Muqaddimah Al Baqarah

The reason for Al Baqarah’s revelation was to teach the mukmin (believers) how to lead mankind after hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah). Among the themes are guidance, taqwa (faith), belief, sacrifices and knowledge.

Guidance/ Covenant

One of the main theme of this chapter is guidance/ covenant.

Whoever accepts the guidance and adhere to the covenant will gain leadership of mankind e.g. Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Dawud (David) etc. This happened to the Muslim after hijrah.

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.

Baqarahs 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).

Also the longest surah.


1:7 Conclusion for Al Fatihah

1:7 …Who did not incur Your wrath, who are not astray.

Allah’s wrath falls upon those who knew the truth but rejected it anyway in arrogance. This was explained in Al Baqarah with the Jews during the time of God’s revelation from Musa (Moses) to Muhammad as an example.


2:61 & 3:112 “they brought down anger from Allah upon themselves.”

48:6 “Allah is angry with them.”

In a hadith, Sadaqa (alms giving) extinguishes Lord’s anger.

As for those who are astray or missing the target, they are explained further in surah Ali Imran, on the characteristics of the Christians. Also in surah Al Maidah (5:77) “were misguided and misguided many others and are far from the right way.”

So in Al Fatihah, we praised God with His power and attributes, admitted our dependence on Him and pleaded for the blessed path. 

Dear God, guide us to the blessed path..

1:7 The blessed path

1:7 The path of those who are blessed, those who do not incur your wrath and are not astray.

Blessed here doesn’t mean blessing in worldly definition. It is made clear by the following explanations in the verse that the blessed ones don’t include those who incurred Allah’s wrath and those who he sent astray, even if they seem blessed from a man’s perspective.

As Al Fatihah is an introduction to Quran, Allah will continuously mention examples from peoples of the past in explaining the blessed path and distinguishing it with those who incurred His wrath and those who were astray.

Allah explained An Nisa (4:69) that the blessed are nabiyyin (the prophets), siddiqin (the true), shuhada (the martyrs) and SaliHin (the righteous).

We recite this request in solah at least 17 times daily, o Allah the All Powerful, grant our requests.

1:6 Guide us God

1:6 Guide us the straight path

Guidance is what we really need from Allah and He answers our plea later in surah Al Baqarah: 2.

As SiraTal mustaqim (the straight, uncrooked, undeviating path) can mean sunnah (way of the prophet guided by Allah). It will also be explained later in other chapters.

Allah answers our plea by giving us laws and limits to guide us towards the straight path.

This ayat symbolises a servant’s dependence on His Master. Our inherent helplessness and ignorance long for His might, knowledge and mercy.

It also explains the reality of free will. The qadariya, muktazila and some shi’a believes that our actions and fate are all within the influence of our free will. However, this ayah proves that Allah has the power to guide and misguide as He wills, our free will is not enough.

Allah made this surah a model for all supplications. Half of it comprises His praises and the other half is our needs.

It is best to use Allah’s word for supplication.

O Allah, incline our hearts to the truth.

1:5 We are always in need of You, our Creator

1:5 You alone we worship and You alone we seek help.

Nasta’in comes from word isti’aanah which means seeking help to complete tasks.

Nouman explains that this shows that we must start exercising Allah’s commands no matter how bad our situation is. And to complete them, seek help and leave the rest to Allah. We shouldn’t use our current situation as an excuse to disobey Allah.

We need Your help in worshipping You and guiding us to the right path as the created are always in need of the Creator because whatever we do are subject to sunnatullah (His natural rules e.g. chemical reactions, physical properties etc), shariatullah (His rules imposed on mankind for implementation) and what He wants.

Our goals, no matter how much effort we put in achieving them even when the whole of mankind works together, are not achievable except with His leave.

When we seek help from others, it is Allah who make them help us, not them themselves. By helping others, they actually helped themselves by doing good deeds, for their own sake in the Hereafter.

However, Allah commanded us to show gratitude to all.

We are never in control, place us within Your Grace o Lord.

1:5 You alone we worship

1:5 You alone we worship and to You alone we seek help.

The third dimension of God’s singularity is Tawhid uluhiyyah: belief in Allah’s oneness in His right to be worshipped due to His oneness in ownership, power and all other attributes ie tawhid rububiyyah and asma wa sifat.

