Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Command to Eat Pure Things and Express Gratitude


Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 172

In ayaat 168 – 169, we read that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses the entire mankind and instructs them to eat from the permissible and pure. Earlier, the aim was to correct the error made by the Mushrikeen [idol worshipers] of making unlawful what was good and permissible. In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns the believers against falling into the same error. As a corollary, they are reminded of Allah’s blessings and are taught to be grateful to Him.


When we travel around the world, we notice the diversity that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has planned for us. Each region has a specific crop that grows only in that region. The area is particularly known for this produce. Why did Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala create so much variety for us? So that we can look at the beauty of His marvelous artistry, appreciate it and take benefit from it.

In the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us to eat from what He has provided us and express our shukr [gratitude]. He didn’t say you should not eat. Rather, He instructs us to use what He has given us. He puts only two conditions; what we consume should be permissible [halal] and pure [tayyib].


– In this ayah, we learn that we should eat and appreciate all that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created for us as food. We should not allow Satanic doubts infiltrate our minds and stop eating something which is permissible by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (unless of course, someone is advised by a God-fearing doctor due to some medical condition).

– Another key point to remember is to thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for all that He has created for us. Some of us eat the meal without saying alhumdulillah at the end. Others make faces when they do not see their favorite dish on the dinner table. We need to remind ourselves of the countless people who go to bed with empty stomachs or have to beg or steal only to get a piece of bread. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is providing us His blessings without having to beg or steal, and yet we fail to thank Him?

– This also reminds us to abstain from ingratitude. We should look at what we have and not what we are deprived of.

At the end of ayah 172, He says, “…if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” It tells us that eating too becomes worship if we eat that which He has made lawful for us, abstain from that which is forbidden, recite His Name at the start of the meal and thank Him at the end of the meal.

Eating healthy, nutritious and lawful food and then thanking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala nourishes both the body and soul. A healthy person is able to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala properly. On the contrary, if we do not eat proper food we will be lethargic, agitated and lose focus in our prayers. We should look at our food and eat only nutritious and tayyib. We need to make a commitment to stay away from the junk food.

[The Healthy Active Muslim]

The Effects of eating Halal [lawful] and Haram [unlawful]

Eating from pure sources is a cause for the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, just as eating from impure sources prevents the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship.

Eating halal generates inner light, creates a distaste for evil deeds, leads toward high morals, and creates a state in which the heart welcomes ibadah [worship] and finds the thought of sin sickening. In contrast, eating haram promotes evil instincts, kills the taste of ibadah and makes the prayers ineffective.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللهَ طَيِّبٌ، لَا يَقْبَلُ إِلَّا طَيِّـبًا، وَإنَّ اللهَ أَمَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِمَا أَمَرَ بِهِ الْمُرْسَلِينَ،
فَقَالَ: يأَيُّهَا الرُّسُلُ كُلُواْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَـتِ وَاعْمَلُواْ صَـلِحاً إِنِّى بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ
وَقَالَ: يـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ
ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أَشْعَثَ أَغْبَرَ يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ: يَا رَبِّ يَا رَبِّ، وَمَطْعَمُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَمَشْرَبُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَملْبَسُهُ حَرَامٌ، وَغُذِّيَ بالْحَرَامِ فَأَنَّى يُسْتَجَابُ لِذلِكَ؟

“O people! Allah is Tayyib [Pure and Good] and only accepts that which is tayyib. Allah has indeed commanded the believers with what He has commanded the Messengers, for He said: ‘O (you) Messengers! Eat of the tayyibat and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am well-acquainted with what you do,’ (Al-Muminoon 23:51), and, ‘O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with,’ He then mentioned a man, who is engaged in a long journey, whose hair is untidy and who is covered in dust, he raises his hands to the sky, and says, ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ Yet, his food is from the unlawful, his drink is from the unlawful, his clothes are from the unlawful, and he was nourished by the unlawful, so how can it (his supplication) be accepted?” [It was also recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi.]

This shows that eating and using what is halal increases the chances of a prayer being answered while living by the haram kills those chances.

If a person is not inclined to pray he should look at his food – what is his source of earning? Is the earning lawful? Does it involve Riba [interest]? Do I give the committed time to work or do I waste it in coffee breaks, chatting, doodling, long lunch hours, frequent late arrivals or absences, etc?

Many of us complain that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not answer our prayers. Here is a reminder for us to first look at our meal and our source of earning. Is it halal?

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us to that which is best, aameen.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 172

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

3 thoughts on “The Command to Eat Pure Things and Express Gratitude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.