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Understanding The Quran

Al-Baqarah (The Cow)

Meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah with Explanatory Notes by Kaleem Ullah Khan

Masaluhum: their parable (example) is Kamasali: like the parable, Lazee: of one who, Istauqada: kindled (or lighted up) naraa: fire, Falamma: so when, adhaat: it lighted, ma haw lahu: his surroundings, Zahaballahu: Allah took away, binoorihim: their light (sight), watarakahum: and left them, fizulumaati: in darkenesses, laayubsiroon: they don’t see, sumum: (they are) deaf, bukmun: dumb, umyun: blind, Fahum: so they, laayubsiroon: would not return. Aw: or (their parable is), kasayibim: like heavy rain, minassama: from the sky, feehi: in it (there are), zulumaat: darknesses, wa ra’ad: and thunder, wa bark: and lightening, yajialoona: they put, assabiahum: their fingers, fi-aazaanihim: in their ears, minassawaiki: from the thunderclaps, hazaral-maut: fearing death, wal-lahu: and Allah, muheetum: is encompassing, bilkaafireen: the disbelieves. Yakaadu: it is nearly that, albarku: the lighting, yakhtafu: snatches away, absaarahum: their sight, kullamaa: when ever, ada’a: it flashes, lahum: for them, mashaw: they walk, feehi: in it, wa-iza: and when, azlama: it darkens, alaihim: upon them, qaamu: they stand (still), wa-lay: and if, shaa-Allahu: Allah had (so) willed, lazahaba: he would have taken away, bisam-ihim: their faculty of hearing, wa-absaarihim: and their light (sight), innal-Allaha: verily Allah is, alakulli shai-in: on everything, Qadeer: powerful.

Verse 17: Their1 example is like the example of the one who lighted up a fire. So when it lighted his surroundings, Allah took away their sight and left them in darknesses, so they do not see2.

Verse 18: They are deaf, dumb (and) blind so they would not return (to the guidance)3.

Verse 19: Or their parable is (like a) rainstorm from the sky, in it are darknesses and thunderclaps and lightening. They thrust their fingers into their ears (due to the fear) from thunderclaps fearing death and Allah is encompassing the disbelievers4.

Verse 20: The lightening almost snatches their power of sight. Whenever it lightens up for them they walk in it, and when it darkens upon them they stand (still)5. And if Allah has so willed, He would have taken away their power of sight and their faculty of hearing. Indeed Allah has power over every thing.6

Foot Notes

  1. i.e. hypocrites.
  2. Before the arrival of the final messenger of Allah (Muhammad pbuh) world was engulfed with the darkness of ignorance, thus human beings had lost their way (to salvation); it was in such circumstances he lit a fire and the straight path (siraat-ul-Mustaqeem) became distinct from the path of error. Right thinking persons (mutaqoon) found the way and adopted it while the persons burning with the fire of hatred and jealousy (hypocrites) were not ready to follow this path to salvation and thus lost their faculty of sight and were left in darkness despite the light.
  3. Hypocrites don’t utilize their faculties, so they are not ready to listen the true message. They are not ready to speak the truth or see the true path.
  4. Falling rain here symbolizes the revelations bestowed upon man through the blessed Prophet. Thunder in this parable symbolizes dangers and challenges, the prophetic mission faces. Hypocrites being timid people are not ready to face the dangers, thus keep their options open. They fail to understand that the way they adopt will invite the wrath and torment of Allah and no force can thus save them from His anger.
  5. These hypocrites are timid people and their verbal declaration of faith is for their convenience and not by conviction. So whenever they see some gains they start walking together with the true faithful, but when they see some hardships in this true path and feel that some of their worldly gains may be lost, they stand still.
  6. Allah out of His mercy still does not deprive them of the way to salvation and leaves a ray of hope for them to correct themselves.
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