Translation of the meanings of surah Al-Baqara (1)
(1) Alif, Lam, Meem.
- These are among the fourteen opening letters which occur in various combinations at the beginning of twenty-nine surahs in the Qura'n. Although there has been much speculation as to their meaning, it was not, in fact, revealed by Allah to anyone and is known only to Him.
(2) This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah .
- Literally, "those who have taqwa," i.e., who have piety, righteousness, fear and love of Allah, and who take great care to avoid His displeasure.
(3) Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,
- At its proper times and according to its specified conditions. - It is to be noted that the reference of Allah (subhanahu wa taÔala) to Himself as "We" in many Qura'nic verses is necessarily understood in the Arabic language to denote grandeur and power, as opposed to the more intimate singular form "I" used in specific instances.
(4) And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].
(5) Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.
(6) Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.
- Literally, "cover" or "conceal" (faith or truth).
(7) Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.
- A covering preventing them from discerning guidance. This condition is a direct result of their arrogance and persistence in sin.
(8) And of the people are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," but they are not believers.
(9) They [think to] deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not.
(10) In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.
- The "disease" mentioned here includes doubt, hypocrisy, arrogance and disbelief.
(11) And when it is said to them, "Do not cause corruption on the earth," they say, "We are but reformers."
(12) Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.
(13) And when it is said to them, "Believe as the people have believed," they say, "Should we believe as the foolish have believed?" Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it] not.
(14) And when they meet those who believe, they say, "We believe"; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, "Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers."
(15) [But] Allah mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression [while] they wander blindly.
(16) Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.
(17) Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.
(18) Deaf, dumb and blind – so they will not return [to the right path].
(19) Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers.
- Allah states in the Qura'n that He has certain attributes such as hearing, sight, hands, face, mercy, anger, coming, encompassing, being above the Throne, etc. Yet, He has disassociated Himself from the limitations of human attributes or human imagination. Correct Islamic belief requires faith in the existence of these attributes as Allah has described them without applying to them any allegorical meanings or attempting to explain how a certain quality could be (while this is known only to Allah) and without comparing them to creation or denying that He (subhanahu wa taÔala) would have such a quality. His attributes are befitting to Him alone, and "There is nothing like unto Him." (42:11)
(20) The lightning almost snatches away their sight. Every time it lights [the way] for them, they walk therein; but when darkness comes over them, they stand [still]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
(21) O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous –
(22) [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him].
(23) And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down [i.e., the Quran] upon Our Servant [i.e., Prophet Muhammad (^)], then produce a Surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses [i.e., supporters] other than Allah, if you should be truthful.
(24) But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is people and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
(25) And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before." And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.
(26) Indeed, Allah is not timid to present an example – that of a mosquito or what is smaller than it. And those who have believed know that it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, "What did Allah intend by this as an example?" He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedient,
- Literally, "above it," i.e., greater in smallness.
(27) Who break the covenant of Allah after contracting it and sever that which Allah has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth. It is those who are the losers.
(28) How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.
(29) It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things.
- See footnote to 2:19
(30) And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we exalt You with praise and declare Your perfection?" He [Allah] said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."
- Khalifah: successor, or generations of man, one following another. - An additional meaning is "...and we purify ourselves for You."
(31) And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful."
(32) They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise."
- Whose eternal and absolute knowledge encompasses the truth and essence of all things, seen or unseen, present or absent, neither preceded by ignorance nor followed by forgetfulness. - Whose wisdom includes precise and perfect knowledge of all realities and outcomes, according to which He decrees and causes various circumstances and occurrences.
(33) He said, "O Adam, inform them of their names." And when he had informed them of their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed."
(34) And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.
- The proper name of Satan, who was not an angel but from the jinn, as stated in 18:50 Done in obedience to Allah, this prostration was one of respect, not worship.
(35) And We said, "O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and]abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers."
(36) But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, "Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time."
(37) Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of Repentance, the Merciful.
- Allah taught Adam words of repentance that would be acceptable to Him. - Literally, He who perpetually returns, i.e., reminding and enabling His servant to repent from sins and then forgiving him. Thus, He is also the constant motivator of the repentance He accepts.
(38) We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
(39) And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally."
(40) O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me.
(41) And believe in what I have sent down confirming that which is [already] with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.
(42) And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].
(43) And establish prayer and give Zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].
- An annual expenditure for the benefit of the Islamic community (see 9:60) required of those Muslims who have excess wealth. Prayer and zakah are among the pillars of Islam.
(44) Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?
- Make exceptions of.
(45) And seek help through patience and prayer; and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]
(46) Who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.
(47) O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds [i.e., peoples].
(48) And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided.
- i.e., fulfill what is due from it.
(49) And [recall] when We saved you [i.e., your forefathers] from the people of Pharaoh, who afflicted you with the worst torment, slaughtering your [newborn] sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.
(50) And [recall] when We parted the sea for you and saved you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you were looking on.
(51) And [recall] when We made an appointment with Moses for forty nights. Then you took [for worship] the calf after him [i.e., his departure], while you were wrongdoers.
(52) Then We forgave you after that so perhaps you would be grateful.
(53) And [recall] when We gave Moses the Scripture and criterion that perhaps you would be guided.
- Differentiating between truth and falsehood. "The Scripture and criterion" refers to the Torah.
