Adam in Islam
alayhi s-salām -
( عليه السلام )
|Native name||ʾĀdam - آدم|
|Known for||First human being|
|Spouse(s)||Hawwā - حواء|
|Children||Hābīl and Qābīl - هابيل ,قابيل|
|Lineage of six prominent prophets according to Islamic tradition|
|Dotted lines indicate multiple generations|
Âdam ( Arabic: آدم, translit.: ʾĀdam, Alternate Spelling: Adem ) is believed to have been the first human being and the first prophet and messenger on Earth in Islam. Adam's role as the father of the human race is looked upon by Muslims with reverence. Muslims also venerate his wife, Eve, as the "mother of mankind". Muslims see Adam as the first Muslim, as the Qur'an promulgates that all the prophets preached the same faith of submission to God. His story is told in the Qur'an in numerous places, though his Qur'anic narrative differs from that in the Torah in some aspects.
An Overview of Creation
The Qur'an and hadith give same account of the creation of Adam and Eve. Synthesizing the Qur'an with Sunni hadith can produce the following account. According to the Qur'an, when God informed the angels that he was going to put a successor on Earth, they questioned whether the human would cause blood shed and damage, but He told them that He knew what they did not. He created Adam from clay and He breathed life into him. Hadith add that he was named Adam after the clay he was made out of, or the skin (adim) of the earth.
Returning to the Qur'an, when God asked all the angels to prostrate before Adam, they all obeyed except Iblis. For this, God banished Iblis to earth where he would be a tester of humans. God teaches Adam the names of all the things.
Sunni hadith say that while Adam was sleeping, God took a rib from him and from it He created Eve; however, while the creation of Adam and Eve is referred to in the Qur'an, the exact method of creation is not specified. The Qur'an then says that God commanded that Adam and Eve not eat from one tree in heaven, but Iblis was able to convince them to taste it. They then began to cover themselves because they now knew that they were naked. For this, God banished Adam and Eve to earth; non-canonical Sunni hadith say that fruits were turned to thorns and pregnancy became dangerous. Non-canonical Sunni hadith also say that Adam and Eve were cast down far apart, so that they had to search for each other.
In Islamic theology, it is not believed that Adam's sin is carried by all of his children. Hadith say that once Adam was on earth, God taught him how to plant seeds and bake bread. This was to become the way of all of Adam's children. Adam proceeded to live for about 1000 years, though this has been a topic of debate.
Shi'i hadith give a different account of the early existence of Adam and Eve from the above; additionally, in Shi'i theology, eating from the tree is not considered to be a sin, because the prophets are seen as sinless. Thus, neither Adam nor Eve is cursed for this.
The Significance and Importance of Adam
According to the story of Adam, human kind has learned everything from Adam. He was the first to learn to plant, harvest, and bake as well as the first to be told how to repent and how to properly bury someone. God also revealed the various food restrictions and the alphabet to Adam. He was made the first prophet and he was taught 21 scrolls and was able to write them himself. Adam was also created from earth. It is well known that earth produces crops, supports animals, and provides shelter, among many other things. Earth is very important to human kind, so being created from it makes them very distinct. According to some Hadith, the various races of people are even due to the different colors of soil used in creating Adam. The soil also contributed to the idea that there are good people and bad people and everything in between in the world. Adam is an important figure in many other religions besides Islam. In fact, the Qur'an even mentions turning to the "people of the book" (referring to Christians and Jews) for help on certain topics. The story of Adam varies slightly across religions, but manages to maintain a general theme and structure.
Descendants of Adam
Though it is up for debate, it has been said that Eve went through 120 pregnancies with Adam and each of these consisted of a set of twins: a boy and a girl. According to several sources, God took all of Adam's progeny from his back while they were still in heaven. He asked each of them "am I not your lord?" as read in Q 7:172 and they all replied yes. For this reason, it is believed that all humans are born with an innate knowledge of God. The most famous of Adam's children are Cain and Abel. Both the brothers were asked to offer up individual sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel's sacrifice because of Abel's righteousness and Cain, out of jealousy, slew Abel. Leading to the first murder in human history: the murder of Abel by Cain. As Adam grieved his son, he would preach to his children about God and faith in Him. When Adam's death grew near, he appointed his son Seth as his successor.
Adam in the Qur'an
The story of Adam and creation is pieced throughout the Qur'an. There are references in suras 2, 4, 5, 7, 15, 20, 21, 38 and others.
According to the Qur'an, God Created humankind out of clay, shaped it to a form and then commanded the angels to bow (submit) to Adam. Iblis (Devil) refused out of pride and was banished from Jannah (Heaven). Iblis was one of the jinn to begin with.
