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)

Section 15 (Verses 5:109–5:115): Christian Love of the Material Life


یَوۡمَ یَجۡمَعُ اللّٰہُ الرُّسُلَ فَیَقُوۡلُ مَا ذَاۤ اُجِبۡتُمۡ ؕ قَالُوۡا لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَا ؕ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ عَلَّامُ الۡغُیُوۡبِ ﴿۱۰۹﴾

5:109 On the day when Allah will gather together the messengers and say: What was the response you received? They will say: We have no knowledge. Surely You are the great Knower of the unseen.1

اِذۡ قَالَ اللّٰہُ یٰعِیۡسَی ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ اذۡکُرۡ نِعۡمَتِیۡ عَلَیۡکَ وَ عَلٰی وَالِدَتِکَ ۘ اِذۡ اَیَّدۡتُّکَ بِرُوۡحِ الۡقُدُسِ ۟ تُکَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِی الۡمَہۡدِ وَ کَہۡلًا ۚ وَ اِذۡ عَلَّمۡتُکَ الۡکِتٰبَ وَ الۡحِکۡمَۃَ وَ التَّوۡرٰىۃَ وَ الۡاِنۡجِیۡلَ ۚ وَ اِذۡ تَخۡلُقُ مِنَ الطِّیۡنِ کَہَیۡـَٔۃِ الطَّیۡرِ بِاِذۡنِیۡ فَتَنۡفُخُ فِیۡہَا فَتَکُوۡنُ طَیۡرًۢا بِاِذۡنِیۡ وَ تُبۡرِیُٔ الۡاَکۡمَہَ وَ الۡاَبۡرَصَ بِاِذۡنِیۡ ۚ وَ اِذۡ تُخۡرِجُ الۡمَوۡتٰی بِاِذۡنِیۡ ۚ وَ اِذۡ کَفَفۡتُ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ عَنۡکَ اِذۡ جِئۡتَہُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنۡہُمۡ اِنۡ ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا سِحۡرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۱۱۰﴾

5:110 When Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favour to you and to your mother, when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit; you spoke to people in the cradle and in old age, and when I taught you the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, and when you determined out of dust (a thing) like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission; and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you raised the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the Children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments — but those of them who disbelieved said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.2

وَ اِذۡ اَوۡحَیۡتُ اِلَی الۡحَوَارِیّٖنَ اَنۡ اٰمِنُوۡا بِیۡ وَ بِرَسُوۡلِیۡ ۚ قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا وَ اشۡہَدۡ بِاَنَّنَا مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۱﴾

5:111 And when I revealed to the disciples, saying, Believe in Me and My messenger, they said: We believe, and (ask You to) bear witness that we are submitting ones.

اِذۡ قَالَ الۡحَوَارِیُّوۡنَ یٰعِیۡسَی ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ ہَلۡ یَسۡتَطِیۡعُ رَبُّکَ اَنۡ یُّنَزِّلَ عَلَیۡنَا مَآئِدَۃً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ ؕ قَالَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۲﴾

5:112 When the disciples said: Jesus, son of Mary, is your Lord able to send down food3 to us from heaven? He said: Keep your duty to Allah if you are believers.

قَالُوۡا نُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ نَّاۡکُلَ مِنۡہَا وَ تَطۡمَئِنَّ قُلُوۡبُنَا وَ نَعۡلَمَ اَنۡ قَدۡ صَدَقۡتَنَا وَ نَکُوۡنَ عَلَیۡہَا مِنَ الشّٰہِدِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۳﴾

5:113 They said: We desire to eat of it, and that our hearts should be satisfied, and that we may know that you have indeed spoken truth to us, and that we may be witnesses of it.

قَالَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ اللّٰہُمَّ رَبَّنَاۤ اَنۡزِلۡ عَلَیۡنَا مَآئِدَۃً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ تَکُوۡنُ لَنَا عِیۡدًا لِّاَوَّلِنَا وَ اٰخِرِنَا وَ اٰیَۃً مِّنۡکَ ۚ وَ ارۡزُقۡنَا وَ اَنۡتَ خَیۡرُ الرّٰزِقِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۴﴾

5:114 Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, our Lord, send down to us food from heaven which should be to us an ever-recurring happiness4 to the first of us and the last of us, and a sign from You, and give us sus-tenance and You are the Best of the sustainers.5

قَالَ اللّٰہُ اِنِّیۡ مُنَزِّلُہَا عَلَیۡکُمۡ ۚ فَمَنۡ یَّکۡفُرۡ بَعۡدُ مِنۡکُمۡ فَاِنِّیۡۤ اُعَذِّبُہٗ عَذَابًا لَّاۤ اُعَذِّبُہٗۤ اَحَدًا مِّنَ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۵﴾٪

5:115 Allah said: Surely I will send it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you, I will punish him with a punishment with which I will not punish anyone among the nations.6


  1. Only Allah knew how their message was received, because they could not say how far its rejecters were guilty, nor how far the accepters of the message remained true to it after their death.
  2. For being strengthened with the Holy Spirit, see 2:87 footnote; for speaking in the cradle and in old age, see 3:46 footnote; for the miracles spoken of here, see 3:49 footnotes; for the withholding of the Israelites, see 3:54–55 foot­notes.
  3. The word mā’idah, also the title of this chapter, means both a table with food on it and food. It also means knowledge, because knowledge is the nourishment for hearts, as food is the nourishment for bodies.
  4. The word īd used here means a festival, the literal significance being an ever-recurring happiness or source of enjoyment.
  5. This passage seems to refer to the well-known prayer for daily bread, which Jesus appears to have included in the famous Lord’s prayer on account of the earthly inclinations of his disciples. The food of the earth has no doubt been granted in abundance to Christians, but this has deprived them of the heavenly food. The Muslim’s prayer in the opening chapter of the Quran craves not for bread but for the right path. The form of the prayer here, that it should be an ever-recurring happiness, shows clearly that the prayer was not for a table laden with provisions, as is generally supposed. As to its being sent down from heaven, it should be borne in mind that, in the language of the Quran, everything is with God and is sent down to people; see 15:21.
  6. The terrible calamities which the two World Wars brought to huma­nity, and especially to the Christian nations, are unprecedented in human history. The calamities which have befallen the world today are due to the mad race for bread and for the wealth of this world. The neglect of the higher values of life and running blindly after material comforts has already brought to the world a ruin which it has never witnessed before.