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 9 (Verses 2:72–2:82): They Grow in Hard-heartedness

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Translation:

وَ اِذۡ قَتَلۡتُمۡ نَفۡسًا فَادّٰرَءۡتُمۡ فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ مُخۡرِجٌ مَّا کُنۡتُمۡ تَکۡتُمُوۡنَ ﴿ۚ۷۲﴾

2:72 And when you (almost) killed a man,1 then you disagreed about it. And Allah was to bring forth what you were going to hide.2

فَقُلۡنَا اضۡرِبُوۡہُ بِبَعۡضِہَا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُحۡیِ اللّٰہُ الۡمَوۡتٰی ۙ وَ یُرِیۡکُمۡ اٰیٰتِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۳﴾

2:73 So We said: Strike him with it partially. Thus Allah brings the dead to life,3 and He shows you His signs that you may understand.

ثُمَّ قَسَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ فَہِیَ کَالۡحِجَارَۃِ اَوۡ اَشَدُّ قَسۡوَۃً ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنَ الۡحِجَارَۃِ لَمَا یَتَفَجَّرُ مِنۡہُ الۡاَنۡہٰرُ ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا یَشَّقَّقُ فَیَخۡرُجُ مِنۡہُ الۡمَآءُ ؕ وَ اِنَّ مِنۡہَا لَمَا یَہۡبِطُ مِنۡ خَشۡیَۃِ اللّٰہِ ؕوَ مَا اللّٰہُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۴﴾

2:74 Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness. And surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth; and there are some of them which split apart so water flows from them; and there are some of them which fall down for the fear of Allah.4 And Allah is not heedless of what you do.

اَفَتَطۡمَعُوۡنَ اَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡا لَکُمۡ وَ قَدۡ کَانَ فَرِیۡقٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ کَلٰمَ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ یُحَرِّفُوۡنَہٗ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا عَقَلُوۡہُ وَ ہُمۡ یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۷۵﴾

2:75 Do you then hope that they would believe in you, and some of them indeed used to hear the word of Allah, then altered it after they had understood it, and they know (this).5

وَ اِذَا لَقُوا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا ۚۖ وَ اِذَا خَلَا بَعۡضُہُمۡ اِلٰی بَعۡضٍ قَالُوۡۤا اَتُحَدِّثُوۡنَہُمۡ بِمَا فَتَحَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ لِیُحَآجُّوۡکُمۡ بِہٖ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکُمۡ ؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۷۶﴾

2:76 And when they meet those who believe they say, We believe, and when they are apart with one another they say: Do you talk to them of what Allah has disclosed to you that they may contend with you by this before your Lord? Do you not understand?

اَ وَ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَعۡلَمُ مَا یُسِرُّوۡنَ وَ مَا یُعۡلِنُوۡنَ ﴿۷۷﴾

2:77 Do they not know that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make known?

وَ مِنۡہُمۡ اُمِّیُّوۡنَ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ اِلَّاۤ اَمَانِیَّ وَ اِنۡ ہُمۡ اِلَّا یَظُنُّوۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾

2:78 And some of them are illiterate; they do not know the Book except (from) hearsay, and they only conjecture.6

فَوَیۡلٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ یَکۡتُبُوۡنَ الۡکِتٰبَ بِاَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ٭ ثُمَّ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ ہٰذَا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ لِیَشۡتَرُوۡا بِہٖ ثَمَنًا قَلِیۡلًا ؕ فَوَیۡلٌ لَّہُمۡ مِّمَّا کَتَبَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ وَ وَیۡلٌ لَّہُمۡ مِّمَّا یَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾

2:79 Woe, then, to those who write the Book with their hands then say, This is from Allah; so that they may take for it a small price. So woe to them for what their hands write and woe to them for what they earn.

وَ قَالُوۡا لَنۡ تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ اِلَّاۤ اَیَّامًا مَّعۡدُوۡدَۃً ؕ قُلۡ اَتَّخَذۡتُمۡ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ عَہۡدًا فَلَنۡ یُّخۡلِفَ اللّٰہُ عَہۡدَہٗۤ اَمۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۸۰﴾

2:80 And they say: Fire will not touch us but for a few days. Say: Have you received a promise from Allah? Then Allah will not fail to perform His promise. Or do you speak against Allah what you do not know?

بَلٰی مَنۡ کَسَبَ سَیِّئَۃً وَّ اَحَاطَتۡ بِہٖ خَطِیۡٓــَٔتُہٗ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾

2:81 Indeed, whoever earns evil and his sins beset him on every side, those are the companions of the Fire; in it they abide.7

وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَنَّۃِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿٪۸۲﴾

2:82 And those who believe and do good deeds, these are the owners of the Garden; in it they abide.8

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Commentary:

  1. This incident refers to Jesus, as it was with respect to his death that disagreement took place and many doubted his death. Compare the incidents narrated here with the same incidents as narrated in 4:153–157. The words you killed are used because the Jews asserted that they had killed him, and because metaphorically a person may be said to have been killed when he is made to appear as if he were dead.
  2. The Jews wanted to kill Jesus, but God ordained that he should not die. This was the bringing forth of what they were going to hide.
  3. The act of murder was not completed in the case of Jesus, as the Gospels show, for after he was taken down from the cross his legs were not broken, as in the case of the thieves. This was really a case of giving life to the dead, for Jesus Christ was dead to all appearance. Those actually dead do not return to life in this world; see 21:95, 23:100 and 39:42.
  4. Even hardened hearts would receive life — even more, they would give life to others, be a source of spiritual life for others as water and streams are sources of life in the physical world.
  5. That the Israelites did not preserve their sacred books in their purity is a constant charge laid by the Holy Quran against the Jews. In fact, the alteration and corruption of the various books of the Bible is now proved beyond all doubt.
  6. The Jewish masses had no access to their own sacred books which were known only to their learned men, and therefore their religious ideas were based only on stories which they knew from hearsay. The same is to a very large extent true of the Muslims of our day. In the early days of Islam, every individual Muslim, man as well as woman, sought light direct from the Quran. Not so the Muslims in this age who depend entirely on their learned men. They do read the Quran but look upon mere recitation as a meritorious deed without trying to learn what it says, and then act upon it.
  7. The inmates of the Fire are here stated to be those who earn evil, and find themselves beset on every side by their evil deeds. These are the people who give themselves up to evil, and who therefore ultimately find themselves in the power of evil, which even in this life, but more palpably in the life after death, assumes the form of a burning fire. It should be noted that the one who struggles against evil, however long that struggle may take, to overcome an evil inclination, is not the one who earns evil, because the earnest struggle in which the fighter against evil hates and detests evil, and seeks to overcome it, always ends in a vic­tory for the good and noble qualities in human beings.
  8. The doers of good are called aṣḥāb al-Jannah or owners of the Garden. The word aṣḥāb is plural of ṣāḥib which means a companion or an owner. I have translated aṣḥāb an-nār as companions of the Fire but aṣḥāb al-Jannah as owners of the Garden, because while the inmates of the Fire will be taken out of it after being purged of the evil, of paradise it is said that it is “a gift never to be cut off ” (11:108), and that those in it will never be ejected from it (15:48).

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