I am not a muslim, so I apologize for any mistake I might make while writing this question. I have recently started reading an english translation of the Quran, and there is a recurring phrase I am not sure how to interpret: "if you only knew". It occurs in a few places in Al-Baqarah, for example here, in 2:184:

[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.

(The translation here is Sahih International.)

I need help understanding what is meant by this phrase. What would change, if we knew what?

1 Answer 1


The phrase "If only you knew" just means: Fasting is very good for you and you would not hesitate at all to do it if only you knew and understood the great reward and benefit there exists in fasting.

It's a common phrase in the Quran to emphasize the greatness of an action:

But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew. (2:280)

Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew. (9:41)

And do not exchange the covenant of Allah for a small price. Indeed, what is with Allah is best for you, if only you knew. (16:95)

And [We sent] Abraham, when he said to his people, "Worship Allah and fear Him. That is best for you, if you only knew. (29:16)

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. (62:9)

And Allah knows best.

  • That clears it up. Thanks a lot! Commented Jan 27 at 10:21

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