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*Z K W

ZAKA-T n.f. — alms [Ar]; poor-due [Pk]; charity [Ali]; Zakat [Bl]

2:43(40) and perform the prayer, and pay the alms

2 THE COW (38 — 69)

2. The Cow (40 — 66)

Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, confirming that which is with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me. And do not confound the truth with vanity, and do not conceal the truth wittingly. 40And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bow with those that bow. Will you bid others to piety, and forget yourselves while you recite the Book? Do you not understand? Seek you help in patience and prayer, for grievous it is, save to the humble who reckon that they shall meet their Lord and that unto Him they are returning.

Children of Israel, remember My blessing wherewith I blessed you, and that I have preferred you above all beings; and beware of a day when no soul for another 45shall give satisfaction, and no intercession shall be accepted from it, nor any counterpoise be taken, neither shall they be helped.

And when We delivered you from the folk of Pharaoh who were visiting you with evil chastisement, slaughtering your sons, and sparing your women; and in that was a grievous trial from your Lord. And when We divided for you the sea and delivered you, and drowned Pharaoh's folk while you were beholding. And when We appointed with Moses forty nights then you took to yourselves the Calf after him and you were evildoers; then We pardoned you after that, that haply you should be thankful. 50And when We gave to Moses the Book and the Salvation, that haply you should be guided. And when Moses said to his people, 'My people, you have done wrong against yourselves by your taking the Calf; now turn to your Creator and slay one another. That will be better for you in your Creator's sight, and He will turn to you; truly He turns, and is All-compassionate.' And when you said, 'Moses, we will not believe thee till we see God openly'; and the thunderbolt took you while you were beholding. Then We raised you up after you were dead, that haply you should be thankful. And We outspread the cloud to overshadow you, and We sent down manna and quails upon you: 'Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.' And they worked no wrong upon Us, but themselves they wronged. 55And when We said, 'Enter this township, and eat easefully of it wherever you will, and enter in at the gate, prostrating, and say, Unburdening; We will forgive you your transgressions, and increase the good-doers.' Then the evildoers substituted a saying other than that which had been said to them; so We sent down upon the evildoers wrath out of heaven of their ungodliness. And when Moses sought water for his people, so We said, 'Strike with thy staff the rock'; and there gushed forth from it twelve fountains; all the people knew now their drinking-place. 'Eat and drink of God's providing, and mischief not in the earth, doing corruption.' And when you said, 'Moses, we will not endure one sort of food; pray to thy Lord for us, that He may bring forth for us of that the earth produces— green herbs, cucumbers, corn, lentils, onions.' He said, 'Would you have in exchange what is meaner for what is better? Get you down to Egypt; you shall have there that you demanded.' And abasement and poverty were pitched upon them, and they were laden with the burden of God's anger; that, because they had disbelieved the signs of God and slain the Prophets unrightfully; that, because they disobeyed, and were transgressors. Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabaeans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness—their wage awaits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.

60And when We took compact with you, and raised above you the Mount: 'Take forcefully what We have given you, and remember what is in it; haply you shall be godfearing.' Then you turned away thereafter, and but for the bounty and mercy of God towards you, you had been of the losers. And well you know there were those among you that transgressed the Sabbath, and We said to them, 'Be you apes, miserably slinking!' And We made it a punishment exemplary for all the former times and for the latter, and an admonition to such as are godfearing. And when Moses said to his people, 'God commands you to sacrifice a cow.' They said, 'Dost thou take us in mockery?' He said, ' I take refuge with God, lest I should be one of the ignorant.' They said, 'Pray to thy Lord for us, that He may make clear to us what she may be.' He said, 'He says she is a cow neither old, nor virgin, middling between the two; so do that you are bidden.' 65They said, 'Pray to thy Lord for us, that He make clear to us what her colour may be.' He said, 'He says she shall be a golden cow, bright her colour, gladdening the beholders.' They said, 'Pray to thy Lord for us, that He make clear to us what she may be; cows are much alike to us; and, if God will, we shall then be guided.' He said, 'He says she shall be a cow not broken to plough the earth or to water the tillage, one kept secure, with no blemish on her.' They said, 'Now thou hast brought the truth'; and therefore they sacrificed her, a thing they had scarcely done. And when you killed a living soul, and disputed thereon—and God disclosed what you were hiding— so We said, 'Smite him with part of it'; even so God brings to life the dead, and He shows you His signs, that haply you may have understanding. Then your hearts became hardened thereafter and are like stones, or even yet harder; for there are stones from which rivers come gushing, and others split, so that water issues from them, and others crash down in the fear of God. And God is not heedless of the things you do.

40Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you. Honour your pledge to Me and I will honour My pledge to you: I am the One you should fear. 41Believe in the message I have sent down confirming what you already possess. Do not be the first to disbelieve in it, and do not sell My messages for a small price: I am the One of whom you should be mindful. 42Do not mix truth with falsehood, or hide the truth when you know it. 43Keep up the prayer, pay the prescribed alms, and bow your heads [in worship] with those who bow theirs. 44How can you tell people to do what is right and forget to do it yourselves, even though you recite the Scripture? Have you no sense? 45Seek help with steadfastness and prayer—though this is hard indeed for anyone but the humble, 46who knowa One of the classical meanings of zanna is 'to know' rather than the predominant modern sense of 'to think'. This term is used in the sense of knowledge several times in the Qur'an. that they will meet their Lord and that it is to Him they will return.

47Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you and favoured you over other people. 48Guard yourselves against a Day when no soul will stand in place of another, no intercession will be accepted for it, nor any ransom; nor will they be helped. 49Remember when We saved you from Pharaoh's people, who subjected you to terrible torment, slaughtering your sons and sparing only your women— this was a great trial from your Lord—50and when We parted the sea for you, so saving you and drowning Pharaoh's people right before your eyes. 51We appointed forty nights for Moses [on Mount Sinai] and then, while he was away, you took to worshipping the calf—a terrible wrong. 52Even then We forgave you, so that you might be thankful.

53Remember when We gave Moses the Scripture, and the means to distinguish [right and wrong], so that you might be guided. 54Moses said to his people, 'My people, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf, so repent to your Maker and kill [the guilty among] you. That is the best you can do in the eyes of your Maker.' He accepted your repentance: He is the Ever Relenting and the Most Merciful. 55Remember when you said, 'Moses, we will not believe you until we see God face to face.' At that, thunderbolts struck you as you looked on. 56Then We revived you after your death, so that you might be thankful. 57We made the clouds cover you with shade, and sent manna and quails down to you, saying, 'Eat the good things We have provided for you.' It was not Us they wronged; they wronged themselves.

58Remember when We said, 'Enter this town and eat freely there as you will, but enter its gate humbly and say, "Relieve us!� Then We shall forgive you your sins and increase the rewards of those who do good.' 59But the wrongdoers substituted a different word from the one they had been given. So, because they persistently disobeyed, We sent a plague down from the heavens upon the wrongdoers.

60Remember when Moses prayed for water for his people and We said to him, 'Strike the rock with your staff.' Twelve springs gushed out, and each group knew its drinking place. 'Eat and drink the sustenance God has provided and do not cause corruption in the land.' 61Remember when you said, 'Moses, we cannot bear to eat only one kind of food, so pray to your Lord to bring out for us some of the earth's produce, its herbs and cucumbers, its garlic, lentils, and onions.' He said, 'Would you exchange better for worse? Go to Egypt and there you will find what you have asked for.' They were struck with humiliation and wretchedness, and they incurred the wrath of God because they persistently rejected His messages and killed prophets contrary to all that is right. All this was because they disobeyed and were lawbreakers.

62The [Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabiansa The Sabians were a monotheistic religious community. See M. Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1997), 40 n. 49.—all those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good—will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve. 63Remember when We took your pledge, and made the mountain tower high above you, and said, 'Hold fast to what We have given you and bear its contents in mind, so that you may be conscious of God.' 64Even after that you turned away. Had it not been for God's favour and mercy on you, you would certainly have been lost. 65You know about those of you who broke the Sabbath, and so We said to them, 'Be like apes!b This is understood by some as 'physically turn into apes' but in fact it is a figure of speech—the structure 'be apes' is like 'be stones/iron' in 17: 50. Just as the Qur'an describes the disbelievers as blind, deaf, and dumb, here the transgressors are apes. Be outcasts!' 66We made this an example to those people who were there at the time and to those who came after them, and a lesson to all who are mindful of God.

Footnotes:

a One of the classical meanings of zanna is 'to know' rather than the predominant modern sense of 'to think'. This term is used in the sense of knowledge several times in the Qur'an.

a The Sabians were a monotheistic religious community. See M. Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1997), 40 n. 49.

b This is understood by some as 'physically turn into apes' but in fact it is a figure of speech—the structure 'be apes' is like 'be stones/iron' in 17: 50. Just as the Qur'an describes the disbelievers as blind, deaf, and dumb, here the transgressors are apes.

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