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Islam: A Scientific Voew of God's Message to Humanity

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

Table of Contents  

I. Introduction: Basic Information  

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction    

2. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan    

3. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity    

4. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an   

5. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth   

6. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise  

7. Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?    

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings   

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective  

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an    

II. Islam: The Five Pillars of the Faith Structure  

1. Islamic Proclamation of Faith  

2. Performing Islamic Prayers  

3. Giving Zakat, Charity, The Third Islamic Duty  

4. Fasting and Ramadhan, Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims  

5. Haj, Pilgrimage, the Fifth Pillar of Islam

III. Iman: Allah, His Angels, Messengers, Messages, Latter Day, and Qadar  

1. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran    

2. Angels  

3. Noo'h, Noah, in the Holy Quran  

4. Ibrahim, Abraham, in the Holy Quran

5. Moussa, Moses, in the Holy Quran  

6. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Quran    

7. Muhammed in the Holy Quran  

8. Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens, Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj  

9. The Last Day, The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment

10. God's Precise Measurement and His Just Decree, Al-Qadar Wal Qadha

IV. I'hsan: Watching Allah in What We Say and What We Do  

1. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran

2. The No (La) Commands  

3. The Imperative Commands  

***

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings
 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

Links to Islamic topics 2006

Links to Islamic topics 2005

Links to Islamic topics 2004

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 

 

Islam:

A Scientific View of God's Message to Humanity

6

Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

25 Jumada Al-Thaniya, 1431, June 8, 2010

Revised During Rabi' Al-Thani, 1438 - January 2017

 

Updated during Shawaal 1439, June 2018

***

 

 

 

1438   2017

 

1439 2018

 

***

 

ۡ ٱ ٱٰۡ ٱ

 

I seek refuge with God from the stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

***

 

Introduction

This Chapter addresses the story of Adam, God's will to make him and other humans His caliphs on Earth, his contest with the angels, living in Paradise, and getting out of it. However, a necessary background for this Chapter can be found in the previous three chapters. 

Chapter 3 provides a background about the creation of the universe, including heavens and Earth. The verses used involve scientific facts just recently discovered. Thus, these facts provide The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Quran Is His Message to Humanity. 

Chapter 4, "Creation and Evolution in the Holy Quran," tells the Quran story of how Allah (God), praise to Him, created life on Earth, let it evolve, and intervened to improve His creation.   

Chapter 5, "Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth," is a continuation of the topic of creation and evolution but with focus on human beings, as they represent the climax of the stages of creation, fashioning in the right proportions, walking upright on two, getting the best of images, and having Gods Spirit blown in them. As Allah, praise to Him, felt that humans became worthy of His decision to make them His caliphs, or successors, on ruling Earth, through their ability to learn, construct, and choose, He declared to His angels that he had decided to give humans that mandate.

The story continues with the angels expressing their surprise for God's decision due to their knowledge of humans as corruptors of the Earth and shedders of each-other's blood. They asked Allah, praise to Him, about why would He do that with such a creature? He answered them that He "knows what they do not know." Then, He brought Adam, as a representative of humanity, to a contest with the angels to show them that human beings deserve the honor He accorded them.[1]

 

 

Who Was Adam? 

The following seven verses from the Holy Quran tell us that Adam, peace be upon him, was the best of God's human creation. Allah, praise to Him, CHOSE him to represent humanity in the contest with the angels, because of his ability to learn, build, and choose, as explained in Chapter 5.

First, Verse 7: 11 clearly states that Allah, praise to Him, created humans (khalaqnakum, in plural), then fashioned them in the image He wanted (sawarnakum, also in plural form). These two verbs refer to the first and fourth stages of the first creation, as mentioned in Chapter 4 of this Book. The use of the word "then" indicates the passage of a long period between the two stages.

( 7: 11). 

And We created you (humans, in plural form), then fashioned you (made you in the image you are, also addressing humans in plural form), then said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam! And they prostrated, all except Iblis (another name for Satan), who was not of those who made prostration (Al-A'araf, 7: 11).  

When Allah, praise to Him, decided that humans have reached the level of being trustworthy of the mandate to be His caliphs on Earth, He chose Adam to represent them in front of the skeptical angels. When he won the contest, the angels were ordered to prostrate to him, as an acknowledgement of his winning and his worth to receive Gods mandate.

Second, Verse 3: 59 states that both of 'Eissa (Jesus) and Adam, peace be upon them, were alike in that they were created of the Earth soil. We know for sure that Jesus was created in his mothers womb, which means that the verse is referring to the first creation of life on Earth, out of clay (which is water and soil together). The verse tells us that this also applies to the creation of Adam, which is another reference to Adam as one of the humans, not the first of them.

ٰ ۖ ( 3: 59).

The example of Eissa (Jesus) for Allah is as that of Adam. He created him from the earth soil, then said to him: "Be". And he was (Al-'Imran, 3: 69).   

