Bismillahi, Wal Ahamdulillahi, Was-salatu was-salamu ‘ala Rasulillah, sal-lal-lahu ‘alyhi wa sallam

In the name of Allah, and exaltations be to Allah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him).

Structure:

  • Verses 1-6 : Legislations
    • 1 Contracts
    • 2 Offerings to Allah, pilgrims, and inviolable months
    • 3-5 Food
    • 6 Ritual bath, ablution, and dry ablution
  • Verse 7-32 : The Covenant
    • 7-11 Allah’s covenant, favours, and command of doing justice
    • 12-19 Some conditions of the People of the Scriptures
    • 20-26 One aspect of Musa’s experience with the Jews
    • 27-31 Adam’s two sons
    • 32 Inviolability of the human soul
  • Verse 33-40 : Ordained Punishments
    • 33-34 Punishment of highway robbery
    • 35-37 Fearing Allah and drawing close to Him versus disbelieving in Him
    • 38 Punishment of theft
    • 39-40 Repentance
  • Verse 41-50 : The obligation to judge by what Allah has revealed
    • 41-45 Jews and the Torah
    • 46-47 Jesus and the Gospel
    • 48-50 Muhammad and the Quran
  • Verse 51-86 : Allies
    • 51-58 Muslims’ Allies are Allah, His Messenger, and true believers
    • 59-76 Practice and beliefs of the People of the Scriptures
    • 77-81 Exceeding limits in religion and following whims
    • 82-86 A positive and negative example
  • Verse 87-108 : Laws
    • 87-88 Good things which Allah has made lawful
    • 89 Rulings on oaths
    • 90-93 Wine, gambling, and some other prohibited practises
    • 94-100 Hunting
    • 101-105 Directions to the believers
    • 106-108 Testimony at the time of bequest
  • Verse 109-120 : Checking contracts on the Day of Resurrection
    • 109 Questioning Messengers on the Day of Resurrection about their people response
    • 110-115 A reminder of miracles of Jesus and the story of the table
    • 116-118 A dialogue between Jesus and His Lord on the Day of Resurrection
    • 191-120 Good consequence of the truthful

Revelation:

  • Madani Surah
  • 120 verses
  • Appears to have been revealed after the treaty of Hubaidiyah at the end of 6 AH or beginning of 7 AH.
  • Deals with problems that arose from this treaty
  • Continuity of the subject indicates that most probably the whole surah was revealed as a single discourse at one and the same time
  • It takes its title from the request made by the disciples of Prophet Isa that he should pray to his Lord to send down a table spread with food from heaven (5:112)

Key Themes and Messages:

  • Lawful (Halal) and unlawful (haram) in matters of food outlined
  • Permission to eat the food of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians)
  • Permission to marry women of the People of the Book
  • Regulations about bath, wudhu, and tayammum (dry ablution)
  • Salah and Zakah were also obligatory for Jews and Christians
  • Invitation to Jews and Christians to become Muslims
  • Warning to guard against corruption of power
  • Punishment for rebellion, disturbing the peace and theft
  • Absolute prohibition of drinking and gambling
  • Additional rules for the laws of evidence
  • Miracles of Jesus and the fact that he did not claim divinity
  • Testimony of Jesus which he shall give on the Day of Judgement

Selected Verses:

5:2 Co-operation in good acts

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.

5:3 Islam is complete and perfect

… الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا …

This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as your religion

5:5 Marrying women of the People of the book

… الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلٌّ لَّهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ

This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you

5:6 Obligatory rituals of ablution and the path of ease

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.

5:8 Establishing justice without bias or discrimination

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

5:15-16 Characteristic of the Quran

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ

يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ وَيُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book.

By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.

5:32 Sanctity of human life

… مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا …

… whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely…

5:44 Who should be feared?

فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ

… So do not fear the people but fear Me …

5:74 Repentance

أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

5:90 Prohibition of alcohol

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.

5:110 Miracles of Jesus

إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلًا وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِي فَتَنفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِي وَتُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِي وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِي وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

[The Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, “This is not but obvious magic.”

Virtues:

Asma bint Yazid said: “As I was holding the rein of Al-‘Adba’- the camel of the Messenger of Allah (s) – all of Surah Al-Ma’idah was revealed to him . Due to its heaviness, the Surah was about to grind the camel’s upper arm.”

[Ahmad 27575]

Sources:

Online:

Altafsir.com (Tafsir)

Alim.org (Tafsir)

Sunnah.com (For Hadith references)

islamawakened.com (For Quranic text, transliteration, and translation)

Books:

Tafsir Al Jalalayn Jalalu’d-Din as-Suyuti (Author), Jalalu’d-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli

Journey through the Qur’an – Sharif Hasan al-Banna

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