Stories Of The Quran

Part | 04

By: Ibn Katheer
Translated by: Ali As-Sayed Al- Halawani
The Story of:  The Heifer

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The Story of | The Heifer

bismillah

”In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful”

Allah the Almighty says:

‘’And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: “Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us?” He said, “I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish). ” They said, “Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!” He said, “He says:

‘Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions’, so do what you are commanded ” They said, “Call upon your Lordfor us to make plain to us its color.” He said, “He says: ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in its color, pleasing the beholders.” They said, “Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is.  Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided.” He [Musa (Moses)] said, “He says: ‘It is a cow neither trained to tilt the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no other color except bright yellow. ‘

“They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it. And (remember) when you killed a man and fell into dispute among yourselves as to the crime. ButAllah brought forth that which you were hiding. So We said: “Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).” Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Aya: (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand’’. (Al-Baqarah, 67-73)

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, `Ubaidah As-Salmani, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, As-Sadiy and other earlier scholars said: An old man from among the Children of Israel was very rich, and he had some nephews who wished he would die soon to inherit him. One day, one of them on purpose murdered him at night and threw him on the road -or at the door of one of his own brothers. In the morning, the people found the dead body and they disputed over him. His nephew -the murderer -came and began to weep and cry.

Some people said: Why do you dispute over him? Why do not you go to Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon him)? His nephew came and complained to Musa (Moses (Peace be upon him». Musa (Peace be upon him) said: by Allah! Anyone who knows anything about this murdered man, he should let us know. But, no one knew anything about it. Thereupon, they asked Musa (Peace be upon him) to ask his Lord concerning this issue. Musa (Peace be upon him) asked his Lord and he was commanded to order them to slaughter a cow,

‘’Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow. They said, Do you make fun of us?’’ i.e.

… we ask you about the murdered and you say so!

‘’He said, I take Allah’s Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish)’’i.e.

I take Allah’s Refuge from saying other than that He revealed to me; and that was His Answer to what you had wanted me to ask Him. Ibn ‘Abbas,’Ubaidah, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, As-Sadiy, Abu Al-`Aliyah and others said: If they were to slaughter any cow, they would fulfill the purpose thereof. But, they made it difficult for themselves (by asking so many questions thereof), and thus Allah the Almighty made it difficult for them (by stipulating so many conditions for the desired cow).

They asked about its description, color and age; and they were answered with what was scarce and dear (in a way to make it hard for them to find it). The point is that they were commanded to slaughter neither a too old cow, nor a too young, but (it is) between the two conditions. This view was held by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others. Then, they pressed themselves with their questions through asking about its color. And they were answered to make it …..

‘’yellow cow, bright in its color, pleasing the beholders’’,

…. which is very rare and dear. Then, they asked:

‘’They said, “Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided.” He [Musa (Moses)] said, “He says: ‘It is a cow neither trained to tilt the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no other color except bright yellow.’ “They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing It’’.

It is said that they could not find a cow with all these descriptions but with a man who was righteous and good to his father. They asked him to submit it to them, but he refused. They tried to seduce him as to its price till they offered him what equals its wieght in gold. But, he refused. Then, they offered him an amount of gold that equals its weight ten-times. Finally, he accepted their offer and submitted it to them. Then, Musa (Peace be upon him) commanded them to slaughter it

‘’So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it’’ i.e.

while they were hesitant. Then, Musa (Peace be upon him) instructed them with the Command of Allah to strike the dead man with a piece of the cow. Some scholars said: with part of its thighbone, or with part of the flesh between its shoulders. When they stroke him with part thereof, he was resurrected by Allah the Almighty. Musa (Peace be upon him) asked him: who’s your murderer? He said: it was my nephew who killed me.

Then, he died again. Allah the Almighty says:

‘’Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand’’ i.e. as you witnessed the revival of that dead man by the Command of Allah the Almighty,

He can do the same to all the dead people when He wishes to. He, Almighty Allah, says:

‘’The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all are only as (the creation and resurrection of) a single person. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer’’. (Luqman, 28)