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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah - The Cow) > Section 5 (Verses 40 to 46)


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Section/Ruku 5 [Verses 40 to 46]: Israelite Prophecies Fulfilled in Quran:
Chapter 2: (Al-Baqarah - The Cow)
(Revealed at Madinah: 40 sections; 286 verses)

1. Translation:

40 O Children of Israel, call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I shall fulfil (My) covenant with you;
a and Me, Me alone, should you fear.

41 And believe in that which I have revealed, verifying that which is with you,a and be not the first to deny it; neither take a mean priceb for My messages; and keep your duty to Me, Me alone.

42 And mix not up truth with falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know.a

43 And keep up prayer and pay the poor-ratea and bow down with those who bow down.

44 Do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book? Have you then no sense?a

45 And seek assistance through patience and prayer,a and this is hard except for the humble ones,

46 Who knowa that they will meet their Lord and that to Him they will return.

2. Commentary:

40a. After speaking of the need of Divine Revelation, the Quran now speaks of a nation to whom this favour was granted, among whom many prophets were raised and who were also made rulers in the earth: "Remember the favour of Allah to you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He gave not to any other of the nations" (5:20). The Jewish people who are addressed here are generally mentioned as Children of Israel, Israel being the other name of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham.

As for the covenants spoken of here, see Deut. 26:17–19: "Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgements, and to hearken unto His voice. And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldst keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour." The "hearkening unto the voice of the Lord" means the acceptance of the revelation to the promised prophet of Deut. 18:18, as Deut. 18:19 shows clearly: "And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him." [Back to verse 40]

41a. The verification referred to here is clearly the fulfilment of the promise contained in Deut. 18:15–18: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken .... I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." It is nowhere but in the Holy Quran that the "word of God", as promised here, is "put into the Prophet’s mouth", and no prophet ever claimed to have come in fulfilment of this prophecy except the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The whole of the Israelite history after Moses is silent as to the appearance of the promised prophet of Deut. Even Jesus Christ never said that he came in fulfilment of that prophecy and his apostles truly felt that difficulty when they thought that that prophecy would be fulfilled in the second coming of Christ. But one of the earliest messages of the Holy Prophet was that he was the like of the prophet sent to Pharaoh (73:15), and the claim is often repeated in the Holy Quran. [Back to verse 41]

41b. The religious leaders are specially addressed in this section. They rejected the truth which the Prophet brought, fearing to lose their high position as leaders. They thus sacrificed truth to the inducements of this life, and took "a mean price" for it. [Back to verse 41]

42a. It is again the religious leaders who are spoken of here: "Mixing up the truth with falsehood" signifies their mixing up the prophecy with their own false interpretations of it, and thus making obscure the prophecy itself, while "hiding the truth" signifies their concealing the prophecy itself, for they often commanded their followers not to disclose to the Muslims those prophecies which were known to them. Compare v. 76. Or, by the truth is meant that which was revealed to their prophets, and by falsehood their own ideas which they mixed up with Divine Revelation. [Back to verse 42]

43a. These are the two fundamental principles of religion, worship of God through prayer to Him, and service of humanity or helping the poor. [Back to verse 43]

44a. The leaders enjoined their followers to be good because they could not remain leaders otherwise, but their own lives were corrupt. They read the Book and yet they did not follow it; how could the ignorant masses benefit by their preaching? [Back to verse 44]

45a. A sign of the promised prophet of Deut. 18:18 was that he would utter prophecies which would prove true. "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:21, 22). The Quran had in the Prophet’s utter helplessness at Makkah, and when the Quraish were day and night planning to take away his very life, uttered forcible predictions of the final triumph of the Prophet and of the vanquishment and discomfiture of his opponents, and those prophecies were now being fulfilled. They were, therefore, asked to wait until the Truth shone out in its full resplendence and to seek Divine help through prayer. [Back to verse 45]

46a. Zann signifies thought, opinion or conjecture, and also knowledge or certainty which "is obtained by considering with endeavour to understand, not by ocular perception, or not such as relates to an object of sense" (LL). [Back to verse 46]

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah - The Cow) > Section 5 (Verses 40 to 46)


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