By A.A. (4th Year ʿĀlimah Student, DarusSalam Seminary)
Sūrat al-Baqarah is the Qurʾān’s second chapter. As well, it is its longest chapter, consisting of 286 verses. It is a Madanī chapter.
Sūrat al-Baqarah may be divided into two parts. The first starts at its beginning until verse 177. This section discusses two primary themes: tawḥīd and risālah. The topic of tawḥīd is discussed from the beginning until ayah 123. And then, the discussion of risālah begins at verse 124 and ends at 177. The first section explains the first kalimah.
The second discusses matters that pertain to man’s reformation and advises how to correct spiritual and social affairs. It also provides details concerning striving and spending in Allāh’s cause. The second section commands the Muslims to strive to uphold the first kalimah, which was detailed in the first.
Sūrat Āl ʿImrān is the Qurʾān’s third chapter. It consists of 200 verses. It is called Sūrat Āl ʿImrān because it mentions ʿImrān’s family. This chapter has four main themes: tawḥīd, risālah, striving, and spending in the path of Allāh. Along with these themes, the chapter answers the doubts that the polytheists expressed regarding them, specifically tawḥīd and risālah. The topic of tawḥīd is discussed from its beginning until verse 80. Thereafter, the topic of risālah is discussed from verse 81 onwards to verse 100. At 102, the discussion on striving begins until verse 188. And the last few verses in the chapter discuss spending in Allāh’s path.
This part provides a detailed reply to the disbelievers and what they said regarding the Prophet. They said that if the Prophet was a true messenger and if Islām was the true religion, then why did the Prophet sustain injuries during the Battle of Uḥud and why did the Muslims lose the battle?
The answer to this is that the Muslims neared victory during the battle, according to Allāh’s promise, but then they slipped up by not obeying the Prophet’s order to guard the mountain pass. And this led to their defeat, which was a temporary setback.
There are many munāsābāt between Sūrat al-Baqarah and Sūrat Āl ʿImrān. Sūrat al-Fāṭihah emphasized that only Allāh is to be worshiped. And then, Sūrat al-Baqarah warned against worshiping false gods and idols. Then, Sūrat Āl ʿImrān further emphasizes that even Allāh’s pious servants like ʿĪsā and his mother Maryam must not be worshiped.
Sūrat al-Baqarah ends with the words: “Assist us against the nation of disbelievers.” And Sūrat Āl ʿImrān explains who was intended by: “the nation of disbelievers.” It tells us that they are those polytheists who call on other gods to assist them because they believe that their gods possess knowledge of the unseen and the power to come to their aid. This was the practice of the Christians who used to call for help from ʿĪsā and his mother Maryam, both of whom were from ʿImrān’s family.
While Sūrat al-Baqarah briefly discusses all the Qurʾān’s central themes, Sūrat Āl ʿImrān focuses on four important ones. The first is tawḥīd, including the refutation of the polytheistic beliefs held by Christians. Emphasis has been placed on rebutting the other polytheists’ beliefs likewise. The second is risālah, which proves the reality of the Prophet’s Prophethood. And the third is striving in the path of Allāh. And the final one is spending in His path.
And Allāh knows best.
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