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 26 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 1 & 2


سَلْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَمْ آتَيْنَاهُم مِّنْ آيَةٍ بَيِّنَةٍ وَمَن يُبَدِّلْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Sal banee israeela kam ataynahum min ayatin bayyinatin waman yubaddil niAAmata Allahi min baAAdi ma jaathu fainna Allaha shadeedu alAAiqab(i)

Ask the Children of Israil, how many clear signs We-SWT gave them. And if any one changes the favour of Allah-SWT , after it has come to him, then Allah-SWT indeed is severe in punishment.


زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَاللّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاء بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Zuyyina lillatheena kafaroo alhayatu a(l)ddunya wayaskharoona mina allatheenaamanoo wa(a)llatheena ittaqaw fawqahum yawma alqiyamati wa(A)llahu yarzuqu man yashao bighayri hisab(in)

The life of this world is made alluring for the non-believers. And they scoff at those who believe. But the Muttaqin will be above them on Yaum-al-Qiyamah. And Allah-SWT provides subsistence, without measure, to whom He-SWT Wills.


كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ فَهَدَى اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لِمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ وَاللّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Kana a(l)nnasu ommatan wahidatan fabaAAatha Allahu a(l)nnabiyyeena mubashshireena wamunthireena waanzala maAAahumu alkitaba bi(a)lhaqqi liyahkuma bayna a(l)nnasi feema ikhtalafoo feehi wama ikhtalafa feehi illa allatheena ootoohu min baAAdi ma jaathumu albayyinatu baghyan baynahum fahada Allahu allatheena amanoo lima ikhtalafoo feehi mina alhaqqi biithnihi wa(A)llahu yahdee man yashao ila siratin mustaqeem(in)

Mankind was one community. So Allah-SWT raised Prophets-AS as bearers of glad tidings and as warners, and sent with them the Book with truth, to decide between people respecting what they differed in. And none other than those to whom it had been given disputed it due to mutual spite, even after the clear proofs had come to them. So Allah-SWT , by His-SWT Grace guided the believers to the truth of the matter in which they differed. Allah-SWT guides whom He-SWT Will to the straight path.


أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْاْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاء وَالضَّرَّاء وَزُلْزِلُواْ حَتَّى يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ مَتَى نَصْرُ اللّهِ أَلا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللّهِ قَرِيبٌ

Am hasibtum an tadkhuloo aljannata walamma yatikum mathalu allatheena khalaw min qablikum massathumu albasao wa(al)ddarrao wazulziloo hatta yaqoola a(l)rrasoolu wa(a)llatheena amanoo maAAahu mata nasru Allahi ala inna nasra Allahi qareeb(un)

Do you think that you shall enter Paradise, while that which came to those before you has not yet come to you? They encountered adversity and distress, and were so shaken that the Prophet-AS and the believers with him exclaimed, “Where is Allah-SWT’s Help?” Surely Allah-SWT’s Help is near.

( 2:214)

يَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلْ مَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالأَقْرَبِينَ وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا تَفْعَلُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

Yasaloonaka matha yunfiqoona qul ma anfaqtum min khayrin falilwalidayni wa(a)laqrabeena wa(a)lyatama wa(a)lmasakeeni wa(i)bni a(l)ssabeeli wama tafAAaloo min khayrin fainna Allaha bihi AAaleem(un)

They ask you-SW, how will they spend? Say, “Whatever you spend of wealth, let it be for parents and kindred, and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatever good you do, indeed Allah-SWT knows it well”.


كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Kutiba AAalaykumu alqitalu wahuwa kurhun lakum waAAasa an takrahoo shayan wahuwa khayrun lakum waAAasa an tuhibboo shayan wahuwa sharrun lakum wa(A)llahu yaAAlamu waantum la taAAlamoon(a)

Fighting has been ordained for you, though you dislike it. And it is possible that you dislike a thing and that is good for you and you like a thing and that is bad for you. Allah-SWT knows and you do not know.


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

O Prophet-SW! Ask the Bani Israil and see their history; how they were blessed with innumerable clear signs by Allah-SWT through His-SWT Prophets-AS, aimed at their reformation. But when they rebelled and ignored the clear signs, they were subjected to various punishments. It is the Divine Law that wherever a blessing especially that of His-SWT Guidance, is not valued by a person, he is deprived of Allah-SWT’s Mercy and qualifies for His-SWT Punishment, which indeed is very severe. Just as His-SWT Mercy is boundless, so is the severity of His-SWT Punishment beyond human understanding. May Allah-SWT protect us. Now when a person deliberately ignores Divine Guidance, the standard of his likes and dislikes changes automatically. He is captivated by his desires and all his efforts are focused at pursuing mundane pleasures, while he thinks that he is striving in the right direction.


Waywardness Mars Discrimination Between Good And Evil

a wayward person ultimately reaches a point where he believes that those who sacrifice short lived material pleasures for the sake of eternal bliss and Akhirah are foolish. He ridicules them and says that it is nonsensical to needlessly bind oneself by so many restrictions and not to enjoy the comforts of life. But his thinking is mere ignorance. The fact is that this existence is temporary, whereas the Akhirah is eternal even though in this world also tranquillity and comforts are only for the believer as he leads a life closest to nature. The life of the non-believers, on the other hand is entangled in unnatural rituals and customs and they do not perceive the truth. For them the criteria of happiness are only wealth, a beautiful house, fine clothing and good food. They will see for themselves in the Akhirah how much better off were the believers in terms of provisions. When the non-believers would be drowned in Divine perdition, the believers would be enjoying the blessings in Paradise. Allah-SWT is all-Powerful; He-SWT bestows at His-SWT Will.


