A sura is a division of the Qur'an, often referred to as a chapter. The term chapter is sometimes avoided, as the suras are of unequal length; the shortest sura has only three ayat while the longest contains 286 ayat...

(, Sūratu l-Baqarah, "The Cow") is the second and longest chapter of the Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. It is a Medinan sura and comprises 286 verses, including the single longest verse in the Qur'an (2:282). The sura's name references verses 67–73 which recall the story of the golden calf
Golden calf
According to the Hebrew Bible, the golden calf was an idol made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai...

 worshipped as an idol by the Israelites during Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

' absence.

Other notable passages include the famous āyat al-kursī or "Throne Verse", as well as the closing two verses which outline the six articles of belief before forming a prayer for forgiveness
Istighfar , is the act of seeking forgiveness from God . It is one of the essential parts of worship in Islam. This act is generally done by repeating the Arabic words astaghfirullah, meaning "I seek forgiveness from Allah"...

, divine mercy, and help against the enemies of faith.
The surah's name is in reference to an argument between Moses
Islamic view of Moses
Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

 and the Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

s over a cow they should sacrifice after the order of Allah (God).