Names
Al-Baqarah (The Cow), az-Zahra (The Light)
as-Sanaam (The Peak), al-Fustaat (The Tent/Pavilion)
Chapter Number
2
Total Verses
286
Total Words
6,140
Unique Words
2,279
Total Letters
143
Rukus/Sections
40
Revelation Period
Medinan, Approx. 622 – 632 AD. 
Juz Number
01, 02, 03.
Surah al baqarah 2:67, the cow

Surah Al-Baqarah is the Longest Surah of the Quran, mainly revealed in Madina. It is the answer to prayer taught by Allah in Surah Fatiha. Al Baqarah contains the longest verse of the Qur’an (2:282)known as ayat e Dain. And also the greatest verse of the Quran referred to as Ayat-ul-Kursi(2:255). Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: ‘Everything has a peak and the peak of the Quran is Surah al Baqarah.’ [Tirmidhee no. 2878 – Hasan Ghareeb]

The major part of Surah al Baqarah was revealed during the first two years of the Prophet Muhammad’s(ﷺ) life at Madinah. However, some verses revealed later have been included in this Surah because their contents closely match those in this Surah. Surah al Baqarah begins as “This Book has no doubt in it, a guide for the God-fearing (Mutakeen)” i.e. starts with an introduction to Quran and. It discusses the number of issues related to Guidance, Allah’s Governance on Earth, history of previous Muslims, creed, virtue and law.

Three Types of people

Three types of people in this Surah are:

  • Believers
  • Disbelievers
  • and Hypocrites

Surah content deals with the Polytheists, living in Makkah. They were unaware of Islam. But at Madinah, it is also dealing with the Jews who were familiar with God, Angels, Revelation and Prophethood, Hereafter. Jews were previously Muslims, as this was the religion of their forefather, Hazrat Ibrahim. But children of Israel alter their names to Jew and made changes in religion. Actually, there is only one religion for humankind as Quran tells. Moreover, in this Surah, Many past events have been told. Allah(SWT) warn and advise Muslims and Jews through these events. Almost one-third part of this Surah has been addressed to the Israelites. In Madinah Muslims first time interact as the Muslim community. Moreover here they were also to deal with hypocrites. So, Allah gives instruction in this surah for community building. And also address the social, cultural and legal problems.

Brief Summary of Surah Al Baqarah

Introduction to the Quran

Allah introduces Quran at the start of the surah that This is the perfect Book, there is no doubt in it. When Allah says it has no doubt then no other witness matters. Quran is no doubt the perfect guidance. It has been sent down from the heavens and is the speech of Allah, and not created, and not from this world. Moreover, Allah also explains to whom it provides guidance. Definitely, those who are willing to get it. Holy Quran softens the hearts of people who truly want it to be and have pure intentions.

Three Traits of People

Allah mention three types of people and their sign in the start of the Surah Al Baqarah:

 Al Mu’minun, the believers 3-5

  • Quran is guidance for people who fear Allah. Those who believe in the unseen.
  • Al Mu’minun establish their prayers. It means that their Salah brings a change in them, they pray with punctuality and keen interest.
  • They spend in charity out of what Allah has given them. Such people don’t live for themselves. They live for others.
  • These people believe in revelation upon Holy Prophet(ﷺ). Moreover, they believe in revelations sent down before Prophet(ﷺ).
  • They are on assurance of the Hereafter.
  • Then these people live life by knowing and fearing hereafter. They plan for the future and their worldly actions are based on the future outcomes.

 Al Kafiroon the disbelievers 6-7

Kafir or Disbelievers are those people who reject faith. Their signs are that reject even anyone who fears them of Allah or not. Actually, Allah gave guidance on the right path to only those who desire to get it. Disbelievers have no desire for the right path. They deliberately reject faith again and again. So, Allah seals their hearts and ears.