Uluhiyyah refers to:
1. Worship in awe and adoration
2. Servitude
3. Submission

U’budu means obedience.

Allah, from being mentioned as third person, changed to second person from this ayah onwards. This is normal in Qur’an, the many ways Allah used to convey His message.

Allah used plural i.e. we, indicating that Islam or religion in general is not a strictly personal matter but will affect society as a whole.

Allah should always be prioritised. Sometimes we put work or family before Allah, which indirectly shows how we positioned Allah in our hearts. Forgive us God.

1:3 Mercy for all and for the faithful

1:3 The All Merciful, the Most Merciful.

The second dimension of God singularity is Tawhid asma wa sifat = Allah’s oneness in all His glorious names and attributes.

E.g. anyone can be strong but the strongest by far is none other than Allah.

Allah describes Himself as Lord of worlds, causing fear and awe for Him. He neutralises this by attributing these names to Himself.

These names were used for basmalah. The meanings were discussed earlier.

After the word Allah, Ar Rahman and Ar Rahim are of the most used words to refer to Allah in the Qur’an. This is to emphasise His mercy compared to His wrath. Despite being All Powerful and in control, His Mercy still preceeds His Wrath. 

So have faith and never give up on Allah’s mercy.

Praise be to Allah.

1:2&4 Lord of the Created worlds

1:2 …Lord of the worlds.
1:4 Master of the Day of Recompense.

The first dimension of God singularity is Tawhid Rububiyyah = Allah’s oneness in ownership and power over all things including the reckoning (hisab), time, hearts, actions and reactions etc.

Rabb means sustainer, lord, owner, proprietor and ruler.

It also includes the meaning in the word tarbiyah i.e. to grow, to nurture and to educate 

Men can be the rabb of his belongings. However, sometimes we own and sometimes we don’t. We own something and not something else. Allah is the owner of all things at all times.

All knowledge and discoveries made by mankind and all miraculous signs in nature are all from Allah the rabb, showing complex systems dependent on each other. It is illogical for anyone to think that these happened merely by chance.

Worlds (‘aalamiin) in plural form meaning not just human world but including all other worlds eg jinn, animals, outer space etc.

Yawmi ad deen means the day of recompense. 

Yawm means a period of time and usually translated as day.

Dayn means debt and deen means repayment.

Allah is the Lord and we are just His servants. Praise be to Allah.

1:2 Alhamdulillah

1:2 The (specific) praise is due to Allah…

Hamdu is used instead of Madah and Shukr.

Madah is used for flattering someone to obtain favours in return.

Shukr is used for thanking/ acknowledging someone after receiving benefits.

However linguistically Hamd is more than these. It means comprehensive praise, more general than thanks, the opposite of blame.

Allah praises Himself and teaches us to do the same. In this chapter (surah), He explained the reasons for that praise:

  1. He is the Lord of the worlds (1:2). We thank Him for creating the earth for mankind’s provision and dwellings. We also praise Him for His wisdom and ability to create all things. These relate to what had happened.
  2. He is the all merciful, most merciful (1:3). We thank Him for His constant provisions to us regardless our faith. We also thank Him for choosing to guide us to know and believe in Him.
  3. He is the owner of the day of recompense(1:4). We praised Him for being the most just judge in rewarding and punishing His servants. We thank Him for His mercy and abundant rewards for the believers. These relate to what will happen.
  4. He taught us to praise Him because He likes to be praised. 
  5. He taught us to praise before we ask. In this surah, we are taught to praise Him and then ask for guidance (1:6). 

Allah teaches us that the phrase alhamdulillah is the statement of thankful persons in the Qur’an as what was said by prophets/the faithfuls in 23:28 by Nuh (Noah) when they were rescued, 14:39 by Ibrahim (Abraham) for being blessed with children at old age, 27:15 by Dawud (David) and Sulayman (Solomon) for Allah’s favours, 17:111 Allah teaches mankind how to glorify Him, 35:34 by people of the Gardens and 10:10 by the faithfuls.

Allah deserves the praise no matter what He does or doesn’t. He is the wise and all knowing. Everything He does has reasons behind them. He is the best planner and we are ignorant except what He decides for us to know.

The phrase alhamdulillah (also known as tahmid) is better than the world and its treasures, because the world will perish but the word will last, to be rewarded in the Hereafter.

Praise is due to Allah, regardless of anything.


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