Back2Quran Ramadan series: Summary of Chapter 2 (Baqarah)

What this project is: This Ramadan, rekindle your spirituality and relationship with God by reading the Quran in a language you understand! To facilitate those who find reading the Quran for the first time daunting, we, at Quranalyze It, will be posting short chapter summaries to get you acquainted with the basic theme and content of a particular chapter. It is important to note, however, that these summaries are no substitute to reading the Quran, and should be used as a bridge towards the Quran, or as an additional tool.

If you like the idea behind this project, and would like to read the summaries of the subsequent chapters in the coming days, then subscribe to our blog to receive an email whenever we publish a new summary. Please read, and share it far and wide!


I believe Chapter 2 and 3 are complimentary. While Chapter 2 is a very action-oriented and a practical chapter outlining the system of Islam, Chapter 3 is more about it’s implementation and preparing the reader for the “on the ground” situations and resistance that is bound to come.

In a nutshell, Baqarah is geared towards creating “paradise” on earth and within ourselves. This can only be achieved when human beings undergo a major character and paradigm change. Hence, it contains numerous ordinances on a variety of topics for the social life of the community. If we adhere to these laws, we will create a “garden” on earth, so to speak.

Furthermore, it repeatedly emphasizes on spending in the way of Allah, which tells us how important this aspect is to create a flourishing society.

 

Narrates the account of: Musa, Ibrahim, Sulaiman, and Dawood. (Peace be upon them all!).

 

Passage Breakdowns:

 

Verse 1-20:

  • Behavior traits of Muttaqeen (God-conscious), disbelievers & hypocrites.

 

21-29:

  • First call to mankind – Service to Allah (shows our foremost duty).
  • Our inability to produce a chapter similar to the Quran.
  • Allah does not shy away from speaking in parables and metaphors [only those who are inactive in engaging with the message (Fasiq) are misguided by these).
  • Behavior traits of Fasiqun.

 

30-39:

  • The fall and redemption of ‘Adam’.

 

40-48:

  • Summary of the calls to Bani Israel which are expounded later in 49-103.

 

49-103:

  • Detailed narration of the struggles of Bani Israel – the privileges they receive, and how they abuse them. Thus illustrating, again, the general story of man.

 

104-123:

  • Second call to mankind – do not ask to be shepherded (discouraging blind following).
  • Others might get jealous of your firm faith.
  • Heaven and bliss is open to anyone who seeks God and not a specific religion.
  • God not in the distant heavens but wherever you turn your gaze.

 

124-141:

  • Ibrahim and Ismail purify the ‘house’ of Allah and raise its foundations.
  • Individual accountability.
  • We are to follow the faith of Ibrahim who was a monotheist, not a ‘Hood’ or ‘Nasara’.
  • Never make distinction between messengers.

 

142-152:

  • The Direction of belief of those who come to believe in this message changes.
  • Believers are expected to know the Quran as they know their children.
  • Focus on doing good, God will unite you with like-minded folks.
  • We are to focus on ‘Masjid Al-Haraam’ wherever we are.
  • Passage ends by asking the reader to be grateful and not ungrateful.

 

153-167:

  • First call to believers – be patient and establish connection with God!
  • God will try you by short-term tribulations
  • There are some disgraceful people who deliberately conceal Allah’s signs/verses.
  • Reader is told to ponder over the universe.
  • People take idols (Prophets/scholars/things) and love them as they should love God alone. However, they will regret this.

 

168-171:

  • Second call to believers – Consume good things and do not follow Shaitan who invites towards evil, injustice/immorality and that you speak about God what you do not know.
  • When people are asked to believe in what God has revealed, alas, they reply by saying ‘we follow what our forefathers followed’, however misguided they were. These people do not employ critical thinking.

 

172-177:

  • Third Call to believers – Ordinances on food.
  • The people who conceal signs/verses for a meager benefit inflict self-injury on their soul.
  • Righteousness does not consist of “formalities”, but in faith, kindness, charity, connection with God, purity, staying true to one’s pledge, and patience under suffering.

 

178-182:

  • Fourth Call to believers – Ordinances on Retribution–Financial compensation of an eye for an eye and so on, and dispensation of property.

 

183-207:

  • Fifth Call to believers – Ordinances on Fasting.
  • Do not devour the resources of others in a wrong manner, nor bribe the “officials”to get what is not yours.
  • Ordinances on fighting (No transgression & only self-defense) and Hajj/Umrah.
  • Do not be impressed by the dazzling speech of leaders who spread corruption.

 

208-253:

  • Sixth Call to believers – Be wholesome and do not follow Shaitan.
  • Mankind were one single community, their selfishness divided them.
  • Be prepared to face challenges in the way of life you have adopted, but God’s help will eventually come.
  • Ordinances on spending on the poor, fighting in self defense.
  • Intoxicants and gambling forbidden.
  • Ordinances on marriage, orphans, menstruation, oaths & divorce.
  • The struggle of Bani Israel against Jaloot.
  • Allah raises some messengers in degrees, but we are not to make any distinction among them. All have an equal right to be respected the same way.

 

254-263:

  • Seventh call to believers: Spend in the way of God lest you become an oppressor.
  • “Verse of the Throne”
  • No compulsion in religion
  • God brings people towards light, but false authorities drag them towards darkness.
  • Narration about Ibrahim.
  • Similes on spending.

 

264-266:

  • Eighth call to believers: Do not cancel your charities by constant reminders or hurting the generosity of others.
  • More similes on spending in the way of God.

 

267-277:

  • Ninth call to believers: Spend in the way of God and don’t give something you’ll not like to receive.
  • Avoid Riba (usually translated as usury).

 

278-281:

  • Tenth, and last, call to believers: Give up the Riba you have.
  • Be charitable.

 

282-283:

  • Ordinances on conducting business transactions.

 

284-286:

  • A summation of the mindset required to carry out this program.
  • Ends beautifully by outlining that Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity.
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6 thoughts on “Back2Quran Ramadan series: Summary of Chapter 2 (Baqarah)

  1. I also like how the 2nd chapter answers the 1st. It’s like if you’re searching for God, He teaches you how to ask with the 1st chapter. Then He answers what you asked for (“show us the straight way”) with chapter 2 onwards, giving you the three types of human so that you can measure yourself and choose which of the three you will be.

    I also like to reflect on the behaviour descriptions, rather than the label (“Bani Israel) because God wouldn’t really record the behaviour in a Book for all time unless He intends it for the Muslims to measure themselves against. I mean, we have to watch out for ourselves displaying the behaviour condemned in the People of the Book and hypocrites. The behaviour determines who you resemble, whatever you think to label yourself. I think many Muslims have a tendency to assume those verses cannot be relevant to us.

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  2. Pingback: Back2Quran Ramadan series: Summary of Chapter 2 (Baqarah)

  3. Salam,
    The 2nd Sura’ has always reminded me to not complicate things. As per the story where God ask them to get a cow.
    God has always made it simple for us, I believe, but we tend to make it complicated. Simple here does not mean easy though 😊
    Also on the gambling and drinking alcohol thing, I think it’s not advisable instead of outright forbidden. When something is forbidden God will say it outright. But this one is not outright. Only says that there is more harm than good so avoid. Do enlighten me ya.
    Thanks.

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