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Quran Chapter 5 [part 5] - The Feast - Good Things Which God Has Made Lawful, Questioning Messengers

87 You who believe, do not forbid the good things God has made lawful to you– do not exceed the limits: God does not love those who exceed the limits– 88 but eat the lawful and good things that God provides for you. Be mindful of God, in whom you believe. 89 God does not take you [to task] for what is thoughtless in your oaths, [a] only for your binding oaths: the atonement for breaking an oath is to feed ten poor people with food equivalent to what you would normally give your own families, or to clothe them, or to set free a slave– if a person cannot find the means, he should fast for three days. This is the atonement for breaking your oaths– keep your oaths. In this way God makes clear His revelations to you, so that you may be thankful.


90 You who believe, intoxicants and gambling, idolatrous practices, and [divining with] [b] arrows are repugnant acts– Satan’s doing– shun them so that you may prosper. 91 With intoxicants and gambling, Satan seeks only to incite enmity and hatred among you, and to stop you remembering God and prayer. Will you not give them up? 92 Obey God, obey the Messenger, and always be on your guard: if you pay no heed, bear in mind that the sole duty of Our Messenger is to deliver the message clearly. 93 Those who believe and do good deeds will not be blamed for what they may have consumed [in the past] [c] as long as they are mindful of God, believe and do good deeds, then are mindful of God and believe, then are mindful of God and do good deeds: God loves those who do good deeds.


94 You who believe, God is sure to test you with game within reach of your hands and spears, to find out who fears Him even though they cannot see Him: from now on, anyone who transgresses will have a painful punishment. [d] 95 You who believe, do not kill game while you are in the state of consecration [for pilgrimage]. If someone does so intentionally the penalty is an offering of a domestic animal brought to the Ka'ba, equivalent– as judged by two just men among you– to the one he has killed; alternatively, he may atone by feeding the needy or by fasting an equivalent number of days, so that he may taste the full gravity of his deed. God forgives what is past, but if anyone re-offends, God will exact the penalty from him: God is mighty, and capable of exacting the penalty. 96 It is permitted for you to catch and eat seafood– an enjoyment for you and the traveler– but hunting game is forbidden while you are in the state of consecration [for pilgrimage]. Be mindful of God to whom you will be gathered.


97 God has made the Ka'ba– the Sacred House– a means of support for people, [e] and the Sacred Months, the animals for sacrifice and their garlands: all this. Know that God has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and earth and that He is fully aware of all things. 98 Know too that God is severe in punishment yet most forgiving and merciful. [f] 99 The Messenger’s duty is only to deliver the message: God knows what you reveal and what you conceal.


100 Say [Prophet], ‘Bad cannot be likened to good, though you may be dazzled by how abundant the bad is. Be mindful of God, people of understanding, so that you may prosper.’ 101 You who believe, do not ask about matters which, if made known to you, might make things difficult for you– if you ask about them while the Quran is being revealed, they will be made known to you– for God has kept silent about them: God is most forgiving and forbearing. 102 Before you, some people asked about things, then ignored [the answers]. 103 God did not institute the dedication of such things as bahira, sa'iba, wasila, or ham [g] to idols; but the disbelievers invent lies about God. Most of them do not use reason: 104 when it is said to them, ‘Come to what God has sent down, and to the Messenger,’ they say, ‘What we inherited from our forefathers is good enough for us,’ even though their forefathers knew nothing and were not guided. 105 You who believe, you are responsible for your own souls; if anyone else goes astray it will not harm you so long as you follow the guidance; you will all return to God, and He will make you realize what you have done.


106 You who believe, when death approaches any of you, let two just men from among you act as witnesses to the making of a bequest, or two men from another people if you are journeying in the land when death approaches. Keep the two witnesses back after prayer, if you have any doubts, and make them both swear by God, ‘We will not sell our testimony for any price, even if a close relative is involved. We will not hide God’s testimony, for then we should be doing wrong.’ 107 If it is discovered that these two are guilty [of perjury], two of those whose rights have been usurped have a better right to bear witness in their place. Let them swear by God, ‘Our testimony is truer than theirs. We have said nothing but the truth, for that would make us wrongdoers’: 108 that will make it more likely they will give true and proper testimony, or fear that their oaths might be refuted by others afterwards.


