Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 260 (2:260)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 260 in Arabic Text

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَٰهِـۧمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِى كَيْفَ تُحْىِ ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ ۖ قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن ۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِى ۖ قَالَ فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱلطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ ٱجْعَلْ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ جَبَلٍۢ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًۭا ثُمَّ ٱدْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِينَكَ سَعْيًۭا ۚ وَٱعْلَمْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌۭ
Wa iz qaala Ibraaheemu Rabbi arinee kaifa tuhyil mawtaa qaala awa lam tu’min qaala balaa wa laakil liyatma’inna qalbee qaala fakhuz aba’atam minat tairi fasurhunna ilaika summaj ‘al a’alaa kulli jabalim minhunna juz’an summad’uu hunna yaateenaka sa’yaa; wa’lam annal laaha ‘Azeezun Hakeem (section 35)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 260

Sahih International
And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [Allah] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [Allah] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”

Yusuf Ali
“When Abraham said: “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, ” He replied: “Have you no faith?” He said “Yes, but just to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.”

Abul Ala Maududi
Call to mind the other event also, when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how Thou bringest the dead back to life?” He said “Have you no faith in this?” Abraham humbly replied, “I do believe but I ask this to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Well, take four birds and tame them with yourself and then (cut them into pieces) and place a piece of each of them on each hill. Then call them and they will come running to you; know this for certain that Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.”

Muhsin Khan
And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” He (Allah) said: “Do you not believe?” He [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said: “Yes (I believe), but to be stronger in Faith.” He said: “Take four birds, then cause them to incline towards you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces), and then put a portion of them on every hill, and call them, they will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”

Pickthall
And when Abraham said (unto his Lord): My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: Dost thou not believe? Abraham said: Yea, but (I ask) in order that my heart may be at ease. (His Lord) said: Take four of the birds and cause them to incline unto thee, then place a part of them on each hill, then call them, they will come to thee in haste, and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Dr. Ghali
And as Ibrahîm (Abraham) said, “Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” He Allah) said, “And have you not believed?” He (Ibrahîm) said, “Yes indeed, but that my heart be composed.” Said He, “So take four of the birds, then wring them to you (and divide them); thereafter set a portion of them on every mountain; thereafter call them; they will come up to you with hasty diligence (and) know that Allah is Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise.”

Abdel Haleem
And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead,’ He said, ‘Do you not believe, then?’ ‘Yes,’ said Abraham, ‘but just to put my heart at rest.’ So God said, ‘Take four birds and train them to come back to you. Then place them on separate hilltops, call them back, and they will come flying to you: know that God is all powerful and wise.’

Quran 2 Verse 260 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 260, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:260) And recall when Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead,” Allah said: “Why! Do you have no faith?” Abraham replied: “Yes, but in order that my heart be at rest.”[296] He said: “Then take four birds, and tame them to yourself, then put a part of them on every hill, and summon them; they will come to you flying. Know well that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”[297]


296. That is, the rest and inner peace that one attains as a result of direct personal observation.

297. People have subjected this incident and the one above to very strange interpretations. If one bears in mind, however, God’s dealings with the Prophets, one will not feel any need to strain one’s energies in hammering out such artificially-contrived interpretations. The truth of the matter is that the kind of function that ordinary believers are required to perform requires of them no more than believing in certain truths without perceiving them through their senses. The function entrusted by God to the Prophets is such that they ought to have direct knowledge of the truths, the acceptance of which they are required to invite others to.

Thanks to the nature of their mission, the Prophets had to tell the world that while others resorted to conjecture and fancy, they spoke from personal direct observation and experience; that while others could claim to possess only imagination, they possessed reliable knowledge; that while others were blind, they alone had the God-given capacity to perceive the Truth. It is for this reason that the angels come to the Prophets and they see them with their own eyes. It is for the same reason that the Prophets were allowed a glimpse of the system of governance of the heavens and the earth. It is for the same reason, again, that they were enabled to observe Heaven and Hell and witness scenes of resurrection.

