Why is the longest verse of the Quran called al-Baqara (the cow)?
Author: Gerçeğe Doğru
What does the incident of “baqara” that took place during the time of Musa (Moses) (pbuh) tell us? You know the cow. It is a nice animal that we milk and from whose meat we get proteins. It is accepted as a sacrifice; the one who slaughters the cow and the one who has it slaughtered get rewards.
Why is the cow and slaughtering it so important? Is it mentioned only as an incident that happened related to a community in the past? What does it mean to us?
First of all, let us remember the incident in history. The scorching desert becomes a fertile land in Egypt thanks to the water brought by the Nile. The land is watered and a lot of crops are cultivated. Agriculture depended on the plough then; and the plough depended on the cow and ox; therefore, those animals were regarded as very valuable.
Those people, in whose lives the cow had such an important place, deduced the following decision in time: “If there were no cows, we would not be able to cultivate the land; we would starve and die.” They treated the cow as if it was something sacred. They did not let anybody touch it. After gaining immunity, the cow became sacred for them.
However, when people started to tend toward the poor cows instead of loving and thanking Allah, who created people, the Nile, the land and the animals, God Almighty sent them Moses. Moses slaughtered the cow as a sacrifice. He slaughtered the cow as a symbol. By slaughtering the cow, he eliminated the belief of worshipping the cow.
Instead of having the belief that bounties come from Allah, people who assume causes as real doers deify those causes in a sense. At this point, everyone still has a cow to slaughter. “Cows”, that is, causes, change form age to age but the cow and the meaning that slaughtering the cow has do not change.
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