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Commentary on Surat Al-Baqarah

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Chapter 2: Surat Al-Baqarah
The Cow
(Selected Verses)

By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

  1. They shall have the portion of what they earned, and Allah is swift in reckoning.

If one begins to replace selfish actions with purer, selfless ones, and is patient and perceptive enough, one will discover that there is a greater reward to be had in this life from good intentions and actions. With selfless acts, one is relatively free from anxieties and expectations. Correct actions stemming from pure intentions will reap their own rewards. Because our awareness is inconsistent and incomplete, we see action and reaction as separate phenomena. When, however, intention and action are united, hypocrisy is eradicated and our awareness of Reality is increased. When the past is forgotten and the future causes no anxiety, they action and reaction are experienced as one continuum 'Allah is swift in reckoning.'

  1. Remember Allah during the numbered days. For the one who safeguards himself with fearful awareness, there is no blame on him if he hastens off in two days or delays. So fear Allah, and know that you shall be gathered to Him.

The specific reference here is to the three days after the sacrifice of the Pilgrimage. The normal state of a seeker is to be in steady remembrance of Allah. As a worldly enactment and expression of the great gathering in the next life, the pilgrims gather for the performance of the Pilgrimage in this life, each act of which symbolizes the journey to, and resurrection in, the next life. The entire cosmos emerged from a single point exploding and expanding. Eventually, it will collapse back again to its beginning; the eternal void of Allah's absolute beingness.

  1. Among men is he whose speech about the life of this world delights you, and he calls upon Allah to witness what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries.

  2. When he turns away, he strives with corrupt actions in the land, destroying the tillage and livestock. Allah has no love for corruption and dissention.

The worst enemy of truth and submission is he who promises that he means well, while actually intending dissention and corruption. The one who seeks knowledge with sincerity is the best supporter of Truth, for he unifies his intention and action, both of which are proven outwardly. If one's speech differs from one's intention, then the cup of unity is broken. The real enemy is within and that is the cause of failure. He who is broken up by his own ignorance cannot help but reflect his true reality by trying to break up the divine system which is the source of mercy. The shattered being has no option but to cause corruption and destruction of the natural order.

  1. And when it is said to him: Safeguard yourself with fearful awareness from Allah, pride carries him off to wrong action, so Hell is sufficient for him. Certainly it is a wretched resting-place.

When one is challenged by the truth of unity (tawhīd), the defense of the ego (nafs) is pride and self-elevation. This tough, protective layer of ignorant self-acknowledgement (shirk) is the natural state of that bottomless pit, that wasteland of permanent agitation Hell (Jahannam). In the next life that state is unchangeable, and its true reality is completely dominant without the buffer of physical existence.

  1. And among men is he who exchanges himself for seeking the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is compassionate to the servants.

The only way to taste the compassion and love that Allah has for His true worshipper and slave is to give oneself up. There is no end to satisfying the lower self; but freeing the heart of its desires in order to discover the desires of Allah, removes all the seeming resistances and obstacles in life. This can only be described as compassion.

  1. O you who believe, enter into peace and security completely, and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytān, for surely, he is your clear enemy!

Those who enter the Garden of peace, where no agitations, desires, fears or expectations reside, are those who trust that this final abode of knowledge is attainable by diligence and sincere striving. The prescription is contained in the Book, and the application is exemplified by the men of the Book. The footsteps of Shaytān lead the wayward on a blind and fruitless chase; this is clear for all who wish to see. But, by recognizing the lures and temptations of Shaytān, the lover of peace will tread carefully along the path of sincere faith.


Back Up Next

The Opening - A Commentary on Chapter 1: Surat Al-Fatiha ] The Cow - A Commentary on Chapter 2: Surat Al-Baqarah ] The Family of 'Imrān - A Commentary on Chapter 3: Surat Al-'Imrān ] The Spider - A Commentary on Chapter 29: Surat Al-'Ankabt ] The Heart of the Qur`an - A Commentary on Chapter 36: Surat Ya Sin ] The Beneficent - A Commentary on Chapter 55: Surat Al-Rahmn ] The Event - A Commentary on Chapter 56: Surat Al-Wqi'ah ] The Kingdom - A Commentary on Chapter 67: Surat Al-Mulk ] The Jinn - A Commentary on Chapter 72: Surat Al-Jinn ] The Unwrapped - A Commentary on Chapter 73: Surat Al-Muzzammil ] A Commentary on the Last Section of the Qur`an ]