6

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُم بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ فَتُوبُوا إِلَىٰ بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
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

From reading this I understood that Allah called those disbelievers to kill themselves?

Two verses later

ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful.
2:56

Could someone please explain me what is happening here? Thank you.

4

These two verses, and the ten or so before, and many subsequent verses, are detailing many of the stories of Bani Israeel at the time of Musa (alayhi salaam). This discourse details the escape of Bani Israeel from Fir'awn; the miraculous parting of the sea; their subsequent shirk with the golden calf, and repentance; their taking (and later breaking) of the covenant; their arriving at the promised city, and being cast out after refusing to listen to Musa; and more.

For these verses, Ibn Abbas narrates the meaning:

An-Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Ibn `Abbas saying, "Allah told the Children of Israel that their repentance would be to slay by the sword every person they meet, be he father or son. They should not care whom they kill. Those were guilty whom Musa and Harun were not aware of their guilt, they admitted their sin and did as they were ordered. So Allah forgave both the killer and the one killed.'' This is part of the Hadith about the trials that we will mention in Surat Ta Ha, (20) Allah willing. (Tafseer ibn Katheer)

After this happened, the very next two verses say:

And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we will never believe you until we see Allah outright"; so the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on. Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful. (Surah Baqarah, verse 55-56)

These two verses summarize an incident after the incident of the calf, during which Musa (alayhi salaam) took around 70 of Bani Israeel's leaders to an appointmed meeting place with Allah, where they demanded to see Allah directly (which is something impossible in dunya). You can understand this as a statement of argumentation or something like disbelief; Allah seized them with a lightning bolt.

Ibn Katheer then mentions:

As-Suddi says: (But you were seized with a bolt of lightning) saying; "They died, and Musa stood up crying and supplicating to Allah, `O Lord! What should I say to the Children of Israel when I go back to them after You destroyed the best of them.

(If it had been Your will, You could have destroyed them and me before; would You destroy us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us)' Allah revealed to Musa that these seventy men were among those who worshipped the calf. Afterwards, Allah brought them back to life one man at a time, while the rest of them were watching how Allah was bringing them back to life. That is why Allah's said,

(Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful.) Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "Death was their punishment, and they were resurrected after they died so they could finish out their lives.'' Qatadah said similarly.

I think this nicely summarizes and explains these two ayaat and their interconnection.

Wallahu a'lam.

2

Because the Majority of Bani Isra'eel were not believers, and because they had a mentality that they believe in only what their senses can perceive, they asked to see Allah, so Allah took them and then brought them back to life:

ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاكُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَوْتِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

This incident happened right after they got out of Egypt, and is what lead later on to the incident of worshiping the cow. So when Assamiree (السامري) made the cow, and they worshiped, the punishment for shirk was to kill themselves if they wished forgiveness and repentance to be accepted.

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُم بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ فَتُوبُوا إِلَىٰ بَارِئِكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ عِندَ بَارِئِكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

1

According to Hebrew law, the punishment for idol worship was death by stoning. When the Hebrews worshipped the calf, the entire people were guilty. So, according to the law, they were to sincerely repent and then execute the punishment for the crime which was to stone themselves to death. Repentance would restore their souls to Allah's favor thus saving them from the punishment of sheol (pit of destruction/Hell). However, Allah, swt, mitigated their punishment and forgave them, because their repentance was sincere. Also, the laws Allah revealed to Moses would have been for naught if there had been no nation on which they could be imposed. This forgiveness is what is meant in verse 56. Allah, himself, mitigated the punishment, thus saving the repentant Hebrews from both a physical and spiritual death.

And Allah (swt) knows best!

-1

I like the rendition of the Reformist translation better:

2:54 Moses said to his people, "O my people, you have wronged yourselves by taking the calf, so repent to your Maker, and face yourselves. That is better for you with your Maker, so He would forgive you. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate."

Their explanation is as follows:

Ego, the self-exaggerating or self- worshiping self, should be avoided while the realist or appreciative self should be nourished. It is astonishing to see that many translations of the Quran render the phrase uqtulu anfusakum as "kill each other." How could they not notice thirty verses down, that is, the 84th and 85th verses of this very chapter? The Arabic word nafs is a multiple-meaning word and its intended meaning can be inferred by considering its proximate context consistent with the entire text of the scripture. The multiple meanings ascribed to the word nafs (person) suggest that our personhood is a complex program with multiple layers and one part of it, the ego, needs to be controlled with reason and submission to God alone.

As for 2:56, Muhammad Asad explains it best in his end notes:

Lit., "after your death". The expression mawt does not always denote physical death. Arab philologists - e.g., Raghib- explain the verb mata (lit., "he died") as having, in certain contexts, the meaning of "he became deprived of sensation, dead as to the senses"; and occasionally as "deprived of the intellectual faculty, intellectually dead"; and sometimes even as "he slept" (see Lane VII, 2741).

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