Friday 11 November 2022

Beware Believers! of the handiwork of Satan

Satan is the cleverest evil-minded creature ever created. It enticed the first of the humans to disrespect the Divine commandment and made them commit a sin they were asked not to. Since then, he and his evil forces have been unleashed to deceive the mankind and commit them to sins and games that take them away from the remembrance of God. Once a man falls into his trap, then there is no ending and a time comes when sins and gambling become their second nature.

Mindful of Satanic machinations, our Lord has always been guiding us to stay away from every act that takes us away from the straight path, Sirat e Mustaqeem. There are numerous Ayats / verses in Qur'an that caution man to be on the lookout on all activities that are unhealthy, unclean and sinful. We shared some of these in our earlier posts and add today yet another Ayat/verse that warn the believers of Satan's handiwork that may led us fall into his trap in the name of amusement and good time.

The following verses, the 90th verse of Surah Al Maida, Chapter Five, is one such Divine Warning. However, the irony is that many a man and woman who are already in grips of the evil forces mock such cautions and warnings for it robs them of joy and lewdness of their lives. To them, being religious or adhering to commandments of our Lord are a waste of time, making their lives boring and dull. To them drinking, dancing, listening to loud music and indulging in unlawful sex is real life. What can be said of their nativity for real life begins after this life, for which they have no foresight to think of.

Before we go to the verse, it may be clarified that all healthy physical activities, sports and other mind broadening games do not fall into the category of the ills talked of in this verse. But if these activities are turned into gambling, then the meanings differ altogether.

Coming to the selected verse of today:

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنَّمَا الۡخَمۡرُ وَالۡمَيۡسِرُ وَالۡاَنۡصَابُ وَالۡاَزۡلَامُ رِجۡسٌ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ الشَّيۡطٰنِ فَاجۡتَنِبُوۡهُ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏  
(5:90) Believers! Intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous sacrifices at altars, and divining arrows are all abominations, the handiwork of Satan. So, turn wholly away from it so that you may attain true success.

The next verse further explains this Ayat as to why we must be cautious of Satan's enticement:
By intoxicants and games of chance Satan only desires to create enmity and hatred between you, and to turn you away from the remembrance of Allah and from Prayer. Will you, then, desist? (5:91)
The detailed explanation of above verses by eminent Muslim scholar Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi has already been given in Part IV of exegesis of Surah Al Maida. Herein under, we share the explanation of this verse by some of other scholars / exegetes as under: 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
Allah forbids His believing servants from consuming Khamr and Maysir which is gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Abi Talib, the Leader of the Faithful, said that chess is a type of gambling. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ata', Mujahid and Tawus, or, two of them, said that every type of gambling, including children's playing with (a certain type of) nuts, is Maysir. Ibn `Umar said that Al-Maysir means gambling, and this is the same statement that Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas, who added, "They used to gamble during the time of Jahiliyyah, until Islam came. Allah then forbade them from this evil behavior.'
Meaning of Ansab and Azlam: Al-Ansab were altar stones, in whose vicinity sacrifices were offered (during the time of Jahiliyyah), according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata', Sa`id bin Jubayr and Al-Hasan. They also said that Al-Azlam were arrows that they used for lotteries to make decisions, as Ibn Abi Hatim narrated. 
Allah said, (A Rijs of Shaytan's handiwork) meaning, abomination of Shaytan's handiwork, according to `Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported it from Ibn `Abbas. Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rijs means `sin' while Zayd bin Aslam said; "An evil handiwork of Shaytan.''

(So, avoid that) avoid all of these abominations, (in order that you may be successful.) and this is a statement of encouragement.

(Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with Khamr (intoxicants) and Maysir (gambling), and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain) This is a threat and a warning.

Hadiths that Prohibit Khamr (Intoxicants)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "There were three stages to prohibiting Khamr (intoxicants). When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, the people were consuming alcohol and gambling, so they asked the Messenger of Allah about these things, Allah revealed,
(They ask you about alcoholic drinks and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.'') [2:219], until the end of the Ayah. The people said, `They (intoxicants and gambling) were not prohibited for us. Allah only said,
(In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.)' So they went on drinking Khamr until one day, one of the emigrants lead his companions in the Maghrib prayer and mixed up the Ayat in his recitation. Thereafter, Allah sent down a tougher statement,
(O you who believe! Approach not the Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning of) what you utter.)﴿4:43﴾ xThen, the people would drink before the time of the prayer so that they would attend the prayer while sober. A firmer Ayah was later revealed,
(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan's handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.)﴿5:90-91﴾ So they said, `We abstained, O Lord!' Later, some people said, `O Allah's Messenger! Some people died in the cause of Allah, while some others died in their beds, but they used to drink alcohol and indulge in gambling, which Allah has made a Rijs of the work of Shaytan.' So, Allah sent down: (Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate...) ﴿5:93﴾, until the end of the Ayah. 
The Prophet said: (Had they been made impermissible for them; they would have abandoned them as you have abandoned them.) Ahmad recorded this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "O Allah! Explain the verdict about Khamr to us clearly.' The Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah was revealed,

