Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prophet ADAM A.S Part 2: Adam's Lesson

Ibn Jarir reported that Muhammad Ibn sirin said that the first one to reach a conclusion by reasoning was Iblis and that the sun and moon were not worshiped except through this method. This means that Iblis tried to compare himself to Adam. He believed that he was more honorable than Adam. Therefore he abstained from prostrating even though Allah had commanded him to do so, just as He had commanded the angels.

If an analogy is made we see that Iblis is vain. For indeed clay is better than fire because in it can be found the qualities of calmness, clemency, perseverance and growth; whereas in fire can be found heedlessness, insignificance, haste, and incineration. Iblis tried in vain to justify his refusal: "Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?" Iblis said: "See? those whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!" (Ch 17:62 Quran).

Adam was following what was happening around him and had feelings of love, awe, and astonishment. Deep love of Allah,Who had created and glorified him and Who had made His angels prostrate before him. Awe of the Creator's wrath when He excluded Iblis from His mercy. Adam was surprised by this creature, Iblis who abhorred hiwithout even knowing him and who imagined himself better than Adam without having proved that he was worthier. What a strange creature Iblis was, and how strange was his excuse for not prostrating! He imagined that fire is better than clay, but how did he get such an idea? Such knowledge is exclusive to Allah Who fire and clay and Who knows which is the better of the two.

From the dialogue Adam realized that Iblis was a creature characterized by cunning and ingratitude. He then knew that Iblis was his eternal enemy. He was greatly astonished at Iblis's audacity and Allah's tolerance. Immediately after his creation Adam witnessed the large amount of freedom that Allah gives to His commissioned creatures. Allah knew that Iblis was not going to obey Him in prostrating before Adam. Allah could have totally annihilated him or turned him into a handful of dust or stifled the refusal in his mouth.

Yet, Allah gives His commissioned creatures absolute freedom even to the extent that they can refuse Allah the Almighty's commands. He grants them the freedom of denial, disobedience, and even disagreement with Him. His kingdom will not diminish if the disbelievers do not believe in Him nor will it be extended if many people believe in Him. On the contrary, the disbelievers will lose, and the believers will gain but Allah is above all of that.
There were many traditions about Iblis at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that Iblis had been the head of the angels in the worldly heavens. Ibn Abbas said in one narration that his name had been Azazil and in another narration he said it had been Al Harith. Ibn Abbas also said that Iblis was a jinn and that they had once been the keepers of Paradise, with Iblis the most honorable and the most learned and the most pious of them. Another tradition says that he had been one of the famous four possessors of wings (angels), before Allah transformed him into the accursed Satan.

Allah Almighty recounts Iblis's disobedience in another surah: Remember when your Lord said to the angels: "Truly I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him." So the angels prostrated themselves all of them; except Iblis, he was proud and was one of the disbelievers. Allah said: "The truth is, and the truth I say, that I will fill Hell with you and those of them (mankind) that follow you together." (Ch 38:71-85 Quran).

After this lesson about freedom Adam learned another lesson, one about knowledge. Adam realized that Iblis was the symbol of evil in the universe and that the angels were the symbol of good. However he did not yet know anything about himself. Then Allah made him perceive his true identity and the reason for his creation, and the secret of his glorification. Allah the Exalted said: He taught Adam all the names of everything. (Ch 2:31 Quran). Almighty Allah granted Adam the power to know the natures of all things and to summarize them by names; that is a bird, that is a star, that is a tree, etc Allah implanted in Adam an insatiable need for and love of knowledge and a desire to bequeath knowledge to his children. This was the reason for his creation and the secret of his glorification.

After Adam had learned the names of all things, along with their properties and uses, Allah presented them to the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." (Ch 2:31 Quran) the angels admitted their inability: "Glory be to You, we have knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily it is You the All Knower, the All Wise." (Ch 2:32) Allah Almighty then turned to Adam: "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 in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?" (Ch 2:33).

