“O Mankind! Partake of what is lawful and good on earth, and follow not Satan’s footsteps: for, verily, he is your open foe and bids you only to do evil, to commit deeds of immorality, and to attribute unto Allah what you do not know.”
Allah addresses all of humanity, the faithful and the faithless, to think about something we take for granted: food. Allah produces everything on earth: seeds, fruits, vegetables, and meats for human consumption, but forbids us relatively few things that are unwholesome. Some of the foods Allah has forbidden are the meat of dead animals, blood, and pork. Every food is lawful in Allah’s law except what He has forbidden, that has been stolen, or taken by breaking Allah’s law. The best foods for us are organic, natural, and wholesome – foods produced by Allah, but when people start altering the food chain, they produce new, unknown diseases like the mad cow disease. We need to be grateful for what Allah provides us.
This ayat also indicates that eating enough to live is a duty imposed on human beings by Allah. Going to extremes in starving oneself to look beautiful, for example, is not permitted.
Allah also commands humanity not to follow the footsteps of Satan, meaning what Satan commands. First, Satan is real. Second, Islam tells us everything important for us to know about Satan, including how to protect ourselves. What does Satan command? Disbelief, rejecting faith in Allah, oppression, injustice, sins, and eating what Allah has forbidden. Allah reminds us that Satan is an enemy, so human beings should be on guard against him. Allah, in His mercy, did not stop at warning us from following Satan’s footsteps, but also warned against what Satan commands:
(a) Satan commands evil. Evil includes all types of sins.
(b) Satan commands adultery, fornication, drinking alcohol, getting drunk, and killing.
(c) The greatest command of Satan is to make us say of Allah what we don’t know. Satan’s greatest way of misguiding people is to say Allah has a son, an equal, to liken Allah to an old man sitting in heaven, to think Allah will punish everyone or forgive everyone without any knowledge from Allah Himself, or to say Allah permits or forbids something without any basis in knowledge from what Allah has revealed. As for Allah, He commands justice and forbids immorality and wrongdoing. .
Everyone should assess what they believe in order to ensure what they are following is Allah’s guidance rather than the promptings of Satan.