Qur’an: The Cow (21-22)

Reference: Qur’an: The Cow


(21 – 22)



O People!

Serve your Lord,

Who created you

and those before you,

so that you may be conscientious;

who has made the earth a couch for you,

and the heaven a roof,

and who sends water down from the skies,

and who brings forth from it

fruits for your sustenance.

So do not suppose anything to be like God,

When you know.


COMMENTARY: This verse can be interpreted in two different ways — one constructive and the other, destructive. A social personality will interpret this verse in a way that it improves conditions in the society. But the antisocial personality will interpret this verse in a way that it suppresses the society. Both interpretations will be discussed here.

The social personality will interpret this verse from the viewpoint that is explained under Qur’an: The Opening. Thus, “Serve your Lord” would mean that one must allow the eternal Laws to express themselves fully through one’s being. This means that the self or ego must be put into servitude.

Self, ego, or identity is essentially the weighted average of all physical and mental forces and energies associated with beingness.  This impression of self is continually changing. Self is impermanent. These forces and energies are sustained by the eternal laws that also underlie the existence of the earth and the sky, the phenomenon of rain, growth of food, and man’s means of survival. One must, therefore, put ‘self’ aside and simply understand and follow the eternal Laws unconditionally. One is conscientious and ethical as a result.

Unfortunately, the antisocial personality would interpret this verse quite differently. He would misinterpret “God” as a “superior being” to whom everyone should bow down to in servitude. He would put the eternal Laws in the background and use people’s trust in God for his own purposes. This can be quite destructive as one is told to blindly follow the interpretation of the eternal Laws as provided by the anti-social personality.

NOTE: The actions of anti-social personality always undermine an individual’s ability to think for oneself. In fact, in any environment where one is watched and not allowed to think for oneself, there is always an anti-social personality at work to ensure its own survival at the cost of other’s.

Such suppression was accomplished in the past by monopolizing knowledge and keeping people ignorant. Fortunately, in today’s Information Age, it is becoming increasingly possible to access knowledge and compare it with other knowledge. We have started to see some fundamental changes for the better.


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  • anon  On August 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    again a very interesting interpretation……

    The translation “o you people” refers to “nafs” in the arabic Quran.
    Nafs = consciousness (“self”).
    there are 3 levels in the Quran—
    lowest is nafs awara—(desires/ egoic) at this level, one is aware of one’s desires. This is necessary when interacting with our environment—we need to feel hunger, fear, love etc if we are to live in this world. But when our attention goes excessively to our ego/desires then we become a slave to them—oppressed.
    next level is nafs lawama—(transegoic), one is aware of the higher virtues (goodness/morality ) with which God created us.. To follow our inherent nature, which is predisposed to goodness(concept is called “Fitra”)—we follow “God’s laws” By following God’s laws we free ourselves from the oppression of desires/ego and thus achieve liberty.
    (badness is a rebellion against our inherent nature)
    highest level-nafs mutmainna—-(peace) the highest level of spirituality.


    • vinaire  On August 22, 2012 at 5:17 AM

      Thank you for your deeper explanations!



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