By virtue of its creation mankind was one nation having the same ideology and beliefs. But when the horizon of its needs expanded, the difference in interests gave rise to varying ideologies. This coupled with individual temperaments led to many opinions, resulting in utter confusion in which each was adamant to uphold his own. Allah-SWT’s mercy came to the rescue and He-SWT raised His-SWT Messengers-AS who drew a line between right and the wrong. These Messengers-AS gave glad tidings to the obedient and warned the other group of dire consequences in the form of Allah-SWT’s Wrath.


Allah-SWT sent His-SWT Messengers-AS with Books to establish justice and resolve the differences amongst the people. But inspite of this and the clear ordinances, people did not follow the teachings of the Prophets-AS out of arrogance and remained deprived. However, Allah-SWT eased out the lives of those who submitted to guidance and pulled them out of the quagmire of disputation. He-SWT blessed them with the straight path, as it is He-SWT Who guides whosoever He-SWT chooses.


Only Two Nations In Terms Of Beliefs

The Quran has divided mankind into two nations on the basis of their beliefs and ideology. So long as the mankind held the same ideology and beliefs they remained one nation. The word Ummah here denotes the unity of beliefs, although literally it stands for a people uniting for any reason, geographical or chronological. The difference under discussion here is ideological. Therefore, here it stands for a nation united ideologically. According to some scholars mankind remained one nation in the era of Prophet Aadam-AS and his-AS children while others allude that it refers to those saved after the Deluge in Nuh-AS’s time.


These explanations may be correct, but the Quranic way of expression denotes that mankind basically did not bring disputes along but as a result of interaction, various methods were adopted to satisfy personal preferences and needs. Each individual naturally considered his opinion as correct, but Allah-SWT’s Messengers-AS were raised to spell out the Divine Criteria for right and the wrong. Only those people did not benefit from their teachings, who had lost the capability to accept the truth and destroyed themselves out of sheer arrogance. One of the effects of arrogance is that it strips the temperament of its capacity to comprehend the truth. Such people can never be convinced. This must not, however, discourage those who propagate truth. They must carry on their work with sincerity and complete devotion being the seekers of Allah-SWT’s Pleasure and being hopeful of admission to Paradise, a manifestation of His-SWT Pleasure. This grand pursuit naturally demands grand sacrifice and hard work. To prove worthy of rewards one has to have some performance to his credit to satisfy the Divine Law of cause and effect. A look at the lives of the believers gone by shows that they were put through so many trials that not only they but also their Prophets-AS cried out; “When will Allah-SWT’s Help come?” and they were assured that it was near.


Struggle, Prerequisite To Rewards

It can be deduced here that struggle is a pre requisite in the Divine System. It is, however, not necessary that the effort be voluntary. Even the imposed one is beneficial. The greatest benefit of struggle is Allah-SWT’s nearness and freedom from all hopes on anyone save Him-SWT . If a person puts himself through hardships for the sake of fame or attaining any excellence it is not the struggle for the Divine reward but a grave sin. The hardships faced by Allah-SWT’s people are, in fact, an excuse for the elevation of their status. In this context the Holy Prophet-SW is reported to have said: “The most to suffer amongst mankind are the Prophets-AS”.


Praying to Allah-SWT , when in trouble, is not against complete trust. Rather, crying for His-SWT help with humility and awe is the consequence of struggle and an evidence of His-SWT nearness. And a struggle undertaken voluntarily has its own terms and conditions which must be kept in mind. For example, spending for Allah-SWT’s Pleasure is a form of struggle, but squandering wealth is not. Again, spending must be out of the wealth earned lawfully and in the prescribed order of priority, i.e. on parents, relatives, orphans, needy and the wayfarers. Of course this discussion pertains to voluntary charity but where parents are impoverished and are in need of food and medicine, the charity by the son in refugee camps, under the flashing cameras, is not acceptable.


Secondly, the charity money spent must belong to the person spending it and not that the creditors are given a tough time and the debtor is busy giving away alms. He must first pay off his debts. In short, the charity money ought to be personal, lawful and spent purely for seeking Allah-SWT’s pleasure. Only then will the entire effort be fruitful. To attain higher stations through struggle Jihad has been enjoined upon the Muslims.


Jihad comprises both aspects of the struggle, voluntary as well as imposed. Although outwardly it may seem difficult and unpleasant, yet it is quite possible that something apparently unpleasant may be very beneficial indeed. It is also possible that things attractive outwardly may be in reality very harmful. To perceive the realities of things is outside the pale of human understanding. It is a Divine Attribute and only He-SWT is Aware of the realities of things. Praise be to Him-SWT ! It must, therefore, be remembered that whatever befalls a believer is always a blessing and a reward from Allah-SWT and is for his betterment, no matter how harsh the ordeal may appear. On the contrary whatever a non-believer receives, is indeed a punishment, whether in the form of affluence or power.


Jihad basically is obligatory, but it is a collective obligation. It means that if one group is engaged in Jihad, it is sufficient for the rest, but if the task demands more manpower then it becomes obligatory for all the Muslims in the vicinity. Similarly its scope extends out to the Muslims of the entire world if need be.