Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 171 (2:171)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 171 in Arabic Text

وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ كَمَثَلِ ٱلَّذِى يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَآءًۭ وَنِدَآءًۭ ۚ صُمٌّۢ بُكْمٌ عُمْىٌۭ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
Wa masalul lazeena kafaroo kamasalil lazee yan’iqu bimaa laa yasma’u illaa du’aaa’anw wa nidaaa’aa; summum bukmun ‘umyun fahum laa ya’qiloon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 171

Sahih International
The example of those who disbelieve is like that of one who shouts at what hears nothing but calls and cries cattle or sheep – deaf, dumb and blind, so they do not understand.

Yusuf Ali
“The parable of those who reject Faith is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom.

Abul Ala Maududi
The mental condition of those who rejected the way of Allah may be likened to that of the cattle whom the shepherd calls but they hear nothing except the sound of shouts and cries. They are deaf, they are dumb, they are blind; therefore they do not understand anything.

Muhsin Khan
And the example of those who disbelieve, is as that of him who shouts to the (flock of sheep) that hears nothing but calls and cries. (They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand.

Pickthall
The likeness of those who disbelieve (in relation to the messenger) is as the likeness of one who calleth unto that which heareth naught except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.

Dr. Ghali
And the likeness of the ones who have disbelieved is as the likeness of one who screams to that which does not hear (anything) except an invocation and a calling out; deaf, dumb and blind; so they do not consider.

Abdel Haleem
Calling to disbelieversis like a herdsman calling to things that hear nothing but a shout and a cry: they are deaf, dumb, and blind, and they understand nothing.

Quran 2 Verse 171 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 171, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:171) Those who have refused to follow the Way of Allah resemble cattle; when the shepherd calls them they hear nothing except shouting and crying;[169] they are deaf, dumb and blind, and so they understand nothing.


169. This parable has two aspects. On the one hand, it suggests that these people are like herds of irrational animals, dumb cattle, that always follow their herdsmen, moving on as they hear their calls without understanding what they mean. (Thus these people follow their leaders even though they do not grasp where it is they are being led to – Ed.) On the other hand, it also suggests that when the Truth is preached to them they show such insensitivity to it that one may as well be addressing animals who merely comprehend sounds but are incapable of understanding their meaning. The expression lends itself to both interpretations.

Ibn-Kathir

170. When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah has sent down.” They say: “Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided 171. And the example of those who disbelieve is as that of him who shouts to those (flock of sheep) that hear nothing but calls and cries. (They are) deaf, dumb and blind. So they do not understand.


The Polytheist imitates Other Polytheists

Allah states that if the disbelievers and polytheists are called to follow what Allah has revealed to His Messenger and abandon the practices of misguidance and ignorance that they indulge in, they will say, “Rather. We shall follow what we found our fathers following,” meaning, worshipping the idols and the false deities. Allah criticized their reasoning:

﴿أَوَلَوْ كَانَ ءَابَاؤُهُمْ﴾

((Would they do that!) even though their fathers), meaning, those whom they follow and whose practices they imitate, and:

﴿لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ﴾

(…did not understand anything nor were they guided) meaning, they had no sound understanding or guidance. Ibn Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this was revealed about a group of Jews whom Allah’s Messenger called to Islam, but they refused, saying, “Rather, we shall follow what we found our forefathers following.” So Allah revealed this Ayah (2:170) above.”

The Disbeliever is just like an Animal

Allah then made a parable of the disbelievers, just as He said in another Ayah:

﴿لِلَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالاٌّخِرَةِ مَثَلُ السَّوْءِ﴾

(For those who believe not in the Hereafter is an evil description.) (16:60)

Similarly, Allah said here (2:171 above)

﴿وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ﴾

(And the example of those who disbelieve…) meaning, in their injustice, misguidance and ignorance, they are just like wandering animals, not understanding what they are told; if the shepherd heralds them or calls them to what benefits them, they would not understand what is actually being said to them, for they only hear unintelligible sounds. This is what is reported from Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata’, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.

﴿صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْىٌ﴾

(They are deaf, dumb, and blind.) means, they are deaf, as they do not hear the truth; mute, as they do not utter it; and blind, as they do not see or recognize its path and way.

﴿فَهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ﴾

(So they do not understand.) means, they do not comprehend or understand anything.

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