The Story of Adam - Ibn Kathir
Allah the Almighty revealed:
"Remember when your Lord said to the angels: 'Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.' They said: 'Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks (exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You?' Allah said: 'I know that which you do not know.'
Allah taught Adam all the names of everything, then He showed them to the angels and said: 'Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful.' They (angels) said: 'Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.'
He said: 'O Adam! Inform them of their names,' and when he had informed them of their names, He said: 'Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?'
Remember when We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourself before Adam.' They prostrated except Iblis, he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).
We said: 'O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will but come not near this tree or you both will be of the dhalimin (wrongdoers).'
Then the Satan made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: 'Get you down all with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.'
Then Adam received from his Lord Words. His Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the most Merciful. We said: 'Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve. But those who disbelieve and belie Our ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, and signs and revelations, etc) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall Abide therein forever.' " [Al-Qur'an 2:30-39]
Almighty Allah also revealed:
"And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, 'Prostrate to Adam', and they prostrated, except Iblis, he refused to be those who prostrate.
Allah said: 'What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not postrate when I commanded you?'
Iblis said: 'I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay.'
Allah said: 'O Iblis get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.'
Iblis said: 'Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (Day of Resurrection).'
Allah said: "You are of those allowed respite."
Iblis said: 'Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (they will not be dutiful to You).'
Allah said: 'Get out from Paradise, disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.'
'And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the dhalimin (unjust and wrongdoers).'
Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts before, he said: 'Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.' Satan swore by Allah to them both saying: 'Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both.'
So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). Their Lord called out to them saying 'Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you, Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?'
They said: 'Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.' Allah said: 'Get down one of you an enemy to the other (i.e. Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time.' He said: 'Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).' " [Al-Qur'an 7:11-25]
We imagine when Allah the Almighty decided to create Adam: He addressed His angels and told them to prostrate before him. He did not mean to ask their opinion or take their advice, for He is above that. Allah the Exalted told them that He was going to create a vicegerent on the earth who would have children and grandchildren who would corrupt the earth and shed each other's blood. That is why the angels said to Allah the Almighty:
"Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood?" [Al-Qur'an 2:30]
There are old traditions about the angels before the creation of Adam. According to Ibn Qatadah, it was said that the angels were informed about the creation of Adam and his progency by the jinn who lived before Adam. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said that the jinn had existed for about 2000 years before Adam and then shed blood. Therefore Allah sent on them an army of angels that drove them out to the depths of the seas. Ibn Abu Hatim narrated from 'Ali Jafar al-Baqr that the angels were informed that man would cause wickedness and shed blood on earth. It was also said that they knew that no one would be created on earth who would not be wicked and shed blood.
Whether or not these traditions are correct, the angels did understand that Allah would create a vicegerent on earth. Allah the Almighty announced that He was going to create a human being out of clay, that He would mould him and blow His spirit into him and then the angels should prostrate before him.
Abu Musa al-Ashari narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah created Adam from a handful of dust taken from different lands, so the children of Adam have been created according to the composition of the land. Therefore from mankind we have white, red, black and yellow ones; we have good and evil, ease and sorrow, and what comes in between them." [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Ibn Mas'ud and other companions of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said that Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel onto the Earth to get Him clay therefrom. The Earth said: "I seek refuge in Allah from your decreasing my quantity or disfiguring me." So Gabriel returned and did not take anything. He said: "My Lord, the land sought refuge in You and it granted."
So Allah sent Michael for the same purpose, and the land sought refuge with Allah and it was granted. So he went back and said to Allah what Gabriel has said before him.
Then Allah sent the Angel of Death, and the land sought refuge in Allah, the angel said: "I also seek refuge with Allah from returning without carrying out His command." So he took clay from the face of the earth and mixed it. He did not take from one particular place, but rather he took white, red, and black clay from different places. The Angel of Death ascended with it, Allah soaked the clay till it became sticky. Then Allah said to the angels: "Truly, I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him." [Al-Qur'an 38:71-72]
So Allah shaped Adam into a human being, but he remained a figure of clay for 40 years. The angels went past him. They were seized with fear by what they saw, and Iblis felt fear most. He used to pass by the figure of Adam, buffeting it, which would make a sound like pottery. Allah told us: "He created man (Adam) from sounding clay like the clay of pottery."