Moreover, they lose the power to see. When something never uses its abilities e.g. a muscle not used becomes useless and hard to use. They did not use their heart, hearing etc., that is why their abilities did not benefit them. After that they can never see the truth, no matter someone warns them or not, they will not believe. Allah informs Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) with regards to the Kuffar: You are warning them or you are not warning them is the same. Allah warns such people in surah Jaathiya as:

Who hears the verses of Allah recited to him, then persists arrogantly as if he had not heard them. So give him tidings of a painful punishment.

al-Jaathiyah:8

 Al Munafiqoon the hypocrites 8 -16 

Surah al Baqarah discusses the third group of people who are hypocrites. There are thirteen verses about the hypocrites. Such people claimed to be Muslims in public but, in reality, they were not. They were lost and away from the right path. The characteristic behaviour of the hypocrites is exposed in verses[8-9] as false and deceitful. It shows that they are only trying to be clever.

These verses expose their claim to be  Muslims as false and deceitful and show that they are only trying to be clever. Obviously,  no one can ever deceive  Allah. Such people existed in all ages. They desire to deceive Allah, His Prophet(ﷺ) and Muslims. Such a  desire,  Allah points out,  can have only one end result that they end up deceiving no one but themselves. Allah protected the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) from all such trickery and deceit people by informing Him. Hypocrites themselves will have to bear, the outcomes in this world as well as punishment in Hereafter.

Reasons for hypocricy

Next Allah gives the reason for such behaviour of hypocrites. The reason is their illness or disease. Such spiritual disease or psychic state hinder a person from attaining any degree of spiritual perfection. And gradually deprive him of performing good deeds. And at the end, he meets with his spiritual death. Hypocrite suffers from diseases like show off, jealousy, and fear of exposure.  

Two Groups in Hypocrites

Lastly, Allah discusses two groups in hypocrite. The first one were those who in whom disbelief and Kufr had taken deep roots. So, that they had no inclination towards  Islam.  They pretended to be Muslims for only worldly motives. the  Holy  Quran compares them to the man who, found light, but again loses it,  and is left in darkness. The second group was of confused people. They recognized the truth of Islam and sometimes wished to be righteous Muslims. But worldly interests and desires would not allow them to do so. Those people remained in an endless state of hesitation and doubt.

Last words

Allah compares them to the men caught in a thunderstorm. They move forward a  step or two when there is a  flash of lightning. But when it stopped, they again get stuck. Allah has all the power to take away these little abilities to see, hear, walk, and leave them in darkness. They have no part in Hereafter. Holy Prophet(gives the signs of hypocrites as narrated by Abdullah bin Amr:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever has the following four (signs) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.

  1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.
  2. When he speaks, he tells a lie.
  3. And whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
  4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.

Creation of Earth and seven Heavens 21-29

Allah has shown signs of His existence many times in Quran. And demand that His servant admit it and bow their head in His worship. Allah challenge people who didn’t believe in His book to create a single verse like that. Then He Himself conclude that they could never do that. Such people who remain in doubt and have no faith will burn in hellfire where their bodies will be fuel. On the other hand, people who have strong faith will be in Jannah. Enjoy the rewards of their deeds. And they eat fruits and enjoy the company of beautiful wives.

Allah mentioned the proofs of His creating them. As He creates life then will die. After death on the day of Judgement, all the people will be given life again and get rewarded or punished for their deeds. Allah mentions another proof of His creation of the heavens and earth. Almighty Allah testifies that He exists and that He is the only Creator and the Sustainer of the whole universe and everything in it. Allah has full authority over His servants. How can anyone deny Allah’s existence or worship others with Him when everything belongs to Him. Allah the One and Only has created the earth and seven heavens and everything between them. These are signs of Allah’s wisdom and limitless knowledge. He has knowledge of everything from heavenly bodies to tiny creatures.

Example of Gnat

Allah also gives an example of a pest of a mosquito called gnat. To this example people who have no or little faith laugh. But the reality is that Allah knowledge has no limits. He can see small and big everything. This example of a tiny creature in the Quran strengthens the faith of believers and wrongdoers strengthen more in their disbelief.

Point to Ponder

Here attention is drawn to two important facts. First, man is warned against disbelief and rebellion against Allah. This is because that Allah knows all that man does. The second is that Allah is the only source of all-knowing. If a man turns away from Allah, Who is the source of all knowledge, this will leave him in the darkness of ignorance and wrongdoing.

