So, today will be the first in my series of notes that I take from the Qalam Institute podcast on the lives of the prophets, all about Adam (as). The first thing I realised while listening to this podcast, was how interesting it is for me, coming from a Christian background, to hear the stories of the prophets that I am familiar with re-told through an Islamic perspective. And I have to say, a lot of the things that never made sense to me back then, are much clearer through the Qur’anic lens!
Secondly, I just want to note that since there was so much material (it took four episodes just to do the story of Adam (as)!), I am only going to share the best bits that I thought were really interesting or beneficial, and I am assuming you know the general gist of the story. If you want the full details and in-depth analysis, I highly recommend you go check out the podcast for yourself!
So, here goes!
Notes from the life of Adam (as):
- He was the first prophet and the first human
- Addressing the theory of evolution:
- Firstly, it is a theory, not a solid fact.
- Secondly, not all of the theory is faulty, but we need to make sure that we do not take anything that conflicts with Qur’anic evidence
- Things do evolve (look how far humans have come over the years!), but that does not necessarily mean that humans evolved from something else
- Evolution suggests a passive coming into existence, which would imply that we have no real purpose here, we just happened
- This is not true according to the Qur’an: humans and jinn created for the sole purpose of worshipping Allah swt.
- It also states in the Qur’an that Allah swt created Adam (as) with his own “hands,” i.e. with much love, purpose, and attention to detail
- The story of Adam (as) is mentioned 55 times in the Qur’an, in reference to him specifically, to Adam (as) as the father of humankind, or in mentioning Allah swt’s favours on many prophets, and there are no inconsistencies despite so many re-tellings
- The human was the last creation to come into being
- Two possible roots for the word “insan” (human)
- al insiya: socialise, get along with others, i.e. humans are naturally social creatures and need one another’s company
- nisyan: to forget, i.e. humans are inherently forgetful, and those human mistakes and forgetfulness are not punished by Allah swt.
- Adam (as) was created from mixed soil from different parts of the world; this can be symbolic of how humans are all unique and have different properties and traits
- This is not division, however, it is richness and beauty, intricacy and detail in the human race
- The Qur’an mentions five different stages of the creation of Adam (as): dry soil mixed with water, mud that is left to become sticky like clay, moulded into the form of the human, then left to dry and become dark
- Some ahadith describe the form of Adam (as) as being 60 feet tall, others describe the beauty of the human form
- Iblis and the angels see this creation happening, and Allah swt announces to them that he will create a successor on the earth. Iblis begins to get jealous
- Allah swt then inserts the soul into Adam (as), finishing the creating and giving him life from his head to his feet
- One narration mentions that as the soul passed down and he came into being, the first thing he did was sneeze, after which he said “alhamdulillah,” and Allah swt told him that his Lord had had mercy on him.
- This is why it is so important to remember to say alhamdulillah when we sneeze! We are following the example of the first human and prophet
- Another narration mentions that Adam (as) tried to move before the soul had completely reached his feet and Allah swt remarked that the human is so quick
- How true is this in our lives! Not only do humans tend to be rash and impatient, but also if you look at our lifespan compared to the grand scheme of things, it is all so fast! (my thoughts, not from notes)
- After the soul has been put in and Adam (as) is complete, the angels are ordered to prostrate to him
- Why? The angels, when told that there would be a successor on earth, questioned why Allah swt would put a human there who would only cause death and destruction, so Allah swt is showing them that he knows that which they do not.
- Iblis (Shaytan) does not prostrate: he believes that because he is created from fire, he is better than Adam (as)
- He is expelled from paradise and disgraced for his pride and disobedience
- Lesson to learn here: take the jealousy out of your heart right now, it will destroy you! Iblis was counted among the angels because of his worship, but one little bit of jealousy led to arrogance and pride, and led to his being cursed.
- Another lesson to take away: just because the origin of something (i.e. fire vs. soil) is better, does not make what comes from it better.
- In today’s context: just because you are an Arab doesn’t make you inherently more holy, or just because your father was known for his prayer doesn’t mean you are impervious to sin, etc.
- The main point (from the end of the first two episodes): Adam’s (as) creation was an amazing, grand moment in creation. Shaytan takes so much animosity towards us and vows to ruin us as humans: don’t let him.
- All of this creation occurred on jummah, another blessing of that day
- Adam enters paradise, but begins to feel lonely, so Hawa (Eve) is created for him by Allah while he sleeps.
- Something to learn from Adam’s (as) story: something as humble as soil can become one of the best of creation by the power of Allah swt, so don’t underestimate people. Imagine how far you could go if you push yourself.
- When permission is given for Adam and Hawa (as) to live in paradise, they are told to not approach a certain tree (unnamed in the Qur’an)
- We can look at this in a modern context: Allah swt didn’t tell them don’t eat from the tree, He told them don’t even go close to it. Basically, not only should you not commit the sin, but you shouldn’t even put yourself in the environment where the sin could be committed.
- Over time, Shaytan begins to whisper to them, and after him trying and trying to convince them that they will be made angels or eternal, they finally make the mistake and eat from the tree.
- First interesting point: why is it so appealing to Adam and Hawa (as) to be made angels? They are afraid of disobeying Allah swt, and angels cannot disobey Allah swt. This is how shaytan’s faulty logic gets us—he tries to tell them that by disobeying Allah swt, they will be saved from disobeying Allah swt!
- Another interesting point: Once they disobeyed and ate from the tree, Allah’s swt protection was lifted from them, and they saw their private parts. They immediately began to cover themselves with leaves; it is part of the human nature to want their privates covered. No one came by and told them, “OK, so now that you know you are naked, here is how you wear hijab,” they just did it.
- This is also a big testament to human nature: they have the whole garden of paradise, but because it was forbidden, they really, really wanted that one tree! Same with us now: there are so many delicious drinks out there, but we gravitate towards intoxicants because of their forbidden-ness, etc. This is why we need to work on focusing on enjoying all of the halal in our lives, so we don’t even have time to think about the haraam.
- This story also shows the power of free will and knowledge; One day Adam (as) had the angels prostrating to him, recognising these amazing qualities in a human, and just a short time after, the very same qualities are what cause his mistake and descent from the garden.
- Interesting point: Allah swt tells the angels in the very beginning that He is creating a successor on earth, so He knew all along that Adam’s (as) time in the garden was limited; it was all done on purpose to teach a lesson.
- Adam and Hawa (as) realise their mistake as soon as they make it, and (unlike Shaytan) turn immediately in repentance to Allah swt, recognising that they wronged themselves, and that if Allah swt did not have mercy on them, surely they would be from the losers.
- Note also, that there is no mention of Hawa (as) did this to her husband. They took responsibility for themselves, and were both held accountable for the action!
- Allah swt forgave their mistake, but there was a consequence for the action: they were told to go into the world, and could no longer live in the garden.
- This shows that the Christian idea of “original sin,” that every baby is born in sin, is faulty. Allah swt forgave Adam (as), which means in Islam that the sin is effectively wiped away. Plus the Qur’an states that none will bear the burden of another. Every baby is born upon the natural inclination to good.
So, that is it for today! I hope you enjoyed my notes and thoughts, and were not bored by the super long list! In shaa Allah the future episodes tend to be a bit shorter, so my posts on them won’t be so long. Next up is Adam (as) and his sons in shaa Allah! Can’t wait to have a listen and share with y’all in a bit!