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 2 (Verses 2:8–2:20): Lip-profession



وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یَّقُوۡلُ اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰہِ وَ بِالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ۘ﴿۸﴾

2:8 And there are some people who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day; and they are not believers.1

یُخٰدِعُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ۚ وَ مَا یَخۡدَعُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ وَ مَا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۹﴾

2:9 They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe, and they deceive only themselves and they do not perceive.

فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ مَّرَضٌ ۙ فَزَادَہُمُ اللّٰہُ مَرَضًا ۚ وَ لَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌۢ ۬ۙ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَکۡذِبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾

2:10 In their hearts is a disease, so Allah increased their disease,2 and for them is a painful punishment because they lie.

وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمۡ لَا تُفۡسِدُوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۙ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ مُصۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱﴾

2:11 And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: We are only peacemakers.

اَلَاۤ اِنَّہُمۡ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡسِدُوۡنَ وَ لٰکِنۡ لَّا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲﴾

2:12 Now surely they are the mischief-makers, but they do not perceive.

وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمۡ اٰمِنُوۡا کَمَاۤ اٰمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُوۡۤا اَنُؤۡمِنُ کَمَاۤ اٰمَنَ السُّفَہَآءُ ؕ اَلَاۤ اِنَّہُمۡ ہُمُ السُّفَہَآءُ وَ لٰکِنۡ لَّا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾

2:13 And when it is said to them, Believe as the people believe, they say: Shall we believe as the fools believe? Now surely they are the fools, but they do not know.

وَ اِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا ۚۖ وَ اِذَا خَلَوۡا اِلٰی شَیٰطِیۡنِہِمۡ ۙ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا مَعَکُمۡ ۙ اِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ مُسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾

2:14 And when they meet those who believe, they say, We believe; and when they are alone with their devils,3 they say: Surely we are with you, we were only mocking.

اَللّٰہُ یَسۡتَہۡزِئُ بِہِمۡ وَ یَمُدُّہُمۡ فِیۡ طُغۡیَانِہِمۡ یَعۡمَہُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾

2:15 Allah will pay them back their mockery,4 and He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on.

اُولٰٓئِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ اشۡتَرَوُا الضَّلٰلَۃَ بِالۡہُدٰی ۪ فَمَا رَبِحَتۡ تِّجَارَتُہُمۡ وَ مَا کَانُوۡا مُہۡتَدِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶﴾

2:16 These are they who buy error for guidance, so their bargain brings no gain, nor are they guided.

مَثَلُہُمۡ کَمَثَلِ الَّذِی اسۡتَوۡقَدَ نَارًا ۚ فَلَمَّاۤ اَضَآءَتۡ مَا حَوۡلَہٗ ذَہَبَ اللّٰہُ بِنُوۡرِہِمۡ وَ تَرَکَہُمۡ فِیۡ ظُلُمٰتٍ لَّا یُبۡصِرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾

2:17 Their parable is as the parable of one who kindles a fire, but when it illumines all around him, Allah takes away their light, and leaves them in darkness5 — they cannot see.

صُمٌّۢ بُکۡمٌ عُمۡیٌ فَہُمۡ لَا یَرۡجِعُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۱۸﴾

2:18 Deaf, dumb, (and) blind, so they do not return (to the right way),

اَوۡ کَصَیِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فِیۡہِ ظُلُمٰتٌ وَّ رَعۡدٌ وَّ بَرۡقٌ ۚ یَجۡعَلُوۡنَ اَصَابِعَہُمۡ فِیۡۤ اٰذَانِہِمۡ مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الۡمَوۡتِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ مُحِیۡطٌۢ بِالۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾

2:19 or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is darkness, and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder-peal, for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers.

یَکَادُ الۡبَرۡقُ یَخۡطَفُ اَبۡصَارَہُمۡ ؕ کُلَّمَاۤ اَضَآءَ لَہُمۡ مَّشَوۡا فِیۡہِ ٭ۙ وَ اِذَاۤ اَظۡلَمَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ قَامُوۡا ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَذَہَبَ بِسَمۡعِہِمۡ وَ اَبۡصَارِہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿٪۲۰﴾

2:20 The lightning almost takes away their sight. Whenever it shines on them they walk in it, and when it becomes dark to them they stand still.6 And if Allah had pleased, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight. Surely Allah is Powerful over all things.



  1. Belief in Allah and the Last Day is here equivalent to the profession of Islam. After speaking of the accepters and the rejecters of the Holy Prophet’s message, the Quran now speaks of the insincere people who accept the message only with their lips. The persons spoken of in this verse are the hypocrites, who were a source of constant trouble to the Holy Prophet at Madinah.
  2. In 71:6 Noah is made to say: “But my call has only made them flee the more”, though the call was meant to bring them nearer to the truth. The disease here stands for the weakness of their hearts, for they had not the courage to deny Islam openly, and this weakness only became the greater as the cause of Islam became more and more triumphant.
  3. By their devils are meant their evil companions, as stated in 2:76.
  4. God will requite them with punishment according to their mockery.
  5. The kindler of the fire is the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who kindled the torch of light. The light of their eyes, which alone could make them take advan­tage of the light which was lit up by the Prophet, was taken away. The act of taking away the light is attributed to Allah, as the remote cause.
  6. When difficulties and distresses befell the Muslims — when it became dark — the hypocrites and the weak-hearted stood still. They refused to keep company with the Muslims in the battles which the latter had to fight. When there was a flash of lightning, and a success followed — a success so great that it almost blinded them — they would walk on a little and seem to be keeping com­pany with the Muslims.