Surah Baqarah Ayat 65 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 65
And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”
“And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”
And you know well the story of those among you who broke Sabbath. We said to them, “Be apes despised and hated by all.
And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.”
And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated!
And you already know of (the ones) of you who transgressed the Sabbath; so We said to them “Be apes, (miserably) spurned.”
You know about those of you who broke the Sabbath, and so We said to them, ‘Be like apes! Be outcasts!’
Quran 2 Verse 65 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 65, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(2:65) And you know the case of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said to them: “Become apes, despised and hated.”
82. Sabbath, i.e., Saturday . It was laid down that the Israelite should consecrate that day for rest and worship. They were required to from abstain from all worldly acts, including cooking (which they might neither do themselves, nor have their servants do for them). The injunctions, in this connection were so strict that violation of the Sabbath was to be punished with death. (See Exodus 31:12-17. ) When religious and moral decadence, however, spread among the Israelites they indulged in open desecration of the Sabbath, so much so that in Jewish towns trade and commerce were carried out in broad daylight.
83. The details of this incident are mentioned later in (Surah 7, vv. 163) ff. The exact manner in which their transformation into apes took place is disputed. Some scholars are of the opinion that the transformation was a physical one, while others hold that they were invested with the attributes characteristic of apes. But both the words and the manner in which this incident is recounted in the Qur’an seem to suggest that what took place was a physical transformation of certain persons into apes rather than just a moral metamorphosis. What seems plausible to me is that while their minds were allowed to remain intact, their bodies were changed into those of apes.
65. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday). We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.” 66. So We made this punishment an example for those in front of it and those behind it, and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious.
(And indeed you knew). This Ayah means, O Jews! Remember that Allah sent His torment on the village that disobeyed Him and broke their pledge and their covenant to observe the sanctity of the Sabbath. They began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath. When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday. During the night, the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime. This story is explained in detail in Surat Al-A`raf, where Allah said (7:163),
(And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel (disobey Allah).)(7:163)
In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said,
(We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected”) means, “Allah changed their bodies into those of monkeys and swines. The young people turned into monkeys while the old people turned into swine.” Shayban An-Nahwi reported that Qatadah commented on,
(We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected”), “These people were turned into howling monkeys with tails, after being men and women.”
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “Those who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath were turned into monkeys, then they perished without offspring.” Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah turned them into monkeys because of their sins. They only lived on the earth for three days, for no transformed person ever lives more than three days. They did not eat, drink or have offspring. Allah transformed their shapes into monkeys, and He does what He wills, with whom He wills and He changes the shape of whomever He wills. On the other hand, Allah created the monkeys, swines and the rest of the creation in the six days (of creation) that He mentioned in His Book.”
(So We made this punishment an example) means, Allah made the people of this village, who violated the sanctity of the Sabbath,
(an example) via the way they were punished. Similarly, Allah said about Pharaoh,
(So Allah, seized him with punishing example for his last and first transgression) (79:25). nAllah’s statement,
(for those in front of it and those behind it) meaning, for the other villages. Ibn `Abbas commented, “Meaning, `We made this village an example for the villages around it by the manner in which We punished its people.”’ Similarly, Allah said,
(And indeed We have destroyed towns (populations) round about you, and We have (repeatedly) shown (them) the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in various ways that they might return (to the truth and believe in the Oneness of Allah ـ Islamic Monotheism)).(46:27)
Therefore, Allah made them an example for those who lived during their time as well as a reminder for those to come, by preserving their story. This is why Allah said,
(and a lesson for Al-Muttaqin (the pious)), meaning, a reminder. This Ayah means, “The torment and punishment that this village suffered was a result of indulging in Allah’s prohibitions and their deceit. Hence, those who have Taqwa should be aware of their evil behavior, so that what occurred to this village does not befall them as well.” Also, Imam Abu `Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.)
This Hadith has a good (Jayid) chain of narration. Allah knows best.
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