Surah Baqarah Ayat 258 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 258
Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Indeed, Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.” So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
“Hast thou not Turned thy vision to one who disputed with Abraham About his Lord, because Allah had granted him power? Abraham said: “My Lord is He Who Giveth life and death.” He said: “I give life and death”. Said Abraham: “But it is Allah that causeth the sun to rise from the east: Do thou then cause him to rise from the West.” Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor doth Allah Give guidance to a people unjust.
Have you not considered the case of the person who had an argument with Abraham as to `Whom Abraham acknowledged as his Lord?’ The dispute arose because Allah had given him the kingship, (which had made him arrogant). When Abraham said, “My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death,” he answered, “I give life and cause death.” Then Abraham said, “Well, Allah brings the sun from the east: just bring it from the west.” At this the disbeliever was confounded: (yet he did not believe), for Allah does not show guidance to unjust people.
Have you not looked at him who disputed with Ibrahim (Abraham) about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom? When Ibrahim (Abraham) said (to him): “My Lord (Allah) is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “Verily! Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; then cause it you to rise from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the people, who are Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).
Bethink thee of him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom; how, when Abraham said: My Lord is He Who giveth life and causeth death, he answered: I give life and cause death. Abraham said: Lo! Allah causeth the sun to rise in the East, so do thou cause it to come up from the West. Thus was the disbeliever abashed. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.
Have you not regarded him who argued with Ibrahîm (Abraham) about his Lord, that Allah had brought him the kingship? As’Ibrahîm said, “My Lord is He Who gives life and makes to die, ” he said, “I give life and make to die.” Ibrahîm said, “Yet surely Allah comes up with (i.e., brings) the sun from the East, so come up with (i.e., bring) it from the West.” Then the one who disbelieved was confounded; and Allah does not guide the unjust people.
[Prophet], have you not thought about the man who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him power to rule? When Abraham said, ‘It is my Lord who gives life and death,’ he said, ‘I too give life and death.’ So Abraham said, ‘God brings the sun from the east; so bring it from the west.’ The disbeliever was dumbfounded: God does not guide those who do evil.
Quran 2 Verse 258 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 258, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(2:258) Did you not consider the case of the person who remonstrated with Abraham about who was Abraham’s Lord just because Allah had granted him dominion?
When Abraham said: “My Lord is He Who grants life and causes death,” he replied: “I grant life and I cause death.” Abraham said: “But surely Allah causes the sun to rise from the east; now you cause it to rise from the west.” Thereupon the denier of the Truth was confounded. Allah does not direct the wrong-doers to the Right Way.
289. It was stated earlier that God is the protector and supporter of the man of faith and brings him out of darkness into light whereas the protectors and supporters of the unbelievers are taghut who lead him out of light into darkness. It is to illustrate this that three examples are cited here. The first is that of a person before whom truth was put with such clear and impressive arguments that he could not refute it, but since he had placed his reins in the hands of taghut, he still could not believe in it. The two subsequent examples are those of two people who clung to God as their support, and God drew them out of darkness so that they were enabled to perceive directly those realities which are beyond the reach of man’s perception.
290. Here the reference is to Nimrod the ruler of the land of Abrahams birth, Iraq. The event which is referred to here is not mentioned at all in the Bible. However, the whole story occurs in the Talmud and is largely in harmony with the Qur’anic version. In the Talmudic version it is said that the father of Abraham occupied the highest office in Nimrod’s government. When Abraham denounced polytheism, preached the doctrine of the unity of God and smashed the idols of the temple, his own father lodged a complaint against him before the king. This was followed by a conversation which is mentioned here.
291. The dispute was over the question: Whom did he acknowledge as his Lord? The reason why this dispute arose was that God had granted kingship to the remonstrator, namely Nimrod. In order to comprehend fully the nature of the dispute hinted at in these statements, it is necessary to bear in mind the following:
(1) All polytheistic societies from the earliest times till today share one characteristic: they acknowledge God to be the Lord of lords, the greatest of all deities. They are unwilling to acknowledge Him, however, as the only God, the only object of man’s worship and service.