Third, Verse 3: 33 states that Allah, praise to Him, CHOSE (Istafa in Arabic) Adam, Noah, the family of Ibrahim (Abraham), and the family of 'Imran above people of all the worlds (throughout the centuries). This means that Adam was chosen as the best human of his time, just like the others were in their times. If he were the first and only human being, then there would be no choice. Thus, the use of the verb chose in this verse is a piece of evidence that Adam was the best human, not the first one.

ٰ ( 3: 33).

Allah chose Adam, Noah, the family of Ibrahim (Abraham), and the family of 'Imran, above the worlds (Al-'Imran, 3: 33). 

The same Arabic verb (Istafa), used in Verse 3: 33 is also used in Verse 3: 42, in reference to Maryam, the mother of 'Eissa (Jesus), peace be upon both of them. Allah, praise to Him, mentions that He CHOSE her from among the women of all the worlds. For sure, there were many women in the world for Allah, praise to Him, to choose from, to be a mother for 'Eissa (Jesus). This further explains the use of the same verb in Verse 3: 33, which confirms that Allah, praise to Him, CHOSE Adam, to represent humanity in the majestic contest with the angels.

ۡ ٱٰۡٓٮٕڪ ٰۡ ٱ ٱۡٮٰ ٱۡٮٰ ٰ ٓ ٱٰۡ ( 3: 42).  

And (mention) when the angels said, "O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the worlds (Al-'Imran, 3: 42).

Fourth, the reference to immortality, in Verses 20: 120 and 7: 20, gives more support for the interpretation that Adam was not the first human. The verses show that he knew that humans were mortals. He could not know that if he never saw other humans dying at his time.    

ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡ ٰٓٔ ۡ ٰ ٱۡۡ ۡ۬ ٰۡ (ٰ  20: 120).

Then, the Shaytan (Satan) whispered to him, saying: O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and a dominion that does not decay? (Ta Ha, 20: 120)

ۡ ٱٰۡ ۡ ۡ ۡٲ ٮٰ ۡ ٰ ٱ ٓ ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡ  (ٴ  7: 20).

Then, the Shaytan (Satan) whispered to both of them, in order to manifest to them that which was hidden to them of their shame (nakedness), and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree to prevent you from becoming angels or becoming of the immortals (Al-A'araf, 7: 20). 

Finally, Verse 38: 75 mentions God's direct intervention in the creation of Adam (and humanity in general, in the stages of the first creation), with His Own Hands. This was mentioned in an exclamatory rebuking style, to emphasize the Iblis (Satan) disobedience abomination.

   ( 38: 75).

(Allah) said: O Iblees (Satan), what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My Hands? Were you arrogant, or were you among the haughty? (Saad, 38: 75).   

 

The Story of Adam  [2]

The story of Adam started with God's decision to give humans a mandate to be His caliphs (successors) in ruling the Planet of Earth, as stated in Verse 2: 30.

ۡ ٰۡٓٮٕ ۬ ٱۡۡ ۬ۖ ٓ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٱٓ ۡ ۡ ۖ ٓ ۡ ۡ  ( 2: 30).

"And when your Lord said to the angels: I am making a caliph on the Earth. They said: Are You making therein one who corrupts it and sheds blood, while we hymn Your praise and sanctify You? He said: Surely I know that which you do not know(Al-Baqara, 2: 30).

To  show the angels that Adam was worth His trust, Allah, praise to Him, prepared him for a knowledge contest with them. He asked them about names of things that they did not know about. When they acknowledged their lack of knowledge, He asked Adam to tell them about what they did not know. As a result, Allah, praise to Him, told the angels to make prostration to Adam, in acknowledgement to his winning of the contest. All angels prostrated in obedience to God's command, except Iblis (Satan), who refused to do so in arrogance and disobedience, as stated in Verses 2: 31-34. 

ٰ ﴿٣١

 ۖ ﴿٣٢

 ۖ ﴿٣٣

ٰ ﴿٣٤﴾  (  2: 31-34).

 And He taught Adam the names - all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful." (31)

They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise." (32)

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 [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed." (33)

And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers. (34) (Al-Baqara, 2: 31-34).

 

How did Allah, praise to Him, teach Adam?

The Holy Quran tells us that Allah, praise to Him, has taught humans what they did not know (2: 239), including reading (55: 4) and writing (2: 282).

   ( 2: 239).

And if you fear (an enemy, pray) on foot or riding. But when you are secure, (pray) mentioning Allah, as He has taught you that which you did not know (Al-Baqara, 2: 239).

ٰ ﴿١﴾ ﴿٢﴾ ﴿٣﴾ ﴿٤﴾ ( 55: 4). 

The Beneficent (1) Taught the Quran, (2) Created the human, (3) taught him clear speech (4) (Al-Ra'hman,

 ( 2: 282).

Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him (Al-Baqara, 2: 285).

Verse 42: 51 tells us that humans cannot receive communication directly from God. Rather, this has to be by inspiration to their minds, or behind a barrier, or through His angelic messengers who inspire to humans, with permission from Him, as we read in Verse 53: 4.

( 42: 51).

A human could not handle that Allah speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a barrier (veil), or by sending of a messenger (an angel) to inspire, with His permission, what He (Allah) wills, for He is Most High, Most Wise (Al-Shoora, 42: 51).

