Bismillah. This is the continuation of the story of Adam.
The Prostration He Refused
We are going to back track a little bit, since we skipped over this part of the story of Adam. And now we’ll read about the angels prostrating to Adam ‘alayhis salaam (peace be upon him).
Allah subhaana wa ta’aala says in Surah Al Baqarah: 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. (2:34)
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud. And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.” So the angels prostrated – all of them entirely, Except Iblees, he refused to be with those who prostrated. [ Allah ] said, O Iblees, what is [the matter] with you that you are not with those who prostrate?” He said, “Never would I prostrate to a human whom You created out of clay from an altered black mud.” [ Allah ] said, “Then get out of it, for indeed, you are expelled. And indeed, upon you is the curse until the Day of Recompense.” (15:28-35)
The prostration was to Adam, but the obedience was to Allah.
I found this interesting when I first learned: previous nations were allowed to make prostrations to other human beings. These prostrations were of respect. For example, we see in the story of Yusuf [Joseph] (peace be upon him) when his family prostrated to him. (See 12:100) Prostrations of worship were never allowed for anyone but Allah.
The practice of prostrating was allowed for other nations, but was repealed for this Ummah. Prostrations are not allowed to anyone other than Allah – no matter what the intention.
Mu’adh said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “I visited Ash-Shaam and found that they used to prostrate before their priests and scholars. You, O Messenger of Allah, are more deserving of prostration.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No. If I were to command another human, I would command the wife to prostrate before her husband because of the enormity of his right on her.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Of the Jinn
Al Hasan Al-Basri said: Iblis (Satan) has never been from the angels at any time. And Shahr bin Haushab said: He was one of the jinn. When they made mischief on the earth, Allah sent to them an army of angels who killed them and made them flee to remote islands. Iblis was one of those captured and taken to the heavens, and he stayed there. When the angels were commanded to prostrate before Adam, Iblis refused from doing so.
Al Hasan Al-Basri said, commenting on the veress 7:11, 12: Iblis drew analogous conclusions, and he was the first to do so. Muhammad ibn Sirin said:
Iblis was the first to draw analogous conclusions, and neither sun nor moon were worshipped but as a result of analogous conclusions.
What is meant is that he (satan) looked upon himself from the point of analogous conclusion between himself and Adam. He saw himself nobler than Adam, so he refused to prostrate before him, in the face of the (Divine) command for him, to prostrate as He commanded the angels. If analogy is given precedence of the (clear) text, then that analogy will not stand (i.e., it is a false consideration). And even if itself [in the absence of the text], the analogy is false [in its conclusion]. Because soil is more beneficial and better than fire, as in the soil there are qualities of serenity, gentleness, perseverance, and growth. While in fire there are qualities of frivolity, impatience, haste and burning.
He was a Knowledgeable Worshipper
I always thought of Iblis as having been a scum bag from the get-go. He is a scum bag, but did you know that he was knowledgeable?
When Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was included in this command. Wasn’t Iblis a jinn? Yes, he was, but he was trying – and pretending – to imitate the angels’ behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to prostrate before Adam.
Muhammad ibn Ishaaq reported that Ibn Abbaas said: “Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblis was with the angels and was called Azazil. He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons among the angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblis was from a genus called jinn.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No person who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart shall enter Paradise.” (Muslim, 1:93)
Iblis was knowledgeable and a worshipper, but because of his disbelief, arrogance and rebellion, he was expelled from the Holy Presence of Allah and His Mercy. Just look at the effect arrogance has on a person.
Allah says in the Qur’an: And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.” (2:35)
Adam and Hawwa were living in Jannah. They had all of Jannah, but there was one exception: and that is the tree. One tree. What type of tree is this? Was it a fig tree? Or perhaps an apple tree? Asking this is part of knowledge that doesn’t benefit, and that is why Allah did not mention it in the Qur’aan. Similarly, the color of the dog from the people of cave was never mentioned; it is knowledge that is not of any benefit.
Ibn Jarir said: “The correct opinion is that Allah forbade Adam and his wife from eating from a certain tree in Paradise, but they ate from it. We do not know which tree that was, because Allah has not mentioned anything in the Qur’an or authentic Sunnah about the nature of this tree. It was said that it was barley, grape or fig tree. It is possible that it was one of those trees. Yet, this is knowledge that that does not bring any benefit, just as being ignorant in its nature does no harm. Allah knows best.”
