Surah al-Baqarah (Arabic: سورة البقرة, Sūratu l-Baqarah, "The Cow") is the Qur'an's second and longest chapter. It is a Medinan sura and comprises 286 verses, including the single longest verse in the Qur'an (2:282). Other notable passages include the famous āyat al-kursī or "Throne Verse", as well as the closing two verses which outline the six articles of belief before forming a prayer for forgiveness, divine mercy, and help against the enemies of faith.
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The surah's name is in reference to an argument between Moses and the Israelites over a cow they should sacrifice after the order of Allah (God). Thereafter, in order to know the murderer of a slain man, the flesh of the cow was used to hit the body that turned the man alive again, so he addressed the murderer. (see [Qur'an 2:67]). (Not to be confused with the popular biblical incident where Moses prohibited worshiping a Calf idol, referenced elsewhere in the chapter.)
It is a Medinan sura; most of it is believed to have been revealed during the first two years after the Hijra. Some sections (for instance, the verses prohibiting interest on loans) were revealed later, and the last three verses were revealed in Mecca. The sura addresses a wide variety of topics, including substantial amounts of law, and retells stories of Adam, Abraham and Moses. A major theme is guidance: urging the pagans (Al-Kuffar) and the Jews of Medina to embrace Islam, and warning them and the hypocrites of the fate God had visited in the past on those who failed to heed His call.
Al-Baqarah contains several verses dealing with the subject of warfare. Verses [Qur'an 2:190] are often quoted on the nature of battle in Islam.
It also contains a very important verse (255), Ayatul Kursi.