Baqarah (The Cow) The Attitude of Jews

Ayyah 61 to 75

In The Name Of Allah

12 springs of Prophet Mosses

(2:61) And recall when you said: “O Moses, surely we cannot put up with one sort of food, so pray to your Lord to bring out for us what the earth produces – its herbs and its cucumbers and its corn and its lentils and its garlic and its onions.” Then Moses said: “Will you take a meaner thing in exchange for what is better? Go down to some city and there you shall get what you ask for.” And ignominy and wretchedness were pitched upon them and they were laden with the burden of Allah’s wrath. This was because they denied the Signs of Allah and slew the Prophets unrightfully.2 All this, because they disobeyed and persistently exceeded the limits (of the Law).

77.This does not mean that their real fault lay in asking for things that entailed cultivation instead of availing themselves of manna and quails which they received without any toil.

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What is emphasized here is that rather than being concerned with the great purpose for which they had been brought to the Sinai they relished the foods which gratified their palates to such a degree that they could not forgo them even temporarily (cf. Numbers 11: 4-2)

78. There are several ways in which one might deny the signs of God. First, one might refuse to accept those teachings of God which one found contrary to one’s fancies and desires.

Second, one might know that something is from God and yet willfully flout it. Third, one might know well the import of God’s directives and yet distort them.

79. The Israelites recorded their crimes in detail in their own history. Here are just a few examples from the Bible:

(1) After the death of Solomon the state of the Israelites was split into two: the State of Judah with its capital in Jerusalem, and the State of Israel with its capital in Samaria. This was followed by a series of wars between the two States so that the State of Judah sought the assistance of the Aramacan State of Damascus against its own kinsmen. At this, Hamani the seer went under God’s direction to Asa (ruler) the king and rebuked him. Instead of rectifying his behavior, Asa was so angry that he put the seer in the stocks. (See 2 Chronicles 16: 7-10.)

(2) When Elijah denounced the Jews for their worship of Baal and invited them to return to monotheism, Ahab, the king of Israel pursued him for the sake of his pagan wife so that he

had to take refuge in the mountains of the Sinai peninsula. On this occasion, according to the Bible, he said: ‘. . . the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword., and 1, even 1 only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away’ (1 Kings 19: 14).

(3) The same king Ahab imprisoned another Prophet, Micah, for no other reason than that of

speaking the truth. King Ahab ordered that he should be given only bread and water. (See 1 Kings 22: 26-7)

(4) When idol-worship and moral corruption became prevalent in Judah and the Prophet Zechariah raised his voice against them, he was stoned to death in the very court of the house of the Lord. (See 2 Chronicles 24: 21.)

(5) When the Israelite State of Samaria was wiped out by the State of Jerusalem, the Prophet Jeremiah deplored the condition of the Israelites. He warned them that it was time they set about mending their ways otherwise they would face an even more calamitous end than that of Samaria. The response to this sincere preaching was abuse and curses: he was beaten, imprisoned, put in the stocks and lowered by ropes into a cistern, where he was left to die of hunger and thirst. He was also accused of various crimes, including treason and conspiracy. (See Jeremiah 15: 10; 18: 20-3; 20: 1-18; 36-40)

(6) It is reported of another Prophet, Amos, that when he denounced the widespread errors

and corruption in the State of Samaria and warned of the evil consequences that follow such misdeeds, he was condemned to exile and told to pursue his prophetic task somewhere beyond its frontiers. (See Amos 7: 10-13.)

(7) When John the Baptist protested against the acts of moral corruption that were brazenly practiced in his court, Herod, the ruler of Judah, first put John into prison, then had him beheaded at the request of a dancing girl, and had his head set on a platter and presented to the girl. (See Mark 6: 17-29)

(8) The same hostility to Prophets is evident from the life of Jesus. The priests and political leaders of Israel ultimately became inflamed against Jesus, who criticized them for their impiety and hypocrisy and invited them to true faith and righteousness. It was this which prompted them to prepare a false case against him and persuade the Romans to sign a death sentence. Later, when the Roman governor, Pilate, asked them which of the two prisoners – Jesus or Barabbas, a notorious brigand – should be released on the occasion of the feast, they asked for the release of Barabbas and for the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27: 20-6). This is a shameful chapter in the record of the Jewish nation, to which the Qur’an refers here in passing. It is evident that when a nation chooses its most notoriously criminal and wicked people for positions of leadership, and its righteous and holy men for goal and the scaffold,

God has no alternative but to lay His curse and damnation on that nation.

