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 35 contains Āyāt / Parts 3
  • Siparah/ Volume 1 & 2


أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَآجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رِبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِـي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِـي وَأُمِيتُ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Alam tara ila allathee hajja ibraheema fee rabbihi an atahu Allahu almulka ith qala ibraheemu rabbiya allathee yuhyee wayumeetu qala ana ohyee waomeetu qala ibraheemu fainna Allaha yatee bi(al)shshamsi mina almashriqi fati biha mina almaghribi fabuhita allathee kafara wa(A)llahu la yahdee alqawma a(l)ththalimeen(a)

Have you not seen him, who argued with Ibrahim-AS about his Rabb-SWT , because Allaah-SWT had given him kingship? Ibrahim-AS said, “My Rabb-SWT is He-SWT Who gives life and causes death." He said, "I give life and cause death." Ibrahim-AS said, "Allaah-SWT brings the sun from the East, you bring it from the West." Thereupon the non-believer was dumbfounded. Allaah-SWT does not guide the wrongdoers.


أَوْ كَالَّذِي مَرَّ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىَ يُحْيِـي هَـَذِهِ اللّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا فَأَمَاتَهُ اللّهُ مِئَةَ عَامٍ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِئَةَ عَامٍ فَانظُرْ إِلَى طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ وَانظُرْ إِلَى حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَانظُرْ إِلَى العِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًا فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Aw ka(a)llathee marra AAala qaryatin wahiya khawiyatun AAala AAurooshihaqala anna yuhyee hathihi Allahu baAAda mawtiha faamatahu Allahu miata AAamin thumma baAAathahu qala kam labithta qala labithtu yawman aw baAAda yawmin qala bal labithta miata AAamin fa(o)nthur ila taAAamika washarabika lam yatasannah wa(o)nthur ila himarika walinajAAalaka ayatan li(l)nnasi wa(o)nthur ilaalAAithami kayfa nunshizuha thumma naksooha lahman falamma tabayyana lahu qala aAAlamu anna Allaha AAala kulli shayin qadeer(un)

Or such as the one who passed by a town that had fallen on its roofs, completely in ruins. He said, "How will Allaah-SWT bring it back to life after its death?" There upon Allaah-SWT caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up and said, "How long have you remained thus?" He answered, "I have remained thus for a day or part of a day." Allaah-SWT said, "No! You have remained so for a hundred years. Look at your food and your drink; they have not rotten; and look at your donkey. And that We-SWT may make you a sign unto the people. And look at the bones (of your donkey). How We-SWT put them together and clothe them with flesh. Then, when it became clear to him, he exclaimed, "I-AS know that surely Allaah-SWT has power over everything!"


وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِـي الْمَوْتَى قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قَالَ بَلَى وَلَـكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي قَالَ فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَلَى كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًا ثُمَّ ادْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِينَكَ سَعْيًا وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

Waith qala ibraheemu rabbi arinee kayfa tuhyee almawta qala awalam tumin qala bala walakin liyatmainna qalbee qala fakhuth arbaAAatan mina a(l)ttayri fasurhunna ilayka thumma ijAAal AAala kulli jabalin minhunna juzan thumma odAAuhunna yateenaka saAAyan wa(i)AAlam anna Allaha AAazeezun hakeem(un)

And recall when Ibrahim-AS said, "My Rabb-SWT ! Show me how You-SWT give life to the dead?" He-SWT said, "Don't you believe?" He-AS answered, "Yes! But to satisfy my-AS heart." He-SWT said, "Take four birds as pets and place a part of them on every hill and then call them. They will come to you speeding. And know that surely Allaah-SWT is Mighty, Wise."


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

Have you not seen him ......Allah-SWT does not guide the wrongdoers.

Faith cannot be imposed on anyone as it is a state, a feeling, which enters the heart by Allah-SWT's will as a result of one's desire to turn to Him-SWT . If a heart is void of this desire altogether, no amount of effort or reasoning can bring about faith. Hence coercion is totally ruled out. The example being presented here is of a person who argued with Prophet Ibrahim-AS over the Providence of Allah-SWT whereas it was Allah-SWT Who-SWT had given him the kingdom. In other words his own existence as well as the vast empire he ruled over was nothing but a manifestation of His-SWT Providence. What he really should have done was to be grateful to Allah-SWT but he opted for ingratitude and arrogance and proclaimed himself as God saying, 'O people I am your Rabb, so prostrate before me'.


