It is not surprising to find a chapter about wildlife conservation in a book such as this. Again, a sensible and nurturing injunction in the Reading has been twisted out of all recognition in order to fit the requirements of a pagan cult. This will be of particular interest to those who have undertaken the ritual known as Haj or ‘pilgrimage’.
I stumbled upon this important subject while compiling verses about food. After reading 5:1 several times over in conjunction with the subsequent verses, I was confronted with a serious problem when I tried to understand how the word ‘restricted’ could be rendered as ‘religious dress’. All the twelve translations in my possession, the lexicons and the concordance say that Hurumun is either the pilgrimage garb, or the state of sanctity during the pilgrimage (ihram).
The non-Arab Muslims depend on the religionists to explain the religious rituals and other aspects of ‘worship’. For many years I had been aware that there was not a single Arabic ritual that came from the Reading, and that the source for of all these rituals was the so-called Hadith – a vast collation of hearsay and old wives tales falsely attributed to the Prophet. Whilst re-marketing their Arab religion, it seems that the religionists determined to maintain the characteristic of the Arabs’ previous pilgrimage, and they distorted the sense of two verses in the fifth surah of the Reading to support their claims.
Before looking at the verses in question, we should remind ourselves that – according to the Reading – no other sources are needed in order to understand the important points that it wants to make. No tafsiir, no Hadith1 are necessary. In 39:23, God proclaims the Reading the best Hadith and a consistent Scripture. The Book also states that it is self-explanatory. This, of course, is directly contradicted by the entire Arab religion community of whatever flavor. If we are to take the Reading at its word, we can investigate further.
God revealed the best narration (Hadith), a Scripture that is consistent. (39:23)
They never come to you with any example, except We provide you with the truth and the best interpretation (aHsana tafsir). (25:33)
Hurumun appears in the Reading four times. This word was twisted to mean the silly habit of wearing two pieces of seamless white cloth (for males) as the mandatory garb of pilgrims that the religionists say is the ihram. The two pieces of white cloth are actually remnants of a pagan heritage from the times preceding Rome and Greece when priests and nobles wore pieces of white cloth to signify ‘holiness’ or their station in society (such as the Roman toga).
The subject in verses 5:1-5 is food. There is absolutely nothing about pilgrimage here.
The translators do justice to the first part of 5:1. This is generally the case when their personal beliefs are not at stake:
Ya-aiyu-hal lazi na-amanu aufu-bil ‘uqadi
O you who believe, you shall fulfil your covenant
Uhil-lat lakum bahi-matul an-aam
Permitted for you is the meat of all livestock
il-laa ma-utla alai-kum
Except those recited to you
This is the first part of 5:1 and the subject is about God’s covenant, and the covenant is about food. The rest of the verse says:
Ghoi-ro mu-hil-lis soii-di
Do not permit the hunting of game
(usually translated) While you are in pilgrim garb / ihram.
Herein lays the corruption. Such flagrant misreading of this verse requires an abrupt change of topic within a short space. Such anomalies do not happen anywhere in the Reading.
The first part of the verse gives us total freedom to consume the meat of all livestock, except those recited to us. The second part specifies consumption of the meats of wildlife under a specific condition: wa-antum Hurumun.
The words wa-antum mean ‘and when you’ or ‘and that which you’ or ‘while you are’.
Wa-antum-hurumun means ‘and when you are restricted’.
Hurumun is a derivative of the root H-r-m or Harama. All derivatives generated from this root word can have different shades, but the essence of the meaning of the word is the same.
They can mean forbidden, restricted, sanctioned, limited, controlled or constrained but each time different and distinct derivatives are used for them such as Haram, Hurum, Hurumat, Harrama, yuHarrimu, Hurima and muHarram.
We can discover the meaning of these derivatives by making comparative reference to the contexts in which they appear. This is a simple yet important procedure and we don’t need any long commentaries outside the Qur’anic injunction to understand or provide long commentaries or tafsir2 the meaning of certain words.
For example, in 3:93 all food was permitted (Halal) to the Children of Israel except what they forbade or constrained (Harrama) themselves before the Torah was revealed.
Kulluu tha-ami kaana hillan li bani israiila
All food was permitted for the Israelites
Illa maa Harrama israa iilu alaa nafsihi
except what Israel forbade for itself
min qabli an tunazzila tauraatu
from before the Torah was revealed
The Children of Israel forbade/constrained (Harrama) certain foods before the Torah was revealed.
Therefore, in 5:1 the phrase wa antum Hurumun means while you are restricted.
In other words, in 5:1 it is we, who must restrict ourselves from hunting. In 5:94 it is said Game hunting is a test for us (the verse will be quoted later). The subject of wild life conservation is now sanctioned by God within the passages of His decrees on matters of food.
The Reading does not say how long we ought to make the hunting of wild game restricted, but the Reading says it is part of God’s decrees. Therefore it is up to us to decide. If the mountain goats in Afghanistan need five months to breed, then we must refrain from hunting the goats for those five months.
