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Hadrat Adam (Alaihis Salam): The Forefather of Mankind

Hadrat Adam (Alaihis Salam) is the forefather of the mankind.  Mankind originated with his creation.  Knowledge of his affairs is knowledge of the beginning of human history. How was he created? What happened at the time of his creation?  Where did he dwell? What experiences did he have? What beliefs did he hold? And how did his progeny prosper on earth under his auspices? Answers to these and other questions are meaningful for us human beings. In the light of the narratives of the holy Quran and ahadeeth of the Messenger of Allah, Hadrat Muhammad (ﷺ), we have summed up the story of Hadrat Adam in the following:

Divine Will to Create Adam: When our Lord God willed to create Adam he made his idea known to his angels. As the angels knew nothing of the being God wanted to create, but knew of the conduct of the earlier creature [the jinnis] on earth, they cautioned Allah that a new creature may likely lead to bloodshed and spreading of corruption on earth. If God Almighty desires to be praised and exalted we are here doing this very well. The angels did not mean to oppose God, as a creature could not dare oppose its creator.  Yet the angels did express their apprehension about the creature to be made.  Then God replied to them: You know not the facts. I know everything.

Creation of Adam: God Almighty created Adam of clay, according to Quran:

إِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلائِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَراً مِنْ طِينٍ (ص:71)

Translation of Meaning: “When your Lord said unto the angels: lo! I am about to create a human being out of clay” (Sad: 71).

Again it is declared:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَانَ مِنْ صَلْصَالٍ مِنْ حَمَإٍ مَسْنُونٍ (الحجر:26)

Translation of Meaning: “Verily We created man of kneaded dough of rotten clay” (Al-Hijr: 26). At another place it is declared:

خَلَقَ الإِنسَانَ مِنْ صَلْصَالٍ كَالْفَخَّارِ (الرحمن: 14)

Translation of Meaning: “He created man of desiccated rotten clay” (Ar-Rahman: 14).  According to a Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah, God created Adam out of a handful of clay parts of which were collected from different parts of the world. The progeny of Adam, therefore, bears the characteristics of the different soils of the earth. Some are of red colour while some are of black, some are gentle while some are harsh and some are bad while some are good [Tirmidhi].

Angels Prostrate before Adam: After creating Adam God bade the angels to prostrate before Adam. The angels prostrated before Adam. Quran declares:

فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِي فَقَعُوا لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ (29) فَسَجَدَ الْمَلائِكَةُ كُلُّهُمْ أَجْمَعُونَ (30) (الحجر:29-30)

Translation of Meaning: “When I straightened him up and infused of my spirit into him I called them to fall prostrate before him. Thus the angels prostrated all of them” (Al-Hijr: 29-30).

This prostration was in compliance with the command of God. This was meant to honour Adam. It represented the primacy of knowledge over absence of knowledge.  Adam was honoured due to four reasons:

  1. God created Adam by his own hands.
  2. He infused his spirit into Adam.
  3. He made angels prostrate before him. And
  4. He invested Adam with the knowledge of things.

Accordingly, one Hadeeth recounts that: Translation of Meaning: “When Hadrat Musa (Alaihis Salam) met Hadrat Adam (Alaihis Salam) in the heavenly sphere he said: You are Adam whom God created with His own hands, infused His spirit into you, made His angels prostrate before you and taught you the names of all things” [Abu Daud].

However, Iblis refused to prostrate before him defying the divine command while other angels complied. This has been narrated in Quran in this way:

فَسَجَدُوا إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُنْ مِنْ السَّاجِدِينَ (11) قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ (12) (الأعراف: 11-12)

Translation of Meaning: “And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis who was not with the prostrators. When He asked: What prevented you from prostrating when I bade you? He [Iblis] replied:  I am better than him. You created me of fire while you created him of clay” (Al-A’raf: 11-12).

Iblis was punished with expulsion from paradise and given eternal damnation for his defiance and rebellion. Then God told Iblis:

قَالَ فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ (34) وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ اللَّعْنَةَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (35) (الحجر: 34-35)

Translation of Meaning: “Get out of here because you are condemned. And verily my damnation is upon you until the Day of Judgment” (Al-Hijr: 34-35).