Allah wanted the angels to know that He knew of their astonishment when He had told them about the creation of Adam and that He also knew of their confusion which they had not revealed, as well as what Iblis had concealed of his disobedience and ingratitude. The angels realized that Adam was the creature who knew what they did not know and that his capacity to learn was his noblest quality. His knowledge included knowledge of the Creator which we call faith or Islam, as well as the knowledge he would need to inhabit and master the earth. All kinds of worldly knowledge which are included in this. Adam knew the names of everything.

Sometimes he talked to the angels, but they were preoccupied with worshipping Almighty Allah. Therefore Adam, felt lonely. One day he slept and when he awoke he found near his head, a woman gazing at his face with beautiful tender eyes. The angels asked him her name He replied: "Eve (Hawa)." (means living things). They asked: "Why did you call her Eve?" Adam said: "Because she was created of me and I am a living being."

Ibn Abbas and a group of companions of the Prophet (PBUH) narrated that when Iblis was sent out of Paradise and Adam was accommodated therein, Adam was alone in Paradise and did not have a partner from whom he could get tranquility. He slept for some time and when he woke up, he saw a woman whom Allah had created from his ribs. So he asked her, "Who are you? She replied, "A woman" He asked: "Why have you been created?" She said :"So that you could find tranquility in me." The angels, trying to find out the extent of his knowledge, asked him: "What is her name O Adam?" He replied, "Eve" They asked "Why was she so named?" He replied, " Because she was created from something living."
Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq and Ibn Abbas related that Eve was created from the shortest left rib of Adam while he was sleeping and after awhile she was clothed with flesh. that is why Allah the Exalted said: O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women. (Ch 4:1) Allah also said: It is he Who has created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. (Ch 7:189).

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "O Muslims! I advise you to be gentle with women, for they are created from a rib, and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part. If you try to straighten it, it will break and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women." (Sahih Bukhari). Allah commanded Adam to dwell in Paradise: "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 Zalimeen (wrong doers).(Ch 2:35)

The location of this Paradise is unknown to us. The Quran did not reveal it, and the commentators had five different opinions. Some said that it was the paradise of our refuge and that its place was heaven. Others regreted that statement because if it was the paradise of refuge Iblis would have been forbidden admission and disobedience would have been forbidden as well.

Still others said that it was another paradise that was created by Allah for Adam and Eve. A fourth group said it was a paradise on the earth located in a high place. Another group of commentators accept what was in the Quran without questioning where this paradise was located. We agree with this last opinion as the lesson we learn from its location is immaterial compared to the lesson we leafrom the events that took place there.
Adam and eve were admitted to Paradise and there they lived the dream of all human beings. Allah permitted them to approach and enjoy everything except one tree, that might have been the Tree of Pain or the Tree of Knowledge. Allah forbade them they were give abode in Paradise. "But come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrong doers." (Ch 2:35)

Adam and Eve understood that they were forbidden to eat the fruit of that tree. Adam was however a human being and man tends to forget. His heart changes and his will weakens. Iblis summoned all the envy within him and took advantage of Adam's humanity to exploit him. He started to whisper to him day after day, coaxing him: "Shall I guide you to the Tree of Immortality and the Eternal Kingdom?" He said to them: "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." He (Satan) swore by Allah to them both saying: "Verily I am one of the sincere well wishers for you both." (Ch 7:20-21)
Adam asked himself: "What will happen if I eat from this tree? It might truly be the Tree of Immortality." His dream was to live forever in the pure innocence of Paradise." Years went by, and Adam and Eve were preoccupied with thoughts of that tree. Then one day they decided to eat of its fruit. They forgot that Allah had warned them not to approach it and that Iblis was their sworn enemy. Adam stretched out his hand, picked one of the fruits and offered it to Eve. They both ate of the forbidden tree. Allah Almighty told us: "So he (Satan) misled them with deception." (Ch 7:22) Allah said: "Thus did Adam disobey his Lord so he went astray." (Ch 20:121).
According to the old Testament, Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat of the forbidden tree. She ate because of the words of the serpent and fed Adam some of it. At that moment, their eyes were opened to the fact that they were naked, and they took the leaves of the fig tree to cover themselves. Wahb Ibn Munabah said that their clothing (before their sin) was made of light on the private parts of both of them. This story in the Old Testament is a falsification and deception.

