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SURAH BAQARAH THE COW VERSES 61-71 And remember when you said O Musa, we cannot endure one

kind of food, so invoke your lord for us, to bring forth for us, what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its wheat, its lentils and its onions He said would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower. Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want. See the Jews had been sentenced to leading this life in the desert and the reason for that wasn t because it was a sadistic punishment, it was so that desert life could again inculcate within them the spirit of nobility, the spirit of jihad which they had lost out on. But the Jews rejected that desert life and said no no we want a cosy little suburban existence Allah says and they were covered with humiliation and misery and they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. You might say but the Jews are the most powerful world power today and they control the media and they control the finance system and they control everything. If you think about it, one of the ironies of the Jews is that they love to portray themselves as the persecuted ones and if they ever show documentaries they will always show themselves as the poor miserable Jews ill treated by everyone in the world. Allah says they were covered with humiliation and misery and this could be one aspect of Allah s punishment upon them that they themselves perceive themselves as being ill treated and wretched and persecuted. And they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. Why did this happen? This was because they used to disbelieve the signs of Allah. They rejected, they disobeyed, they distorted the commands of Allah and they used to kill the prophets wrongfully.That is because they disobeyed and they used to transgress the bounds Now . we can think about it. Are we Muslims obeying Allah, we don t even know whats in the Qur an, forget implementing whats in it. Are we transgressing the bounds today? If we are then we know what to expect. Now Allah goes onto say. Indeed those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians and Sabians - whoever believes in Allah and the last day and does good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. This ayat needs to be understood because it is one of the most misquoted and misunderstood ayats of the Qur an. People read this ayat and say Oh fine Allah is saying it doesn t matter whatever religion you follow, as long as you believe in Allah and the last day you will be forgiven. The point is we cannot just take one ayat from the Qur an out of context and base our tafsir, our creed upon that one ayat. We need to understand this ayat as part of the whole. Earlier on we have already read the description of the muttaqeen those who believe in ghaib. The Prophet pbuh defined Al ghaib that you believe in Allah and his angels and his books and his books and his messengers, all his messengers and the last day and that you believe in destiny. We have to follow the Prophet pbuh s definition. Here Allah swt has just given us a brief summary of the iman believe in Allah and you believe in the last day and if you look at the opening verses of Al Baqarah you will find that it ends with they believe with certainty in the hereafter . So Allah swt has simply stated a brief summary of faith here. For the details of iman in Al Ghaib we look at the Sunnah of the prophet pbuh and the rest of the Qur an. So Allah says whether someone was a Jews or a Christian or a Sabian, provided they believe in Allah and in all aspects of Al Ghaib they shall have their reward with their Lord.

And O Children of Israel remember when we took your covenant and we raised above you the mount saying hold fast to that which we have given you and remember that which is therein so that you may become Allah conscious. This is the relationship we are supposed to have with the divine book. What is that? Knowledge and acting upon it. This is our relationship with the Qur an as it should be. Act upon it and know whats in it. We can t just say Oh i m going to have knowledge of the Qur an or i m going to know the grammar of the Qur an but i m not acting upon it. And I can t just say i ve just read the Qur an once and I think i know what it means so i m going to act upon it according to my own interpretation. We need deep knowledge and we need complete implementation. Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you indeed you would have been among the losers. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For the Jews the Sabbath was sacred and on Saturday they were not supposed to do work of any sort. There was this fishing village and what they used to do was that they would place their nets on Friday night and collect them on Sunday morning which is the equivalent of Muslims also today delight in saying things like that Oh yes we are following the letter of the law. Allah says what happened to these people? We said to them become monkeys, despised and rejected. So we made this punishment an example to their own and to succeeding generations and a lesson to those who are Allah conscious. And remember when Musa AS said to his people, indeed Allah commands you to slaughter a cow, they said do you make fun of us? He said I seek Allah s refuge from being among the ignorant. What had happened was that a man was killed amongst the Jews and the true murderer framed an innocent man for that crime (this is one tradition that is being related) . When the people came to Musa AS seeking a solution, he said Allah commands you to slaughter a cow. What happened was that the Jews in their heart of hearts revered and partially worshipped the cow because of their long sojourn in Egypt where the cow was held sacred. So instead of saying what was in their hearts they said are you making fun of us, why should we do that? . So he said I seek Allah s refuge from being among the ignorant and I would never joke about something like this . Now because they didn t want to obey Allah, they started coming up with excuses They said call upon your Lord so that He may make plain for us what it is. He said Allah says it is a cow, neither too old, nor too young, but it is between the two conditions so do what you are commanded They said call upon your Lord for us to make plain for us its colour. He said Allah says it is a yellow cow. Bright in its colour, pleasing to the beholder. They said call upon your Lord for us to make plain for us what it is. Indeed to us all cows are alike and if Allah wills we will be guided Musa said He says it is a cow neither trained to till the soil, nor water the field, sound having no coliur except bright yellow. They said now you have brought the truth.

Now you can see as they got more and more into this hair splitting and wanting to know every little detail the more difficult it became for them. And ultimately what happened? They slaughtered it, even though they were near to not doing it. Eventually they did obey Allah but after great difficulty.