(2:62) Whether they are the ones who believe (in the Arabian Prophet), or whether

they are Jews, Christians or Sabians – all who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and

do righteous deeds – their reward is surely secure with their Lord; they need have no

fear, nor shall they grieve.%

80. The context of the verse makes it clear that it is not attempting to enumerate in detail all

the articles of faith in which one should believe, or all the principles of conduct which one should follow in order to merit reward from God. These matters are mentioned elsewhere, in their appropriate places. The aim of the verse is merely to repudiate the illusion cherished by the Jews that, by virtue of their being Jews, they have a monopoly of salvation. They had long entertained the notion that a special and exclusive relationship existed between them and God. They thought, therefore, that all who belonged to their group were predestined to salvation regardless of their beliefs and actions,. whereas all non-Jews were predestined to serve as fodder for hell-fire.

To clarify this misgiving the Jews are told that what really matters in the sight of God is true faith and good deeds rather than formal affiliation with a certain religious community.

Whoever has true faith and good deeds to his credit is bound to receive his reward, since God will judge people on the basis of merit rather than on the grounds that a man’s name happens to be listed in the world as a member of one religious community or the other.

(2:63) And recall when We made a covenant with you and caused the Mount Sinai to

tower above you,*! (saying): “Hold fast to the Book that We have given you, and

remember the directives and commandments in it, that you be pious.”

81. From the manner in which this incident is described at various places in the Qur’an it is obvious that, at that time, it was quite well known to the Israelites. It is difficult, however, after the Passage of many centuries to be able to speak with certainty about the precise nature of the incident. All we can say is that while the Children of Israel were making their covenant in the shadow of Mount Sinai, they witnessed an awesome phenomenon and felt as if the mountain was about to fall upon them. (Verse 171 of Surah al-A’raf) seems to portray this. See also (n. 132 in that surah.)

(2:64) Then you turned away from your covenant, and had it not been for Allah’s

grace and mercy upon you, you would have long been utter losers.

(2:65) And you know the case of those of you who broke the Sabbath,2 how We said to them: “Become apes, despised and hated.”

82. Sabbath, i.e., Saturday . It was laid down that the Israelite should consecrate that day for rest and worship. They were required to from abstain from all worldly acts, including cooking (which they might neither do themselves, nor have their servants do for them). The injunctions, in this connection were so strict that violation of the Sabbath was to be punished with death. (See Exodus 31:12-17. ) When religious and moral decadence, however, spread among the Israelites they indulged in open desecration of the Sabbath, so much so that in Jewish towns trade and commerce were carried out in broad daylight.

83. The details of this incident are mentioned later in (Surah 7, vv. 163) ff. The exact manner in which their transformation into apes took place is disputed. Some scholars are of the opinion that the transformation was a physical one, while others hold that they were invested with the attributes characteristic of apes. But both the words and the manner in which this incident is recounted in the Qur’an seem to suggest that what took place was a physical transformation of certain persons into apes rather than just a moral metamorphosis.

What seems plausible to me is that while their minds were allowed to remain intact, their bodies were changed into those of apes.

(2:66) And thus We made their end a warning for the people of their own time and for

the aoe generations, ane an admonition to the God-fearing.

(2:67) And then recall when Moses said to his people: “Behold, Allah commands you

to slaughter a cow.” They said: “Are you jesting with us?” Moses answered: “I seek

a in ma that I should behave in the manner of – ignorant.”

(2:68) They said: “Pray to your Lord that He make clear to us what she is like.” Moses answered: “He says, she is a cow, neither old nor immature, but of an age in between the two. Do, then, what you have been commanded.”

(2:69) They said: “Pray to your Lord that He make clear to us of what color she is.” Moses answered: “He says, she is a yellow cow, with a bright color which is pleasing to those who see!”

(2:70) They said: “Pray to your Lord that He make clear to us what cow she is. Cows seem much alike to us, and if Allah wills, we shall be guided.”

84. Through contact with neighboring peoples, the Israelites had become infested with the

attitude of sanctifying the cow, in fact they had even become accustomed to cow-worship. In order to disabuse the Jews of this, they were ordered to slaughter the cow. Their professed belief that God alone was worthy of worship could be tested only by making them slaughter with their own hands what they had formerly worshipped. This test was indeed a hard one since their hearts were not fully imbued with faith. Hence, they tried to shelve the issue by resorting to enquiries about the kind of animal they were required to slaughter. But the more they enquired, the narrower the strait became for them, until the indications were as obvious as if someone had put his finger precisely on the particular animal they were required to slaughter – the animal which had for so long been an object of their worship. The Old Testament also mentions the incident, but there is no reference to the manner in which the Jews tried to evade the matter. (See Numbers 19: 1-10.)