(2) Polytheists tend to divide godhead into two categories. One of these belongs to the supernatural stratum. The being invested with godhead at this stratum rules over the entire system of causation and is the one to whom man turns for the fulfilment of his needs and for solutions to his problems. With this godhead the polytheists associate spirits, angels, jinn, heavenly bodies and several other beings. To them they address their prayers. They regard them as the objects of their worship. It is at their altars that offerings and sacrifices are placed. The second category of godhead belongs to the social and political stratum, and refers to the being who has the privilege of absolute sovereignty: the one who is entitled to make the rules of conduct for human life, the one who is entitled to unreserved obedience, the one who has unlimited authority to command in worldy matters. Polytheists of all ages have either wrested this godhead from God altogether, or they have had this godhead distributed, in addition to God, among many others such as royal dynastics, religious divines and the venerated personalities of society, whether they belonged to the past or to their own times. Many royal families have laid claim to godhead of the second category and, in order to consolidate their claim, they have pretended to be the offspring of gods in the former sense. In general there has been collusion between the religious and the ruling classes on this question.
(3) Nimrod’s claim to godhead belong to this second category. He did not deny the existence of God, and he did not deny that He was the creator of the heavens and the earth, and that He alone governed the entire universe. Nimrod did not claim for himself that he held the reins of the entire realm of causation in his hands; he claimed rather that he was the absolute sovereign of Chaldaea and its inhabitants, that in his realm his word was law, that there was no authority superior to his own to which he was answerable. Any Chaldaean who did not either acknowledge him to be his lord or took anyone other than him to be so, was a rebel and a traitor.
(4) Abraham asserted that he acknowledged none else but the creator of the universe as his God, the only object worthy of his worship. He also denied categorically the godhead and overlordship of anyone else. This raised the question of how far the new creed could be tolerated, in so far as it was opposed to the tenets of the national religion and rejected the current ideas regarding the deities it worshipped. It also alerted the establishment in so far as Abraham’s ideas might constitute a serious threat to the national state and to the position and privilege of its ruling coterie.
292. Even though it was clear from Abraham’s very first sentence that none other than God could legitimately be regarded as the Lord, Nimrod resorted to an unreasonable reply. But Abraham’s second statement left no room even for Nimrod’s brazenness. He knew well enough that the sun and the moon were subjected to the overlordship of the same God as Abraham had acknowledged as his Lord. What, then, could he say in reply? To accept the Truth which Abraham had made crystal clear by his argument meant that Nimrod ought to part with his absolutist despotism. The devil within him was not prepared for that. Hence he was left wonderstruck, unable to get out of the darkness of self-adoration to the light of Truth. If he had taken God rather than the Evil One as his patron and supporter, the true path would have been opened to him after Abraham’s preaching.
According to the Talmud, Abraham was interned in prison on the orders of this king. He remained in prison for ten days, after which the king decided to have him burnt alive. It was then that the famous incident of Abraham being thrown into the fire took place see Qur’an (21:51 f f).; (29:16); (37:83).
257. Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Awliya’ (supporters and helpers) are Taghut (false deities and false leaders), they bring them out from light into darknesses. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.
Allah stated that whoever follows what pleases Him, He will guide him to the paths of peace, that is Islam, or Paradise. Verily, Allah delivers His believing servants from the darkness of disbelief, doubt and hesitation, to the light of the plain, clear, explained, easy and unequivocal truth. He also stated that Shaytan is the supporter of the disbelievers who beautifies the paths of ignorance and misguidance that they follow, thus causing them to deviate from the true path into disbelief and wickedness.
(Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.)
This is why Allah mentioned the light in the singular while mentioned the darkness in the plural, because truth is one, while disbelief comes as several types, all of which are false. Similarly, Allah said,
(And verily, this is my straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may have Taqwa) ﴿6:153﴾,
(And originated the darknesses and the light) ﴿6:1﴾, and,
(to the right and to the lefts) ﴿16: 48
There are many other Ayat on the subject that mention the truth in the singular and falsehood in the plural, because of falsehood’s many divisions and branches.
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