In The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah)

In The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) – Volume 4 is about Surat Al-Maaidah. Under the Shade of Qur’an is widely recognized as an outstanding contribution in Islamic thought and scholarship to which scholars and students, as well as current Islamic revivalist movements around the globe, owe a lot. It is now available in English and will continue to inspire and educate millions more. It will be an indispensable reference work for understanding contemporary Islamic thought.

The monumental tafsir In the Shade of the Qur’an is Sayyid Qutb’s most important and profound work. It’s a sincere, honest, and sober examination of man’s current achievements and problems in light of the Qur’an’s message.

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Juz 6: “Upholding The Religion.”

AYAT 1-5

Surah al-Nisa’ starts by discussing laws protecting society and relationships between people. Surah al-Ma’idah begins with a discussion about our relationship to food, especially the animals we eat. This surah presents a detailed list describing the prohibited meats, which is similar to the Surah al-Nisa’ list. 

He also explains the rules of hunting, including when hunting is permitted during the hajj season and what types of hunting animals can be used. Finally, he explains how the People of the Book can slaughter these animal for us, and that it is legal. This last point is similar to other affiliations with the People of the Book Allah such as having permission for their women to marry.

AYAT 6-16

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -The current believers are addressed in the same way He addressed the Children of Israel through Surah al–Baqarah. He gives specific instructions for worship and includes details about purification. He reminds us about the blessing He has bestowed on us in the form a new covenant, and promises a great reward to those who keep it. He also demonstrates how He extends His blessing to protect believers from their enemies.

1-2 Except for that which will be read over, the animals from the cattle are now lawful for your use, provided you don’t consider hunting illegal while you’re in Ihram. Allah will do what He pleases. Believers, don’t violate the sanctity of the Marks, the holy month, the sacrificial animal, the garlands, or those who are going to the Sacred House seeking (His) Grace. 

You can hunt when you’re out of Ihram. You should not be a victim of malice because they have prevented you from Al-Masjid-ul-Haram. Do not aid each other with sin or aggression, but help one another in righteousness and piety. Fear Allah. Fear Allah.

He cautions us, however, against treating our covenant the same way as the Children of Israel. They ignored His warnings and broke the covenant. They became insensitive and treacherous, as a result.

He warns us to not treat our covenant as the Christians did. They also forgot the Book and developed hatred for one another.

After highlighting their weaknesses, he reminds them that Prophet Muhammad came to correct their mistakes and can help them to do the same if they follow his example as Muslims.

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AYAT 17–26

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -Allah continues to reveal how the People of the Book have violated their covenants. He explains how the Children of Israel as well as the Christians have deviated even though both claim the love of Allah. The Christians have distorted their theology by comparing the Messiah to Allah while the Children of Israel never accepted the teachings of Prophet Musa. 

When sacrifices were required, the Children of Israel took every opportunity to disobey. The People of the Book, just as Allah blessed us in the past with sacred land and a prophet, also received similar blessings. They refused to act when Allah required them to make sacrifices in order to follow their guidance and accept their blessings. Allah then withheld the blessings for forty years.

This story teaches us that we are responsible for preventing others from bending our laws and theology. We also have to make the sacrifices necessary to receive our blessings and follow Prophet Muhammad’s guidance. We will suffer the same loss that the communities before us.

AYAT 27-40

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) – In the majority of the sections that follow, Allah gives us examples and details about how faith communities have failed to adhere to their religion.

This section relates the story Qabil and Habil. He also explains how Qabil’s murder became a sin that set the precedent for all subsequent murders.

To stop the cycle of murder, unrepentant rebels in the community must be set an example and discourage others from taking up arms to kill the Prophet or the innocent. To discourage others from stealing, it is important to make those who steal an example so that they don’t build momentum for future crimes.

AYAT 41 -57

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -Allah demonstrates how guidance can be abandoned and how it is connected to the relationship between what we eat and what we produce. These are the reasons why laws regarding food are so important.

For example, Allah instructs the Prophet to not be surprised at hypocrites who rush to disbelieve. They are now in the same boat as the Children of Israel who ate illegal matter and produce through their mental diet and ate lies and other unwholesome food. It is obvious that their actions and beliefs are inconsistent with the truth.

Then, he demonstrates how the Children of Israel abandoned their religion further by not following the Torah’s laws, even though the Torah was sent to them as guidance and light. Allah also explains how the Christians went down the same road, abandoning the Injil in a similar fashion as the Children of Israel did.

Allah shifts the focus to us and the Book. He reminds us to live in accordance with the Qur’an’s guidance and not to seek out ignorance laws that will suit our needs.

Hypocrites are those who advocate the abandonment of religious law. This section explains the signs and reasons for hypocrisy. Hypocrisy in its entirety is when someone declares that they are a Muslim but secretly places their faith with disbelievers such as the Children of Israel or the Christians.

 They believe they can benefit from both groups and receive protection by doing so. Allah warns them about the punishment they will get and how their entire community will be destroyed if they continue to transgress.

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AYAT 58–71

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -Allah also pointed out to the hypocrites, that following the People of the Book is futile. They don’t take their religion seriously or Allah seriously and make fun of the adhan when it comes to them.

They are already hypocrites in their religion and make undeserved claims of spiritual purity. They also eat illegal foods and race to do sinful and disbelieving acts (such as saying that Allah’s hands are tied).

Allah will still open the doors to forgiveness for them despite all this. He advised them that if they believed in Prophet Muhammad, and abided by the Torah and Injil, Allah would continue to shower them with blessings.

