English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 5: Al-Maidah — Food (Revealed at Madinah: 16 sections, 120 verses)


The name of this chapter refers to the demand for food, or physical sustenance, by the followers of Jesus and the granting of Jesus’ prayer for his earlier and later followers (verses 112–115). Not only physical food, but God sent down for them spiritual food in the form of the Quran, which “perfected” religion (v. 3). The chapter deals with the deviation of the Jews and Christians from the truth and their hostility towards Islam. It contains directions for Muslims on several points and warns them to avoid the errors into which previous nations fell. It ends with a refutation of the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity and gives hope of the deliverance of his followers from this wrong belief. This chapter was mainly revealed in 5–7 A.H. However, v. 3, speaking of the perfection of religion in Islam, was revealed during the Holy Prophet’s last pilgrimage to Makkah in 10 A.H.

List of Sections (Rukus):

  1. Perfection of Religion in Islam (Verses 5:1–5:5)
  2. Duty of Uprightness (Verses 5:6–5:11)
  3. Christian Violation of the Covenant (Verses 5:12–5:19)
  4. Israelites’ Violation of the Covenant (Verses 5:20–5:26)
  5. Cain and Abel (Verses 5:27–5:34)
  6. Punishment of Offenders (Verses 5:35–5:43)
  7. The Quran and Previous Scriptures (Verses 5:44–5:50)
  8. Relations of Muslims with Enemies (Verses 5:51–5:56)
  9. Those who Mock (Verses 5:57–5:66)
  10. Christian Deviation from the Truth (Verses 5:67–5:77)
  11. Christian Nearness to Islam (Verses 5:78–5:86)
  12. Warning of Sins of Previous People (Verses 5:87–5:93)
  13. Inviolability of the Kabah (Verses 5:94–5:100)
  14. Some Directions for Muslims (Verses 5:101–5:108)
  15. Christian Love of the Material Life (Verses 5:109–5:115)
  16. False Doctrines introduced after Jesus’ Death (Verses 5:116–5:120)