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 2 contains Āyāt / Parts 13
  • Siparah/ Volume 1 & 2


وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ

Wamina a(l)nnasi man yaqoolu amanna biAllahi wabi(a)lyawmi alakhiri wama hum bimumineen(a)

And of people there are some who say, “We believe in Allah-SWT and in the Aakhirah.” But they do not really believe.


يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ

YukhadiAAoona Allaha wa(a)llatheena amanoo wama yakhdaAAoona illaanfusahum wama yashAAuroon(a)

They deceive Allah-SWT and those who believe. But they deceive none except themselves, and they perceive not.


فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللّهُ مَرَضاً وَلَهُم عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ

Fee quloobihim maradun fazadahumu Allahu maradan walahum AAathabun aleemun bima kanoo yakthiboon(a)

In their hearts is a disease and Allaah-SWT has increased their disease. And grievous is their punishment because of their persistent lying.


وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ

Waitha qeela lahum la tufsidoo fee alardi qaloo innama nahnu muslihoon(a)

And when they are told: “Do not make mischief on earth.” They answer: “We are only improving things.”


أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ

Ala innahum humu almufsidoona walakin la yashAAuroon(a)

They are, without doubt, mischief mongers. But they realize not.


وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُواْ كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُواْ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَا آمَنَ السُّفَهَاء أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَاء وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ

Waitha qeela lahum aminoo kama amana a(l)nnasu qaloo anuminu kama amana a(l)ssufahao ala innahum humu a(l)ssufahao walakin la yaAAlamoon(a)

And when they are told: “Believe the way others believe”, they cynically reply: “Should we believe as the fools believe?” Indeed it is they who are the fools, but they know not.


وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قَالُواْ آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَاطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكْمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِؤُونَ

Waitha laqoo allatheena amanoo qaloo amanna waitha khalaw ila shayateenihim qaloo inna maAAakum innama nahnu mustahzioon(a)

And when they meet those who believe, they assert: “We Believe.” But when alone with their devils, they say: “We are actually with you, we were only making fun.”


اللّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ

Allahu yastahzio bihim wayamudduhum fee tughyanihim yaAAmahoon(a)

Allah-SWT (in return) mocks them and allows them to wander blindly in their transgression.


أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلاَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ

Olaika allatheena ishtarawoo a(l)ddalalata bi(a)lhuda fama rabihat tijaratuhum wamakanoo muhtadeen(a)

It is they who have traded guidance for error, but neither their trade has brought them gain, nor have they found guidance.


مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً فَلَمَّا أَضَاءتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللّهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ

Mathaluhum kamathali allathee istawqada naran falamma adaat ma hawlahuthahaba Allahu binoorihim watarakahum fee thulumatin la yubsiroon(a)

They are like the one who kindled a fire and as soon as it lit up his surroundings, Allah-SWT took away their light and left them in utter darkness, wherein they cannot see.


صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لاَ يَرْجِعُونَ

Summun bukmun AAumyun fahum la yarjiAAoon(a)

Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not turn back


أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاء فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصْابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ واللّهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكافِرِينَ

Aw kasayyibin mina a(l)ssamai feehi thulumatun waraAAdun wabarqun yajAAaloona asabiAAahum fee athanihim mina a(l)ssawaAAiqi hathara almawti wa(A)llahu muheetun bi(a)lkafireen(a)

Or it is like a rain laden cloud from the sky, in it is darkness, thunder and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears to block out the thunderclap, in terror of death. And Allaah-SWT surrounds the non-believers.


يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ كُلَّمَا أَضَاء لَهُم مَّشَوْاْ فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُواْ وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّه عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Yakadu albarqu yakhtafu absarahum kullama adaa lahum mashaw feehi waithaathlama AAalayhim qamoo walaw shaa Allahu lathahaba bisamAAihim waabsarihim inna Allaha AAala kulli shayin qadeer(un)

The lightning almost snatches away their sight from them. As often as it flashes forth for them they walk therein, and when it darkens against them they stand still. If Allaah willed, He could destroy their hearing and their sight. Lo! Allaah is Able to do all things.


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

Identification Of A Hypocrite

Another kind of disbelief far more damaging, is hypocrisy. The first five Ayat of this Section praise the believers, the next two explain disbelief while the following thirteen discuss hypocrisy to highlight this menace. Just as the hypocrite is more harmful, so is the punishment for hypocrisy far more severe than plain disbelief. The hypocrites will be confined to the lowest levels in Hell even below the infidels. This is because they only pretend to believe in Allaah-SWT and the Day of Judgement. They try to deceive Allah-SWT, but how can they do it? They pretend to be Muslims but inwardly are enemies of the believers. Thus deceiving the sincere believers is in reality an attempt to deceive Allaah-SWT .