The Story of Prophet Adam (A.S) 30-39

In Surah al Baqarah verse 30-39 Allah the Almighty disclose the event of the start of human life. Prophet Adam (A.S.) was the first man descended to earth along with his wife named Hawa (Eve). Adam belongs to the twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran.

Informing the Angels about creation of Adam (A.S.)

Allah gathered angels and told them about the creation of Adam as human and would become Allah’s successor or deputy(Khalifah). Allah Has mentioned this conversation in the surah al Baqarah as:

I have to place a Khalifah on the earth,” they(angels) said: “Will You place one there who would create disorder and shed blood, while we intone Your litanies and sanctify Your name?” And Allah said: “Surely, I know that which you do not know.”

Surah Al Baqarah 2:30

The statement the angels was not a form of disputing neither with Allah’s decision nor out of envy for the Children of Adam or as some mistakenly thought. Allah has described Angels as those who do not precede Him in speaking, meaning that they do not ask Allah anything without His permission. Allah informed angels that this creation would have knowledge. Angel’s only concern was that this creation (humans) would commit mischief on earth. They were of this opinion due to their last experience. Actually, before humans, Allah settled Jins on the earth. They made mischief and panic on earth. Allah sends them over waters due to this behaviour and clear earth.

Allah has all knowledge

In this verse, Allah’s words “Indeed, I know that which you do not know” means that He knows the benefit and harms of creating such creatures. Allah has all past and future knowledge. He means by this verse that I will create among them Prophets and Messengers. Among them will be truthful, righteous believers, martyrs, worshippers, the modest, the scholars. People who spread their knowledge to humble people and those who love Allah and follow His Messengers.

Virtue of Prophet Adam (A.S.) over the Angels

Allah created Prophet Adam (A.S.) directly from His hands from clay. Then soul was immediately blown by the Almighty Himself in him. Moreover, Allah taught the Prophet Adam (A.S.) the intellect and knowledge of each and everything. This enables Him to learn, observe and understand things.

surah al baqarah 33, the cow 33

Allah stated the virtue of Adam above the angels, due to unique knowledge He taught Adam, rather than angels. Allah gave this superiority to Adam over Angels due to knowledge.

Angel’s prostration before Adam and Ablis’s disobedience

Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before him, so as for giving respect to Human beings.

surah al baqarah: 34

Angels complied with Allah’s command at once and prostrate before Adam. Iblis (Shaitan/Devil/Satan) was an angel, the difference was that he was made up of fire. Iblis was too arrogant and denied to prostrate before Adam. He said, “I am superior to him. Because of devil disobedience to prostrate, Allah expelled him from heaven. He arrogantly accepted the punishment. He only begged Him for eternal life until hereafter. Allah approved it and was allowed eternal life. Satan started to mislead Adam and his descendant from all directions. Satan was removed from the ranks of angels and became Allah’s biggest enemy until the Day of Judgment.

Eve’s Creation, their entrance in Paradise

Allah created Eve to accompany Adam and produce offspring. Allah created Eve from Adam’s rib and made her a woman. They were given a place by Allah in paradise. Allah said to him directly that live feely in heaven, eat everything and enjoy. Allah only forbid them from one thing, for testing them. He said that never come near a tree otherwise both will among wrongdoers. There are different opinions about the nature of the tree, nothing is confirmed, but Allah knows well. Point is that Allah forbade both of them to eat fruit from it even come closer to it.

 adam and ave

Iblis deceit Adam and they commit sin

Adam and Eve understood that they were forbidden to eat the fruit of that tree. They were, however, human and human tends to forget. Satan started to whisper to them again and again “Shall I guide you to the tree of immortality and the eternal kingdom”. Then one day, they forget Allah warning and decided to eat the fruit of that tree. Adam picked one of its fruit and offered it to his wife as well. They hardly finished eating when they felt their hearts contract and filled with pain, shame and sadness. Adam discovered that both were naked so they both started cutting tree leaves to cover themselves.

Adam repents and supplicates to Allah

Allah called out to them and said: “Did I not forbid you that tree and told you: surely, Satan is an open enemy of you.”

