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Saturday 20 June 2015

Ramadan Reading Challenge 2015 Day 4: Story of the Heifer

The challenge for today is to read the Story of the Heifer from surah Al Baqarah (2: 67-73). It is the story of the Children of Israel who was told to slaughter a cow by Prophet Musa (a) on Allah's command. But did they listen?

And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow." They said, "Do you make fun of us?" He said, "I take Allah's Refuge from being among Al-Jahilun (the ignorant or the foolish)." 

They said, "Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!" He said, "He says, 'Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but (it is) between the two conditions', so do what you are commanded." 

They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its colour." He said, "He says, 'It is a yellow cow, bright in its colour, pleasing to the beholders.' " 

They said, "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily, to us all cows are alike. And surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided." 

He [Musa (Moses)] said, "He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no other colour except bright yellow.' " They said, "Now you have brought the truth." So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it. 

And (remember) when you killed a man and fell into dispute among yourselves as to the crime. But Allah brought forth that which you were hiding. 

So We said: "Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow)." Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand.

You might like to read Ibn Kathir's commentary in Stories of the Qur'an.

Lesson and Activity

When Allah command you to do something, you do it without questioning and without fail. You can question something but only when you don't know and want to gain more knowledge and not to nitpick or to question Allah. This was what the Children of Israel did. The end result was that instead of slaughtering any cow they had to slaughter a rare and expensive cow.

Talk to your children about the different types of questions and ask them when is it appropriate to ask questions in religious matters.

This is just an idea for an activity. If you have any others then feel free to do them and share.

Comments Required

There are so many other lessons to learn. Can you think of any others? I'd love to hear them. Please write in the comment below.

At the end of this Ramadan Reading Challenge, if you or your children have participated then you will get a prize (not sure what yet - will keep you updated). To be eligible, please leave a comment on what lesson you have learnt from the reading of the story and include any activities that you did to extend it. Just a line or two would be fine (so that I can contact you).


  1. Asa sister, I am going to participate to the reading Ramadhan Challenge I already start today I print the text and discussed it with my 8 and 7 years old before we head to the masjid, on the way back home I asked them what they understand today, they told what happen in the ayas of the Quran and then my son said I want understand why they called them children of Israel and they are not children ?:)

    1. Wa alaykum salam. Children tend to take things as literal :) Tell your son it just means descendents.

  2. asa ummali it's a sis Naima

    1. Wa alaykum salam sister Naima. Are you joining in the reading challenge or are you just having a private conversation ;) I don't mind really. It's great to be the one to bring people together.

  3. Assalamu Alaikum sis; I found this story a little complex to explain for my 5 year old. However We did speak in length about the fact that Allah knows and sees everything. We can do things sometimes and think that nobody will know but Allah knows. and we cannot hide anything from him. He is also the all powerful, the master that is capable of bringing people back to life. Just as he will bring us back to life after death one day. For my 5 year old I stuck to the ending of the story which had a powerful impact on him. Alhamdoulilah.

    1. Wa alaykum salam. Alhamdulillah you were able to still use this story.


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