Religion

An Ex-Muslims Reading: SURAT AL-BAQARAH (THE COW) – 2:1 to 2:98

Unlike the Surat Al-Fatihah, this sura is much longer (286 verses) and will be divided in three posts. This post will go through verses 2:1 to 2:98.

Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow)

2:1 – Alif, Lam, Meem.

2:2 – This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah –

  • The Yusuf Ali translation is a bit different. It states “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah”. There is a stark difference between being conscious of God and being fearful of God. These are two different foundations in themselves. Consciousness is neutral while the other obviously means that you should be scared of God. This goes against 1:1, which states that God is merciful. Why should one be afraid of a God that is Merciful?
  • The concept of ‘no doubt’ is also important. As seen in the point above, there are verses that can be translated in different ways. While they may not seem too different at the surface, they might actually have significantly different implications. While Arabic is preached as the language that the Quran should be read, it is interesting that a religion that was meant for the whole world would be limited to only one language. In addition, a quick Google search will bring up definite disagreements regarding the interpretation of certain verses in Arabic.

2:3 – Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,

2:4 – And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].

  • The point at issue here is “what was revealed before you”. I am assuming that this refers to the Old and New Testaments. However, there are discrepancies between the Testaments and the Quran. Certain Muslims argue that the content of the Testaments has been changed since it was revealed to the respective prophets. Historical findings are often used to demonstrate the changing nature of the Testaments. However, the historical findings regarding the development of the Quran throughout time are completely ignored by the same individuals.

2:5 – Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.

  • Looking at the current state of Muslim countries around the world, it is debatable that they are “successful” as opposed to more secular countries. That is if you are measuring success by objective standards, such as GDP per capita, the rule of law, or infant mortality rates for instance.

2:6 – Indeed, those who disbelieve – it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.

2:7 – Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.

  • This point is about 2:6-7. So God created these individuals so that He could ultimately punish them, since they won’t believe no matter what the believers tell them? This is pretty disturbing. In 2010, the distribution of religions in the world was Christian 33.39%, Muslim 23.2%, Hindu 13.8%, Buddhist 6.77%, Sikh 0.35%, Jewish 0.22%, Baha’i 0.11%, other religions 10.95%, non-religious 9.66%, atheists 2.01% (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html – under People and Society). Even if we consider Christains and Jews to be believers, 43.65% of the world’s population consisted of non-believers. The OECD population estimate for 2010 is 6,843,522,711 and 43.65% of that population is 2,987,197,663. These verses are basically stating that God created almost 3 billion humans just so that He could punish them.

2:8 – And of the people are some who say, “We believe in Allah and the Last Day,” but they are not believers.

2:9 – They [think to] deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not.

2:10 – In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.

  • Why would God increase their disease? It seems as though God is purposefully increasing their disease (lying) so that they could get a painful punishment. This doesn’t sound like a Merciful God.

2:11 – And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”

2:12 – Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.

2:13 – And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people have believed,” they say, “Should we believe as the foolish have believed?” Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it] not.

2:14 – And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, “Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers.”

2:15 – [But] Allah mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression [while] they wander blindly.

2:16 – Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.

2:17 – Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.

  • This points applies to 2:11-17. What these verses are basically saying is that there are individuals who say that they believe when they actually do not. And as for these individuals, God “mocks them” and prolongs their transgression while they “wander blindly”. What kind of gracious and merciful God does that? If God has created humanity, why would he knowingly increase their ‘sins’ so that they could be punished even more?

2:18 – Deaf, dumb and blind – so they will not return [to the right path].

2:19 – Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers.

2:20 – The lightning almost snatches away their sight. Every time it lights [the way] for them, they walk therein; but when darkness comes over them, they stand [still]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.

  • This points applies to 2:18-20. Once again, the verses imply that no matter what happens, these non-believers won’t believe. I’m not really sure what the point of these verses is. Is it to scare the believers from questioning? Is it to make it easier for the believers to dislike the non-believers? The only potential reasons seem pretty negative.

2:21 – O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous –

2:22 – [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him].

  • The issue here is “do not attribute to Allah equals”. In the Yusuf Ali version, it states “set not up rivals unto Allah”. What these verses imply is that humans hold the power to set up competing Gods. It is interesting that it doesn’t just say “set not up rivals unto Allah for there are none”.

2:23 – And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah , if you should be truthful.

