The Shade, the Manna and the Quail
After Allah mentioned the calamities that He saved the Children of Israel from, He mentioned the favors that He granted them, saying,
[وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ]
And We shaded you with clouds. This A0yah mentions the white clouds that provided shade for the Children of Israel, protecting them from the sun s heat during their years of wandering. In the Hلad0th about the trials, An-Nasa0 i recorded Ibn Abba0s saying, Alla0h shaded the Children of Israel with clouds during the years of wandering. Ibn Abi Hلa0tim said, Narrations similar to that of Ibn Abba0s were reported from Ibn Umar, Ar-Rab0 bin Anas, Abu Mijlaz, Adل-Dلahلhلa0k, and As-Suddi. Al-Hلasan and Qata0dah said that,
[وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ]
(And We shaded you with clouds) "This happened when they were in the desert and the clouds shielded them from the sun.'' Ibn Jarir said that several scholars said that the type of cloud the Ayah mentioned, "was cooler and better than the type we know.''
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,
[وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ]
And sent down on you Al-Manna, The manna used to descend to them to the trees, and they used to eat whatever they wished of it. Also, Qata0dah said, The manna, which was whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, used to rain down on the Children of Israel, just as the snow falls, from dawn until sunrise. One of them would collect enough for that particular day, for if it remained more than that, it would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, one would collect enough for the sixth and the seventh day, which was the Sabbath during which one would not leave home to seek his livelihood, or for anything else. All this occurred in the wilderness. The type of manna that we know provides sufficient food when eaten alone, because it is nutritious and sweet. When manna is mixed with water, it becomes a sweet drink. It also changes composition when mixed with other types of food. However, this is not the only type. The evidence to this fact is that Al-Bukha0ri narrated, that Sa 0d bin Zayd said that the Messenger of Alla0h said,
«الْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن»
(Kam'ah (truffles) is a type of manna, and its liquid is a remedy for the eyes.)
This Hadith was also collected by Imam Ahmad. The group of Hadith compilers, with the exception of Abu Dawud, also collected it, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Hasan Sahih. At-Tirmidhi recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,
«الْعَجْوَةُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَفِيهَا شِفَاءٌ مِنَ السُّمِّ وَالْكَمْأَةُ مِنَ الْمَنِّ وَمَاؤُهَا شِفَاءٌ لِلْعَيْن»
(The `Ajwah (pressed, dried date) is from Paradise and it cures poison, Al-Kam'ah (truffles) is a form of manna, and its liquid heals the eye.'') At-Tirmidhi is the only one of them who recorded this Hadith.
As for the quail (Salwa) in question, `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The (Salwa) is a bird that looks like the quail.'' This is the same opinion reported from Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, `Ikrimah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, may Allah have mercy upon them. Also, `Ikrimah said that the Salwa is a bird in Paradise about the size of a sparrow. Qatadah said "The Salwa is a bird that is similar to a sparrow. During that time, an Israelite could catch as many quails as was sufficient for that particular day, otherwise the meat would spoil. On the sixth day, Friday, he would collect what is enough for the sixth and the seventh day, the Sabbath, during which one was not allowed to depart his home to seek anything.''
[كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـتِ مَا رَزَقْنَـكُمْ]
(Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,) (7:160) this form of command is a simple order of allowance, guiding to what is good. Allah said,
[وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَـكِن كَانُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ]
(And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves) means, `We commanded them to eat from what We gave them, and to perform the acts of worship (but they rebelled).' This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,
[كُلُواْ مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لَهُ]
(Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him) (34:15).
Yet, the Children of Israel rebelled, disbelieved and committed injustice against themselves, even though they saw the clear signs, tremendous miracles and extraordinary events.