(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin.'')[2:219] `Umar was summoned and this Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, "O Allah! Make the verdict of Khamr clear to us.'' Then the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa' was revealed,
(O you who believe! Do not approach the Salah when you are in a drunken state.)[4:43] 
Thereafter, the Prophet had someone herald when it was time to pray, "Those in a drunken state are not to approach the prayer.' `Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him, but he still said, "O Allah! Make the verdict concerning Khamr clear to us.' Then, the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma'idah [5:91] was revealed, and `Umar was summoned and it was recited to him. 

When he reached the part of the Ayah that reads, (So, will you not then abstain) [5:91], `Umar said, "We abstained, we abstained.' Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith. `Ali bin Al-Madini and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sahih. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs, that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said in a speech; while standing on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah (in the Prophet's Masjid in Al-Madinah) "O people! The prohibition of Khamr was revealed; and Khamr was extracted from five things: From grapes, dates, honey, wheat and barley. Khamr is what intoxicates the mind.' Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "The prohibition of Khamr was revealed when there were five kinds of intoxicants in Al-Madinah, besides what was produced from grapes.'

Muhammad Asad Translation:
According to all the lexicographers, the word khamr (derived from the verb khamara, "he concealed" or "obscured") denotes every substance the use of which obscures the intellect, i.e. intoxicates. Hence, the prohibition of intoxicants laid down in this verse comprises not merely alcoholic drinks, but also drugs which have a similar effect. The only exception from this total prohibition arises in cases of "dire necessity" (in the strictest sense of these words), as stipulated in the last sentence of verse {3} of this surah: that is to say, in cases where illness or a bodily accident makes the administration of intoxicating drugs or of alcohol imperative and unavoidable. - As regards the expression "idolatrous practices" (ansab, lit., "idolatrous altars"), see note [8] of this surah. This term has, I believe, been used here metaphorically, and is meant to circumscribe all practices of an idolatrous nature - like saint-worship, the attribution of "magic" properties to certain inanimate objects, the observance of all manner of superstitious taboos, and so forth. - For an explanation of the expression rendered by me as "divining of the future" (al-azlam, lit., "divining-arrows"), see note [9] on the second paragraph of verse {3} of this surah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Cf. ii. 219:
They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin and some profit for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus, doth Allah make clear to you His Signs: in order that ye may consider.

Wine: Khamr: literally understood to mean the fermented juice of the grape; applied by analogy to all fermented liquor, and by further analogy to any intoxicating liquor or drug. There may possible be some benefit in it, but the harm is greater than the benefit, especially if we look at it from a social as well as an individual point of view.

Gambling: maisir: literally, a means of getting something too easily, getting a profit without working for it; hence gambling. That is the principle on which gambling is prohibited. The form must familiar to the Arabs was gambling by casting lots by means of arrows, on the principle of a lottery: the arrows were marked, and served the same purpose as a modern lottery ticket. Something e.g., the carcase of a slaughtered animal, was divided into unequal parts. The marked arrows were drawn from a bag. Some were blank and those who drew them got nothing. Others indicated prizes, which were big or small. Whether you got a big share or a small share, or nothing, depended on pure luck, unless that was fraud also on the part of some people concerned. The principle on which the objection is based is: that, even if there is no fraud, you gain what you have not earned, or lose on a mere chance. Dice and wagering are rightly held to be within the definition of gambling. But insurance is not gambling, when conducted on business principles. Here the basis for calculation is statistics on a large scale, from which mere chance is eliminated. The insurers themselves pay premia in proportion to risks, exactly and statistically calculated. 

