Aaah! So this took FOREVER to post, I realize. That is because it took FOREVER to put together! 🙂 I used a bunch of different sources including Ibn Kathir’s “Stories of the Prophets” and his tafsir (explanation) of the Qur’an. I also used transcripts and notes from lectures and various ahaadith.
The story of Adam ‘alayhis salaam, although short, has a lot of details 🙂 It can be found in the beginning of the Qur’an, in Surah al Baqarah.
It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things. (2:29)
Allah subhaana wa ta’aala talks about the creation of the heavens and the earth in detail in Surah Fussilat:
Say (O Muhammad): “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days and you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e. all these four ‘days’ were equal in the length of time), for all those who ask (about its creation). Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come, willingly.” Then He completed and finished from their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard (from the devils by using them as missiles against the devils). Such is the Decree of Him the All-Mighty, the All-Knower. (41:9-12)
An interesting little fact that I learned while reading these ayaat — the earth was created before the heavens. The scholars of tafsir say that this is usually how building begins: the lower floors first and then the top floors.
Look at all around us – the earth, the heavens, the universe, and so much we do not know of. Allah created all of this from nothing, so how can someone doubt that it would be difficult for Allah to resurrect us after that? Allah says: “Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed?” (79:27) Is your creation and creation of the heavens and the earth – from nothing – more difficult, or recreation? How can you deny the resurrection? I love this ayah. It’s on the wall in my baby sister’s room.
كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
How can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return. (2:28)
Khalifah and Khilaafah
And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations (khalifah) 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.” He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know.” (2:30)
Khalifah means generation after generation. Al Qurtubi said khalifah also means the person who judges disputes that occur between people, forbidding them from injustice and sin.
Scholars say that this ayah proves the obligation of appointing a khalifah to pass judgments on matters of dispute between people, to aid the oppressed against the oppressor, to implement the Islamic law and to forbid evil, amongst other things that cannot be established without a leader.
There are three ways in which imaamah occurs:
- Hinting: such as when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) left subtle hints to indicate that he would like Abu Bakr to lead the people after he passed away. One of those such hints was when he appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers for the Muslims when he fell ill.
- Naming a successor: this would be pretty obvious :)Such as when Abu Bakr appointed ‘Umar ibn al Khattaab to be khalifah after him.
- Leaving the decision for council: ‘Umar radiyallahu ‘anhu appointed a council of righteous sahabah to make shoorah (consult) and decide who was to be khalifah after he passed away.
The angels said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” (2:30) Qataadah said that the angels knew this was going to happen because they had observed other creatures do this on earth, such as the jinn. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said: jinn lived about two thousand years before Adam on earth, and they shed blood. Allah sent an army of angels who expelled them to remote islands.
The angels asking Allah was not a form of disputing with Allah, nor out of envy, as some mistakenly think. Allah describes the angels as those who do not precede Him in speaking. When Allah informed them he was going to create such a being, they asked for sake of learning and to know the wisdom. It was as if they were saying, Our Lord! What is the wisdom of creating such creatures since they wil cause trouble in the earth and spill blood? If the wisdom behind this action is that You be worshipped, we praise and glorify You (meaning we pray to You), we never indulge in mischief, so why create other creatures?” Allah said to the angels, “I know that which you do not know” meaning: I know that the benefit of creating this type of creature outweighs the harm that you mentioned, that which you have no knowledge of. I will create among them Prophets and send Messengers. I will also create among them truthful, martyrs, righteous believers, worshippers, the modest, the pious, the scholars who implement their knowledge, humble people and those who love Allah and follow His Messengers.
What We’re Made Of
Imam Ahmad has narrated from Abu Musa radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Allah has created Adam from a handful (of soil) which He had gathered from all over the earth. That is how the children of Adam came according to the (color and nature of the) earth. There are white among them, as well as red and black, and cross colors. There are those among them who are of bad nature and good nature, soft as well as harsh and in between.” (Ahmad, 4/400,406)
This dirt was picked from different parts of the earth – different colors were taken. Some of the soil was taken from mountains, some from valleys, and it was mixed together. So the descendants of Adam came out in different colors, because the dirt they were created from was different colors. They came out with different qualities, because some of this dirt was taken from mountains, and some of it from valleys, some it from fertile land, some from infertile land. So you have some righteous, some evil, some easy to deal
with, some tough. They came out according to the material they were created from.
So Adam was created from dirt. What kind of dirt? I didn’t even know there were different kinds until I heard a talk about the creation of Adam! In the Qur’an, we find these different words that Allah used:
- Turaab – dirt
- Teen – clay
- teen al laazib – sticky clay
- salsaal – sounding clay
- hama`im masnoon – black, smooth mud
Why the use of these different terms for the material we were created from? In the beginning, it was turaab that was taken from the earth. Then this dirt was mixed with the basis of every living being – and that is water. “We created from water every living being.” [see 21:30] When it was mixed with water, it became teen – mud. This mud was left for awhile. When you leave mud for awhile and the moisture in it reduces, it becomes sticky and it holds to your hands – and that is teen laazib. That teen laazib was left for awhile longer and the smell of it changed and the color of it became darker, and that is hama`im masnoon. That material was taken, and Allah molded out of it the form/body of Adam. That body was left to dry and it turned into salsaal kal fakhaar –clay, like pottery. When you knock on pottery, what happens? It makes a ringing sound, like a bell. So the body – the empty form of Adam without the soul – was left to dry.
