Discover more from Heavenly Order
Sūrat al-Baqarah (Part 9)
Part 9 of observations on the structure, organization, and cohesion of Sūrat al-Baqarah
This is a continuation of our series on Sūrat al-Baqarah. Please see last week’s post for Part 8.
The Big Picture
Before delving into the overall sūrah structure, here is a ring structure of the themes present throughout, which may also serve as a reminder of what has been covered above:
Heavenly Order is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Coming back to the overall sūrah, the following analysis will be based on the breakdown originally presented at the beginning of this study, reposted below:
The sūrah is structured into two panels, [ABC] and [C’B’A’], which serve as mirrors of each other. These panels are unified by the central point, [D]. The first panel, [ABC], predominantly focuses on the Children of Israel, introducing the themes of faith and disbelief. However, it delves into a more comprehensive exploration of the concept of disbelief.
In Section [A] – Believers versus Disbelievers, there is a brief description of the believers and their qualities (2-5). However, the focus shifts to a detailed description of the disbelievers, specifically the hypocrites (6-20). In the following sections, it becomes apparent that these detailed descriptions are about individuals from the Children of Israel.
In Section [B] – Criticism of the Israelites, the criticism of the Israelites begins with Allah ﷻ addressing a particular religious community, which is not the Muslims as anticipated. Instead, the focus is on the Children of Israel: "Children of Israel, remember My favor that I favored you with..." (41). The entire section proceeds to examine the history of the Children of Israel and emphasize their inability to uphold their faith and obey the divine commandments.
Section [C] - Abraham’s Legacy opens with a similar address to the Israelites - “Children of Israel, remember My favor that I favored you with and that I privileged you over all peoples” (122) - and calls especially on them to return to the way of Abraham.
Opposite this, the second panel, [C’B’A’], shifts focus to the newly formed Muslim community. Just as the first panel directly addressed the Israelites, the second panel addresses the new Muslim nation - “O you who have believed…” (153). Also in contrast between the panels are the respective community’s abilities to maintain the legacy of Abraham. The Children of Israel demonstrated their rebellion and rejected guidance while the believers fully submit to Allah ﷻ and honorably accept the mantle of inheritors of Abraham’s legacy.
We will conclude our study next week with a look at motifs and themes that emerge throughout the sūrah.
And Allah ﷻ knows best.
Heavenly Order is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.