وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَعَايِشَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ
Walaqad makkannākum fil-ardhi waja‘alnā fīhā ma‘āyisha, qalīlan mā tashkurūn
Certainly, We have established you on the earth, and made in it [various] means of livelihood for you,
little do you give thanks.
(Sūrat al-A‘rāf , No 7, Āyat 10)
Human beings have been given a home on earth. Although a temporary home, the
Almighty God has made it a facility that allows the human being to live well. Just like
a home we may establish for ourselves; the earth is furnished with all necessary items
for human life. It allows the human being to use what is provided and live life in
accordance with the goal of creation.
This verse tells us that Allah ‘azza wajall established us on the earth. The word
makanna means giving ability, granting property and control. It is different from giving
power (qudrat). In fact, it is more than power that human beings have been given
as makanna signifies a complete and continuous control (albeit given by God) along
with granting all the required components for that control. The verse then goes on to
say He placed all the necessities of life in it. These are the requirements of living on
that property and benefitting from the place. It is the blessings of air, water, food, etc.
Almighty Allah made the world of nature and placed in it the essentials for life. Then
he gave mankind thinking and intelligence to have power over it so that nature would
Other verses of the Quran also talk about the earth as an established home for the
human being. Allah says: He who made the earth a resting place for you and the heaven a
canopy (Q 2:22) and it is Allah who made for you the earth an abode and the sky a canopy (Q
An established home on earth for the human being with all necessary provisions in it,
is a sign of the existence of a Creator. He knew what the human being would need
and provided it for him. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) when explaining the signs of Allah
subhānahu wata‘ālā to his companion Mufaddal, says:
Just consider those things which you see present in the world supplied to meet human needs.
The earth to build houses, iron for industry, wood for building boats etc. Stone for use as
grindstone, copper for utensils, gold and silver for business transaction, gems for treasure, corn
for food, fragrant articles for pleasure, medicines to heal the sick, the quadrupeds as beasts of
burden, dry wood as fuel, ashes for chemicals, sand for the benefit of the earth and can one
count all these things which are numberless? Do you think that if a man enters a house and
sees it supplied with all human needs, the whole house full of treasure and everything placed
with a definite purpose, can he imagine all those things have been arranged by themselves
without anyone to plan it? Then how can any rational being suggest that this world and all
these contents have come by themselves? (Hadith al-Mufaddal).
Human beings are supposed to use these provisions to journey towards Allah. The
provisions facilitate the journey. The Quran outlines this goal behind the
establishment of a home on earth: Those who, if We establish them in the land, will maintain
the prayer, give the zakat, bid what is right and forbid what is wrong (Q 22:41). These people
use the provisions as expected by the Provider. They do not misuse or abuse what is
given to them, indulging in excess, and trespassing on the rights of others in the
home. Nor do they delude themselves that the provisions are from their own doing
and will be there for them forever.
The end of the verse reminds human beings to be grateful for the home on earth.
Most people are not grateful. Gratitude is not just verbal acknowledgement, rather it
is to use the blessings in the way expected by the bestower of the blessings.
This verse reminds us of the well provided home we have on earth. Each blessing we
use is a sign of the mercy of Allah (swt) who has kept it there for us and expects us to
use it correctly.
Sources: Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir
Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Ustadh Abul Fadhl Bahrampour, Tafsīr yek jild
Mubīn, and Lughat Nāmaye Tafsīrī; https://www.al-islam.org/tradition-mufaddal