Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow) 2 : 2

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Translations

Basic Translation
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah -

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The key word in this statement is ‘guidance’. It expresses the essence and the nature of the Qur’ān. But guidance for whom? Who are the people who will find that this Book provides them with light, direction and true counsel? They are the God-fearing.
 
Once a man’s heart is filled with the fear of God, he will benefit by the Qur’ān. Fear and consciousness of God is the quality that opens one’s mind to the true guidance contained in the Qur’ān and allows it to have its proper effect on one’s life. It is the factor that causes one’s heart and mind to become sensitive and receptive to God’s guidance and enables one to respond to His call and His instruction.
 
Anyone seeking the benefit and Godly wisdom of the Qur’ān must approach it with an open mind and a pure heart. One must also approach it with perception and sensitivity, and with a determination not to fall by the wayside or be tempted away from God. Then, and only then, will the marvels and treasures of the Qur’ān be opened and revealed, and their light and wisdom will pour into this apprehensive, alert and welcoming heart.

  • Taqwa - words derived from و ق ي occur with the frequency of 258 times in 237 ayat. Interestingly, the highest frequency of these words appear in Surah al-Baqarah compared to any other Surah. [confirmation needed]
  • There is complete certainty in the Qur'an - there is no doubt.
  • The superiority of Taqwah - this is one of the means of being guided by the Qur'an.
  • Of the many positive attributes, the Believer can posses [Iman, Yaqin, Ihsan], the very first mentioned in the Qur'an is Taqwah.
  • من أسباب حصول الهداية بالقرآن تقوى الله تعالى، فقدم دائما مراد الله على هوى نفسك، ﴿ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ [Be first to translate this...]

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Dhaalika - That this is used when something is far away. Because the Qur’an is not in Book form yet (during the life of Allah’s Messenger), Allah is telling us that the Kitab/book is in the heavens with Allah. And only later – you will write it down and compile it in Book format.

Haadha - This. In Arabic rhetoric – to point that something is far away gives that thing an Elevated status...Laa Rayba feehi – there is Absolutely No room for any doubt whatsoever in it. when a Fat-ha is placed after the Laa [i.e. Laa rayba], this shows ‘No doubt whatsoever.’ Later on in the surah, Allah will say; if you are in any Doubt (fee Raybin..) [al Baqarah 2:23] – so we see how Rayba has more emphasis.]

HudaN [taNween] - (mufeed-ul ADhma) - ENORMOUS Guidance. lil muttaqeen – for those who have Taqwa.

Taqwa comes over 36 times in different forms in this surah. It is directly related to our pursuit of guidance.Taqwa is not just fear. It is the attempt to ‘want to protect yourself’/taking precautions. [from; Evil, Allah's anger and His Punishment]  

HudaN lin-Naas – enormous guidance for mankind. This is used in other parts of the Qur’an, but Hudan lil muttaqeen – is enormous guidance for those who have seeked it and do not want to disappoint Allah.



Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah


3. Surah Overview

Read the Surah overview here

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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The scholars are unanimous that Surah al-Baqarah is Madani and that it was the first Surah revealed in Madinah. [Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Fath al-Bari no. 160/8].

Despite it being the first Surah to be revealed in Madinah, it contains Ayaat from a later period also. In fact, according to Ibn Abbas [as mentioned in Ibn Kathir] the last Ayat revealed to the Prophet was Ayat no. 281 from Surah al-Baqarah and this occurred 8 days or so before his death [which corresponds to the year 11 Hijri].

