English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 2: Al-Baqarah — The Cow (Revealed at Madinah: 40 sections, 286 verses)

Section 16 (Verses 2:130–2:141): The Religion of Abraham



وَ مَنۡ یَّرۡغَبُ عَنۡ مِّلَّۃِ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ اِلَّا مَنۡ سَفِہَ نَفۡسَہٗ ؕ وَ لَقَدِ اصۡطَفَیۡنٰہُ فِی الدُّنۡیَا ۚ وَ اِنَّہٗ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ لَمِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۳۰﴾

2:130 And who forsakes the religion of Abraham but he who makes a fool of himself. And certainly We made him pure in this world, and in the Hereafter he is surely among the righteous.

اِذۡ قَالَ لَہٗ رَبُّہٗۤ اَسۡلِمۡ ۙ قَالَ اَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۳۱﴾

2:131 When his Lord said to him, Submit, he said: I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds.

وَ وَصّٰی بِہَاۤ اِبۡرٰہٖمُ بَنِیۡہِ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبُ ؕ یٰبَنِیَّ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ اصۡطَفٰی لَکُمُ الدِّیۡنَ فَلَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۲﴾ؕ

2:132 And the same did Abraham command his sons, and (so did) Jacob: My sons, surely Allah has chosen for you (this) religion, so do not die except as submitting ones.

اَمۡ کُنۡتُمۡ شُہَدَآءَ اِذۡ حَضَرَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ الۡمَوۡتُ ۙ اِذۡ قَالَ لِبَنِیۡہِ مَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِیۡ ؕ قَالُوۡا نَعۡبُدُ اِلٰہَکَ وَ اِلٰـہَ اٰبَآئِکَ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ اِلٰـہًا وَّاحِدًا ۚۖ وَّ نَحۡنُ لَہٗ مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۳﴾

2:133 Or were you witnesses when death visited Jacob, when he said to his sons: What will you serve after me? They said: We shall serve your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, one God only, and to Him do we submit.

تِلۡکَ اُمَّۃٌ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ ۚ لَہَا مَا کَسَبَتۡ وَ لَکُمۡ مَّا کَسَبۡتُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تُسۡـَٔلُوۡنَ عَمَّا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۴﴾

2:134 Those are a people that have passed away; for them is what they earned and for you what you earn; and you will not be asked of what they did.

وَ قَالُوۡا کُوۡنُوۡا ہُوۡدًا اَوۡ نَصٰرٰی تَہۡتَدُوۡا ؕ قُلۡ بَلۡ مِلَّۃَ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ حَنِیۡفًا ؕ وَ مَا کَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿۱۳۵﴾

2:135 And they say: Be Jews or Christians, you will be on the right course. Say: Rather, (we follow) the religion of Abraham, the upright one,1 and he was not of those who set up partners (with Allah).

قُوۡلُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰہِ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡنَا وَ مَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلٰۤی اِبۡرٰہٖمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ وَ الۡاَسۡبَاطِ وَ مَاۤ اُوۡتِیَ مُوۡسٰی وَ عِیۡسٰی وَ مَاۤ اُوۡتِیَ النَّبِیُّوۡنَ مِنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ ۚ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَیۡنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡہُمۡ ۫ۖ وَ نَحۡنُ لَہٗ مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۶﴾

2:136 Say: We believe in Allah and (in) what has been revealed to us, and (in) what was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) what was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) what was given to the prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them and to Him we submit.2

فَاِنۡ اٰمَنُوۡا بِمِثۡلِ مَاۤ اٰمَنۡتُمۡ بِہٖ فَقَدِ اہۡتَدَوۡا ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاِنَّمَا ہُمۡ فِیۡ شِقَاقٍ ۚ فَسَیَکۡفِیۡکَہُمُ اللّٰہُ ۚ وَ ہُوَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۱۳۷﴾ؕ

2:137 So if they believe as you believe, they are indeed on the right course; and if they turn back, then they are only in opposition. But Allah will be sufficient for you against them; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

صِبۡغَۃَ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ مَنۡ اَحۡسَنُ مِنَ اللّٰہِ صِبۡغَۃً ۫ وَّ نَحۡنُ لَہٗ عٰبِدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۸﴾

2:138 (We take) Allah’s colour, and who is better than Allah at colouring, and we are His worshippers.3

قُلۡ اَتُحَآجُّوۡنَنَا فِی اللّٰہِ وَ ہُوَ رَبُّنَا وَ رَبُّکُمۡ ۚ وَ لَنَاۤ اَعۡمَالُنَا وَ لَکُمۡ اَعۡمَالُکُمۡ ۚ وَ نَحۡنُ لَہٗ مُخۡلِصُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳۹﴾ۙ

2:139 Say: Do you dispute with us about Allah, and He is our Lord and your Lord, and for us are our deeds and for you your deeds;4 and we are sincere to Him?

اَمۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اِنَّ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ وَ الۡاَسۡبَاطَ کَانُوۡا ہُوۡدًا اَوۡ نَصٰرٰی ؕ قُلۡ ءَاَنۡتُمۡ اَعۡلَمُ اَمِ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنۡ کَتَمَ شَہَادَۃً عِنۡدَہٗ مِنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ مَا اللّٰہُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴۰﴾

2:140 Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do you know better or Allah?5 And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not heedless of what you do.

تِلۡکَ اُمَّۃٌ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ ۚ لَہَا مَا کَسَبَتۡ وَ لَکُمۡ مَّا کَسَبۡتُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تُسۡـَٔلُوۡنَ عَمَّا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴۱﴾٪

2:141 Those are a people that have passed away; and for them is what they earned and for you what you earn; and you will not be asked concerning what they did.



  1. The word ḥanīf or “upright” is often mentioned in connection with the name of Abraham and the Holy Prophet, and his followers are also enjoined to be ḥanīf. Muslims are enjoined to remain firm in the right state, and thus to be the true representatives of the Abrahamic faith in the world. It is for this reason that the word ḥanīf is used here in opposition to the attitude of both the Jews and the Christians.
  2. This shows the cosmopolitan nature of a Muslim’s belief. Not only is belief in the great prophets of Israel an article of faith with a Muslim, but the words what was given to the prophets from their Lord make the Muslim concep­tion of belief in prophets as wide as the world. And it should be noted that this broad conception was promulgated at a time when the Jews and the Christians were exerting themselves to the utmost against the new faith.
  3. The religion of Islam is called Allah’s colour because God is upper­most in a Muslim’s ideas, and because his views are as broad as humanity. This particular word has also been adopted here as a hint to Christians that baptism of water does not effect any change in a person. It is the baptism of the broad prin­ciple of faith, accepting the prophets of all nations, that brings about change in the mentality of man. It is through this baptism that the new birth is received, because it opens the mind for the reception of all truth, and inspires it with love and rev­erence for all good people.
  4. A Muslim’s conception of Allah is very broad. It includes all that is best in all other religions, but is free from the limitations they put. Therefore no one who is true to his religion can dispute the Muslim conception of the Divine Being. Moreover, every religion of the world limits the spiritual sustenance of God to one nation or one country. Not so Islam, which says that the truth was revealed to every nation. Every nation thus accepts partial truth, only that part of the truth which was revealed to it, but Islam accepts the whole truth.
  5. The Jewish claim was that only acceptance of the Jewish law could save man, and the Christians claimed that none could be saved unless he accepted the atonement of Jesus. They are told that their ancestors who were prophets were the followers of neither the one nor the other. Islam was, in fact, a reversion to the simple faith of sincerity, the faith of Abraham and his immediate followers and descendants.