Taken from Ma’ariful-Qur’an by “Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi”
O those who believe, eat of the good things We have provided you and be grateful to Allah, if (really) you are to worship him alone. Al-Quran (2:172)
Earlier, the aim was to correct the error made by the mushrikin (idolaters) when they made unlawful what was good and permissible. Now, in the present Verse (172), the believers are being warned against falling into the same error. As a corollary, they are reminded of Allah’s blessings and are taught to be grateful to Him.
Verse 172 forbids eating that which is haram and along with it, allows eating that which is halal in all gratefulness to Allah. The reason is that the act of eating haram promotes evil instincts, kills the taste of ibadah (worship) and makes the prayer ineffective. In contrast, eating halal generates inner light, creates a distaste for evil deeds, leads towards high morals, and creates a state in which the heart welcomes ibadah and finds the very thought of sin sickening and of course, prayers are answered. Therefore, Allah Almighty has told all his prophets to eat from what is good and do what is righteous:
O Messengers, eat of the good things and do the righteous. Al-Quran (23:51)
This shows that eating and using what is halal plays a vital role in doing what is good and virtuous. Similarly, living by the halal helps the chances of a prayer being answered while living by the haram kills those chances. The Holy Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) has said that there are many people, tired and distressed, who stretch their hands in prayer before Allah fervently calling “O Lord, O Lord”, yet haram is what they eat, haram is what they drink and haram is what they wear, how then, under these conditions, could they hope to have their prayers answered? (The Sahih, Muslim and Tirmidhi as quoted by Ibn Kathir)