Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 249 (2:249)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 249 in Arabic Text

فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِٱلْجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍۢ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنْهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّى وَمَن لَّمْ يَطْعَمْهُ فَإِنَّهُۥ مِنِّىٓ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱغْتَرَفَ غُرْفَةًۢ بِيَدِهِۦ ۚ فَشَرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًۭا مِّنْهُمْ ۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُۥ هُوَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مَعَهُۥ قَالُوا۟ لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا ٱلْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ ۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـٰقُوا۟ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍۢ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةًۭ كَثِيرَةًۢ بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
Falammaa fasala Taalootu biljunoodi qaala innal laaha mubtaleekum binaharin faman shariba minhu falaisa minnee wa mallam yat’amhu fa innahoo minneee illaa manigh tarafa ghurfatam biyadih; fashariboo minhu illaa qaleelamminhum; falammaa jaawazahoo huwa wallazeena aamanoo ma’ahoo qaaloo laa taaqata lanal yawma bi Jaaloota wa junoodih; qaalallazeena yazunnoona annahum mulaaqul laahi kam min fi’atin qaleelatin ghalabat fi’atan kaseeratam bi iznil laah; wallaahuma’as saabireen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 249

Sahih International
And when Saul went forth with the soldiers, he said, “Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is indeed of me, excepting one who takes [from it] in the hollow of his hand.” But they drank from it, except a [very] few of them. Then when he had crossed it along with those who believed with him, they said, “There is no power for us today against Goliath and his soldiers.” But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said, “How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient.”

Yusuf Ali
“When Talut set forth with the armies, he said: “Allah will test you at the stream: if any drinks of its water, He goes not with my army: Only those who taste not of it go with me: A mere sip out of the hand is excused.” but they all drank of it, except a few. When they crossed the river,- He and the faithful ones with him,- they said: “This day We cannot cope with Goliath and his forces.” but those who were convinced that they must meet Allah, said: “How oft, by Allah’s will, Hath a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere.”

Abul Ala Maududi
And when Saul marched out with his army, he warned: “Allah is going to put you to a test by the side of a river: whoso drinks of its water shall cease to be my companion: he alone shall be~my companion who does not quench his thirst with its water: one may, however, take except a few, drank their fill of it. Afterwards when Saul, and those who had believed with him, crossed the river and advanced forward, the former said to Saul, “We have no power left this day to fight against Goliath and his hosts.” But those who believed that one Day they shall meet Allah, declared, “lt has often been that a small host has, by Allah’s grace, overcome a big host: for Allah is with those who show fortitude.”

Muhsin Khan
Then when Talut (Saul) set out with the army, he said: “Verily! Allah will try you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes (thereof) in the hollow of his hand.” Yet, they drank thereof, all, except a few of them. So when he had crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: “We have no power this day against Jalut (Goliath) and his hosts.” But those who knew with certainty that they were to meet their Lord, said: “How often a small group overcame a mighty host by Allah’s Leave?” And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).

Pickthall
And when Saul set out with the army, he said: Lo! Allah will try you by (the ordeal of) a river. Whosoever therefore drinketh thereof he is not of me, and whosoever tasteth it not he is of me, save him who taketh (thereof) in the hollow of his hand. But they drank thereof, all save a few of them. And after he had crossed (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: We have no power this day against Goliath and his hosts. But those who knew that they would meet Allah exclaimed: How many a little company hath overcome a mighty host by Allah’s leave! Allah is with the steadfast.

Dr. Ghali
Then as soon as Talû‍t (Saul) departed with the hosts, he said, “Surely Allah will be trying you with a river; so whoever drinks of it, then he is not of me, and whoever does not taste (Literally: does not feed on it) it, then surely he is of me, excepting him who scoops up (a scoop) with his hand.” Then they drank of it except a few of them. Then, as soon as he passed over it, he and the ones who believed with him, they said, “We have no capability today against Jalû‍t (Goliath) and his hosts.” (But) the ones who expect that they will be meeting Allah said, “How often a little community has overcome a much (larger) community by the permission of Allah; and Allah is with the patient.”