Questioning Messengers


Be mindful of God and listen; God does not guide those who break His laws.


109 On the Day when God assembles all the messengers [h] and asks, ‘What response did you receive?’ they will say, ‘We do not have that knowledge: You alone know things that cannot be seen.’ 110 Then God will say, ‘Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favor to you and to your mother: how I strengthened you with the holy spirit, so that you spoke to people in your infancy and as a grown man; how I taught you the Scripture and wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel; how, by My leave, you fashioned the shape of a bird out of clay, breathed into it, and it became, by My leave, a bird; how, by My leave, you healed the blind person and the leper; how, by My leave, you brought the dead back to life; how I restrained the Children of Israel from [harming] you when you brought them clear signs, and those of them who disbelieved said, “This is clearly nothing but sorcery”; 111 and how I inspired the disciples to believe in Me and My messengers– they said, “We believe and bear witness that we devote ourselves [to God].”’ [i]


112 When the disciples said, ‘Jesus, son of Mary, can your Lord send down a feast to us from heaven?’ he said, ‘Beware of God if you are true believers.’ 113 They said, ‘We wish to eat from it; to have our hearts reassured; to know that you have told us the truth; and to be witnesses of it.’ 114 Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘Lord, send down to us a feast from heaven so that we can have a festival– the first and last of us– and a sign from You. Provide for us: You are the best provider.’ 115 God said, ‘I will send it down to you, but anyone who disbelieves after this will be punished with a punishment that I will not inflict on anyone else in the world.’


116 When God says, ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people, “Take me and my mother as two gods alongside God”?’ he will say, ‘May You be exalted! I would never say what I had no right to say– if I had said such a thing You would have known it: You know all that is within me, though I do not know what is within You, You alone have full knowledge of things unseen– 117 I told them only what You commanded me to: “Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” I was a witness over them during my time among them. Ever since You took my soul, You alone have been the watcher over them: You are witness to all things 118 and if You punish them, they are Your servants; if You forgive them, You are the Almighty, the Wise.’ 119 God will say, ‘This is a Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness. They will have Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain for ever. God is pleased with them and they with Him: that is the supreme triumph.’ 120 Control of the heavens and earth and everything in them belongs to God: He has power over all things.


Footnotes


a. Some Muslims swore to renounce the world and not to eat certain good foods or wear fine clothes, and when told this was wrong, they asked the Prophet what they could do about their oaths.

b. See note to verse 3 above.

c. It was reported that when wine was forbidden, some companions asked the Prophet, ‘What about those believers who used to drink and have already died? What state would they be in?’ This is the reply to that question, and it also applies to the living.

d. In the world to come.

e. The Ka'ba is the center of the pilgrimage, bringing in people from all over the world, where Muslims are allowed to trade– the Sacred Months ensured their safety. The offerings provide a means of livelihood to the poor and needy, and the custom of garlanding an animal gives it special protection. In addition to all these material benefits, there are the spiritual benefits of worshipping God. This is an example of bringing people together in peace (Razi).

f. This is a warning for those who violate these rites and refers back to verse 2 of this sura.

g. Different classes of animals liberated from work or use as food, in honor of idols, and venerated by the pagan Arabs.

h. As Razi rightly stated, it is the habit of the Qu'ran, having talked at length on legislation, to follow it with reminders of God’s power, stories of earlier prophets, or what happens on the Day of Judgement, in order to motivate people to adhere to the legislation. In this sura, having earlier mentioned the claims of Christians, it seeks further to refute them by showing that Jesus will disown their claims on the Day of Judgement.

i. Cf. 2: 131–3.


The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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