They realize that they have violated Allah‘s command. They started to repent and ask for Allah‘s forgiveness in these words:

Hazrat Adam supplication in surah Baqarah
7:23

Allah accepted their supplications and forgive them. Ibn Asakar reported that Adam wept for sixty years for his loss of the heavens and seventy years for his sin. Allah accepted their repentance due to their sincerity but deprived them of the blessings of paradise. They were descended upon the earth. Here they have to live and die. Have to work hard to make up lives, and also do good deeds be again in paradise after death.

Adam and Eve were then separated into two different places Earth. They both searched for each other. It took them 40 days to see each other on Jabal Rahmah of Arafat. Adam and Eve eventually gathered and reunited. Allah made Adam the first prophet on earth. Then Allah blessed them with children, a set of twins in the morning and evening. Adam and Eve were blessed with many offspring and in this way, the human race developed on earth.

Israelites and Hazrat Moses(AS) 40-93

Allah commanded the Israelites to embrace Islam and to follow Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ). He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah’s Prophet Yaqub, as if saying, “O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah“. Allah narrated the story of Israelites and their behaviour towards Prophet Moses(AS) and reminded them of His favours.

God’s favour on Israelites and their behaviour 40-52

Allah called out Jews of Prophet Muhammad’s(ﷺ) era and reminded them of their blessings and the pledge they made to Him. Allah reminded them to Believe in this revelation(Quran) that confirms their own scripture. He orders them to fear only God and do not conceal the truth, as the followers of the Bible know the truth of the Prophet (ﷺ) and Quran. Allah Almighty command them to Establish the prayer, pay the prescribed charity.

Favors of Allah on Israelites

Preference over all people

Allah also asks them to remember His favour. One great favour was that before ummah of Prophet(ﷺ) they were preferred over all the people in the world. But due to their stubbornness, they lost their state.

Saving from Pharaoh

Pharaoh was a cruel king. He enslaved Jews and killed their children. When Moses Start spreading the message of only God to Pharaoh and other people. Pharaoh ordered to kill them all. At this difficult time, Allah saved them from Pharaoh’s people. He saved them by parting the Nile river and drowning Pharaoh and his army.

The Story of the Murdered Israeli Man and the Cow

Allah blessed Israel with the miracle of the cow. This was was the means for discovering the identity of the murderer, when the murdered man was brought back to life. The story was that a wealthy man from Children of Israel was murdered, leaving behind wealth. He had only a nephew who would inherit from him. His nephew cried out for revenge, after finding his body in front of a person’s doorstep. The people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them advise them to went to Musa and mentioned the matter to him. Musa after hearing all said them to slaughter a cow. Quran narrates it in surah al Baqarah as:

When Moses said to his people, “Allah orders you to slaughter a cow”, they said, “Are you making fun of us?” He said, “I seek refuge with Allah from being one of the ignorant.”

2:67
Asking questions

However, they disputed, and started to ask unnecessary questions. Due to this, the matter was made more difficult for them. They questioned Moses about the type of cow they should slaughter. He said: “That cow is neither young nor mature, but in between the two conditions, so do as you have been ordered”. They didn’t quit their stubbornness and asked more. They said to Mose to Call upon Allah about its colour. He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in colour, pleasing to the observers”. They again asked about the cow to make it more clear about its appearance. This time Moses replied that Allah says”It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no blemish in it.’ ” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” After long questioning they slaughtered it.

They touched the dead man with a part of the cow’s flesh. Deadman stood up, and they asked him that Who killed him. He said, “That man,” he pointed to his own nephew. He died again. After the revelation of truth, his nephew was not allowed to inherit him.

Ibrahim Trial and God’s Promise to him 124-131

Quran mentions the severe tests through which Abraham passed on various places. Allah is informing us of the honour of Hazrat Ibrahim. He made him an Imam for the people, and a model to be followed, because of the way he lived and adhered to Tawhid. he adhered to Allah’s decisions and prohibitions. This is why Allah said, It was only after these had been completed successfully that he was able to establish his worthiness to serve as the religious guide and leader of all mankind. From the moment when the truth of true religion was revealed to him till the moment he died, his life was a continuous tale of sacrifice and suffering for his cause.

