Al-Baqarah (The Cow)

Meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah with Explanatory Notes by Kaleem Ullah Khan

Before embarking upon the study of the chapter Al-Baqarah, certain points need to be remembered which can facilitate our understanding of the chapter.

  • This is the second and the largest chapter of the Quran spread over forty paragraphs (Rukus), 286 verses (Ayaat), 6221 words (Alfaaz) and 25500 letters (Haruf).
  • It is a Madinite chapter i.e. revealed to the blessed Prophet (SAW) after his migration from Makkah, at Madina. Revealed in portions from time to time, its revelation is spread over a period of more than eight years.
  • The name Al-Baqarah is derived from the story of a cow as explained in verses No. 67-73.

This chapter includes:
(i) The last revealed verse of the Quran

“And be conscious of the day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every soul shall be paid what it earned and none shall be dealt with injustly” (v. 281)

(ii) The longest verse of the Quran (282)

(iii) The greatest verse of the Quran- ‘verse of the throne’ (Ayatal Kursi- 255)

5. The chapter ends with one of the greatest supplications (Dua) taught by Almighty Allah.

6. Being the longest chapter of the Quran it encompasses all the basic teachings of the Quran (Islam):

(i) Basic concepts of Islam i.e. unity of God (Tawhid) verse Nos 21, 28-29, 38-39, 115-117, 164-166, 186 and 255; concept of prophethood (Risalat) verses numbers 4, 22, 119; Life hereafter (Aakhirat) verse numbers 4, 48, 123, 254 and 281.

(ii) Salah (prayer) verse numbers 3, 43, 45, 83, 110, 117, 238 and 277.

(iii) Charity (both obligatory as well as optional) verse numbers 43, 83, 110, 177, 195, 219, 254 and 261-274.

(iv) Saum (Fasting) verse numbers 183-185, 187, 196.

(v)    Haj pilgrimage, verse numbers 158, 189, 196 and 197.

(vi) Jihad Fi-Sabi-lillah (Armed struggle in the way of Allah) verse numbers 190-193, 244.

(vii) Prohibition of Riba (usury) 285-287

(viii) Discouraging the use of intoxicants and gambling, verse No. 219.

(ix) Declaration of Haram (unlawful foods) V.No. 173.

(x)    Basic guidelines for commercial transactions: V.No. 282-283.

(xi) Modalities in the event of separation between husband and wife (Divorce) V.No. 226-242.

(xii) Qualities of a pious and righteous person V.No. 3-5 and 177.

7. Theory of Abrogation (Naasikh and Mansukh) verse numbers. 106-107.

8. Reconstruction of Kaaba: V.No. 125-127.

9. Change of Qiblah (Locus of prayer) from Masjidi Aqsa (Jerusalem) to Kaaba (Makkah) Verse numbers 142-150. This chapter also throws light on certain aspects of the creation of Adam and Eve (30-39); Prophet Abraham (124-132, 258 and 260), Saul and Goliath (Talut and Jalut) verse No’s 246-251; and deals in detail the story of the children of Israel (Banee Israel), Pharaoh and prophet Moses (Musa) from verse No. 40 onwards.(Contd.)

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