And He taught Adam the names, all of them; then he presented them to the angels, and said, "Tell Me the names of these, if you are sincere." (2:31)

He said, "O Adam, tell them their names." And when he told them their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and that I know what you reveal and what you conceal?" (2:33)

  1. What names is Allah (SWT) referring to? His own names? Name of the Angels? or there is any other names?
  2. Why did Allah felt the urge to confront with Angels regarding creation of prophet Adam (PBUH) ?
  • 1
    Is it in Chapter 1? Moreover, the title of your question should be more descriptive.
    – a_fan
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:28
  • yes its is Chapter 1 Al-Fatihah Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:29
  • I think you are mixing Juz' with Chapter. There are 114 chapters and 30 Juz'es.
    – a_fan
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:31
  • what is the first chapter ? I am asking from first chapter that mean sura 1 and aya 31 and 33 Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:35
  • The first chapter (surah) is Al-Fatiha and second one is Al-Baqara. The verses you are referring to are in the second i.e. Al-Baqara
    – a_fan
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:39

5 Answers 5


From Tafsir al-Maududi:

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

After this he taught Adam the names of all things. Then He set these before the angels and asked, "Tell Me the names of these things, if you are right (in thinking that the appointment of a vicegerent will cause disorder)".

Quran 2:31

"Nomenclature is the means by which human mind grasps the knowledge of things. Hence, the whole information of man, in fact, consists of assigning names. for things. Thus, teaching Adam the names of all things was meant to impart their knowledge to him."

قَالَ يَا آدَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ فَلَمَّا أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ

Then Allah said to Adam, "Tell them the names of these things." When Adam told them the names of all those things, Allah declared, "Did I not tell you that I know those truths about the Earth and the Heavens which are hidden from you? I know what you disclose and what you hide."

Quran 2:33

'This demonstration was the answer to the first doubt of the angels. Thus, Allah, so to say, informed them: "I am not giving Adam only authority but also knowledge. The chaos that you apprehended from his appointment is only one aspect of the matter. It has its good aspect also, which is more weighty and valuable than the evil aspect, and a wise man does not give up a greater good because of a lesser evil."'

1. What names is Allah (SWT) referring to? His own names? Name of the Angels? or there is any other names?

According to Maududi for ayat 2:31 the names are everything in the universe. Allah had taught Adam knowledge of everything and therefore everything would have names so the 'names' is referring to the names of everything that Adam has learnt about the universe.

However, the second use of names is when Allah tells Adam to tell the angels their names, so this is the other context where names is used.

2. Why did Allah felt the urge to confront with Angels regarding creation of prophet Adam (PBUH) ?

According to Maududi, the angels doubted Allah's action to appoint a vicegerent because they thought it would cause disorder. Allah then told the angels to name somethings, but they didn't know what it was and Adam did. Allah is saying that Adam has knowledge, so when he is appointed, although it may cause little chaos, his knowledge is greater, giving him authority. So the key lesson here is that a wise man wouldn't give up the greater good because of a lesser evil. He also says that He knows everything and the unknown doubt him.

As we know in Islam, knowledge is very important. There are many ahadith which support this.

Allah knows best.

  • Thank you for your answer, as i said above my question still remains, the way you answered, from it I grasped that the names that were thought to prophet Adam (PBUH) was from Allah and i found no verses or hadith that what names were they ? Is it again come under believing in unseen? but I am certain Quran does not say anything without a logic and reason behind it. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 9:58
  • I said in my answer the names are the names of everything in the universe so that's quite big so everything wouldn't be mentioned in the Qu'ran. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 15:38

What names is Allah (SWT) referring to?

The verses 2:30-33 form a dialogue between God and the angels. They raise a question about the God's decision of making Man a vicegerent on the Earth. Afterwards, God answers them by asking Adam to tell them some names.

If they were names of God or those of the angels then it may prove that Adam was more knowledgeable (about God or the angels) than them but it will not answer their actual objection.

However, their objection could be answered if they were the names of those human beings who won't cause corruption or shed blood.

Keeping this in view the whole dialogue will read like this:

  • "I am going to put a vicegerent on the Earth"
  • "Will You place someone there who will cause corruption on it and
    shed blood? ..."
  • "(You are not aware of the other side of My scheme but) Surely, I know that which you do not know (that there will also be people who will refrain from these evils)"
  • He taught Adam all the names (of those people who won't commit these evils in the life), then He set them before the angels and said, "Tell Me their names, if you were right (in your objection that all of them will commit these evils)."
  • "Glory be to You; (Yes, we were not aware of the whole picture) we have no knowledge except whatever You have taught us. You are the All Knowing, the All Wise."
  • Then He said, "O Adam, tell them their names." When Adam had told them their names, God said to the angels, "Did I not say to you: I know the secrets of the heavens and of the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you conceal?"

Why did Allah felt the urge to confront with Angels regarding creation of prophet Adam (PBUH)?

God created this world for trial and choose good people. For this, he made Man a vicegerent i.e. gave him power to exercise his freewill. It necessarily implied there will be some restrictions on the powers/working of the angels; at least in the areas in which Man will be given freewill. For example, they may not be able to forcefully stop a person from committing an evil, they may not be visible to men etc. Therefore, God told them the rules of the game and described His whole scheme.

  • Thank you for your answers, Though i haven't found any hadith regarding this, my question still remains, I know the verses, what I don't know as of now the logic behind the verses, of what names and why the need to answer to he own creation. Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 9:55
  • @MohammadRameen You're welcome! Do you mean you're not convinced by my answers or do you mean my post does not contain any answer at all?
    – a_fan
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 11:12
  • I can't agree with you on the following point: "He taught Adam ALL the names..." If Allah will, he taught the Angles also ALL those names, but they're not capable of understanding those names. They're only taught a part of the names (stated in the next verse). Even humans today can learn a machine all objects of the universe, it's just a matter of memory size. The names are referred to "patience, love, humility, justice.." these are invisible names, but they exist. Arrogance is also such a name, which was hidden in Ibliss, who's an Angel also but of type Jinn. Like Angel of type grave or death
    – AndaluZ
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 8:14

Angels considered award of authority to Adam and his progeny as something that will essentially lead to exploitation,corruption,injustice and chaos.The response from Almighty Allah should logically have included the diametrically opposite side of human beings,that is, their attributes of justice,kindness,selflessness and generosity etc.In my opinion it is attributes that are being talked about.

  • I agree with you that the names concerning the attributes like justice,kindness,selflessness and generosity etc. These are spiritual attributes that are the same, no matter what earth or planet Allah (swt) creates to put therein a Khalifa. In my opnion the Ulamas totally missed this logic, with all due respect.
    – AndaluZ
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 9:53

To understand proper that ayat, one need to read up to the 39 ayat of the same sura. Dont forget that God as created jinns on the earth who accordingly mischief and shed blood lblish was said to be their leader.lblish as been a great evil as is name imply God want to fish him out. Note this is only my opinion not from the holy quran or hadith. Allahu Aalam.


This is my question too.

No one seems to have answered this well.

I believe, there were some names shared to Adam and he remembered it. The Angels said, 'we know only know except for what you have taught us'

According to Torah, God created man in his own image. The Angels are different in image but God is the perfect being as always.

So, God created a creation by an altered dark mud. And here we are, under a strict observation and a test for life. Every human is being watched, every thoughts are being recorded.

To each human, Angels are assigned. God tests us, recording us, only so he can separate the Good from the evil.

Good ones are rewarded, while others are punished.

I think God only knows what he taught Adam, that's why Angels didn't know or understand either.

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