Explanation of verse 2:54 of the Quran


In the verse Quran (2:54) what was the moral behind it? Why was it better for them to kill each other?

Short answer:

First:

Almighty Allah is s the Most Merciful Most Compassionate for those who obey, listen, thank him, and follow the correct teachings of his religion. Yet Allah exalted He is severe in punishment to the transgressors.

It might sound harsh, but it was justified in their case. Almighty saved them from Pharaoh who used to kill their children year after year, enslave them, take their women and wealth.

Almighty Allah provided them with miraculous food from the skies, miraculously shaded them from the sun, protected them and defeated their enemies for them and constantly showed them other miracles.

But AFTER all that, and instead of thanking Almighty Allah for all that and worship him ALONE

Yet instead of showing thankfulness, many among them casually turned their backs on God and rebelled when they felt like it, even while Moses was among them.

This continued after Moses as well–they constantly killed prophets, worshiped Baal, and allied themselves with pagans for their own gain, ignoring their religious duties and worshipped the Calf made to them by the Samiri.

According to the Qur’an even Samiri, the leader of calf-worship, was not killed and was dismissed simply with the order: “Begone then! It is for thee in this life to say, Touch (me) not”. Quran (20: 97).

That punishment was part of a long series of judgments (covered in detail in the Bible) on the Israelites for their rebelliousness and disbelief. They would promise to be good believers, then quickly forget their promise, and start sinning and worshiping things other than God.

So, God would send a plague or some other harsh judgment on them that would obliterate the rebels among them so that only the faithful would remain. Then many of them would again rebel and God would again destroy the rebels so only the faithful would remain.

Part of God’s goal in this was to turn them into an example for all of humanity, showing us how God deals with those who rebel against Him.

As for Quran (2:54) specifically, this time rather than God Himself destroying the rebels, He commanded the faithful followers of Moses to execute all those who had worshiped the calf.

It has already been made clear in the same verse Quran (02:52) that Almighty Allah PARDONED them for the offence of taking the calf for a God.

“Then We pardoned you after that so that you might give thanks. They could not be asked to give thanks for being killed. The order to kill is inconsistent with the statement that they were pardoned. Quran (2:52) is a prelude to the verses that follow, which give more detail to what occurred.

In other words, it mentions the overall story and then continues with the specifics. Reading the verses properly will reveal this being the case.

That Punishment would be classified as the apostasy punishment which is death punishment as mentioned in the Bible for those who INSIST on worshipping anything other than Almighty Allah AFTER they were given numerous warnings and chances to repent.

Evidence from the Old Testament in Bible:

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other, or gods of other religions), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. 

Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.”

Evidence from the New Testament in the Bible:

Matthew 15:1-4

“For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”

For more information about Apostasy punishment in the Bible please follow read the following link:

Instant Death to Apostates (those who desert their religion) in the Bible’s Old and New Testaments – Apostasy in Christianity

Also make sure to Read this link as well the covers the explanation of the next verse Quran (2:55):

Why did Allah cause the children of Israel to die with a thunderbolt (lightning) then bring them back to life?

Summary

It might sound harsh, but it was justified in their case. God saved them from Pharaoh, provided them with miraculous food from the skies, miraculously shaded them from the sun, protected them and defeated their enemies for them and constantly showed them other miracles.

Yet instead of showing thankfulness, many among them casually turned their backs on God and rebelled when they felt like it, even while Moses was among them. This continued after Moses as well–they constantly killed prophets, worshiped Baal, and allied themselves with pagans for their own gain, ignoring their religious duties.

Long answer:

If read in the proper context the verse is speaking to the consciousness of the people who realized their sins. It asks them to repent and mend their ways. However, after they had done so it tasks them with the order to eliminate the remaining evildoers who could not find it in their hearts and souls to turn to their Lord. The argument above has no basis and is a complete assumption.

In fact, it contradicts the concept of burnt offerings that were made to God after repentance. Moreover, those who are aligned with the Prophets of God, when they achieve political might, have always been given authority to mete out punishment on the disbelievers of their time.