When Prophet Ibrahim-AS announced his Prophethood and broke all the idols the king summoned him to the court and inquired as to which Rabb-SWT was he inviting the masses to? The king claimed that he was the Rabb of all and his Government was looking after the needs of each subject in his kingdom. Prophet Ibrahirm-AS asserted that he invited the masses to the Rabb-SWT Who-SWT gave life and death, and was the Creator. Everyone has to experience death at a predestined time including those who falsely claim to be Rabb. The system of the universe is least affected bythe birth or the death of such impostors. Had the king or others like him in the past been Rabbs, this universe would certainly not have survived without them. real Rabb-SWT is the one Who-SWT controls life as well as death.


King Nimrud obviously missed the point of Prophet Ibrahim’s-AS argument altogether. He summoned two prisoners, released one and executed the other saying, "See I too can give life and death".


What a foolish argument it was! The king knew that the general public, who was to judge between the two, was primarily ignorant and would appreciate action instead of logic. But the Prophets-AS are blessed with clear signs from Allah-SWT . Prophet Ibrahim-AS reiterated that Allah-SWT is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. He-SWT has ordered the sun to rise from the East and to set in the West. If you are true in your claim, can you even for once alter this ordered course of His-SWT universe and make the sun rise from the West? The king was flabbergasted. He knew very well that if he put the same question to Prophet IbrahIm-AS, the Creator-SWT , Who-SWT in reality makes the sun rise from the East can also make it rise from the West on his request. And if this happens, all his subjects will accept the true faith immediately.


Totally defeated Nimrud became furious and ordered that Prophet Ibrahim-AS be thrown into fire. According to a report this dialogue took place when Nimrud had summoned Prophet Ibrahim-AS from the jail to condemn him to fire. He was thrown in the fire and Nimrud, even after witnessing the transformation of fire into a beautiful garden, remained a non-believer. In fact Allah-SWT never blesses such remorseless sinners with guidance and faith. Is it not a great transgression to stun ones heart with the lust for temporal grandeur while its actual function is to seek Allah-SWT ? Such malefactors are never guided.


Or such as the one who passed by a town... Allah-SWT has power over everything!

Prophet ‘Uzair’s-AS Experience

Yet another strange incident is that of a person who passed by a desolate city. He was Prophet 'Uzair-AS (Ezra) and the city was Jerusalem which had been totally destroyed by a king named Bakht Nasr (Nebuchadnezzar). When the Bani Israil crossed all limits of wickedness, Allah-SWT as a punishment, set on them Bakht Nasr, an arch tyrant who rampaged the city, set ablaze all the copies of Torah, committed large scale genocide and took the survivors as prisoners. Prophet 'Uzair-AS escaped to the wilderness; it is a Divine rule that whenever nations are inflicted with collective punishment, the noble amongst them are separated. Once Bakht Nasr had departed from the city, after plunder, Prophet 'Uzair-AS returned. He saw a completely destroyed city with no habitation, life, greenery, or tress, but only the rotten dead bodies, torn to pieces, scattered all over the ruins. Overwhelmed by the desolate sight, he exclaimed how could they be brought back to life from such a state of dilapidation. He did believe in Allah-SWT's Omnipotence, but was merely curious to know what would be the process of their resurrection. Beasts and scavengers had devoured the parts of their corpses. Some of the corpses had burnt to ashes and were blown away by the wind.


Pondering over the episode, he tied down his mount, laid aside some grape juice and figs etc. that he had collected from the jungle as food and stretched himself to rest. Allah-SWT let slumber overpower him, which was quite similar to death. Yet he did not actually die, because if a person returns miraculously from Barzakh, the rules of Shari'ah are no longer binding on him, whereas Prophet 'Uzair-AS lived to perform his duty of inviting people to Allah-SWT . Neither did the Spirit leave his body, nor was he in any contact with the living. In fact, he remained in a suspended state between life and death.