Therefore, Allah commands us proclaim the truth using the guidance He has given and to hold the Children of Israel (and the Christians) accountable for the guidance they received, which affirms and confirms the truth of Prophet Muhammad’s message, until they believe.

AYAT 72-8

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -The last section of the verses states that Allah promised to reward people who believed in previous religions. Some people assume they can accept this statement and claim they don’t have to follow Prophet Muhammad. Allah clearly states that all who equate ‘Isa and Allah are disbelievers. Likewise, those who believe in Trinity are also disbelievers. He declares that Maryam and ‘Isa were human beings, thus leaving no doubt as to the truth.

The Children of Israel taught the Christians the Jewish story. Allah dissuades them from believing it. He reminds them that some of their Prophets cursed the Children of Israel and that they didn’t uphold their religion. They preferred to follow Prophet Muhammad over Divine guidance. They must now follow Prophet Muhammad to save their lives.

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Juz 7: “The Transcendence of Allah”

AYAT 82–91

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -After the conclusion of Juz 6, Allah continues to discuss the Christians and their natural affinity with the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad and the Children of Israel. They are the most likely to become followers of Prophet Muhammad out of both the two groups.

The focus of Allah shifts to Divine law. He addresses believers and gives them guidance that is contrary to the practices of the People of the Book. Muslims should refrain from imposing dietary restrictions upon themselves. They should take their contractual vows seriously. And they should completely avoid gambling and alcohol as they are weapons in shaytan.

AYAT 92 -108

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -The surah is now over. Now, we return to the food regulations, specifically those pertaining to animals that were hunted in hajj and on the Sacred Grounds. Surprisingly this is one the most distinctive aspects of the surah. Contrary to other legal systems, rights for animals here are so special that intentional killing of an animal requires significant reparations similar to human killings. 

This is due to the sanctity and duration of the Sacred Grounds. It also serves as a test to gauge how committed we are in obeying Allah over our desires to eat certain foods and our faith in Allah’s judgement on what food is pure and filthy.

Allah, in His infinite wisdom, knows that superstitions and unnecessary questions can lead to laws being more restrictive and harsher than they should be. This is similar to what happened with the Children of Israel. As long as we follow His direction, Allah will discourage us from engaging these practices.

Allah demonstrates how comprehensive His guidance and legal protection are. He explains how a person’s will must be protected even after he has passed away. He cites the process for vetting witnesses to a will.

AYAT 109 – 120

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) -Allah shows that He protects the legacy and Messengers at a higher level by relating the story about Prophet ‘Isa’s miracles and how he interacted to his disciples. He also describes how his disciples asked for a meal so that they could confirm it as a sign. Each generation would receive a blessing. We find out that those who followed Prophet ‘Isa made up lies about him, which Allah will question them about on Day of Judgment.

The Qu’ran is a guide that Allah has given us, and which every generation can use in their own unique ways. Allah has provided us with clear guidance in all matters, from food to wills, and even the truth about the life of Prophet Isa. We should therefore take note of this message, and learn from the errors of the People of the Book. For our own salvation, we should follow the direction that Allah has given to us.

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Product details

  • Publisher: The Islamic Foundation
  • Language: English
  • Paperback – 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0860373460
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0860373469
  • Weight : 1.03 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6 x 1.25x 9 inches

About the Author

Sayyid Qutb ( sydqTb) was an Egyptian prominent revivalist and thinker. He was also a leading intellectual in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (al ‘Ikhwan-ul- Muslimun), during the 1950s and 1960s.

His work in redefining Islam’s role in political and social change is his most prominent contribution, especially in his book Ma’alimu Fi-l-Tareeq. His extensive Qur’anic commentary (tafseer), Fi zilal Il-Qur’an (In the Shade of the Qur’an), is where the bulk of his theory can be found. This multi-volume work, which has a unique method of interpretation, greatly contributed to modern understandings of Islamic concepts.

He grew up in an Egyptian village. He then moved to Cairo, where he completed his university education in 1929-33 and began his career as an educator. Qutb was a literary critic and author during his early years. Authoring novels such as Ashwak (Thorns), and elevating Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian novelist, from near obscurity. He was appointed a functionary to Egypt’s Ministry of Education in 1939 (Wizarat ul-Ma’arif).

He traveled to America on a scholarship in 1948 and 1950 to study the education system. He studied at the Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado)

Qutb’s first major theoretical work in religious social criticism was written during this time, al-‘Adala Tul-Ijtima’iyatu Fil-Islam (Social Justice in Islam). It was published in 1949 while Qutb was living overseas.

Although Islam brought him peace and contentment throughout his life, he was plagued by respiratory problems and other health issues. He never got married.

Qutb was very critical of the United States’ materialism, brutal individualism and economic system. He also criticized the unreasonable restrictions on divorce. Qutb had a sick enthusiasm for sports. The United States allowed for “animal-like” mixing between the sexes in its churches. There was no support for the Palestinian struggle.

Qutb found out very early that major aspects of American life were primitive, and even “shocking”.

n The Shade of The Qur’an Vol.4 (Al-Ma’idah) – It is believed that his experience in America was part of what prompted him to reject Western values and to turn to Islam when he returned to Egypt. He resigned from the civil service and joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1950. He was editor-in-chief at the Brothers’ weekly al-‘Ikhwan ul-Muslimun and later, head of the propaganda section. He was also a member of both the Guidance Council and the Working Committee.

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