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 9 contains Āyāt / Parts 11
  • Siparah/ Volume 1 & 2


وَإِذْ قَتَلْتُمْ نَفْساً فَادَّارَأْتُمْ فِيهَا وَاللّهُ مُخْرِجٌ مَّا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ

Waith qataltum nafsan fa(i)ddaratum feeha wa(A)llahu mukhrijun mkuntum taktumoon(a)

And when you killed a man and disputed about it. But Allaah-SWT was to bring forth what you were concealing.


فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا كَذَلِكَ يُحْيِي اللّهُ الْمَوْتَى وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Faqulna idriboohu bibaAAdiha kathalika yuhyee Allahu almawta wayureekumayatihi laAAallakum taAAqiloon(a)

So We-SWT said, "Strike him with a piece (of the cow)". Thus Allaah-SWT brings the dead to life and shows you His-SWT signs, so that you may understand.


ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الأَنْهَارُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَاء وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللّهِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

Thumma qasat quloobukum min baAAdi thalika fahiya ka(a)lhijarati aw ashaddu qaswatan wainna mina alhijarati lama yatafajjaru minhu alanharu wainna minhalama yashshaqqaqu fayakhruju minhu almao wainna minha lama yahbitu min khashyati Allahi wama Allahu bighafilin AAamma taAAmaloon(a)

Thereafter, your hearts hardened like a rock or even harder. For among rocks there are some, from which streams gush forth. Others split apart and water flows out of them, yet others, which fall down for fear of Allaah-SWT . And Allaah-SWT is not unaware of what you do.


أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

AfatatmaAAoona an yuminoo lakum waqad kana fareequn minhum yasmaAAoona kalama Allahi thumma yuharrifoonahu min baAAdi maAAaqaloohu wahum yaAAlamoon(a)

Do you (0 believers) hope that, they will believe in you, when a group of them used to hear the Word of Allaah-SWT and having understood it, used to change it intentionally?


وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قَالُواْ آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلاَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىَ بَعْضٍ قَالُواْ أَتُحَدِّثُونَهُم بِمَا فَتَحَ اللّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لِيُحَآجُّوكُم بِهِ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ أَفَلاَ تَعْقِلُونَ

Waitha laqoo allatheena amanoo qaloo amanna waitha khala baAAduhum ilabaAAdin qaloo atuhaddithoonahum bima fataha Allahu AAalaykum liyuhajjookum bihi AAinda rabbikum afala taAAqiloon(a)

And when they meet the believers, they say, "We believe", but when they meet each other in private, they say, "Would, you tell them what Allaah-SWT has disclosed to you, so that they could use it to argue with you before your Rabb-SWT ? Have you no sense?"


أَوَلاَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ

Awala yaAAlamoona anna Allaha yaAAlamu ma yusirroona wama yuAAlinoon(a)

Don't they know that Allaah-SWT knows what they conceal and what they reveal?


وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ

Waminhum ommiyyoona la yaAAlamoona alkitaba illa amaniyya wain hum illayathunnoon(a)

And among them are the illiterates, who have no knowledge of the Book but their own fantasies, and they only guess.


فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ

Fawaylun lillatheena yaktuboona alkitaba biaydeehim thumma yaqooloona hathamin AAindi Allahi liyashtaroo bihi thamanan qaleelan fawaylun lahum mimmakatabat aydeehim wawaylun lahum mimma yaksiboon(a)

So woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, "This is from Allaah-SWT ", in order that they could trade it for a petty price. So woe to them for what their hands write and woe to them for what they earn with it.


وَقَالُواْ لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلاَّ أَيَّاماً مَّعْدُودَةً قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِندَ اللّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَن يُخْلِفَ اللّهُ عَهْدَهُ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Waqaloo lan tamassana a(l)nnaru illa ayyaman maAAdoodatan qul attakhathtum AAinda Allahi AAahdan falan yukhlifa Allahu AAahdahu am taqooloona AAalaAllahi ma la taAAlamoon(a)

And they say, "The Fire will not touch us but for a few numbered days". Say, "Have you taken a promise from Allaah-SWT ? For Allaah-SWT never breaks His-SWT promise. Or do you say about Allaah-SWT what you know not?


