NAME: البقرة. Al-Baqara.
Name taken from Verse 67-73 where there is a story of a Cow/Heifer Moses asked to sacrifice on God’s Command.
٦٧ وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تَذْبَحُوا بَقَرَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَتَّخِذُنَا هُزُوًا ۖ قَالَ أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
67 And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you take us in ridicule?” He said, “I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant.”
But It does not mean that this name is the actual topic discussed in the whole Surah. It is just a reference and mark/symbol to distinguish this Surah from others as is with most other Surahs of Quran. While there are diversified topics discussed in these Surahs.
ENGLISH NAME: The Cow
CHAPTER NUMBER: 2
SURAH BAQARAH TOTAL VERSES: 286
SURAH BAQARAH TOTAL WORDS: 6,140
TOTAL UNIQUE WORDS WITHOUT REPETITION: 2,279
TOTAL LETTERS: 26,249
Medinan, Approx. 622 – 632 AD.
God, Adam, Angels, Iblis/Devil, Children Of Israel, Pharaoh, Moses, Muhammad, Ibrahim, Nimrod, Hypocrites, Polytheists, Samuel, Talut/Saul, Jalut/Goliath, David/ Dawood.
SURAH BAQARAH MAIN TOPICS:
Creation, God’s favor on Israelites and their behavior, Ibrahim Trial and God’s Promise to him, Change Of Qibla/direction of prayer, Qisas, legal retribution for those murdered, Fasting, Fighting, Hajj/Pilgrimage, Drink, Intoxication & Gambling, Marriage Among Idolaters, Menstruation Instructions, Divorce, Iddah/Waiting Period, Mahr/Dowry & Provision for wives, Story of Ibrahim &Nimrod, Riba, Usury, Interest, Debt, Contracts & Women Half Witness.
SURAH BAQARA KEY VERSES:
١١ وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ
11 And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”
١٢ أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَٰكِنْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
12 Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.
٢٣ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
23 And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful.
٣٠ وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
30 And when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
٦٢ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
62 Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
٧٩ فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَٰذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُوا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
79 So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
٨٠ وَقَالُوا لَنْ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلَّا أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَةً ۚ قُلْ أَتَّخَذْتُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَهْدًا فَلَنْ يُخْلِفَ اللَّهُ عَهْدَهُ ۖ أَمْ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
80 And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”
١١٥ وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
115 And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.٢٥٦ لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَدْ تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
256 There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
.٢٧٨ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
278 O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers.
٢٧٩ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَإِنْ تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ
279 And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.
SUMMARY OF TOPICS
1-2(This Is the Book About Which There Is no Doubt), 8-20(Traits and Characteristics of Hypocrites), 23(Surah Challenge: Produce a Surah the Like Thereof and Call Upon Your Witnesses Other Than Allah, if You Should Be Truthful), 25(Same Fruit In Paradise: “This Is What We Were Provided With Before.” ), 26(Example of Gnat/ Mosquito: Indeed, Allah Is Not Timid To Present an Example – That of a Mosquito or What Is Smaller Than It), 29(Creation of Earth & Seven 7 Heavens), 30-38(Creation of Adam, God Ordered Angels to Prostrate Adam, all Did, but Iblis/Satan/Devil Refused, Devil Caused Adam & Eve To Disobey God), 40-49(O Children Of Israel, God Reminds Them of his Favors), 50(God Parted Sea for Israelites and Saved Them From Pharaoh), 51(God’s Appointment With Moses for 40 Nights, Israelites Calf Worshiping in Absence of Moses), 55-57(Israelites Demand Want To See God, Thunderbolt Took Them, Death and Revival, God Sent for Them Manna & Salwa Quails), 58-60( God’s Command to Israelites When Enter the City Say Hitatun/Repentance, Moses Struck his Staff and 12 Springs Gushed Forth), 61(Their Demand That Give Us Onion Cucumber), 62(All Righteous Anyone From Any Religion Jews Christians and Even Sabaeans Can Go in Paradise), 63(Mount Tur/Sinai Above Israelites) , 65(Be Apes, God Made the Sabbath transgressors Apes), 67-73(Moses Said That Allah Commands You To Slaughter a Cow/ Heifer, Their Avoiding, Mention of a Dead