If the great leatherback turtles carry their eggs for two months and then lay their eggs on one particular night of the full moon in a year in Nicaragua, we must restrict the hunting for, say, three months before that particular full moon. If the deer is almost extinct and needs years to increase its population, then we must not hunt ghoi-ro-soi-di the deer for that number of years. ‘Wa antum Hurumun’ means ‘and that which you are restricted’.
5:1 stresses strongly not to allow hunting:
ghoi-ro do not
mu-hil-li make permissible
soi-di game hunting
The prohibitions of hunting should be enshrined in state law to protect different species of animal. The law of the land must impose the restrictions on hunting at the right time.
To grasp the meaning of this message, we should pay a visit to the wildlife department in any country to find out why they impose different types of restrictions on hunting various animals during specific months. The deer-hunting season in India may differ from the goat-hunting season in Yemen. There are seasons for different animals. It is we who must decide when to restrict hunting, and we must respect these laws if we fear God.
This is the true meaning of the message in 5:1. It has nothing to do with wearing a two-piece white cloth dress known as ihram and walking in circles around a cube-shaped stone idol in the centre of a mosque crying out for God to hear us.
We do not make any of the wildlife meat forbidden (or Haram), but we are not allowed to hunt them during a specific periods.
If we wish to observe the will of the Lord of the Universe, we are not to violate His decrees on the hunting of wildlife during the restricted months:
Do not violate God’s decrees (sha’iral-lah), or the restricted months (on hunting), and the guidance (about hunting), or the indicators (of hunting) or the harmony that is sanctioned in the system (aminal-bai-tal-Harama) when seeking the grace and pleasure of God. But when you are permitted (Halal-tum) (after the ban is lifted), you may hunt. Do not be provoked by the enmity of those who prevent you in observing the sanctions of the consented decree (anil-mas-jidil-Harami) that you may transgress. And co-operate with each other in righteous deeds and piety, and do not co-operate with those committing sins and aggression. (5:2)
We are to co-operate with the lawmakers to protect the wildlife and by doing so we demonstrate our observation to the sanctions prescribed by God in His system. We must not co-operate with illegal hunters. However, if we kill wildlife during the restricted months (shahrul-Harrama) on purpose, the food is still permitted for us to eat, but we pay a fine.
O you who believe, do not kill wildlife when you are restricted (Hurumun). If anyone kills on purpose, he shall expatiate with an equivalent livestock to be judged by two equitable persons from among you to point out the maturity of the ‘ankles’ (ka’bati). Or expiation by feeding the poor or impose a self-discipline3 (siyaman) so that he regrets the consequences of his actions. God has pardoned his previous offences. Whoever reverts to his offence, God will avenge it from him. God is Almighty, Avenger. (5:95).
The right meaning of the word Hurumun can be verified from other verses of the Reading. For example, in 9:36 it is impossible to change the meaning of this word to none other than restricted.
Surely the count of months according to God is twelve months in God’s reckoning (fil-kitaabi-llaah) since they day He created the heavens and the earth. Of these, four are restricted (ar ba’atun Hurumun). That is the upright way of life (deen-nul qayyimu). (9:36)
The word arba’atum Hurumun means that there are restrictions on four of the months.
The four restricted months refer to the cooling-off period after a declaration is announced to the idol-worshippers that God and His messenger disown them for their idol-worshipping practices. The day the announcement is made is known as the day of the Big Challenge or Haji akbar. In 9:1-4, the idol-worshippers and the non-believers are given four months to ‘roam the earth’ to decide their position on the deen.
Today, more than a billion people on earth believe they must make themselves ‘holy’ for a few days. Each year, several million of them don indecent two-piece suits which they have named ihram and walk in circles around a cubical stone idol. And this when all God wanted them to do was to observe the sanctions in the system of not hunting the wildlife during restricted periods.
Just a slight twist to one simple word like this can cause disaster to a person’s life in this world and the Hereafter.
The majority of ‘Muslims’ could not care less about observing the sanctions protecting wildlife, however. The religionists have generally succeeded in deflecting them from beneficial actions related to wildlife conservation and misled them towards jumping up and down in front of an empty stone box. Somebody, somewhere, must be having a really good laugh.
God created all living creatures on earth, and mankind is expected to co-exist with them in perfect harmony:
Wa-mamin dab-batin fil-ardi wala-thor ‘iri yathi-ru bijana-haihi il-laa um-matin amshalakum (6:38)
Any creature on earth including the birds that fly with their wings are nations like you. (6:38)
Humans are not allowed to kill at random. Killing is allowed only when justified:
Wala-taq-tulu nafsal-lati Haramal-lah il-la-bil-haq (17:33)
You shall not kill the life, it is forbidden by God except in truth. (17:33)
The presence of other living creatures is part of God’s creation. Humans cannot simply go around killing and destroying anything they like.
God has created livestock as a provision for mankind. Killing livestock for food is justified according to need. God also allows mankind to enjoy the meat of wildlife. Therefore killing animals is justified subject to certain conditions.
