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 19 (Verses 2:153–2:163): Hard Trials Necessary to Establish Truth



یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَعِیۡنُوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ وَ الصَّلٰوۃِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۳﴾

2:153 O you who believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.

وَ لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا لِمَنۡ یُّقۡتَلُ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ اَمۡوَاتٌ ؕ بَلۡ اَحۡیَآءٌ وَّ لٰکِنۡ لَّا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۴﴾

2:154 And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Rather, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.1

وَ لَنَبۡلُوَنَّکُمۡ بِشَیۡءٍ مِّنَ الۡخَوۡفِ وَ الۡجُوۡعِ وَ نَقۡصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَ الۡاَنۡفُسِ وَ الثَّمَرٰتِ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۵﴾ۙ

2:155 And We shall certainly try you with something of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits. And give good news to the patient,2

الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَتۡہُمۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٌ ۙ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَیۡہِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۶﴾ؕ

2:156 who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s, and to Him we shall return.3

اُولٰٓئِکَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ صَلَوٰتٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ وَ رَحۡمَۃٌ ۟ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۷﴾

2:157 Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord; and those are the followers of the right course.

اِنَّ الصَّفَا وَ الۡمَرۡوَۃَ مِنۡ شَعَآئِرِ اللّٰہِ ۚ فَمَنۡ حَجَّ الۡبَیۡتَ اَوِ اعۡتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡہِ اَنۡ یَّطَّوَّفَ بِہِمَا ؕ وَ مَنۡ تَطَوَّعَ خَیۡرًا ۙ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ شَاکِرٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۵۸﴾

2:158 The Safa and the Marwah are truly among the signs of Allah;4 so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them. And whoever does good spontaneously — surely Allah is Bountiful in rewarding, Knowing.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَکۡتُمُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَا مِنَ الۡبَیِّنٰتِ وَ الۡہُدٰی مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا بَیَّنّٰہُ لِلنَّاسِ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ ۙ اُولٰٓئِکَ یَلۡعَنُہُمُ اللّٰہُ وَ یَلۡعَنُہُمُ اللّٰعِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۹﴾ۙ

2:159 Those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance that We revealed after We have made it clear in the Book for people, these it is whom Allah curses, and those who curse, curse them (too).5

اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ تَابُوۡا وَ اَصۡلَحُوۡا وَ بَیَّنُوۡا فَاُولٰٓئِکَ اَتُوۡبُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ۚ وَ اَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِیۡمُ ﴿۱۶۰﴾

2:160 Except those who repent and amend and make manifest (the truth), these it is to whom I turn (mercifully); and I am the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا وَ مَاتُوۡا وَ ہُمۡ کُفَّارٌ اُولٰٓئِکَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ لَعۡنَۃُ اللّٰہِ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ وَ النَّاسِ اَجۡمَعِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۱﴾ۙ

2:161 Those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, these it is on whom is the curse of Allah and the angels and people, of all (of them):6

خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ۚ لَا یُخَفَّفُ عَنۡہُمُ الۡعَذَابُ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یُنۡظَرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶۲﴾

2:162 abiding in it; their punishment shall not be lightened nor shall they be given respite.

وَ اِلٰـہُکُمۡ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ الرَّحِیۡمُ ﴿۱۶۳﴾٪

2:163 And your God is one God; there is no God but He! He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.7



  1. The sacrifice of life which must be undertaken in the cause of Truth is hinted at in this passage. The words rendered literally as in Allah’s way or in the cause of Allah, frequently occurring in the Holy Quran, signify the cause of Truth. A Christian translator’s comment that the words in the way of Allah mean “war undertaken against unbelievers for the propagation of Islam” is baseless. Carrying the message of Islam to non-Muslims is indeed the duty of a Muslim, and anyone engaged in this work is undoubtedly working in the way of Allah, but that a Muslim was required to carry the message of God at the point of the sword is no more than a myth.
  2. The Muslims had already made great sacrifices in the cause of Allah. They had left their homes, their near and dear ones and everything they had, behind them at Makkah, and had come to Madinah empty-handed, but they were now told that they would have to make more sacrifices yet. They would have to face fear and hunger and all kinds of losses, even death itself. If they bore all these sufferings with steadfastness, they would have a great future, of which the good news is given to them beforehand. Those who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of Truth gain the life eternal, while the dead are really those who are dead in ignorance.
  3. This is the true expression of a Muslim’s resignation under trials: We are Allah’s and to Him we shall return. He resigns himself to the will of God so thoroughly that no trial or misfortune can disturb the course of his life, which has a much higher goal before it than mere comfort.
  4. The Safa and the Marwah are two mountains near Makkah. They were the scene of Hagar’s running to and fro in quest of water when left alone with Ishmael in the wilderness. These two mountains now serve as two monu­ments of the reward which patience brought, and it is as a memorial to Hagar’s patience that they are now gone round by the pilgrims.
  5. As against those who willingly endure all kinds of sufferings in the cause of truth, the Quran now speaks of people who hide the truth, i.e., they neither act according to it, nor do they carry the message to others. These words convey a warning to the Muslims.
  6. This verse continues the subject-matter of v. 159, the disbelievers spoken of here being those who hide the truth. The curse of God stands for their estrangement from God, the curse of the angels signifies their loss of all incentive to good and noble deeds, and the curse of people signifies their subjugation to other people.
  7. The mention of Divine Unity is to show that it was for this object that the trials and privations spoken of in this section were to be undergone. The ultimate triumph of Divine Unity is spoken of in the next section.