سورة البقرة   

Surah Name: Al-Baqarah Meaning:The Cow

  • Revealed at Madinah
  • The Longest Surah of the Quran.
  • This Surah, with reference to its revelation, is Madni and some of its Aayat and injunctions pertain to the very last period of Quranic revelation, but in order of placement it is in the very beginning. The Quran, an answer to the prayer contained in al-Fatihah, begins with this Surah. There was a basic difference in the life patterns of Makkah and Madinah. The addressees of Divine Revelation at Makkah in general, were the pagans and the idolaters; but at Madinah there were also people who considered themselves to be the nearest to Allah-SWT and the true followers of Prophet Musa--AS (Moses). Whereas, in reality, over the passage of time, they had not only forgotten his teachings, but had also distorted the Divine Scriptures. They had replaced worship with rituals, and true faith with absurd beliefs. Despite this they claimed to be on the right path. The Quran in the first place, highlighted the difference between belief and disbelief. Thus the very first Aayat of this Surah also spells out the fundamentals of Islam
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 40
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 286
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 2
  • Rukū / Section 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 4
  • Siparah/ Volume 1 & 2


وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لاَ تَعْبُدُونَ إِلاَّ اللّهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَاناً وَذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْناً وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً مِّنكُمْ وَأَنتُم مِّعْرِضُونَ

Waith akhathna meethaqa banee israeela la taAAbudoona illa Allaha wabi(a)lwalidayni ihsanan wathee alqurba wa(a)lyatama wa(a)lmasakeeni waqooloo li(l)nnasi husnan waaqeemoo a(l)ssalata waatoo a(l)zzakata thumma tawallaytum illaqaleelan minkum waantum muAAridoon(a)

When We-SWT took the Covenant from the Children of Israil: worship none but Allah-SWT, be good to parents, the kindred, the orphans and the needy, and speak kindly to people and establish Salat and give Zakat. Then you turned back, except a few among you and you were averse.


وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ لاَ تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَاءكُمْ وَلاَ تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ

Waith akhathna meethaqakum la tasfikoona dimaakum wala tukhrijoona anfusakum min diyarikum thumma aqrartum waantum tashhadoon(a)

And when We-SWT took your Covenant; do not shed each other's blood, nor drive your own people out of your habitations. Then you ratified and (to this) you were witness.


ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَـؤُلاء تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقاً مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَارِهِمْ تَظَاهَرُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِالإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَإِن يَأتُوكُمْ أُسَارَى تُفَادُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ فَمَا جَزَاء مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلاَّ خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

Thumma antum haolai taqtuloona anfusakum watukhrijoona fareeqan minkum min diyarihim tathaharoona AAalayhim bi(a)lithmi wa(a)lAAudwani wain yatookum osaratufadoohum wahuwa muharramun AAalaykum ikhrajuhum afatuminoona bibaAAdi alkitabi watakfuroona bibaAAdin fama jazao man yafAAalu thalika minkum illa khizyun fee alhayati alddunya wayawma alqiyamati yuraddoona ilaashaddi alAAathabi wama Allahu bighafilin AAamma taAAmaloon(a)

Yet you are the ones who kill each other and drive some of your own people out of their home, you help (the enemy) with sin and transgression against your own people; and if they come to you as captives you ransom them, whereas their expulsion, in itself, was unlawful for you. Is it that you believe some part of the Book and disbelieve the other? And what should be the reward of those of you who do so, except disgrace in this life? And on the Day of Qiyamah (Judgement) they will be consigned to the severest punishment. And Allaah-SWT is not unmindful of what you do.


أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالآَخِرَةِ فَلاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ

Olaika allatheena ishtarawoo alhayata a(l)ddunya bi(a)lakhirati fala yukhaffafu AAanhumu alAAathabu wala hum yunsaroon(a)

They are the people who have traded the life of this world at the price of Akhirah. Neither their punishment would be lightened nor will they be helped.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

And when We-SWT took the Covenant... and you were averse.

Speaking of Bani Israll, Allaah-SWT draws the attention of the reader to the scenario, when He-SWT took a pledge from them that: (1) They will worship no one except Him-SWT (2) They will treat their parents kindly, (3) They will be kind towards the orphans and the needy, (4) They will speak nicely to mankind and (5) They will offer Salat and pay Zakat. Barring a few, all the rest turned their backs on the pledge. The Jews claimed to worship Allaah-SWT Alone, but practically adhered to the teachings of their priests and rabbis, even when these contravened Divine obedience. This conduct has been described in another Section of the Quran in these words: "They have forsaken Allaah-SWT and have taken their way-ward scholars as Rabb-SWT ."