Allah-SWT by His-SWT Omnipotence not only protected his body but also preserved his food. The lapse of one entire century could spoil nothing and Allah-SWT kept him and his provisions out of everyone's sight. No one spotted him or his food for a hundred years nor any dust gathered on them.


When Allah-SWT took him out of the slumber, he saw no change in himself or his dress. On one side a whole century had gone by and on the other it was as if only a moment had past. It was just like the Holy Prophet's-SW journey in the Night of Ascension. He went to Bait al Maqdas, on to the heavens and onwards, witnessed Paradise and Hell and returned to his still warm bed while the chain on the door was still in motion. The time stood by and the clock did not tick even once.


In the meantime Allah-SWT had emancipated the Bani Israil from the clutches of Bakht Nasr after 70 years of captivity, who was killed and they returned to rebuild the city-In 30 years the city, duly rebuilt and flourished once again. WhenProphet 'Uzair-AS woke up, Allah-SWT inquired of his sojourn. He-AS replied that He-AS had rested for a day or so. Allah-SWT informed him that he had slept a hundred years and because of His-SWT Omnipotence he did not even feel the duration. Likewise was his food preserved, unmolested by any living being or the weather. However his mount was not given the Divine Protection in order to provide him with a visual demonstration. He-AS was shown the re-assembly of and how the missing particles of its flesh, whether devoured by the beasts and the birds or carried away by the wind, or washed away by the stormy waters were brought back to quicken animal. These miracles were wrought in answer to his query as to how the Resurrection will take place and above all, his own self became an evidence of Allah-SWT's Omnipotence for others.


Hearing by the Dead

Our times have ushered in a debate whether or not the dead can hear. Those who do not believe in hearing by the dead refer to this incident and argue that Prophet Uzair-AS did not know anything about the time he had spent sleeping, therefore, those in ‘Barzakh’ cannot hear anything. This argument is irrelevant because he-AS neither experienced the natural death nor did he-AS enter ‘Barzakh’ nor did the episode progress to the extent of requital of his deeds. Regardless of whether the dead can hear or not, no inference can be drawn from this incident. The real issue is the denial of life after death, which was and still is, the reason for the non-believers' adherence to disbelief. This repudiation stems from the inability of human intellect to grasp the fact of life after life.


In the case of Prophet 'Uzair-AS, Allah-SWT demonstrated His-SWT Omnipotence in many ways: He-SWT preserved the food and water in its original condition, concealed from the world; He-SWT also preserved his-AS physical body, his-AS garments and provisions and did not even let him-AS feel the passage of a century. At the same time, his-AS donkey died, decayed and scattered during the course of the century, Allah-SWT quickened in thepresence of His-SWT Prophet-AS and said to him-AS: "You-AS are now a manifestation of My-SWT Omnipotence; see for yourself the desolate city that astonished you-AS, flourishing once again!"


Now Prophet 'Uzair-AS went to the city and announced that he-AS was Allah-SWT's Prophet-AS. Many reports show that the people demanded evidence from him-AS. The greatest evidence was that the Bani Israil had been without a copy of Torah, for a hundred years, as Bakht Nasr burnt all. Allah-SWT put it in his-AS ‘Qalb’ and he-AS dictated it to them. The whole incident was indeed a great miracle and a source of guidance, but what happened really? The Bani Israil declared Prophet 'Uzair-AS as Allah-SWT ’s son, because they had perverted hearts and were incapable of receiving guidance. Allah-SWT deprived them of His-SWT cognition and nearness while Prophet 'Uzair-AS proclaimed with full conviction that Allah-SWT is Omnipotent and can do whatever He-SWT pleases.


And recall when Ibrahim-AS said  ... Allah-SWT is Mighty, Wise.”

Another strong evidence is the incident of Prophet Ibrahim-AS, when he requested Allah-SWT to demonstrate how He would quicken the dead. Allah-SWT said: "Don't you believe in it." The Prophet-AS replied that he did believe, but wished to see it with his physical eyes so as to attain the highest level of conviction.


This is a world of cause and effect. Therefore, the means are of vital importance. So much so that Allah-SWT Himself-SWT creates the means and manifests the results as their product. Similarly seeing is more effective for attaining inner satisfaction and feelings than listening.