ٰ ﴿٤﴾ ٰ ﴿٥﴾ ( 53: 4-5). 

It is an inspiration sent down (to him), 

taught by one mighty in power (Jibril) (Al-Najm, 53: 4-5). 

An example of Gods communication with humans is His inspiration to His Messengers and Prophets, whether as awake or during their sleep. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, pbbuh, received inspiration while being awake sometimes (18: 27). At the start of the communication, he may hear a bill-ringing sound and he would sweat heavily, even in a very cold day. [3]

He would also receive revelation during his sleep (8: 43), as Ibrahim, Abraham (37: 102) and Yousuf, Joseph (12: 4) did. However, Gods inspiration is not limited to His Messengers and Prophets. Rather, He has communicated with other humans to guide them to the good of humanity, such as His revelation to the Egyptian Pharaoh about the seven cows, during his dream (12: 43). He even communicates with other creatures, such as bees (16: 68). Moreover, many discoverers and inventors mentioned that they reached their discoveries or inventions during their sleep. [4]  

Further, Allah, praise to Him, has facilitated learning, by granting humans the peace of mind, the blessings of stability, and the abundance of resources necessary to satisfy their basic needs. Then, these blessings made them ready to learn by adaptation to their different environments and to each other (Allah knows better). 

 

All Angels Prostrated to Adam Except Iblis (Satan)  

 

This theme is confirmed and emphasized well in the Holy Quran as there are nine verses which state that all the angels obeyed God's command to prostrate to Adam except Iblis (Satan). These are 2: 34, 7: 11, 15: 31, 15: 32, 17: 61, 18: 50, 20: 116, 38: 74, and 38: 75. Linguistically speaking, the nine verses show that Iblis was an angel as all of them state that he was the exception of the angels who disobeyed God's command.

﴿٣٠﴾ ٰ ﴿٣١﴾ ( 15: 30-31).

So, the angels prostrated, all of them entirely, (30) Except Iblis. He refused to be with those who prostrated. (31) (Al-Hijr, 15: 30-31).

The main reason of the Shaytan's (Satan's) disobedience to God was his arrogance, which made him think that he was better than Adam, and humans generally. Verses 61: 17, 12: 7, and 18: 50 (below) tell us about the sources of his arrogance. He believed that God created him from a more superior material (fire) than the clay He created Adam from.

ۡ ۡ ٰۡٓٮٕڪ ٱۡ ٓ ٓ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۬ (ٕ 17: 61). 

And We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He said: Do I prostrate to whom You have created of clay? (Al-Issra, 17: 61).

  ۖ ( 38: 75).

(Allah) said, "O Iblis (Satan), what prevented you from prostrating to (that) which I created with My Hands? Were you arrogant, or were you among the haughty? (Saad, 38: 75).

ۡ ۡ ۡۖ ۟ ۡ۬ ۡ ۡ ۬ ۡ ۬ (ٴ  7: 12).

(Allah) said: What prevented you to prostrate when I commanded you? (Iblis) said: I am better than him. You have created me of fire while You created him of clay (Al-A'araf, 7: 12).

Verse 18: 50 refers to Iblis (Satan) as a Jinn (Jinni), which is a category of invisible angels, as mentioned by early Muslim interpreters.

ۗ ( 18: 50).

And (mention) when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblis. He was of the jinn and disobeyed the command of his Lord (Al-Kahf, 18: 50).

The three renowned interpreters of the Holy Quran (Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer) mentioned Ibn Abbass interpretation, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, that Iblis was an angel to begin with, but from a different category of the angels who prostrated. His name was 'Azazil in Syriac and Al-Harith in Arabic. He was one of the most honored, powerful, and knowledgeable angels, and he was the superior angel between heavens and Earth.

Iblis and his category of angels were called "Jinn" maybe because they were the custodians of Al-Jannah, the name of Paradise in Arabic. They were also called "Jinn" because of their ability to be invisible. Further, they were created of the fire flame while other angels were created of light, as mentioned in a Hadith narrated by Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her. Al-Qurtubi added that angels may be called Jinn because they are capable of being invisible. He also mentioned that (Azazil) had four wings and that when he disobeyed his Creator, he was banished and became Iblis, which means hopeless of Gods mercy.

Thus, it is more likely that Iblis was a Jinni angel, for the following three reasons. First, the word "Jinn" means invisible, a derivative of the verb, Janna (to become invisible), as explained in Verse 6: 76 of the Holy Quran. The verb, Janna, in the verse refers to the darkness of night which makes things to become invisible. Second, Iblis had four wings, as mentioned by Al-Qurtubi. This is on agreement with another verse in the Holy Quran, which tells us that angels had two, three, or four wings (35: 1). Finally, while the Jinn were created from the flames of fire, the angels were created from light. Apparently, there is a clear relationship between the two categories of creatures. Light is a product of fire anyway, like the sun light, which is the product of its fire (God knows better).   

 

God's Punishment to the Shaytan (Satan)

When Iblis (Satan) disobeyed his Creator and insisted on his disobedience by stating his reasons for that, Allah, praise to Him, banished him, ordering him to descend, or get out of Paradise, and out of His mercy, as mentioned in Verse 7: 13.

