Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 172 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 172
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.”
When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?”- They said: “Yea! We do testify!” (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful”:
And recall (O Prophet) when your Lord brought forth descendants from the loins of the sons of Adam, and made them witnesses against their ownselves. asking them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we do testify.’ We did so lest you claim on the Day of Resurrection: ‘We were unaware of this.’
And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam’s loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we have been unaware of this.”
And (remember) when thy Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed, and made them testify of themselves, (saying): Am I not your Lord? They said: Yea, verily. We testify. (That was) lest ye should say at the Day of Resurrection: Lo! of this we were unaware;
And (remember) as your Lord took from the Seeds (Or. sons) of Adam, from their backs, their offspring, and made them bear witness concerning themselves, “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes indeed, we bear witness.” (So) that you should not say on the Day of the Resurrection, “Surely we were heedless of this, “.
[Prophet], when your Lord took out the offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, ‘Yes, we bear witness.’ So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this,’
Quran 7 Verse 172 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-A’raf ayat 172, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(7:172) And recall (O Prophet) when your Lord brought forth descendants from the loins of the sons of Adam, and made them witnesses against their ownselves. asking them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we do testify.’  We did so lest you claim on the Day of Resurrection: ‘We were unaware of this.’
133. The preceding discourse concluded with the note that God made the Israelites enter into a covenant with their Lord. In the following passages all men are told that a covenant with God is not the exclusive privilege of Israel. In fact all human beings are bound in a covenant with God and a Day will come when they will be made to answer how well they were able to observe that covenant.
134. This event, according to several traditions, took place at the time of the creation of Adam. Apart from the prostration of the angels before Adam and the proclamation that man would be God’s vicegerent on earth, all the future progeny of Adam were gathered, and were endowed with both existence and consciousness in order to bear witness to God’s lordship. The best interpretation of this event is found in a statement by, ‘Ubayy b. Ka’b, who has probably given the substance of what he had heard from the Prophet (peace be on him):
God gathered all human beings, divided them into different groups, granted them human form and the faculty of speech, made them enter into a covenant, and then making them witnesses against themselves He asked them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They replied: ‘Assuredly you are Our Lord.’ Then God told them: ‘I call upon the sky and the earth and your own progenitor, Adam, to be witness against you lest you should say on the Day of Judgement that you were ignorant of this. Know well that no one other than Me deserves to he worshipped and no one other than Me is your Lord. So do not ascribe any partner to Me. I shall send to you My Messengers who will remind you of this covenant which you made with Me. I shall send down to you My Books.’ In reply all said: ‘We witness that You are Our Lord and our Deity. We have no lord or deity other than You.’ (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 135 – Ed.)
This event has also been interpreted by some commentators in a purely allegorical sense. They are of the opinion that the purpose of the Qur’an is merely to emphasize that the acceptance of God’s lordship is innate in human nature. However, this was narrated in such a way as to suggest that the event did actually take place. We do not subscribe to this allegorical interpretation of the primordial covenant of man with God. For both the Qur’an and Hadith recount it not only as an actual happening, but also affirm that the covenant would be adduced as an argument against man on the Day of Judgement. There remains, therefore, no ground whatsoever to interpret the event in terms of mere allegory.
In our own view the event did take place. God caused all human beings whom He intended to create until the Last Day to come into existence. He endowed upon them life, consciousness and the faculty of speech, and brought home to them that there is no god or lord besides Him, and that Islam alone is the right way to serve Him.
If someone considers calling all human beings together in one assembly impossible, that shows, more than anything else the woeful paucity of his imagination. For if someone accepts that God has the power to create countless human beings in succession, there is no reason to suppose that He did not have the power to create them all at some given moment prior to the creation of the universe, or that He will be unable to resurrect them all at some given moment in the future. Again, it stands to reason that at a time when God wanted to designate man as His vicegerent on earth after endowing him with reason and understanding, He took from him an oath of allegiance. All this is so reasonable that the actual occurrence of the covenant should not cause any wonder. On the contrary, one should wonder if the event did not take place.
172. And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord” They said: “Yes! We testify,” lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: “Verily, we were unaware of this.” 173. Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced falsehood” 174. Thus do We explain the Ayat in detail, so that they may turn (unto the truth).
Allah stated that He brought the descendants of Adam out of their fathers’ loins, and they testified against themselves that Allah is their Lord and King and that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. Allah created them on this Fitrah, or way, just as He said,
(So set you (O Muhammad) your face truly towards the religion, Hanifan. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalqillah.) ﴿30:30﴾ And it is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah who said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every child is born upon the Fitrah, it is only his parents who turn him into a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian. Just as animals are born having full bodies, do you see any of them having a cutoff nose (when they are born)) . Muslim recorded that `Iyad bin `Himar said that the Messenger of Allah said;
(Allah said, `I created My servants Hunafa’ (monotheists), but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibiting what I allowed.) There are Hadiths that mention that Allah took Adam’s offspring from his loins and divided them into those on the right and those on the left. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet said,
(It will be said to a man from the people of the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, `If you owned all that is on the earth, would you pay it as ransom’ He will reply, `Yes.’ Allah will say, `I ordered you with what is less than that, when you were still in Adam’s loins, that is, associate none with Me (in worship). You insisted that you associate with Me (in worship).’) This was recorded in the Two Sahihs Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(When Allah created Adam, He wiped Adam’s back and every person that He will create from him until the Day of Resurrection fell out from his back. Allah placed a glimmering light between the eyes of each one of them. Allah showed them to Adam and Adam asked, `O Lord! Who are they’ Allah said, `These are your offspring.’ Adam saw a man from among them whose light he liked. He asked, `O Lord! Who is this man’ Allah said, `This is a man from the latter generations of your offspring. His name is Dawud.’ Adam said, `O Lord! How many years would he live’ Allah said, `Sixty years.’ Adam said, `O Lord! I have forfeited forty years from my life for him.’ When Adam’s life came to an end, the angel of death came to him (to take his soul). Adam said, `I still have forty years from my life term, don’t I’ He said, `Have you not given it to your son Dawud’ So Adam denied that and his offspring followed suit (denying Allah’s covenant), Adam forgot and his offspring forgot, Adam made a mistake and his offspring made mistakes.) At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet ”. Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; “Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it.” These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam’s offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire. Allah then said,
(and made them testify as to themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord” They said: “Yes!”) Therefore, Allah made them testify with themselves by circumstance and words. Testimony is sometimes given in words, such as,
(They will say: “We bear witness against ourselves.”) ﴿6:130﴾ At other times, testimony is given by the people themselves, such as Allah’s statement,
(It is not for the Mushrikin, (polytheists) to maintain the mosques of Allah, while they testify against their own selves of disbelief.) ﴿9:17﴾ This Ayah means that their disbelief testifies against them, not that they actually testify against themselves here. Another Ayah of this type is Allah’s statement,
(And to that he bears witness (by his deeds). ) ﴿100:7﴾ The same is the case with asking, sometimes takes the form of words and sometimes a situation or circumstance. For instance, Allah said,
(And He gave you of all that you asked for.) ﴿14:34﴾ Allah said here,
(lest you should say), on the Day of Resurrection
(we were of this) of Tawhid
(unaware. Or lest you should say: “It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah,”) ﴿7:172-173﴾
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