These stories are not mentioned for a historical account. These stories are for contemplation; they are lessons for the ones of understanding.
That is the only part of Jannah that Adam and Hawwa were not allowed to touch – the one tree. Allah says: “And We said: ‘O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimun (wrong-doers).’” (2:35) Shaytaan gave them waswasa – which is hidden speech delivered into the mind; evil inspiration. What did shaytaan do? Did he ask Adam to commit haraam, or go to the tree that Allah told you not to go to? He knew how to deal with the human beings. Then Shaytan (Satan) whispered to him, saying : ‘O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?’ (20:120) Shaytaan knew how to get to them. That sneaky one.
King of the Damned
Allah says in Surah al-A’raf: “He (Iblis) said: Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” (7:16-17) So it is clear that the blissful is the one who opposes Satan, and the damned is the one who follows him.
How Could He?
Whenever you read this ayah or read this story, do you ever wonder how such a great nabiy could commit such a mistake? At that time, Adam (peace be upon him) wasn’t a Prophet, but one may still wonder.
However, instead of thinking about why Adam did so, think about yourself committing sins and mistakes. It is much more difficult to understand how we can commit sins. Adam didn’t have any experience with shaytaan. He knew that shaytaan was his enemy, but he never experienced it. You can hear about something over and over, but actually experiencing it – living it – is another.
We know what happened to Adam and we have seen the history of mankind, yet we commit the same mistakes again and again. We should question our own selves. We should not question that Adam made this mistake; we should question why we make the same mistakes over and over, knowing the right way.
Allah forgave him, because Adam did not have any experience yet. Allah wanted this to be a test for Adam so that he could learn from it and this could prepare him, for he was to be a nabiy of Allah. Allah has trained other prophets, similarly, and we will speak of their stories inshaAllah. Allah did this so that he would realize that iblees was his enemy.
Coming to Earth = Punishment?
Who of us thinks that Adam ‘alayhi salaam was sent to earth as punishment? I know I always thought that! My husband attended a halaqah at the masjid just the other day with Shaykh Abdul Hakim Muhammad and he was talking about when Allah created Adam ‘alayhis salaam.
When Adam ‘alayhis salaam made the mistake of eating from the tree, he repented, and Allah subhaana wa ta’aala forgave him. There is no punishment after forgiveness. That is why Allah sending Adam ‘alayhis salaam to earth was not a form of punishment.
Also, if you remember at the beginning of Al Baqarah, did Allah not tell the angels that He was going to create a vicegerant on Earth? So coming to earth was Adam’s destiny, and not his punishment!
Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka’b said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
Allah created Adam tall, with thick hair, just as a date tree with full branches. When Adam ate from the forbidden tree, his cover fell off, and the first thing that appeared was his private area. When he saw his private area, he ran away in Paradise and his hair got caught in a tree. He tried freeing himself and Ar-Rahman called him, ‘O Adam! Are you running away from Me?’ When Adam heard the words of Ar-Rahman (Allah), he said, ‘No, O my Lord! But I am shy.'” (Ibn Abi Hatim 1:131)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best day in which the sun rises is Friday: on that day Adam was created, on that day he was entered into Paradise; and on that day he was expelled from it, and on that day the Hour will be established.” (Muslim 854)
But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. 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.” So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?” (7:20-22)
So shaytaan got them to disobey Allah, and their private areas became exposed. Adam and Eve began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise.
Our Lord! We Have Wronged Ourselves
Allah says: We said: “Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.” (2:36)
A quick lesson in Arabic grammar: Arabic has a singular form; another form for two people; and then there is a plural for three and more. In English, of course, there is only singular and plural. Adam and Hawwa are two, but Allah referred to them in the plural form (3 and more). Al Farraa` says (one of the mufassireen), because this command is to Adam, his wife, and everyone with him. All of us were in Jannah, but now are in dunya for a temporary time. Although we’re in this world, our home is in the akhirah. In Jannah inshaAllah 🙂
Then Adam received from his Lord words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful. (2:37) What were these words?
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (7:23)
We should memorize this du’aa`, because it is the du’aa` of the sinners. This is the du’aa` that Allah taught Adam and Hawwa.
Abu Musa al-Ashari said: “When Allah sent down Adam from Paradise to earth, He taught him workmanship of everything, and provided him with the fruits of Paradise. So your fruits are from the fruits of Paradise, except that your fruits change and those do not.”
So now, Adam is down to earth 🙂 We will stop here inshaAllah and discuss the death of Adam in our next post.