Harut Marut

Harut and Marut were two Angels. They were sent to Babylon to teach black magic to people. They taught such magic test the faith of people. In Surah al Baqarah (102-103) Allah verifies this.

Harut and Marut were two Angels sent by Allah with the intention to test Mankind’s faith. Moreover, Allah tests them to see who was a believer and who was a disbeliever. They never taught anyone magic until they had told them that it is major sin and harmful. As Allah the Exalted has said in surah al Baqarah:

‘Except that they said: “Verily we are only for trial, so do not disbelieve[by practicing magic].” (2:102)

In spite of their clear warning, people who had weak faith persisted with learning and practising black magic.

Qisas 178-179

Qisas is an Islamic term meaning retaliation. Retribution, i.e. blood revenge, is based on the principle that what a certain person has done to others ought to be done to him. Revenge would be taken from murderers or criminals, not anybody else or the whole tribe. Allah says in surah al Baqarah:

Allah clearly says that to punish the same person who committed the crime, whether it is a slave, freeman or woman. Moreover, it is not necessary that the murderer should be put to death in exactly the same manner as he murdered. but the criminal should be subjected to the same act, i.e. killing, as that to which he subjected his victim. Some nations prefer to avoid killing murderers, they take it as against human rights. But Allah says in the Quran, surah al Baqarah that legal retaliation is life.

al baqarah

A society that protects the life of a murderer is in fact rearing snakes or future criminals. To save the life of such criminal is to risk many lives. Moreover, fear of revenge is important to stop such crimes. In a healthy society, people are afraid to hurt others if a proper system of Qisas is there.

Fasting and its Rulings 183-187

These ayahs show the obligation of fasting on Muslims. Fasting is to abstain from food, drink and sexual activity with the pure intention and sincerity for Allah. Fasting purifies the soul and also cleanses it from evil thoughts ill behaviour. Moreover, Allah mentioned that fasting is obligatory for Muslims just as it was in previous nations. So, they can find examples in that and obey vigorously. Fast starts at daybreak and finishes at sunset. During this time, a person must abstain from eating, drinking, and all other moral ill deeds. Between sunset and dawn, it is permissible to eat, drink, and indulge in the legitimate gratification of sexual desires. Taqwa i.e. fear of Allah must be the main objective of fast. It’s training to control oneself from prohibitions and follow the right path.

The rulings relating to fast were revealed gradually. In the beginning, the Prophet (ﷺ) had instructed the Muslims to fast three days in every month, though this was not obligatory. The verse later revealed in 2 A.H., a relaxation was introduced that those who did not fast despite their capacity, obliged to feed one poor person as an expiation (verse 184). Later through verse (verse 185), the relaxation in respect of a healthy and capable person was revoked. However, Allah gave relaxation to the sick, the traveller, the pregnant and the breast-feeding women and the aged person who could not fast. They are obliged to fast after recovery or return from the journey. Then one who can’t fast even after Ramzan has to feed the poor against each fast of Ramadan.

Jihad and Fighting in Sacred Months 189-195

Allah commands believers in surah al Baqarah that fight those who fight you. But also Allah ordered here to do not exceed the boundaries. You should kill them wherever you encounter them. And also drive them out of your places. Killing someone is a major sin in Islam but making mischief on Earth(Fitna) is worse. So Muslims are obliged to fight until there is no more disorder or fitnah. And Allah’s religion remains there nothing else. Allah also commands here to show mercy,i.e. disbelievers cease hostilities and warfare then Muslims should also stop. Moreover, they do not have to fight again unless they transgress the boundaries.

From the time of Hazrat Ibrahim(AS) three months, i.e. Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah and Muharram were consecrated for Major pilgrimage(Hajj), and the month of Rajab for minor pilgrimage (Umrah). Therefore, the duration of these four months of warfare, pillage, killing were completely prohibited. The reason was that the people could perform the Hajj and Umrah peacefully and return homes safely. For this reason, these months were called the ‘sacred months‘.