When the time drew near to breathe the spirit into Adam, as Allah decreed, He commanded the angels: "When I breathe My spirit into him prostrate before him." Allah breathed His spirit into Adam and when it reached his head Adam sneezed. The angels said: "Say all praise belongs to Allah." Adam repeated: "All praise belongs to Allah." Allah said to him: "Your Lord has granted you mercy." When the spirit reached his eyes, Adam looked at the fruits of Paradise. When it reached his abdomen Adam felt an appetite for food. He jumped hurriedly before the spirit could reach his legs, so that he could eat from the fruits of Paradise. Allah, therefore, said: "Man is created of haste." [Al-Qur'an 21:37] And then: "The angels prostrated themselves all of them together. Except Iblis, he refused to be among the prostrators." [Al-Qur'an 15:31-32].
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah created Adam from dust after He mixed the clay and left him for some time until it became sticky mud, after which Allah shaped him. After that Allah left him till it became like potter's clay. Iblis used to go past him saying 'You have been created for a great purpose.' After that Allah breathed His spirit into him. The first thing into which the spirit passed was his eye and then his nose. He sneezed. Allah said: 'May your Lord have mercy upon you, O Adam! Go to those angels and see what they would say.' So Adam went and greeted them, they replied saying: 'Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of Allah.' Allah said: 'O Adam! This is your greeting and that of your offspring.' " [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Allah the Almighty revealed:
"Remember when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves saying: 'Am I not your Lord?' They said: 'Yes! We testify.' Lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection. 'Verily we have been unaware of this.' Or lest you should say: 'It was only our father aforetime who took others pas partners in worship along with Allah and we were merely their descendants after them; will you then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced al-batil (polytheism) and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah?' Thus do We explain the ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations etc) in detail so that they may turn unto the truth." [Al-Qur'an 7:172-174]
Adam's progeny declared: "Our Lord, we bear witness that You are our Lord; we have no other Lord but Allah. Allah raised their father Adam, and he looked at them and saw those of them who were rich and those who were poor, and those who had good forms and those who did not. Adam said: "O Allah! I wish You to make Your servants equal." Allah replied "I love being thanked." Adam saw among the prophets like lamps among his progeny.
Almighty Allah declared:
"Remember when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), and from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a strong covenant." [Al-Qur'an 33:7]
In another verse Allah the Exalted commanded:
"So set you (O Muhammad) your face towards the religion of pure Islamic Monotheism Hanifah (worship none but Allah Alone) Allah's Fitrah (Allah's Islamic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in khalqillah (the Religion of Allah-Islamic Monotheism), that is the straight religion, but most men know not." [Al-Qur'an 30:30]
Another version of the story relates that Allah took a handful of the dust of the earth and mixed into it the colors, white, black, yellow and red. That is the reason why men are born different colors. When Allah mixed the dust with water, it turned into potter's clay that makes a sound. It was fermented and had a smell. Iblis passed by, wondering what was going to be made of that clay. From the clay Allah created Adam. He molded his form with His own hands and blew His spirit into him. Adam's body quivered as life was imbued into it.
"Verily His Command, when He intends a thing is only that He says to it be and it is." [Al-Qur'an 37:82]
Allah the Almighty declared:
"Verily the likeness of Jesus, in Allah's Sight is the likeness of Adam, He created him from the dust then He said to him. Be - and he was." [Al-Qur'an 3:59]
Adam opened his eyes and saw all the angels prostrating before him except one being who was standing at a distance. Adam did not know what kind of creature it was that did not prostrate before him nor did he know its name. Iblis was standing with the angels so as to be included in the command given to them but he was not one of them. He was a jinn, and as such he was supposed to be inferior to the angels. What is clear is that this prostration was to show respect and did not mean that the angels were worshipping Adam. Prostrating in worship is done only for Allah.
