The Cow is a story of the Koran in the Surah (vv. 67-73), and the name is derived from a story of the Cow in the Surah. There are 286 verses in this Surah, more than any other in the Koran. The theme of this Surah is divine and guidance and all other teachings are centered on this theme. The Surah addresses Jews and reminds them of their history. Acceptance of the Holy Prophet has been epitomized as the true guidance, and the Surah talks about Prophet Moses as an example. The Surah categorizes men on their ability to “believe in the unseen”, and the weakest faith is associated dire consequences while strong faith is associated with good rewards. The Surah also discusses origin of man, his failure and his descendants.
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The people of Israel form the basis for most of the teachings in the Cow. The struggles of Moses and Jesus among unruly people, and how the people rejected Muhammad because of their pride are some of the teachings documented in this Surah. One of the most important doctrines in this Surah is Islamic brotherhood. Virtues of prayerfulness, faithfulness, charity, kindness , probity and patience are described as the pillars of Islamic brotherhood. The Surah also describes instances where Islamic brotherhood may be applied, and they include fasts, drink, bequests, treatment of orphans, wine and gambling and Jihad. More focus is given to Jihad as a theme, and the story of Saul, Goliath and David is contrasted to that of Jesus. The Surah describes the attributes that are used to measure a person’s worth, and it also exhorts faith, obedience and the power of prayer throughout the doctrines.
One of the most interesting ideas discussed in The Cow is Jihad. The teachings of the Koran are that fighting for the truth and justice are not to be evaded or taken light-heartedly. Not all people are chosen to fight. [2: 243-247]”…but when at last they were ordered to fight, they all refused, except a few of them.”[2: 249-250] “…But they all drank from it, except a few of them.” As Saul was preparing his army against the reign of Goliath, he gave special instructions to his soldiers not to drink water from a certain river since it was a test of their ability to fight in the war, but many of them failed. They lacked constancy, faith and firmness that are needed to rouse by God’s battles. [2 : 191-193] “Fight for the sake of the God those that fight against you, but do not attack first. God does not love aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them.” “…fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. But if they resist, fight none except the evil-doers.”
The above verses [2: 190-193] are some of the verses that have used to justify extremist ideas with Islam, and many Jihadists follow them in a copy-paste manner without giving deeper meaning to the context of use. The emergence of extremist groups such as Islamic States (IS) in North Africa and Middle East, these verses are relevant to this discussion since they have been used to justify the killing of non-Islam followers. Chapter 2 verse 191 is a verse revealed during a time when Prophet Muhammad’s companion was crucified in public in Makkans (About Jihad). The emphasis is on the attackers of Islam and its followers, and the Koran warns Muhammad followers against attacking without any aggression (Ansari Yamamah). Even after Islam has been attacked, the Koran further warns that if the aggressor retreats then Muslims can cease attacking since God is merciful in chapter 2 verse 192. In verse 193 of the same chapter, it is the duty of Muslims to fight against persecution and oppression of humanity. Muslims should also defend humanity. However, the Koran forbids aggression, and fighting should be strictly for self-defense.
About Jihad: 15 Misquotes from the Koran (Part 2)
URL: http://www.aboutjihad.com/terrorism/Koran_misquote_part_2.phpAnsari Yamamah: The Shift of Jihad: Between ideal and historical context
Koran Surahs I and II (Dawood)