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 20 (Verses 2:164–2:167): Unity must Prevail



اِنَّ فِیۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ اخۡتِلَافِ الَّیۡلِ وَ النَّہَارِ وَ الۡفُلۡکِ الَّتِیۡ تَجۡرِیۡ فِی الۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا یَنۡفَعُ النَّاسَ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مِنۡ مَّآءٍ فَاَحۡیَا بِہِ الۡاَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا وَ بَثَّ فِیۡہَا مِنۡ کُلِّ دَآبَّۃٍ ۪ وَّ تَصۡرِیۡفِ الرِّیٰحِ وَ السَّحَابِ الۡمُسَخَّرِ بَیۡنَ السَّمَآءِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶۴﴾

2:164 In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which benefits mankind, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between heaven and earth, there are surely signs for a people who understand.1

وَ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَنۡ یَّتَّخِذُ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ اَنۡدَادًا یُّحِبُّوۡنَہُمۡ کَحُبِّ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلّٰہِ ؕوَ لَوۡ یَرَی الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡۤا اِذۡ یَرَوۡنَ الۡعَذَابَ ۙ اَنَّ الۡقُوَّۃَ لِلّٰہِ جَمِیۡعًا ۙ وَّ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعَذَابِ ﴿۱۶۵﴾

2:165 Yet there are some people who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah,2 whom they love as they should love Allah. And those who believe are stronger in (their) love for Allah.3 And if only the wrongdoers had seen, when they see the punishment, that power is wholly Allah’s, and that Allah is Severe in punishing!

اِذۡ تَبَرَّاَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتُّبِعُوۡا مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡا وَ رَاَوُا الۡعَذَابَ وَ تَقَطَّعَتۡ بِہِمُ الۡاَسۡبَابُ ﴿۱۶۶﴾

2:166 When those who were followed renounce those who followed (them), and they see the punishment and their ties are cut apart.

وَ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡا لَوۡ اَنَّ لَنَا کَرَّۃً فَنَتَبَرَّاَ مِنۡہُمۡ کَمَا تَبَرَّءُوۡا مِنَّا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُرِیۡہِمُ اللّٰہُ اَعۡمَالَہُمۡ حَسَرٰتٍ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِخٰرِجِیۡنَ مِنَ النَّارِ ﴿۱۶۷﴾٪

2:167 And those who followed will say: If only we could return, we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they will not escape from the Fire.4



  1. The unity of God is declared by the whole of nature, and being such a clear doctrine, must no doubt at last prevail over idolatry and polytheism of every kind. Not only did Arabia witness the truth of this at the time of the Holy Prophet, but even today we see that, as man is freed from the trammels of pre­judice, he realizes the truth of Divine Unity more and more. The uniformity that is clearly observed in the diversity of nature is constantly appealed to in the Quran as a sign of the Unity of the Maker.
  2. The objects of worship here referred to may include idols, but the reference is apparently to the leaders who lead their followers into evil. This is made plain by the verses that follow, where “those who were followed”, i.e. the leaders, renounce those who followed them.
  3. While Allah’s love for His creatures is the ever-recurring theme expressed in the Quran, the believer’s love for Allah, or absolute submission to the Divine Being, is here declared to be stronger than all other ties of love and friendship, including that which unites a man to his idols or other false deities.
  4. The mutual renouncement of the leaders and their followers takes place sometimes in this very life. It should also be noted that it is the intense regret for the evil deeds done, here described as being the Fire, from which there is no escape.