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 3 (Verses 5:12–5:19): Christian Violation of the Covenant


وَ لَقَدۡ اَخَذَ اللّٰہُ مِیۡثَاقَ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ ۚ وَ بَعَثۡنَا مِنۡہُمُ اثۡنَیۡ عَشَرَ نَقِیۡبًا ؕ وَ قَالَ اللّٰہُ اِنِّیۡ مَعَکُمۡ ؕ لَئِنۡ اَقَمۡتُمُ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَیۡتُمُ الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ اٰمَنۡتُمۡ بِرُسُلِیۡ وَ عَزَّرۡتُمُوۡہُمۡ وَ اَقۡرَضۡتُمُ اللّٰہَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا لَّاُکَفِّرَنَّ عَنۡکُمۡ سَیِّاٰتِکُمۡ وَ لَاُدۡخِلَنَّکُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ۚ فَمَنۡ کَفَرَ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡکُمۡ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ سَوَآءَ السَّبِیۡلِ ﴿۱۲﴾

5:12 And certainly Allah made a covenant with the Children of Israel, and We raised up among them twelve chieftains.1 And Allah said: Surely I am with you. If you keep up prayer and give the due charity and believe in My messengers and assist them and offer to Allah a goodly gift, I will certainly cover your evil deeds, and make you enter Gardens in which rivers flow. But whoever among you disbelieves after that, he indeed strays from the right way.

فَبِمَا نَقۡضِہِمۡ مِّیۡثَاقَہُمۡ لَعَنّٰہُمۡ وَ جَعَلۡنَا قُلُوۡبَہُمۡ قٰسِیَۃً ۚ یُحَرِّفُوۡنَ الۡکَلِمَ عَنۡ مَّوَاضِعِہٖ ۙ وَ نَسُوۡا حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُکِّرُوۡا بِہٖ ۚ وَ لَا تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلٰی خَآئِنَۃٍ مِّنۡہُمۡ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا مِّنۡہُمۡ فَاعۡفُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَ اصۡفَحۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾

5:13 But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and hardened their hearts. They alter words from their places and neglect a portion of what they were reminded of. And you will always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them — so pardon them and forgive. Surely Allah loves those who do good (to others).

وَ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا نَصٰرٰۤی اَخَذۡنَا مِیۡثَاقَہُمۡ فَنَسُوۡا حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُکِّرُوۡا بِہٖ ۪ فَاَغۡرَیۡنَا بَیۡنَہُمُ الۡعَدَاوَۃَ وَ الۡبَغۡضَآءَ اِلٰی یَوۡمِ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ وَ سَوۡفَ یُنَبِّئُہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَصۡنَعُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾

5:14 And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant,2 but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, so We stirred up enmity and hatred among them to the day of Resurrection.3 And Allah will soon inform them of what they did.

یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ رَسُوۡلُنَا یُبَیِّنُ لَکُمۡ کَثِیۡرًا مِّمَّا کُنۡتُمۡ تُخۡفُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ یَعۡفُوۡا عَنۡ کَثِیۡرٍ ۬ؕ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ نُوۡرٌ وَّ کِتٰبٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿ۙ۱۵﴾

5:15 O People of the Book, indeed Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much.4 Indeed, there has come to you from Allah, a Light and a clear Book,5

یَّہۡدِیۡ بِہِ اللّٰہُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضۡوَانَہٗ سُبُلَ السَّلٰمِ وَ یُخۡرِجُہُمۡ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَی النُّوۡرِ بِاِذۡنِہٖ وَ یَہۡدِیۡہِمۡ اِلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۱۶﴾

5:16 by which Allah guides such as follow His pleasure into the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path.

لَقَدۡ کَفَرَ الَّذِیۡنَ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ الۡمَسِیۡحُ ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ ؕ قُلۡ فَمَنۡ یَّمۡلِکُ مِنَ اللّٰہِ شَیۡئًا اِنۡ اَرَادَ اَنۡ یُّہۡلِکَ الۡمَسِیۡحَ ابۡنَ مَرۡیَمَ وَ اُمَّہٗ وَ مَنۡ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ وَ لِلّٰہِ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَا ؕ یَخۡلُقُ مَا یَشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۷﴾

5:17 They indeed disbelieve who say: Surely, Allah — He is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then could control anything as against Allah when He wished to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother and all those on the earth?6 And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He pleases. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

وَ قَالَتِ الۡیَہُوۡدُ وَ النَّصٰرٰی نَحۡنُ اَبۡنٰٓؤُا اللّٰہِ وَ اَحِبَّآؤُہٗ ؕ قُلۡ فَلِمَ یُعَذِّبُکُمۡ بِذُنُوۡبِکُمۡ ؕ بَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقَ ؕ یَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ لِلّٰہِ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَا ۫ وَ اِلَیۡہِ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۱۸﴾

5:18 And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones.7 Say: Why does He then punish you for your sins? Rather, you are mortals from among those whom He has created. He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases.8 And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the eventual coming.

یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ رَسُوۡلُنَا یُبَیِّنُ لَکُمۡ عَلٰی فَتۡرَۃٍ مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا مَا جَآءَنَا مِنۡۢ بَشِیۡرٍ وَّ لَا نَذِیۡرٍ ۫ فَقَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ بَشِیۡرٌ وَّ نَذِیۡرٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿٪۱۹﴾

5:19 O People of the Book, indeed Our Messenger has come to you explaining to you after a cessation of the messengers,9 in case you say: No bearer of good news came to us nor a warner. So indeed a bearer of good news and a warner has come to you. And Allah is Powerful over all things.


  1. See the Bible, Book of Numbers, 1:5–16 and 1:44.
  2. The covenant, made through Jesus, was to accept the Prophet when he appeared. Jesus told his followers: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but what­ever he hears he will speak” (John 16:12–13).
  3. The prophecy that there shall always be hatred and enmity between the various Christian peoples has proved true in all ages, and never more clearly than in modern times with the World Wars in Europe.
  4. There were many truths which the Jews and the Christians had lost, their scriptures not having remained free from corruption, and many which were in their books but which they did not act upon. Those which were of permanent value were revealed in the Quran, but others — referred to in passing over much — that only suited the requirements of the earlier times were not now needed.
  5. The Light is the Holy Prophet, and the Book, the Quran.
  6. The meaning is that Jesus and Mary, and all those who were then on the earth, tasted equally of death; hence Jesus was a mortal and not God.
  7. In the Gospels it is said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew, 5:9). The Christians think they are the people spoken of here. The Jews considered themselves as the favourite nation, because they thought they were the only nation chosen by God for the gift of Divine revelation, to the exclusion of all other nations of the world.
  8. It is in accordance with Divine laws that forgiveness and punish­ment are exercised, and the alleged atonement of Jesus brought no change in this.
  9. Several centuries had elapsed since the appearance of any prophet in any country when the great Arabian Prophet made his appearance. No nation in the world claims the appearance of any messenger in it between the advent of Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The world was, as it were, preparing itself for the advent of the greatest of all prophets, who was to be a messenger to all the nations of the world.