or gamble anticipating doubling or tripling of wealth, and then he loses them all, what happens? He begins hating the person who won the money. Similarly, the person who wins the money, what happens to him? It is quite possible that some people conspire to have him killed to get their hands on his wealth or steal his money. It again strengthens enmity instead of love between people.

The other reason why Shaytan lures people to fall for the forbidden things is to stop them from the remembrance of Allah. Remembrance of Allah can be done through the heart, tongue and limbs.

When a person is intoxicated can he remember Allah? When a person is worrying about doubling and tripling his wealth or acquiring another’s wealth unlawfully will he be remembering Allah?  When a person is immersed in spiritual filth can he remember Allah? No.

These actions stop the believer from remembering Allah. This is what Shaytan wants. That we spend a lot of our time without doing the dhikr of Allah. When we leave the washroom after relieving ourselves, what do we say after coming out? Ghufranaka. Forgive me. Why do we say this? It is because we spent a “few minutes” without remembering Allah. When someone is in a drunken state or occupied with gambling can he remember Allah for several “hours”, forget about a few minutes. On the Day of Judgment, this will be a great disappointment for us because we didn’t utilize our time properly.

Therefore, after explaining the dangers of intoxicants and gambling, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks us if we will still continue consuming them. It is a warning as well as an encouragement to abstain. When Umar ibn al-Khattab radhiAllahu anhu heard these ayaat, he said, “We abstain.”

LESSONS from Ayaat 90 and 91:

– We learn about the importance of staying away from these prohibited things. Secondly, it is the condition of emaan because ayah 90 begins with “O you who believe.” If someone doesn’t abstain from these things then there is a problem with his emaan.

– We learn alcohol and all the other types of intoxicants are unlawful regardless of their quantity or kind.

– Any type of gambling, including lottery, offering sacrifices to idols and finding out fortune is haram. Any method used to determine fate is haram whether that’s astrology, palmistry, tarot reading or going to a so-called pious person. People who claim they can tell what’s going to happen in the future are either lying or using a jinn to find out. Shaytan is a jinn. We cannot please Shaytan without displeasing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.  

Istekhara is different from finding out fate. Istekhara is from khair. In it you are not determining fate but asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to bring that closer to you in which there’s khair for you and distance that which is bad.

– There’s a stern warning for a person who gets involved in any of these four things. These are the handiworks of Shaytan. Are we Abd-Allah or Abd-Shaytan?

– To be successful a person must stay away from these things. Success means success in the dunya as well as the hereafter.

– Some people say since the word “haram” has not been used in the Qur’an therefore we can still consume them. But when we study the tafseer nothing could be more clear.

[Explanation compiled from the lecture of Taimiyyah Zuberi]

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