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Surah Al Baqra Verses 41-50

41 And believe in what I reveal confirming the revelation which is with you and be not the first to reject faith therein nor sell My Signs for a small price: and fear Me and Me alone. 59

42 And cover not Truth with falsehood nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).

43 And be steadfast in prayer; practice regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). 60

44 Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people and forget (to practice it) yourselves and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?

45 Nay seek (Allah's) help with patient perseverance and prayer: it is indeed hard except to those who bring a lowly spirit. 61

46 Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord and that they are to return to Him.

47 O children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favor which I bestowed upon You and that I preferred you to all others (for My message). 62

48 Then guard yourselves against a day when one soul shall not avail another nor shall intercession be accepted for her nor shall compensation be taken from her nor shall anyone be helped (from outside). 63

49 And remember We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: they set you hard tasks and punishments slaughtered your sons and let your womenfolk live; therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord. 64

50 And remember We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh's people within your very sight. 65


Commentry:

59 You receive revelations before: now comes one confirming it: its first appeal should be to you: are you to be the first to reject it? And reject it for what? God's Signs are worth more than all your paltry considerations. And the standard of duty and righteousness is to be taken from God, and not from priests and customs. (2.41)

60 The argument is still primarily addressed to the Jews, but is of universal application, as in all the teachings of the Quran. The chief feature of Jewish worship was and is the bowing of the head. (2.43)

61 The Arabic word Sabr implies many shades of meaning, which it is impossible to comprehend in one English word. It implies (1) patience in the sense of being thorough, not hasty; (2) patient perseverance, constancy, steadfastness, firmness of purpose; (3) systematic as opposed to spasmodic or chance action; (4) a cheerful attitude of resignation and understanding in sorrow, defeat, or suffering, as opposed to murmuring or rebellion, but saved from mere passivity or listlessness, by the element of constancy or steadfastness. (2.45)

62 These words are recapitulated from ii. 40, which introduced a general account of God's favours to Israel; now we are introduced to a particular account of incidents in Israel's history. Each incident is introduced by the Arabic word "Iz", which is indicated in the translation by "Remember". (2.47)

63 Before passing to particular incidents, the conclusion is stated. Be on your guard; do not think that special favours exempt you from the personal responsibility of each soul. (2.48)

64 The bondage of Egypt was indeed a tremendous trial. Even the Egyptians' wish to spare the lives of Israel's females when the males were slaughtered, added to the bitterness of Israel. Their hatred was cruel, but their "love" was still more cruel. About the hard tasks, see Exod. i. 14: "They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." Pharaoh's taskmasters gave no straw, yet ordered the Israelites to make bricks without straw: Exod. v 5-19. Pharoah's decree was: "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive": Exod. i. 22. It was in consequence of this decree that Moses was hidden three months after he was born, and when he could be hidden no longer, he was put into an ark of bulrushes and cast into the Nile, where he was found by Pharoah's daughter and wife (xxviii. 9), and adopted into the family: Exod. ii. 2-10. Cf. xx. 37-40. Thus Moses was brought up by the enemies of his people. He was chosen by God to deliver his people, and God's wisdom made the learning and experience and even cruelties of the Egyptian enemies themselves to contribute to the salvation of his people. (2.49)

65 When the Israelites at last escaped from Egypt, they were pursued by Pharaoh and his host. By a miracle the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, but the host of Pharaoh was drowned: Exod. xiv. 5-31. (2.50)

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