Iblis’s Declaration of War against Adam: Iblis became jealous of Adam for the honour and dignity bestowed upon him by God and out of arrogance vowed to mislead and harm the mankind in all possible ways till the end of the world. Iblis’s evil design against the mankind has been described in Quran in these words:

قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (16) ثُمَّ لآتِيَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَنْ شَمَائِلِهِمْ وَلا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ (17) (الأعراف:16-17)

Translation of Meaning: “He [Iblis] said: For your casting me away I shall sit in ambush to make them astray from your Straight Path. Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right hands and from their left hands and you will find the majority of them as ungrateful ” (Al-A’raf: 16-17). Iblis asked God to grant him reprieve for this job till the day of rising which was granted to him. Then God told him

قَالَ اخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُوماً مَدْحُوراً لَمَنْ تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لأَمْلأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنْكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ (الأعراف: 18)

Translation of Meaning: “Get out from here degraded and forsaken. As for those who follow you surely I shall fill the hell with all of you” (Al-A’raf: 18). Allah created Hawwa [Eve] out of the left rib of Adam to comfort him as his companion and bade them to dwell in paradise and eat from whatever tree they desired except one which was forbidden to them. They were told not to come near this tree lest they become wrong-doers. Then Satan approached them to whisper that he wanted to unravel for them what was hidden from them. God has forbidden this tree to you only for this reason that you may not become angels or immortal. He swore in the name God that he was their well-wisher and a sincere adviser.  Adam and Eve were thus beguiled by him to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Out of innocence, they could not believe that anybody could deceive them by swearing in the name of God. As soon as they defied the command of God their genital parts became manifest to them and out of shame they ran out to hide themselves with leaves.

Adam’s Repentance: Then their Lord God chastised them by saying:

أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَنْ تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُلْ لَكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (الأعراف: 22)

Translation of Meaning: “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is an open enemy of you?” (Al-A’raf: 22). Thereupon Adam repented for his wrong-doing and entreated God in these words:

قَالا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ (الأعراف: 23)

Translation of Meaning: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not and have not mercy upon us, surely we shall be amongst the losers” (Al-A’raf: 23).

God pardoned and forgave them.

After this incident God ordered Adam and Eve as well as Satan to get down from there, one of you a foe unto the other. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while. On earth you shall live, on earth you shall die and from thence you will be raised again.  While despatching them to earth mankind was exhorted to follow the guidance which shall be forthcoming to them from Allah and such of you who follow this guidance shall have neither fear nor sorrow. But those who repudiate the revelations of God and disobey him shall be thrown into Hell. Quran declares:

قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعاً فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنْ تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ (38) وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (39)
(البقرة: 38-39)

Translation of Meaning: “We said: Go down, all of you, from here; but verily there shall come unto you guidance from me; and whoso follows my guidance shall be neither fearful nor sorrowful. But those who disbelieve and deny our revelations such are rightful owners of the Hell. There they shall dwell for ever” (Al-Baqarah: 38-39).  Thus from that day onwards mankind has lived on this earth through reproduction while a perpetual confrontation is going on between the mankind and Satan [the forces of evil]. God has transmitted his guidance to the mankind through his apostles and messengers in all ages. Depending on acceptance or rejection of this divine guidance mankind has been split into two categories. One is the category of believers [Hizbullah] and the other is the category of disbelievers [HizbushShaitan].

Let us summarise now the story of Hadrat Adam in the following points:

  • Creation of Adam was an outcome of the divine will.
  • The superiority of the human race was due to knowledge given to it.
  • The progeny of Adam have been made the vicegerents [Khalifah] of God on earth.
  • Adam was honoured by angels prostrating before him.
  • Adam was a unique creature as he was made by God’s own hands and infused with his spirit.
  • By origin the progeny of Adam were inmates of paradise. Later they were lodged on earth for a while. Thereafter, they have to go back to their original dwelling place provided they establish their deservance for it. The way to paradise is through earnest obedience and worship of God.
  • By refusing to prostrate before Adam Iblis became guilty of defiance and disobedience of God and, therefore, he was expelled from the divine court.
  • Iblis is an eternal enemy of mankind who is bent upon diverting them from the Straight Path of God and thus depriving them of their habitat in paradise.
  • Iblis sought and was granted reprieve from God to beguile and mislead the progeny of Adam until the Day of Judgment.
  • This material world is, therefore, an arena of relentless struggle between the forces of Right and the forces of Evil.
  • It is because of God’s grace for the mankind that he has transmitted his guidance to the mankind through his apostles and messengers so that they could emerge triumphant out of this struggle between Right and Evil.
  • As a matter of fact, man was sent on this earth invested with divine guidance. Some modern philosophers assume that the mankind began with polytheism then progressed to monotheism with development of human reason and now that man has attained absolute rationalism he has no need for any God. This is absolutely false and absurd.
  • The way of Iblis for diverting and misleading the believers from the Straight Path is that he does not call them openly or directly towards atheism or polytheism. He always adopts indirect and surreptitious stratagems and methods to sow seeds of scepticism, disbelief and dissension. It is through gradual seeding of corruption that a believer is diverted from the path of righteousness, piety and moderation and thereby he is mired into disbelief and atheism. In this way Satan has his way to spread corruption on earth.