Prophet Adam’s (AS) story teaches us about the origins of humankind. Adam was the first of the Prophets and the first human created by Allah. All of mankind descends from Adam and Eve. The story of Adam is narrated to us in the Quran. Adam and Eve’s story contains valuable lessons for all of us. It is one of the most popular Islamic stories, and it conveys very powerful messages.
Allah creates and honors Adam
“[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay. So 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 for Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers.” (Quran 38:71-74)
Allah created Adam, the first human being, from clay. The angels were commanded to prostrate before Adam. Allah alone has the right to be worshipped, so this prostration had a very specific purpose. The objective of the order to prostrate to Adam was to honor and revere him. Hence, Allah honored Adam when He created him.
The angels all obliged in this matter. However, the evil Satan was disobedient. His rebelliousness in the face of the Almighty’s command was due to his terrible arrogance.
“[ 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.”” (Quran 15:32-33)
It was also with Adam that the Salam (greeting) that unites all believers first occurred. Allah directed him to greet a gathering of angels by saying, “Assalamu alaikum” (May God’s peace be upon you). They replied, “Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh” (and also upon you be God’s peace, mercy and blessings). The Islamic greeting of peace was thereby established with the creation of Adam, the first man.
Allah grants Adam authority and knowledge
Allah placed Adam, and those who were to descend from him, in a position of authority on earth. Our Lord informed mankind that the purpose of our existence was to worship Him alone. Allah placed Adam in charge and gave him the knowledge required to carry out his responsibility.
“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.”” (Quran 2:31-33)
Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Man was created different from angels, possessing free will and blessed with the knowledge to fulfill his duties on earth. Allah equipped Adam with language and communication skills, along with reasoning capacity. Allah also created Eve, the first woman. She was Adam’s wife, who would accompany him, and they would have children together. It is from them that we are all descended, regardless of our race, religion, or which country we belong to.
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (Quran 4:1)
Adam and Eve inhabit the delightful Paradise
Adam and Eve lived in the bliss of Paradise, as Allah bestowed them with abundant blessings. He gave them both the freedom to enjoy all the marvelous bounties of Paradise and feast to their hearts’ content. However, He laid out a very precise prohibition, to which their adherence was obligatory. He categorically forbade Adam and Eve, in the Quran’s Surah Al-Baqarah, from approaching a certain tree.
“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.” (Quran 2:35)
Adam and Eve were thus living a joyous life in Paradise, aware that they could freely enjoy its benefits. The only object they had to abstain from coming close to was the tree specified by Allah. However, the malicious, disgraced Satan had a devious plan to entice them to disobey God.
The story of Satan
When Adam was created, the conceited Satan defied Allah’s directive, refusing to bow to Adam. He considered himself to be superior to Adam, who was the first human being. This obviously means that he also considers himself greater than all the humans who descend from Adam. He was, therefore, cursed by Allah until the Day of Resurrection.
“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.”” (Quran 15:33-35)
The accursed Satan’s response was one of further defiance. He pledged to dedicate his existence to leading Adam and Eve astray, along with those who came after them.
“He said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.” [ Allah ] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved Until the Day of the time well-known.” [Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all Except, among them, Your chosen servants.” (Quran 15:36-40)
Satan targets Adam and Eve with his deceit – Adam’s story
Satan’s intention was to deceive Adam and Eve and lure them into violating the prohibition legislated by Allah. Satan’s manipulative plan of deception was to poison their minds by placing desires in their hearts. His approach utilized subtle trickery, rather than him being straightforward in advising them to eat from the forbidden tree.
“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.”” (Quran 7:20)
In this sly manner, Satan indoctrinated them, pushing them closer and closer to sinning. Eventually, they would succumb to the corrupt desires Satan had embedded in them, falling into sin and disobeying Allah.
Adam and Eve fall into Satan’s trap and repent to Allah
Adam and Eve ate from the prohibited tree, and as a result, their private parts became exposed. They were overcome with shame and sought to clothe themselves using leaves from Paradise. Allah then reprimanded them, upon which they turned to Him in sincere repentance and begged for His forgiveness. They were then made to descend to earth, where they and all their descendants would live and die, prior to the Afterlife.
“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?” They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” [ Allah ] said, “Descend, being to one another enemies. And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time.” He said, “Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth.” (Quran 7:22-25)
Allah had mercy on both of them and forgave their sin. There is no concept of “original sin” in Islam, and we aren’t responsible for the deeds of our ancestors. One is only held accountable for one’s own deeds.
Important lessons we learn from Adam’s story
The difference between Adam and Satan’s attitude was their response to their sin. Satan’s arrogance festered, and he only grew in disobedience to Allah, opting to dedicate his existence to evil. Conversely, Adam chose to repent humbly, an act beloved to Allah. This is a great lesson for all believers. Whenever we commit a sin, our immediate response should be to repent and implore Allah to pardon us.
We must also pay attention to Satan’s cunning methods of leading people astray. He is a stealthy operator, who uses subtle methods to draw people towards immorality. We must not regard any sin as insignificant, for minor sins can lead to major ones. Moreover, one may accumulate a large number of minor sins due to taking them lightly, which can eventually add up to rival a major sin. For these reasons, we must always be wary and never consider ourselves immune to the wicked Satan’s schemes.