The term those who believe refers to the Companions-RAU and the worst non-believers were those, who in spite of taking Shahadah, failed to develop any relationship with them, and were jealous of the progress and prosperity of the Muslims. It is said here that this conduct of the hypocrites is not harming the believers, but is disastrous for their own selves. They just deceive them selves unwittingly. This means that the love for the Companions-RAU or sincerity towards them is a criterion of a person’s faith; otherwise despite taking Shahadah, he will remain a hypocrite. And if he openly disparages them he becomes a non-believer. It is an open secret that all the pretenders of the Islamic faith have invariably targeted the Companions-RAU for criticism. These may either be deniers of Hadith or the pretenders of Prophethood, who wanted, without exception, to interpret the Quran in a way that would serve their purpose. This could not be achieved without repudiating the Compan-ions-RAU who were the living interpretation of the Quran. The Companions-RAU learnt the Quran directly from the Holy Prophet-SW acted upon it in his presence and obtained his endorsement. So now any preacher of infidelity in the guise of Islam has to begin with raising objections against them, which indeed is the greatest proof of hypocrisy. Some fallacious sects have not only resorted to abuse the Companions-RAU but have also given it the status of worship. They are indeed a mixture of disbelief and hypocrisy, because of holding common traits with the disbelievers and the hypocrites. This is because their hearts are maligned and a diseased heart cannot absorb love, it rather develops the stink of jealousy and malice. As a result, their opposition to the believers grows stronger by the day and Allaah-SWT increases their disease. The hostility towards the Aulia (Allaah-SWT friend) is indeed hostility towards Allah-SWT, and failure to repent results in Divine Condemnation. Alas! If man, so caring about his body, would only have paid some attention to his spiritual health too, and looked for a healer, who could reform and enlighten his heart! But when the hearts remain afflicted, a painful doom is the natural consequence. In short, the standard or yardstick of belief and conduct are the Companions-RAU and their contradiction is down right hypocrisy destined to a grievous retribution.


And when they are told: ‘Do not make mischief... improving things”.

And when the hypocrites are told not to create trouble in the land, they say, that they desire correction. This Ayah sets a standard for mischief and reformation. If no limits are laid down, even a dacoit does not consider himself mischievous, rather, seeks justification for his actions. Personal opinions do not matter, unless the verdict is given by the Creator-SWT of this universe. Allaah-SWT has termed those who inwardly opposed Islam, as mischief-mongers.


The Reality Of Mischief

Reformation is thus synonymous to the precepts and practice of the Holy Prophet-SW in all matters, whether worship or mutual dealings, as followed by the Companions-RAU And anything contrary to this will fall under the category of mischief. For example, Salat al-Fajr has two obligatory cycles. If someone offers only one it is not correct. And if he offers three, the third would nullify his other two as well. Thus, the standard of all goodness and reformation is the Holy Prophet-SW himself. Whosoever disagrees with him-SW in any matter is in deed a mischief monger. Many celebrities have lived in history and every nation has its heroes as a source of pride, but how many of them have left a final word on any issue? Not even one! They enacted laws, laid down rules and regulations, which subsequently they themselves amended, proving that man made laws always suffer from flaws. The Holy Prophet-SW is the only one, who fourteen centuries ago, gave a Divine Code of Life, a law, a social structure to mankind, which is so comprehensive and complete that neither time could render it obsolete, nor could any thinker present anything better. The ways taught by the Holy Prophet-SW to do things, are in reality the best. There c never be any better ways of doing things; rather a deviant will be a mischief monger, no matter how good he might think of his actions.


Now see the situation from another perspective that whatever the Prophet-SW said was practically acted upon by the Companions-RAU. In other words, the practice of the Companions-RAU is the most agreeable and pleasing presentation of any action. Thus any one opposing them will be mischievous. This indeed is the criterion of reformation and mischief; otherwise the hypocrites too claim to promote reformation. But Allaah-SWT declares them as mischief mongers, though they fail to understand that every action produces a twofold effect: firstly, the outward and the short-lived, secondly the inward and the eternal. Outwardly, the illegitimate food eliminates hunger and may not cause any indigestion either, but inwardly, it creates a darkness, which not only darkens the QaIb, but also affects the surroundings to an extent. Similarly, every action in accordance with the Sunnah generates a light, and becomes a source of illumination and virtue in the environment. But every action in contravention of the Sunnah creates darkness and becomes a source of destruction in the society. This is what ‘mischief on land’ means, and the ignorant often term it as reformation, but the reality cannot be altered by merely switching names.


