Sahih International: And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator." Then He accepted your repentance; indeed, He is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.(2:54)

What is the meaning of "and kill yourself"?

  • 1
    The meaning is obvious. They should apply the punishment of apostasy on each other.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


The meaning of "kill" is rather obvious, it means means taking life or causing death.

Most exegetes hold that it does not mean that every individual was commanded to kill himself, rather "yourselves" means "each other" similar to the usage of the expression in other places such as:

ولا تلمزوا أنفسكم

(lit.) And do not insult yourselves

Quran 49:11

فسلموا على أنفسكم

(lit.) greet yourselves

Quran 24:61

So the meaning is that a group of the Bani Israel were commanded to execute another group as punishment for their apostasy, i.e. worship of the golden calf.

  • But Allah askes them to repent. Why will he ask people to repent and kill themselves
    – user43864
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 10:00
  • Why not? Killing is their punishment and a means of their repentance, one does not rule out the other. For example in our shariah a murderer, fornicator, thief etc. is punished even if he repents.
    – UmH
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 10:13
  • So people who were kill will enter heaven
    – user43864
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 10:40

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