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Posted on Mon, Jul 02, 2007 05:48

Blogging the Qur?an: Sura 2, ?The Cow,? verses 1-39posted at 9:00 am on June 10, 2007 by Robert Spencer Send to a Friend | printer-friendly Sura 2, Al-Baqara (?The Cow?), like almost all of the chapters of the Qur?an, takes its title from something recounted within it ? in this case, the story of Moses relaying Allah?s command to the Israelites that they sacrifice a cow (2:67-73). It is the longest sura of the Qur?an ? 286 verses ? and begins the Qur?an?s general (but not absolute) pattern of running from the longest to the shortest chapters, with the exception of the Fatiha, which has pride of place as the first sura because of its centrality in Islam. Surat Al-Baqara, ?The Cow,? was revealed to Muhammad at Medina ? that is, during the second part of his prophetic career, which began in Mecca in 610. In 622 Muhammad and the fledgling Muslim community moved to Medina, where for the first time Muhammad became a political and military leader. Islamic theologians generally regard Medinan suras as taking precedence over Meccan ones wherever there is a disagreement, in accord with verse 106 of this chapter of the Qur?an, in which Allah speaks about abrogating verses and replacing them with better ones. (This interpretation of verse 106, however, is not universally accepted. Some say it refers to the abrogation of nothing in the Qur?an, but only of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. More on that when the time comes.) Sura 2 contains a great deal of important material for Muslims, and is held in high regard. The medieval Qur?anic commentator Ibn Kathir (whose commentary is still read and respected by Muslims) conveys in an earthy way that recitation of this sura distresses Satan, recounting that one of Muhammad?s early followers, Ibn Mas?ud, remarked that Satan ?departs the house where Surat Al-Baqarah is being recited, and as he leaves, he passes gas.? Without Ibn Mas?ud?s poor taste, Muhammad himself says: ?Satan runs away from the house in which Surah Baqara is ...


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