Musa AlaihisSalam and the case of Cow


(Al-Baqarah, 2:64)

The story of the cow is found in the Qur’an between verses 67 and 73 of Surah al-Baqarah.

It is narrated by Ibn Abbas ‘Ubaydah As-Salmarni, Abu Al-‘Aaliyah, Mujahid, Suddi and others that there was a very wealthy man among the Banu Isra’il. He was very old and he had some nephews, sons of his brother. They longed for him to die so that they could inherit his wealth.

One of them finally determined to kill him one night. He threw his body, after killing him, on the thoroughfare. Some people say that he threw it at the doorsteps of another man.

In the morning, people found the dead body and the man’s nephews staged a show of mourning. They shouted and cried, wailed and mourned. The people asked them why they bewailed in that manner. They should go to the Prophet and tell him what had happened. One of the nephews reported the matter to Prophet Musa AlaihisSalam. He asked them in the Name of Allah to tell him whatever they knew of the matter but no one offered to make a statement.

They requested him to get the guidance of Allah in deciding this case. He approached Allah who commanded him to direct them to slaughter a cow.

Ibn Abbas and others have said that if they had agreed to slaughter any cow at this stage they would have attained their objective but they kept asking. for details and it became difficult for them with every question.

They enquired about its qualities, its colour and its age. The answers were provided to them and it became difficult for them to find a cow that met the description.

The cow should be neither too old nor too young but a middling between. Then they made things more difficult for themselves by asking what colour it should be.

Musa said, “He says it should be a golden yellow cow, bright should be its colour, delighting the beholder.” Then they made further enquiries and added to their own difficulties.

Musa said, “He says, it should be a cow not broken to ploughing the earth or watering the tillage, a sound one, without a blemish on it.” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they sacrificed it, though they scarcely did so. This was a cow unblemished and had

uniform colour throughout

They searched for it but it seemed impossible to find a cow of that description. They found one with great difficulty with a man who was obedient to his parents, but he was unwilling to part with. They offered him a good price and even agreed to reimburse him in gold equal to its weight but he did consent to sell it. Finally, the price was raised to ten times its weight in gold and he was convinced to sell it to them. Then, they sacrificed the cow though it seemed that they would never do it.

Then they were told.

Smite him with a part of it.

That is, “Smite the dead man with a piece of the slaughtered cow.” When they did that, Allah caused him to revive and his jugular vein was bleeding. The Prophet of Allah, Musa ten asked him, “Who killed you?” He answered “The son of my brother killed me.” After having said that, he reversed to death as he had been. And Allah has said about it.

Thus Allah brings to life the dead and He shows you His signs that you may understand,

It means that just as those people had witnessed the revival of the dead man at the command of Allah, in the same way, His command holds good for all the dead. When He chooses to revive a dead, He gives him. life in a moment as indeed He has said:

Your creation and your resurrection are but like (the creation and resurrection of) a single soul. (Luqman, 31:28)