Qur'an 7:172

Priority: b, Quality: b
From wikishia
Verse's Information
Name Mithaq, Dhar
Sura Qur'an 7
Verse 172-174
Juz' 9
Content Information
Place of
Revelation
Mecca
About Covenant between God and human beings
Others Monotheism * Covenant of Alast * World of Dharr

The Covenant Verse (Arabic: آية الميثاق) or the Verse of Dharr (Arabic: آية الذر) is the 172nd verse of Qur'an 7, which speaks of a covenant between God and human beings regarding the belief in God's lordship and oneness. The purpose of this covenant was to leave no excuse for people (such as ignorance or following the predecessors) to adhere to polytheism.

This verse is counted among mutashabih (ambiguous) verses of the Qur'an.

There are two general attitudes towards this verse among the commentators: Some maintain that the verse is reporting an actual event that happened in a certain abode before human beings came to this world. In that event all humans confessed that God was their one and only lord. In contrast, some others maintain that the verse is not to be understood literally; rather, the verse means that all human beings witness the lordship of God and His oneness through their reason or that the pure human nature affirms the lordship of God and His oneness.

In hadith-based commentaries, about forty hadiths are quoted that address the event mentioned in the Covenant Verse.

Text and Translation

Introduction

Verse 172 of Qur'an 7 is called the Covenant Verse[1] or the Verse of Dharr,[2] because it refers to a covenant between God and human beings[3] regarding the belief in God's lordship[4] and oneness.[5] The verse reminds human beings of that covenant and of the fact that on the Day of Judgment no excuse will be accepted from them.[6]

This covenant is also called the covenant of Alast (lit. “Am I Not?”) and the world in which this covenant was made is called the world of Dharr.[7]

Allama Tabataba'i maintains that this verse is the most sophisticated Quranic verse in terms of structure and content—even though there are ambiguities,[8] such as how and where this covenant was made, that have led to disagreement among the commentators.[9]

There is no obvious allusion in the Covenant Verse that human beings were required to confess to the principles of prophethood or imamate, but some scholars hold that it can be concluded based on the exegetical hadiths related to this verse that confessing to the two principles was also part of the covenant.[10]

Purpose

The purpose of the covenant was to leave no excuse for people to take any gods other than the One God.[11] With this covenant, no one can mention on the Day of Judgment as an excuse that he was ignorant[12] or that his society or ancestors were polytheists.[13]

Content

The commentators have two main attitudes in their interpretation of the Covenant Verse. Some maintain that this verse reports an actual event that literally happened in a certain abode before humans came to this world. There, humans confessed that God was their only god and lord.[14] Some of these commentators mention that in that abode all humans came out of the first human being in the form of small specks.[15] Some of them maintain that the event happened in this world in the land of Arafat[16] or in India.[17]

On the other hand, Shiite and Mu'tazilite exegetes usually adopt a non-literal attitude to this verse.[18] The non-literal interpretation itself has various forms. Some commentators maintain that the verse refers to the fact that every human being testifies to God's lordship through his or her reason.[19] According to some others, it is the human primordial nature (fitrah), with which God has endowed every human being, that is able to witness God if purified.[20] According to a third group, this witnessing and testifying occurs in the malakut level of human existence, which co-exists with its material level.[21] It is in that level that all human beings witness and confess to the lordship of their one and only God.

There is a third group of commentators who try to find a middle way by proposing that the covenant mentioned in this verse has both literal and metaphorical aspects.[22] The view of mystics regarding the occurrence of this covenant in the world of pre-eternity may be viewed in this light.[23]

Exegetical Hadiths

In hadith-based commentaries, such as al-Burhan and Nur al-thaqalayn, about forty hadiths are mentioned in relation to the covenant mentioned in this verse.[24] Some of these hadiths indicate that human actions were also determined in that abode.[25] However, commentators maintain that these hadiths must not be understood as affirming predestination.[26]


Notes

  1. Group of researchers, Farhangnāma-yi ulūm-i Qurʾānī, p. 183.
  2. Ṭayyib Ḥusaynī, Dānishnāma-yi ʿulūm-i Qurʾānī, p. 83.
  3. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 765.
  4. Ṭayyib Ḥusaynī, Dānishnāma-yi ʿulūm-i Qurʾānī, p. 83.
  5. Jawādī Āmulī, Barrasī-yi āya-yī mīthāq, no 59.
  6. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 765.
  7. Qirāʾti, Tafsīr-i nūr, vol.3, p. 216.
  8. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 8, p. 320.
  9. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 765.
  10. Ṭayyib, Aṭyab al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 26; Brūjirdi, Tafsīr-i jāmiʾ, vol. 2, p. 483.
  11. Riḍāyī Isfahānī, Tafsīr-i Qurʾān-i mehr, vol. 7, p. 291; Jawādī Āmulī, Barrasī-yi āya-yī mīthāq, no 59.
  12. Jawādī Āmulī, Barrasī-yi āya-yī mīthāq, no 59.
  13. Jawādī Āmulī, Barrasī-yi āya-yī mīthāq, no 59.
  14. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāmah-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī, p. 106-107.
  15. Ibn Sulaymān, Tafsīr-i maqātil-i ibn-i sulaymān, vol. 2, p. 72-73; Ṣanʿānī, Tafsīr-i Abd al-razzāq, vol. 1, p. 226; Ṭabaranī, Tafsīr-i al-kabīr, vol. 3, p. 213.
  16. Ṭabaraī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, vol. 9, p. 75; Ibn al-Jawzī, Zād al-masīr, vol. 2, p. 167.
  17. Ṭabaranī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 3, p. 213.
  18. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāmah-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī, p. 106-107.
  19. Zamakhsharī, Tafsīr al-kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 176; Ṭabrisī, Jawāmiʿ al-jāmiʿ, vol. 1, p. 482.
  20. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 7, p. 4.
  21. Sulṭān Alīshāh, Bayān al-saʿāda, vol. 2, p. 216; Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 8, p. 320; Ḥusaynī Hamadānī, Anwār-i dirakhshān dar tafsīr-i Qurʾān, vol. 7, p. 113.
  22. Mufīd, Al-Masā'il al-sarwīyya, p. 37.
  23. Maybudī, Kashf al-asrār, vol. 3, p. 793.
  24. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 7, p. 9.
  25. See: Suyūṭī, Al-Durr al-manthūr, vol.3, p. 141.
  26. Ābyārī, Barrasī-yī ṭaṭbīqī-yī āya-yī mīthāq az nazar-i shahīd Muṭahharī wa Āyatullāh Jawādi Āmulī, p. 25.

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