These adherents were once on the opposing side but eventually accepted the message and fell under the umbrella of the believers. It is well documented in the Old Testament that God had authorized His Prophets and their followers to punish the disbelievers (e.g., Moses, Elijah peace be upon them).

Secondly

The words that follow are, so He turned to you mercifully, and an order to kill three thousand people could not be called a merciful dealing.

God turned in mercy to those who sought it and deserved it. The order to kill was related to the meting out of justice and imposed upon those who deserve it. The problem with the argument above is that there is an errant conflation of who was being referred.

Thirdly:

It has already been made clear in Quran (2:52) that God pardoned them for the offence of taking the calf for a god: Then We pardoned you after that so that you might give thanks. They could not be asked to give thanks for being killed. The order to kill is inconsistent with the statement that they were pardoned.

Quran (2:52) is a prelude to the verses that follow, which give more detail to what occurred. In other words, it mentions the overall story and then continues with the specifics. Reading the verses properly will reveal this being the case.

Fourthly:

When the same incident is narrated elsewhere, there is a clear statement that they were granted a pardon and there is no mention of killing: “Then they took the calf for a god, after clear signs had come to them, but We pardoned this” Quran (4:153).

Again, the Qur’an employs this style throughout in which it will tell one aspect or another of an event because it is trying to get a point across without rehashing every detail. Regarding the verse quoted, it is to enumerate and underscore the inequities of the Israelites. In fact, the surrounding verses mention how after every offense some were punished while others were forgiven. This substantiates the argument of mercy and justice as we have lain in the first paragraph.

Fifthly:

According to the Qur’an even Samiri, the leader of calf-worship, was not killed and was dismissed simply with the order: “Begone then! It is for thee in this life to say, Touch (me) not”. Quran (20: 97).

The punishment was not a simple one. He was banished and ostracized never to make contact with others again. However, his punishment did not have to be the same as the Israelites. He was not one of them and he did not have a covenant with God as they did.

The Almighty had blessed them and given them a responsibility that they had to live up to but he did not. Thus, their punishment is quite different.

Hence the Holy Qur’an rejects the Bible story of the Israelites being killed as a punishment for calf-worship. They were pardoned and were told simply to repent, and God accepted their repentance as clearly stated here.”

This is incorrect as the Qur’an clearly parallels the Biblical account. The repentant Israelites were the ones who were pardoned. Those of them that hardened their hearts and betrayed their souls were punished for their transgressions. This happened on several occasions such as: when they asked to see God, when the mountain was raised, the calf worship and their distaste after having been liberated from Pharaoh’s dominion.

A clear understanding of the verses will reveal that the argument posited is incorrect. The fact is, the Bible and the Qur’an make explicit references to the mercy and justice of God. There is no doubt that the Israelites violated divine law on several occasions and those who repented were forgiven while those who did not were punished. There is no reason to argue otherwise with such clear statements present in the texts.

One cannot soften the message due to notions influenced by modern day perspectives of what God should behave like. It is important that we understand the message and recognize the mercy of God, even when we cannot fathom the degree or the purpose behind what He ordains.

That Punishment would be classified as the apostasy punishment which is death punishment as mentioned in the Bible for those who INSIST on worshipping anything other than Almighty Allah AFTER they were given numerous warnings and chances to repent.

Evidence from the Old Testament in Bible:

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying: Let us go and worship other gods (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other, or gods of other religions), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. 

Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.”

Evidence from the New Testament in the Bible:

Matthew 15:1-4

“For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”

For more information about Apostasy punishment in the Bible please follow read the following link:

Instant Death to Apostates (those who desert their religion) in the Bible’s Old and New Testaments – Apostasy in Christianity

Also make sure to Read this link as well the covers the explanation of the next verse Quran (2:55):

Why did Allah cause the children of Israel to die with a thunderbolt (lightning) then bring them back to life?

Allah knows Best.

Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.

Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia.

www.IslamCompass.com 

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.