¡ Has there come upon man a span of time in which he was a thing unremembered?
1 In both vv. 1 and 2, man (insān) refers to Adam, all of humanity (R), or both. As translated, the verse should be taken as a rhetorical question, either indicating that there has never been a time when human beings were not known to God (Qu) or emphasizing that there was indeed a time when man was a thing unknown, meaning nonexistent. The verse could also be translated, “There has come upon man,” which is taken by most as a reference to the time when Adam was not yet fully formed (JJ, Q, R, Ṭs) or more generally to the time when humanity had not yet come into existence (R).