The Heavenly Feast

The disciples of Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام said, ‘O ‘Isa Bin Maryam!

Is your Rab capable of descending a feast for us from the sky?’ Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام warned them that if they are believers, then they should fear Allah   from demanding such things. Hearing this, the disciples said that they are not demanding that in order to see Divine signs but they want to satisfy their hunger and that they come to know about his truthfulness so that their hearts gain satisfaction and they become a witness so that the Bani Israel may believe their evidence and they may attain full satisfaction. As a result, the faith of the believers will strengthen even further and the unbelievers may embrace the true faith. Following the request of his disciples, Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام supplicated in the court of Allah   as:

O our Rab! Send down to us a table spread from heaven, so that it may become a day of celebration for us – for our former and latter people – and a sign from You; and give us sustenance – and You are the Best Provider of sustenance.

[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 7, Surah Al-Mai`dah, verse 114)

In response to the supplication of Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام, Allah   replied that although I will descend a feast but afterwards, anyone committing unbelief (Kufr) among the Bani Israel will be tormented so severely that no one else would ever be tormented like that. Therefore, following the commandment of Allah  , few angels descended bearing feast from the skies consisting of seven fish and seven loaves of bread.

(Tafseer Jalalayn, pp. 111; part 7, Surah Al-Mai`dah, verse 115)

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas رضی اللہ عنہما has reported that the angels brought meat and bread from Heavens and according to some other reports, it was a big boneless fried fish, oil was dripping from it, salt was present near its head and vinegar near its tail, it was surrounded with different types of vegetables and there were five breads. On top of one of the bread, there was olive oil, on the second one there was honey, on the third one there was butter, on the fourth one there was cheese, and on the fifth one there were pieces of meat.

Upon seeing these on the dinning mat, Sham’oon, the chief of the disciples of Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام asked, ‘O Ruhullah, is this feast a worldly food or heavenly food?’ He علیہ السلام replied, ‘This food is neither heavenly nor worldly. Allah   has just created it through His supreme power and sent it for you.’

(Tafseer Jalalayn, vol. 2, pp. 304; part 7, Surah Al-Mai`dah, verse 115)

Then Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام ordered the Bani Israel to eat the feast as per their desires and warned them to refrain from any mischief and directed them not to store the food for the next day. But the Bani Israel breached the trust and hoarded the food for the next day. Due to this disobedience, they became victim of the punishment from Allah   in such a way that when they slept at night, they were all fine but when they woke up in the morning, their faces were deformed and few had turned into pigs and others into monkeys. Then Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام supplicated for their death and thus on the third day, all of these people died and it is a mystery as to what happened to their corpses. Whether the earth swallowed them or what else did Allah   do to them! (Tafseer Jamal ‘alal Jalalayn, vol. 2, pp. 304; part 7, Surah Al-Mai`dah, verse 115)

Allah        has described this strange and wonderful event in Surah

Al-Mai`dah of the Holy Quran. And due to this incident, this

Surah has been named as Surah ‘Al-Mai`dah’. Al-Mai`dah means

table spread’.


قَالَ عِیۡسَی ابْنُ مَرْیَمَ اللہُمَّ رَبَّنَاۤ اَنۡزِلْ عَلَیۡنَا مَآئِدَۃً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ تَکُوۡنُ لَنَا عِیۡدًا لِّاَوَّلِنَا وَاٰخِرِنَا وَ اٰیَۃً مِّنۡکَ ۚ وَارْزُقْنَا وَاَنۡتَ خَیۡرُ الرّٰزِقِیۡنَ ﴿114﴾قَالَ اللہُ اِنِّیۡ مُنَزِّلُہَا عَلَیۡکُمْ ۚ فَمَنۡ یَّکْفُرْ بَعْدُ مِنۡکُمْ فَاِنِّیۡۤ اُعَذِّبُہٗ عَذَابًا لَّاۤ اُعَذِّبُہٗۤ اَحَدًا مِّنَ الْعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿115﴾          (پ7،المائدۃ:114،115)

 ‘Isa son of Maryam said, ‘O Allah, O our Lord! Send down to us a food spread (full of food) from Heaven, so that it may become a day of celebration (Eid) for us – for our former and latter people – and a sign from You; and give us sustenance – and You are the Best Provider of sustenance.’ Said Allah, ‘Indeed I am sending it down to you; so thereafter whoever disbelieves amongst you – I will surely punish him with such a punishment with which I shall not punish anyone else in the whole world.’

[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 7, Surah Al-Mai`dah, verse 114-115)

Moral: The abovementioned event provides several moral lessons. Two among these are very obvious:

  1. You see how perilous it is to oppose Prophets علیہم السلام that when the Bani Israel opposed and disobeyed their Prophet by being mischievous towards the heavenly feast and by hoarding for the next day the severe torment from Allah   struck them deforming their faces into that of pigs and monkeys. They were obliterated in such a way that even no signs of their graves are left. All those who breach the trust of Allah   and His Prophets (عزوجل و صلی اللہ تعالیٰ علیہ وسلم) should learn lesson from the abovementioned severe punishment and should repent seriously. (واللہ تعالٰی اعلم)
  2. The supplication of Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام, mentions ‘the day when the Divine feast will descend will be a day of Eid for our predecessors and successors’. From this statement, we derive the Madani pearl that the day when a Divine sign of Allah  is revealed, display of joy, jubilation and Eid (celebrating) on that day is the blessed Sunnah of Sayyiduna ‘Isa علیہ السلام.
    The day and night of the birthday of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم is the day and night of the revealing the greatest sign of Allah  . Therefore, celebrating the day of Eid Milad-un-Nabi and calling this day as ‘Eid-e-Milad’ is in accordance to the teachings of the Glorious Quran. Celebration of the joy by holding gatherings at homes, by decorating places, cooking excellent food and eating yourself as well as feeding others; all these are the signs of Eid and are the modes to celebrate this day.
    This is a holy tradition by virtue of which the Ahl-us-Sunnah celebrates the great birthday of Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. And the ones who get irritated on this blissful day, confine themselves in their homes, maintain darkness in their homes, wander here and there wearing dirty clothes with faces made up, and ridicule and allege the celebrators of Eid Milad-un-Nabi by calling them Bid’ati (innovator) should be left to suffer at their own ends and Ahl-us-Sunnah should rejoice happily, should try to organise numerous gatherings of Milad and recite Salat-‘Alan-Nabi out of love and devotion.
    Misl-e-Faaras zalzalay haun Najd mayn
    Zikr-e-ayaat-e-wiladat ki-jiyeLike that in Persia, may earthquakes strike Najd too
    So do invoke the verses related to the birthday of Holy Prophet
    (Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish, vol. 1, pp. 140)

About Ahsan Iqbal

I Must Strive to Reform Myself and People of the Entire World انشاءاللہ عزوجل

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