And when they are told: “Believe as the others … as the fools believe?”

But little do they realise that their cynicism may be the greatest folly with Allaah-SWT . Indeed, it is the darkness of their souls, which drives them to speak such words. When told to believe and act like the Companions-RAU, their response is always negative. To them the Companions-RAU are fanatics, who do not act wisely; while they wish to accept the Holy Prophet-SW but also to act in their own ways. Are they not indeed foolish? Certainly it is very foolish to take one’s own intellect as one’s guide, against the Divine Guidance coming through the Holy Prophet-SW. Wise are the ones who consider their own wisdom of no significance before the sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW and adhere to his teachings. For they realise that disobedience to him is the greatest of all follies. Those who disagree with the Holy Prophet-SW whether in belief or conduct are not only foolish but also ignorant; for knowledge means perception of the reality, otherwise it is downright ignorance.


And when they meet … only making fun.”

When the hypocrites meet the believers, they declare their fidelity to Islam. But when they revert back to their chieftains, they confess their loyalty to them, adding that they were just joking with the Muslims. With this description of the duplicity of the hypocrites, their chieftains have been called ‘devils’. In other words, all those who invent paths contradictory to the true faith and try to misguide people, play the role of the devil.

Allah-SWT himself mocks them.


It means that Allaah-SWT disgraces such hypocrites by giving them respite, which drives them further into the abyss of ignorance. They apparently rejoice over their sly duplicity through which they enjoy the benefits of Islam, and at the same time manage to evade situations demanding sacrifice. They fail to under stand that the real gain lies in sacrificing. Blessed indeed is the person whose faculties, schedules and wealth are dedicated to the Cause of Allaah-SWT . On the contrary, the hypocrites are the people who have bartered waywardness for guidance.


These are they who have traded guidance for error.

Error and guidance are two opposite attitudes, which cannot co-exist. Divine Guidance is the basic human need. Whosoever opts for waywardness indeed rejects guidance. Here is a point to ponder for today’s erroneous society, which practically contradicts Islam and yet considers itself to be on the right track. Rather, it tries to combine guidance and error, which is absolutely impossible. The hypocrites are at utter loss in their bargain.


They are like the one who kindled a fire.

They can be compared to a people who lost their way in the wilderness on an eerie dark night. Bewildered, they lit a fire, which illuminated the surroundings. But Allaah-SWT snapped its luminosity, leaving them in total lurch. Man by nature, is a seeker of guidance. Before the advent of Islam, the darkness of ignorance prevailed all over and people wished desperately for a light to shine on their way. Then dawned upon them the light of the Revelation that illuminated the entire environment! But the ingrates could not value it, were deprived of the light and they no longer could benefit from it. Thus they were left to wander aimlessly in the wilderness of ignorance.


Deaf, dumb and blind they will not turn back.

They can neither see nor hear, nor speak. When their inborn capacity to receive guidance was lost, it seized their senses. They can neither speak nor hear, and when the senses are lost there is no turning point for them. They continue to pursue their evil ways. They are like the people stranded in a rain storm attended by wind and thunder. Scared of death, they plug their ears against thunderclaps. But how can this futile planning save them from Divine Wrath, as they stand surrounded by Him-SWT . They take a few steps, but stand still in the intervals between the blinding flashes of lightning, totally helpless like a wayfarer caught in the thunderstorm in a dark night.


Similar was the condition of mankind when the Holy Prophet-SW appeared, flashed upon it as the light, and led it in the right direction. Whenever these hypocrites pay heed to the Holy Prophet-SW they feel inclined towards virtue. But when their inborn darkness overtakes them, they remain standing dumb founded in the pit of their waywardness. Had Allaah-SWT willed, He-SWT would have deprived them of their eyes, ears and all the faculties. Since they failed to see and hear the Holy Prophet-SW why should they be allowed to have eyes and ears at all? And Allaah-SWT is All-Powerful to do so. This world is a trial and a respite for a period ordained. If a person opts for the right path, it is for his own good; otherwise he is free to spend his life as he pleases. Such free lancers will certainly be deprived of their faculties in the Akhirah and will stand on the Day of Judgement as deaf, dumb and blind. In the Hell they will bray like donkeys, an outcome of their misdeeds. This is invisible to the physical vision now. May Allaah-SWT protect us!