Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs and that, besides Allah, you have no protector and no helper? (2:107)
Allah informed us that there are teachings in the Quran that have been nullified and replaced with better verses. In this verse, Allah makes clear the absoluteness of His power in the universe. Nothing is outside His will. That is why He opened the verse with ‘Do you not know.’ This expression is known as a leading or a rhetorical question, because the listener can only find one logical answer, and instinctively agrees with what the Lord said.
‘Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs?’ A kingdom requires the existence of a king and a realm to rule over. It also requires the ability to actively manage the realm to prevent its breakdown or end. He Almighty wants you to know that He is all competent, and possesses all the power and all the wisdom to run His kingdom. You and I, on the other hand, do not have the ability to truly own, or hold onto what we have. Say, for example, that you want to construct a building. You may not find a good land to build on; and if you find the land, you may not have skilled workers to do the job, or be missing some building materials. Even if all is available and ready, you may run into a problem with the building permit from the city and so on. There are so many things that are out of your control. Contrast that to God's statement: ‘Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs?’ Allah is the true owner of everything around us. He has the power and authority to do whatever He wills.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to Medina, its Jewish residents were in charge. They were affluent and had plenty of connections in the city. When they felt that the prophet could pose a threat to their status, they conspired against him and his companions. Allah reassured His Messenger that absolute power in the universe belongs to God alone. He Almighty can take power and rule away from whoever He wills, and grants it to whoever He wills. You and I do not have true ownership of our belongings and private property, rather all these things are under our temporary custody, and everything will eventually change hands and be the property of someone else until all returns to God. That is why on the day of judgment God says in the 40th verse of chapter 16:
the Day when they will issue forth and when not one thing about them will be hidden from Allah. ‘To whom does the kingdom belong today?
‘To Allah, the One, the All-paramount!’
This is the assurance God wanted to give the Muslims of Medina. He is the absolute ruler and He is competent of taking authority away from anyone, and granting it to whoever He wills.
Once, while some night watchmen were patrolling around town, they saw a man walking by. When they approached him he started running, so they ran after him. The man ran until he finally came to a desolate place and hid there. The watchmen caught him, and while they were dragging him out, they saw a dead body close by. They accused the man of murder and used the fact that he ran away and came to this spot as evidence against him. Before they took him to jail, he asked if he could have a few minutes to perform payers. The watchmen saw no harm in letting him pray. He raised his hands in supplication and asked: "Dear God, I was alone, there are no witnesses to my innocence except you. You have commanded us not to conceal our testimony of the truth, so I ask you not to conceal my innocence." Shortly after, a man approached the watchmen and said: "I am the killer, and I want to come clean of my guilt." They were astonished and asked: 'why did you confess your crime, while no one even accused you of anything?' The murderer replied: 'By God I did not want to confess, but I heard a voice come over me and make me say what I said.' After hearing the confession, the father of the victim said: I have pardoned the killer of my son from paying any blood money and retribution.
We should learn two lessons from this story. First: think about the absoluteness of God’s power. The murderer did not want to reveal himself, nor was he even a suspect. Yet, he was powerless as God made him confess to save the innocent man. Second: we should learn the beauty and etiquette of supplication from the wrongly accused man. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us that if adversity touches, and overwhelms our means and abilities, we should resort to prayer because it is the only door that never closes. God says at the end of the verse: 'besides Allah, you have no protector and no helper.' A helper comes to your aid with love and compassion, while a protector comes to your aid with power and ability. Allah tells you that if you sincerely seek Him, He will be your protector and your helper.