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 32 (Verses 2:243–2:248): Fighting in the Cause of Truth

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Translation:

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ خَرَجُوۡا مِنۡ دِیَارِہِمۡ وَ ہُمۡ اُلُوۡفٌ حَذَرَ الۡمَوۡتِ ۪ فَقَالَ لَہُمُ اللّٰہُ مُوۡتُوۡا ۟ ثُمَّ اَحۡیَاہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَذُوۡ فَضۡلٍ عَلَی النَّاسِ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴۳﴾

2:243 Have you not considered those who went forth from their homes, and they were thousands, for fear of death. Then Allah said to them, Die. Then He gave them life.1 Surely Allah is gracious to people, but most people are not grateful.

وَ قَاتِلُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۴۴﴾

2:244 And fight in the way of Allah,2 and know that Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یُقۡرِضُ اللّٰہَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا فَیُضٰعِفَہٗ لَہٗۤ اَضۡعَافًا کَثِیۡرَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَقۡبِضُ وَ یَبۡصُۜطُ ۪ وَ اِلَیۡہِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴۵﴾

2:245 Who is it that will offer to Allah a goodly gift, so He multiplies it to him manifold? And Allah receives and amplifies,3 and to Him you shall be returned.

اَلَمۡ تَرَ اِلَی الۡمَلَاِ مِنۡۢ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مُوۡسٰی ۘ اِذۡ قَالُوۡا لِنَبِیٍّ لَّہُمُ ابۡعَثۡ لَنَا مَلِکًا نُّقَاتِلۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ؕ قَالَ ہَلۡ عَسَیۡتُمۡ اِنۡ کُتِبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡقِتَالُ اَلَّا تُقَاتِلُوۡا ؕ قَالُوۡا وَ مَا لَنَاۤ اَلَّا نُقَاتِلَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ قَدۡ اُخۡرِجۡنَا مِنۡ دِیَارِنَا وَ اَبۡنَآئِنَا ؕ فَلَمَّا کُتِبَ عَلَیۡہِمُ الۡقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوۡا اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا مِّنۡہُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِالظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴۶﴾

2:246 Have you not thought of the leaders of the Children of Israel after Moses? When they said to a prophet of theirs: Raise up for us a king, that we may fight in the way of Allah.4 He said: May it not be that you will not fight if fighting is ordained for you? They said: And what reason have we that we should not fight in Allah’s way and we have indeed been deprived of our homes and our children? But when fighting was ordained for them, they turned back, except a few of them. And Allah is Knower of the wrongdoers.

وَ قَالَ لَہُمۡ نَبِیُّہُمۡ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَدۡ بَعَثَ لَکُمۡ طَالُوۡتَ مَلِکًا ؕ قَالُوۡۤا اَنّٰی یَکُوۡنُ لَہُ الۡمُلۡکُ عَلَیۡنَا وَ نَحۡنُ اَحَقُّ بِالۡمُلۡکِ مِنۡہُ وَ لَمۡ یُؤۡتَ سَعَۃً مِّنَ الۡمَالِ ؕ قَالَ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ اصۡطَفٰىہُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ زَادَہٗ بَسۡطَۃً فِی الۡعِلۡمِ وَ الۡجِسۡمِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یُؤۡتِیۡ مُلۡکَہٗ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۴۷﴾

2:247 And their prophet said to them: Allah has raised Saul to be a king over you. They said: How can he have kingdom over us while we have a greater right to kingdom than he, and he has not been granted abundance of wealth? He said: Surely Allah has chosen him above you, and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique. And Allah grants His kingdom to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

وَ قَالَ لَہُمۡ نَبِیُّہُمۡ اِنَّ اٰیَۃَ مُلۡکِہٖۤ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَکُمُ التَّابُوۡتُ فِیۡہِ سَکِیۡنَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ بَقِیَّۃٌ مِّمَّا تَرَکَ اٰلُ مُوۡسٰی وَ اٰلُ ہٰرُوۡنَ تَحۡمِلُہُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیَۃً لَّکُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴۸﴾٪

2:248 And their prophet said to them: Surely the sign of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the heart in which there is tranquillity from your Lord and the best of what the followers of Moses and the followers of Aaron have left,5 the angels bearing it.6 Surely in this there is a sign for you if you are believers.

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Commentary:

  1. The thousands referred to are the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses. They left Egypt for fear of death, for death would surely have been their fate if they had not emigrated. The next incident in their history referred to here is the Divine commandment to them to “die”. This is more fully stated in 5:21–26. Moses told them to enter the Holy Land “which Allah has ordained for you,” but they refused and were made to wander about in the wilderness for forty years, so that that generation perished. This is also shown by their history as given in the Old Testament. It is also meant as a warning for Muslims, who are told that if they followed the footsteps of the Israelites, death must be their fate.
  2. See 2:190; fighting in Allah’s way is equivalent to fighting in defence of faith.
  3. Allah receives and amplifies means that Allah receives the gift that is offered to Him and then amplifies it; in other words, any sacrifice made in the cause of Truth is amply rewarded by Allah.
  4. The prophet alluded to is Samuel. See 1 Samuel 8:19–20.
  5. The word tābūt means a chest or a box, but also signifies the heart. Tranquillity from the Lord is not a thing which is placed in boxes, but the heart is its real repository. On five other occasions the coming down of sakīnah, or tranquillity, is mentioned in the Quran, and every time it is the heart of the Prophet or the faithful that is the recipient of it. The coming of “the heart in which there is tranquillity” means the change which came over Saul when he was made king: “So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart” (1 Samuel 10:9). The best of what the true followers of Moses and Aaron left are spiritual blessings, the highest being Divine inspiration.
  6. The meaning is that the tranquillity and inspiration were borne by the angels into the heart of Saul.

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