Almighty Allah recounted the story of Iblis's refusal to prostate before Adam:
"Remember when your Lord said to the angels, 'I am going to create a man (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him then fall you down prostrating yourselves unto him.' So the angels prostrated themselves all of them together, except Iblis, he refused to be among the prostrators. Allah said: 'O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?' Iblis said: 'I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.' Allah said: 'Then get out from here for verily you are rajim (an outcast or cursed one). Verily the curse shall be upon you till Day of Recompense (Day of Resurrection).' " [Al-Qur'an 15:28-35]
In another surah Almighty Allah recounted it thus:
"Surely We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, 'Prostrate to Adam and they prostrated except Iblis he refused to be of those who prostrate.' Allah said:'What prevented you Iblis that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?' Iblis said: 'I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and him You created from clay.' Allah said: 'Get down from this Paradise, it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.' Iblis said: 'Allow me respite till the Day of Resurrection).' Allah said: 'You are of those allowed respite.' " [Al-Qur'an 7:11-15]
Ibn Jarir reported that Muhammad ibn Sirin said that the first one to reach a conclusion by reasoning was Iblis and that the sun and moon were not worshipped except through this method.
This means that Iblis tried to compare himself to Adam. He believed that he was more honorable than Adam. Therefore he abstained from prostrating even though Allah had commanded him to do so, just as He had commanded the angels. If an analogy is made we see that Iblis is vain. For indeed clay is better than fire because in it can be found the qualities of calmness, clemency, perseverance and growth; whereas in fire can be found heedlessness, insignificance, haste, and incineration.
Iblis tried in vain to justify his refusal:
"'Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?' Iblis said: 'See? those whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!' " [Al-Qur'an 17:62]
Adam was following what was happening around him and had feelings of love, awe, and astonishment. Deep love of Allah, Who had created and glorified him and Who had made His angels prostrate before him. Awe of the Creator's wrath when He excluded Iblis from His mercy. Adam was surprised by this creature, Iblis who abhorred him without even knowing him and who imagined himself better than Adam without having proved that he was worthier. What a strange creature Iblis was, and how strange was his excuse for not prostrating!
He imagined that fire is better than clay, but how did he get such an idea? Such knowledge is exclusive to Allah Who (created) fire and clay and Who knows which is the better of the two.
From the dialogue Adam realized that Iblis was a creature characterized by cunning and ingratitude. He then knew that Iblis was his eternal enemy. He was greatly astonished at Iblis's audacity and Allah's tolerance. Immediately after his creation Adam witnessed the large amount of freedom that Allah gives to His commissioned creatures.
Allah knew that Iblis was not going to obey Him in prostrating before Adam. Allah could have totally annihilated him or turned him into a handful of dust or stifled the refusal in his mouth. Yet, Allah gives His commissioned creatures absolute freedom even to the extent that they can refuse Allah the Almighty's Commands. He grants them the freedom of denial, disobedience, and even disagreement with Him.
His kingdom will not diminish if the disbelievers do not believe in Him nor will it be extended if many people believe in Him. On the contrary, the disbelievers will lose, and the believers will gain but Allah is above all of that.
There were many traditions about Iblis at the time of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Ibn Masud, Ibn 'Abbas and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said that Iblis had been the head of the angels in the worldly heavens. Ibn Abbas said in one narration that his name had been Azazil and in another narration he said it had been al-Harith. Ibn Abbas also said that Iblis was a jinn and that they had once been the keepers of Paradise, with Iblis the most honorable and the most learned and the most pious of them. Another tradition says that he had been one of the famous four possessors of wings (angels), before Allah transformed him into the accursed Satan.
Allah Almighty recounts Iblis's disobedience in another surah:
"Remember when your Lord said to the angels: 'Truly I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him.' So the angels prostrated themselves all of them; except Iblis, he was proud and was one of the disbelievers. Allah said: 'The truth is, and the truth I say, that I will fill Hell with you and those of them (mankind) that follow you together.' " [Al-Qur'an 38:71-85]
After this lesson about freedom Adam learned another lesson, one about knowledge. Adam realized that Iblis was the symbol of evil in the universe and that the angels were the symbol of good. However he did not yet know anything about himself. Then Allah made him perceive his true identity and the reason for his creation, and the secret of his glorification.
Allah the Exalted said:
"He taught Adam all the names of everything." [Al-Qur'an 2:31]
Almighty Allah granted Adam the power to know the natures of all things and to summarize them by names; that is a bird, that is a star, that is a tree, etc Allah implanted in Adam an insatiable need for and love of knowledge and a desire to bequeath knowledge to his children. This was the reason for his creation and the secret of his glorification.
