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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
In Surah Sad, Allah mentions how He created Adam, a human being, from clay and breathed into him to give him life. The angels prostrated to Allah, except for Iblees (Shaitaan) who was arrogant. He disbelieved in Allah.
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.
In Surah al-Hijr, it’s described how Allah asked Iblees about his reluctance to prostrate. He said he wouldn’t prostrate to a human created from clay.
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 him 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.
Allah describes in Surah al-Baqarah how He taught the names to him. He then showed Adam the angels and asked him their names.
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.
In Surah an-Nisa, Allah asks mankind to fear Him, Who is our Creator. He alone created us all.
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.
Allah describes in Surah al-Baqarah how He told Adam and Eve to dwell in Paradise and eat whatever they will – except for the forbidden tree, which would make them amongst the wrongdoers.
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.
In Surah al-Hijr, it is described how Iblees said he would never prostrate to a human created from clay. As a result, Allah expelled him and put a curse on him until the Day of Judgment.
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.
In Surah al-Hijr, it is described how Iblees said to Allah that he would incite humans to disobey him and would mislead all of mankind – except for His chosen servant.s
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.
Allah says in Surah al-A’raaf that Iblees whispered to them and told them that their Lord only prohibited them from the trees so that they wouldn’t become angels or immortal.
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.
They 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.
A lengthy description of this is in Surah al-A’raaf. Iblees deceived Adam and Eve and they ate from the tree. Then, their private parts were exposed and they began to try to cover themselves with leaves from the tree. Allah called out to them and repeated that He told them that Satan was a clear enemy. They repented to Allah. Allah then told them to descend to this world where they would settle and enjoy themselves for a while. Humans would live and die there.
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.
The Story of Abel and Cain (Habil and Qabil)
The story of Abel and Cain is popular in various traditions. Allah also mentioned the story in the Quran in Surah al-Maidah, describing the difference between the two brothers and the outcome of their attitudes. Cain was the elder son of Adam and Eve, popularly known as Qabil in Islam. Abel was the younger son, who Muslims know as Habil.
When Allah revealed information about this story, He commanded the Prophet (PBUH) to recite the story, proclaiming it to the ultimate truth. That is a given, considering that the Quran is the book of ultimate truth directly from Allah.
Both Habil and Qabil presented a sacrifice to Allah. However, Allah only accepted the sacrifice from the younger son, Habil. That was because Habil was a righteous person and had a firm belief in Allah. That didn’t apply to Qabil. As a result of this incident, Qabil taunted Habil and threatened to kill him.
Habil showed his God-fearing nature in his response, warning Qabil that carrying out his threat would only increase the weight of his sins in Allah’s eyes. Meanwhile, he said that Allah would forgive his sins if he suffered injustice. He expressed his fear of Allah.
Qabil, however, was completely consumed by his arrogance and jealousy. He killed Habil and committed a grave sin. This was the first instance of a righteous human being murdered by another. After this incident, Allah sent a crow toward the place where it happened. It began to show Qabil what to do with the body of his brother by burying it. Seeing this, we began to realize his errors. Allah says in the Quran that Adam’s son “became of the regretful.”