Surah Al-Baqarah Benefits, Importance and Background

Surah Al Baqarah

Surah Al-Baqrah is the 2nd Surah of the Quran which means “The Cow”. It consists of 40 rukus and 286 verses. Let’s see its benefits, why it is important, and its historical background.


Although Surah Al-Baqarah is a Madinan Surah, but it is a continuation of a Makkan surah, first surah in the Qur’an, Al Fatihah (The Opening) which ended with the prayer: “Show us the straight way.”. The answer to the prayer is located at the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah which reads “This is the book (that)… is a guidance.”

Most of this surah which is called Fushatul Qur’an was revealed during the first two years of the Prophet Muhammad‘s stay in Medina, then some small parts which were revealed later were included in this Surah as its contents are closely related to what is discussed in this Surah.

Historical Background

In Makkah, the Quran was generally addressed to the polytheists Quraysh who were ignorant of Islam, but when the Prophet migrated to Medina, the Holy Qur’an was also concerned to the Jews who were acquainted with the creed of Monotheism (Tawheed), Prophethood, Revelation, the Hereafter, and Angels.

They are people who profess to believe in the law that Allah revealed to their Prophet Musa (A.S), which in principle, their way was the same (Islam) that was being taught by Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Yet they have strayed far over the centuries by adopting non-Islamic beliefs, rituals, and customs that are not mentioned and are not sanctioned in the Torah.

Not only that, they have even corrupted the Torah by inserting their own explanations and interpretations into the text. By distorting the part of the Word of God contained in the Torah, they have converted the true religion and now adhere to a lifeless and untrue frame of rituals. As result, their beliefs, morals, and behavior have fallen into the lowest depths of degeneration.

In addition to holding fast to beliefs that have deviated from the original teachings in the Torah, they also refuse to accept any reforms and fight against anyone who comes to them to teach them the Right Way.

Those who were originally Muslims have eventually strayed away from true Islam and have forgotten and forsaken God and began to serve material wealth. They gave up their original name “Muslim” adopted the name “Jew” instead and made religion the sole monopoly of the children of Israel.

This was the condition of their Religion when the Prophet PBUH arrived in Medina and invited the Jews to return to their true religion. That is why more than one-third of this letter has been addressed to the Children of Israel.

In Makkah, Islam was primarily concerned with the dissemination of fundamental principles and the moral training of its followers, unlike the case after the Prophet’s departure to Medina. In Medina, where the Prophet and Muslims came from all over Arabia with the aim of settling down with the help of the local population (Ansar), the Qur’an also shared its attention on social, cultural, economic, political, and legal issues.

This is the stark difference between the themes of the Surah that were revealed in Makkah and those revealed in Medina. Half of Surah Al-Baqarah discusses the principles and rules that are important for the integrity and solidarity of a community and contains solutions to the problems they face.

Meanwhile, the struggle between Islam and disbelief (Kufr) had also entered a new phase after the emigration to Madina.

Before moving to Madina, believers spread Islam among their own clans/tribes and had to face those who opposed the spread of Islam at their own risk. But things changed in Medina, where Muslims from all over Arabia came and settled as one community and founded an independent city-state.

This point became the beginning of the struggle for the survival of the community itself against all non-Muslim Arabs who were united and determined to completely destroy the Muslim community in Medina.

Surah Al-Baqarah Lessons and Important Points

Therefore, Allah reveals in this Surah Al-Baqarah the following important instructions which can significantly affect the success and survival of the Muslim community in Medina:

  1. The community should work with the utmost zeal to spread its ideology and win over to its side the greatest possible number of people.
  2. It must convince its opponents without leaving any doubt in the minds of any reasonable person that they are following a completely wrong position.
  3. It must instill in its members (most of whom are homeless and indigent and surrounded by enemies on all sides) the courage and fortitude which are indispensable for their existence in the adverse circumstances in which they struggle to prepare them to face these boldly.
  4. The community must also prepare its members to face any armed menace, which may come from any side to suppress and destroy their ideology, by opposing it fiercely without considering the number or material resources of its enemies.
  5. Courage must be created in each member to eradicate the evil ways and to establish the path of Islam instead.

Theme Guide

This Surah is an invitation to divine guidance as well as contains all the stories, incidents, etc, revolving around this central theme.

And because this surah is specifically addressed to the Jews, many historical events have been cited from their own traditions in order to rebuke and exhort them in their own self-created lies in receiving the guidance revealed to the Prophet. Therefore, they must be the first to accept it since it was basically the content of this surah is the same as what was revealed to Prophet Musa (A.S).

What’s the name of the second surah of the Quran?

Surah Baqrah is the second surah of the Holy Quran.

How many rukus in Surah Al Baqarah?

There are 40 rukus in Surah Baqarah.

How many verses in Surah Al Baqarah?

There are 286 verses in Surah Baqarah.

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