Murdered Person Who Became Alive), 80-89 (Israelites Behavior & Not Accepting Muhammad Even They Recognized), 93(Mention of When God Raised Over Israelites the Mount, [Saying], “Take What We Have Given You With Determination and Listen, They Said We Hear and Disobey), 97-98(Whoever Is an Enemy Of Gabriel Michael and Other Angels Then Indeed, Allah Is an Enemy to That Person), 102 (Mention of Solomon, Harut Marut, Babylon, Magic and its Teaching, all Is but a Trial), 104(Do Not Say to Prophet Ra’ina but Anzurna I.E Listen to Us as ra’ina Word Has Double Meanings), 106(Abrogation Of Ayah/Sign/Verse), 111(Mention of Claim of People of the Book That None Will Enter Paradise Except One Who Is a Jew or a Christian), 124(Ibrahim Trial, God Promised “I Will Make You a Leader for the People.” [Abraham] Said, “and of my Descendants?” May Be: but God’s Promise Not for Zalims/Wrongdoers),125-131 (Ibrahim Building Kaaba & Praying), 138(the Hue/ Color/ Religion Of Allah, and Who Is Better Than Allah at Coloring), 143(God Said That He Made Muslims a Just/ Balanced/Middle Nation), 144(Change Of Qibla/Direction of Prayer From Aqsa to Masjid Al-Haram), 146 (People of the Book Recognize Muhammad as They Recognize Their Own Sons), 154(Martyr Not Dead but Alive), 155( God Will Test You by Fear Hunger Loss of Wealth), 158(Safa Marwah: Allah’s Signs), 173(Mention of Haram Forbidden Food, Mainly Dead Animals, Blood, the Flesh of Swine, and That Which Has Been Dedicated to Other Than Allah), 177(Turning Face to East Or West Isn’t Righteousness), 178-179( Qisas, Legal Retribution for Those Murdered, This Is an Alleviation and a Mercy From Your Lord), 180-182(Will Wasiyat, Inheritance), 183-187(Fasting, Rozay, Siyam, if Not Able Then Equal Number of Days Later or Feed A Man, Lawful To Go to Wives at Night), 190-194(Fight, Slaying, Fitnah Is Worse Than Killing, Do Not Fight Them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram Until They Fight You There, Fighting in Sacred Months), 196-203(Hajj, Head Shave if Not Ransom of Charity or 3 Fasts, Sacrifice, 3+7 Days Rozay/Fasting if Not Doing Sacrifice, Mention of Arafat, Mina), 213(Mankind Was [of] One Religion [Before Their Deviation), 216-217(Fight Order, Question Regarding Warfare In Sacred Months, Fighting Therein Is Great [Sin], but Averting [People] From the Way of Allah Is Greater Sin, and Fitnah/Corruption in Land Is Greater Than Killing),219( Drink, Intoxication & Gambling), 221(Marriage Among Idolaters, a Believing Slave Is Better Than a Polytheist, Even Though She/He Might Please You), 222(Menstruation, Instructions), 223(Women Are Like Tilth, a Place of Sowing of Seed), 226-230(Divorce, Iddah/Waiting Period, Four Months if no Sexual Relation, Others Three Months, Halala/Marring a Divorced Wife Again 230), 233( Mother Shall Suckle/Feed Child for 2 Years), 234(Iddah/Waiting Period if Husband Dies: Four Months and Ten Days), 236-237 & 240& 241( Mahr/Dowry & Provision for Wives), 243( Mention of a Story of Thousands of People Who Die & Then by God’s Grace Become Alive), 246-251( Mention of Samuel, Talut/Saul, Jalut/Goliath and David/Prophet Dawood), 258(Mention of Story of Ibrahim & Namrud/Nimrod, Ibrahim Dialogues With Him Regarding Death Life and Then Regarding Rising Place of Sun), 259(Mention of Story of a Person Who Remained100 Years Dead and Then by God’s Grace Became Alive, God’s Dialogue With Him Concerning his Donkey and Food), 260(Ibrahim Questions God Above Life and Death & God’s Gave Him an Experiment of Four Birds), 261(Wealth Spending Reward Example Like Grain With Seven 7 Ears), 275-280( Riba, Usury, Interest,Those Who Consume Interest Will Stand on Day of Resurrection as Insane, Allah Destroys Interest and Gives Increase for Charities, Usury Is a War Against God & Prophet), 282-283(Debt, Contracts & Women Half Witness, if no Contract Than Pledge Something in Lieu)
SURAH BAQARAH BRIEF COMMENTARY & BACK GROUND
Surah Al-Baqarah is the Longest Surah of the Quran. It has 286 verses divided into 40 Rukus/Sections. This Surah was mainly revealed in Madinah. It contains the greatest Verse of the Quran, also referred to as Ayat-ul-Kursi which is verse number 255. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that everything has its peak and the peak of Quran is Baqarah. It begins with the answer to the prayer God has taught us in Surah Fatihah. The beginning words are “This is the Book in which there is no doubt and is a guidance unto the God-fearing.”
In Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasai, it is written that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
لَا تَجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قُبُورًا فَإِنَّ الْبَيْتَ الَّذِي تُقْرَأُ فِيهِ سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ لَا يَدْخُلُهُ الشَّيْطَان
Do not turn your houses into graves. Indeed, Shaytan does not enter the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.