After Adam had learned the names of all things, along with their properties and uses, Allah presented them to the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." [Al-Qur'an 2:31] the angels admitted their inability:
"Glory be to You, we have knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily it is You the All Knower, the All Wise." [Al-Qur'an 2:32]
Allah Almighty then turned to Adam: "O Adam! Inform them of their names, " and when he had informed them of their names, He (Allah) said:
"Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?" [Al-Qur'an 2:33]
Allah wanted the angels to know that He knew of their astonishment when He had told them about the creation of Adam and that He also knew of their confusion which they had not revealed, as well as what Iblis had concealed of his disobedience and ingratitude.
The angels realized that Adam was the creature who knew what they did not know and that his capacity to learn was his noblest quality. His knowledge included knowledge of the Creator which we call faith or Islam, as well as the knowledge he would need to inhAbut and master the earth. All kinds of worldly knowledge which are included in this.
Adam knew the names of everything. Sometimes he talked to the angels, but they were preoccupied with worshipping Almighty Allah. Therefore Adam, felt lonely. One day he slept and when he awoke he found near his head, a woman gazing at his face with beautiful tender eyes.
The angels asked him her name. He replied: "Eve (Hawa)." (Means living things). They asked: "Why did you call her Eve?" Adam said: "Because she was created of me and I am a living being."
Ibn Abbas and a group of companions of the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam narrated that when Iblis was sent out of Paradise and Adam was accommodated therein, Adam was alone in Paradise and did not have a partner from whom he could get tranquility. He slept for some time and when he woke up, he saw a woman whom Allah had created from his ribs. So he asked her, "Who are you? She replied, "A woman" He asked: "Why have you been created?" She said :"So that you could find tranquility in me." The angels, trying to find out the extent of his knowledge, asked him: "What is her name O Adam?" He replied, "Eve" They asked "Why was she so named?" He replied, " Because she was created from something living."
Muhammad Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Abbas related that Eve was created from the shortest left rib of Adam while he was sleeping and after awhile she was clothed with flesh. That is why Allah the Exalted said:
"O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women." [Al-Qur'an 4:1]
Allah also said:
"It is He who has created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her." [Al-Qur'an 7:189]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "O Muslims! I advise you to be gentle with women, for they are created from a rib, and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part. If you try to straighten it, it will break and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women." [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Allah commanded Adam to dwell in Paradise:
"O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the dhalimin (wrong doers)." [Al-Qur'an 2:35]
The location of this Paradise is unknown to us. The Qur'an did not reveal it, and the commentators had five different opinions. Some said that it was the Paradise of our refuge and that its place was heaven. Others regreted that statement because if it was the paradise of refuge Iblis would have been forbidden admission and disobedience would have been forbidden as well. Still others said that it was another paradise that was created by Allah for Adam and Eve. A fourth group said it was a Paradise on the earth located in a high place. Another group of commentators accept what was in the Qur'an without questioning where this Paradise was located. We agree with this last opinion as the lesson we learn from its location is immaterial compared to the lesson we learn from the events that took place there.
Adam and Eve were admitted to Paradise and there they lived the dream of all human beings. Allah permitted them to approach and enjoy everything except one tree, that might have been the Tree of Pain or the Tree of Knowledge. Allah forbade them they were give abode in Paradise.
"But come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrong doers." [Al-Qur'an 2:35]
Adam and Eve understood that they were forbidden to eat the fruit of that tree. Adam was however a human being and man tends to forget. His heart changes and his will weakens. Iblis summoned all the envy within him and took advantage of Adam's humanity to exploit him. He started to whisper to him day after day, coaxing him: "Shall I guide you to tree of Immortality and the Eternal Kingdom?" He said to them: "'Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.' He (Satan) swore by Allah to them both saying: 'Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both.' " [Al-Qur'an 7:20-21]
Adam asked himself: "What will happen if I eat from this tree? It might truly be the Tree of Immortality." His dream was to live forever in the pure innocence of Paradise."