Cf. v. 3: "Forbidden to you are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah's, the animal which has either been strangled, killed by blows, has died of a fall, by goring or that devoured by a beast of prey - unless it be that which you yourselves might have slaughtered while it was still alive - and that which was slaughtered at the altars. You are also forbidden to seek knowledge of your fate by divining arrows. All these are sinful acts. This day the unbelievers have fully despaired of your religion. Do not fear them; but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion, and have bestowed upon you My bounty in full measure, and have been pleased to assign for you Islam as your religion. (Follow, then, the lawful and unlawful bounds enjoined upon you.) As for he who is driven by hunger, without being willfully inclined to sin, surely Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate."

The stones there referred to were stone altars or stone columns on which oil was poured for consecration, or slabs on which meat was sacrificed to idols. Any idolatrous or superstitious practices are condemned here. The ansab were objects of worship, and were common in Arabia before Islam. See Renan, "History of Israel", Chapter iv, and Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum. Part 1. p. 154: Illustrations Nos. 123 and 123 bis are Phoenician columns of that kind, found in Malta.

Cf. v. 3. The arrows there referred to were used for the division of meat by a sort of lottery or rate. But arrows were also used for divination, i.e., for ascertaining lucky or unlucky moments, or learning the wishes of the heathen gods, as to whether men should undertake certain actions or not. All superstitions are condemned.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
It is evident from verse 43 of Sūrah al-Nisā’ and it is also evident from common sense that the real reason for the prohibition of liquor is the inebriation which it causes. For this reason, everything which intoxicates will similarly stand prohibited and a small quantity of it shall also be prohibited as a large quantity on the principle of forbidding things that may lead to grave evils.

The actual words are: فِي الۡخَمۡرِ وَ الۡمَيۡسِرِ. The word فِي here denotes deep engagement and involvement. I have translated it keeping in view this aspect. How gambling and liquor ignite the flames of enmity and revenge between people is explained thus by Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī:
… It is a fact that a society in which these epidemic spreads in the first place becomes devoid of sensitivity towards modesty, chastity, honour and faithfulness (as is evident today from societies afflicted with western culture) and this in itself is a great disaster, and if there remains any trace of these values, then it is essential that every now and then due to them the society remain at war. Arabs were very sensitive to modesty, chastity, honour and integrity and this was a great quality in them. However, at the same time they were very fond of liquor and gambling. For this reason, bouts of liquor drinking and scuffles would cost them a lot. Wherever a person intoxicated with liquor attacked the honour of someone, belittled someone, teased someone or cheated in gambling (and such things are part and parcel of liquor and gambling), they would unsheathe their swords in the blink of any eye. This skirmish between two individuals would become a brawl between tribes and nations and such a progression of revenge after revenge would take place that this would not just be spread over months and years; even after a century this fire would seldom be extinguished. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 590)
Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
At this point, the prohibition is issued, but is combined with the prospect of attaining success, which itself has its profound effect on the human mind: “Therefore, turn away from them so that you may be successful.” It is within the context of legislation, permissibility and prohibition, as well as the moulding of the Muslim community in Madinah, purging it from all remaining traces of past tradition of the dark days, that a clear and decisive verdict is given on intoxicating drinks and gambling, coupled with practices of associating partners with God. Drinking, gambling, idols and divining arrows were important aspects of pre- Islamic Arabia. They were closely related in both practice and tradition. The Arabs used to drink to the point of extravagance. They considered that drinking afforded people distinction. They often mention drinking in their poetry as a practice to be proud of or to praise others with. In social gatherings, drinking was coupled with the slaughter of animals which were immediately cooked to provide food to those who took part in these drinking bouts, those who served wine and those who frequented such gatherings. The animals were slaughtered at the feet of idols which were sprayed with the blood of their sacrifice. In such social events, the act of divining arrows was practised in order to determine the sharing out of the sacrificial meat. Everyone’s share was determined by his arrow, with the highest arrow giving the largest share, and the lowest giving no share whatsoever, even though it might have been the arrow of the person who provided the animal for slaughter. This gives us an idea of how traditions were intertwined with ignorant ideological concepts.

This is followed by a decisive statement on the nature of those practices which admit no counter argument: “Intoxicants, games of chance, idolatrous practices and divining arrows are abominations devised by Satan.” These are, then, foul practices and cannot be included among good and wholesome things which God has permitted. Moreover, they have been devised by Satan, man’s old enemy. It is sufficient for a believer to know that something is devised by Satan to make it totally repugnant to him.

Please listen to explanation of the Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Suffice to understand. TY.
I firmly believe that Satan is always in action to deceive man kind. I seek shelter of Allah from Satan. Thanks Almighty Allah who has given me life again after temporary death of yesternight.

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