Shaytaan would pass by Adam when he was made of clay and he would hit him, and the body would make a sound like the sound of pottery with a rattle. Shaytaan said, “This is a creation that is weak.” Then he said, “If I am given influence over you, I will guide you astray. And if you are given influence over me, I will disobey you.” Shaytaan was our enemy from day one. Adam is just a body lying there, and look at what he said! Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
“O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (2:208)
Anas radiyallahu ‘anhu said that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “When Allah created Adam, He left him for a while as long as He wanted him to be. Iblis went around to him, and when he found him hollow, he knew that he was a creature who could not restrain (itself).” (Muslim 2611)
Guess what the first thing Adam did was? 🙂
Anas narrated from the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said: “When He breathed into Adam and the soul reached his head, he sneezed and said: “Alhamdulillahi Rabbil-‘Alamin (Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds).” Allah answered him by say: “Yarhamuk-Allah (Allah bestows His mercy upon you).” (Sahih of Ibn Hibbaan 6165)
So the first thing Adam ‘alayhis salaam said was Alhamdulillah! And the first thing that happened to Adam was the deliverance of Allah’s mercy on him! subhaanAllah
In Allah’s Image?
We know that Allah has created Adam from His own Hands. Adam was honored in that he was created from the Hands of Allah. It is mentioned in the hadith of shafaa`a – that is one of the things that the people will say to him – that Allah created him from His own Hands.
RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says in a hadith narrated by Muslim that Allah created Adam in His own Image. [See Muslim 40/6809] AnNawawi gives an explanation to this hadith. He says that what is meant that Allah has created on his image, it is not talking about Allah. Allah created Adam on the image of Adam. What does that mean?
That means that Allah created Adam as he was – in his adult form that remained with him. Adam did not go through the stages that we go through – an embryo, an infant, a child, then an adult. We go through different images. With Adam, he was created on that image from day one.
This is the complete opposite of what evolution says. Of course, Islam does not completely disapprove of everything in the theory of evolution. Islam approves of some and disapproves of some. Islam disapproves of the part that says that nature is the creator, or that things came out of randomness. Islam is against the part that says human beings evolved from a single cell and then went to the ape. Islam is not opposed to the part that says species adapt to their environment – we see that around us and we say that it happens with the will of Allah.
Allah blew the soul into Adam – ar-ruh. Our body without a soul is part of the earth; it is dirt. When the soul leaves our body, the body decomposes into its origin. Allah says, “From the (earth) did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again.” (20:55) We are nothing without the soul. The essence of life is not in this materialistic body. The life of the matter is the soul 🙂
Some people came to the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and asked him about the soul.
“And they ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: ‘The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.’” (17:85)
This question was asked to RasulAllah 1400 years ago, and our knowledge hasn’t changed much. The soul is something only which Allah knows of.
Mind Over Matter
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, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the 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 [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (2:31-33)
Allah stated the virtue of Adam over the angels, because he taught Adam, rather than them, the names of everything. This occurred after they prostrated to him. This discussion precedes the event here, only to show the importance of his position and the absence of the angels’ knowledge about creating the khalifah when they asked about it. So Allah informed the angels that He knows what they do not know and then He mentioned this to show them Adam’s superiority over them in knowledge.
It is reported from Ad-Dahhaak that Ibn Abbas said: “And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing” means, “I know the secrets, just as IU know the apparent things, such as what Iblis concealed in his heart of arrogance and pride.”
So Adam (‘alayhis salaam) was honored in four ways by Allah subhaana wa ta’aala: Allah created him with His hand; He breathed into him the soul which He created for him; He commanded the angels to prostrate before him and He taught him the names of things.
Allah created Adam, and he was sixty Dhira’a (cubits) tall, and then said to him: “Go and greet those angels, and listen to what they greet you back with, because that will be your greeting and the greeting of your progeny.” Adam said: “As-salaamu ‘alaykum.” They greeted him back by saying: “As salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah.” So, they added to what he said: “wa Rahmatullah.” Hence, everyone who enters Paradise will enter it in Adam’s image, and since that time humans are being reduced (in their height) till now.” (Al Bukhari 3326)
As salaamu ‘alaykum should is our greeting. We should say it before we say “hey” or “hi” or “what’s up?” Allah gave us a beautiful greeting that is better than any of those and He told our father Adam to use that greeting.
Allah says in the beginning of Surah an-Nisaa`: “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women…” (4:1)
As-Suddi narrated through Abu Salih and Abu Malik from Ibn ‘Abbass and Ibn Mas’ud, and also from some other Companions who said:
Iblis was expelled from Paradise and Adam was made to dwell in it. He wandered through it alone as he had no partner in whom he could seek his comfort. However, once he slept ant and when he woke up, he found a woman sitting near his head, whom Allah had created from his rib. Adam asked her: “What are you?” She replied: “A woman.” He asked her again: “What are you created for?” She answered: “So you could seek comfort in me.” Angels who were well aware of the extent of the knowledge of Adam asked: “What is her name, O Adam?” He said: “Eve (Hawwa).” They asked him: “Why is it Hawwa?” Adam replied: “Because she was created from something living.”
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Enjoin upon one another good towards women. Verily, women are created out of a rib, and indeed the most crooked part of the rib is the uppermost part. If you try to straighten it, you will break it: and if you leave it, it will remain crooked. So, enjoin upon one another good towards women.” (Al Bukhaari 5186)
And we will stop here inshaAllah, since I am exhausted, and this seems like a good place to stop 🙂 Next we will cover the prostration to Adam and the coming to earth 🙂