Allah the Almighty revealed: O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise stripping them of their rainments; to show them their private parts. Verily he and Qabiluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. Verily, We made the devils (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not." (Ch 7:27)

Adam had hardly finished eating when he felt his heart contract, and he as filled with pain, sadness and shame. The surrounding atmosphere had changed and the internal music had stopped. He discovered that he and his wife were naked, so they both started cutting tree leaves with which to cover themselves.
Allah the Almighty addressed him: "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily Satan is an open enemy unto you?" 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." Allah said; "Get down, one of you an enemy to the other (Adam, Eve, and Satan etc). On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time." He said: "Therein you shall live and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected)." (7:22-25).
Again there are old stories about these events. Al Hafez Ibn Asaker narrated that Allah commanded two angels to remove Adam from His holy proximity. So Gabriel stripped him of the crown on his head, and Michael took the diadem from his forehead. Adam thought that his punishment had been hastened and bowed down crying; "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!" so Allah asked: "Are you running away from Me?" Adam replied, "No, my Lord, but I am shy of You."

Abdul Rahman Ibn Amru AL Awza iy said that Adam spent 100 years in Paradise. In another narration it was said he spent 60 years. Ibn Asaker reported that Adam wept for 60 years for his loss of Paradise and 70 years for his mistake, and he wept for another 70 years when his son was killed.
They left Paradise and descended upon the earth. Adam was sad and Eve was crying. Allah accepted their repentance because it was sincere and He told them that the earth would be their realm and origin where they would live and die and whence they would come on the Day of Judgment. Allah the Almighty recounted this third lesson Adam learned in Paradise: Indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will power.
Remember when We said to the angels "Prostrate yourselves to Adam." They prostrated (all) except Iblis, who refused. then We said: "O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. so let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery. Verily, you have (a promise from Us) that you will never be hungry therein nor naked. And you will suffer not from thrist therein nor from the sun's heat." then 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?" Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering.

Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance. Allah said: "Get you down (upon the earth), both of you, together from Paradise, some of you are an enemy to some others. Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders etc). Verily, for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection."

He will say: "O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight before." Allah will said: "like this, Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). came unto you, but you disregarded them (you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected in the Hellfire, away from Allah's Mercy.)" And thus do We requite him who transgresses beyond bounds (commits the great sins and disobeys his Lord (allah) and believes not in His Messengers, and His revealed Books, like this Quran etc), and believes not in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc). of his Lord, and the torment of the Hereafter is far more severe and more lasting. (Ch 20:115-127)
Some people believe that the reason why mankind does not dwell in Paradise is that Adam was disobedient and that if it had not been for this sin, we could have been there all along. These are naive fictions because when Allah wanted to create Adam, He said to the angels, "I shall make a vicegerent on the earth." He did not say, "I shall make a vicegerent in Paradise."

Adam's descent on earth, then, was not due to degradation but rather it was dignified descent. Allah knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree and descend to earth. He knew that Satan would rape their innocence. That experience was essential for their life on earth; it was a cornerstone of their vicegerency. It was meant to teach Adam, Eve, and their progeny that it was Satan who had caused them to be expelled from Paradise and that the road to Paradise can only be reached by obedience to Allah and enmity to Satan.
Could it be said that Adam and the rest of mankind were predestined to sin and to be expelled from Paradise and sent to the earth? In fact, this fiction is as naive as the first one. Adam complete free will, and he bore the consequences of his deed. He disobeyed by eating of the forbidden tree, so Allah dismissed him from Paradise. His disobedience does not negate his freedom.

On the contrary it is a consequence of it. The truth of the matter is that Allah knew what was going to happen, as He always know the outcome of events before they take place. However Allah does not force things to happen. He grants free will to His human creatures. On that He bases His supreme wisdom in populating the earth, establishing the vicegerents, and so on.

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