Allah clears here that if the unbelievers respect the sanctity of the sacred months, the Muslims should do the same. If they violate this sanctity in one way or other, then the Muslims are also entitled to retribution even during the ‘sacred months‘.

Hajj/Pilgrimage 196-200

Rulings related to Hajj are mentioned in the surah Baqarah. Allah says believers to complete rituals of Hajj and shave their heads. Animals are sacrificed at the end. If any of you should have to shave your head before that because of illness, or injury to the head, then you should make redemption by fasting(three fasts), or almsgiving(feeding six poor), or ritual sacrifice.

Insecure days the one who avails of Umrah before the time of Hajj shall sacrifice as he can afford. This is “Hajj Tamatu”. And if he cannot afford sacrifice, he shall fast for three days during Hajj and seven days subsequent to getting back home. This advantage is for those whose families do not live near the Holy Mosque. Guard against violating these statutes of Allah and be mindful that Allah is severe in chastisement.

Other rulings related to Hajj are that whoever intends to perform Pilgrimage shall refrain not only from sexual intercourse but also from the lustful conversation, evil conducts and fighting. In the Age of Ignorance, there was a misconception that to go to the pilgrimage without any worldly goods. This misconception is removed here in surah Baqara. Carrying provisions is not prohibited. True righteousness lies in the fear of God(Taqwa), in protecting oneself from His disobedience and in making life pure and decent. Here Allah talks about the best provision for the journey of Hajj i.e. piety. Moreover, Allah also allows pilgrims for making worldly business in this journey i.e. There is no sin to seek the grace of your Lord by trading. But the necessity is to remember Allah and perform rituals properly.

Haram Forbidden Food 173

Muslims are prohibited to eat carrion, blood, the flesh of swine and that upon which a name of someone other than ‘Allah’ has been invoked.

Charity and Interest 261 – 281

Allah gives wisdom to whom He wants, and whoever He gives wisdom is certainly blessed with a lot of goodness. Allah knows our charity and pledges. Doing charity publicly is good but private charity is better. This act will wash some of our sins. Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) is not responsible for guidance, Allah guides whom He wills. Charity to please only Allah will be advantageous for us. It will be paid back in full. Give to those who are in need while engaged in Allah‘s work. Those who give charity openly and secretly have nothing to fear, as their hope is only from Allah.

Interest/riba

Trading is lawful but interest is forbidden, it leads to Hellfire. The term “riba” in Arabic means ‘to grow, to increase, to exceed’. Technically, it denotes the amount that a lender receives from a borrower at a fixed rate of interest. There are several forms of interest.

  1. One is that the seller sells an article and fix a time limit for the payment of the price. He specifies that if the buyer fails to pay the money within the specified period, he would extend the time limit but increase the price of that good.
  2. Second is that a man loan money to another person and fix that the borrower will return a specified amount in excess of the original amount within a given time limit.
  3. The third form of interest is that the borrower and vendor both fix it that the former will repay the loan within a specified time limit at a fixed rate of interest. And that if he fails to do so within the time limit, the lender will extend the time limit with an increase in the rate of interest.

Any form of interest Interest is a curse. Islam totally forbids taking any form of interest. There is a tremendous difference between business transactions and interest-bearing transactions. Interest leads to corrosion of the economic system while business plays a highly constructive role in human society. Allah warns people to quit any form of interest-based dealing otherwise, they will be punished. Disobeying Allah’s command means going against Allah. Allah declares war against such a person from Allah and His Messenger.

Contracts 282-283

Allah commands us in surah al Baqarah to Write contracts when lending to each other and let there be witnesses so that there remains no misunderstanding or dispute. two men should be called out for witnesses during the contract. But if two men are not available then one man and two women are to bear witness. In the case that witnesses are two men, either of them can bear witness independently. But when the witnesses are two women and a man, those two women must bear witness together. The reason behind it is that women have strong emotions. So, they may be affected by some factors and deviate from the right path.

When the contact happens during the journey and there is no scribe available, sufficing to pledge is allowed. Allah forbade to conceal witness. Moreover, who conceals it, his heart is sinful. Allah knows everything and He has full knowledge, so the witness bearer should be careful.