2:24 – But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.

  • I disagree with the fundamental core underlying the need for heaven and hell. Forgetting the fact that there is actually no scientific evidence, Abrahamic religions assume that a hell is required in order for humans to act ‘right’. This ultimately points to the fact that humans are defective creatures. Why would God create such defective creatures to begin with?

2:25 – And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.

  • This representation of heaven is really one that is targeted towards the people of the dry desert (which would make sense for Mohammad’s time). What about people who don’t particularly care for gardens and rivers?

2:26 – Indeed, Allah is not timid to present an example – that of a mosquito or what is smaller than it. And those who have believed know that it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, “What did Allah intend by this as an example?” He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedient,

  • Once again, the concept that God misleads the non-believers is brought up. Going forward, I will just italicize the parts that deal with non-believers, their lack of belief, God misleading them, and their ultimate punishment.

2:27 – Who break the covenant of Allah after contracting it and sever that which Allah has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth. It is those who are the losers.

  • It seems as though not believing in God is synonymous with bad people. One only has to look at the current state of the world to realize that those who believe in God also cause corruption (if not more… IS?).

2:28 – How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.

  • This is circular reasoning. One is supposed to believe in God because God created them but one can only really believe that God created them if they believed in God to begin with.

2:29 – It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things.

  • When I went through my questioning phase, I used to be an apologetic. A variation of the concept of seven heavens also existed in early astronomy (http://www.planetnarnia.com/planet-narnia/the-seven-heavens) but it has obviously been disproven. As an apologetic, I used to argue (to myself and others) that the seven heavens could potentially refer to seven different dimensions. I tried not to think about the fact that string theory did not have seven dimensions. Looking back, I find it a bit ridiculous how far I stretched science so that it could fit Islam.

2:30 – And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

  • “I know that which you do not know” is used to justify what does not make sense. Growing up, any time I tried to question something that did not have a logical answer, I was told that God knows more than humans (so, be quiet).

2:31 – And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”

  • I wonder what “all of them” refers to. In the Yusuf Ali version, it states “And He taught Adam the names of all things”. Does this include every single species on Earth? Does it also include bacteria? The list could be never-ending. Even today, we are discovering new species.

2:32 – They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”

  • This quote was also used to quiet curious children. In my opinion, this belief played a role in the regression of scientific development in the Muslim world. Curiosity and truth-seeking is not encouraged when we are told that as humans, we just do not know what God knows.

2:33 – He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.”

2:34 – And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.

  • It is interesting that Iblees (the devil) became a disbeliever for denying an order from God, not for disbelieving in God.

2:35 – And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”

  • This is the first mention of Eve or Hawa. Not only does God not talk to her directly, her name is not even mentioned. You would think that as the ‘mother’ of all humanity, God would have given her a bit more credence.
  • It also never made sense to me that God created Adam first and Eve second. Why not create them at the same time (especially since reproduction requires both)?
  • Why have the forbidden tree there to begin with? Couldn’t God remove this tree? If the answer is that it was a test, why did God need to put Adam and Eve through a test to start with? Isn’t he all-Knowing? In addition, this rendition of Adam and Eve’s story lacks many details that was in the Testaments. No where is it mentioned that this is the tree of knowledge in the Quran.

2:36 – But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.”

  • While Christianity blames the downfall of humanity of Eve, it is refreshing to know that both were equally at fault in Islam.

2:37 – Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

2:38 – We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.

2:39 – And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.”

  • This applies to 2:37-39. Iblees became a disbeliever for not following an order and Adam and Eve are banished to Earth for eating from a forbidden tree. Wouldn’t a “most Merciful, entirely Merciful” (1:1) God have forgiven them for such acts?

2:40 – 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.

2:41 – And believe in what I have sent down confirming that which is [already] with you, and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And do not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.

  • It is interesting that both 2:40 and 2:41 end with God trying to instill fear in humans, but only for Him. What else would humans fear? And even if they were to fear something, shouldn’t a compassionate God aim to comfort them rather than tell them that they should only be scared of Him?

2:42 – And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].

2:43 – And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].

  • I have always admired that Islam encouraged giving zakah (charity). It was one of the reasons why I kept on holding to the notion of Islam even after I started down the secular road.

2:44 – Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?

  • Discouraging hypocrisy is a good point.

2:45 – And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]

2:46 – Who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.

