Al-Baqarah · Juz 1 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 87-88

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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

Ayaat 87-88 the Killing of the Prophets

In this ayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes the insolence of the Children of Israel and their rebellion, defiance and arrogance towards the Prophets ‘alayhi salaam. They were given the Torah that they later changed, distorted its meanings, and defied its commands.


A number of prophets were sent to the Children of Israel, one after another starting from Prophet Musa to Haroon, Dhul-Kifl, Ilyas, Al-Yasah, Dawood, Suleiman, Uzair, Yunus, Zakaria, Yahya and ‘Eesa (peace be upon all of them).

‘Eesa (Jesus) ‘alayhi salaam was the last prophet to be sent to the Children of Israel. He was sent with some laws that differed with those in the Torah. This is why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also sent miracles to support ‘Eesa. By the permission of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala he could bring the dead back to life, form the shape of birds from clay and blow life into them, heal the sick and foretell the Unseen. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also aided him with Ruh Al-Qudus, and that refers to Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) ‘alayhi salaam. All of these signs testified to the truthfulness of ‘Eesa and what he was sent with. Yet, the Children of Israel became more defiant and envious of him and did not want to differ with even one part of the Torah. Hence, they treated the Prophets in the worst manner, rejecting some of them and killing some of them. All of this occurred because the Prophets used to command the Jews with what differed from their desires and opinions. The Prophets also upheld the rulings of the Torah that the Jews had changed, and this is why it was difficult for them to believe in these Prophets. Therefore, they rejected the Prophets and killed some of them. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,

أَفَكُلَّمَا جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لاَ تَهْوَى أَنفُسُكُم اسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ فَفَرِيقًا كَذَّبْتُمْ وَفَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ

“Is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you kill.”

Az-Zamakhshari commented that notice Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not say ‘killed’ because the Jews would still try to kill the Prophet ﷺ in the future, using poison and magic.

During the illness that preceded his death, the Prophet ﷺ said,

مَا زَالَتْ أَكْلَةُ خَيْبَرَ تُعَاوِدُنِي، فَهذَا أَوَانُ انْقِطَاعِ أَبْهَرِي

“I kept feeling the effect of what I ate (from the poisoned sheep) during the day of Khaybar, until now, when it is the time that the aorta will be cut off (meaning when death is near).” [This hadeeth was collected by Al-Bukhari and others.]

Ayah 88

“And they say, ‘Our heart are Ghulf,” meaning they are screened, covered or there is a stamp on them that they don’t comprehend. It is said that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu commented that it could mean: Our hearts contain every type of knowledge and do not need the knowledge that you (O Muhammad ﷺ) have.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responds, “Nay, Allah has cursed them for their disbelief,” meaning the reason they cannot comprehend is because they have been expelled from Allah’s Rahmah (mercy) as was said in Surah An-Nisa ayah 155.


When we are unable to understand an ayah or a religious ruling we must check our heart. We must ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to open up our hearts to His religion because he who is blocked from understanding the Book of Allah or a matter of the Deen is actually deprived of His Mercy. We learn in a hadeeth that when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala desires goodness for a person he expands their heart for understanding religion. On the other hand, those who are engaged in sins and do not think about their Creator or His commands, their hearts are blocked from understanding religious matters.

We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for His mercy and the knowledge of His Deen, ameen.

[Why Hearts become Hard]

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “So little is that which they believe,” meaning only a few of them believe.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 87-88

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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