Prohibitions are Only Those that Appear in Qur’an or Hadeeth
The subject matter of this ayah is similar to what has been discussed earlier. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala reminds us that we cannot forbid or permit things on our own. Our sources of guidance should be what has appeared in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,
The word ta`imin [طَاعِمٍ] is from the word ta`am that means “food” (this includes both solids as well as liquids). While ta`imin is a person who eats.
In this Ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala commands the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam to say that he doesn’t find any animal prohibited except for what has been revealed to him. Revelation here means both that has been included in the Qur’an as well as that which was revealed to him in separate incidences. For example, when he made honey haram upon himself he was told not to do so. Therefore, for us to check what’s permissible and what’s not we must refer to “both” the Qur’an as well as the saheeh ahadeeth.
Then he narrates the kinds of animals that he is forbidden to eat:
i. “…unless it be a dead animal…” this means an animal which has not been slaughtered properly, an animal that dies a natural death or an animal that dies of an accident.
ii. “…blood spilled out…” the word masfuhan [مَّسْفُوحًا] is from the root letters seen-fa-ha and it means “to shed, flow, outpour or spill”. Earlier we read that blood is haram. Here we learn that a specific kind of blood is haram. Blood that is made to flow is forbidden to be consumed while congealed or clotted blood is permissible. This is the blood that is under the flesh or that emerges while cooking. Qatadah commented, “Poured blood was prohibited, but the meat that still has some blood in it is allowed.”
iii. “…the flesh of swine…”
Then the reasons for prohibiting these were stated:
i. “…for indeed, it is impure…” Rij’soun [رِجْسٌ] is that which is filthy or repulsive by Shariah as well as by one’s intellect. A sound mind will not accept it. Spilled blood, a dead or decaying animal is naturally repulsive and abhorred.
ii. “…or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience…” meaning that it was haram.
iii. “…dedicated to other than Allah…” meaning that animal on which a name other than Allah’s was pronounced or no one’s name was pronounced.
Ibn `Abbas said, “During the time of Jahiliyah, the people used to eat some things and avoid some other things because they disliked them. Later on, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala sent His Prophet, revealed His Book, allowed what He allowed, and prohibited what He prohibited. Therefore, whatever Allah allowed is lawful and whatever He prohibited is unlawful. Whatever He did not mention, there is no sin in it.” He then recited this Ayah.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas radhiAllahu `anhu said, “A sheep belonging to Sawdah bint Zam`ah died and she said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam! So-and-so (sheep) has died.’ He said,
فَلِمَ لَا أَخَذْتُمْ مَسْكَهَا؟
‘Why did you not use its skin?’ She asked, ‘Should we use the skin of a sheep that has died?’ Allah’s Messenger said,
إِنَّمَا قَالَ اللهُ:”قُل لاَ أَجِدُ فِى مَآ أُوْحِىَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَى طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلاَ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ” وَإِنَّكُمْ لَا تَطْعَمُونَهُ أَنْ تَدْبَغُوهُ فَتَنْتَفِعُوا بِه
‘Allah only said, “Say: I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, except a dead animal or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine….” You will not be eating it if you tan its skin and benefit from it.’ So she had the sheep skinned, the skin was tanned and made into a water skin that she kept until it wore out.” Bukhari and an-Nasa’i collected a similar hadeeth.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala then said, “But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.’” Meaning that whoever is forced by necessity to eat anything that Allah has forbidden in this honorable Ayah, without transgressing his limits, then for him Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
A person may eat the haram out of necessity under certain circumstances such as in extreme hunger that if he will not eat he will die. However, there are conditions under which the haram is permissible. Firstly, “he should not desire it” meaning the person should not have any desire in his heart to eat the forbidden so that when he is provided that food he doesn’t say “Oh I always wanted to know how this tastes like.” Secondly, “he should not exceed his limits” that is to say he must not “indulge” in it. He should eat only enough that is sufficient for survival and not satiation.
This Ayah contradicts the idolators’ innovated prohibitions for certain kinds of wealth, relying merely on their misguided ideas, such as the Baheerah, Sa`ibah, Waseelah and Haam. Allah commanded His Messenger to inform them that he does not find that such types of animals are prohibited in what Allah revealed to him. In this Ayah, Allah only prohibited dead animals, poured blood, the flesh of swine and what has been slaughtered for something other than Allah. Other things were not prohibited here, but rather treated as that which does not have a ruling, i.e., permissible. Therefore, how do you — idolators — claim that such items are prohibited, and why did you prohibit them when Allah did not prohibit them?
– When it comes to the matters of halal and haram, Wahi is the only source of guidance, not the statements, opinions or desires of others. Wahi is whatever is in the Qur’an and what was revealed to the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam otherwise and has been recorded in saheeh ahadeeth.
– Everything is permissible for consumption except stated otherwise.
– Any creature that is filthy is forbidden such as snakes, cockroaches, bugs, insects, rats etc.
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