Abdel Haleem
When Talut set out with his forces, he said to them, ‘God will test you with a river. Anyone who drinks from it will not belong with me, but anyone who refrains from tasting it will belong with me; if he scoops up just one handful [he will be excused].’ But they all drank [deep] from it, except for a few. When he crossed it with those who had kept faith, they said, ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his warriors.’ But those who knew that they were going to meet their Lord said, ‘How often a small force has defeated a large army with God’s permission! God is with those who are steadfast.’

Quran 2 Verse 249 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 249, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:249) When Saul (Talut) set out with his forces he said: “Allah will try you with a river, and whoever drinks of it does not belong to me; he who refrains from tasting it – unless it be just a palmful – he indeed belongs to me.” Then all, except a few of them, drank their fill at the river.[271]

But as soon as Saul (Talut) and the believers with him went forth across the river, they said: “Today we have no strength to face Goliath (Jalut) and his forces.”[272] But those who believed that they were bound to meet their Lord said: “How often has a small party prevailed against a large party by the leave of Allah.” Allah is with those who remain steadfast.


271. This may refer either to the river Jordan or to some other river or stream in that region. Saul wanted to take the Israelite army across the river. He was aware, however, that there was little moral discipline and restraint left in them. Hence he hit upon this device to distinguish the worthy from the worthyless. Those who could not endure thirst even for a short while, would not be expected to remain steadfast in their confrontation with an enemy at whose hands they had already taken a beating.

272. These were presumable the people who had shown their impatience on the bank of the river. (See the preceding note – Ed.)

Ibn-Kathir

248. And their Prophet said to them: “Verily! The sign of His kingdom is that there shall come to you At-Tabut, wherein is Sakinah (peace and reassurance) from your Lord and a remnant of that which Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) left behind, carried by the angels. Verily, in this is a sign for you if you are indeed believers.


Their Prophet then proclaimed, “The sign of the blessings of Talut’s kingship over you is that Allah will give you back the Tabut (wooden box) that has been taken from you.” Allah said:

﴿فِيهِ سَكِينَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ﴾

(wherein is Sakinah from your Lord) meaning, peace (or grace) and reassurance. `Abdur-Razzaq stated that Qatadah said:

﴿فِيهِ سَكِينَةٌ﴾

(wherein is Sakinah) means grace. In addition, Ar-Rabi` said that Sakinah means mercy. This is also the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas, as Al-`Awfi narrated.

Allah then said:

﴿وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَى وَءَالُ هَـرُونَ﴾

(…and a remnant of that which Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) left behind,)

Ibn Jarir related that Ibn `Abbas said about this Ayah:

﴿وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَى وَءَالُ هَـرُونَ﴾

(…and a remnant of that which Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) left behind, ) Meaning, Moses’ staff and the remnants of the Tablets. This is the same Tafsir of Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Ikrimah, who added, “And also the Torah.” `Abdur-Razzaq said that he asked Ath-Thawri about the meaning of,

﴿وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَى وَءَالُ هَـرُونَ﴾

(…and a remnant of that which Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) left behind,)

Ath-Thawri said, “Some said that it contained a pot of manna and the remnants of the Tablets, while some others said that it contained (Moses’) staff and two shoes (and refer to 20:12).”

Allah then said:

﴿تَحْمِلُهُ الْمَلَـئِكَةُ﴾

(…carried by the angels.)

Ibn Jurayj stated that Ibn `Abbas said, “The angels came down while carrying the Tabut between the sky and the earth, until they placed it before Talut while the people were watching.” As-Suddi said, “The Tabut was brought to Talut’s house, so the people believed in the prophethood of Sham`un (Simeon) and obeyed Talut”

The Prophet then said:

﴿إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لأَيَةً لَّكُمْ﴾

(Verily, in this is a sign for you) testifying to my truth in what I was sent with, my prophethood, and my command to you to obey Talut,

﴿إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ﴾

(if you are indeed believers. ) in Allah and the Hereafter.’

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