Years went by, and Adam and Eve were preoccupied with thoughts of that tree. Then one day they decided to eat of its fruit. They forgot that Allah had warned them not to approach it and that Iblis was their sworn enemy. Adam stretched out his hand, picked one of the fruits and offered it to Eve. They both ate of the forbidden tree.
Allah Almighty told us: "So he (Satan) misled them with deception." [Al-Qur'an 7:22] Allah said: "Thus did Adam disobey his Lord so he went astray." [Al-Qur'an 20:121]
According to the Old Testament, Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat of the forbidden tree. She ate because of the words of the serpent and fed Adam some of it. At that moment, their eyes were opened to the fact that they were naked, and they took the leaves of the fig tree to cover themselves. Wahb ibn Munabah said that their clothing (before their sin) was made of light on the private parts of both of them.
This story in the Old Testament is a falsification and deception. Allah the Almighty revealed:
"O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise stripping them of their rainments; to show them their private parts. Verily he and qabiluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. Verily, We made the devils (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not." [Al-Qur'an 7:27]
Adam had hardly finished eating when he felt his heart contract, and he as filled with pain, sadness and shame. The surrounding atmosphere had changed and the internal music had stopped. He discovered that he and his wife were naked, so they both started cutting tree leaves with which to cover themselves. Allah the Almighty addressed him: "'Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?' They said: 'Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.' Allah said: 'Get down, one of you an enemy to the other (Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time.' He said: 'Therein you shall live and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).' " [Al-Qur'an 7:22-25]
Again there are old stories about these events. Al-Hafidh ibn-Asakir narrated that Allah commanded two angels to remove Adam from His holy proximity. So Gabriel stripped him of the crown on his head, and Michael took the diadem from his forehead. Adam thought that his punishment had been hastened and bowed down crying; "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!" so Allah asked: "Are you running away from Me?" Adam replied, "No, my Lord, but I am shy of You."
Abdur-Rahman ibn Amru al-Awza'i said that Adam spent 100 years in Paradise. In another narration it was said he spent 60 years. Ibn Asakir reported that Adam wept for 60 years for his loss of Paradise and 70 years for his mistake, and he wept for another 70 years when his son was killed.
They left Paradise and descended upon the earth. Adam was sad and Eve was crying. Allah accepted their repentance because it was sincere and He told them that the earth would be their realm and origin where they would live and die and whence they would come on the Day of Judgment.
Allah the Almighty recounted this third lesson Adam learned in Paradise:
"Indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will power. Remember when We said to the angels, 'Prostrate yourselves to Adam.' They prostrated (all) except Iblis, who refused. then We said: 'O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. so let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery. Verily, you have (a promise from Us) that you will never be hungry therein nor naked. And you will suffer not from thrist therein nor from the sun's heat.'
"Then Satan whispered to him, saying, 'O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?' Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance.
"Allah said: 'Get you down (upon the earth), both of you, together from Paradise, some of you are an enemy to some others. Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (neither believes in this Qur'an nor acts on its orders etc). Verily, for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.'
"He will say: 'O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight before.' Allah said, "Like this, Our ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). came unto you, but you disregarded them (you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected in the Hellfire, away from Allah's Mercy.
"And thus do We requite him who transgresses beyond bounds (commits the great sins and disobeys his Lord (Allah) and believes not in His Messengers, and His revealed Books, like this Qur'an etc.), and believes not in the ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). of his Lord, and the torment of the Hereafter is far more severe and more lasting." [Al-Qur'an 20:115-127]
Some people believe that the reason why mankind does not dwell in Paradise is that Adam was disobedient and that if it had not been for this sin, we could have been there all along. These are naive fictions because when Allah wanted to create Adam, He said to the angels, "I shall make a vicegerent on the earth." He did not say, "I shall make a vicegerent in Paradise."
Adam's descent on earth, then, was not due to degradation but rather it was dignified descent. Allah knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree and descend to earth. He knew that Satan would rape their innocence. That experience was essential for their life on earth; it was a cornerstone of their vicegerency. It was meant to teach Adam, Eve, and their progeny that it was Satan who had caused them to be expelled from Paradise and that the road to Paradise can only be reached by obedience to Allah and enmity to Satan.