ٱۡۡ ۡ ٱۡۡ ٱٰ (ٴ  7: 13).

(Allah) said: Then go down (descend) from it. It is not for you to show arrogance in it. So, get out,  you are of the degraded (Al-A'araf, 7: 13).

The early Muslim interpreter of the Holy Quran, Al-Qurtubi, explained it as descending out of an Earthen Paradise to other parts of the Earth. This interpretation is consistent with the development of Adam's story, but Allah knows better. 

Then, Iblis (Satan) asked Allah to give him (and his offspring) the opportunity to show that humans do not deserve His trust, saying that he would derail them from the right path. Allah, praise to Him, accepted the challenge and delayed Satan's punishment, which would also apply to humans who follow him, as stated in the following Verses.

ۡٓ ٰ ۡ ۡ  (ٴ  7: 14).

He said: Reprieve me (delay my punishment) till the day when they are resurrected (Al-A'araf, 7: 14).

To prove him wrong, Allah praise to Him agreed to delay his punishment until all humans die, following to the first Blow of the Trumpet, but not until they are resurrected as he requested.

ٱۡ  (ٴ  7: 15).

 ٰ   ( 38: 81).

(Allah) said: You are of those reprieved  (Al-A'araf, 7: 15).

Till the day of the appointed time" (Saad, 38: 81).

After securing God's approval of delaying his punishment, the Shaytan (Satan) revealed his evil plan of derailing as many humans as he can from the straight path of their Creator, by sitting on that path in order to block it for them.

ٓ ۡۡ ۡ ۡ ٲ ٱۡۡ  (ٴ  7: 16).

(Satan) said: Now, because You have sent me astray (to destruction), I shall sit for them on Your straight path (Al-A'araf, 7: 16).

The cursed Iblis (Satan) continued saying that he would come to humans from all directions trying to tempt them away from God's straight path, by telling them to focus on the pleasures of this life and forget about the hereafter, and he predicted that most of the humans would not be thankful to God.

ۢ ۡ ۡۡ ۡ ۡۡ ۡ ٰۡۡ ٓٮٕۡۖ ۡۡ ٰ  (ٴ  7: 17),

Then, I shall come to them from between their hands and from their back, and from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful (Al-A'araf, 7: 17).

Allah, praise to Him, then ordered him out of Paradise, and out of His mercy, promising to punish him and his human followers in the Hell fire, as stated in Verse 7: 18.

ٱۡۡ ۡ ۡ۬ ۡ۬ǝۖ ۡۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ  (ٴ  7: 18).

(Allah) said: Get out of it, disgraced, expelled. As for those of them who follow you, I will fill Hell with all of you (Al-A'araf, 7: 18).

Satan's request to have his punishment delayed is also mentioned in 17: 62, in which the cursed Shaytan announced his intention to control and misguide the vast majority of Adam's offspring.

ۡ ٰ ٱ ڪۡ ٮٕۡ ۡ ٰ ۡ ٱٰۡ ۡ  ۥۤ ۬  (ٕ  17: 62).

(Satan) said: Do You see this whom You have honored above me, if You reprieve me until the Day of Raising (Resurrection), I will seize his offspring, except a few (Al-'Issra, 17: 62).

Allah, praise to Him, as also mentioned in 7:18, replied to the Shaytan (Satan) that He accepted the challenge, and that He would punish him and his human followers, in the Hell fire. 

ٱۡۡ ۡۡ ٓۡ ٓ۬ ۡ۬  (ٕ 17: 63).

(Allah) said: Go, and whosoever of them follows you, Hell will be the ample reward for all of you (Al-Issra, 17: 63).

In the following Verse (17: 64), Allah praise to Him, accepted the Shaytan's challenge, forwarding a warning to humans not to follow him and to beware of his deceptive tools, methods, and promises.

ٱۡۡۡ ٱۡۡ ۡ ۡ ۡۡ ۡ ۡ ۡۡ ٱۡۡٲ ٱٰۡۡ ۡۡۚ ٱٰۡ   (ٕ 17: 64).

And fool any of them whom you can with your voice, and bring your horse and foot (soldiers) against them, and be their partner in wealth and children, and promise them. And whatever the Shaytan (Satan) promises them is no more than deception (Al-Issra, 17: 64).

In reply to Satan's announcement of his evil intention to derail humans from the straight path, Allah praise to Him announces that no matter what the devil does he has no power over God's faithful worshippers, who will be guarded by Him.

  ۡ ۡۡ ٰۡ۬ۚ ٰ ڪ۬  (ٕ 17: 65).

(As for) my worshippers, you have no power over them, and your Lord is (their) sufficient Guardian (Al-Issra, 17: 65)

 

 

God's Warning to Adam

 

Then, Allah, praise to Him, turns to Adam to warn him to beware of the deceptive methods of his enemy, Iblis, who aims at getting him and his wife out of Paradise. He told him that if this happens, it will cause him to toil in earning his living (20: 117). He also reminded him that, while living in paradise, he is guaranteed to have food, water, clothes, and dwelling. Moreover, he does not need to work under the sun heat (20: 118-119). However, if he is expelled from it, he will be forced to toil, in order to earn his living.