Also recorded that Ash-Shabi said that Abdullah bin Masud said, “Those who recites 10 Ayahs from Surat Al-Baqarah in a night, then Satan will not enter their house that night. These are four from the beginning of Surah Baqarah, Ayat Al-Kursi (255), the following two Ayat (256-257) and the last three Ayat.
Sahl bin Sad said that the Prophet said,
إِنَّ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَنَامًا، وَإِنَّ سَنَامَ الْقُرْآنِ الْبَقَرَةُ، وَإِنَّ مَنْ قَرَأَهَا فِي بَيْتِهِ لَيْلَةً لَمْ يَدْخُلْهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ثَلَاثَ لَيَالٍ، وَمَنْ قَرَأَهَا فِي بَيْتِهِ نَهَارًا لَمْ يَدْخُلْهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّام
Everything has a hump a peek, and Al-Baqarah is the peek of the Quran. Whoever recites Surah Baqarah at night in his house, then Satan will not enter that house for 3 nights. And the one who recites it during a day in his house, then Satan will not enter that house for 3 days.
At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah recorded, Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah sent an army consisting of many men and asked each about what they memorized of the Quran. The Prophet came to one of the youth and asked him, `What have you memorized young ma,’ He said, I memorized such and such Surahs and also Surah Baqarah. The Prophet said, You memorized Surah Baqarah’ He said, Yes. The Prophet responded, Then you are their commander.
Also in At-Tirmidhi, The Prophet of God said,
تَعَلَّمُوا القُرْآنَ وَاقْرَءُوهُ، فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ الْقُرْآنِ لِمَنْ تَعَلَّمَهُ فَقَرَأَ وَقَامَ بِهِ كَمَثَلِ جِرَابٍ مَحْشُوَ مِسْكًا يَفُوحُ رِيحُهُ فِي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، وَمَثَلُ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَهُ فَيَرْقُدُ وَهُوَ فِي جَوْفِهِ كَمَثَلِ جِرَابٍ أُوكِيَ عَلى مِسْك
Learn Quran and recite it, for the example of whoever learns the Quran, recites it and stick fast to it, is the example of a bag that is full of musk whose scent fills the air. The example of whoever learns the Quran and then become lazy in his acts while the Quran is in his memory, is the example of a bag that has musk, but is closed tight.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said that Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him saying,
تَعَلَّمُوا سُورَةَ الْبَقَرَةِ فَإِنَّ أَخْذَهَا بَرَكَةٌ، وَتَرْكَهَا حَسْرَةٌ، وَلَا تَسْتَطِيعُهَا الْبَطَلَة
Learn Surah Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.
Ahmad ibn Hanbal recorded that An-Nawwas bin Saman said that the Messenger of Allah said,
يُؤْتَى بِالقُرْآنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَهْلِهِ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ بِهِ تَقْدَمُهُم سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ وَآلُ عِمْرَان
On the Day of Resurrection the Quran and its people who used to implement it will be brought forth, preceded by Surah Baqarah and Imran.
An-Nawwas said, “The Prophet set three examples for these two Surahs and I did not forget these examples ever since. He said,
كَأَنَّهُمَا غَمَامَتَانِ، أَوْ ظُلَّتَانِ سَودَاوَانِ بَيْنَهُمَا شَرْقٌ، أَوْ كَأَنَّهُمَا فِرْقَانِ مِنْ طَيْرٍ صَوَافَّ، يُحَاجَّانِ عَنْ صَاحِبِهِمَا
They will come like two clouds, two dark shades or two lines of birds arguing on behalf of their people.
The major part of Surah Baqarah was revealed during the first two years of the Prophet Muhammad’s life at Madinah. However, some verses revealed at a later period has been included in this Surah because their contents are closely matching to those dealing in this Surah. Like the verses, regarding the prohibition of interest revealed during the last period of Muhammad’s life but have been inserted in this Surah. Also, the last three verses revealed at Makkah also been included in it.
Surah Baqarah mainly deals with a number of issues related to creed, history, law and virtue. There are three types of people discussed in this Surah Believers, Disbelievers and Hypocrites. At Makkah the Quran generally addressed the Polytheists who were unaware of Islam, but at Madinah, it is also dealing with the Jews who were familiarized with the doctrine of God, Angels, Hereafter, Revelation and Prophethood. Quran tells that religion was one for all humankind and Jews were actually Muslims as this the religion of their forefather Abraham, but they had even given up their real name Muslim and assumed the name Jew and made religion the monopoly of the children of Israel. Many past events have been told from their own history to warn and advise them. Almost a one third part of this Surah has been addressed to the Israelites.
Medinah is entirely different from Mecca as here the first time it changes believers status from individuals to a community. Therefore, instructions for the survival of community are necessary as they have now threats from many sides from disbelievers, from nearby Jews and from inside in the form of hypocrites. Now also it has to turn its attention to the social, cultural and legal problems as well.