Could it be said that Adam and the rest of mankind were predestined to sin and to be expelled from Paradise and sent to the earth? In fact, this fiction is as naive as the first one.
Adam complete free will, and he bore the consequences of his deed. He disobeyed by eating of the forbidden tree, so Allah dismissed him from Paradise. His disobedience does not negate his freedom. On the contrary it is a consequence of it.
The truth of the matter is that Allah knew what was going to happen, as He always know the outcome of events before they take place. However Allah does not force things to happen. He grants free will to His human creatures. On that He bases His supreme wisdom in populating the earth, establishing the vicegerents, and so on.
Adam understood his 3rd lesson. He knew now in a practical way that Iblis was his enemy, the cause of his losing the blessing of living in Paradise, and the cause of his distress. Adam also understood that Allah punishes disobedience and that the way of Paradise has to be through submission to the will of Allah. And he learned from Allah Almighty to ask for forgiveness.
Allah accepted Adam's repentance and forgave him. He then sent him to the earth as His first messenger.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam: 'Your sin expelled you from Paradise.' Adam said: ' You are Moses whom Allah selected as His messenger and as the one to whom He spoke directly. Yet you blame me for a thing which had already been written in my fate before my Creation?" Allah's Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said twice, "So Adam outclassed Moses." [Sahih al-Bukhari].
'Umar ibn al-Khattab also narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Moses 'alayhis-salam said: 'My Lord! May I see Adam who removed us and himself from the Paradise?' So Allah made him see Adam and he said to him: 'Are you Adam?' Adam said: 'Yes.' And he said, 'Were you the one in Whom Allah breathed His spirit and before whom He bowed His angels and to whom He taught the names of all things?' Adam answered, 'Yes.' So Moses said, 'What made you remove us and yourself from Paradise?' Adam said, 'Who are you?' Moses said, 'I am Moses.' Adam said, 'So you are Moses the prophet of the Children of Israel. Were you the one Allah spoke to directly?' Moses answered, 'Yes.' Adam said, 'Why do you blame me for a matter which Allah had predestined?' " So Allah's Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said twice. "Adam outclassed Moses." [Sahih al-Bukhari]
There are many traditions concerning the place of Adam's descent upon earth. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Abbas said: "Adam descended on the land 'Dihna' between Makkah and Ta'if." Al-Hassan said that Adam descended in India and Eve in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Iblis in Bodistiman (Iraq), and the serpent in Asfahan (Iran). This last was also reported by Ibn Hatim.
Ass'adi related that Adam descended with the Black Stone (a large black stone set into the wall of the Ka'bah in Makkah. It is said to have come from Paradise) in India, and he had a handful of the seeds of Paradise. He sowed them in India and they grew into the fragrant tree therein.
Ibn 'Umar said that Adam descended on as-Safa and Eve on al-Marwa (names of two mountains in the vicinity of the sacred house in Makkah. Part of the rites of pilgrimage (hajj) includes pacing between these two hills in commemoration of Hagar's search for water). This was also reported by Ibn Hatim. Abdur-Razzaq reported that Abu Musa al-Ashari said that when Allah ordered Adam to descend from Paradise to earth, He taught him the making of everything and provided him with the crops from Paradise.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday. One this day Adam was created, and on this day he was descended to earth." [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Adam knew he bade farewell to peace and he left Paradise. On earth he had to face conflict and struggle. No sooner had one ended than another began. He also had to toil to sustain himself. He had to protect himself with clothes and weapons and protect his wife and children from the wild beasts. Above all he had to struggle with the spirit of evil. Satan, the cause of his expulsion from Paradise, continued to beguile him and his children in an effort to have them thrown into the eternal hellfire. The battle between good and evil is continuous, but those who follow Allah's guidance and should fear nothing while those who disobey Allah and follow Iblis will be damned along with him.
Adam grasped all of this and with the knowledge of this suffering he started his life on the earth. The only thing that allowed his grief was that he was master of the earth and had to make it yield to him. He was the one who had to perpetuate, cultivate and construct and populate the earth. He was also the one who had to procreate and raise children who would change and improve the world.