ۡ ٰٓٔ ٰ ۬ ۡ ۡ ٱۡ ٰۡٓ  (ٰ 20: 117).

We said: O Adam! This is an enemy to you and to your wife. So, do not let him get you both out of Paradise, and cause you to toil (Taha, 20: 117)

ٰ ﴿١١٨﴾ ٰ ﴿١١٩﴾ (ٰ 20: 118-119).

(It is ordained for you that) you will neither be hungry in it nor be without clothes,

And that you will neither get thirsty in it, nor get exposed to the sun's heat (Taha, 20: 118-119).

 

In explaining the last word of Verse 20: 117 (fatashqa), the early Muslim interpreters mentioned that it meant "to toil in earning your living," as contrasted with the easy and comfortable way of life in Paradise, where food, water, clothes, and dwellings were available.  

Thus, when Adam was deceived by Iblis, he was forced out of Paradise. Then, he had to toil in earning his living. Al-Tabari and Al-Qurtubi mentioned that he had to plow, using a red bull. Al-Qurtubi added, mentioning Said Bin Jubairs interpretation, that he had to work under the heat of the sun, throwing the seeds, tending the crop, harvesting, carrying the harvest home, grinding the wheat seeds to make flour, and baking the flour dough on fire to make bread.  

This description of Adams lifestyle, after getting out of Paradise, applies to the characteristics of the horticultural society, which appeared in Egypt and West Asia (Palestine, Syria, and Iraq), about 15,000-14,000 years ago. That society was characterized by the domestication of plants and animals. It was preceded by the hunting-gathering society. Then, it evolved to intensive agriculture about 8,000-5,000 years ago, when more sophisticated methods were used, such as irrigation, construction of roads, building dams and canals, as well as using wagons on wheels. This led to the appearance of the agricultural civilizations on the banks of the great rivers in Egypt, Iraq, and other regions of the world. [5]

 

God's Covenant With Adam 

Allah, praise to Him, offered Adam and his wife to stay in Paradise, enjoying its comfort and its abundance of food, in return for obedience to His commands, which aim at their welfare and well-being. He told them that they can eat anything in Paradise except from one tree. He further warned them not to be even near that tree. If they did, they would be unjust to themselves because they would cause themselves to be expelled from Paradise. This meaning was conveyed in Verses 2: 35 and 7:19. However, Verse 2: 35 alone included the word "raghadan," which may be translated as "freely," describing how much they can eat.

ۡ ٰٓٔ ٱۡۡ ۡ ٱۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٰ ٱ ٱٰ ( 2: 35).

And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from it freely wherever you will, but do not come near this tree. Otherwise, you will be unjust (to yourselves) (Al-Baqara, 2: 35).

ٰٓٔ ٱۡۡ ۡ ٱۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٰ ٱ ٱٰ (ٴ  7: 19).

And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise and eat from whatever you will, but do not come near this tree. Otherwise, you will be of the unjust (to themselves) (Al-A'araf, 7: 19)

The Holy Quran does not tell us what kind of tree was that but the early interpreters mentioned that it could be the wheat plant, grape, or fig tree. However, nobody knows for sure.

 

Adam Forgets his Covenant with God

 

Verse 20: 115 tells us that Adam forgot his covenant with God, which allowed him to enjoy living in Paradise as long as he did not eat from that tree. He did not persist in rejecting the Shaytan's whispering and was not firm (strong) enough to repel his temptations, that if he ate from that tree, he would be immortal, with permanent dominion (20: 120).

ۡ ۡٓ ٰٓ ۡ ۡ ۡ  ۡ۬  (ٰ  20: 115).

And We did make a Covenant with Adam beforehand, but he forgot, and We found no firmness in him (Taha, 20: 115).   

ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡ ٰٓٔ ۡ ٰ ٱۡۡ ۡ۬ ٰۡ  (ٰ  20: 120).

Then, the Shaytan (Satan) whispered to him, saying: O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and a dominion that does not decay? (Taha, 20: 120)

The Shaytan continued to whispered to Adam and his with, that if they ate from the tree they may become angels or immortals. The reference to immortality, in Verses 7: 20 and 20: 120, gives more support for the interpretation that Adam was not the first human. He could not know that humans were mortals if he never saw other humans dying before him. 

ۡ ٱٰۡ ۡ ۡ ۡٲ ٮٰ ۡ ٰ ٱ ٓ ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡ  (ٴ  7: 20).

Then, the Shaytan (Satan) whispered to both of them, in order to manifest to them that which was hidden to them of their shame (nakedness), and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree to prevent you from becoming angels or becoming of the immortals (Al-A'araf, 7: 20). 

ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡ ٰٓٔ ۡ ٰ ٱۡۡ ۡ۬ ٰۡ (ٰ  20: 120).

Then, the Shaytan (Satan) whispered to him, saying: O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and a dominion that does not decay? (Taha, 20: 120). 

