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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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The Qurʾan What is This? A current English-language version of the Qur'an, published in 2004
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

2. The Cow (97 – 121)

97Say [Prophet], ‘If anyone is an enemy of Gabriel—who by God's leave brought down the Qurʾan to your heart confirming previous scriptures as a guide and good news for the faithful—98if anyone is an enemy of God, His angels and His messengers, of Gabriel and Michael, then God is certainly the enemy of such disbelievers.’ 99For We have sent down clear messages to you and only those who defy [God] would refuse to believe them. 100How is it that whenever they make a covenant or a pledge, some of them throw it away? In fact, most of them do not believe.

101When God sent them a messenger confirming the Scriptures they already had, some of those who had received the Scripture before threw the Book of God over their shoulders as if they had no knowledge, 102and followed what the evil ones had fabricated about the Kingdom of Solomon instead. Not that Solomon himself was a disbeliever; it was the evil ones who were disbelievers. They taught people witchcraft and what was revealed in Babylon to the two angels Harut and Marut. Yet these two never taught anyone without first warning him, ‘We are sent only to tempt—do not disbelieve.’ From these two, they learned what can cause discord between man and wife, although they harm no one with it except by God's leave. They learned what harmed them, not what benefited them, knowing full well that whoever gained [this knowledge] would lose any share in the Hereafter. Evil indeed is the [price] for which they sold their souls, if only they knew. 103If they had believed and been mindful of God, their reward from Him would have been far better, if only they knew.

104Believers, do not say [to the Prophet], ‘Ra‘ina,’ but say, ‘Unzurna,’a The word ra‘ina can be used politely as an expression for ‘look at us’. However, a group of Jews in Medina hostile to Muhammad subtly changed its pronunciation to imply ‘you are foolish’ or ‘you herd our sheep’ in order to abuse the Prophet. So the believers are advised to avoid the word and use unzurna, also meaning ‘look at us’, instead. See 4: 46. and listen [to him]: an agonizing torment awaits those who ignore [God's words]. 105Neither those People of the Book who disbelieve nor the idolaters would like anything good to be sent down to you from your Lord, but God chooses for His grace whoever He will: His bounty has no limits. 106Any revelation We cause to be superseded or forgotten, We replace with something better or similar. Do you [Prophet] not know that God has power over everything? 107Do you not know that control of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him? You [believers] have no protector or helper but God. 108Do you wish to demand of your messenger something similar to what was demanded of Moses?b See 2: 55 and 4: 153. Whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has strayed far from the right path. 109Even after the truth has become clear to them, many of the People of the Book wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of their selfish envy. Forgive and forbear until God gives his command: He has power over all things. 110Keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms. Whatever good you store up for yourselves, you will find it with God: He sees everything you do.

111They also say, ‘No one will enter Paradise unless he is a Jew or a Christian.’ This is their own wishful thinking. [Prophet], say, ‘Produce your evidence, if you are telling the truth.’ 112In fact, any who direct themselvesc Literally ‘their faces’. One meaning of wajh (face) is ‘direction’ and the basic meaning of aslama is ‘devote’. See note to 2: 128. wholly to God and do good will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve. 113The Jews say, ‘The Christians have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews have no ground whatsoever to stand on,’ though they both read the Scripture, and those who have no knowledge say the same; God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning their differences.

114Who could be more wicked than those who prohibit the mention of God's name in His places of worshipa Razi suggests that this probably alludes to the Jews’ objections to the change of qibla (direction of prayer) from Jerusalem to Mecca and their efforts to stop people praying towards Mecca in the Prophet's mosque in Medina (see 2: 115 and 142). and strive to have them deserted? Such people should not enter them without fear: there is disgrace for them in this world and painful punishment in the Hereafter. 115The East and the West belong to God: wherever you turn, there is His Face.b Or ‘His direction’. God is all pervading and all knowing.

116Theyc Razi suggests that this refers to the pagan Arabs (see 16: 57) and (some of) the Christians and Jews (see 9: 30). have asserted, ‘God has a child.’ May He be exalted! No! Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, everything devoutly obeys His will. 117He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth, and when He decrees something, He says only, ‘Be,’ and it is. 118Those who have no knowledge also say, ‘If only God would speak to us!’ or ‘If only a miraculous sign would come to us!’ People before them said the same things: their hearts are all alike. We have made Our signs clear enough to those who have solid faith. 119We have sent you [Prophet] with the truth, bearing good news and warning. You will not be responsible for the inhabitants of the Blaze. 120The Jews and the Christians will never be pleased with you unless you follow their ways. Say, ‘God's guidance is the only true guidance.’ If you were to follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you would find no one to protect you from God or help you. 121Those to whom We have given the Scripture, who follow it as it deserves,d This can also mean ‘who read it as it ought to be read’. are the ones who truly believe in it. Those who deny its truth will be the losers.

Notes:

a The word ra‘ina can be used politely as an expression for ‘look at us’. However, a group of Jews in Medina hostile to Muhammad subtly changed its pronunciation to imply ‘you are foolish’ or ‘you herd our sheep’ in order to abuse the Prophet. So the believers are advised to avoid the word and use unzurna, also meaning ‘look at us’, instead. See 4: 46.

b See 2: 55 and 4: 153.

c Literally ‘their faces’. One meaning of wajh (face) is ‘direction’ and the basic meaning of aslama is ‘devote’. See note to 2: 128.

a Razi suggests that this probably alludes to the Jews’ objections to the change of qibla (direction of prayer) from Jerusalem to Mecca and their efforts to stop people praying towards Mecca in the Prophet's mosque in Medina (see 2: 115 and 142).

b Or ‘His direction’.

c Razi suggests that this refers to the pagan Arabs (see 16: 57) and (some of) the Christians and Jews (see 9: 30).

d This can also mean ‘who read it as it ought to be read’.

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