Prophet Adam (AS) – Part II
Part I of this beautiful story took us from the creation of Adam AS to creation of Hawwa as his companion. Let’s now follow them into the Garden of Paradise, through the dramatic turn that their lives are about to take, unknown to them, through their journey on Earth.
Adam and Hawwa dwelt in tranquility in Paradise. The Qur’an does not reveal the exact location of where this Paradise was; however, commentators agree that it is not on the earth, and that the knowledge of the location is of no benefit to mankind. The benefit is in understanding the lesson from the events that took place there.
Allah most Exalted, warned Adam AS of the vulnerability of their position.
“O Adam,” He said, “dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise, and eat therefrom in ease and abundance, from wherever you will. But,” Allah said, imposing a single condition for their continuance in their present state, “do not come near this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers” (Qur’an 2:35)
THE FORBIDDEN TREE
What was that Tree? This is not revealed in the Qur’an. Early commentators differed widely concerning it. Some considered it a plant rather than a tree; in the opinion of Ibn Abbas, it was a wheat plant. However, Allah did not specify its name. Had there been any benefit for us in mentioning it, He would have specified it.
Allah Almighty issued a second warning, designed to make the new couple aware of the existence and enmity of Iblees.
O Adam, indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer. Indeed, it is promised for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed. And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun. (Qur’an 20:117-119)
A clear, direct warning.
But the disgraced, debased Iblees had formulated a plan, a simple plot actually. Having noted that Adam was hollow inside, he awaited to exploit the weakness of mankind. He had already made up his mind that Adam could be easily overcome and ruined. The intelligence that he previously used for good deeds, Iblees now employed to destroy his new enemy.
His evil intention was therefore to trick the two into eating from the Tree, resulting in their losing their heavenly innocence. Disobeying Allah would render them unfit to dwell in Paradise forever putting an end to their high station and bliss life, and their Lord would cast them out, Iblees assumed, as disgraced and accursed as himself.
The guardians of Paradise prevented Iblees’ entry to the Garden. He then approached different animals, proposing to them that they should take him into the Garden so that he could speak to Adam AS and his wife, but they all refused. He finally managed to persuade the snake. Permitting Iblees to enter it by the side of its mouth, the snake passed the guardians of Paradise, and as Allah willed, Iblees got in without them noticing.
The wicked, cunning Iblees approached the innocent couple with craftiness and deceit.
“O Adam,” he whispered, “shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” (Qur’an 20:120)
“He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.” And he swore [by Allah] to them, “Indeed, I am to you from among the sincere advisors.” (Qur’an 7:20-21)
As Adam AS listened to Shaytan’s evil suggestions and false promises, they forgot Allah’s clear warnings about the forbidden Tree and about their enemy Iblees. Completely pure and free of ill intentions, they could have no suspicion of the intense envy and enmity that burned in the heart of the Arch Deceiver, concealed from all except his Lord.
Iblees continued mercilessly in his attack on the unsuspecting pair till they fell headlong into his trap. By being forgetful and heedless, they were tricked and slipped into disobedience to their Lord’s command,
And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination. (Qur’an 20:115)
The ultimate catastrophe then occurs.
And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred. (Qur’an 20:121)
Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. (Qur’an 2:36)
So he made them fall, through deception. (Qur’an 7:22)
EXPULSION FROM PARADISE
By disobeying their Lord, the couple had made an abrupt transition from pure spiritual beings, dwelling with the Holy One and His blessed angels in Paradise, to humans with wills of their own.
Obviously, none of the lying promises Shaytan had made to them, came true. They had not become gods or angels by eating from the Tree and there was no question of them living forever.
Just as planned by Shaytan, once they had eaten from the Tree, “their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise.” (Qur’an 7:22)
Thus originated the virtually universal habit of covering private parts of the body, suggesting that modesty and sense of shame are an inherent part of the basic nature that Allah has endowed mankind.
And Allah called to the pair, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?” (Qur’an 7:22)
Deeply remorseful, they said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (Qur’an 7:23)
While Iblees disobeyed Allah willfully with full understanding of the consequences, Adam AS and Hawwa did so through simple forgetfulness and heedlessness and were intensely sorry, humbly repenting and beseeching Allah for forgiveness.
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Qur’an 2:37)
Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, turned to Adam AS and accepted Adam’s AS repentance.
In spite of their repentance and Allah’s acceptance of it, once they had disobeyed Allah, there was no easy way back for them. Just as Iblees had been cast out of Paradise for his disobedience, so were they.
Allah pronounced his divide judgment on the first of mankind and expelled them from Paradise.
