(1) (5:1) Believers! Honour your bonds! *1 All grazing beasts of the flock *2 are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter, but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of Ihram (a state of pilgrim sanctity). *3 Indeed Allah decrees as He wills. *4
*1). People should abide by the limitations and prohibitions laid down in this surah and elsewhere in the law of God. This brief introductory statement is followed by an enunciation of those prohibitions which people are required to observe. *2). The Arabic word an'am (cattle) denotes camels, oxen, sheep and goats, whereas the word bahimah means all grazing quadrupeds. Had God said that an'am had been made lawful for them, this permission would have included only those animals to which the term an'am is applicable. But the terms in which the injunction is conveyed are bahimat al-an'am (all grazing beasts of the flock). Hence the permission is of wider import and embraces all grazing quadrupeds of the cattle type, i.e. which do not possess canine teeth, which feed on plants rather than animals, and which resemble the cattle found in Arabia in other characteristics. This implies that the flesh of those animals which have canine teeth and are carnivorous is not permissible. This implication was elucidated by the Prophet (peace be on him) and is embodied in a tradition in which he prohibited those beasts which kill and eat other animals. Likewise, the Prophet (peace be on him) also prohibited birds with claws and those that feed on carrion. According to a tradition transmitted by Ibn 'Abbas: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) prohibited all beasts with canine teeth and all birds with claws.' (Bukhari, 'Dhaba'ih', 28, 29; 'Tibb', 53; Abu Da'ud, 'At'imah', 32; Tirmidhi, 'At'imah', 9, 11; Muslim, 'Sayd', 11-16; Nasa'i, 'Sayd wa Dhaba'ih', 28, 30, 33; Ibn Majah, 'Sayd', 13; etc. - Ed.) *3). Ihram is the name of the simple apparel worn at the time of Pilgrimage. In every direction around the Ka'bah, there are certain fixed points beyond which no Pilgrim may proceed without donning this special Pilgrim's garment in place of his normal clothes. This apparel consists of two sheets of untailored cloth, one of which is wrapped around the lower part of the body while the other is thrown over the upper part. This manner of dressing is termed ihram because once a man has assumed it he must treat as prohibited a number of things which are ordinarily lawful, for example either shaving or trimming the hair, or using perfumes and other items of toiletry and the gratification of sexual desires. These restrictions also extend to both killing and hunting, and to leading anyone else to either kill or hunt an animal. *4). God is the absolute sovereign and has absolute authority to issue whatever command He might will. His creatures do not have the right to complain about any of these orders. Even though wisdom (hikmah) underlies the ordinances of God, a true believer does not obey them because he considers them either appropriate or conducive to his best interests. He obeys them simply because they are the ordinances of his Lord. He holds unlawful all that God has declared unlawful, because God has so decreed it; whatever He has declared lawful is regarded as such for no other reason than that God, the Lord of all, has allowed His servants the use of it. Hence the Qur'an establishes very firmly the principle that nothing except permission from the Lord - or lack of it - is to be taken into consideration in deciding what is lawful and what is not.