Al-Baqarah · Juz 1 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 69 – 71

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Ayaat 69 – 71 – The Story of the Murdered Israeli Man and the Cow

The Children of Israel continue with their questions about the cow.


They asked what color it should be. Musa ‘alayhi salaam replied that it should be bright in its color and pleasing to the beholder. They asked for further description claiming that since cows are plentiful they all look alike. They added in sha Allah (if Allah wills) at the end that if you further describe the cow to us then in sha Allah we will be guided. Musa ‘alayhi salaam further described it for them. He said it should be a cow not used in farming or for watering purposes. Rather, it is honorable and fair looking.

Qatadah said that sound (or free from fault) [مُّسَلَّمَةٌ] means that the cow does not suffer from any defects. It should have no color on it except the bright yellow color.

The Children of Israel realized that despite their asking multiple questions the command was not going to be lifted. The matter was only being made more difficult for them. Finally, they gave in and said, “Now you have come with the truth.” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it,” meaning they slaughtered it although they did not want to.

Ibn Katheer writes that even after all the questions and answers about the cow’s description, the Jews were still reluctant to slaughter the cow. This part of the Qur’an criticized them for their behavior because their only goal was to be stubborn and this is why they nearly did not slaughter the cow.


This incident teaches us that one should not delay acting on the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. When a person hears a command and acts on it then the matter is made easy for him. But when a person asks unnecessary questions, makes excuses or delays it then either that matter is made difficult for him or he loses his chance to do a righteous deed. One must not procrastinate in matters of goodness. We should be the forerunners and not wait for others to take the first step, so that we can follow them.

If there is anything that one must compete in then, it should be the pleasures of the Hereafter. “Race towards good deeds,” (2: 148).

[See Surah Al-Layl ayaat 5-10]

Take care of the Five before the Five:

►Youth before old age
► Health before illness
► Wealth before misery
► Free time before occupation
► Life before death

Do not miss a chance to a good deed. You will not stay young and healthy forever. One day, you will turn old and not be capable enough to perform many good deeds such as performing Hajj, making long qiyaam at night, etc. Do not delay giving out in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, someday you might lose your wealth and not enough to fill your own needs. Do not waste free time in vain, do something productive. Do not waste your life because we don’t know for how long we are going to stay here.

Who procrastinates over good deeds?

First, one must know this is an attribute of the hypocrites. It is time for the prayer and one keeps procrastinating. He has excuses, “Right now I am busy,” or “Let me finish this first,” “I am on phone right now.” When it is time to spend in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, one thinks of how little money he has for his own needs or he will spend next time. Some people take zakat as a punishment.

Check your heart – how long does it take you to respond to Hayya al-Falah (the call to prayer)? How long does it take you to answer a phone call, or a text message? How long do you take to prepare for the Salah and how long do you take to dress up for work or an evening? What kind of clothes do you choose for both the events? Some people offer their Salah in their night clothes without properly washing themselves up, are you one of those?

Check: Where do you like to spend? How easy it is for you to spend in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and on yourself or your family? What kind of food and goods do you give in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and what do you choose for yourself and your loved ones?

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala cleanse us of our hypocrisy, ameen.

Make Du’a:

multiple diseases and hypocrisy

Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated the Prophet ﷺ said, “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” [at-Tirmidhi]These ayaat also teach us that one must not ask unnecessary questions in the matters of Deen. Some people ask questions because they have a genuine desire to learn while others ask only for the sake of arguments. Check: Why do you ask questions?

He also said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.”

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd Al-Azeez said, “The one who regards his words as being among his deeds speaks little except about that which concerns him.”

And it is as he said. Many people do not regard their words as being among their deeds, so they are careless and do not watch what they say. In Surah An-Nisa ayah 114, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people.” 

[Tafseer Surah An-Nisa Ayah 114]

We can complete important tasks only when we remove the unnecessary talk and activities from our lives.

The Prophet ﷺ instructed us to keep away from aghlutaat meaning asking about matters that do not concern us. For example, what will be the time for Fajr prayer on the Day of Judgment? One should avoid asking hypothetical questions such as: What will happen, if this happens or what will happen when that happens?

[Part of One’s Etiquette is refraining from what does not concern Him]

In a hadeeth it appears that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has forbidden tale-bearing. Some people have the hobby of repeating one conversation over and over again. It is a time waster, so beware. Most of our conversation surrounds around gossips, tale-bearing and backbiting. Much of what we speak is exaggeration. And it is because we have forgotten the etiquette of speech that misunderstandings occur and fasad erupts. Watch what you say. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not appreciate asking unnecessary question, excessive talk, wastage of wealth and time.

Those who have a purpose in life do not fall for Shaytanic traps: idle chatter, mindless shopping, wastage of time and wealth are all tricks of the Shaytan to keep us away from living a meaningful lie.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enable us to leave the vain and race in good deeds, ameen.  

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 69-71

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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