These two institutions i.e. the scholars and the saints are the sources of guidance towards Allah-SWT, and the people need their guidance in their practical lives. But when these institutions get perverted, they pervert the nations. The scholars and saints of the Jews were insensate to the extent that they mutated His-SWT Book and killed His-SWT Messengers-AS sent for reformation. They altered the sections of the Torah pertaining to the Prophet-SW of Islam, and did not even refrain from waging war against him-SW. And their followers blindly obeyed them in these offences. This is why Allaah-SWT blames the Bani Israil of worshipping their peerage. Had these scholars and saints invited the people to Allah-SWT's Path they should have been obeyed, but when they themselves went astray, at least the followers should have abandoned them. Similarly a person, who violates the laws of Allaah-SWT in order to fulfil the vain desires of his soul, indeed worships other gods, and for all practical purposes, takes his desires as his Rabb-SWT .


The Vicious Scholars and the Rabbis

In fact the task of a scholar is not to invent a religion, but to explain it in order to convey the Message of Allaah-SWT and His Prophet-AS to mankind. If he begins to fabricate things, he goes astray. Saints also emerge from scholars. Every scholar is not necessarily a saint, but every saint is a scholar, for it is forbidden to pledge allegiance to an ignorant. A scholar delivers the Prophetic knowledge to people, whereas a saint, besides possessing knowledge, is also a bearer of the Prophetic Barakah. This will only be possible if he himself obeys Allaah-SWT and His-SWT‘s Prophets-AS. If his own life is against the Sunnah, he will be devoid of any Barakah and all those who follow him will be led astray.


Then the second most important thing is to extend kind treatment to parents. They are the cause of one's coming to this world. They enjoy rights over their offspring and their wealth. Even if they are non-believers, they must be respected, though in matters of faith, they are not to be obeyed. They should neither be insulted nor looked down upon; rather, one must pray for their reformation. This is why the wise people advise that before making a friend see whether he is obedient to Allah-SWT; or is he at least obedient to his parents who have been so good to him? If not, do not expect any sincerity from him.


After the parents, are the rights of the relatives, they should be treated kindly and a close relationship must be maintained, avoiding desertion. Then the deserving people of the society, the orphans and the needy, should not be neglected. So much so that one must be a well-wisher for the entire mankind, exchanging kind words with one another. Slander and abusive language must be avoided. Indeed one must try to convey the truth with love and affection. The beauty of speech is that whatever is spoken must be the truth, and delivered in an appropriate manner. To engage in flattery or tell lies, just to please someone, cannot be termed as beauty of speech.


Fair mutual dealings are the foundations of excellence in worships. If the dealings are not fair, the worship will be devoid of pleasures. If the Situation deteriorates further, one may forsake the worships altogether, as is the case with Muslims today.


Bani Israil could not maintain fair dealings. Consequently, their worships were swept away and finally they lost their faith. There were only a few people who were blessed with steadfastness, survived to see the age of Prophet Muhammad-SW and embraced Islam. By and large they were a treacherous people. This, they are being reminded by Allaah-SWT .


Then We-SWT took your Covenant: ... you were witness.

And when Allaah-SWT took oath from you, that you will neither shed blood nor will you resort to expel one another from the native land.


This indeed is the spirit of Islamic brotherhood that all Muslims are like components of a single body. If a Muslim slays another Muslim, it is like chopping off his own body. This is a pledge, which you had not only formally accepted but also continue to acknowledge it to date.


Yet you are the ones who ... And Allah-SWT is not unmindful of what you do.

But did you (the Children of Israil) honour your word? Not at all! In fact it is you who cut the throats of one another and pester your countrymen so much that they are forced to flee their motherland. And when you find someone in captivity, you spend money to free him, on the pretext that he is a fellow believer, whereas you yourself were responsible for his sorry state. To begin with, you were forbidden to torture or expel anyone from his native land; but you never bothered to obey. Do you believe in some parts of the Divine Book and deny some, by ignoring them completely? If you persist in denial, you will be disgraced in this world and will never be able to live honourably. Your motive to usurp the wealth of those you slew and to become supreme will never be achieved. This law also applies to all nations who commit this crime. They are deprived of an honourable existence. A civil war can never lead a nation to heights in this world.


They are the people ...nor will they be helped.

In the Akhirah if this conduct is coupled with the denial of even a single Divine Command, it is disbelief (Kufr), whereas not to practise is Fisq. But when someone begins to criticise the Divine Commandments as useless or impracticable, it is pure denial, which will invoke a tormenting doom. It must always be remembered that Allaah-SWT is fully aware of all your actions: He-SWT is vigilant over everything, significant or trivial, and is also well aware of the beliefs you have in your hearts.