Halal food – English Quran Tafsir – Session 168 – The Cow – Verses 168 & 169

Session 168
Chapter 2 Verses 168 & 169
O mankind, eat what is good and lawful from the earth, and do not follow Satan’s footsteps,
for he is your sworn enemy. (Chapter 2: Verse 168)
It is from God’s mercy that when it comes to His bounties and gifts to humanity, He
does not limit His address to the believers; rather He reaches out to include the disbelievers
too. Allah starts the verse with “O mankind”
because He created many things in the world for all people to enjoy regardless of their
faith or deeds. Allah brought us into existence, thus, He
takes care of all of us. With the call to entire mankind, Allah reaches
out to the believers and disbelievers. He says: “eat what is good and lawful from
the earth.’ The message to the disbelievers is: even if
you do not believe in God, take from the believers the lawful foods that God specified for them
as these foods are better for your health and wellbeing. God is the creator and He is best aware of
what is good for His creation.

He has forbidden certain foods and drinks
because they are harmful to the individual and to the society. Just like a car manufacture recommends a certain
type and grade of fuel for the engine, because the engineers who designed the car are best
aware of the best fuel for the long term health of the engine. Here, you find many people -who have wronged
themselves and were overindulgent- argue that this religious ruling is a lie. It gives them comfort to discredit faith because
they are unwilling or incapable of fulfilling God’s commandments. The only way out for them is to claim that
the religious rulings regarding the permissible and the forbidden are false. They often ask: if God had forbidden something,
then why did He create it to begin with? We answer that not every creature on earth
is created to be consumed.

Each creature has its task, but that task
is often not to serve as food for people. We hunt snakes to extract their venom for
medicine. Surely, before science discovered the medicinal
benefit of snake venom, people had often questioned the point of the creation of snakes. Now we understand some of the wisdom of God
in creating such creatures. Perhaps more importantly is not to question
why God had created something and then made it prohibited for us.

We hold our Lord’s commands as sacred and
follow Him even in the few cases where we may not understand the wisdom behind such
commands. Take the example of a mother prohibiting her
child from playing with the dishwashing detergent bottle. The liquid may have an attractive colour and
an inviting smell enticing the child to put it in his mouth. But it is the parent who is aware of the true
purpose of the dishwashing liquid, while the child is too young to understand. Humanity has much to discover and we continue
to find new secrets of God’s creation every day. The cattle egret, for example, is a well-known
bird also called the farmer’s friend. It eats insects and worms when the land is
irrigated, and picks ticks from the backs of cattle. Since the disappearance of this bird due to
overuse of pesticides, the risk of plant eating worms –especially cotton worms- has increased

Balance in nature is a divine equation of
a complex form. You may have personally questioned the point
of the existence of the annoying house fly? Flies serve a great role for humans. They eat filth and the diseases that exist
within it. If people took care of cleanliness and proper
trash disposal, then flies would do their job in nature and would rarely been seen around. All creation is the work of the All-Knowing
and All-Wise Creator. For this reason, God advises mankind –the
believers and the disbelievers alike –to eat from the lawful and the good on earth. History has proved that the disbelievers often
adopt God’s prescribed ways to solve the problems of society. Take the examples of western and eastern secular
laws restricting gambling and the consumption of Alcohol to certain places, times, and for
people of certain age, due to the harmful effects on individuals and families.

The verse continues, “And do not follow
Satan’s footsteps” is advising you not to take Satan as your leader. How can you trust someone who has disobeyed
his Lord and insisted on defiance? Satan’s enmity with humans is as ancient
as the time of Adam. God says: ‘he is your sworn enemy’ and
then gives us more detail about Satan’s leadership in the next verse of ‘The Cow’.

God says:
He only commands you to evil and indecency and that you should speak against God the
things about which you have no knowledge. (Chapter 2: Verse 169)
Evil is every sin which has no specified punishment such as backbiting, gossiping and lying. While indecency includes those sins for which
God has prescribed punishment –also known as حد- such as adultery and theft..

As found on YouTube

Halal food - English Quran Tafsir - Session 168 - The Cow - Verses 168 & 169

If pork is prohibited, then why did God create pigs? Find the answer in this week's session where God invites all humanity -regardless of faith and deed- to eat from what is good and lawful.

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