In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Interpretations of “Perfection of Religion” and “Completion of Favors” in Surah Maa’idah
Collected and translated by Trying To Follow The Salaf
ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمَ دِينً۬اۚ
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Surah Maa’idah: 3)
Details of when this verse was revealed is mentioned by Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Ali ash-Shawkaani 1250 AH in “Fath al-Qadeer”. He said,
What is meant by ‘This day’ is the day of Jumu’ah and it was on the day of ‘Arafah after ‘Asr during the Farewell Sermon (Hajjatul Wadaa’) in the 10th year (after Hijrah); this has been affirmed in the Sahih from the Hadith of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him).
Abul Faraj Muhammad bin ‘Ali “Ibn Jawzi” 597 AH in “Zaad al-Maseer” provides different interpretations of this verse. He said,
There are five statements regarding what is meant by ‘perfection of the religion’:
1.The first statement says it means that the obligations and limits were perfected and that there were no verses of Tahleel (allowance) or Tahreem (prohibitions) revealed after this verse. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) and as-Sidee. Therefore, the meaning of this verse would be, “This day I have perfected for you the legislation of your religion.”
2.The second statement says that it means the prevention of the polytheists from entering Makkah; the polytheists did not make pilgrimage with the Muslims that year. This is the statement of Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and Qataadah.
ash-Sha’bee said, ‘perfection of the religion’ here means the Muslim’s might, their emergence (over their enemies) and the humiliation of polytheism and its teachings. He said that it does not mean the perfection of obligations and sunnan because these (two things) did not cease until the death of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Therefore, the meaning in this verse is, ‘This day I have perfected for you the aid of your religion.’
3.The third statement says that it means the raising of abrogation (meaning, there were no more verses of abrogation). This has also been reported on the authority of Ibn Jubayr.
4.The fourth statement says that it means the end of fearing the enemies (of Islam) and as well as the emergence of the Muslim’s power over their enemies. This is the statement of az-Zujaaj.
5.The fifth statement says that it means the preservation of this legislation (Sharee’ah) from being abrogated by another legislation coming after it; like how the previous legislations were abrogated in the past.
There are three statements regarding what is meant by, ‘completion of My favor’:
1.The first statement says that it means the prevention of the polytheists from making pilgrimage with the Muslims. This is the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Jubayr and Qataadah.
2.The second statement says that it means the guidance to faith (Imaan). This is the statement of Ibn Zayd.
3.The third statement says that it means the emergence of the Muslims over their enemies, and this is the statement of as-Sidee.