Go down from it, all of you. (Qur’an 2:38)
Descend, being to one another enemies. And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time. He said, “Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth.” (Qur’an 7:24-25)
And at the same time, Allah the most Merciful, issued a promise which softened His judgment and made it more bearable,
And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Qur’an 2:38)
This statement of mercy was followed by a stern warning,
And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally. (Qur’an 2:39)
The seriousness of the consequences of our first parents’ sin both for themselves and for each one of us, does not require comment. It was their own individual sin for which each was personally responsible, and which Allah also forgave individually. This is a central point in Islamic teachings that each one is responsible and will bear their own burdens. This is reiterated several times in the Qur’an:
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. (Qur’an 2:286)
And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Qur’an 4:110)
And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. (Qur’an 6:164)
The true, original homeland of Adam AS and Hawwa was Paradise. And whilst it was their destiny to leave it and dwell on earth, the earth was a temporary sojourn for them, from which they would be returned to their place of origin. By giving them a taste of Paradise, Allah the All-Knowing established an unbreakable connection between their hearts and the spiritual world from which they had come and which would be their eternal home.
THE NEW HOMELAND – LIFE ON EARTH
Allah accepted Adam’s AS repentance and forgave him. He then sent him to the earth as His first messenger.
There are many reports by Qur’anic commentators about the descent and settling in of Adam AS and Hawwa upon this earth.
Several hadith report that Adam AS came to earth on a Friday, the same day of the week that he was created and the most excellent day of the seven days. Ibn Abbas RA and other commentators report that Adam AS was sent down on a mountain called Budh or Nudh in India. He brought with him the scent of Paradise, which clung to India’s trees and river valleys, filling them with perfume. (Tabari)
Other traditions hold that Adam AS came down to earth in Serendib i.e. Sri Lanka. According to local traditions, Adam AS descended from Paradise to Mount Budh, at whose summit there is a depression in the rock, roughly shaped like a foot. It is believed to be Adam’s footprint.
As we read earlier, Adam AS was immensely tall. It is said that when Allah sent him from Paradise, his feet were upon the mountain while his head was in Paradise. He heard the speech and glorification of the angels. In his sorrow, he did not eat or drink for forty days, and for two hundred years he mourned bitterly for all he had lost because of this sin.
As for Hawwa, some commentators assert that she came down with Adam AS to Mount Budh. Others say that she came down to near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Later, Adam AS went in search of her and eventually they were united at Arafat in the vicinity of Mecca.
On earth they had to face conflict and struggle. No sooner had one ended than another began. Adam AS 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.
Shaytan 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 Iblees will be damned along with him.
There were many trials and hardships as were benefits and blessings. All this had been implied in their Lord’s earlier warning.
O Adam, indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer. Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed. And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun. (Qur’an 20:117-119)
From this experience, Adam learned the great lesson that Shaytan is cunning, ungrateful and the avowed enemy of mankind. Adam, Hawwa and their descendants learned that Shaytan caused their expulsion from Paradise. Obedience to Allah and enmity towards Shaytan is the only path back to Heaven.
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.
Allah had prepared them in many ways. He gave them the experience of struggling against the whisperings and schemes of Shaytan. He taught Adam AS the names of everything and instructed him in its properties and usefulness. Adam took up his position as caretaker of the earth and Prophet of Allah. Adam AS, the first Prophet of Allah, was responsible for teaching his wife and offspring how to worship Allah and seek His forgiveness. Adam established the Laws of Allah and set about trying to support his family and learning to subdue and care for the earth. His task was to perpetuate, cultivate, construct and populate; he was to raise children who would live according to Allah instructions and care for and improve the earth.
Thus was the home of Adam AS and Hawwa established on this earth. On this green, living planet, they and all the human beings who would come from them would live and strive and carry on the struggle between good and evil until the end of the world. On it they would die. Their mortal bodies would be buried in its soil and from it they would be raised on the Last day. May Allah’s mercy, blessings and peace be upon our first parents.
The first husband and wife then established the first family.
Ibn Abbas RA states each boy born to Adam was born together with a girl twin. Adam would marry the boy of one pregnancy to the girl of another, and vice versa. However, his children were forbidden to marry their own twins.
Mankind then multiplied and scattered throughout the land, they grew in their number and went farther and farther in the land. Allah says,
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. (Qur’an 4:1)
QABIL AND HABIL
Among all these children of Adam AS and Hawwa, only two are mentioned in the Qur’an, although not by name. Islamic tradition gives them the names of Qabil and Habil.
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. Qabil tilled the land while Habil 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 colours. Adam instructed his children according to Allah’s command, that is to marry each other’s twin, but Qabil was displeased with the partner chosen for him, for Habil’s twin sister was not as beautiful as his own. Qabil rebelled against Allah’s command.
