Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 34 (2:34)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 34 in Arabic Text

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسْجُدُوا۟ لِـَٔادَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَٱسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ
Wa iz qulnaa lilmalaaa’i katis judoo liAadama fasajadooo illaaa Ibleesa abaa wastakbara wa kaana minal kaafireen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 34

Sahih International
And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.

Yusuf Ali
“And behold, We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam” and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith.

Abul Ala Maududi
Then We commanded the angels, “Bow yourselves to Adam. “All bowed but Iblis refused to do so; he waxed proud and joined the defiers.

Muhsin Khan
And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.”. And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).

Pickthall
And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever.

Dr. Ghali
And (remember) as We said to the Angels, “Prostrate (yourselves) to Adam”, so they prostrated (themselves) except Iblîs: He refused and waxed proud, and he was (one) of the disbelievers.

Abdel Haleem
When We told the angels, ‘Bow down before Adam,’ they all bowed. But not Iblis, who refused and was arrogant: he was one of the disobedient.

Quran 2 Verse 34 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 34, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:34) And when We ordered the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam,” all of them fell prostrate,[45] except Iblis.[46] He refused, and gloried in his arrogance and became one of the defiers.[47]


45. This signifies that all the angels whose jurisdiction embraces the earth and that part of the universe in which the earth is situated were ordered to devote themselves to man’s service. Since man had been invested with authority on earth the angels were told that whenever man wanted to make use of the powers with which he had been invested by God, and which God of His own will had allowed him to use, they should co-operate with him and enable him to do whatever to do, irrespective of right and wrong.

This can be understood with reference to the manner in which government employees are required to work. When a sovereign appoints a governor or a magistrate, all government employees under his jurisdiction are duty not. But as soon as the sovereign indicates to those employees that the governor or magistrate should be barred from doing something, the effective authority of the governor or the magistrate comes to an abrupt end. In fact, were the sovereign to issue the order that the governor be dismissed or imprisoned, the same employees who until then had been moving to and fro at his bidding would not feel hesitant in putting hand on him and taking him to prison.

God’s order to the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam was of a similar nature. It is possible that prostration signifies the fact of their becoming yoked to man’s service. At the same time it is also possible that they, were ordered to perform the act of prostration itself as a sign of the envisaged relationship between angels and man. In my view the latter seems more plausible.

46. Iblis literally means ‘thoroughly disappointed; utterly in despair’. In Islamic terminology the word denotes the jinn who, in defiance of God’s command, refused to obey and to yoke himself to the service of Adam and his progeny and asked God to allow him a term when he might mislead and tempt mankind to evil and error. He is also called al-Shaytan (Satan)

In fact Satan (or Iblis) is not an abstract, impersonal force. Like human beings he is possessed of a specific personality. Moreover, one should not make the mistake of considering Satan an angel. Elsewhere the Qur’an itself clearly states that he was a jinn and jinn, as we know, are an independent species, distinct from the angels. See( Qur’an 18: 50.)

47. These words seem to indicate that in committing disobedience Iblis was probably not alone. What seems to have been the case is that a section of the jinn was bent upon rebellion and the name of Iblis is mentioned only because he was their leader and the most noted among them for his rebellion. Another translation of this sentence could be: ‘? and he was of the defiers (kafirin)’. If this sense is correct, these words would signify that there was already a party of rebellious and recalcitrant jinn and that Iblis belonged to that party. In the Qur’an the word shayatin (satans) denotes these jinn and their offspring. Hence, whenever the context itself does not indicate that the term has been used for human beings who possess satanic attributes, the word ‘ Satans’ should be understood to signify these satanic jinn.

Ibn-Kathir

34. And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.” And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).


Honoring Adam when the Angels prostrated before Him

This Ayah mentions the great honor that Allah granted Adam, and Allah reminded Adam’s offspring of this fact. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, as this Ayah and many Hadiths testify, such as the Hadith about the intercession that we discussed. There is a Hadith about the supplication of Musa, “O my Lord! Show me Adam who caused us and himself to be thrown out of Paradise.” When Musa met Adam, he said to him, “Are you Adam whom Allah created with His Own Hands, blew life into and commanded the angels to prostrate before” Iblis was among Those ordered to prostrate before Adam, although He was not an Angel

When Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was included in this command. Although Iblis was not an angel, he was trying – and pretending – to imitate the angels’ behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to the angels to prostrate before Adam. Satan was criticized for defying that command, as we will explain with detail, Allah willing, when we mention the Tafsir of Allah’s statement,

﴿إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ﴾

(Except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the Jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord.) (18:50)

Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblis was with the angels and was called `Azazil.’ He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons among the angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblis was from a genus called Jinn.”

The Prostration was before Adam but the Obedience was to Allah

Qatadah commented on Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لاًّدَمَ﴾

(And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.”)

“The obedience was for Allah and the prostration was before Adam. Allah honored Adam and commanded the angels to prostrate before him.” Some people said that this prostration was just a prostration of greeting, peace and honor, hence Allah’s statement,

﴿وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ سُجَّدَا وَقَالَ يأَبَتِ هَـذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَـى مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّى حَقًّا﴾

(And he (Prophet Yusuf) raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true!”) (12:100)

The practice of prostrating was allowed for previous nations, but was repealed for ours. Mu`adh said to the Prophet , “I visited Ash-Sham and found that they used to prostate before their priests and scholars. You, O Messenger of Allah, are more deserving of prostration.” The Prophet said,

«لَا لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا بَشَرًا أنْ يَسْجُدَ لِبَشَرٍ لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأةَ أنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوجِهَا مِنْ عِظَمِ حَقِّهِ عَلَيْهَا»

(No. If I was to command any human to prostrate before another human, I would command the wife to prostrate before her husband because of the enormity of his right on her.)

Ar-Razi agreed with this view. Also, Qatadah said about Allah’s statement,

﴿فَسَجَدُواْ إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ أَبَى وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَـفِرِينَ﴾

(And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).)

“Iblis, the enemy of Allah, envied Adam because Allah honored Adam. He said, `I was created from fire, and he was created from clay.’ Therefore, the first error ever committed was arrogance, for the enemy of Allah was too arrogant to prostrate before Adam.” I – Ibn Kathir – say, the following is recorded in the Sahih,

«لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ كِبْر»

(No person who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart shall enter Paradise.)

Iblis had disbelief, arrogance, and rebellion, all of which caused him to be expelled from the holy presence of Allah, and His mercy.

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