The pinnacle of earthly bliss was reached when Adam and Eve witnessed the birth of their 1st children, a set of twins. Adam was a devoted father and Eve a contented mother. The twins were Cain (Qabil) and his sister. Later Eve gave birth to a second set of twins, Abel (Habil) and his sister. The family enjoyed the bounties and fruits of the earth provided by their Lord. The children grew up to be strong and healthy young adults. Cain tilled the land while Abel raised cattle.
The time arrived when the two young men desired life partners. This was part of Allah's plan for mankind, to multiply and form nations with different cultures and colors. Allah revealed to Adam that he should marry each son to the twin sister of the other. Adam instructed his children according to Allah's command, but Cain was displeased with the partner chosen for him, for Abel's twin sister was not as beautiful as his own.
It appears that since the beginning of time, physical beauty has been a factor in the attraction between man and women. This attraction caused Cain to envy his brother Abel. He rebelled against Allah's command by refusing to accept his father's advice.
At first glance Cain's rebellion might appear strange, but we should remember that although man has a pure nature, the potential for dichotomy exists. In other words, he had both good and bad qualities. He can become greedy, covetous, possessive, selfish and even destructive. Man is, therefore capable of seeking self-satisfaction even if it leads to failure in this life and in the hereafter. The path to goodness lies in harnessing the enemy within him, his baser self by controlling evil thoughts and deeds and practicing moderation in his desires and actions. His reward then will be the delights of this world and the hereafter. Thus Allah tests us through our divided nature.
Adam was in a dilemma. He wanted peace and harmony in his family, so he invoked Allah for help. Allah commanded that each son offer a sacrifice, and he whose offering was accepted would have right on his side. Abel offered his best camel while Cain offered his worst grain. His sacrifice was not accepted by Allah because of his disobedience to his father and the insincerity in his offering.
This enraged Cain even further. Realizing that his hopes marrying his own beautiful sister were fading, he threatened his brother. "I will kill you! I refuse to see you happy while I remain unhappy!"
Abel feeling sorry for his brother, replied, "It would be more proper for you, my brother to search for the cause of your unhappiness and then walk in the way of peace. Allah accepts the deeds only from those who serve and fear Him, not from those who reject His Commands."
Abel was intelligent, obedient, and always ready to obey the will of Allah. This contrasted sharply with his brother who was arrogant, selfish and disobedient to his Lord. Abel did not fear his brother's threats, but neither did he want his brother to be hurt, Allah had blessed Abel with purity and compassion.
Hoping to allay the hatred seething in his brother Abel said, " My brother, you are deviating from the right path and are sinful in your decisions. It is better that you repent to Allah and forget about your foolish threat. But if you do not then I will leave the matter in the hands of Allah. You alone will bear the consequence of your sin, for the Fire is the reward of the wrong-doers."
This brotherly plea did nothing to lessen the hatred in Cain's heart, nor did he show fear of Allah's punishment. Even familial considerations were cast aside. Cain struck his brother with a stone killing him instantly. This was the 1st death and the 1st criminal act committed by man on earth.
When Abel had not appeared for some time, Adam began to search for him but found no trace of his beloved son. He asked Cain about Abel's whereabouts. Cain insolently replied that he was not his brother's keeper nor his protector. From these words his father understood that Abel was dead and Adam was filled with grief.
Meanwhile Cain did not know what to do with his brother's corpse. He carried it on his back wandering from place to place trying to hide it. His anger had now subsided and his conscience was saddled with guilt. He was tiring under the burden of the corpse which had started to have a stench. As a mercy, and to show that dignity could be retained even in death, Allah sent two ravens that began fighting, causing the death of one. The victorious bird used its beak and claws to dig a hole in the ground, rolled its victim into it and covered it with sand.
Witnessing this, Cain was overcome with shame and remorse. "Woe unto me!" he exclaimed. "I was unable to do what this raven has done, that is to hide my brother's corpse." Cain then buried his brother. This was also the 1st burial of man.
Allah the Almighty revealed:
"And (O Muhammad) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam (Abel and Cain) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice to Allah, it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former, 'I will surely kill you.'
"The former said, 'Verily Allah accepts only from those who are al-Muttaqin (the pious). If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of the 'alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exists). Verily I intend to let you draw my sin onyourself as well as yours then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the dhalimin (polytheists, and wrongdoers).'