 

The Shaytan intensified his pressure on them, shifting from whispering to swearing to them, saying that he was just advising them for their best interest. Because of their innocence, they could not believe that the Shaytan would deceive them by swearing, as mentioned in Verse 7: 21.

ٓ ٱٰ  (ٴ  7: 21).

And he swore to them (saying): I am a (sincere) adviser to you (Al-A'araf, 7: 21).

 

Breaching the Covenant

Then, Adam and Eve breached their covenant with their Lord, when they disobeyed him and went astray, away from His guardianship. As soon as they ate from that tree they lost their innocence and realized that they were naked. They were ashamed of their nakedness and started to cover themselves with leaves from the Paradise trees, as related in Verse 20: 121. At that moment, their Lord called them asking about why they did forget his warning to them, not to eat from that tree, and not to listen to the Shaytan, their clear enemy? (7: 22). 

ڪ ۡ ۡ ۡٲ ۡ ۡ ٱۡۚ ٰٓ  ۥ ٰ  (ٰ  20: 121).

At that moment, their Lord called them asking about why they did forget his warning to them, not to eat from that tree and not to listen to the Shaytan, their clear enemy?

ٮٰ ۬ۚ ٱ ۡ ۡٲ ۡ ۡ ٱۡۖ ٮٰ ٓ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٱ ٓ ٱٰۡ ۬ ۬  (ٴ  7: 22).  

Thus, he led them on with deception. And when they tasted (of) the tree, their shame (of nakedness) became manifest to them, and they began to cover themselves with leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called them, (saying): Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that the Shaytan (Satan) is to you a clear enemy? (Al-A'araf, 7: 22).

Then, Allah praise to Him, addresses children of Adam, who would come after him, telling them that covering themselves with righteousness and piety is better than false ways of covering their wrongdoing. He, praise to Him, uses the analogy of what happened to Adam and Eve after losing their innocence. They were ashamed of realizing their nakedness before God, and started to cover themselves with leaves from the Paradise trees.

ٰٓ ۡ ۡ ۡۡ ۬ ٲ ۡٲۡ ۬ǝۖ ٱٰۡ ٲ ۡ۬ۚ ٲ ۡ ٰ ٱ ۡ  (ٴ  7: 26).  

O Children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your shame, and feathering, but the clothing of piety (righteousness) is better. That is of the revelations of Allah, so that they may remember (Al-A'araf, 7: 26).

In his interpretation of Verse 7: 26, Al-Qurtubi referred to the agricultural society, saying that Allah, praise to him, caused rain to fall down so that children of Adam (by inspiration from Him) could grow cotton and linen, from which they made clothes to cover their nakedness. However, He praise to Him reminds children of Adam that the best clothing is that of piety (righteousness), which is explained as fear of God, faith in Him, doing good deeds, shyness, obedience to God, and observance of His commands.

 

Getting Out of Paradise

Thus, as a result of breaching their Covenant with their Lord, He, praise to Him, ordered Adam and Eve out of His Paradise to other parts of the Earth, where they would live, die, and be resurrected on the Last Day. From that moment on, they would toil to earn their living. Their offspring would compete for the possession of resources, which leads to enmity and hostility among them. The Shaytan (Satan), their enemy, would also be there, doing his best to derail them from God's straight path, as Verses 2: 36, 2: 38, and 7: 24, and 7: 25 tell us.

ٱٰۡ ۡ ۡ ۖ ۡ ٱۡ ۡۡ ۡ ۬ ۡ ٱۡۡ ۡ۬ ٰ ٰ ۬ ( 2: 36 ). 

So, the Shaytan (Satan) caused them to err, (thus) slipping them out of it (Paradise), away from the (happy state in) which they were. And We said: Descend (get down), some of you are enemy to others. There shall be for you on earth a habitation and belongings (or enjoyment) for a time (Al-Baqara, 2: 36). 

  ( 2: 38).

We said: Descend (Go down) from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve (Al-Baqara, 2: 38).

ٱۡ ۡۡ ۡ ۬ ۡ ٱۡۡ ۡ۬ ٰ ٰ ۬  (ٴ  7: 24).  

He said: Descend (get down)! some of you are enemy to others. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while (Al-A'araf, 7: 24).

ۡۡ ۡ ۡ  (ٴ  7: 25).  

He said: On it (on Earth), you shall live, and on it you shall die, and from it you shall come out (Al-A'raf, 7: 25).

Al-Tabari interpreted the verb "descend" (ٱۡ), in Verse 2: 36, by using the same verb in Verse 2: 61, mentioning that it means coming to a valley, land, or a place to live in it. Al-Qurtubi was more specific in that it means coming down, from a higher place to a lower one.

