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 3 (Verses 2:21–2:29): Divine Unity
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ اعۡبُدُوۡا رَبَّکُمُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَکُمۡ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۱﴾
الَّذِیۡ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ فِرَاشًا وَّ السَّمَآءَ بِنَآءً ۪ وَّ اَنۡزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَاَخۡرَجَ بِہٖ مِنَ الثَّمَرٰتِ رِزۡقًا لَّکُمۡ ۚ فَلَا تَجۡعَلُوۡا لِلّٰہِ اَنۡدَادًا وَّ اَنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾
2:22 Who made the earth a resting-place for you and the heaven a structure,1 and sends down rain from the clouds then brings forth with it fruits for your sustenance; so do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.
وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡ رَیۡبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلۡنَا عَلٰی عَبۡدِنَا فَاۡتُوۡا بِسُوۡرَۃٍ مِّنۡ مِّثۡلِہٖ ۪ وَ ادۡعُوۡا شُہَدَآءَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
2:23 And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your helpers besides Allah if you are truthful.2
فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلُوۡا وَ لَنۡ تَفۡعَلُوۡا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِیۡ وَقُوۡدُہَا النَّاسُ وَ الۡحِجَارَۃُ ۚۖ اُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
2:24 But if you do not (do it) — and you can never do (it) — then be on your guard against the fire whose fuel is people and stones;3 it is prepared for the disbelievers.
وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اَنَّ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ کُلَّمَا رُزِقُوۡا مِنۡہَا مِنۡ ثَمَرَۃٍ رِّزۡقًا ۙ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَا الَّذِیۡ رُزِقۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ۙ وَ اُتُوۡا بِہٖ مُتَشَابِہًا ؕ وَ لَہُمۡ فِیۡہَاۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَہَّرَۃٌ ٭ۙ وَّ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾
2:25 And give good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are Gardens in which rivers flow.4 Whenever they are given a portion of the fruit of these (Gardens), they will say: This is what was given to us before; and they are given the like of it.5 And they will have therein pure companions6 and therein they will abide.
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَسۡتَحۡیٖۤ اَنۡ یَّضۡرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوۡضَۃً فَمَا فَوۡقَہَا ؕ فَاَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا فَیَعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنَّہُ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ رَّبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ اَمَّا الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا فَیَقُوۡلُوۡنَ مَا ذَاۤ اَرَادَ اللّٰہُ بِہٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ یُضِلُّ بِہٖ کَثِیۡرًا ۙ وَّ یَہۡدِیۡ بِہٖ کَثِیۡرًا ؕ وَ مَا یُضِلُّ بِہٖۤ اِلَّا الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۲۶﴾
2:26 Surely Allah does not disdain to set forth any parable — a gnat or anything above that.7 Then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord; and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable? Many He leaves in error by it8 and many He leads aright by it. And He leaves in error by it only the transgressors,
الَّذِیۡنَ یَنۡقُضُوۡنَ عَہۡدَ اللّٰہِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مِیۡثَاقِہٖ ۪ وَ یَقۡطَعُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَمَرَ اللّٰہُ بِہٖۤ اَنۡ یُّوۡصَلَ وَ یُفۡسِدُوۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡخٰسِرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷﴾
2:27 who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut apart what Allah has ordered to be joined,9 and make mischief in the land. These it is that are the losers.
کَیۡفَ تَکۡفُرُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ کُنۡتُمۡ اَمۡوَاتًا فَاَحۡیَاکُمۡ ۚ ثُمَّ یُمِیۡتُکُمۡ ثُمَّ یُحۡیِیۡکُمۡ ثُمَّ اِلَیۡہِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿۲۸﴾
2:28 How can you deny Allah and you were without life and He gave you life? Again, He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.10
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ لَکُمۡ مَّا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ جَمِیۡعًا ٭ ثُمَّ اسۡتَوٰۤی اِلَی السَّمَآءِ فَسَوّٰىہُنَّ سَبۡعَ سَمٰوٰتٍ ؕ وَ ہُوَ بِکُلِّ شَیۡءٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿٪۲۹﴾
- Attention is thus drawn to the oneness of humanity, as if it were a single family living in one resting-place under one roof. ↩
- A similar challenge is contained in 10:38. See also 11:13. In 17:88 the whole of mankind are declared to be unable to produce a book like the Quran. While the Quran is undoubtedly a unique production of Arabic literature, its chief characteristic, in which no other book can claim equality with it, is the wonderful, unparalleled transformation which it accomplished. Its injunctions swept off the most deep-rooted evils and made an ignorant people the foremost torchbearers of knowledge and science, and masters of the greatest empire of the world. Besides, every word of the Quran gives expression to Divine majesty and glory in a manner which is not approached by any other sacred book. ↩
- The reference in “stones” may be to the leaders, called “helpers” in the previous verse, while “people” would stand for the common people. ↩
- The description of paradise as given in the Holy Quran is expressly stated to be a parable; see 13:35, 47:15. The righteous are spoken of as having gardens in the next life to show that they have made the seed of faith to grow into extensive gardens, and this is in reference to the vast development of their inner self or of the faculties which God has given them. The rivers represent the good deeds which are necessary to the growth of the seed. The fruits of the life after death are the consequences of the deeds done in this life. ↩
- Whenever the faithful are made to taste of a portion of the fruits of their good deeds in the life to come, they will find those fruits much resembling the fruits which they tasted spiritually in this life. The like of it may signify that the fruits of their deeds will be similar to those deeds. ↩
- The pure companions may be the believing wives of the faithful, as elsewhere we have: “They and their wives are in shades, reclining on raised couches” (36:56). But more probably these are among the blessings of the heavenly life to which men and women are equally entitled. All the blessings of heavenly life are, according to a saying of the Holy Prophet, “things which no eye has seen and no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of them” (Bukhari, 59:8). The words in which these blessings are depicted in the Holy Quran, therefore, should not be taken literally. ↩
- The parables to which reference is contained in these words are the parables speaking of the weakness of the false deities; see 29:41, 22:73. The gnat is mentioned here because among the Arabs it is a proverbially weak creature, so that to express the utmost degree of weakness they say, weaker than the gnat. ↩
- Allah guides people by sending His messengers, and therefore He could not be spoken of as leading them astray. When ascribed to God, the word aḍalla used here means He pronounced him to be erring or He left him in error. ↩
- The covenant of Allah is the evidence of His Unity to which human nature bears witness. The confirmation of this covenant is brought about by sending prophets. Cutting off what Allah has ordered to be joined is the disregard of others’ rights. ↩
- The first part of the verse contains an argument of the existence of God Who gave life to man, and the second states that death on this earth is not the end of life but the beginning of another, an eternal and a far higher life. ↩
- The earth was made after the heavens; see 79:30. ↩
- The word sab’a, which signifies the number seven, is also used as meaning seven or more, several or many. In 65:12 it is affirmed that as there are seven heavens so there is a like number of earths, and the seven heavens are called the seven ways in 23:17, and in this sense the orbit of a planet may be called its heaven. The seven heavens may also be taken to apply to the whole starry creation and the reference may in this case be to the magnitudes of the stars. ↩