Surah: 002 Al-Baqarah
Surah Al Baqarah is the longest Surah of the Qur’an and was revealed after the migration of the Prophet ﷺ to Madinah. This surah has been encouraged to be recited most frequently, as the Prophet ﷺ declared that the satan runs away from the home Surah Al Baqarah is regularly recited. It is named after the incidence of the cow, which the Children of Israel were asked to slaughter by Allaah (SWT).
The surah begins with describing three sets of people – believers, disbelievers, and hypocrites, devoting most space to the last group. Allaah (SWT) also challenges the disbelievers to reproduce (at least) one surah similar to what’s revealed, most likely because the themes of this Surah itself were very extensive and encompassing of many aspects in relation to the Muslims.
The story of the Creation of Adam (AS) and his expulsion along with his wife, are briefly described early on, and the narration progresses towards the Children of Israel. Allaah (SWT) lovingly addresses the People of the Book as Children of Israel and reminds them of the favors He granted them and chose them for His religion. The passages end with a stern warning to them to not reject the final Messenger of Allaah (SWT) and the middle of the surah is dedicated to the change of the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Ka’bah, establishing the Muslim community as the central community of the world.
After the designation of the Masjid Al Haram as the direction of prayer, Allaah (SWT) details laws with respect to individual and community practices. The obligatory fasting of Ramadan was prescribed, while detail laws relating to marriage, divorce, guardianship of children have been elaborated upon, among other things.
The first battle fought by the Muslims against the disbelievers is also referred to in order to conform to the believers of victory from Allaah (SWT) as long as they remain sincere and committed to His religion.
The concluding passages of this surah focus on the mention of previous prophets of the Children of Israel and certain incidents such as the killing of Jalut by Dawud (AS). Various incidents relating to Ibrahim (AS) are narrated, including building the Kabah along with his son Ismail (AS) and their supplication to Allaah (SWT) for a righteous successor to teach and reform their later generations.
The surah concludes with a supplication, which has been encouraged to be recited every night, as it’s a holistic declaration of faith followed by an invocation seeking forgiveness and aide over the disbelievers.
Ayatul Kursi, the verse describing the majesty of Allaah (SWT) and even the greatness of his foot-stool, is placed in the last third of this surah. It also contains the longest ayah in the Qur’an, Ayatul Dayn, the Verse of Trade, which explains many guidelines and conditions to be undertaken while trading, particularly on journeys.