Surah al-Ma'idah (The Table) 5 : 94
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Surely will test you
can reach it
and your spears
that may make evident
in the unseen
(is) a punishment
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
The verse continues to elaborate on further prohibitions, speaking about game when one is in the state of consecration, or iĥrām, and what compensates for its killing. It further speaks of the purpose of the sanctity of the House of Worship in Makkah, the sacred months, dedicated and garlanded cattle which must not be touched as the sūrah makes clear in its opening verses. This part concludes with the establishment of a clear standard of values for Muslim individuals and Muslim society. According to this standard, a small amount of good is far more valuable than evil, plentiful as it may be.
Like all the other sections of this long passage, this part opens with an address to the believers. They are then told that they are about to be set a test concerning game that has been prohibited to them while they are in the state of consecration, or iĥrām: “Believers, God will certainly try you by means of game which may come within the reach of your hands or your spears, so that God may mark out those who truly fear Him in their hearts. Whoever transgresses after all this will have grievous suffering.” It is a very easy game that is brought within their vicinity. They could easily grab it with their hands, or with their spears. Some reports suggest that such game would come as close as the doors of their tents or homes. This, then, was a trial of temptation.
The trial of providing easy game at the time when it was prohibited to kill during the period of consecration, or iĥrām, was one of the numerous tests that the Muslim community successfully passed. The care God took of this Muslim community and its education is reflected in such tests. In this particular incident, God tells the believers of the purpose beyond His test: “So that God may mark out those who truly fear Him in their hearts.” Being truly God-fearing, or fearing Him in one’s heart, is the solid basis on which faith is established in a person’s conscience. It mould’s one’s behaviour and it is the essence of putting man’s vicegerency on earth into practice.
Human beings do not see God, but they feel His presence in their hearts when they truly believe in Him. To them, He is beyond the reach of all their faculties of perception, but their hearts know and fear Him. The certainty of this great truth in a firm, unshakeable belief in God, and achieving, without seeing Him or feeling His presence with our senses, a strength of belief equal, if not superior, to that based on one’s senses is something great indeed. A believer declares that “there is no deity other than God” without having seen Him. To have such belief is indicative of a huge step forward towards a superior level of humanity that taps man’s natural faculties and makes the best use of all his natural abilities. This represents a great departure away from the realm of animal existence that cannot look up to anything beyond its immediate perception. On the other hand, when man bars his soul from looking up to what lies beyond the reach of his faculties of perception and confines his feelings to the material world surrounding him, he shuts down his superior faculties and lingers permanently in his material and sensual world.
Hence, God makes this quality of fearing Him in our hearts the crucial point of this test, making it clear to the believers so that they are able to use all their powers to achieve it. God certainly knows, initially, who fears Him in his heart, but He does not hold people to account on the basis of His initial knowledge. They are accountable only for what they actually do, which God also knows on the basis of its taking place. “Whoever transgresses after all this will have grievous suffering.” Man is thus told of the trial to which he is being put. He is informed of its purpose and warned against yielding to temptation. All means of success have been given to him. Hence, should he transgress after all this, it is only fair that he should be made to endure grievous suffering. This is his own choice.
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
The theme of this Surah indicates and traditions support it, that it was revealed after the treaty of Hudaibiyah at the end of 6 A.H. or in the beginning of 7 A.H.
The Prophet set out along with 1400 Muslims to Makkah in 6 A.H. to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Even though it was against all the ancient religious traditions of Arabia – the Quraysh prevented them. After a fair amount of negotiation, a treaty was concluded at Hudaibiyah according to which it was agreed that he would be allowed to perform Umrah the following year. This is why the introductory verses deal with with the pilgrimage to Makkah and the same theme has been resumed in v. 101-104. The other topics of this Surah also appear to belong to the same period. [REF: Mawdudi]
8. Reasons for Revelation[ edit ]
The general attitude towards the Muslims had now changed since the revelation of the previous Surahs 3: Al-Imran (Family of Imran) and Surah 4: An-Nisa (The Women)
Islam had become a force and the Islamic State had extended to Najd on the east, to the Red Sea on the west, to Syria on the north, and to Makkah on the south. The set-back which the Muslims had suffered at Uhud had not broken their determination. It had rather spurred them to action. As a result of their continuous struggle and unparalleled sacrifices the power of the surrounding clans within a radius of 200 miles or so had been subdued. The conspiracies of the Jewish tribes - which had always threatened Madinah - were totally removed and the Jews in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula (Hijaz) had become tributaries of the State of Madinah. The last effort of the Quraysh to suppress Islam had been thwarted in the Battle of the Ditch. After this it had become quite obvious to the Arabs that no power could suppress the Islamic movement.
Islam was no longer merely a creed which ruled over the minds and hearts of the people but had also become a State which dominated over every aspect of the life of the people who lived within its boundaries. This had enabled the Muslims to live their lives without any hindrance in accordance with their beliefs.
Another development had also taken place during this period. The Muslim state had developed in accordance with the principles of Islam and this was quite distinct from all other civilisations in all its details. It identified the Muslims clearly from the non-Muslims in their moral, social and cultural behaviour. Mosques had been built in all territories, prayer had been established and a leader (Imam) for every habitation and clan had been appointed. The Islamic civil and criminal laws had been formulated in detail and were being enforced through the Islamic courts. New and reformed ways of trade and commerce had taken the place of the old ones. The Islamic laws of marriage and divorce, of the segregation of the sexes, of the punishment for adultery and slander and the like had cast the social life of the Muslims in a special mould. Their social behaviour, their conversation, their dress, their very mode of living, their culture etc., had taken a definite shape of its own. As a result of all these changes, the non-Muslims could not expect that the Muslims would ever return to their former ways. Before the treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Muslims were so engaged in their struggle with the non-Muslim Quraysh that had little time to propagate their message. This was resolved by what was apparently a defeat but in reality a victory at Hudaibiyah. This gave the Muslims not only peace in their own territory but also respite to spread their message in the surrounding territories. Accordingly, the Prophet addressed letters to the chiefs of Arabia, the rulers of Persia, Egypt and the Roman Empire inviting them to Islam. At the same time the missionaries of Islam spread among the clans and tribes and invited them to accept the Divine Way of God. These were the circumstances at the time when al- Ma’idah was revealed.