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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Al-Haj 22:26-33 [4/10]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
وَإِذْAnd when
بَوَّأْنَاWe assigned
لِإِبْرَٲهِيمَto Ibrahim
مَكَانَ(the) site
ٱلْبَيْتِ(of) the House,
لَّا(do) not
بِىwith Me
وَطَهِّرْand purify
بَيْتِىَMy House
لِلطَّآئِفِينَfor those who circumambulate
وَٱلْقَآئِمِينَand those who stand
وَٱلرُّكَّعِand those who bow,
ٱلسُّجُودِ(and) those who prostrate.
وَأَذِّنAnd proclaim
ٱلنَّاسِ[the] mankind
بِٱلْحَجِّ[of] the Pilgrimage;
يَأْتُوكَthey will come to you
رِجَالاً(on) foot
وَعَلَىٰand on
ضَامِرٍlean camel;
يَأْتِينَthey will come
فَجٍّmountain highway
لِّيَشْهَدُواْThat they may witness
لَهُمْfor them,
وَيَذْكُرُواْand mention
ٱسْمَ(the) name
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
رَزَقَهُمHe has provided them
بَهِيمَةِ(the) beast
ٱلْأَنْعَـٰمِ‌ۖ(of) cattle.
فَكُلُواْSo eat
مِنْهَاof them
وَأَطْعِمُواْand feed
ٱلْبَآئِسَthe miserable,
ٱلْفَقِيرَthe poor.
لْيَقْضُواْlet them complete
تَفَثَهُمْtheir prescribed duties
وَلْيُوفُواْand fulfil
نُذُورَهُمْtheir vows,
وَلْيَطَّوَّفُواْand circumambulate
بِٱلْبَيْتِthe House
ٱلْعَتِيقِ[the] Ancient."
وَمَنand whoever
حُرُمَـٰتِ(the) sacred rites
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah,
فَهُوَthen it
خَيْرٌ(is) best
لَّهُۥfor him
رَبِّهِۦ‌ۗhis Lord.
وَأُحِلَّتْAnd are made lawful
لَكُمُto you
ٱلْأَنْعَـٰمُthe cattle
يُتْلَىٰis recited
عَلَيْكُمْ‌ۖto you.
فَٱجْتَنِبُواْSo avoid
ٱلرِّجْسَthe abomination
ٱلْأَوْثَـٰنِthe idols
وَٱجْتَنِبُواْand avoid
قَوْلَ(the) word
حُنَفَآءَBeing upright
لِلَّهِto Allah,
مُشْرِكِينَassociating partners
بِهِۦ‌ۚwith Him.
وَمَنAnd whoever
يُشْرِكْassociates partners
بِٱللَّهِwith Allah
فَكَأَنَّمَاthen (it is) as though
خَرَّhe had fallen
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe sky
فَتَخْطَفُهُand (had) snatched him
ٱلطَّيْرُthe birds,
تَهْوِىhad blown
ٱلرِّيحُthe wind
مَكَانٍa place
سَحِيقٍfar off.
وَمَنand whoever
شَعَـٰٓئِرَ(the) Symbols
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
فَإِنَّهَاthen indeed, it
مِن(is) from
تَقْوَى(the) piety
ٱلْقُلُوبِ(of) the hearts.
لَكُمْFor you
مَنَـٰفِعُ(are) benefits
أَجَلٍa term
مَحِلُّهَآtheir place of sacrifice
إِلَى(is) at
ٱلْبَيْتِthe House
ٱلْعَتِيقِthe Ancient.