The brothers then offered a sacrifice to Allah. According to major commentators, the purpose of the sacrifice was to determine which of the two brothers had more right to Qabil’s sister. Habil sacrificed a plump young sheep, while Qabil offered a bundle of the worst crops he had grown. Fire then came down from Heaven, consuming Habil’s offering leaving Qabil’s according to Allah’s words,
They both offered a sacrifice to Allah, and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. (Qur’an 5:27)
This infuriated Qabil. “I will surely kill you.” (Qur’an 5:27), he threatened, impelled by envy and hatred, kindled by his brothers desire to marry his twin or by the rejection of his sacrifice, or both.
Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. If you should raise your hand against me to kill me – I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Qur’an 5:27-28)
Habil continued, reminding Qabil that if he killed him wrongfully, he would assume the burden of all of Habil’s sins,
Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers. (Qur’an 5:29)
Qabil pursued while Habil trying to escape from him. It is said that one Qabil came upon Habil while he was asleep.
And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers. (Qur’an 5:30) i.e. among those who have lost all good in this world and the Hereafter.
Not knowing what to do with Habil’s body, Qabil let it lie there naked.
Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. (Qur’an 5:31)
It is said that this crow was one of two brother crows. The two fought, and when killed the other, it dug a hole for its body and covered it with earth.
Seeing this, Qabil cried out,
He said, “O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?” And he became of the regretful. (Qur’an 5:31)
Following this, Allah the Exalted, added,
Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. (Qur’an 5:32)
And so, the first blood was spilled on earth by one of its second generation of human inhabitants, the first criminal act, carrying out the angels’ prediction and setting the precedent for all future bloodshed.
ADAM AS, THE FIRST PROPHET
In addition to granting him rule and authority on the earth Allah Most High made him His first prophet and messenger.
Abu Dharr RA asked Prophet Muhammad SAW, whether Adam AS was a prophet sent by Allah. The Prophet SAW replied that he was messenger to his children, who were forty in number consisting of pairs of male and female twins. (Ayoub)
Abu Dharr RA also reported asking the Prophet SAW which of the prophets was first, to which he replied, “Adam.” Abu Dharr RA then asked, “Was he a prophet?” to which he replied, “Yes, a prophet who was addressed (that is through divine revelation).” (Mishkat)
Thus Adam AS was the first in a great, unbroken chain of prophets and messengers which continued up to the last and greatest of them, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and upon them all. While some details certainly differed, each of these prophets and messengers brought the same Message – the religion which Allah Most High perfected for mankind, to which He gives the name of Islam, meaning “peace through submission and surrender”:
Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. (Qur’an 3:19)
And derived from the word Islam, Allah called its followers “Muslims”, meaning those who have voluntarily surrendered to Him:
Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation]. (Qur’an 22:78)
THE DEATH OF ADAM AS
Adam AS lived for a full thousand years. Before dying, he made his son Shiith his heir. Shiith means the Gift of Allah. They named him that because they were given him after Habil’s death.
Ibn Ishaq narrated that when death approached Adam, he made a covenant with his son Shiith, and taught him the hours of the day and night, and the acts of worship for those hours. He also informed him about the Flood to come after him.
According to hadith, Adam AS died on a Friday (Abu Dawoud, Mishkat). Prophet Muhammad SAW is reported to have said that when Adam AS was near death, Allah sent from Paradise embalming materials and a shroud. Angels washed Adam several times with extract of lote tree and water, and wrapped him in layers of shrouds. Then they prepared a grave, offered their prayer upon him and buried him, saying,
“This shall be the custom of the children of Adam after him.” (Tabari).
Ibn Ishaq says, The sun and moon eclipsed for seven days and seven nights when Adam AS passed away.
Qur’anic commentators differed concerning Adam’s AS burial place. Some said that he was buried in the cave of Mount Abu Qubays, one of the mountains of Mecca. According to others, he died upon Mount Budh, the mountain which he was sent upon from Paradise. It is also said that in the time of the Flood, Nuh AS carried him and Hawwa in a coffin and buried them at Bait-ul-Maqdis in Jerusalem.
It is said that Hawwa lived only a year after his death, and she was buried with him in the cave of Mount Abu Qubays.
May Allah’s best blessings and peace be upon our father Adam AS and mother Hawwa.
Acknowledgement: Most of the information for this work has been obtained from:
“A History of the Prophets of Islam”, Volume I, by Suzanne Haneef
“Stories of the Prophets”, by Ibn Kathir (Translation by Rashad Ahmad Azami)