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Sura 2
Aya 1

Chapter 2

The Cowal-Baqarah ( البقرة )

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

Uzunoglu et al.: In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate.,


Uzunoglu et al.

This sūrah, which is 286 verses long, is the longest sūrah in the Holy Qur’ān. It takes its name from the cow which is mentioned in verses 67-71. The Jews were ordered to slaughter this cow, but they disobeyed, inventing various excuses, and the more they procrastinated, the more difficult Allah made it for them.
This sūrah also deals with the establishment of the Ummah, the Islamic brotherhood of believers, together with the main principles of Islamic law, and lays down ordinances for the structuring of society.
To clearly announce the continuity and essential identity of Islam with all monotheistic religion in the Abrahamic line, the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) originally prayed toward Jerusalem. But because the Jews neither accepted his message, nor spared him their scorning remarks, he wished that Allah would change the qiblah (orientation of prayer) to the old Abrahamic one; the House in: Makkah, built centuries before Jerusalem. Allah responded to His Beloved’s wish and the Kaʿbah became the orientation of believers till the Day of Judgement.
The story of man’s creation is told, and that of the Children of Israel, of the privileges they received and how they refused them. There are references to Moses and Jesus, and their struggle with injustice and cruelty, and their persevering endeavors to establish the true faith.
The Prophet Abraham is mentioned as a most righteous man and leader; he was the progenitor of the Arabs (Ishmael’s line) and the Jews (Israel’s line). Abraham (peace be upon him), aided by his son, Ishmael, built the Kaʿbah and purified it His religion was the universal religion of Islam, nearest to its primordial form.
In this sūrah, issues of prayer, fasting, jihad (struggle for Allah), charity, patience and endurance under cruelty, gambling and wine-drinking, divorce, contract, Pilgrimage, the abolition of usury, and the good treatment of orphans and women are also discussed. With it came the beginning of detailed legislation.
Āyatu’l-Kursī (the Verse of the Pedestal) is also to be found in this sūrah. It is a famous passage, said by the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) to be the greatest verse of the Qur’ān. The sūrah ends with a prayer for the forgiveness of shortcomings.
The period of revelation of this sūrah was during the first and second years A. H. (After Hijra).
Alif. Lām. Mīm.1
  • These letters are called al-urūf al-Muqaṭṭaʿāt, and are placed at the beginning of several sūrahs, of which they are an integral part. Different commentators have ascribed a range of different meanings to them, without, however, arriving at any consensus.