Surah al-An`am (The Cattle) 6 : 145

قُل لَّآ أَجِدُ فِى مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَىَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُۥٓ إِلَّآ أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُۥ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ بِهِۦ ۚ فَمَنِ ٱضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Say, "I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would eat it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the flesh of swine - for indeed, it is impure - or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allāh. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

God, limitless is He in His glory, gives here clear instructions to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He is to say to those who had assigned a portion of God’s creation of crops and cattle to Him and another portion to the partners they associated with Him, who had made certain types of cattle and crops forbidden so that none may eat of them save those whom they permitted, who made some cattle forbidden to ride, or made what was in the wombs of their cattle forbidden to their women, lawful to their men, who made unlawful what God provided for them as sustenance, falsely attributing such prohibitions to God; he should ask them all: “Has a messenger sent by God come to you with such prohibitions? If so, then tell us about that. Or is it that you yourselves have been present, witnessing the issuing of God’s commandments of prohibition? Or could it be that you heard Him as He made the prohibition and you acted on that? If so, then you are liars inventing falsehood against God. Should you make any such claim, people will know that you are liars.

The Prophet is further instructed to make it clear to them that he does not find in what has been revealed to him of God’s Book anything forbidden to eat, including all that they claimed to be unlawful, except for four types: “carrion”, which refers to an animal dying by itself without being properly slaughtered, or “blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine”. All three types are pronounced to be “unclean” which means that they are impure. The fourth forbidden type is “a sinful offering” which refers to an animal slaughtered by an idolater and consecrated to one of the idols they associated with God. Such an offering is forbidden to make and to eat by anyone who believes in God.

Al-Tabari then explains the proviso made in the concluding part of the same verse, “But if one is driven by necessity, neither intending disobedience nor exceeding his bare need, then know that your Lord is much forgiving, merciful.” 
This means that if a person finds himself in a position which drives him to eat something of what God has forbidden: either carrion, or blood, or pork, or a sinful offering, he may eat that. The condition is that he must not intend any enjoyment by his eating or merely to satisfy an ordinary case of hunger, and he must not intend any transgression by eating what God has forbidden or eating more than what is absolutely necessary to save himself from starving to death. God tells us that He is much-forgiving, merciful. He forgives him what he has done, although He could punish him if He so willed. His mercy is manifested by the fact that He has allowed that person to eat something forbidden when he is driven to it by sheer necessity. Again, God could have made that forbidden even in these extreme cases.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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According to Ibn Abbas, the whole of the Surah was revealed at one sitting at Makkah [during the night]. Asma bint Yazid says, ‘During the revelation of this Surah the Prophet was riding on a she-camel and I was holding her nose-string. The she-camel began to feel the weight so heavily that it seemed as if her bones would break under it.’ We also learn from other narrations that it was revealed during the last year before the migration (Hijrah) and that the Prophet dictated the whole of the Surah the same night that it was revealed. [Mawdudi]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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After determining the period of its revelation it is easier to visualize the background of the Surah. Twelve years had passed since the Prophet had been inviting the people to Islam. The antagonism and persecution by the Quraysh had become most savage and brutal and the majority of the Muslims had to migrate to Abyssinia. Additionally, the two great supporters of the Prophet, Abu Talib and his wife Khadijah were no longer there to help him, so he was deprived of all worldly support. In spite of this he carried on his mission. As a result of this all the good people of Makkah and the surrounding clans gradually began to accept Islam but there the community as a whole was still bent on obstinacy and rejection. Therefore if anyone showed an inclination towards Islam they were subjected to taunts and derision, physical violence and social boycott.

It was in these dark circumstances that a ray of hope gleamed from Yathrib, where Islam began to spread freely by the efforts of some influential people of the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, who had embraced Islam at Makkah. At that time, none but God knew the great hidden potential in this.

To a casual observer it appeared as if Islam was a weak movement, with no material backing, except for some limited support from the Prophet's own family and a few poor followers. Obviously the latter could not give much help because they themselves were being persecuted.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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