  • What 2:45 and 2:46 seem to imply is that if you do not seek help through patience and prayer, then you are not a good enough Muslim. I believe that this verse has a significant impact on the way that mental health illnesses are dealt with. Often times, individuals are either directly/indirectly discouraged from seeking treatment, whether therapy or drugs, because they will be perceived as not having enough faith in God.

2:47 – O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds.

  • What worlds? And why? What was so special about the Children of Israel that from the whole wide word, God decided to choose them?

2:48 – And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided.

2:49 – And [recall] when We saved your forefathers from the people of Pharaoh, who afflicted you with the worst torment, slaughtering your [newborn] sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.

  • Just like Mohammad, Moses is also considered a prophet in Islam. Growing up in the West, I was often told that Islam was the right religion because we acknowledged and accepted Jesus and Moses as prophets. I really believed that the stories about Jesus and Moses that we were taught were the exact same as the ones that the Christians and Jews had been taught. It was not until I started researching other religions that I found this to be incorrect.

2:50 – And [recall] when We parted the sea for you and saved you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you were looking on.

2:51 – And [recall] when We made an appointment with Moses for forty nights. Then you took [for worship] the calf after him, while you were wrongdoers.

2:52 – Then We forgave you after that so perhaps you would be grateful.

2:53 – And [recall] when We gave Moses the Scripture and criterion that perhaps you would be guided.

2:54 – And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator.” Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

  • Why would they have to kill themselves? God would only be satisfied if these people who worshipped the calf in a ‘momentary lapse of judgment’ killed themselves? Does that not seem a bit extreme?

2:55 – And [recall] when you said, “O Moses, we will never believe you until we see Allah outright”; so the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on.

2:56 – Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful.

  • God had to kill them as punishment but then revive them so that they would be grateful. Okay.

2:57 – And We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails, [saying], “Eat from the good things with which We have provided you.” And they wronged Us not – but they were [only] wronging themselves.

2:58 – And [recall] when We said, “Enter this city and eat from it wherever you will in [ease and] abundance, and enter the gate bowing humbly and say, ‘Relieve us of our burdens.’ We will [then] forgive your sins for you, and We will increase the doers of good [in goodness and reward].”

2:59 – But those who wronged changed [those words] to a statement other than that which had been said to them, so We sent down upon those who wronged a punishment from the sky because they were defiantly disobeying.

2:60 – And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, “Strike with your staff the stone.” And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people knew its watering place. “Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”

  • So God made Moses a prophet, God told Moses to lead the people into the desert, and then Moses had to pray so that God would give them water.

2:61 – And [recall] when you said, “O Moses, we can never endure one [kind of] food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions.” [Moses] said, “Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go into [any] settlement and indeed, you will have what you have asked.” And they were covered with humiliation and poverty and returned with anger from Allah [upon them]. That was because they [repeatedly] disbelieved in the signs of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That was because they disobeyed and were [habitually] transgressing.

  • Did God not create them to be that way given that God is all-Knowing?

2:62 – Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

2:63 – And [recall] when We took your covenant, [O Children of Israel, to abide by the Torah] and We raised over you the mount, [saying], “Take what We have given you with determination and remember what is in it that perhaps you may become righteous.”

2:64 – Then you turned away after that. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have been among the losers.

2:65 – And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”

2:66 – And We made it a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded [them] and a lesson for those who fear Allah.

  • So God turned the Jews who broke Sabbath into apes (along with their descendants)? Why is that necessary? When you have a scientific understanding of the universe, this seems absurd. The claim here is that the God who created the universe with its billions of galaxies is so fixated on this subset of people that he turned them into apes for breaking the Sabbath. Does God have nothing better to do?

2:67 – And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you take us in ridicule?” He said, “I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant.”

2:68 – They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is.” [Moses] said, “[ Allah ] says, ‘It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,’ so do what you are commanded.”

2:69 – They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color.” He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in color – pleasing to the observers.’ ”

2:70 – They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided.”

2:71 – He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.’ ” They said, “Now you have come with the truth.” So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it.

  • This relates to verses 2:67-71. These types of stories are just hard for me to wrap my head around. So, God wanted these people to sacrifice a yellow cow and had to describe it in detail so that they would be able to identify said cow. Once again, this is supposedly the same God who created the universe.

2:72 – And [recall] when you slew a man and disputed over it, but Allah was to bring out that which you were concealing.