In his interpretation of the same verb used in the above Verses, Ibn Katheer summarized two interpretations from his two predecessors and other scholars before him. He mentioned that the first meaning was   descending from Heavens to Earth, and the other was descending from the Earthen Paradise to other parts of Earth. However, Ibn Katheer was more supportive of the latter interpretation. He added that Paradise could not be in heavens because Iblis (Satan) was already banished from heaven when he disobeyed God. So, he could not enter it again. [6]

This author adds more support for Ibn Katheers interpretation, that Paradise in the Adam story was on Earth, for two main reasons. First, this interpretation is consistent with the main Caliphate Verse (2: 30), which states that humans would be God's caliphs on Earth (not in heavens). Second, from a linguistic perspective, researching the verb "descend" (ٱۡ) in the Holy Quran shows that it is used in four verses. These are the three verses mentioned above in relation to the Adam story (2: 36, 2: 38, and 7: 24) as well as in Verse 2: 61, which is related to the story of the Israelites when they were in the Sinai Peninsula desert, after fleeing Egypt.

 ... ٰ ( 20: 80).

and We sent down to you manna and quails (Taha, 20: 80).

( 2: 61).

Descend (get down) to Egypt and you will have what you asked for (Al-Baqara, 2: 61). 

Allah, praise to Him, provided for them with sustenance from Him, in the form of Manna and quails (Verse 20: 80). However, they complained, demanding to get the vegetables they used to eat in Egypt. Then, Allah, praise to Him, replied to them saying: Descend (get down) to Egypt and you will have what you asked for (Al-Baqara, 2: 61). 

Thus, the verb "descend" (ٱۡ) here is used to mean leaving a place to another, or leaving a higher place to another which is lower, but both of the two places are for sure on Earth, as the Sinai Peninsula desert is part of Egypt. So, the use of this verb should not necessarily be understood to mean descending from heaven to Earth. Rather, it is simply descent from a place to another, here on Earth, and Allah, praise to Him, knows better. 

 

Repentance and Forgiveness

 

When Adam and Eve realized that they disobeyed their Lord, they wanted to ask Him for forgiveness and acceptance of their repentance. To help them do that, He conveyed to them the words with which they could plead with Him correctly, as Verse 2: 36 mentioned. So, they used these words in their calling on Him (Dua), which are contained in Verse 7: 23. Then, He forgave them and accepted their repentance, as He is the Forgiver and the Merciful.

ٰٓ ۦ ٰ۬ ۡۚ   ٱ ٱ ( 2: 36 ). 

Then Adam received from his Lord words, and He accepted his repentance. He is the Acceptant of Repentance, the Merciful (Al-Baqara, 2: 37).

ۡٓ ۡ ۡۡ ۡۡ ٱٰۡ (ٴ  7: 23).  

They said: Our Lord! We have oppressed (wronged, or did injustice to) ourselves. And if You do not forgive us and have no mercy on us, surely we will be of the losers" (Al-A'araf, 7: 23). 

Then, Allah, the Merciful, praise to Him, not only accepted their repentance, but also guided them to the straight path (20:122). He also promised followers of His guidance (His Messages) not to get lost in this life or be distressed in the hereafter (20: 123), and not to have fear from the hereafter or sadness about what they miss in this life, as expressed in Verses 20: 123 and 2: 38.

ٱٰۡ  ۥ ۡ ٰ (ٰ  20: 122).

ٱۡ ۡ ۢǝۖ ۡۡ ۡ ۬ ۡڪ ۬ ٱ ٰۡ (ٰ  20: 123).

Then his Lord brought him back to Him, accepted his repentance, and guided him (Ta Ha, 20: 122).

He said: Descend of it, both of you. Some of you are enemy of others. When guidance comes to you from Me, then whoever follows My guidance will neither get lost nor be distressed (Ta Ha, 20: 123).

ۡ ٱۡ ۡ ۬ǝۖ ۡ ۬ ۡ ۡۡ ۡ ۡ ( 2: 38 ). 

We said: Descend of it, all of you. When guidance comes to you from Me, then whoever follows My guidance no fear shall come upon them, and they shall not be saddened (Al-Baqara, 2: 38).

Finally, just as Allah, praise to Him, extends His mercy for those who repent of their wrong doing, He warns those who reject His revelations (messages of guidance brought to them through His Messengers) to be everlasting in the Hell Fire, as stated in Verse 2: 39.

ٱ ٰٔٓ ٰٓٮٕ ٰۡ ٱۖ ۡ ٰ ( 2: 39 ). 

But those who reject and belie Our revelations, such are companions of the Fire. They are everlasting in it (Al-Baqara, 2: 39).

 

Conclusion

This Chapter is about the story of Adam's contest with the angels and his expulsion from Paradise. Its a continuation of the topics addressed in previous three chapters, which attempted to provide answers to some of the fundamental questions about the universe, origins of life, and how humans came into being on Earth, reaching the climax of ruling this planet, as Caliphs of God.

Though the verses, which have been selected as references for the addressed topics in these four chapters, are from different Suras (chapters) of the Holy Quran, the coherence cannot be denied by any person with an open mind and reasoning. These verses were revealed to Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, more than1400 years ago. However, only in the 19th century and on, human scientists were able to start thinking with an evolutionary perspective, particularly in biology and anthropology. Their accounts can get a lot of support from the basic facts mentioned in these verses.

Thus, we are absolutely led to one striking conclusion: The author of the Holy Quran is not a human being. He is the Ultimate Scientist, who knows everything about Planet Earth and its inhabitants, as well as the heavens and what's in them.

