Thursday, August 12, 2010

Surah Al Baqarah (Verse - The Cow)

Quran begins with a small verse - Surah Al Fatiha (The Opening), praising Allah. This surah is part of the five obligatory prayers (namaaz) of the Muslims. It asks God (Allah) to guide us on the right path, the path of those HE favoured, and not of those who have incurred the anger of Allah or those who have gone astray.

This is followed by a very long verse (surah), called Surah Al Baqarah. Through this verse Allah tells us to recall some of the incidents which happened before Prophet Muhammed (SAS). It re-iterates there is only one God (Allah). And urges everyone, (including people to whom God first revealed the Torah and then the Gospel) that Quran is the final relevation of Allah and is from the same Lord they follow.
The highlights of Surah Al Baqarah :

Let us begin with understanding why this Verse has been named - The Cow. This is only with reference to one incident of Moses, which is mentioned in the Surah.

Though this verse is the longest one and highlights incidents from the lives of many Prophets - from Adam to Moses to Jesus, I am listing some of the important highlights of the Surah, which are universal and beneficial to all.
Who is a Muslim (A Believer) ?
According to Ayat 136 - Say (O Believers), "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendents (Al Asbat) and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (in submission) to Him".
Al Asbat =the 12 tribes of Israel descended from Jacob.
About Charity :
Ayat 262 - Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Ayat 274 - Those who spend their wealth (in Allah's Cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
About Kind Words :
Ayat 263 - Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.
About taking interest (usury) :
Ayat 275 - Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: "Trading is only like Riba (usury)," whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire - they will abide therein.
What is Rigteousness ?
Ayat 177 - ''Righteousness is not that you turn your faces towards the east or the west, but (true) righteousness is (in) one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask (for help), and for freeing slaves ; (and who) establishes prayer and gives zakat; (those who) fulfill their promise when they promise; and (those who) are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true. And it is those who are the righteous".
Change of Direction of Prayer :
Till the verse was revealed , the Qibla (direction of prayer) was Masjid-e-Aqsa at Jerusalem. This was later changed to Masjid Al Haram (Makkah).
Ayat 142 - The foolish among the people will say, "What has turned them away from their Qibla, which they used to face. Say, "To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path."
Ayat 144 - We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face towards Al Masjid Al Haram (Mosque of Makkah).
Surely Allah knew about the disturbances that were to take place in Jerusalem at a later stage. That is why the Qibla and centre of worship was changed from Masjid-e-Aqsa to Makkah. If in today's age (when a lot of unrest is going on between the Israelies and Palestine), Masjid-e-Aqsa would have continued to be the direction of Prayer and worship, what a dilemma Muslims around the world would have been in! Surely, Allah is the Al-Knower and knows what is best. Subhallah!
About Patience and Test :
Ayat 155 - And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
Ayat 156 - Who, when disaster strikes them says, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.
Ayat 157 - Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the rightly guided.
This Verse also has the Ayat 255-Al Kursi, which describes the Lord -
"Allah! There is no god but He - the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him Nor Sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede In His presence except As he permitteth? He knoweth What (appeareth to His creatures As) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of his knowledge Except as He willeth. His throne doth extend Over the heavens And on earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding And preserving them, For He is the Most High. The Supreme (in glory)."
May Allah guide us all.

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