Surah Al Baqarah Ayat 30 is a profound verse in the Quran that explains the creation of humanity, specifically the appointment of Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) as a vicegerent (khalifah) on Earth. This article delves into the Tafsir (interpretation) of this Ayat, exploring its meanings, context, and relevance in our lives today.
Surah al baqarah ayat 30 in arabic:
“وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ”
Surah al baqarah ayat 30 in English:
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.’ They said, ‘Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?’ Allah said, ‘Indeed, I know that which you do not know.’
The Creation of Humanity
The verse begins with Allah’s declaration to the angels about His intention to place a Khalifah on Earth. The angels, in their innocence, question this decision, fearing that humans would cause corruption and shed blood. Allah reassures them, stating, “I know what you do not know.” (QS. Al Baqarah ayat 30).
The Wisdom Behind the Creation
The creation of humanity as a Khalifah on Earth signifies the honor and responsibility bestowed upon us. Unlike the angels, humans have free will, desires, and intellect, allowing them to choose right from wrong. This unique status requires understanding, reflection, and adherence to divine guidance.
The Response of the Angels
The angels’ question was not a challenge to Allah’s wisdom but a desire to understand His divine plan. Their query highlights their purity and constant praise of Allah, contrasting human potential for both greatness and failure. Hint: Memorize the Quran at your own pace with the Quran Memorization Course, a program that provides personalized guidance and support to help you memorize the Quran.
Surah al baqarah ayat 30 – Tafsir ibn Kathir:
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِى الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً
2:30 And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.”
قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَآءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ
They said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.”
قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know.”
Adam and His Children inhabited the Earth, Generation after Generation
Allah reiterated His favor on the Children of Adam when He stated that He mentioned them in the highest of heights before He created them. Allah said,
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ …
And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels,
This Ayah means, “O Muhammad! Mention to your people what Allah said to the angels.
… إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً …
Verily, I am going to place a Khalifah on earth.
Meaning people reproducing generation after generation, century after century, just as Allah said,
وَهُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَـئِفَ الاٌّرْضِ
And it is He Who has made you (Khala’if) generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. (6:165)
وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ حُلَفَآءَ الاٌّرْضِ
And makes you (Khulafa) inheritors of the earth. (27:62)
وَلَوْ نَشَآءُ لَجَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ مَّلَـئِكَةً فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَخْلُفُونَ
And if it were Our will, We would have (destroyed you (mankind all, and) made angels to replace you (Yakhlufun) on the earth. (43: 60)
فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ
Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation (Khalf)) (7:169).
It appears that Allah was not referring to Adam specifically as Khalifah, otherwise he would not have allowed the angels’ statement,
… قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء …
They said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood!”
The angels meant that this type of creature usually commits the atrocities they mentioned. The angels knew of this fact, according to their understanding of human nature, for Allah stated that He would create man from clay. Or, the angels understood this fact from the word Khalifah, which also means the person who judges disputes that occur between people, forbidding them from injustice and sin, as Al-Qurtubi said.
The statement the angels uttered was not a form of disputing with Allah’s, nor out of envy for the Children of Adam, as some mistakenly thought. Allah has described them as those who do not precede Him in speaking, meaning that they do not ask Allah anything without His permission. Hint: Introduce your children to the art of Tajweed with engaging and interactive online Tajweed classes designed specifically for kids. Lay the foundation for a lifelong connection with the Quran through beautiful recitation.
When Allah informed them that He was going to create a creation on the earth, and they had knowledge that this creation would commit mischief on it, as Qatadah mentioned, they said, أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء (Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood).
This is only a question for the sake of learning about the wisdom of that, as if they said, Our Lord! What is the wisdom of creating such creatures since they will cause trouble in the earth and spill blood.
“If the wisdom behind this action is that You be worshipped, we praise and glorify You (meaning we pray to You) we never indulge in mischief, so why create other creatures”
… وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ …
while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.”
Allah said to the angels in answer to their inquiry,
… قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾
He (Allah) said: I know that which you do not know.
meaning, “I know that the benefit of creating this type of creature outweighs the harm that you mentioned, that which you have no knowledge of. I will create among them Prophets and send Messengers. I will also create among them truthful, martyrs, righteous believers, worshippers, the modest, the pious, the scholars who implement their knowledge, humble people and those who love Allah and follow His Messengers.”