(54) And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves [i.e., the guilty among you]. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator." Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of Repentance, the Merciful.
(55) And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we will never believe you until we see Allah outright"; so the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on.
(56) Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful.
(57) And We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails, [saying], "Eat from the good things with which We have provided you." And they wronged Us not – but they were [only]wronging themselves.
(58) And [recall] when We said, "Enter this city [i.e., Jerusalem] and eat from it wherever you will in [ease and] abundance, and enter the gate bowing humbly and say, 'Relieve us of our burdens [i.e., sins].' We will [then] forgive your sins for you, and We will increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward]."
- In gratitude to Allah and admission of sin.
(59) But those who wronged changed [those words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged a punishment [i.e., plague] from the sky because they were defiantly disobeying.
(60) And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, "Strike with your staff the stone." And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people [i.e., tribe] knew its watering place. "Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption."
(61) And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we can never endure one [kind of] food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions." [Moses] said, "Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go into [any]settlement and indeed, you will have what you have asked." And they were covered with humiliation and poverty and returned with anger from Allah [upon them]. That was because they [repeatedly]disbelieved in the signs of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That was because they disobeyed and were [habitually] transgressing.
(62) Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad (^)] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
- After the coming of Prophet Muhammad (^) no religion other than Islam is acceptable to Allah, as stated in 3:85.
(63) And [recall] when We took your covenant, [O Children of Israel, to abide by the Torah] and We raised over you the mount, [saying], "Take what We have given you with determination and remember what is in it that perhaps you may become righteous."
(64) Then you turned away after that. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have been among the losers.
(65) And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, "Be apes, despised."
(66) And We made it a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded [them] and a lesson for those who fear Allah.
(67) And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow."They said, "Do you take us in ridicule?" He said, "I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant."
(68) They said, "Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is." [Moses] said, "[Allah] says, 'It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,' so do what you are commanded."
(69) They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color." He said, "He says, 'It is a yellow cow, bright in color – pleasing to the observers.'"
(70) They said, "Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided."
(71) He said, "He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.'" They said, "Now you have come with the truth." So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it.
(72) And [recall] when you slew a man and disputed over it, but Allah was to bring out that which you were concealing.
- i.e., exchanged accusations and denials.
(73) So We said, "Strike him [i.e., the slain man] with part of it." Thus does Allah bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason.
- i.e., the cow. Thereupon, Allah restored life to the man, who informed them of his murderer.
(74) Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
(75) Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah and then distort it [i.e., the Torah] after they had understood it while they were knowing?
(76) And when they meet those who believe, they say, "We have believed"; but when they are alone with one another, they say, "Do you talk to them about what Allah has revealed to you so they can argue with you about it before your Lord?" Then will you not reason?
(77) But do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare?
(78) And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except [indulgement in]wishful thinking, but they are only assuming.
(79) So woe to those who write the "scripture" with their own hands, then say, "This is from Allah,"in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
- i.e., death and destruction.
(80) And they say, "Never will the Fire touch us, except for [a few] numbered days." Say, "Have you taken a covenant with Allah? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?"
(81) Yes, [on the contrary], whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.
(82) But they who believe and do righteous deeds – those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.
(83) And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], "Do not worship except Allah; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give Zakah." Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.
(84) And [recall] when We took your covenant, [saying], "Do not shed your [i.e., each other's] blood or evict one another from your homes." Then you acknowledged [this] while you were witnessing.
(85) Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
(86) Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.
(87) And We did certainly give Moses the Scripture [i.e., the Torah] and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit [i.e., the angel Gabriel]. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed.
(88) And they said, "Our hearts are wrapped." But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe.
- Covered or sealed against reception of Allah's word.
(89) And when there came to them a Book [i.e., the Quran] from Allah confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers.
(90) How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed through [their] outrage that Allah would send down His favor upon whom He wills from among His servants. So they returned having [earned] wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers is a humiliating punishment.
(91) And when it is said to them, "Believe in what Allah has revealed," they say, "We believe [only] in what was revealed to us." And they disbelieve in what came after it, while it is the truth confirming that which is with them. Say, "Then why did you kill the prophets of Allah before, if you are [indeed]believers?"
(92) And Moses had certainly brought you clear proofs. Then you took the calf [in worship] after that, while you were wrongdoers.
(93) And [recall] when We took your covenant and raised over you the mount, [saying], "Take what We have given you with determination and listen." They said [instead], "We hear and disobey." And their hearts absorbed [the worship of] the calf because of their disbelief. Say, "How wretched is that which your faith enjoins upon you, if you should be believers."
(94) Say, [O Muhammad], "If the home of the Hereafter with Allah is for you alone and not the [other]people, then wish for death, if you should be truthful."
(95) But never will they wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers.
(96) And you will surely find them the most greedy of people for life – [even] more than those who associate others with Allah. One of them wishes that he could be granted life a thousand years, but it would not remove him in the least from the [coming] punishment that he should be granted life. And Allah is Seeing of what they do.
(97) Say, "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – it is [none but] he who has brought it [i.e., the Quran]down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah, confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers."
(98) Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.
(99) And We have certainly revealed to you verses [which are] clear proofs, and no one would deny them except the defiantly disobedient.
(100) Is it not [true] that every time they took a covenant a party of them threw it away? But, [in fact], most of them do not believe.