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Surat Al-Baqarah - Foreword

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

By: Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri


by Mahmoud Ayoub, Ph.D
Professor of Islamic Studies
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.

Say: Were the sea to be ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord are exhausted, even if We brought the like of it to add [thereto].

The Qur`an 18:109

The Qur`an is the transcendent Word of the Transcendent Lord, Creator and Sustainer of all things. With it, creation began when God took our covenant with the question: 'Am I not your Lord?' (Qur`an 7:172). With it, history began, when He announced to the angels: 'Behold, I am about to set a representative (khalīfah) on earth!' In it, history will continue its cosmic journey from the multiplicity of things and names to the One, when 'the earth shall shine forth with the Light of its Lord', and the eternal voice of the Ever-Living and All-Sovereign Lord shall challenge all creation: 'To whom shall all dominion today belong?' The resounding answer will then echo: 'To God, the One, the All-Conquering!' Yet, God in His infinite mercy willed that His timeless Word, the Qur`an, should enter into our finite history to shape and guide it to its fulfillment on a day when He alone shall be King and Master.

The Qur`an, which we write in our books (masāhif), preserve in our hearts and recite with our tongues, was sent down onto the heart of Allah's (Allah in Arabic means God) beloved servant and Messenger, Muhammad, may God's blessing and mercy rest forever on him, his family and his righteous Companions.

The science of writing, understanding and interpreting the Qur`an has occupied the best minds of the Muslim ummah (community) throughout its long history. The fruits of these labors are contained in the vast literature of tafsīr (interpretation). The Qur`an, in its inner and infinite dimensions, is known only to God. Yet, to the Prophet and the chosen few of his followers, the veils were removed, and they were able to touch the inner mysteries of the Qur`an with their purified hearts and minds, 'for none but the pure shall touch it.' The righteous friends of God (awliyā Allah al-sālihīn), who purified their hearts in this ocean of knowledge, left for us allusions and glimpses to guide us in our journey (sulūk) to Allah.

Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri's commentaries are dedicated to the task of making the Qur`an available to the men and women of the present age, that they may contemplate, understand and be guided by it in their daily lives, and in their spiritual quest. He has undertaken to present the Qur`an in Arabic, its original language, and to study its inner and outer meanings. The present work, in addition, presents the Qur`an in both its exoteric and historical dimension and its inner dimension to the Western reader. In the task of tafsīr (interpretation), standard works in this field will be used, but in ways that are relevant to the present age and its needs. This volume is the first of five volumes aimed at achieving this objective.

The Qur`an must speak to the condition of every age -- this it can most effectively do through an inner and primary exposition of its revelations. Thus, through the reflection of Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, as God shall illuminate his heart, the inner dimension of the Qur`an will be touched.

Say: Work! For God Alone shall see your work, His Messenger, and the people of faith. In Him alone do we trust, for with Him is right guidance, and to Him shall be our return.

The Qur`an 9:105

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-'Ankabūt ] The Heart of the Qur`an - A Commentary on Chapter 36: Surat Ya Sin ] The Beneficent - A Commentary on Chapter 55: Surat Al-Rahmān ] The Event - A Commentary on Chapter 56: Surat Al-Wāqi'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 ]