2:73 – So, We said, “Strike the slain man with part of it.” Thus does Allah bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason.

  • So then, someone was murdered and God ordered the people to strike him with a part of the sacrificed cow. THAT brought him back to life. Forgetting the absurdity of it all, why go through this whole ordeal to bring back someone from the dead? If you’re God, why not just do it?

2:74 – Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder. For indeed, there are stones from which rivers burst forth, and there are some of them that split open and water comes out, and there are some of them that fall down for fear of Allah . And Allah is not unaware of what you do.

2:75 – Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah after they had understood it while they were knowing?

2:76 – And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We have believed”; but when they are alone with one another, they say, “Do you talk to them about what Allah has revealed to you so they can argue with you about it before your Lord?” Then will you not reason?

2:77 – But do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare?

  • Once again, the notion is that God is all-Knowing and that humans do not know anything in comparison.

2:78 – And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming.

  • So who knows what the Scripture is actually saying?

2:79 – So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah ,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.

2:80 – And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah ? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?”

2:81 – Yes, whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.

  • The notion of eternal hell is incongruent with that of a merciful God.

2:82 – But they who believe and do righteous deeds – those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.

  • What about people who do righteous deeds but do not believe? Based on the previous verses in this sura, it seems as though regardless of your good deeds, if you are a non-believer, you’re going to be punished in the afterlife.

2:83 – And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.

  • It is interesting that God said ‘Do not worship except Allah’ instead of ‘there is no God but God’. It implies that while there are other gods, as believers, you should only believe and worship this God.
  • The portion that states “and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy” is great. Any mention of doing good is always a positive in my books.

2:84 – And [recall] when We took your covenant, [saying], “Do not shed each other’s blood or evict one another from your homes.” Then you acknowledged [this] while you were witnessing.

  • This is also a good verse.

2:85 – Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.

  • “So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part?” is very important. Growing up in the West, I have encountered Muslims who ignore the negative parts of the Quran while sermonizing the positive parts, such as verses 2:83 and 2:84 for instance. However, according to this specific verse, cherry-picking verses is inherently wrong because it warrants “disgrace” and that these people will be “sent back to the severest of punishment”.

2:86 – Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.

2:87 – And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed.

  • In the Yusuf Ali translation, “And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit” is translated as “We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit”. The reference to the pure or holy spirit in relation to Jesus is interesting. My first thought was whether it was referring to the Holy Trinity. That would be odd because Islam decries that Jesus is the Son of God. However, if it just refers to the ‘clean’ character of Jesus, it is interesting that the same is not mentioned in relation to Moses.

2:88 – And they said, “Our hearts are wrapped.” But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe.

2:89 – And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers.

2:90 – How wretched is that for which they sold themselves – that they would disbelieve in what Allah has revealed through [their] outrage that Allah would send down His favor upon whom He wills from among His servants. So they returned having [earned] wrath upon wrath. And for the disbelievers is a humiliating punishment.

2:91 – And when it is said to them, “Believe in what Allah has revealed,” they say, “We believe [only] in what was revealed to us.” And they disbelieve in what came after it, while it is the truth confirming that which is with them. Say, “Then why did you kill the prophets of Allah before, if you are [indeed] believers?”

2:92 – And Moses had certainly brought you clear proofs. Then you took the calf [in worship] after that, while you were wrongdoers.

  • I find it odd that God keeps referring to the calf worship. A small group of people worshipped a calf after being informed of God and even centuries later, God is still bringing it up through a different prophet. Why?

2:93 – And [recall] when We took your covenant and raised over you the mount, [saying], “Take what We have given you with determination and listen.” They said [instead], “We hear and disobey.” And their hearts absorbed [the worship of] the calf because of their disbelief. Say, “How wretched is that which your faith enjoins upon you, if you should be believers.”

2:94 – Say, [O Muhammad], “If the home of the Hereafter with Allah is for you alone and not the [other] people, then wish for death, if you should be truthful.

2:95 – But they will never wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers.

2:96 – And you will surely find them the most greedy of people for life – [even] more than those who associate others with Allah. One of them wishes that he could be granted life a thousand years, but it would not remove him in the least from the [coming] punishment that he should be granted life. And Allah is Seeing of what they do.

2:97 – Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur’an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of Allah , confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers.”

2:98 – Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.

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