Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

Mankind was once one community

5 min read

Quran 2:213:

The following excerpt is taken from “The Study Quran” under the commentary of the following verse:

Mankind was one community; then God sent the prophets as bearers of glad tidings and as warners. And with them He sent down the Book in truth, to judge among mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only they who were given it differed concerning it, after clear proofs came to them, out of envy among themselves. Then God guided those who believe to the truth of that wherein they differed, by His Leave. And God guides whomsoever He will unto a straight path. (Quran 2:213)

The authors of the “Study Quran” write:

“Another interpretation is that the initial history of humanity was one without the need for the commands and prohibitions of religion, and the sending of prophets mentioned in this verse refers to a later time when prophecy became necessary (Th). Al-Rāzī disapprovingly relates an opinion he attributes to Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (d.544/1149), a prominent Mālikī jurist and theologian, that the first period was one in which human beings acted according to the intellect (both theoretical and practical); that is, they knew that there was a Creator, that one should be good to others, that lying and oppression are bad, that one should be just, and so forth. Pride, envy, and other vices eventually crept in and led to division, which then necessitated the sending of prophets. But such a view would have to take into account that Adam was the first prophet according to Islamic belief, and the clear proofs would have begun with him and continued throughout history. It is useful to recall here that in discussing 3:19 (Those who were given the Book differed not until after knowledge had come to them), many commentators point out that after several generations the Jews and Christians came to differ each within their own group, and an analogy can be made with Adam and the initial one community, whose members began as one, but then came to differ among themselves over the truth. The Israelite prophets, for example, were sent to one people with one religion, who nevertheless differed among themselves. See 3:19c (and also 98:4c), where the apparent paradox of differences arising after the coming of revelation is discussed further. Here, as in 3:19 and 98:4, the passage suggests that it is upon receiving truth and guidance that people enter into differences over questions of belief
and practice, and that there is something almost inevitable about this occurrence given the tendencies of human nature.”

The following excerpt is taken from “And God Said: Let There Be Evolution” under the section by T.O. Shanavas pg. 147:

Then verses 7:10–11 describe the creation and the settlement of the initial human community on the earth before the creation of the Prophet Adam. The verses state: “Certainly We have established you [humankind] in the earth and made in it means of livelihood for you; little it is that you give thanks. We who created you, and fashioned you, then told the Angels: fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis (Satan), who was not of those who make prostration.” (Qur’an 7:10–11)

Regarding these two verses (7:10-11), T.O. Shanavas comments:

“The grammatical construction of the verses with the plural in (established you), (made in it), (created you), and (fashioned you) is the confirmation that the initial part of the verse does not speak of the creation and the settlement of Adam on the earth, but of the creation and settlement of the initial human community. God blessed the original community of human species with the Prophet Adam as their guide and only “then ” God asked angels and jinnto prostrate themselves before Adam.”

Finally he quotes another verse of the Quran describing an identical concept (Ibid, pg. 154):

“Mankind was but one community; then they differed; and had it not been for a word that had already gone forth from thy Lord it had been judged between them in respect of that wherein they differ.” (Qur’an 10:19)

Within the context of the Qur’an, the very first known organized nation or human community was under the guidance of the Prophet Adam. Islam was the guiding principle for the community. Later, they “differed” and formed “nations and tribes.”

“There is evidence that all human beings (the descendants of Adam and Eve) were at one time living in close proximity to each other in Africa, and then they scattered away over the four corners of the earth due to environmental pressure. Linguists have also shown that all languages in the world today have certain similarities and that this points to a common tongue that our ancestors shared in the distant past. Languages as
diverse as ancient Sanskrit (from India), Greek (from Europe), and Native American Indian languages have been shown to be drawn from a common primordial root. Researchers have estimated that this more unified ‘proto-language’ existed some 15,000 or more years ago, and it has been dubbed Nostratic. (Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age, by R. Rudgley, 1998) These earliest people had one way of life based on the natural religion of God. Tribal messengers were chosen by God, and they taught their people the proper way to live (for that time).” (The Holy Quran in Today’s English, note 184)

“Science has accepted that all living human beings that exist today are from the same lineage going back into the earliest days of our common ancestors.” (Ibid, pg. 827)

The following excerpt is taken from “The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary” pg. 488 note 1406 and 1407:

“Mankind was but one nation, But they differed (later). Had it not Been for a Word That went forth before From thy Lord, their differences Would have been settled Between them.” (Quran 10:19)”

“All mankind was created one, and God’s Message to mankind is in essence one, the Message of Unity and Truth. But as selfishness and egotism got hold of man, certain differences sprang up between individuals, races, and nations, and in His infinite Mercy He sent them messengers and messages to suit their varying mentality, to test them by His gifts, and stir them up to emulation in virtue and piety (v. 51).”

“Here we have again the mystic doctrine of “the Word”. Cf. vi. 115, ix 40, and iv. 171. “Word” is the Decree of God, the expression of His Universal Will or Wisdom in a particular case. When men began to diverge from one another (see last note) God made their very differences subserve the higher ends by increasing their emulation in virtue and piety, and thus pointing back to the ultimate Unity and Reality.”


Emerick, Yahiya. The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English (p. 827). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Emerick, Yahiya. The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English (p. 829). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

Wynn Sr., Charles M.. And God said, “Let there be evolution!” (p. 147). All Things That Matter Press. Kindle Edition.

Wynn Sr., Charles M.. And God said, “Let there be evolution!” (p. 154). All Things That Matter Press. Kindle Edition.

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (Surah 10 verse 19). Quran Arabic with English Translation & Commentary (Tafsir) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Free Download (

About Post Author