English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 22: Al-Hajj — The Pilgrimage (Revealed at Makkah: 10 sections, 78 verses)

Section 5 (Verses 22:34–22:38): Sacrifices


وَ لِکُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ جَعَلۡنَا مَنۡسَکًا لِّیَذۡکُرُوا اسۡمَ اللّٰہِ عَلٰی مَا رَزَقَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَہِیۡمَۃِ الۡاَنۡعَامِ ؕ فَاِلٰـہُکُمۡ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ فَلَہٗۤ اَسۡلِمُوۡا ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الۡمُخۡبِتِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾

22:34 And for every nation We appointed acts of devotion that they might mention the name of Allah on the cattle quadrupeds that He has given them. So your God is One God, therefore to Him should you submit.1 And give good news to the humble,

الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا ذُکِرَ اللّٰہُ وَجِلَتۡ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ وَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ عَلٰی مَاۤ اَصَابَہُمۡ وَ الۡمُقِیۡمِی الصَّلٰوۃِ ۙ وَ مِمَّا رَزَقۡنٰہُمۡ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ﴿۳۵﴾

22:35 whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and who are patient in their afflictions, and who keep up prayer, and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them.2

وَ الۡبُدۡنَ جَعَلۡنٰہَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ شَعَآئِرِ اللّٰہِ لَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا خَیۡرٌ ٭ۖ فَاذۡکُرُوا اسۡمَ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡہَا صَوَآفَّ ۚ فَاِذَا وَجَبَتۡ جُنُوۡبُہَا فَکُلُوۡا مِنۡہَا وَ اَطۡعِمُوا الۡقَانِعَ وَ الۡمُعۡتَرَّ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ سَخَّرۡنٰہَا لَکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۶﴾

22:36 And the camels, We have made them from among the signs appointed by Allah for you3 — in them there is much good for you. So mention the name of Allah on them standing in a row. Then when they fall down on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented one and the beggar.4 Thus have We made them subservient to you that you may be grateful.

لَنۡ یَّنَالَ اللّٰہَ لُحُوۡمُہَا وَ لَا دِمَآؤُہَا وَ لٰکِنۡ یَّنَالُہُ التَّقۡوٰی مِنۡکُمۡ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ سَخَّرَہَا لَکُمۡ لِتُکَبِّرُوا اللّٰہَ عَلٰی مَا ہَدٰىکُمۡ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۳۷﴾

22:37 Not their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah, but to Him is acceptable the observance of duty on your part.5 Thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah for guiding you aright. And give good news to those who do good (to others).

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُدٰفِعُ عَنِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ خَوَّانٍ کَفُوۡرٍ ﴿٪۳۸﴾

22:38 Surely Allah defends those who believe. Surely Allah does not love anyone who is unfaithful, ungrateful.6


  1. The principle of sacrifice is one which is accepted in one form or another by all nations of the world; but it has a deeper meaning in Islam. The out­ward act is still there but it no more conveys the meaning attached to it in ancient religions, viz., that of appeasing an offended Deity, or that of serving as an atone­ment for sins. It signifies the sacrifice of the sacrificer himself, and becomes thus an outward symbol of his readiness to lay down his life, if required, and to sacri­fice all his interests and desires in the cause of Truth. Hence it is that words intro­ducing the subject of sacrifice are immediately followed by an injunction to submit oneself entirely to Allah, Who is the one God, i.e., the only Being Who deserves to be made the true object of one’s love.
  2. It is by the mention of Allah’s name that an animal is sacrificed, and the meaning underlying it is that their own hearts should tremble at the mention of that name. Thus they should bear in mind, when sacrificing an animal over which they hold control, how much more necessary it is that they should lay down their lives in the way of Allah, Who holds control over all. Hence a verse speaking of sacrifices is immediately followed by one which requires the exercise of great patience and endurance under hard trials by the faithful.
  3. The camels which are brought for sacrifice to Makkah by the pil­grims are here stated to be only outward signs of the true religion of Allah, that religion being no other than the religion of entire submission to Allah and of lay­ing down all one has, even one’s life, in the way of Allah.
  4. The flesh of the animals sacrificed is not to be wasted, but it should serve as food for the poor and the needy.
  5. It is not the outward act of sacri­fice which is acceptable, but the deep meaning of sacrifice which underlies it. The idea of atonement is quite foreign to Islamic sacrifice. It is the righteous whom Islam requires to sacrifice, as hinted at in the words: to Him is acceptable the observance of duty on your part.
  6. A new subject is now introduced, the subject of fighting in the way of Allah. This sheds light upon the connection which exists between the two sub­jects. After dealing with the subject of sacrifice theoretically, the Muslim has in fact been prepared to bring into practice the theory of the sacrifice. Hence he is told that the time is near when he will be required to lay down his very life in the defence of Truth, which the opponents were striving to exterminate. Therefore, the subject of fighting in the cause of Truth is a fitting sequel to the subject of sacri­fice, as casting further light upon the inner meaning of sacrifice, and also requiring that doctrine to be carried into practice.