286 verses • revealed at Medinan
»The surah that mentions the story of The Cow designated by God for sacrificial offering, whereby He tested the sincerity of faith of the Children of Israel after their deliverance from Pharaoh. Its name is taken from the story of the cow (baqarah) mentioned in verse 67 ff. The surah comprises five principal sections, where the addressee shifts as the surah progresses. The first section (verse 1 ff.) mentions the revelation; the dynamics of belief and unbelief; and the story of Adam. The next section (verse 40 ff.) is an address to the Children of Israel, which highlights there shortcomings in the time of Moses and in Muḥammad’s own day. They are urged to serve God who has been so gracious to them (they are reminded that God created Adam and favoured him over the angels), the Children of Israel. This is followed (verse 122 ff.) by a final appeal to the Children of Israel to agree with the Muslims on the basis of the religion of Abraham, which predate the covenant with Moses. Verse 135 ff. marks the beginning of the fourth section, which consists mainly of legal provisions for the newly-established community. The fifth and final section (verse 243 ff.) also contains some legislation, but the primary emphasis is on striving for God with your life and property. The last tree ayahs (verse 284 ff.), draw together a number of themes encountered earlier in the surah.«
The surah is also known as The Heifer
بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ
N. J. Dawood: In The Name Of God, The Compassionate, The Merciful
Alif lām mīm.