وَاِذۡ بَوَّاۡنَا لِاِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ مَكَانَ الۡبَيۡتِ اَنۡ لَّا تُشۡرِكۡ بِىۡ شَيۡـئًـا وَّطَهِّرۡ بَيۡتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِيۡنَ وَالۡقَآئِمِيۡنَ وَ الرُّكَّعِ السُّجُوۡدِ‏  وَاَذِّنۡ فِى النَّاسِ بِالۡحَجِّ يَاۡتُوۡكَ رِجَالًا وَّعَلٰى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَّاۡتِيۡنَ مِنۡ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيۡقٍ ۙ‏  لِّيَشۡهَدُوۡا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمۡ وَيَذۡكُرُوا اسۡمَ اللّٰهِ فِىۡۤ اَ يَّامٍ مَّعۡلُوۡمٰتٍ عَلٰى مَا رَزَقَهُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَهِيۡمَةِ الۡاَنۡعَامِ​​ ۚ فَكُلُوۡا مِنۡهَا وَاَطۡعِمُوا الۡبَآئِسَ الۡفَقِيۡـرَ‏  ثُمَّ لۡيَـقۡضُوۡا تَفَثَهُمۡ وَلۡيُوۡفُوۡا نُذُوۡرَهُمۡ وَلۡيَطَّوَّفُوۡا بِالۡبَيۡتِ الۡعَتِيۡقِ‏  ذٰلِكَ وَمَنۡ يُّعَظِّمۡ حُرُمٰتِ اللّٰهِ فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ لَّهٗ عِنۡدَ رَبِّهٖ​ؕ وَاُحِلَّتۡ لَـكُمُ الۡاَنۡعَامُ اِلَّا مَا يُتۡلٰى عَلَيۡكُمۡ​ فَاجۡتَنِبُوا الرِّجۡسَ مِنَ الۡاَوۡثَانِ وَاجۡتَنِبُوۡا قَوۡلَ الزُّوۡرِۙ‏  حُنَفَآءَ لِلّٰهِ غَيۡرَ مُشۡرِكِيۡنَ بِهٖ​ؕ وَمَنۡ يُّشۡرِكۡ بِاللّٰهِ فَكَاَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ فَتَخۡطَفُهُ الطَّيۡرُ اَوۡ تَهۡوِىۡ بِهِ الرِّيۡحُ فِىۡ مَكَانٍ سَحِيۡقٍ‏  ذٰلِكَ وَمَنۡ يُّعَظِّمۡ شَعَآئِرَ اللّٰهِ فَاِنَّهَا مِنۡ تَقۡوَى الۡقُلُوۡبِ‏   لَـكُمۡ فِيۡهَا مَنَافِعُ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ مَحِلُّهَاۤ اِلَى الۡبَيۡتِ الۡعَتِيۡقِ‏ 
(22:26) Call to mind when We assigned to Abraham the site of the House (Kabah), directing him: "Do not associate aught with Me" and "Keep My House pure for those who walk around it,45 and for those who stand and who bow down and who prostrate themselves (in worship), (22:27) and publicly proclaim Pilgrimage for all mankind so that they come to you on foot and mounted on lean46 camels47 from every distant point (22:28) to witness the benefits in store for them,48 and pronounce the name of Allah during the appointed days over the cattle that He has provided them.49 So eat of it and feed the distressed and the needy.50 (22:29) Thereafter, let them tidy up51 and fulfil their vows52 and circumambulate the Ancient House."53 (22:30) Such (was the purpose of building the Kabah). Whosoever, then, venerates Allah's sanctities will find it to be good for him in the sight of his Lord.54 Cattle have been made lawful for you55 except those mentioned to you (as unlawful).56 So shun the abomination of idols57 and shun all words of falsehood.58 (22:31) Become exclusively devoted to Allah, ascribing Divinity to none other than Him. Whoso ascribes Divinity to aught beside Allah, it is as though he fell down from the sky whereafter either the birds will snatch him away, or the wind will sweep him to a distant place59 (causing him to be shattered to pieces). (22:32) Such is the fact. And whoso venerates the sanctity of all that have been ordained as symbols60 of Allah surely does so because it is part of the true piety of the hearts.61 (22:33) You may derive benefit (from sacrificial animals) until an appointed time.62 Thereafter their place (of sacrifice) is near the Ancient House.63

45. Some commentators opine that the address to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) ends with (verse 26) and say that the command contained in (verse 27) was addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him); but this opinion does not fit in with the context. For it is obvious that this command was also addressed to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) when he had built the Kabah. Moreover, the command implies that the House of Allah had been built for the worship of One Allah and there was general permission from the very first day for all worshipers to visit it for performing Hajj.

46. The expression lean camels has been deliberately used to depict the picture of the camels of pilgrims coming from far off places to perform Hajj.

47. In my opinion the address to Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) comes to an end with (verse 27, and verses 28- 29) have been added to emphasize and give further instructions for the performance of Hajj. We have based this opinion on the use of the epithet Ancient House of the Kabah. It could not have been used at the time when Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) built it. (For further details about the construction of the Kabah see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 125-129); (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayats, 96-97); and (Surah Ibrahim, Ayats 35-41).

