Sūrat al-Baqarah

Sūrat No. 2. Revealed in Madīnah, 286 verses. This is the longest Sūrah of the Quran

The Sūrah is called al-Baqarah (female cow) from the story of the cow in verses 67-73.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

The Prophet a was asked; which Sūrah is the best Sūrah of the Quran? He replied ‘al-Baqarah’. He was then asked; which verse is the best verse in that Sūrah? He replied, ‘Ayat al-Kursi’.

Note: Other Sūrahs have also been considered best in various aspects. Sūrat al-Baqarah is best in its comprehensive coverage of beliefs and social issues.

The Prophet a has said: One who recites the first four verses from al-Baqarah, Āyāt al-Kursī, and the two verses following it and the last three verses of this Sūrah, will never find in himself, his family, and his wealth anything of disliking, and shaytan will not approach him, and he will not forget the Qur’an.

Note: These effects will come into place for those who abide by the message of these verses.

General synopsis of contents

1) Characteristics of believers, non-believers, and hypocrites (vv. 1-20)

2) Signs of Allah (vv. 21-29)

3) Creation of the human being (vv. 30-39)

4) A reminder to the people of Prophet Musa (a) (vv. 40-66)

5) The incident of the cow (vv. 67-74)

6) The people of Prophet Musa (a) (vv. 75-101)

7) Magic during the time of Prophet Sulayman (a) (vv. 102-103)

8) Address to the people of the Book (vv. 104-123)

9) The story of Prophet Ibrahim (a) and other Prophets (vv. 124-141)

10) Qualities of believers and non-believers (vv. 204-215)

11) Fighting in the way of Allah (vv. 216-220)

12) Marriage and Divorce (vv. 221-242)

13) Struggle in the way of Allah (vv. 243-245)

14) The story of Tālūt (vv. 246-253)

15) Greatness of Allah, including Ayat al-Kursī (vv. 254-257)

16) Story of Prophet Ibrahim (a) (vv. 258-261)

17) Etiquettes of charity (vv. 262-274)

18) Usury in Islam (vv. 275-281)

19) Formalizing a contract (vv. 282-283)

20) Prayers of believers (vv. 284-286)

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 2:2 – This is the Book, there is no doubt in it, a guidance to the God-conscious.

2) 2:9 – They seek to deceive Allah and those who have faith, yet they deceive no one but themselves, but they are not aware.

3) 2:28 How can you reject faith in Allah, when you were lifeless and He gave you life, then He will make you die and then bring you to life, and then you will be brought back to Him?

4) 2:45 – And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is hard except for the humble ones.

5) 2:107 – Do you not know that to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth? And besides Allah, you do not have any guardian or helper.

6) 2:110 – Any good that you send ahead for your own souls, you shall find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah watches what you do.

7) 2:115 – To Allah belong the east and the west: so whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah! Allah is indeed all-bounteous, all-knowing.

8) 2:250 – Our Lord, pour patience upon us, make our feet steady, and assist us against the non-believers.

9) 2:261 – The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah multiplies for whomever He wishes, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing.

Activities for self-study

1) Check the following story of the people of Prophet Musa (a) mentioned in this Sūrah; Taking a calf for worship (verses 51-54) 

2) What is the attitude of a non-believer towards death? See verses 94-96.

3) To learn more about the two angels Harut and Marut mentioned in verse 102, check: https://en.wikishia.net/view/Harut_and_Marut

4) Write down the points about charity mentioned in verses 261-265. Illustrate verses 261 and 265.

5) Reflect on verse 286. What are the different things believers ask for?