Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 259 (2:259)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 259 in Arabic Text

أَوْ كَٱلَّذِى مَرَّ عَلَىٰ قَرْيَةٍۢ وَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىٰ يُحْىِۦ هَـٰذِهِ ٱللَّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۖ فَأَمَاتَهُ ٱللَّهُ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُۥ ۖ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ ۖ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍۢ ۖ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ فَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ ءَايَةًۭ لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَى ٱلْعِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًۭا ۚ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُۥ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ
Aw kallazee marra ‘alaa qaryatinw wa hiya khaawiyatun ‘alaa ‘urooshihaa qaala annaa yuhyee haazihil laahu ba’da mawtihaa fa amaatahul laahu mi’ata ‘aamin summa ba’asahoo qaala kam labista qaala labistu yawman aw ba’da yawmin qaala bal labista mi’ata ‘aamin fanzur ilaa ta’aamika wa sharaabika lam yatasannah wanzur ilaa himaarika wa linaj’alaka Aayatal linnaasi wanzur ilal’izaami kaifa nunshizuhaa summa naksoohaa lahmaa; falammaa tabayyana lahoo qaala a’lamu annal laaha ‘alaa kulli shai’in Qadeer

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 259

Sahih International
Or [consider such an example] as the one who passed by a township which had fallen into ruin. He said, “How will Allah bring this to life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years; then He revived him. He said, “How long have you remained?” The man said, “I have remained a day or part of a day.” He said, “Rather, you have remained one hundred years. Look at your food and your drink; it has not changed with time. And look at your donkey; and We will make you a sign for the people. And look at the bones [of this donkey] – how We raise them and then We cover them with flesh.” And when it became clear to him, he said, “I know that Allah is over all things competent.”

Yusuf Ali
“Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: “Oh! how shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” but Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: “How long didst thou tarry (thus)?” He said: (Perhaps) a day or part of a day.” He said: “Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink; they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey: And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people, Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.” When this was shown clearly to him, he said: “I know that Allah hath power over all things.”

Abul Ala Maududi
Or take the case of the one who passed by a township that had fallen down upon its roofs. He exclaimed, “How shall Allah bring back to life this township that has become dead?” At this Allah caused him to die and he lay dead for a hundred years. Then Allah brought him back to life and asked him, “How long have you lain here?” He answered. “I might have lain here for a day or a few hours.” Allah said, “Nay, you have been lying here in this state for a hundred years: now, just have a look at your food and your drink; they have not become spoiled in the least. Then have a look at your ass, (and see that his very bones have become rotten) and We have done this in order to make you a Sign for the people. Look, how We raise up the skeleton and set the bones (of the ass) and cover them with flesh and (put breath of life into them).” And when the Reality became manifest to him, he said, “I know that Allah has power over everything.”

Muhsin Khan
Or like the one who passed by a town and it had tumbled over its roofs. He said: “Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: “How long did you remain (dead)?” He (the man) said: “(Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day”. He said: “Nay, you have remained (dead) for a hundred years, look at your food and your drink, they show no change; and look at your donkey! And thus We have made of you a sign for the people. Look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh”. When this was clearly shown to him, he said, “I know (now) that Allah is Able to do all things.”

Pickthall
Or (bethink thee of) the like of him who, passing by a township which had fallen into utter ruin, exclaimed: How shall Allah give this township life after its death? And Allah made him die a hundred years, then brought him back to life. He said: How long hast thou tarried? (The man) said: I have tarried a day or part of a day. (He) said: Nay, but thou hast tarried for a hundred years. Just look at thy food and drink which have not rotted! Look at thine ass! And, that We may make thee a token unto mankind, look at the bones, how We adjust them and then cover them with flesh! And when (the matter) became clear unto him, he said: I know now that Allah is Able to do all things.

Dr. Ghali
Or (such as) he who passed by a town, and it was completely devastated upon its trellises. He said, “However will Allah give life to this (town) after its death?” So Allah made him die a hundred seasons; (i.e., years) thereafter He made him rise again. He Allah) said, “How long have you lingered?” He said, “I have lingered a day or part of a day.” He said, “No indeed, you have lingered a hundred seasons; So, look at your food and drink; it has not spoiled. And look at your ass, and, that We would make you a sign for mankind. And look at the bones, how We shall re-animate them, and afterwards dress them with flesh”. So, as soon as it was evident to him, he said, “I know that Allah is Ever-Determiner over everything.”

Abdel Haleem
Or take the one who passed by a ruined town. He said, ‘How will God give this life when it has died?’ So God made him die for a hundred years, and then raised him up, saying, ‘How long did you stay like that?’ He answered, ‘A day, or part of a day.’ God said, ‘No, you stayed like that for a hundred years. Look at your food and drink: they have not gone bad. Look at your donkey- We will make you a sign for the people- look at the bones: see how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh!’ When all became clear to him, he said, ‘Now I know that God has power over everything.’

