Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 140 (2:140)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 140 in Arabic Text

أَمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ إِبْرَٰهِـۧمَ وَإِسْمَـٰعِيلَ وَإِسْحَـٰقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَٱلْأَسْبَاطَ كَانُوا۟ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـٰرَىٰ ۗ قُلْ ءَأَنتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمِ ٱللَّهُ ۗ وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن كَتَمَ شَهَـٰدَةً عِندَهُۥ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَمَا ٱللَّهُ بِغَـٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Am taqooloona inna Ibraaheema wa Ismaa’eela wa Ishaaqa wa Ya’qooba wal asbaata kaanoo Hoodan aw Nasaaraa; qul ‘a-antum a’lamu amil laah; wa man azlamu mimman katama shahaadatan ‘indahoo minallaah; wa mallaahu bighaafilin ‘ammaa ta’maloon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 140

Sahih International
Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, “Are you more knowing or is Allah?” And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.

Yusuf Ali
“Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma’il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!

Abul Ala Maududi
Or do you say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and his children were all Jews or Christians? Ask them, “Do you know more than Allah does? And who is more unjust than the one who hides the testimony which Allah has entrusted to him? Allah is not unaware of what you are doing.

Muhsin Khan
Or say you that Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya’qub (Jacob)] were Jews or Christians? Say, “Do you know better or does Allah (knows better… that they all were Muslims)? And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony [i.e. to believe in Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him when he comes, written in their Books. (See Verse 7:157)] he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”

Pickthall
Or say ye that Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know best, or doth Allah? And who is more unjust than he who hideth a testimony which he hath received from Allah? Allah is not unaware of what ye do.

Dr. Ghali
Or (even) do you say that Ibrahîm, and Ismac îl and Ishaq and Yaaqû‍b and the Grandsons (i.e. Tribes) were Judaic or Nasara (i.e. Christian)?” Say, “Do you know best or Allah?” And who is more unjust than he who has kept back in his presence a testimony from Allah? And in no way is Allah ever heedless of whatever you do.

Abdel Haleem
Or are you saying that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes were Jews or Christians?’ [Prophet], ask them, ‘Who knows better: you or God? Who could be more wicked than those who hide a testimony [they received] from God? God is not unmindful of what you do.’

Quran 2 Verse 140 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 140, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:140) Or do you claim that Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob and the descendants (of Jacob) were “Jews” or “Christians?” Say: “Who has greater knowledge, you or Allah?”[140] Who does greater wrong than he who conceals a testimony he has received from Allah? Allah is not heedless of the things you do.[141]


140. This remark is addressed to the ignorant mass of Jews and Christians who sincerely believed that all the Prophets belonged to their religious denomination.

141. This remark is addressed to the Jewish and Christian theologians who were not unaware that Judaism and Christianity, with their existing characteristics, had emerged at a relatively late period in history. They nevertheless considered Truth to he confined to their own religious sects. They also perpetuated the misunderstanding that man’s ultimate happiness and success lay in following the beliefs, institutions and legal codes which had been developed by their jurists, theologians and mystics long after the Prophet of God had passed away. When these theologians were asked to which among their religious communities Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other Prophets belonged, they evaded a reply. This was because they could not state categorically that they belonged to their own sect. On the other hand, they could not reply explicitly in the negative, for such an admission would have undermined the very basis of their claim that Truth was confined to their fold.

Ibn-Kathir

139. Say (O Muhammad to the Jews and Christians), “Dispute you with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. And we are sincere to Him (i.e. we worship Him alone and none else, and we obey His orders).” 140. Or say you that Ibrahim, Isma`il, Ishaq, Ya`qub and Al-Asbat, were Jews or Christians Say, “Do you know better or does Allah And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony he has from Allah And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” 141. That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.


Allah directed His Prophet to pre-empt the arguments with the idolators:

﴿قُلْ أَتُحَآجُّونَنَا فِى اللَّهِ﴾

(Say (O Muhammad to the Jews and Christians), “Dispute you with us about Allah) meaning, “Do you dispute with us regarding the Oneness of Allah, obedience and submission to Him and in avoiding His prohibitions,

﴿وَهُوَ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ﴾

(while He is our Lord and your Lord) meaning, He has full control over us and you, and deserves the worship alone without partners.

﴿وَلَنَآ أَعْمَـلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَـلُكُمْ﴾

(And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds.) meaning, we disown you and what you worship, just as you disown us. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿وَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقُل لِّى عَمَلِى وَلَكُمْ عَمَلُكُمْ أَنتُمْ بَرِيئُونَ مِمَّآ أَعْمَلُ وَأَنَاْ بَرِىءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ﴾

(And if they belie you, say: “For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do!”) (10:41), and,

﴿فَإنْ حَآجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِىَ للَّهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ﴾

(So if they dispute with you (Muhammad ) say: “I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam), and (so have) those who follow me”) (3:20). Allah said about Ibrahim,

﴿وَحَآجَّهُ قَوْمُهُ قَالَ أَتُحَاجُّونِّى فِى اللَّهِ﴾

(His people disputed with him. He said: “Do you dispute with me concerning Allah”) (6:80), and,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ فِى رِبِّهِ﴾

(Have you not looked at him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord (Allah)) (2:258). He said in this honorable Ayah,

﴿وَلَنَآ أَعْمَـلُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَـلُكُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ﴾

(And we are to be rewarded for our deeds and you for your deeds. And we are sincere to Him.) meaning, “We disown you just as you disown us,”

﴿وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ﴾

(And we are sincere to Him), in worship and submission.

Allah then criticized them in the claim that Ibrahim, the Prophets who came after him and the Asbat were following their religion, whether Judaism or Christianity. Allah said,

﴿قُلْ ءَأَنتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمِ اللَّهُ﴾

(Say, “Do you know better or does Allah”) meaning, Allah has the best knowledge and He stated that they were neither Jews, nor Christians. Similarly, Allah said in the Ayah,

﴿مَا كَانَ إِبْرَهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلاَ نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ﴾

(Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa (to worship none but Allah alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikin) (3:67) and the following Ayat. Allah also said,

﴿وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَتَمَ شَهَـدَةً عِندَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ﴾

And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony he has from Alla0h؟ )2:140(. Al-Hلasan Al-Basلri said, They used to recite the Book of Alla0h He sent to them that stated that the true religion is Isla0m and that Muhلammad is the Messenger of Alla0h. Their Book also stated that Ibra0h0m, Isma0 0l, Ishلa0q, Ya qu0b and the tribes were neither Jews, nor Christians. They testified to these facts, yet hid them from the people. Alla0h s statement,

﴿وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَـفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ﴾

(And Allah is not unaware of what you do), is a threat and a warning that His knowledge encompasses every one’s deeds, and He shall award each accordingly. Allah then said,

﴿تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ﴾

(That was a nation who has passed away.) meaning, existed before you,

﴿لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُم﴾

(They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you of what you earn.) meaning, they bear their deeds while you bear yours,

﴿وَلاَ تُسْـَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ﴾

(And you will not be asked of what they used to do) meaning, the fact that you are their relatives will not suffice, unless you imitate their good deeds. Further, do not be deceived by the fact that you are their descendants, unless you imitate them in obeying Allah’s orders and following His Messengers who were sent as warners and bearers of good news. Indeed, whoever disbelieves in even one Prophet, will have disbelieved in all the Messengers, especially if one disbelieves in the master and Final Messenger from Allah, the Lord of the worlds, to all mankind and the Jinns. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on Muhammad and the rest of Allah’s Prophets.

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