What is Your Calf?

Surah Al Baqarah is not named Al Baqarah for nothing. Before, when I thought about this surah, and why it’s named as such (which means The Cow), the only thing I could think about was the story of Prophet Musa alahisalam telling his people to slaughter a cow. In my AlHuda class, it was mentioned that the cow and the calf, symbolized what the Children of Israel loved.

In this surah, there are two stories concerning this animal, one of the cow that the Children of Israel were close to not slaughtering, and the other, of the calf that Samiri formed which they later worshipped in the absence of Prophet Musa alahisalam, who was at Mount Sinai for an additional 10 days to the aforementioned 30 days.

The Children of Israel were used to the Egyptian way of life, and the cow was one of the revered animals, hence they have this love of it that has been deeply ingrained in them. The calf that Samiri shaped and that they later worshiped symbolized what they love and could not give up, thus taking the place of the worship of Allah.

Applying it to us in our current conditions and time, ‘our calf’ could be anything from money to family. Sure, we are still Muslims, but do we observe our acts of worships dilligently? Or is there a calf nagging us to spend more time tending to it and leaving very little time for Allah?

Is our family keeping us from the worship of Allah? Do we go on too many vacations such that we’re too exhausted to take our children to the masjid? Do we cave in to our children’s wants such that our house if filled with music and ongoing entertainment?  Are we too busy organizing their birthday parties such that we don’t read Quran as much as used to? Are we too busy working to seek knowledge in Islam? Are we too busy pursuing our careers such that we dilute our Islam by shaking hand with non mahrams, changing our dress code to ‘fit in’, changing our manners and ettiquettes of dealing with the opposite gender? We have so many calves to worry about don’t we?

What is our calf?

When this question was posed in class, it sent me into some deep reflecting, alhamdulillah.

I know what my calf is, do you?

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