How Can Food and Drink Stay Unchanged, as Stated in the Quranic Verse (2:259)?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
In this following verse: “فَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ” – and it says look at your food and it has not changed with time. My question is, how can food and drink remain unchanged for such a long time?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
I pray you are in good faith and health.
The causes and effects of things are in the hands of Allah Most High, and He did not allow the food and drink to spoil and rot. Allah (Most High) is Omnipotent, and He has power over everything.
The verse you have asked about is the Story of Prophet ‘Uzayr (Peace be upon him) in the following verse in the Second Chapter.
Story of Prophet ‘Uzayr (Peace Be upon Him)
“Or (are you not aware of) the one who passed by a city which was in ruins. He wondered, ‘How could Allah bring this back to life after its destruction?’ So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years then brought him back to life. Allah asked, ‘How long have you remained (in this state)?’ He replied, ‘Perhaps a day or part of a day.’ Allah said, ‘No! You have remained here for a hundred years! Just look at your food and drink—they have not spoiled. (But now) look at (the remains of) your donkey! And (so) We have made you into a sign for humanity. And look at the bones (of the donkey), how We bring them together then clothe them with flesh!’ When this was made clear to him, he declared, ‘(Now) I know that Allah is Most Capable of everything.’” [Quran, 2:259]
The context of this story is of Prophet ‘Uzayr, although other opinions are mentioned of the passer-by. The Prophet ‘Uzayr (peace be upon him) passed by a barren and ruined village and asked: “How can Allah bring this back to life after its death?”
So Allah showed him. He caused him to die for 100 years. When he woke up, his donkey was a carcass of bones, but his food was fresh. The grapes, figs, and juice were found as he left them; neither did the juice spoil nor did the figs become bitter, nor did the grapes rot.
Even more than that, Prophet ‘Uzayr (peace be upon him) saw the town once razed to the ground a mere hundred years later filled with people, homes, and markets. He exclaimed, “I know that Allah is over all things competent!” (Quran, 2:259) [Ibn Kathir, Tafsir ibn Kathir; Ibn ‘Ajiba, al-Bahr al-Madid]
Inability to See the “How”
Sometimes the inability to see the “how” prevents us from doing what we need to do at any moment. We may look at the world or our personal lives and wonder how this will ever change. And so, we don’t even try to change. We may have been waiting for something or working towards something for a long time, and we think: How will it even be achieved? So we stop.
Don’t ask how because your inability to imagine the how assumes that possibility and impossibility are within your control or limited to your imagination. They aren’t.
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.