بَلَى مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيـئَتُهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

Bala man kasaba sayyiatan waahatat bihi khateeatuhu faolaika ashabu a(l)nnari hum feeha khalidoon(a)

But whosoever does evil and his sins surround him, they are the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever.


وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

Wa(a)llatheena amanoo waAAamiloo a(l)ssalihati olaika ashabu aljannati hum feehakhalidoon(a)

And those who believe and do righteous acts they are the dwellers of the Paradise. Therein will they abide forever.


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

When you killed....... shows you His-SWT Signs, so that you may understand.

The Bani Israil are being reminded of the murder their ancestors had committed and how they started to blame one another. But what they wished to conceal Allaah-SWT decided to reveal. The incidents stated here are not in chronological order. The Quran explains the episode of the slaughtering of the cow, before it mentions the reason for this Divine Command. It is because the purpose is not to narrate history, but to highlight the favours bestowed upon the Bani Israil. The incident of the cow has been mentioned first in order to make the Bani Israil realise how half-heartedly and unwillingly they had sacrificed the cow, yet He-SWT accepted it and favoured them with the desired results, and they found out who the real culprit was. Allaah-SWT ordered them to take any portion of the cow's meat and touch it to the corpse. As soon as it was done, the victim came to life, gave the entire account of his murder and died again. Thus, not only was the murderer identified, but also another miracle of Divine Power was manifested in their presence and hearing. Allaah-SWT is all-Powerful and shall similarly resurrect the dead on Yaum al-Qiyamah.


It is a point to ponder over seriously. Allaah-SWT is all-Powerful; had He-SWT willed He-SWT would have quickened the dead directly to tell the story. But His-SWT‘s Law for run­ning this world is the law of cause and effect. The slaughtering of the cow became a cause. Similarly He-SWT created Prophet 'Isa-AS without a father, yet did not abandon the means. He-SWT did order Angel Jibril-AS to blow unto Maryam-RAU or, when the eyes of the non-believers were to be blinded (in Ghazwa-e-Badr) by Him-SWT , He-SWT ordered the Holy Prophet-SW to throw a handful of sand towards them. The aim here is to reiterate the fact that for every task all possible means have to be employed in this world.


The Reality of Trust

Leaving the results to Allaah-SWT after adopting all possible means is called trust. If the results are according to expectations, one should thank Allah-SWT; this is gratitude. If otherwise, one should accept them without complaining or feeling bad at heart; this is patience. Giving up the means and effort is neither patience nor trust.


Thereafter, your hearts hardened ... And Allah-SWT is not unaware of what you do.

Even after beholding so many miracles and availing so many blessings the hearts of the Bani Israil hardened like rocks, even harder than that. This 'hardening' or 'softening' is not a physical phenomenon or characteristic but a spiritual state or condition, for the physical heart of a believer and a non-believer are similar if examined clinically. This 'hardening' is not sensory, but is the state in which the capacity conferred upon the Qalb from the Realm of Command is lost. It is by virtue of this particular capacity that the Qalb qualifies for Divine Address, absorbs His-SWT Refulgence and delivers it to mankind The fortunate ones are guided because of this capacity, while the rest enjoy the worldly comforts only because of those with living hearts. When these living hearts cease to exist, this world will also perish and that will be the Day of Judgement. So, a heart that has lost the realisation of Allah-SWT's Greatness and is devoid of His-SWT Zikr is indeed worse than a rock, because from some rocks springs do gush forth, bringing satiation and fertility to the land. Some others may yield little water, but do benefit the creation in some other way. And in a lesser degree are rocks that roll down merely in awe of Allah-SWT's Greatness. Even rocks offer some material, if not spiritual, benefits to people. Whereas you, (O Bani Israil) are worse than these rocks as your hardened hearts have given people nothing but trouble and hardship. This condition of the hearts, of course, becomes a source of mischief on earth.


Do you (O believers) hope ... used lo change it intentionally?

O Muslims! Do you expect these people with dead hearts to embrace Islam? They are the slaves of their vain desires. Amongst them are those who listened to the Divine Scriptures, understood the Message and deliberately altered it to suit their own ends. A sin committed without knowledge is a sin too, but to deliberately alter the Divine Scriptures or to invent false interpretations indicates such depravity of the inner self that these people can never be blessed with faith.


