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The Story of the Cow of the Children of Israel

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A person from the Children of Israel was mysteriously murdered, and the killer was unknown. Historical and exegetical books mention that the motive for the murder in this incident was either money or marriage.

Some say that a wealthy man from the Children of Israel had no heir other than his cousin. As the wealthy man lived a long life, the impatient heir secretly killed him to obtain his wealth and then threw his body on the road. He then began to scream and wail and complained about the matter to Moses.

Others said: The killer wanted to marry the victim’s daughter, but he refused and instead married his daughter to one of the virtuous men of the Children of Israel. So, the killer lay in wait for him and murdered him.

In any case, a dispute arose among the tribes of the Children of Israel concerning this incident, with each tribe accusing the other of the murder. They turned to Moses to judge between them, as the usual methods were not possible in this judgment and the matter could not be neglected due to the discord it would cause among the Children of Israel. Moses, by God’s permission, resorted to a miraculous way to solve this issue.

God Almighty says:

“And when Moses said to his people, ‘Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow…'”[1]

and that you strike part of it on the murdered to bring him to life and inform you of his killer,

“They said, ‘Do you take us in ridicule…?'”[2]

meaning that mockery is the act of the ignorant, and God’s prophets are innocent of that.

The Issues of the Children of Israel:

After they realized the seriousness of the matter,

“They said, ‘Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is…'”[3]

Moses (peace be upon him) answered them,

“He says, ‘It is a cow neither old nor virgin, but middling between that…'”[4],

meaning it is neither too old nor too young, but of moderate age,

“So do what you are commanded” (5).

But the Children of Israel did not cease their obstinacy:

“They said, ‘Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what its color is…'”?[6]

Moses replied

, “…He says, ‘It is a cow neither old nor virgin, but middling between that, so do what you are commanded'”[7],

meaning it is neither too old nor too young, but of moderate age: “So do what you are commanded.”

But the Children of Israel did not cease their obstinacy:

“They said, ‘Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what its color is…'”

Moses replied,

“He says, ‘It is a bright yellow cow, pleasing to the observers'”

meaning its yellow is good and pure without any other color.

Yet the Children of Israel were not satisfied but persisted in their obstinacy, narrowing down the choice of the cow for themselves. They returned and

“said, ‘Call upon your Lord to clarify for us what it is, indeed, all cows look alike to us, and indeed, we, if Allah wills, will be guided.'”[9].

Moses replied,

“He says, ‘It is a cow not trained to till the earth or water the crops…'”[10]

meaning it’s not of the type used for plowing and irrigating the land, “free from faults,” with no color from others in it. Then:

“They said, ‘Now you have brought the truth,'” “So they slaughtered it, though they were near not doing it” [11]

meaning they found a cow with these characteristics and slaughtered it despite their reluctance.

“So We said, ‘Strike him with part of it…'”

(11), meaning strike part of it on the murdered to bring him to life, and he will inform you of his killer. The Children of Israel sought a cow with those characteristics, slaughtered it, and cast its blood on the murdered, and he came to life and mentioned that the killer was his cousin.

Kindness to the father:

Indeed, the cow was unique, not sharing its described characteristics with any other cow, and therefore the people were forced to buy it at a high price.

And they say: This cow belonged to a righteous young man who was extremely dutiful to his father. This man had previously had an opportunity for a profitable deal, for which he needed to pay in cash, and the money was in a locked box, the key to which was under his father’s pillow. When the man came to take the key, he found his father sleeping and refused to wake him and disturb him, preferring to forego the deal rather than wake his father.

Some exegetes said: The seller was willing to sell his goods for seventy thousand in cash, but the man refused to wake his father and proposed to buy the merchandise for eighty thousand to be paid after his father woke up. Eventually, the transaction did not take place, and so God Almighty wanted to compensate him for preferring this act with another deal that was very profitable.

They also said that after the father woke up and learned of the matter, he gifted his son the mentioned cow, which yielded him great profit.

@islam4u.official

Source:

Stories of the Quran / Sheikh Nasser Makarem Shirazi

1-Al-Baqarah/67

2-Al-Baqarah/67

3-Al-Baqarah/68

4-Al-Baqarah/68

5-Al-Baqarah/68

6-Al-Baqarah/69

7-Al-Baqarah/69

8-Al-Baqarah/70

9-Al-Baqarah/70

10-Al-Baqarah/71

11-Al-Baqarah/73

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