Although carrion is vile and forbidden, a measure of it is still allowed at the time of constraint. Among the sorts of carrion is the flesh of a brother Muslim that is eaten by backbiting. In this, there is never a concession in any state, whether by constraint or free choice. Hence this carrion is worse than that carrion, and its prohibition is greater. God says, “Do not backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the dead flesh of his brother? You would abhor it” [49:12].
5:3 Forbidden to you are carrion and blood, the flesh of swine, that which has been offered up to other than God, the strangled, the beaten down, the fallen, the gored, what has been eaten by predators—except what you slaughter—what is sacrificed on stone altars, and that which you allot by divining arrows—that is ungodliness. Today those who disbelieve have despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. Today I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed My blessings upon you, and I have approved for you the submission as a religion.
It has been said that an animal whose flesh is eaten has two states: One is that, when it is killed by the stipulation of the Shariah, it is pure. Taking it is allowed and eating it is permitted. When it dies by itself, it is defiled, and eating it is forbidden.
By way of allusion, He is saying that when this Adamic soul is killed by the sword of struggle in the path of discipline according to the Shariah—that is, when it has been subjugated by the religion and come to be commanded by the Shariah, made a servant and abased by the burden of obedience—the soul with this description is pure. Nearness to it is allowed, being its companion is lawful, seeing it is the heart’s repose, and companionship with it is the spirit’s happiness. But whenever a soul dies in the darkness of its own heedlessness such that it no longer perceives the work of the religion and exerts no effort in the limits set down by the Shariah, this soul is like the carrion whose body is defiled and nearness to which is forbidden.
The strangled, the beaten down, the fallen to death, the gored. Beneath each of these words is an allusion in keeping with the tasting of the chevaliers of the Tariqah and according to the creed of the wayfarers of the Haqiqah’s road. The strangled is an allusion to someone who places himself in the bonds of wishes, puts the chains of avarice on his own hands and feet, and throws the rope of wanting around his neck until he is killed by avarice and appetite. It is forbidden for the wayfarers and desirers to walk on the path of someone like this or to follow someone like this.
The beaten-down is an allusion to someone who stays a prisoner of caprice and a captive of Satan, beaten down by the fanciful notions of his soul and the disquieting thoughts from Satan so that his heart dies in that beating and imprisonment. He becomes the carrion of the Tariqah, and companionship with him is forbidden.
The gored is an allusion to someone who quarrels with his likes and similars for the sake of this world of carrion and is gored such that his adversary wins; he becomes carrion under the blows of a carrion-eater. What has been eaten by predators is that toward which the seekers of this world turn their heads; it is carrion and its seeker is like a dog. Only dogs eat carrion.
Then He says, “except what you slaughter.” In the outward Shariah, He is saying that whenever a Shari’ite slaughtering takes place in the forbidden things that He mentioned such that it is allowed by the Shariah, then it is allowed, and eating it is permitted. So also in the road of the Tariqah, whatever may be the traveling supplies of the road of the next world and the goods of this world necessary for life, taking them and having them is permissible in the religion and seeking them is allowed. The supplies for the religion’s road pertain to the road of the religion. God says, “And take along supplies, but the best of supplies is Godwariness” [2:197].
What is sacrificed on stone alters. Everything that is done for the caprice of wanting and not in conformity with the Shariah is sacrificed on stone alters. Making the caprice of your soul your object of worship and going forth according to what it desires is not the work of the religious, nor is it the state of the faithful. God says, “Hast thou seen him who has taken his caprice as his god?” [25:43]. And that which you allot by divining arrows—that is ungodliness. Every transaction and companionship that does not go forth with the permission of the Shariah and in conformity with the religion, the goal being to obtain this world and what is desired by the soul, is nothing but gambling. Its form is deception and deceit, its result ungodliness and corruption, and its final outcome is punishment.
Today I have perfected for you your religion and I have completed My blessings upon you. Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad said that “today” is an allusion to the day when Muṣṭafā was sent to the creation and the crown of messenger hood was placed on the head of his prophecy. The carpet of his Shariah was pulled around the world and the rug of mercy was spread out. The smoke of associationism was wrapped up in its own misfortune and the traces and remnants of unbelief were effaced and dissolved. From the four corners of the world, the sound of the drum of Muhammad the Arab’s good fortune rose up: “The truth has come, and falsehood has vanished away” [17:81].