The aim is not to merely narrate stories here, but to warn the Jews against adopting the attitudes of their ancestors. The Bani Israil were so deeply disgraced because of their impudent treatment of Prophet Musa-AS and his Shari'ah, so the Muslims are also being cautioned to be very careful about Holy Prophet Muhammad-SW and his Shari'ah. May Allaah-SWT bless us with the capability to fulfil our duties!


And when they meet the believers, ... and what they reveal?

These Jews are so unscrupulous, that they not only deceive themselves, their religion and their fellowmen, but also cheat the Muslims by proclaiming to be believers. Amongst themselves, they admonish each other against disclosing the contents of Torah, pertaining to the revelation of the Quran, the raising of the Final Prophet-SW, the instructions to obey him and the praise of his Companions-RAU. They were afraid that this would give the Muslims solid evidence against them leading lo their defeat both in this world and in the Akhirah. They are so foolish to forget that the Divine Knowledge is perfect and comprehensive, encompassing all things, apparent or concealed.


These are the effects of the callousness of the heart. When the heart turns dark the entire body and mind take the wrong course. Intellect is blinded and such people strive not only to deceive their fellow beings, but even Allah-SWT, who knows everything and it is impossible to conceal anything from Him-SWT .


And among them are the illiterates, ... woe to them for what they earn with it.

In fact people become divided into two groups, just as the two groups of the Jews, of which one group is of the unlettered and the ignorant totally unacquainted with the greatness, glory and Barakah of the Divine Message They invent various pretexts and excuses for their religion and are self-styled righteous. They would have no place or respect in Allah-SWT's Court because they had failed to respect His-SWT Message.


The second group amongst the Jews is of those literate people who modify the verses of Allah-SWT's Book and add concoctions, claiming these to be reve­lations from Allaah-SWT . The aim behind this is to gain affluence and establish their own importance. For instance, they do not tell their people the description of the Holy Prophet-SW as revealed in their Book. They declare the illegitimate as legitimate, and vice versa, on whims. Their curse is twofold; firstly for tampering with the Divine Book, and secondly for usurping the wealth of others. This has always been the trait of the vicious savants, who read books but their hearts remain blind and thus their aim in life changes. They strive for temporal gains rather than for pleasing Allaah-SWT . Their knowledge is for sale, they fabricate falsehoods and fear Allaah-SWT the least.


And they say, ... They will abide therein for ever.

Nevertheless, they claim, that they will be saved from the Fire, and if at all they do have to go to Hell for sins, it will be only for a few days, as by virtue of being believers, they will not be condemned forever. Whereas in reality, they have altered the entire religion, inter mingling the permissible and the forbidden. The ignorant have given rituals the status of worship and the liter­ate have created their own issues in the name of religion in total violation of the Book. For instance, the Torah carried the Divine command to believe in the Prophet-SW of Islam and described not only his traits, but also those of his Companions-RAU. After all the deviation, they still believe that they stand ac­quitted from the Fire. They must be asked if Allaah-SWT has given them His-SWT word. "He-SWT has, He-SWT will certainly honour it. But if the criterion for judgement is virtue and not the person himself, then the virtues of a believer are non-existent in the characters of Bani Israil. It is an enormity to assume that He-SWT will forgive them with such false beliefs. What a true picture of today's misguided society, which, despite being laden with misdeeds, is a claimant of being Islamic!


It is a settled issue that be it an ignorant or a scholar, man or a woman, king a pauper, whosoever indulges in sin to an extent that it becomes his life style, leaving no trace of virtue, will reside in Hell forever, because perennial sin vitiates the faith. Once the faith is gone all the past good deeds are nullified, and no good act would qualify for Divine Acceptance in future. In other word such a person is deprived of even the minutest traces of virtue, which make him an eternal resident of Hell.


And those who believe and do righteous acts... will they abide forever.

Allah-SWT now addresses the ones believe in the teachings of the Holy Prophet-SW. From where do we learn to believe in the Unity, the mode of His-SWT worship; be it obligatory or voluntary? From the sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW! Be it about this world, or about the Akhirah, about the Day of Reckoning, the Scales, or the Paradise or Hell; the fountainhead of knowledge are the sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW. So those who act righteously in accordance with his-SW Sunnah will be granted entry into the Paradise and will dwell therein forever.