In Surah 3, Ayah 18 we read:

شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

And almost any translation that I looked, attributes the قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ to Allah (SWT).

I am not a native Arab speaker. But I'm learning it and it seems to me that attributing the قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ to وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ is also possible syntactically.

In other words, is it correct if we assume the وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۚ to be a noun phrase.

Who else also testifies to the oneness of Allah?

The scientists who are fair (who are not arrogant)

Is this assumption correct grammatically?

  • I believe it must be plural for that to be valid. قائمين بالقسط. That's assuming وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ even refers to "scientists" which is terribly unlikely.
    – The Z
    Feb 2 at 10:58
  • @TheZ, ilm means knowledge. The etymology of science is also knowledge. Then alim literally means scientist. Of course in those days, the notion of the scientist as we know it today did not exist. But I consider it to be related to someone who knows a lot and ponders about the nature a lot and pursuits the truth. Feb 2 at 12:31
  • This verse is about a testimony Allah made and the Angles and people of Knowledge followed Him in that and therefore it refers to Allah's testimony. Further of course only Allah is singular in this verse and therefore only Him can be قائما بالقسط. Further scientists can be people of Knowledge in general, but not in the context of this verse therefore translating أولوا العلم as scientists is very wrong and is certainly not a literal translation.
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 2 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


The phrase قَآئِمًۢا بِٱلْقِسْطِ is hāl (which is a type of grammatical description), and the hāl must match the word it is describing in number.

قَآئِمًۢا is singular. ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ (the angels) and أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ (those who have knowledge) are both plural.

So, applying the hāl to either of those two fails on grammatical grounds. It may apply to the only other eligible singular word before it: the name of Allah.

So, it is describing Allah.

This also means translating أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمِ as scientist fails on more grounds than it already fails on. All scientists obviously don't testify God is one, and there is no modifier in the verse to specify "fair" scientists.

  • thank you for the explanation. Feb 3 at 2:23

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