8. Reasons for Revelation

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In order to understand the meaning of this Surah, we should know its historical background:

1. At Makkah, the Quran generally addressed the polytheist Quraysh who were ignorant of Islam, but at Madinah it was also concerned with the Jews who were acquainted with the creed of Monotheism, Prophethood, Revelation, the Hereafter and Angels. They also professed to believe in the law which was revealed by God to their Prophet Moses, and in principle, their way was the same (Islam) that was being taught by Prophet Muhammad. But they had strayed away from it during the centuries of degeneration and had adopted many un-Islamic creeds, rites and customs of which there was no mention and for which there was no sanction in the Torah. Not only this: they had tampered with the Torah by inserting their own explanations and interpretations into its text. They had distorted even that part of the Word of God which had remained intact in their Scriptures and taken out of it the real spirit of true religion and were now clinging to a lifeless frame of rituals. Consequently their beliefs, their morals and their conduct had gone to the lowest depths of degeneration. The pity is that they were not only satisfied with their condition but loved to cling to it. Besides this, they had no intention or inclination to accept any kind of reform. So they became bitter enemies of those who came to teach them the Right Way and did their utmost to defeat every such effort. Though they were originally Muslims, they had swerved from the real Islam and made innovations and alterations in it and had fallen victims to hair splitting and sectarianism. They had forgotten and forsaken God and begun to serve material wealth. So much so that they had even given up their original name “Muslim” and adopted the name “Jew” instead, and made religion the sole monopoly of the children of Israel. This was their religious condition when the Prophet went to Madinah and invited the Jews to the true religion. That is why more than one third of this Surah has been addressed to the children of Israel. A critical review of their history, their moral degeneration and their religious perversions has been made. Side by side with this, the high standard of morality and the fundamental principles of the pure religion have been put forward in order to bring out clearly the nature of the degeneration of the community of a prophet when it goes astray and to draw clear lines of demarcation between real piety and formalism, and the essentials and non-essentials of the true religion.

2. At Makkah, Islam was mainly concerned with the propagation of its fundamental principles and the moral training of its followers. But after the migration of the Prophet to Madinah, where Muslims had come to settle from all over Arabia and where a tiny Islamic State had been set up with the help of the ‘local supporters’ (Ansar), naturally the Quran had to turn its attention to the social, cultural, economic, political and legal problems as well. This accounts for the difference between the themes of the Surahs revealed at Makkah and those at Madinah. Accordingly about half of this Surah deals with those principles and regulations which are essential for the integration and solidarity of a community and for the solution of its problems.

After the migration to Madinah, the struggle between Islam and disbelief (Kufr) had also entered a new phase. Before this the Believers, who propagated Islam among their own clans and tribes, had to face its opponents at their own risk. But the conditions had changed at Madinah, where Muslims from all parts of Arabia had come and settled as one community, and had established an independent city state. Here it became a struggle for the survival of the Community itself, for the whole of non-Muslim Arabia was bent upon and united in crushing it totally. Hence the following instructions, upon which depended not only its success but its very survival, were revealed in this Surah:

a. The Community should work with the utmost zeal to propagate its ideology and win over to its side the greatest possible number of people.

b. It should so expose its opponents as to leave no room for doubt in the mind of any sensible person that they were adhering to an absolutely wrong position.

c. It should infuse in its members (the majority of whom were homeless and indigent and surrounded on all sides by enemies) that courage and fortitude which is so indispensable to their very existence in the adverse circumstances in which they were struggling and to prepare them to face these boldly.

d. It should also keep them ready and prepared to meet any armed menace, which might come from any side to suppress and crush their ideology, and to oppose it tooth and nail without minding the overwhelming numerical strength and the material resources of its enemies.

e. It should also create in them that courage which is needed for the eradication of evil ways and for the establishment of the Islamic Way instead. That is why God has revealed in this Surah such instructions as may help achieve all the above mentioned objects.

At the time of the revelation of Al-Baqarah, all sorts of hypocrites had begun to appear. God has, therefore, briefly pointed out their characteristics here. Afterwards when their evil characteristics and mischievous deeds became manifest, God sent detailed instructions about them. [REF: Mawdudi]

9. Relevant Hadith

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  • The Prophet Muhammad [saw] said, الْمِرَاءُ فِي الْقُرْآنِ كُفْرٌ “…Having doubt in the Qur’ān is [kufr] disbelief….” [Abu Dawud no. 4603 -  حسن  [Hasan]

10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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