When Prophet Musa-AS heard about his nation's indulgence in the calf worship through revelation, he did not throw away the Tablets of Torah although aggrieved and annoyed. But as soon as he witnessed the wrong doing of his people, he threw them away in disgust and pulled his brother Prophet Harun-AS by his beard. Similarly, Prophet Ibrahim-AS requested Allah-SWT that though he did believe and know through Revelation, but the effects peculiar to seeing with physical eyes would strengthen his faith to perfection. Therefore, he may be shown Allah-SWT's Own way of reviving the dead.


The Etiquette of Supplication

The Divine Court is the most exalted, and the applicant ought to be extremely cautious. Just see the example of ProphetUzair-AS. He wanted to witness the Resurrection but the words he chose were of amazement as to how it would take place. Allah-SWT kept him in a state of slumber, neither dead nor alive in the literal sense, for a hundred years and then enabled him to witness the Resurrection.


Here Prophet Ibrahim's-AS style is different. He requested Allah-SWT to demonstrate to him-AS how He-SWT gives life to the dead, and his-AS wish was granted right away. Therefore, while presenting one's motive before Allah-SWT , extreme care and reverence has to be observed. So Allah-SWT directed Prophet Ibrahim-AS to take four birds and tame them as pets to an extent that they become attached with him-AS and respond to his-AS call immediately. Even here the employment of means was not ignored, and an affiliation with him-AS was made a pre-requisite for the pets to respond to his-AS call. Similarly faith cannot be attained without the development of an attachment with the Prophet-AS. It is impossible that a person is an antagonist to the Holy Prophet-SW and yet can remain a Muslim. This enmity, may it be in the form of animosity towards him-SW, his-SW relatives or his-SW followers, leads to disbelief.


The same is true for receiving spiritual beneficence from a Shaikh. Until and unless the seeker does not develop an attachment with him, no spiritual beneficence can be drawn. Although enmity with the Aulia is not infidelity, for it’s neither obligatory to believe in them nor can anyone be termed with certainty as a Wali, yet Maulana Thanvi-RUA has rightly observed that the holder of such an enmity usually dies a non-believer.


So Prophet IbrahIm-AS was directed to first tame the four birds, slaughter them mince them together, scatter the flesh over different hillocks, then to call them and they would promptly come running to him-AS. He-AS did exactly what he-AS was told and kept the birds' heads with him-AS. He called for the birds one by one and its blood whether dropped on a rock or absorbed in the soil, or mixed with the blood of the other birds would begin to collect together, followed by its flesh, bones and feathers. All re-assembled under his-AS direct observation and each body united to its head and all became alive once  again. It must be absolutely clear that Allah-SWT is Mighty and can do anything He-SWT pleases. But at the same time He-SWT is also the Wisest, Who-SWT has predetermined the time for the occurrence of every event.


If only man contemplates how the ingredients of his body were scattered over the globe before he was born, he will realize that they would not possibly be more scattered after death! The food, the medicine, and whatever we eat are the various forms of four elements: clay, water, fire and air. Somewhere these elements are in the form of grains, rice, sugarcane, or spices at others they assume the shape of greenery and fodder consumed by animals, and come back to us as milk, butter and meat. All this process is not just a coincidence, but a thoroughly planned project with no element of chance. Each and every grain predestined by Allah-SWT for each individual is always heading towards its destiny, to an extent that after consumption by a person, if it is meant for his offspring, it is preserved in his loins. Similarly, out of the food consumed and digested by a mother, the portion destined for the unborn baby does not become a part of her body, but is passed on to the baby.


The matters of the ‘Akhirah’ are totally in His-SWT Control. He-SWT is fully capable of punishing or rewarding the scattered particles of a body even if these have become part of another body.


In this world although the physical body itself bears all responsibility but every pleasure and pain leaves an impact on the Spirit also. While in ‘Barzakh’ this is reversed and each and every particle of the physical body, irrespective of its location, feels the impact. On the Day of Judgment and thereafter both the Spirit and the body would become equally sentient.


The non-believers' antagonism to Allah-SWT's obedience is because of their denial of life after life, which is proved beyond any doubt in the above three incidents. Now the examples of those noble souls who spend in Allah-SWT's cause; who believe and believe in life after life, and exert in the best possible manner for the betterment of their eternal lives, is being presented in the Section that follows.