Al-Maidah · Juz 7 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’idah Ayah 97

English: A picture of people performing (circu...
English: A picture of people performing (circumambulating) the . This picture taken from the gate of Abdul Aziz seems to divide the Kaaba and the minarets into mirror images of one another. Français : Pélerins en train de réaliser la Circumambulation (ou Tawaf) autour de la Ka’ba. Photo prise depuis la porte Ibn Saud, d’où la vue présente une symétrie en miroir presque parfaite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Four Sources of Tranquility

In this ayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions four things as the source of faithfulness, survival and tranquility for the people.

جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَاماً لِّلنَّاسِ

Allah has made the Ka`bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits for mankind…”

The first source of tranquility for mankind is the House of Allah, Ka’abah. The word Ka’abah is from the root letters kaf-ayn-ba which mean “prominent, eminent, glorified, square or cubic.”

The word Qiyam people قِيَام  is from the root letters qaf-wau-meem which mean “to stand still or firm.” The word qiyam means something that is used a support on it or against it, such as a wall or a pillar.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made the Ka`abah, the Sacred House, a place of support or an asylum of safety for the people who have no chief to prevent the strong from transgressing against the weak, the evil from the good-doers, and the oppressors from the oppressed.

Ka’abah is a place for both religious tranquility and safety. For example, a person can only perform Hajj and Umrah when he is at Ka’abah. Similarly, when a person enters the limits of Ka’abah his life is safe. No one can provide him any harm. This was a practice that was seen in the days of ignorance as well.

وَالشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَالْهَدْىَ وَالْقَلَـئِدَ ذلِكَ لِتَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“…and also the sacred month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded, that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything…”

The second source of tranquility for the people is the sacred month. In the sacred month there is peace, and no fighting takes place. People can travel with security. Most commentators say since the word used is singular therefore this refers to the month of Dhul-Hijjah because soon after there is a mention of sacrificial and garlanded animals.

The third source of tranquility is the sacrificial animal, al-hadya الْهَدْىَ. It was the practice of the Arab people not to check and obstruct anyone carrying such an animal. The fourth source is al-qalaid الْقَلَـئِد. The word is the plural form of “qalaida” which is a type of distinctive necklace that is put on the sacrificial animals, as well as to specify that the people traveling with them are pilgrims so don’t harm them.

All of these sources of qiyam, the Ka’abah, the sacred month, al-hadya and al-qalaid have been made so that we know that He Who made these symbols that benefit our life and provide us with security, also knows everything in the heavens and earth that brings about our immediate or eventual benefit. He has perfect knowledge of everything. None of our deeds or affairs ever escapes His observation; and He will count them for us so that He rewards those who do good with the same and those who do evil in kind.

A question may arise how do these things make us aware of the fact that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows everything. For example, a person is in the area of haraam and sees his enemy. What is the fact that is going to stop him from harming the person? The enemy will remind himself that he is in the sacred area, it is a sacred month and the animals accompanying the pilgrim are sacrificial animals. This awareness or the fear of Allah will stop him from harming the person.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what is necessary for the protection of people. Therefore He created the Ka’abah, the sacred month, the sacrificial and the garlanded animals.


– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala may exalt or give preference to whatever creation that He pleases and how ever He pleases. The Ka’abah is sacred but any other masjid is not sacred. All masajid should be respected but Ka’abah is the sacred House of Allah.

– Ka’abah is a sacred place therefore the area around it is also sacred. No animals must be harmed or trees be cut.

– We learn about the tazeem or importance of the sacred month.

– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has appointed a particular place and time when everyone is safe. No matter how much you hate your enemy when you are in the sacred area or sacred month you can’t harm him. This way people are allowed to live at peace for at least some time, and work without any fear or threat. It was observed that during the sacred months business thrived in Arabia.

We learn in Surah al-Quraysh ayah 3 and 4, “Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.”

– We learn about the fact that Islam is a religion that promotes peace and security. There is a certain time, no matter how much you hate your enemy, you can’t harm him.

– The commands that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us whether prohibitions or actions develop the consciousness that He is watching us.

[SOURCE: Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Maarif-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani and Tafseer Lecture of Taimiyyah Zuberi]


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