In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Heifer

Young Enlightened Submitters

Heifer = young cow. A one that has not had a baby cow (calf.)

The longest sura (Chapter) in the Quran is sura 2. The name of this Sura is Al-Baqara in Arabic, which means The Heifer or Cow. It is interesting to see that the longest sura and one of the most important suras in the Quran is called the Cow or heifer. The importance of the sura comes from the many laws and wisdom that it has.

We have to know that the story of the heifer is very important in its meaning and the lesson learned from it. That is why God chose that name for this very important sura.

Although Sura 2 has many verses, actually 286 verses, the story of the Heifer is only mentioned in few verses. The story of the Heifer is a true story that happened during Moses time.

It is mentioned in the Torah as well as in the Quran. Moses is one of the many prophets that God sent to the Jews to guide them to the right path.

God repeatedly mentions what happened to the people before us to teach us lessons from the mistakes made by these people. God supported Moses like all the other prophets and messengers with miracles and proofs.

God specially manifested many miracles to the Jews, and showed them the right way many times. Sometime during Moses life, some Jews killed someone and argued among themselves about the killing of this person.

God wanted to show them their wrong doing and give tham a miracle to help in guiding and supporting those who believed in Him. God told Moses to ask the Jews to sacrifice a heifer (cow).

So he did. What happened then.??!!

Let us get to the Quran and read the story of the Heifer. See also the Bible's Book of Numbers, Chapter 19.


[2:67] Moses said to his people, "GOD commands you to sacrifice a heifer." They said, "Are you mocking us?" He said, "GOD forbid, that I should behave like the ignorant ones."
[2:68] They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us which one." He said, "He says that she is a heifer that is neither too old, nor too young; of an intermediate age. Now, carry out what you are commanded to do."
[2:69] They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us her color." He said, "He says that she is a yellow heifer, bright colored, pleases the beholders."
[2:70] They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us which one. The heifers look alike to us and, GOD willing, we will be guided."
[2:71] He said, "He says that she is a heifer that was never humiliated in plowing the land or watering the crops; free from any blemish." They said, "Now you have brought the truth." They finally sacrificed her, after this lengthy reluctance.
[2:72] You had killed a soul, then disputed among yourselves. GOD was to expose what you tried to conceal.
[2:73] We said, "Strike (the victim) with part (of the heifer)." That is when GOD brought the victim back to life, and showed you His signs, that you may understand.
[2:74] Despite this, your hearts hardened like rocks, or even harder. For there are rocks from which rivers gush out. Others crack and release gentle streams, and other rocks cringe out of reverence for GOD. GOD is never unaware of anything you do.


Heifer = young cow. A one that has not had a baby cow (calf.)

command= to demand, order, direct with authority.

sacrifice= an act of offering something special to God for example. mock= to ridicule.

beholder= the person who is looking at an object and appreciating it.

humiliate = to reduce to a lower position.

plow= to cut, turn, break up , lift and turn over the soil.

crops= plants or animals or their products.

blemish= a noticeable flaw or defect.

reluctance= the unwilling to do something or get involved.

strive= to devote serious effort or energy.

The lesson is very simple. God's commandments are simple, easy and straightforward. Had the Jews accepted the first order and slaughtered any cow, it would have been accepted from them. But they argued with God and made the simple order complex. It has always been that the people, not God who make any religion difficult and complicated.

Many of the people like to show off, look smart, or look knowledgeable and therefore they take the simple religion of God and add to it their wrong understanding. They make simple matters difficult. They change the religion of God to the point it does not become God's religion any more.

To avoid falling in this trap, we should remember that God's book, the Quran, has all that we need for our success in this world and in the Hereafter. God has informed us repeatedly in the Quran that He made the religion simple and easy for us. He told us that He wants no difficulties for us.

Let us check the Quran and see what God said about that.

[22:78] You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion - the religion of your father Abraham. He is the one who named you "Submitters" originally. Thus, the messenger shall serve as a witness among you, and you shall serve as witnesses among the people. Therefore, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and hold fast to GOD; He is your Lord, the best Lord and the best Supporter.

[2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.