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Quran Chapter 2 [part 2] - The Cow - The Story of Adam, Remember God’s Favors

30 [Prophet], when your Lord told the angels, ‘I am putting a successor [a] on earth,’ they said, ‘How can [b] You put someone there who will cause damage and bloodshed, when we celebrate Your praise and proclaim Your holiness?’ but He said, ‘I know things you do not.’ 31 He taught Adam all the names [of things], then He showed them to the angels and said, ‘Tell me the names of these if you truly [think you can].’ 32 They said, ‘May You be glorified! We have knowledge only of what You have taught us. You are the All Knowing and All Wise.’ 33 Then He said, ‘Adam, tell them the names of these.’ When he told them their names, God said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and that I know what you reveal and what you conceal?’

34 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. 35 We said, ‘Adam, live with your wife in this garden. Both of you eat freely there as you will, but do not go near this tree, or you will both become wrongdoers.’ 36 But Satan made them slip, and removed them from the state they were in. We said, ‘Get out, all of you! You are each other’s enemy. [c] On earth you will have a place to stay and livelihood for a time.’ 37 Then Adam received some words [d] from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: He is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful. 38 We said, ‘Get out, all of you! But when guidance comes from Me, as it certainly will, there will be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor will they grieve– 39 those who disbelieve and deny Our messages shall be the inhabitants of the Fire, and there they will remain.’

Remember God’s Favors

40 Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you. Honor your pledge to Me and I will honor My pledge to you: I am the One you should fear. 41 Believe in the message I have sent down confirming what you already possess. Do not be the first to disbelieve in it, and do not sell My messages for a small price: I am the One of whom you should be mindful. 42 Do not mix truth with falsehood, or hide the truth when you know it. 43 Keep up the prayer, pay the prescribed alms, and bow your heads [in worship] with those who bow theirs. 44 How can you tell people to do what is right and forget to do it yourselves, even though you recite the Scripture? Have you no sense? 45 Seek help with steadfastness and prayer– though this is hard indeed for anyone but the humble, 46 who know [e] that they will meet their Lord and that it is to Him they will return.

47 Children of Israel, remember how I blessed you and favored you over other people. 48 Guard yourselves against a Day when no soul will stand in place of another, no intercession will be accepted for it, nor any ransom; nor will they be helped. 49 Remember when We saved you from Pharaoh’s people, who subjected you to terrible torment, slaughtering your sons and sparing only your women– this was a great trial from your Lord– 50 and when We parted the sea for you, so saving you and drowning Pharaoh’s people right before your eyes. 51 We appointed forty nights for Moses [on Mount Sinai] and then, while he was away, you took to worshipping the calf– a terrible wrong. 52 Even then We forgave you, so that you might be thankful.


a. The term khalifa is normally translated as ‘vicegerent’ or ‘deputy’. While this is one meaning of the term, its basic meaning is ‘successor’– the Quran often talks about generations and individuals who are successors to each other, cf. 6: 165, 7: 129, etc.– or a ‘trustee’ to whom a responsibility is temporarily given, cf. Moses and Aaron, 7: 142.

b. This is istifham inkari in Arabic, i.e. not an interrogative but an exclamatory statement normally expressing disapproval, best rendered in English by ‘How can you’. There are numerous examples of this in the Quran.

c. Iblis is the enemy of mankind and vice versa. Iblis is also known as Shaytan/Satan.

d. Words teaching Adam how to repent, see 7: 23.

e. One of the classical meanings of zanna is ‘to know’ rather than the predominant modern sense of ‘to think’. This term is used in the sense of knowledge several times in the Quran.

The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)

The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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