Tafsir Zone - Surah 2: al-Baqarah (The Cow)

Tafsir Zone

Surah al-Baqarah 2:251

Overview (Verses 251 - 252)

Different Manifestations of God’s Favours

David was a king and a Prophet, who excelled in the craft of making iron tools and implements of war, as the Qur’ān tells us elsewhere (21: 80). The purpose behind relating this story is revealed in the closing sentence of the verse: “Had it not been for the fact that God repels one group of people by another, the earth would have been utterly corrupted. God is limitless in His bounty to all the worlds.” (Verse 251)

This powerful statement takes us beyond the limited narrative and its personalities and events to reveal the fundamental divine wisdom underlying the constant contention, power struggles and battles among the multitudes of mankind in the tumult of life. It depicts the incessant strife and the spirit of competition and rivalry that drive human beings to their various ends and objectives in this world, according to the overall divine scheme under God’s wise hand which leads them all towards progress and higher standards of life.
Were it not for this spirit of struggle and competition, life would be dull and stale. The conflict of interests and the variety of objectives that people seek in this world are the means by which human talent and energy are released and brought into play to reinvigorate and revitalize the human experience for the good of mankind. This dynamic movement produces the true human force of goodness, brings truth to the fore, enhances man’s sense of right and wrong, and firmly establishes justice on earth. It enables true and sincere believers to identify their noble role in life. It provides them with the will and strength to persevere and fulfil that role in total obedience to God’s order and tireless pursuit of His pleasure and blessings.
God then intervenes on the side of the believers so that the truth they are upholding will prevail. Human conflict becomes a positive and constructive struggle for the good of mankind and a better life in this world. The fact that the smaller group of believers have placed their trust in God, and are devoted to fulfilling His ultimate will in protecting life and establishing the truth and defending it, enables them to eventually triumph and prevail.
The passage is rounded off with a final verse: “These are the revelations of God. We recite them to you in all truth, for you are indeed one of Our messengers.” (Verse 252)
These noble revelations emanate directly from God, itself an august fact that deserves man’s understanding and reflection. They convey the truth and outline a complete code for human life, unrivalled and unmatched by any other code or system. Any attempts to substitute God’s code, or declare it obsolete, are bogus and futile; God alone should be served and obeyed.
The fact that Muĥammad is a Messenger chosen by God Almighty qualifies him to receive God’s revelations and to learn from the experiences of previous generations, and adequately equips him to convey those revelations to the rest of mankind.