The Prophets are in possession of faith in the Unseen at the time they are invested with prophethood. After being designated to prophethood, they are further honoured by special favours and privileges, and initiated into what may be termed as faith in the seen’ (for the ‘Unseen’ is changed for them to the ‘seen’). This favour is a special prerogative of the Prophets. (For a further explanation see (Surah 9, nn. 17, 18, 19 and 34.)

Ibn-Kathir

259. Or like the one who passed by a town in ruin up to its roofs. He said: “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.”


The Story of `Uzayr

Allah’s statement,

﴿أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ فِى رِبّهِ﴾

(Have you not looked at him who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord) means, “Have you seen anyone like the person who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord” Then, Allah connected the Ayah,

﴿أَوْ كَالَّذِى مَرَّ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ وَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا﴾

(Or like the one who passed by a town in ruin up to its roofs) to the Ayah above by using `or’.

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Abi Talib said that the Ayah ﴿2:259﴾ meant `Uzayr. Ibn Jarir also reported it, and this explanation was also reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Sulayman bin Buraydah.

Mujahid bin Jabr said that the Ayah refers to a man from the Children of Israel, and the village was Jerusalem, after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and killed its people.

﴿وَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ﴾

(in ruin) means, it became empty of people. Allah’s statement,

﴿عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا﴾

(up to its roofs) indicates that the roofs and walls (of the village) fell to the ground. `Uzayr stood contemplating about what had happened to that city, after a great civilization used to inhabit it. He said,

﴿أَنَّى يُحْىِ هَـذِهِ اللَّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا﴾

(Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death) because of the utter destruction he saw and the implausibility of its returning to what it used to be. Allah said,

﴿فَأَمَاتَهُ اللَّهُ مِاْئَةَ عَامٍ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُ﴾

(So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again).)

The city was rebuilt seventy years after the man (`Uzayr) died, and its inhabitants increased and the Children of Israel moved back to it. When Allah resurrected `Uzayr after he died, the first organ that He resurrected were his eyes, so that he could witness what Allah does with him, how He brings life back to his body. When his resurrection was complete, Allah said to him, meaning through the angel,

﴿كَمْ لَبِثْتَ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ﴾

(“How long did you remain (dead)” He (the man) said: “(Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day.”)

The scholars said that since the man died in the early part of the day and Allah resurrected him in the latter part of the day, when he saw that the sun was still apparent, he thought that it was the sun of that very day. He said,

﴿أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِاْئَةَ عَامٍ فَانظُرْ إِلَى طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ﴾

(“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.”)

He had grapes, figs and juice, and he found them as he left them; neither did the juice spoil nor the figs become bitter nor the grapes rot.

﴿وَانظُرْ إِلَى حِمَارِكَ﴾

(And look at your donkey!), “How Allah brings it back to life while you are watching.”

﴿وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ ءَايَةً لِلنَّاسِ﴾

(And thus We have made of you a sign for the people) that Resurrection occurs.

﴿وَانظُرْ إِلَى العِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا﴾

(Look at the bones, how We Nunshizuha) meaning, collect them and put them back together. In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim, recorded that Kharijah bin Zayd bin Thabit said that his father said that the Messenger of Allah read this Ayah,

﴿كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا﴾

(how We Nunshizuha.) Al-Hakim said; “Its chain is Sahih and they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it.” The Ayah was also read,

(نُنْشِرُهَا)

“Nunshiruha” meaning, bring them back to life, as Mujahid stated.

﴿ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًا﴾

(And clothe them with flesh. )

As-Suddi said, ” `Uzayr observed the bones of his donkey, which were scattered all around him to his right and left, and Allah sent a wind that collected the bones from all over the area. Allah then brought every bone to its place, until they formed a full donkey made of fleshless bones. Allah then covered these bones with flesh, nerves, veins and skin. Allah sent an angel who blew life in the donkeys’ nostrils, and the donkey started to bray by Allah’s leave.” All this occurred while `Uzayr was watching, and this is when he proclaimed,

﴿قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ﴾

(He said, “I know (now) that Allah is able to do all things,”) meaning, “I know that, and I did witness it with my own eyes. Therefore, I am the most knowledgeable in this matter among the people of my time.”

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