In ayah 2:168, Allah commands mankind to eat from all that is halaal and tayyib. There must be some significance why Allah mentioned tayyib after mentioning the word halaal.
My question is why, considering that aren’t all halal foods by implication, tayyib, i.e. clean and pure?
The Arabic word ‘Tayyib’ does not merely mean ‘clean’. The word has a slightly wider connotation. It seems that it would be more accurately represented by the English word ‘suitable’. Thus, when the attribute is used with reference to Food, it implies things, which are suitable for eating, when used in relation to marriage, it connotes women, who are suitable to be taken in Nikah.
Keeping the foregoing clarification in perspective, the referred verse is actually prompting the Muslims to eat all such things, which have not been rendered haraam by the Shari`ah and which are suitable for eating. As for the reason for mentioning the two qualities (i.e. ‘halaal’ and ‘Tayyib’) separately lies in the fact that there are two separate categories of things, which a Muslim should refrain from. Firstly, there are things, which by their very nature are not meant to be used for eating. For instance, man has traditionally considered the flesh of dogs, cats and other carnivorous animals as ‘not suitable’ for eating. These are the things, which are not ‘Tayyib’ for eating. Secondly, there are things, which have been expressly mentioned in the Qur’an as prohibited. These are the things, which are rendered ‘haraam’ or ‘non-halaal‘ by the Shari`ah.
Thus, the two qualities mentioned in the referred verse actually implies that Muslims may eat all those things, which are suitable for eating and have not been rendered prohibited by the Shari`ah. The first attribute implies the condition that the item in question should not have been expressly prohibited by the Shari`ah. However, we know that there are a number of things, which even though they have not been expressly prohibited by the Shari`ah, are in fact, not suitable for eating. Thus, the second attribute (i.e. Tayyib) restricts this allowance only to those items, which are suitable for eating.
I hope this helps.
December 16, 2001