Verse 30, Chapter 2, Holy Quran

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As-Salam-Alai Kum,

Wanted to share the profoundness of the Verse 30 of Chapter 2.  In Chapter 2 verse 30 of Holy Quran, it is mentioned,

“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.”

In this verse of Al-Baqara, Allah is describing about an event that took place before the physical creation of human beings. From this verse we get the following information

(1) Angels knew a astronomical body called ‘Earth’, that exists in this universe. If they had no knowledge about earth, they would have enquired more information about earth to Allah.

(2) Earth was created before the physical creation of human beings. This is inferred from the phrase ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth’.

(3) Before the human beings were physically created, Allah had decided the abode of human beings as earth. Therefore, Allah was planning to create a species that would be able to sustain on Earth’s environment. Interesting enough, in the preceding verse (verse no.29) of Al-Baqarah, Allah had mentioned, “It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge”. This means that, Allah had planned about creating human beings, before He had created earth. Therefore, Allah created all things that are on earth keeping in mind the sustenance of human beings on earth.

(4) Allah wanted to create a species that would act as ‘vicegerent’ on earth. This means, Allah wanted to create a species that is powerful enough to control the other species and resources on earth. This also means, human beings have the ability to make the best use of the existing species and resources on earth.

(5) When Allah made the declaration about the creation of human beings, angels had the option of accepting the declaration without any reply. In the verse, there is no mention of Allah asking the opinion of angels.  Then why did angels reply? There are billions of stars in this vast universe and earth is just a small planet. Two possible reasons could be (1) Angels were under an impression that, they are the vicegerents of the universe and were curious to know the reasons for appointing the new species as vicegerent on earth (2) angels considered earth as an important place in this universe and were surprised that Allah will be appointing a species that does mischief and blood-shed as its vicegerent.

(6) The response of the angels to Allah’s declaration is rather interesting. Even before the creation of human beings, they predicted that, human beings will indulge in mischief and shed blood. How will angels know that human beings will indulge in mischief even before they were created? How will angels know, human beings will have something called ‘blood’ in first place? Logically this is possible, only if angels were aware of other species that were exists on earth and living habits of such species. Angels had seen that, in order to survive on earth, different species on earth compete for resources. And sometimes in doing so, they fight among themselves, which results in shedding of blood. Also, there is a possibility that, angels had noticed that Allah had given the ability to some species on earth to do mischief. Based on this knowledge, angels replied to Allah that ‘Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?

(7) There is no doubt that, Allah’s knowledge is much more than knowledge of angels. So, when Allah says, “I know what ye [angels] know not”, it can be interpreted as ‘there is much more to human beings than doing mischief and shedding blood’.

(8) One can also infer from this verse that, even though angels have the knowledge about mischief and blood-shed, they never indulge in it. Angels spend their time hymning Allah’s praise and glorify Allah’s name.

(9) If we break-down the verse as per the acts that took place

a. Allah called the angles for attention.

b. Allah declares that, He is going to create a vicegerent on earth.

c. Angels reply back negatively.

d. Allah replies to angels.

In the verse, Allah is enthusiastic about creating human beings. He called out the angles and declared about the creation of human beings. The response from the angels is very negative. Angels felt that, the new creation of Allah would only do mischief and cause blood-shed. Angels felt that, they are more worthy than a species that does mischief and cause blood-shed. Allah’s response to the reply of angels reflects Allah’s confidence in human beings. Allah believes human beings are worthy of creation. Allah believes that, we (human beings) aren’t what angels mentioned about us. This is a very important message that this verse is trying to communicate to us.

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