He, praise to Him, called himself "Allah" (See Chapter 16, "Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran").  He also described Himself as the Beneficent and the Merciful to His creation, particularly human beings. His pleasure is to see them happy in this life and in the hereafter. In order to lead them to happiness, He has prescribed to them a lifestyle that protects them from self-inflected misery, as this author points to in Chapter 9, "Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective."        

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 Notes

[1] The verses related to the topics of this book, like the rest of the verses of the Holy Quran, are very concise and each word has a specific meaning within a certain context but it may have different meanings in other contexts. That is why the linguistic translation from Arabic is not enough. It has to be complimented with facts from the sciences, particularly Anthropology and Biology in this case, as well as with the interpretations of prominent early Islamic scholars, may Allah reward them for their great efforts, such as Al-Tabari, who died in 310 Hijriya (about 922 AD), Al-Qurtubi, who died in 671 Hijriya (about 1272 AD), and Bin Katheer, who died in 774 Hijriya (about 1372 AD). Their interpretations have been used throughout this book. Though this author consulted with various translations and interpretations, the translation of the meanings of the Quran verses as well as the interpretations related to them, in this book, are his sole responsibility.

[2] The verses addressing the topic of Gods will to make humans as His successors, or caliphs, on Earth, including the story of Adam, are narrated in several Suras (Chapters) of the Holy Quran. In particular, this topic is addressed in Al-Baqara (Chapter 2), Verses 30-39; Al-Imran (Chapter 3), Verses 33 and 59; Al-Araf (Chapter 7), Verses 11-26; Al-'Hijr (Chapter 15), Verses 26-43; Al-Issra (Chapter 17), Verses 61-65; Al-Kahf (Chapter 18), Verse 50; and Taha (Chapter 20), Verses 115-123. 

[3] The Mother of Believers, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: The first signs of (Gods) revelation to His Messenger, pbbuh, were in the form of good dreams, which became clearly true. 

: " . 

The Mother of Believers, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, also said: I saw (the Messenger of Allah) during revelation, in a very cold day, with his forehead covered with sweat (with sweat flowing from his forehead). This was narrated by Al-Bukhari (2) and Muslim (2333). 

: "   . ( 2 ) ( 2333 ) : " . " ( : : ). 

Ibn Sad narrated after Abu Salma Al-Majishoon, who heard that the Prophet, pbbuh, said:  

Revelations used to come to me in two ways. (First), Jibril used to throw it to me as a man addressing another man. In that way, I could not keep the revelation. (Second), when the revelation was in my house, it would be like a bill-ringing sound, which enters my mind. In that way, I would keep the revelation (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).   

:  

" : . " (). " ." 

http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261

[4] Many discoverers and inventors, in our time, mentioned that they reached their discoveries or inventions during their sleep. Examples of these are Niels Bohr, Elias Howe, Albert Einstein, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Otto Loewi, August Kekul, and Frederick Banting. 

http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/10-dreams-that-changed-the-course-of-human-history.html  

[5] The human society passed through six stages of development so far, which included hunting-gathering, pastoralism, horticulture, agriculture, industrial, and post-industrial (science and information) modes of production. Details about these stages can be found in anthropology and sociology textbooks, such as:  

Scupin, Raymond. "Cultural Anthropology: A Global Perspective," 9th Edition, Pearson, Printice Hall (2016: 134-141).  

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Raymond_Scupin/publication/289540273_Cultural_Anthropology_A_Global_Perspective_9th_ed/links/56902e5108aed0aed810f423/Cultural-Anthropology-A-Global-Perspective-9th-ed.pdf  

Henslin, James. "Sociology," 13th Edition, Allyn and Bacon (2018). 

https://www.alibris.com/Sociology-A-Down-To-Earth-Approach-James-M-Henslin/book/6172368  

According to Grinin, the cultivation of cereals started somewhere in the Near East: in the hills of Palestine, in the Upper Euphrates area (in Syria and Iraq), and in Egypt. He argues that, in some cases, the traces of the first cultivated plants or domesticated animals' bones maybe dated to a period which started about 15,000 14,000 years ago. 

Grinin L.E. Production Revolutions and Periodization of History: A Comparative and Theoretic-mathematical Approach. / Social Evolution & History. Volume 6, Number 2 / September 2007. 

https://www.socionauki.ru/journal/articles/129510/  

 [6] The Arabic text of Ibn Katheers interpretation for the verb "descend" (ٱۡ) in Verse 2: 36:  

" : ǿ . ." 

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About the Author and the Book:

* The author of this book has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology. He was born in Gaza, Palestine, in 1369 Hijriya (1950), but he has been living in the United States since 1986.
 
The authentic Quran Arabic text is used as a reference for the translation of the meanings of the Quran verses, particularly from
www.tanzil.net.

The works of the three renowned Islamic scholars Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer, have been used throughout the chapters of this book, as these are the most credited interpretations of the Holy Quran, for their use of 'Hadith, companions' interpretations, and their thorough knowledge of the Arabic language.

  ( 61: 8).  

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it (Al-Saff, 61: 8). 

 

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

editor@aljazeerah.info