According to the Qur'an, God had already decided before the creation of Adam that mankind (Adam and his progeny) would be placed on earth. Islam does not ascribe mankind's life on earth as a punishment, rather as part of God's plan.
God says to the angels in the Qur'an (2:30 - 33): “‘Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.’ They (the angels) said: ‘Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we (the angels) glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.’ God said: ‘I know that which you do not know.’”
It is evident from the above verses in the Qur'an that God had already decided before the creation of Adam, that mankind would be living out their lives on earth. And in spite of the angels remark that Adam would be a creation that would carry out a lot of actions against God's laws. God says that He knows Adam better than do the angels.
God then teaches Adam the names of all things and assembles the angels in front of Adam so as to show them that there is more to Adam than they know, particularly the high intellectual capacity of Adam:
"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." They said: "Glory to Thee (said the angels), of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom." He said: "O Adam! Tell them their names." When he had told them, God said (to the angels): "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?"
From the above verses it is clear that God is saying that while it may be true that man might be able to do all the bad things that the angels said, the angels overlooked mans high intellectual capacity that he could use to act otherwise (by doing good).
From there, the Qur'an introduces Satan (known by the name of Iblis). According to the Qur'an, Iblis, who was not an angel but a jinni, was amongst the assembly of angels due to his high rank. According to the Qur'an angels are made from light, while jinn are made from smokeless fire.
God commands the angels (Iblis being among them) to bow down to Adam. And they all do, except for Iblis, who feels that he being made from fire, should not be bowing to Adam who was made from earth. His disobedience of God's command followed by his pride and arrogance for getting rid of the Binn kind (the species on earth that caused chaos and wreaked havoc before human kind) caused him to fall out of God's favor:
"And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject faith (those who are disobedient)." (2:34)
God later places Adam and Eve in the garden and tells them that they are free to enjoy of its fruits except not to come near a certain tree: (2:35) "We said: "O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression."
Satan then deceives Adam and Eve into eating of the fruits of the tree: (2:36)
"Then did Satan make them slip from the (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: "Get ye down, all (ye people), with some of you having enmity towards others. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood - for a time."
Adam and Eve feel a lot of remorse for their actions, but God turns to Adam in mercy and consoles him: (2:37)
"Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful."
God then informs Adam that God will send his guidance to Adam and his progeny: (2:38)
"We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the garden), 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."
In the Garden of Eden, Iblis (later known as Shaytan) lured Adam and Eve into disobeying God by tasting the fruit from the forbidden tree. God, as a punishment, sends Adam and Eve out into the rest of the earth.
Adam in Hadith
- Biblical narratives and the Qur'an
- Legends and the Qur'an
- Muhammad in Islam
- Prophets of Islam
- Stories of The Prophets
- Lalljee, compiled by Yousuf N. (1981). Know your Islam (3rd ed. ed.). New York: Taknike Tarsile Quran. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-940368-02-6.
- Historical Dictionary of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Wheeler, Adam and Eve
- Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse, Adam
- Qur'an 2:30.
- al-Tabari (1989). The History of al-Tabari. New York: State University of New York Press. p. 259. ISBN 0-88706-562-7.
- Phipps, William (1996). Muhammad and Jesus. New York: The Continuum Publishing Company. pp. 122–3. ISBN 0-8264-0914-8.
- Lofstedt, Torsten (2005). "The Creation and Fall of Adam: A Comparison of the Qur'anic and Biblical Accounts". Swedish Missiological Themes 93 (4): 455.
- Wheeler, Brannon M. (2001). Introduction to the Quran : stories of the prophets. New York: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-4957-3.
- Thorp, John (1982). Asian Folklore Studies 41 (2): 202–203.
- Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar.
- Kathir, Al-Imam ibn (2013). Stories of the Prophets. Fortress iPublications. ISBN 1-4848-4091-7.
- Michael E. Stone, ed. (1998). Biblical figures outside the Bible. Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press Internat. ISBN 1-56338-247-4.
- Quran 3:59
- Quran 15:26–32
- Quran 7:11–13
- Quran 15:28–34
- Quran 7:19–24
- Quran 20:115–123
- Quran 5:26–31
- Knappert, Islamic Legends, 39-40.
- "Title". Bahare Madinah. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Saad Assel, Mary (2010). 25 Icons of Peace in the Qur'an: Lessons of Harmony. iUniverse. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-4401-6901-4.
- Mehar, Iftikhar Ahmed (2003). Al-Islam: Inception to Conclusion. AL-ISLAM. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-4107-3272-9.
- Islam Kotob. Stories Of The Prophets By Ibn Kathir. Islamic Books.
- Lalljee, compiled by Yousuf N. (1993). Know your Islam (3rd ed. ed.). New York: Taknike Tarsile Quran. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-940368-02-6.