The story of the cow

Interfaith discussion

Gordie Jackson
3 min readOct 30, 2021
Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

So once a month a group of us who attended an Interfaith Summer School by Zoom in 2020 meet. We tend to discuss whatever turns up. This month it is was in the form of a message from a Muslim brother. I think I may have asked him to recommend a chapter of the Qu’ran to read. I asked because each time I have attempted to read the Qu’ran I stop after a page or two. This also happened with Homer’s Odyssey so it is more about me and my ability to connect with an unfamiliar literacy style than it is about being a religious text.

He recommended the chapter titled, ‘The Cow — Al Baqarah’. If I understood the story after trying to read different texts and watching an animated version of the story it is about a man who is killed. In an attempt to find out who murdered the man the people ask Moses for help. He tells them to sacrifice a cow and they will find out. The people keep asking questions about what type of cow to the point that they are told a yellow one. They look for a yellow one and find it in the ownership of a young boy. The boy’s price is as much gold as fills the cow. They reluctantly agree. The cow is sacrificed and a part of it (some say the heart) is set on the dead man. The dead man comes to life, names his killer and then returns to death. That seems to be a summary of the story.

Our brother said that these stories are in the Hebrew Bible. I had never heard that story so I was interested to find out. Another of our group found the article below which does give reference to three stories about cows in the Hebrew Bible that seem to connect to this story but are very different. The story of the cow in the Qu’ran is not told as far I can see in the Hebrew Bible.

You may wonder what is the point of writing about this? ( I must be wondering myself)

First, it is now my ‘go to’ story if someone mentions the Qu’ran at least I now know one story from the Qu’ran.

Secondly, the cow now gives me a perspective I didn’t previously have. I still find it somewhat puzzling that such a story is given the title of a chapter in the Qu’ran. It is good for me to be puzzled as it causes me to dig deeper and try to see what is obvious to others.





Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.