Surah Baqarah Ayat 40 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 40
O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me.
“O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me.
O children of Israel! Just recall to mind My favour wherewith I blessed you fulfil your covenant with Me and I shall fulfil My covenant with you, and fear Me alone.
O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill (your obligations to) My Covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My Obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me.
O Children of Israel! Remember My favour wherewith I favoured you, and fulfil your (part of the) covenant, I shall fulfil My (part of the) covenant, and fear Me.
O Seeds (Or: sons) of Israel)remember My favor wherewith I favored you, and fulfil My covenant (and) I will fulfil your covenant, and do have awe of Me (only).
Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you. Honour your pledge to Me and I will honour My pledge to you: I am the One you should fear.
Quran 2 Verse 40 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 40, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(2:40) Children of Israel! Recall My favour which I had bestowed on you, and fulfil your covenant with Me and I shall fulfil My covenant with you, and fear Me alone.
56. ‘Israel’ means the slave of God. This was the title conferred on Jacob (Ya’qub) by God Himself. He was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. His progeny are styled the ‘Children of Israel’.
Turning to the Qur’anic text itself, it is noteworthy that the foregoing verses have been in the nature of introductory remarks addressed to all mankind. From the present section up to and including the fourteenth (verses 40 discourse, the reader should be particularly aware of the following purposes:
The first purpose of this discourse is to invite those followers of the earlier Prophets who still had some element of righteousness and goodness to believe in the Truth preached by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and to join hands in promoting the mission he championed. In these sections they are told that the Qur’an and the Prophet are bearers of the same message and mission preached by the earlier Prophets and Scriptures.
The earlier communities were entrusted with the Truth in order that, as well as following it themselves, they might call others towards it and try to persuade them to follow it. But instead of directing the world in the light of this truth, they themselves failed to follow the Divine Guidance and sank into degeneracy. Their history and their contemporary religious and moral condition bore out this degeneration.
They are also told that God has once again entrusted the same Truth to one of His servants and has appointed him to carry out the same mission as that of the earlier Prophets and their followers. What the Prophet has brought is, therefore, neither new nor foreign; it is their very own and they are asked to accept it as such. A fresh group of people has now arisen with the same mission they had, but which they failed to carry out. It is clearly their duty to support these people.
The second purpose of this discourse is to leave no reasonable justification for the negative Jewish attitude towards Islam, and to expose fully the true state of the religious and moral life of the Jews. This discourse makes it clear that the religion preached by the Prophet was the same as that preached by the Prophets of Israel. So far as the fundamentals are concerned, nothing in the Qur’an differs from the teachings of the Torah. It is also established that the Jews failed glaringly to follow the guidance entrusted to them, even as they had failed to live up to the position of leadership in which they had been placed. This point is established by reference to events of irrefutable authenticity.
Moreover, the way in which the Jews resorted to conspiracies and underhand machinations designed to create doubts and misgivings, the mischievous manner in which they engaged in discussions, the acts of trickery in which they indulged in wilful opposition to the Truth, and the vile tactics which they employed in order to frustrate the mission of the Prophet, were all brought into sharp relief so as to establish that their formal, legalistic piety was a sham. What lay behind it was bigotry, chauvinism and self-aggrandizement rather than an honest search for and commitment to the Truth. The plain fact was that they did not want goodness to flourish.
This candid criticism of the Jews had several salutary effects. On the one hand, it made the situation clear to the good elements among the Jews. On the other, it destroyed the religious and moral standing of the Jews among the people of Madina, and among the pagans of Arabia as a whole. Moreover, it undermined the morale of the Jews to such an extent that from then on they could not oppose Islam with a firmness born of strong inner conviction.
Third, the message addressed in the earlier sections to mankind as a whole is here elucidated with reference to a particular people. The example of the Jews is cited to show the tragic end that overtakes a people when it spurns Divine Guidance. The reason for choosing the Children of Israel as an example is that they alone, out of all the nations, constituted for four thousand years the continual embodiment of a tragedy from which many lessons could be learnt. The vicissitudes of fortune which visit a people, depending on whether they follow or refrain from following Divine Guidance, were all conspicuous in the history of this nation.
Fourth, this discourse is designed to warn the followers of Muhammad (peace be on him) to avoid the same pitfalls as the followers of the earlier Prophets. While explaining the requirements of the true faith, it clearly specifies the moral weaknesses, the false concepts of religion, and the numerous errors in religious belief and practice which had made inroads among the Jews. The purpose is to enable Muslims to see their true path clearly and to avoid false ones. While studying the Qur’anic criticism of the Jews and Christians, Muslims should remember the Tradition from the Prophet in which he warned them that they would so closely follow the ways of the earlier religious communities that if the latter had entered a lizard’s burrow, so would the Muslims. The Prophet was asked: ‘Do you mean the Christians and Jews, O Messenger of God?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Who else?’ (See Bukhari, ‘Itisam’, 14; Muslim, “Ilm’, 6 – Ed.) This was not merely an expression of reproof. Thanks to the peculiar discernment and insight with which the Prophet was endowed, he knew the ways in which corruption encroaches upon the lives of the followers of the Prophets, and the different forms it assumes.
40. O Children of Israel! Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me. 41. And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil), and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy not with My verses (the Tawrah and the Injil) a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My verses), and fear Me and Me alone.
Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad . He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah’s Prophet Ya`qub, as if saying, “O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah! Be like your father, following the truth.” This statement is similar to one’s saying, “O you son of that generous man! Do this or that” or, “O son of the brave man, engage the strong fighters,” or “O son of the scholar, seek the knowledge,” and so forth. Similarly, Allah said,
(O offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh (Noah)! Verily, he was a grateful servant) (17:3).
Israel is Prophet Ya`qub, for Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas said, “A group of Jews came to the Prophet and he said to them,
(Do you know that Israel is Jacob) They said, “Yes, by Allah.” He said,
(O Allah! Be witness.)”
At-Tabari recorded that `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas said that `Israel’ means, `the servant of Allah.’
(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you).
Mujahid commented, “Allah’s favor that He granted the Jews is that He made water gush from stones, sent down manna and quails for them, and saved them from being enslaved by Pharaoh.” Abu Al-`Aliyah also said, “Allah’s favor mentioned here is His sending Prophets and Messengers among them, and revealing Books to them.” I – Ibn Kathir – say that this Ayah is similar to what Musa said to the Children of Israel,
(O my people! Remember the favor of Allah to you: when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations (of their time) (5:20) meaning, during their time. Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ibn `Abbas said,
(Remember My favor which I bestowed upon you,) means, “My support for you and your fathers,” that is saving them from Pharaoh and his people.
(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My obligations to) your covenant (with Me),) means, `My covenant that I took from you concerning Prophet Muhammad , when he is sent to you, so that I grant you what I promised you if you believe in him and follow him. I will then remove the chains and restrictions that were placed around your necks, because of the errors that you committed.’ Also, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “The `covenant’ is in reference to Allah’s statement, i
(Indeed, Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: “I am with you if you perform As-Salah and give Zakah and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend a good loan to Allah, verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)) (5:12).”
Other scholars said, “The covenant is what Allah took from them in the Tawrah, in that, He will send a great Prophet – meaning Muhammad – from among the offspring of Isma`il, who will be obeyed by all peoples. Therefore, whoever obeys him, then Allah will forgive his sins, enter him into Paradise and award him two rewards.” We should mention here that Ar-Razi mentioned several cases of information brought by the earlier Prophets regarding the coming of Muhammad . Further, Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,
(And fulfill (your obligations to) My covenant (with you)) means, “His covenant with His servants is to embrace Islam and to adhere to it.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, “`I fulfill My obligations to you’ means, `I (Allah) will be pleased with you and admit you into Paradise.”’ As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said similarly.
Ibn `Abbas said that Allah’s statement,
(And fear Me and Me alone.) means, “Fear the torment that I might exert on you, just as I did with your fathers, like the mutation, etc.” This Ayah contains encouragement, followed by warning. Allah first called the Children of Israel, using encouragement, then He warned them, so that they might return to the Truth, follow the Messenger , heed the Qur’an’s prohibitions and commands and believe in its content. Surely, Allah guides whom He wills to the straight path.
Allah said next,
(And believe in what I have sent down, confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) meaning, the Qur’an that Allah sent down to Muhammad , the unlettered Arab Prophet, as bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a light. The Qur’an contains the Truth from Allah and affirms what was revealed beforehand in the Tawrah and the Injil (the Gospel). Abu Al-`Aliyah said that Allah’s statement,
(And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you (the Tawrah and the Injil)) “means, `O People of the Book! Believe in what I sent down that conforms to what you have.’ This is because they find the description of Muhammad recorded in the Tawrah and the Injil.” Similar statements were attributed to Mujahid, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Qatadah.
(and be not the first to disbelieve therein).
Ibn `Abbas commented, “Do not become the first to disbelieve in the Qur’an (or Muhammad ), while you have more knowledge in it than other people.” Abu Al-`Aliyah commented, “`Do not become the first to disbelieve in Muhammad, ‘ meaning from among the People of the Book, `after you hear that he was sent as a Prophet.”’ Similar statements were attributed to Al-Hasan, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ibn Jarir stated that the Ayah (disbelieve therein 2:41) refers to the Qur’an, mentioned earlier in the Ayah,
(in what I have sent down (this Qur’an),)
Both statements are correct because they are inter-related. For instance, whoever disbelieves in the Qur’an will have disbelieved in Muhammad , and whoever disbelieves in Muhammad will have disbelieved in the Qur’an. Allah’s statement,
(the first to disbelieve therein) means, do not become the first among the Children of Israel to disbelieve in it, for there were people from Quraysh and the Arabs in general who rejected Muhammad before the People of the Book disbelieved in him. We should state here that the Ayah is talking about the Children of Israel in specific, because the Jews in Al-Madinah were the first among the Children of Israel to be addressed by the Qur’an. Hence, their disbelief in the Qur’an means that they were the first among the People of the Book to disbelieve in it.
(and buy not with My verses a small price,) means, “Do not substitute faith in My Ayat and belief in My Prophet with the life of this world and its lusts which are minute and bound to end. ” Allah said,
(and have Taqwa of Me and Me alone).
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Talq bin Habib said, “Taqwa is to work in Allah’s obedience, on a light from Allah, hoping in Allah’s mercy, and to avoid Allah’s disobedience, on a light from Allah, fearing Allah’s punishment.” Allah’s statement,
(and fear Me and Me alone) means, that Allah warns the People of the Book against intentionally hiding the truth and spreading the opposite of it, as well as, against defying the Messenger .
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