Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)

Verses 22 & 23

(This session is also available in audio and video)

Session 41

Chapter 2, Verses 22 and 23

He who made for you the earth a bed and the sky a ceiling, and sent down from the sky rain, and by it brings forth fruits for your provision. Do not, then, knowingly make others equal to Allah.(2:22)

            In the previous session, we highlighted God's immense gifts to humanity.....the gift of life, the gift of safety and security on earth, rain, and countless more.  All these gifts lead the thoughtful mind to one conclusion: Love towards our creator: God the most merciful. 

            The attributes of God cannot be compared to those of the creation.  For example, God is generous, and so are some people, however, God's generosity is abundant, everlasting, and infinite unlike any other.  Each one of us instinctively knows that he or she cannot comprehend the perfection and immensity of God's attributes.  Therefore, it is logical that our mind will refuse to assign equals or partners to God.    

            The phrase 'while you know' at the end of the verse means that the knowledge of the oneness and perfection of Allah is natural and inert within each one of us.  Who can claim that he has created you and those before you?! Who can claim that he has made the earth suitable for life, and the sky a protecting canopy over it? Who can claim to pour rain and grows fruits and crops? No one can.....And since no one can claim any of these creations to him or herself, the matter is settled by default to the one who claimed it and provided proof: Allah.   

He says:

 Even so, there are some who choose to worship others besides God as rivals to Him, loving them with the love due to God, but the believers have greater love for God. If only the idolaters could see- as they will see when they face the torment- that all power belongs to God, and that God punishes severely. (C2:165)

            Here the natural question to ask is: Why would anyone ascribe partners to God? the answer comes down to the desire to be free from the obligations and restrictions of faith......The desire to seek a religion which has no real boundaries.  If you want to satisfy your natural need for faith and belief, while simultaneously, pursuing your whims and desires, the only way to fulfil these contradicting needs is to select a deity who does not assign any concrete obligations.  One that allows you to do what God has prohibited, and frees you from the mandates of faith such as prayer, and alms giving. 

            Those who have true faith, on the other hand, know that God has ordained obligations upon us for our own good.  He does not benefit from our prayer or money, nor does He obtain any advantage if we follow His path.  Rather, we are the ones who benefit greatly from His mercy, His blessings and from the reward of paradise in the Hereafter.  True believers have this certainty in their hearts; hence they love God with great affection.  

            Interestingly, a disbeliever, despite all what he or she might claim, will seek refuge in God at the desperate hour of true need.  The mind and the heart can only find refuge and sanctuary with their creator.  Allah says:

When trouble befalls man he cries out to Us, whether lying on his side, sitting, or standing, but as soon as We relieve him of his trouble he goes on his way as if he had never cried out to Us to remove his trouble. In this way the deeds of such heedless people are made attractive to them. (10:12)

            Why wouldn't such a person call out to the partners he ascribes to God? The truth is simple: man can never cheat himself at the hour of true that time he or she will only call and hold onto the truth.  Take the example of a person who claims to heal people with quackery and magic.  Who does he turn to when he has a serious illness?  No doubt he will rush to the hospital and choose the most esteemed medical doctor.  A man can defraud many, but he does not cheat himself.  Similarly, a person may seek false Gods for his or her worldly benefits, but when this person is stricken by serious trouble, he or she will seek refuge in the one true God....because each one of us instinctively knows that God is the only One who can remove adversity.  

            Once, while a famous poet of the 8th century was standing at the door of the Ka’ba, he heard a Bedouin supplicating to God:

“O Lord! You know that I have disobeyed you.....Your right upon me demands that I do not ask for your help you while I disobey you.....But I know in my heart that there is not deity worthy of worship other than you........who else can I turn to for help?”

The poet turned to the Bedouin and said: “Hey you! I believe that God will forgive and help you because you understood how to plead to him”

            Now, we move on to the next verse of 'The Cow'.   God says:

And if you have doubts about the revelation We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a single chapter like it- enlist whatever supporters you have other than God- if you are truthful (2:23)

God clarified that those who ascribe partners with Him do not base their argument on logic or intellect, but are merely pursuing their worldly desires.  Now, He challenges them to produce the likes of the Quran – the eternal miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him)-.  Allah created the universe as a physical miracle that is easy to perceive, and the Qur'an and its message as a miracle of guidance and values.  The phrase “and if you have doubts” means that the verse is addressed to the disbelievers and hypocrites.  The believers, on the other hand, have no doubt in their hearts, rather they have certainty that the Quran is the word of God delivered to the Prophet from the heavens.

            Where does the doubt of the disbelievers stem from? Are there any grounds for doubting the source of the Quran when the Messenger of God did not read nor write? How could a man, who was not known for eloquence or poetry among his people, produce this miraculous speech? How could the greatest Arab poets and masters of language fail to better him?  Moreover, up until the time Muhammad received the revelation and prophethood, he had never been known to lie or cheat.  In fact, Meccans, who were very keen people, had given him the title of ‘the truthful and the trustworthy’.  Astonishingly, these are the very people who later accused him of fabricating the Quran.  Does it make sense that the Prophet would be honest and sincere when dealing with people, yet lie about God?! This cannot be.

            The Quran that came to the prophet was new in its style and delivery.  It brought knowledge and revelations not known to anyone at the time.  All this from an illiterate man.  If he had studied from a teacher or read books related to former civilisations, then the people of Mecca, who knew him best, would have confronted him. 

            How, then, did this doubt penetrate into their hearts? Obviously it has entered from the door of falsehood that does not require evidence to support its case.  As usual, given a little time, The truth started to inevitably slip from the mouths of the disbelievers.  It showed that they had no objection whatsoever to the Quran, rather, they only disliked the fact that it was not revealed to a man from their ranks.....the ranks of the elites.  God says:

They also say: "If only this Qur’an had been sent down on distinguished man of the two cities!" (43:31)

            Having found no evidence or faults in the Quran, the disbelievers turned to discrediting the prophet.  First they accused him of sorcery.  Here we ask......If the prophet was such a brilliant magician, how come he did not cast a spell on you?

            In other occasions they claimed that he was accused of being mad.  A crazy person acts without logic…He or she laughs, cries and hits others without reason.  This is in complete contradiction to the man they entrusted with their valuables when they travelled.......the man they called '‘the truthful, the trustworthy’.  God addressed these false allegations in the following verses:

“By the blessings of your Lord, you are not mad.  You will have a wage which never-fails.     Indeed you are truly vast in character”.(68:2-4)

            From all of the above we find that the reasons for doubt regarding the Quran or the prophet  do not exist or, at best, they are not sufficient.  To the contrary, the reasons for certainty are clear and supported by evidence.