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 40 (Verses 2:284–2:286): Muslims shall be made Victorious

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Translation:

لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ اِنۡ تُبۡدُوۡا مَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِکُمۡ اَوۡ تُخۡفُوۡہُ یُحَاسِبۡکُمۡ بِہِ اللّٰہُ ؕ فَیَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۸۴﴾

2:284 To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And whether you manifest what is in your minds or hide it, Allah will call you to account according to it.1 So He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

اٰمَنَ الرَّسُوۡلُ بِمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ اِلَیۡہِ مِنۡ رَّبِّہٖ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ؕ کُلٌّ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ مَلٰٓئِکَتِہٖ وَ کُتُبِہٖ وَ رُسُلِہٖ ۟ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَیۡنَ اَحَدٍ مِّنۡ رُّسُلِہٖ ۟ وَ قَالُوۡا سَمِعۡنَا وَ اَطَعۡنَا ٭۫ غُفۡرَانَکَ رَبَّنَا وَ اِلَیۡکَ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۲۸۵﴾

2:285 The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. They all believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers.2 And they say: We hear and obey; our Lord, Your forgiveness (do we crave), and to You is the eventual course.

لَا یُکَلِّفُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا ؕ لَہَا مَا کَسَبَتۡ وَ عَلَیۡہَا مَا اکۡتَسَبَتۡ ؕ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَاۤ اِنۡ نَّسِیۡنَاۤ اَوۡ اَخۡطَاۡنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَ لَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَیۡنَاۤ اِصۡرًا کَمَا حَمَلۡتَہٗ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَ لَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَۃَ لَنَا بِہٖ ۚ وَ اعۡفُ عَنَّا ٝ وَ اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ٝ وَ ارۡحَمۡنَا ٝ اَنۡتَ مَوۡلٰىنَا فَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَی الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲۸۶﴾٪

2:286 Allah does not impose on any soul a duty beyond its ability. To its benefit is what (good) it earns, and to its detriment is what (evil) it works. Our Lord, do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not lay on us a burden as You did lay on those before us. Our Lord, do not impose on us (afflictions) which we have not the strength to bear. And pardon us! And grant us protection! And have mercy on us! You are our Patron, so grant us victory over the disbelieving people.3

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Commentary:

  1. This verse does not signify “Allah will call you to account for it” but that He “will call you to account according to it”; so that he who hides (i.e. keeps under control) his evil inclinations and he who manifests (i.e. gives vent to them) shall not be dealt with in the same manner, but according to their deserts. Almost the same statement is contained in 3:29, where it is said: “Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it”. Evil thoughts are not unpunishable, but evil inclinations which a man keeps suppressed, and which there­fore gradually disappear, cannot be included in the category of evil thoughts; it is these that are meant here.
  2. The breadth of the Muslim faith, which has been dealt with on several occasions in this chapter, is again mentioned in reference to the triumph of the Muslims; for even if the Muslims were triumphant, their religion could not triumph over other religions unless established on very broad principles which should commend themselves to all. The triumph of the Muslim religion would be due to the excellence and breadth of its principles. Hence, even in these days of Muslim political decadence, Islam is making spiritual conquests.
  3. As a preliminary to the prayer for victory over the disbelieving people, there is one set of three petitions in the first part of the verse and another set of three petitions in the second part. The first three petitions made to God are do not punish us, do not lay on us the burden of sins, do not impose on us afflictions which we have not the strength to bear. Corresponding to these three petitions respectively are the three petitions in the second part, pardon us, grant us protection, have mercy on us. Thus corresponding to the desire to be saved from punishment is the petition that God may pardon His servant whatever faults he has committed; corresponding to the desire that one may not be burdened with sins is the petition that one may be granted protection from the commission of sins; and corresponding to the desire to be saved from afflictions which one has not the strength to bear is the petition for the mercy of God. It is noteworthy that if Muslims are taught to pray for victory over disbelievers, as here, they are at the same time taught to be humble and forgiving.

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