Qur'an 2:30 is as follows:

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."

As far as I can tell, there is a conversation going on between the God and angels when mankind was not yet created. Basically, God informs His angels that He will create humans and appoint them as a "successive authority" upon the earth. To that angels respond with:

"Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?"

My question is how did angels know that ? Do they have the ability to see the future? Or perhaps humans already existed at that time in earth in a "lower status" and were already shedding blood?

4 Answers 4


Imam ar-Razi mentions in his tafsir several possible answers to why the angels thought humans would cause corruption and spill blood.

First possibility is that they made this theory themselves. Possible reasons they made this theory:

  1. They saw the behaviour of a previous creation of Allah: the Jinn. This opinion is narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) and Al-Kalbiy.

  2. They saw or were told that the qualities of desire and anger were put into humans. They thought that desire and anger would inevitably lead to corruption and bloodshed.

Second possibility is that they knew for certain and did not theorize. This is said to be narrated from Ibn Mas'ood (RA) and other Sahabah. Possible reasons include:

  1. When they were told about the khalifa, they simply asked Allah what the khalifa would be like, and Allah told them he would cause corruption and killing on Earth. At this, they asked the question mentioned in the Quran.

  2. Allah had previously told them that a great creation would cause corruption and bloodshed on the Earth. They realized it referred to humans when they were told about their creation.

  3. Ibn Zaid said that when Allah created Hell, the angels became scared and asked for whom it was created. Allah told them it was created for those who disobey Him. Since angels don't disobey, when Adam (AS) was created, they realized it was for his descendants.

  4. They read some of Lawh-al-Mahfooz which records all of history from beginning to end.

  5. If a khalifa is someone who implements justice, there would need to be corruption for him to implement justice on. Hence, humans being khulafa means that some of them would also cause injustice.

  • This a reasonable answer. Thank you.
    – SpiderRico
    Jul 8, 2020 at 3:10

please refer here https://islam.stackexchange.com/a/2835/17074
In a Hadith [Imam Sadiq a.s.][2] said to one of his companions:

"لَعَلَّكَ تَرَى أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ إِنَّمَا خَلَقَ هَذَا الْعَالَمَ الْوَاحِدَ وَ تَرَى أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ لَمْ يَخْلُقْ بَشَراً غَيْرَكُمْ بَلْ وَ اللَّهِ لَقَدْ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى أَلْفَ أَلْفِ عَالَمٍ وَ أَلْفَ أَلْفِ آدَمٍ أَنْتَ فِي آخِرِ تِلْكَ الْعَوَالِمِ وَ أُولَئِكَ الْآدَمِيِّين‏"

Perhaps you think Allah (AWJ) created only this universe and created no humans unless you?! Yes, By Allah Indeed God created thousands of thousands of universes and thousands of thousands of Adams that you are at the end of those universes and Adams.

Reference of hadith: Shia hadith book [Al-Khisal][3] written by [Shaykh Saduq][4] volume 2 page 652

Another hadith from Imam Baqir a.s. (the 5th Imam of Shia) sais:

لَقَدْ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُنْذُ خَلَقَهَا سَبْعَةَ عَالَمِينَ لَيْسَ هُمْ مِنْ وُلْدِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُمْ مِنْ أَدِيمِ الْأَرْضِ فَأَسْكَنَهُمْ فِيهَا وَاحِداً بَعْدَ وَاحِدٍ مَعَ عَالَمِهِ ثُمَّ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ آدَمَ أَبَا الْبَشَر

Indeed Allah (AWJ) in this earth, from the time created it, created seven world that were not from children of Adam. created them from surface of earth. so God inhabited them on earth and made one generation after another generation and for each made a world after another world on earth until finally created Adam the father of Bashar* and divaricated his descendents from him.


Alsalmo Alikom .

No, neither "lower status" , nor "seeing the future" . In Altafseer books, there are two explanations to this verse : 1) God told the angels what will humans do. So we may understand the verse as follows : God says to angles that he will create the humans to rule earth by his words "Khalifa" , and some of them will be bad and do killings and other sins. So the angels asked to understand : so why God you are to create them, if for worshipping, we angles worship you and do not do sins. So God told them : I know , you do not know.

2) prior to mankind, Al-Jin (the demons) ruled earth for a long time, and did killings and other sins, so Angels was asking about the humans and how they will make , similar to their predecessors, the demons.

Wallaho Aallam .

  • 3
    Thanks for the answer. Could you provide some references from the tafseer books you mentioned ?
    – SpiderRico
    May 8, 2016 at 1:13

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

If one may interpret the words of Allah in a modern day context. The conversation between Allah and the angels sounds more of a decision hearing to an existing problem that other creatures were aware of where Allah may have revealed the options to solve this problem before the decision hearing discussed in this verse. This means that angels may have already known the consequences of every option. If u think about it, the creatures with the ability to create and are blessed with the "free will" are more prune to wrong doing.. but it seems to be the tradeoff for a creature that is "creative" and not submissive like the angels

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