In al-Mizan English volume 16, the author presents an unprecedented view of the covenant all human beings made with their Lord. This is under the exposition of verses 7:172-173.
- When your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants and He made them bear witness over themselves, (He said to them,) Am I not your Lord? They said, Yes indeed! We bear witness. (This,) lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, Indeed we were unaware of this. (7:172)
- or lest you should say, Our fathers ascribed partners (to Allah) before (us) and we were descendants after them. Will You then destroy us because of what the falsifiers have done? (7:173)
He first presents the view of the opponents of the world of pre-existence. The exegetes and scholars who oppose the world of pre-existence say that the covenant mentioned in verse 7:172 refers to the life in this world and that the two verses (172-173) describe God’s ongoing process of creating humans in this world. During their life, God makes them witness over themselves and shows them the signs of His creation and unity. They witness how they are always in need of the Creator and accept His Lordship.
The proponents of the world of pre-existence present a view that in that realm, God took out Adam’s seed which was the main material for humankind and then divided consecutively and indefinitely such that every human being was separated and distinguished from that seed. That resulted into countless number of dispersed particles. God then made each particle into a complete human and gave them life and consciousness. He then made a covenant with them and they responded positively to His Lordship. Thereafter, God returned them to their original state in the loins until they gathered again in Adam’s loin and wait for the permission to enter this world.
After showing the incompatibility of both the above views to the verses, the author says that there are two main points to be deduced from the expression “when your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants”.
- The verse talks about God’s creation of humankind where each person issues from another and a small number proliferates into a multitude – something we witness and observe in this world.
- The expression also indicates some sense of precedence. He then discusses these two points in detail.
In short, human beings have two aspects of existence: the divine aspect and the worldly aspect – like the two sides of the same coin. The divine aspect is by which they face God as an assembled and concentrated non-temporal and non-gradual existence whereas the worldly aspect is by which they face the world as separate and diversified beings and governed by time, change and gradual progression. The relation between our divine aspect and our worldly aspect is the relation between “Be!” and “it is” as in the verse: “that He says Be and it is” (36:82)
For further reading, get your personal copies of volumes 15 & 16.