48. “The benefits” include both religious and worldly benefits. It was due mainly to the Kabah that during the period of 2500 years between the times of Prophet Abraham and the Prophet (peace be upon them), the Arabs, in spite of their tribal life, remained attached to one central place and continued to visit it from all parts of Arabia for performing Hajj year after year. This in turn preserved their language, their culture and their Arab identity. Then during the course of the year they were afforded at least four months of perfect peace when anybody and everybody could safely travel alone or in trade caravans; thus the ritual of Hajj was directly beneficial to economic life of the country as well. For details see (Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 97 and E.Ns 80, 81) thereof, and (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 97 and E.N. 113 )thereof.

49. “The cattle” here imply the camel, cow, sheep and goat as has been clearly mentioned in (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayats 142-144), “they should mention the name of Allah over the cattle”, implies that they should slaughter the cattle for Allah’s sake and in His name, as is clear from the subsequent sentences. Allah’s name should be recited at the time the cattle are slaughtered to show that the Muslims are to slaughter and sacrifice animals in Allah’s name alone so as to distinguish them from the disbelievers who slaughtered animals without mentioning Allah’s name or by mentioning other names than that of Allah.

As regards to “the appointed days”, there is a difference of opinion as to their exact identity. Some of the opinions as to what the appointed days mean are.

(1) The first ten days of Zil-Hajj. This view is supported by Ibn Abbas, Hasan Basri, Ibrahim Nakhai, Qatadah and several other companions and their followers. Imams Abu Hanifah, Shafai and Ahmad bin Hanbal have also favored this view.

(2) The tenth of Zil-Hajj and the three days following it. This view is supported by Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Ibrahim Nakhai, Hasan and Ata. Imams Shafai and Ahmad are also reported to have favored this in a saying each.

(3) The tenth day of Zil-Hajj and the two following days. This view has been supported by Umar, Ali, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Abu Hurairah, Said bin Musayyab and Said bin Jubair. Sufyan Thauri, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad from among the jurists have also adopted it, and the Hanafites and the Malikites are also generally agreed on this.

50. The imperative mood of the verb has given rise to the misunderstanding that it is obligatory to eat their flesh and also to give of it to the needy people, Imams Shafai and Malik opine that it is good to eat of it and it is obligatory to give of it to others. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, both these things are permitted but are not obligatory. It is good to eat of it, for the people in the days of ignorance considered it unlawful to eat sacrificial meat of their own animals, and it is good to give of it to the poor by way of help. Ibn Jarir has cited instances from Hasan Basri, Ata, Mujahid and Ibrahim Nakhai to prove that the imperative mood does not always imply a command, as for example in (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 2) Thus, “give of it to the indigent" does not mean that the flesh cannot be given to a rich person for the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to give of it to their friends, neighbors, relatives whether they were rich or poor. According to Ibn Umar, one third of the flesh may be consumed at home, one third may be given to the neighbors and the remaining one third distributed among the needy.

51. It means that after performing the essential Hajj rites, one should put off Ihram, have a shave, bath, etc. for one is free from the restrictions of Ihram after Hajj. However, one is not allowed to have sexual relations with his wife till one has performed the Tawaf of Ziyarah or Ifadah.

52. That is, the vow one has made for that occasion.

53. The Arabic word Atiq, which has been used for the Kabah, is very meaningful for it implies.

 (1) Ancient.

(2) Free from the sovereignty and ownership of anyone.

(3) Honored and revered. I am of the opinion that here the word Tawaf refers to the circumambulation performed on the tenth day of Zil-Hajj after setting aside Ihram, as the last ritual of Hajj, and is called Tawaf of Ifadah or Ziyarah (visit).

54. Though the command is of a general nature, here it refers particularly to the prohibitions which are connected with the Sacred Mosque, Hajj, Umrah and Makkah. Incidentally, there is a subtle hint in it to the Quraish; who had driven out the Muslims from Makkah and debarred them from Hajj and violated the sanctity of the Ancient House by associating indecent, filthy, and ungodly rites with Hajj and the House in contradiction to the ways of Abraham.

