please click here to login first
In this address, we note the emphasis on the basic principle of faith in order to stress the falsehood of the practices of the pagan Arabs. One of the clearest examples is to link their arbitrary prohibition of good wholesome things God has provided for His servants with ascribing partners to God. This is indeed the proper description of anyone who falsely claims the authority to make such a prohibition, attributing to God things of which he has no knowledge.
God tells mankind to don their best clothes, which He has given them and taught them how to make, whenever they attend to any act of worship, including ţawāf, which means walking round the Ka`bah glorifying God, acknowledging His Lordship and asking Him to grant our wishes. Those Arabs used to do ţawāf naked, forbidding themselves the wearing of any garments when God did not forbid them that. On the contrary, He made the provision of such clothes an aspect of His grace. The proper thing to be expected is that they should obey Him and make use of what He has given them, not taking off their clothing in a grossly indecent manner: “Children of Adam, dress well when you attend any place of worship.” (Verse 31) He also tells them to enjoy the wholesome provisions He has given them, without being extravagant: “Eat and drink but do not be wasteful. Surely He does not love the wasteful.” (Verse 31)
It has been reported that the Arabs also used to forbid themselves certain types of food in a similar manner to their prohibition of certain types of clothing. All these were inventions perpetrated by the Quraysh, the ruling tribe in Makkah.
In his commentary known as Aĥkām al-Qur’ān, al-Qurţubī, a famous scholar, says: “It has been reported that in pre-Islamic days, the Arabs used not to eat any rich food during their pilgrimage, limiting themselves only to eating very little, and they used to do ţawāf naked. They were told: ‘Dress well when you attend any place of worship. Eat and drink but do not be wasteful.” (Verse 31) This is a clear indication that they must not
forbid themselves what is lawful. From the linguistic point of view, the term used for ‘being wasteful’ could mean extravagance and could also denote the prohibition of what is lawful. In each case, the practice involves going beyond the proper limits.”
The sūrah does not stop at calling on people to dress well when they attend to any act of worship or to enjoy wholesome food and elegant dress. It censures the prohibitions of such adornment which God has provided for His servants as well as the prohibition of wholesome provisions. The authority to prohibit any thing belongs only to God who has given us the details of what He has forbidden and what He has made lawful in the legal code He has enacted for human life.