There are two kinds of wildlife: that in water and that on land. We do not have to impose any restrictions to protect the water game but we must impose some restrictions to protect the wildlife on land. For as long as we observe the restrictions that, for us, is the state of Hurumun. 5:96 says:
uhil-laa lakum soi-dul bah-ri
Permitted for you (uhil-la-lakum) is the hunting of water game (soi-dul bah-ri)
wathor-‘amuhu mata-‘al-lakum walis-syai-roti
Eat from them as provision, for you and those who are travelling
Wa-hur-rima alaikum soi-dul bar-ri ma’dumtum huruman
And prohibited (Hurrima) upon you is the hunting of game on land for as long as (mu’dumtum) you restrict them (Huruman).
wat-taqul-lah hal-lazi ilaihi taq-syarun.
You shall observe God, to Whom you will be gathered.
In 5:96, we are permitted to eat game from the sea (baHri) but as for the game from the land (baRri) hunting is forbidden for as long as (mu’dumtum) we make their hunting restricted (Huruman).
We can see that the corruption by the innovators of the Arab religion is exposed again. Here, both the words Hurrima and Hurumun are found. Both come from the same root H-r-m or Haram.
They say that Hurrima in the first part of the sentence means prohibited but Hurumun in the latter part of the same sentence means a state of sacredness. They claim it means the ihram – the two piece white cloth worn during the act of walking around a cubical stone idol at the centre of their mosque. As we have seen, these verses have nothing to do with a pilgrimage of any kind.
The killing of wildlife is done everywhere. Such activity is called game-hunting. The Reading calls upon hunters to exercise self discipline by not killing wildlife out of season:
Ya-aiyuhal-lazi na-amanu la-yub-luwa-nakumul-lah bi-shai’ain minal-soi-di tana-luhu ai-diyakum wa-rimahukum li-yak-lamal-lah man-yu-ghor-fuhu bil-ghaib. Fa-manikh-tada ba’da zalika falahu azaban alim (5:94)
O you who believe, God may test you through game-hunting within the reach of your hands and means. God wants to ensure those among you who fear Him (while He is) unseen. Anyone who transgresses after this has deserved painful retribution. (5:94)
The majority of civilised governments impose laws to protect wildlife. They do not know they are preserving the harmony of the sanctions in God’s system (or the baytil-Harama). For them, it is simply a matter of good sense. They have studied the environment and life patterns in the animal kingdom and have realised that it is their obligation to protect living creatures – if only out of self-interest. As far as the Reading is concerned, such a perception is an act of righteousness.
Without doubt, wa-antum Hurumun does not mean during pilgrimage, neither does it signify the two piece pilgrim’s clothes which they call the ihram4. Moreover, the word ihram is nowhere found in the Reading.
We must realise the beauty of the composition of the Reading. In most cases, a subject is detailed in sequential verses and then it is mentioned elsewhere. The prohibitions on food detailed in the Reading are part of the sanctions in the system (baytal-Harami) to be observed by those who consented themselves to what was sanctioned.
The details of the prohibition are expanded in 5:1-5. In 5:3 in the midst of detailing the food God says:
Today, I have perfected the deen for you, and completed My favour upon you. And decreed Islam as the deen. (5:3)
God’s prescribed way of life is perfected by the revelation pertaining to details of the restriction on food. A true person who is at peace must not consent themselves to any restrictions beyond the limits set by God. The verse, however, ends with an exception:
However, if one is forced to eat any of these without malice, then God is Forgiver, Merciful.
The same topic continues in the next two verses before a new subject is dealt with. The subject of food is repeated in eight straight verses (6:141-150) to corroborate the restrictions mentioned in the earlier chapters. The final part is mentioned again in eight straight verses (16:112-119).
As a matter of interest, the composition of the Reading is such that any isolated subject is always revealed in a verse of its own. Never are two unrelated subjects touched upon in the same verse.
1 Hadith: are tales about the Prophet from various unverifiable sources.
2 Tafsir is long commentaries to explain the Qur’an based on tradition and tales found in the various hadith books written by so-called learned people. It is equivalent to the Jewish Tosefta a compilation of traditions and sayings closely related to the Misnah, deriving from many authorities represented in it.
3 The Arabic word Siyaman is traditionally translated as fasting. There is no mention about the duration period for the fast. Hence, it is logical to say the meaning is to discipline oneself from hunting until the animals are matured. It is not about fasting from eating or drinking.
4 A man’s pilgrimage is nullified if he wears anything under the ihram clothing. Imagine the heat and I have to struggle applying creams in between my thighs.
- Wildlife conservation becomes pilgrim’s garb
- The word ‘ihram’ not found in the Qur’an
- Guidance becomes ‘animal offerings’
- More corruption
- The sanctions on food
- Animal caught by dogs are permitted
- The religionists fulfil the Devil’s promise
- Ka’bata (ankles) becomes God’s house
- Umra and Haj: The invented pilgrimage