The second surah in the Quran is surah Al Baqarah. It is the longest surah with 286 ayahs.
The reason for Al Baqarah’s revelation was to guide the mukmin (believers) on how to lead mankind. The surah was revealed after hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) because it was at this time that the muslim started to be in position of leadership.
Among the themes in the surah are guidance, taqwa (faith), belief, sacrifices and knowledge.
One of the main theme of this chapter is guidance/ covenant.
Whoever accepts the guidance from Allah and adhere to the covenant with Him will gain leadership of mankind e.g. with the case of prophet Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Dawud (David) etc. This happened to the Muslim after hijrah.
The covenants of the Jews and Ibrahim was explained in surah Al Baqarah, together with their response to their covenants. To adhere to the covenant, one must have taqwa, belief in the unseen, etc.
Some people pretended to hold onto it i.e. munafiq (hypocrites). Some prefers chaos and corruptions i.e. fasiq (disobedients, miscreants). Some rejected it ie kuffar (disbelievers).
The instruction to change qiblah (direction in prayers) signifies the change of leadership from Jews to Muslim.
Also included in this surah are the details of muslim covenant (eg jihad, riba, fast etc), parables, etc.
Al Baqarah‘s Virtues
House which al Baqarah was recited in it wont be harmed by devils (Hadith from Tirmizi, An Nasaie, Hakim, Ad Darimi, At Tabrani, Ibn Hibban).
Al Baqarah and Ali Imran will intercede for their people during reckoning (Ibn Majah, Muslim, Ahmad).
Contains basic concepts and many rulings. Rasulullah once appointed a younger commander because he remembers and practise Al Baqarah.
Fully madani (revealed after hijrah ie migration), among first to be sent down after hijrah and last revealed ayat. Also said that most are madani, some are makki (revealed before hijrah).