The Sahih recorded that;
when the angels ascend to Allah with the records of the servant’s deeds, Allah asks them, while having better knowledge, “How did you leave My servants?”
They will say, “We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying.”
This is because the angels work in shifts with mankind, and they change shifts during the Fajr and `Asr prayers.
The angels who descended will remain with us, while the angels who have remained with us ascend with our deeds. The Messenger of Allah said,
يُرْفَعُ إِلَيْهِ عَمَلُ اللَّيْلِ قَبْلَ النَّهَارِ وَعَمَلُ النَّهَارِ قَبْلَ اللَّيْل
The deeds of the night are elevated to Allah before the morning, and the deeds of the morning before the night falls.
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Hence, the angels’ statement, “We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying,” explains Allah’s statement, إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (I know that which you do not know).
It was said that the meaning of Allah’s statement, إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (I know that which you do not know) is,
“I have a specific wisdom in creating them, which you do not have knowledge of.”
It was also said that it is in answer to, وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ (While we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You) after which Allah said, إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (I know that which you do not know). Meaning,
“I know that Iblis is not as you are, although he is among you.” Dive into the Best 10 Benefits Of Surah Baqarah – Lessons and Meaning Of Surah Baqarah. This Surah provides practical guidance for leading ethical lives and is a testament to the firm pact between Allah and believers.
أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ “(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify you with praises and thanks and sanctify You.) is their request that they should be allowed to inhabit the earth, instead of the Children of Adam. So Allah said to them, إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ (I know that which you do not know) if your inhabiting the heavens is better, or worse for you.”
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Ar-Razi as well as others said this.
Allah knows best.
The Obligation of appointing a Khalifah and some related Issues
Al-Qurtubi, as well as other scholars, said that;
this Ayah (2:30) proves the obligation of appointing a Khalifah to pass judgments on matters of dispute between people, to aid the oppressed against the oppressor, to implement the Islamic penal code and to forbid evil. There are many other tasks that can only be fulfilled by appointing the Imam, and what is necessary in performing an obligation, is an obligation itself.
We should state here that Imamah occurs by;
either naming a successor, as a group among Ahl As-Sunnah scholars said occurred – by the Prophet – in the case of Abu Bakr, or hinting to a successor.
Or, the current Khalifah names a certain person as Khalifah after him, as Abu Bakr did with Umar.
Or, the Khalifah might leave the matter in the hands of the Muslim consultative council, or a group of righteous men, just as Umar did.
Or, the people of authority could gather around a certain person to whom they give the pledge of allegiance, or they could select one among them to choose the candidate, according to the majority of the scholars.
The Khalifah must be a responsible adult Muslim male, able to perform Ijtihad (independent legal judgments), bodily able, righteous, with knowledge of warfare, politics.
He also must be from the tribe of Quraysh, according to the correct view, but it is not necessary that he be from the tribe of Bani Hashim, or that he be immune from error, as the Rafidah (Shiites) falsely claim.
When the Khalifah becomes an immoral person (Fasiq), should he be impeached. There is disagreement over this matter, but the correct view is that he is not to be removed, because the Messenger of Allah said,
إِلَّا أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا بَوَاحًا عِنْدَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ فِيهِ بُرْهَان
Unless you witness a clear Kufr regarding which you have clear proof from Allah.
Does the Khalifah have the right to resign from his post?
There is a difference on this issue.
It is a fact that Al-Hasan bin Ali removed himself from the position of Khalifah and surrendered it to Muawiyah. However, this occurred because of a necessity, and Al-Hasan was praised for this action.
It is not permissible to appoint two Imams for the world or more at the same time. This is not allowed because the Messenger of Allah said,
مَنْ جَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْرُكُمْ جَمِيعٌ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُفَرِّقَ بَيْنَكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُ كَائِنًا مَنْ كَان
Whoever came to you while you are united and tried to divide you, then execute him, no matter who he is.
This is the view of the majority of scholars.
Imam Al-Haramayn stated that;
Abu Ishaq allowed the appointment of two or more Imams when the various provinces are far away from each other.
However, Imam Al-Haramayn himself was indecisive about this view. Here we conclude the interpretation of the verse by Ibn Kathir