55. “And the cattle have been made lawful for you” has been cited here for two objects.

(1) It is to refute the custom of the Quraish under which certain cattle, bahirah. saibah, wasilah and ham, were considered unlawful. They are being told that these are also lawful like other cattle.

(2) It is not unlawful as was held by the Quraish to eat the flesh of the cattle even in the state of Ihram.

56. This refers to (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 145) and (Surah An-Nahal, Ayat 115) in which Allah has forbidden the Muslims to eat what dies of itself, blood, flesh of swine or what has been slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s.

57. That is, refrain from and guard against the worship of idols just as you avoid filthy and dirty things.

58. Though the expression “false speech” is general and implies lies, false evidence, calumny, etc., here it particularly refers to those false creeds, rites, and rituals and superstitious things on which kufr and shirk have been founded. It is obvious that there is no greater lie than associating others with Allah in His Being, Attributes, Powers and Rights. It was a falsehood to make bahirah, etc. unlawful. See also (Surah An-Nahal, Ayat 116).

To take a false oath and give a false evidence also come under this commandment. A tradition from the Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

A false evidence is equal to shirk with Allah. That is why according to the Islamic Law, a false witness should be punished and disgraced. Imams Abu Yusuf and Muhammad have expressed the opinion that a person who brings a false witness in the court should be publicly exposed and sentenced to a long imprisonment. This was the actual practice in the time of Umar. According to Makhul, he said:

Such a person should be whipped, his head shaved and face blackened and he should be sentenced to a long imprisonment.

Abdullah bin Amir has reported from his father that a person’s false evidence was established in Umar’s court, whereupon the Caliph kept him exposed to public for a day, saying that he was so and so and a false witness so that people might recognize him, and then he imprisoned him. These days this can be done by publishing the culprit’s name in the newspapers, etc.

59. In this parable heaven means the original human nature. Man by nature is the servant of none else but Allah and inherently accepts the doctrine of Tauhid. That is why the one who follows the guidance of the Prophets becomes firm in these dictates of his nature and soars higher and higher. On the other hand, the one who rejects Allah or associates a partner with Him falls down from the heaven of his nature. Then he either becomes a victim of satans and evil leaders like the birds of the parable, which snatch away the fallen man, or he becomes a slave of his lusts, passions, whims, etc., which have been likened to the wind in the parable. They lower him down from one wrong position to the other till he falls into the deepest abyss of degradation.

60. “Symbols of Allah”: the performance of Salat, Hajj, Fasting, etc., or things like a Mosque or sacrificial offerings, etc. See (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 2 and E.Ns 5-7) thereof).

61. That is, the observance of the sanctity of the symbols by a man is a proof that there is piety in his heart. On the other hand, the man who violates their sanctity proves himself to be void of piety and fear of God. It shows that he either does not believe at all in Allah or adopts a rebellious attitude against Him.

62. This is to remove the misunderstanding about getting any benefit from the animals dedicated for sacrifice as they were also included in the symbols of Allah. This was necessitated because the Arabs believed that it was unlawful to get any benefit from them. One could neither ride on them nor carry any load on them nor consume their milk, after they had been dedicated for sacrifice during Hajj. In this verse that misunderstanding has been removed. Abu Hurairah and Anas have reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a man walking in a miserable condition on foot leading his camel by the nosestring. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him to ride on it, he replied that it was his sacrificial offering. The Prophet (peace be upon him) again urged him to ride on his camel.

There is a divergence of opinion in regard to the interpretation “of an appointed term”. Some commentators, particularly Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid, Dahhak and Ata are of the view that it refers to the time of the dedication of the animals for sacrifice. Obviously this is not the correct view, because in that case the permission to get benefit from them becomes meaningless. There are other commentators including Urwah bin Zubair and Ala bin Abi Rabah, who are of the view that “appointed term” means the time of sacrifice and one can get benefit from them up till then. One may ride on them, drink their milk, take their young ones for use and shear their hair, wool, etc. Imam Shafai has adopted this view. The Hanafites are of the opinion that one can get benefit from them, if need be, though it is preferable not to do so.

63. It does not mean that the sacrifice is to be made in the precincts of the Ancient House of the Kaah. The Quran uses the House of Allah or Masjid-i-Haram for the whole of the Inviolable Place of Makkah and not for that particular building. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 95).