So the self of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers. Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: 'Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?' Then he became one of those who regretted." [Al-Qur'an 5:27-31]
Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam related that inter-marriage of the male of one pregnancy with the female of another had been in practice among Adam's children. Abel wanted to marry Cain's sister, but Cain wanted her for himself because she was very beautiful. Adam ordered him to give her in marriage to his brother but he refused. So Adam ordered both of them to offer a sacrifice, then went to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage. After Adam had left, they offered their sacrifices; Abel offered a fat lamb, he was a shepherd, while Cain offered a bundle of worst grain. fire descended and devoured Abel's sacrifice, leaving that of Cain so he became angry and said: "I will surely kill you so that you will not marry my sister." Abel replied, "Allah accepts from those who fear Him."
According to Abu Ja'far al-Baqr, Adam was watching their offering and was sure that Abel's sacrifice would be accepted. Cain complained to Adam that the acceptance was due to his supplication for Abel and that he had not done the same for him, so he promised his father to settle the matter between himself and his brother. One night, Abel was late returning from tending his flock. Adam sent Cain to see what happened to him. When he found him, he glared at him saying: "Yours was accepted, and mine was not." Abel replied, "Allah only accepts from the Allah-fearing." Cain became angry on hearing this and hit him with a piece of iron that was with him and thus killing him. In another version it was said that he killed him with a rock to the head while he was sleeping.
Adam was utterly grief stricken by the loss of his two sons. One was dead, the other was won over by the devil. Adam prayed for his son and turned to mundane matters for he had to toil for his sustenance. At the same time he was a prophet advising his children and grandchildren, telling them about Allah and calling them to believe in Him. He told them about Iblis and warned them by recounting his own experience with the devil and of how the devil had tempted Cain to kill his brother.
Years and years passed, Adam grew old and his children spread all over the earth. Muhammad Ibn Ishaq related that when Adam's death drew near, he appointed his son Seth to be his successor and taught him the hours of the day and night along with their appropriate acts of worship. He also foretold to him the floor that would come.
Abu Dharr narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Allah sent down 104 Psalms, of which 50 were sent down to Seth."
'Abdullah ibn al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka'ab said,
"When Adam's death was near, he said to his children: 'O my children, indeed I feel an appetite for the fruits of Paradise.'
So they went away searching for what Adam had requested. They met with the angels, who had with them his shroud and what he was to be embalmed with. They said to them: 'O Children of Adam, what are you searching for? What do you want? Where are you going?'
They said: 'Our father is sick and has an appetite for the fruits of Paradise.'
The angels said to them: 'Go back, for your father is going to meet his end soon.'
So they returned (with the angels) and when Eve saw them she recognized them. She tried to hide herself behind Adam. He said to her, 'Leave me alone. I came before you; do not go between me and the angels of my Lord.' So they took his soul, embalmed and wrapped him, dug the grave and laid him in it. They prayed on him and put him in his grave, saying: 'O Children of Adam, this is your tradition at the time of death.' "
Before his death Adam reassured his children that Allah would not leave man alone on the earth, but would sent His prophets to guide them. The prophets would have different names, traits and miracles, but they would be united in one thing; the call to worship Allah alone. This was Adam's bequest to his children. Adam finished speaking and closed his eyes. Then the angels entered his room and surrounded him. When he recognized the Angel of Death among them, his heart smiled peacefully.
After Adam's death, his soth Seth (Shith) took over the responsibilities of prophethood, according to a hadith narrated by Abu Dharr. Abu Dharr narrated that Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Allah sent down one hundred and four Psalms, of which fifty were sent down to Seth." [Sahih al-Bukhari] When the time of his death came Seth's son Anoush succeeded him. He in turn, was succeeded by his son Qinan, [then] Mahlabil [who many claim] was the King of the Seven Regions, that he was the first one to cut down trees to build cities and large forts and that he built the cities of Babylonia. He reigned for a period of forty years. When he died his duties were taken over by his son Yard, who on his death, bequeathed them to his son Khonoukh, who is Idris 'alayhis-salam according to the majority of the scholars.
Translated by Muhammad Gemeiah and Umm Iby