(2:71) Moses answered: “Lo! He says she is a cow unyoked to plow the earth or to water the tillage, one that has been kept secure, with no blemish on her!” Thereupon they cried out: “Now you have come forth with the information that will direct us aright.” And they slaughtered her although they scarcely seemed to do so.

(2:72) And recall when you killed a man and then began to remonstrate and cast the blame (of killing) upon one another even though Allah was determined to bring to light what you were hiding.

(2:73) Then We ordered: “Smite the corpse with a part of it.” Thus does Allah bring the dead to life and thus does He show His Signs that you might understand.

85. At least one thing becomes clear from this statement: that the slain person was restored

to life at least long enough to indicate his assassins. But the actual words in which the order

‘smite the corpse with a part of it’ is couched tend to create a measure of ambiguity.

Nevertheless, the meaning inferred by the early Qur’anic commentators – that the order was

to smite the slain man’s body with some part of the slaughtered cow – seems to me plausible.

Two birds were thus killed with one stone: first, they were made to behold a sign of God’s

power; and second, the notion that the cow possessed any holiness or sanctity was shattered.

For if the of the object of their worship – the cow – had any supernatural power, some

calamity should have visited them as a consequence of slaughtering it. But no calamity took

place. On the contrary, killing the cow seemed to be beneficial insofar as striking a dead

man with a part of it brought him back to life.

(2:74) Then (even after observing this) your hearts hardened and became like stones, or even harder. For surely there are some stones from which streams burst forth and some that split asunder and water issues out, and some that crash down for fear of Allah. Allah is not heedless of the things you do.

(2:75) Do you hope that these people will believe in the Message you are preaching,¢ even though a part of them has been wont to listen to the Word of Allah and after they had fully grasped it, knowingly distorted it?

86. This is addressed to the converts of Madina, who had then lately embraced the faith of the Arabian Prophet. These people had some vague notions about Prophet hood, Heavenly Scriptures, Angels, the After-life, Divine Law, and so on, and for this, they were indebted to their Jewish neighbors. It was from these same Jewish neighbors that they had heard that another Prophet was about to appear and that his followers would prevail over the rest of the world.

It was partly because of this background that when the people of Madina heard about the Prophet, they readily turned towards him and embraced Islam in large numbers. They naturally expected that those who already followed Prophets and Divine Scriptures, and who, by introducing them to these ideas had contributed to their embracing the true faith, would not only join the ranks of the true believers but would even be amongst their vanguard. As a result of these expectations, the enthusiastic Muslim converts approached their Jewish friends and neighbors and invited them to embrace Islam. When the Jews flatly declined to do so, this negative reply was exploited by the hypocrites and other enemies of Islam as an argument for creating doubts about the truth of Islam.

If Muhammad was the true Prophet, they argued, how was it conceivable that the Jewish scholars and divines would deliberately turn away from him since if he was a true prophet, such a behavior would be tantamount to ruining their After-life? Here the simple-hearted Muslims learn of the historical record of the Jews, a record that is replete with perversion and corruption. This was designed to make them realize that they ought not to expect too much of a people with so dark a past, for if they were not realistic in their expectations about them they would be utterly disappointed when their call failed to penetrate their hardened and stony hearts. Their chronic decadence had a history of several centuries.

For a long time, they had treated those verses of the Scriptures which made sincere believers tremble in awe as objects of jest and play. They had tailored religion to suit their base desires and it was around such a perverted view of religion that all their hopes of salvation were centered. It was futile to hope that such people would flock to the call of Truth the moment it was proclaimed.

87.’A party of them’ refers to the scholars and religious doctors of the Jewish community.

The! Word of God’ here signifies the Torah, the Psalms (Zabur) and other Scriptures which the Jews had received through the Prophets. ‘Distortion’ denotes the attempt to twist a text in such a manner as to make it signify something different from its real meaning, and may also denote tampering with the text of the Scriptures. The Israelite scholars had subjected the Scriptures to distortions of both kinds.

Credit to syed Mowdudi

Published
Categorized as quran

By Tariq Saleem

I am a student of Quran and keen to make dawah for inviting peoples to save there selves from hellfire. This life is very short then the eternal life after death every body has to think about it and do some research to walk on a true path.

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