Quran 2 Verse 259 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 259, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:259) Or consider him by way of example who passed by a town that was fallen down upon its turrets.[293] He exclaimed: “How will Allah restore life to this town that is now dead?”[294]

Allah then caused him to remain dead for a hundred years and then raised him to life, and asked him: “How long did you remain in this state?” He replied: “I remained so for a day or a part of a day.” Allah rejoined: “No, you have rather stayed thus for a hundred years. But look at your food and your drink, there is no deterioration in them. And look at your ass (how its entire skeleton has rotted)! And We did all this so that We might make you a token of instruction for people.[295] And see how We will put the bones (of the ass) together and will clothe them with flesh.” Thus when the reality became clear to him, he said: “I know that Allah has power over everything.”


293. It is irrelevant to ask who the person was and the place where this incident occurred. The real purpose in mentioning this event is to show how God showed light to the one who had chosen God as his protector and supporter. As for determining the name of the person and the locality, we neither possess the means to do so, nor is such an endeavour in any way beneficial. What seems to be evident from the statement that follows is that the person concerned must necessarily have been a Prophet.

294. This question does not signify that the person concerned denied or entertained any doubts regarding life after death. His enquiry merely indicates his wish to have direct knowledge of reality, like the Prophets of the past.

295. The restoration of life to a man considered to have died a hundred years ago was in itself sufficient to make him, for his contemporaries, a living testimony.

Ibn-Kathir

258. Have you not looked at him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord (Allah), because Allah had given him the kingdom When Ibrahim said (to him): “My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrahim said, “Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.” So the disbeliever was utterly defeated. And Allah guides not the people, who are wrongdoers.


The Debate Between Ibrahim Al-Khalil and King Nimrod

The king who disputed with Ibrahim was King Nimrod, son of Canaan, son of Kush, son of Sam, son of Noah, as Mujahid stated. It was also said that he was Nimrod, son of Falikh, son of `Abir, son of Shalikh, son of Arfakhshand, son of Sam, son of Noah. Mujahid said, “The kings who ruled the eastern and western parts of the world are four, two believers and two disbelievers. As for the two believing kings, they were Sulayman bin Dawud and Dhul-Qarnayn. As for the two disbelieving kings, they were Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar.” Allah knows best.

Allah said,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ﴾

(Have you not looked) meaning, “With your heart, O Muhammad!”

﴿إِلَى الَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ فِى رِبِّهِ﴾

(at him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord) meaning, about the existence of Allah. Nimrod denied the existence of a god other than himself, as he claimed, just as Fir`awn said later to his people,

﴿مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُمْ مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرِى﴾

(I know not that you have a god other than me) ﴿28:38﴾.

What made Nimrod commit this transgression, utter disbelief and arrant rebellion was his tyranny and the fact that he ruled for a long time. This is why the Ayah continued,

﴿أَنْ آتَـهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ﴾

(Because Allah had given him the kingdom. )

It appears that Nimrod asked Ibrahim to produce proof that Allah exists. Ibrahim replied,

﴿رَبِّيَ الَّذِى يُحْىِ وَيُمِيتُ﴾

(My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death) meaning, “The proof of Allah’s existence is the creations that exist after they were nothing and perish after they had existed. This only proves the existence of the Creator, Who does what He wills, for these things could not have occurred on their own without a Creator who created them, and He is the Lord that I call to for worship, Alone without a partner.”

This is when Nimrod said,

﴿أَنَا أُحْىِ وَأُمِيتُ﴾

(I give life and cause death.)

Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and As-Suddi said that he meant, “Two men who deserved execution were to be brought before me, and I would command that one of them be killed, and he would be killed. I would command that the second man be pardoned, and he would be pardoned. This is how I bring life and death.” However, it appears that since Nimrod did not deny the existence of a Creator, his statement did not mean what Qatadah said it meant. This explanation does not provide an answer to what Ibrahim said. Nimrod arrogantly and defiantly claimed that he was the creator and pretended that it was he who brings life and death. Later on, Fir`awn imitated him and announced,

﴿مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُمْ مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرِى﴾

(I know not that you have a god other than me) ﴿28: 38﴾.

This is why Ibrahim said to Nimrod,

﴿فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِى بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ﴾

(Verily, Allah brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west.)

This Ayah means, “You claim that it is you who brings life and death. He who brings life and death controls the existence and creates whatever is in it, including controlling its planets and their movements. For instance, the sun rises everyday from the east. Therefore, if you were god, as you claimed, bringing life and death, then bring the sun from the west.” Since the king was aware of his weakness, inadequacy and that he was not able to reply to Ibrahim’s request, he was idle, silent and unable to comment. Therefore, the proof was established against him. Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الظَّـلِمِينَ﴾

(And Allah guides not the people, who are wrongdoers) meaning, Allah deprives the unjust people of any valid proof or argument. Furthermore, their false proof and arguments are annulled by their Lord, and they have earned His anger and will suffer severe torment.

The meaning that we provided is better than the meaning that some philosophers offered, claiming that Ibrahim used the second argument because it was clearer than the first one. Rather, our explanation asserts that Ibrahim refuted both claims of Nimrod, all praise is due to Allah.

As-Suddi stated that the debate between Ibrahim and Nimrod occurred after Ibrahim was thrown in the fire, for Ibrahim did not meet the king before that day.

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