Surat al-Baqara continued

In Madinah, the Muslims were free to practice Islam in a way they were not able to in Makkah. They are encouraged to develop a civil society defined by a belief system with spiritual and moral values and underscored by legal and political standards. The surah established a clear legal context to support this spiritual and moral social structure and to tackle the sickness of an uncaring society. In addition, political and economic principles were laid down including:

Salvation lies in submission to Allah

An overview of Juz 2 reveals an important thread that weaves it together “Human salvation lies in complete submission and commitment to the Lord of the Worlds”. This is comprised of the following five principles:

  1. Firm faith in Allah, the One God.
  2. Belief in his Majestic rule and Power.
  3. Belief in Allah as the sole creator of the Universe.
  4. Belief in His messengers who have been sent to guide humanity and to make clear the straight path that will help creation to achieve the pleasure of the Creator.
  5. Belief in life after death.

Such beliefs help us to live a righteous life, a good life pleasing to the Lord and conducive to healthy living and well-being. This is not a mechanical performance of ritual exercises. Instead, it is conscious awareness of and attentiveness to the Divine, in such a way that one feels His presence everywhere. A natural outcome of this way of living is the belief in a resurrection and Judgement Day, signifying that this life is an opportunity to gain the pleasure of Allah, and therefore to secure a place near Him in Paradise.

Diversity among various faiths and ways of living

The Quran presents diversity in creation as “Allah’s way” and nothing unusual or strange about it. Say, “We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us, and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Ismael, Ishaq, Yaqub and the tribes, as well as what was given to Musa and Isa, and what was given to all the Messengers from their Lord, we make no distinction between any one of them, we are Muslims” (136).

Some key questions

The new community in Madinah faced many challenges, which were addressed through the following questions:

“When My servants ask you about Me, tell them I am near; I answer the prayer of the prayerful whenever he prays to Me. Therefore, obey Me and believe in Me so that you may be guided” (186).

As we reach the end of the Juz, the Surah returns to the story of the Israelites, the sacred Ark, which contained the relics of Musa and Harun was used by them as a centre of spiritual energy through which they won against their enemies. They are reminded how they sought a king and Allah gave them Talut and later Dawud.

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