The Quran about Adam
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
According to the tradition of all “Abrahamic” religions, the first person on earth is Adam. In the view of most believers, before Adam there were no people on earth. Without going into detail in traditional religious history, we will try to analyse information from the Quran:
And when your Lord said to the maintainers, “Indeed, I will place upon the earth a successor”, they asked, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood? We declare Your praise and sanctify You.” (2:30)
This passage does unambiguously inform us of the Lord’s desires to appoint a successor. Let’s consider the situation in which a successor is appointed.
According to the explanatory dictionaries, the successor is:
- The one who received from someone continuity of any position, responsibilities, the right to anything.
- The one, who succeeded someone at any post, took the place or position of his predecessor. The continuer of someone else’s activity, someone’s traditions.
Based on the meaning of the term “successor”, we can conclude that people, as a species of the animal world, already existed. After all, successors are appointed from existing candidates, which is confirmed by the surprise and withdrawal of God’s maintainers about the alleged behavior of the appointed.
The fact that people are representatives of the animal world is confirmed by the following passage:
And if God were to impose blame on the people for their obscurantism, He would not have left upon the earth any beast! But He defers them for a specified term! And when their term has come, they will not be able to postpone it by an hour, nor will they hasten it. (16:61)
According to the Quran, people are an integral part of the animal world. Studies of archaeology show that anthropoid animals has existed approximately 1 million 400 thousand years. Science informs us that 200 thousand years ago there was a kind of primates, known as Homo erectus (Man erect), suddenly turned into Homo sapiens (Man reasonable). At the same time, the capacity of the brain increased by 50% (from 800 cc to 1200 cc). Homo sapiens has acquired the ability to speak, and its anatomical structure has come close to the anatomical structure of modern man. The question is, how could this happen so suddenly after 1.2 million years of total lack of progress? Strangeness of this kind put in a very difficult position highly respected evolutionary scientists such as Noam Chomsky and Roger Penrose.
The author of this article does not consider himself as an evolutionist, and he does not feel any difficulty in explaining this fact. Let us turn to the following passage of the Prescription:
And He taught Adam all the names. Then He showed them to the maintainers 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 their names!” And when he had called their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the hidden of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (2:31-33)
The information shown also unambiguously informs us that the Adam as the successor was endowed with certain knowledge, which presupposes mental activity, which the human brain does. This explains the sudden increase in the capacity of the brain.
All of the above leads to the following conclusion: on the earth there were representatives of the animal world, out of which God appointed the successor. And in order for him to cope with his duties, Adam was endowed with intellectual abilities, which determined the increase in his brain.
In the Islamic tradition it is believed that the above epithets in relation to the Most High cannot be applied to His creations. However, if we carefully study the Koran, we will see that this is not true. Let us turn to the following excerpts:
Indeed, God is Hearing (samii,un) and Seeing(basyyroon). (22:75)
God defined epithets in relation to himself: “Hearing” and “Seeing,” at the same time, he also appeals to people with the same epithets:
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture. We tried him and We made him hearing (samii,an) and seeing (basyyran). (76:2)
Moreover, we see the same epithet, applied both to the Lord and to the prophet Abraham:
…and God is Forgiving and Forbearing (haliimun). (5:101)
…Indeed was Ibrahim (Abraham) compassionate and forbearing (haliimun). (9:114)
This is only a small part of the examples from the Koran, when the same qualities are mentioned, both for the Creator and for people.
In connection with the above examples, consider the following passage in a new context:
And when We said to the maintainers, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for disappointed (iblees). He refused and was arrogant and became of the closed ones.
And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in the garden and eat therefrom in abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the obscurantists.”
But disobedient caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.” Then Adam received words from his Lord, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, he is repentant, regretting.
We said, “Go down from the garden, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (2:34-38)
The traditional translation of this passage is as follows:
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Sahih International)
Then Adam received (some) Words from his Lord; so He relented towards him; surely He, Ever He, is The Superbly Relenting, The Ever-Merciful. (Dr. Ghali)
Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. (Pickthall)
Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Yusuf Ali)
Then ’Ādam learned certain words (to pray with) from his Lord; so, Allah accepted his repentance. No doubt, He is the Most-Relenting, the Very-Merciful. (Mufti Taqi Usmani)
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. (Muhsin Khan)
Then Adam received some words from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: He is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful. (Abdul Haleem)
Thereupon Adam learned from his Lord some words and repented1 and his Lord accepted his repentance for He is Much-Relenting, Most Compassionate. (Abu Ala Maududi)
Such a translation is not surprising; because it rests not on the context itself, but on the established view that the epithets of God are applicable only to God Himself. However, carefully reviewing the passage, we come to another conclusion.
What is the history of Adam’s seduction about? That after the violation of the prohibition, the Lord turned to Adam, and it was the words of God’s appeal that Adam accepted. The confirmation of this fact can be found in an extended version of this story in another part of the Qur’an:
… And their Lord called to them, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that the disobedient is to you a clear enemy?” (7:22)
Then the traditional translation says that the Creator forgave Adam. Here the question arises, where is Adam’s repentance? God forgives only after repentance! The answer to this question is also in a more extended narrative:
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!” (7:23)
Thus, Adam’s next action after accepting the words of the Most High, was his repentance. What happened then? The Lord, in punishment for disobedience, sends Adam and his wife out of the garden to less favourable conditions on earth under certain conditions. Thus, we are not talking about God’s forgiveness to Adam; on the contrary, God’s PUNISHMENT was imposed in the form of harsh living conditions for disobedience. Therefore, in the translation proposed by the author of the article, it is Adam who acts as a repentant personality, on the basis of which, the author came to the conclusion that this is about Adam, the Almighty says that he is repentant, regretting (rahiimun)! Apparently, the epithet “regrettable (rahiimun)” can be applied to a person. In connection with this idea, the statement of “rational monotheists” that in the sura “Tauba” the 128th ayat is written by people, only on the grounds that the messenger is designated by the same epithet (rahimunin) there as the Creator, is not well-off.
And We have certainly created you, and given you form, then We said to the maintainers, “Prostrate to Adam”; so they prostrated, except for the disappointed (iblees). He was not of those who prostrated.
God said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?”
He replied, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”
God said, “Descend from here, for it is not for you to be arrogant therein! So get out! Indeed, you are of the debased!
He asked, “Respite me until the day they are resurrected.”
God replied, “Indeed, you are of those respited.”
He 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.”
God replied, “Get out of there, reproached and expelled! Whoever follows you among them – I will surely fill Hell with you, all together!”
“O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in the garden and eat from wherever you will but do not approach this tree, lest you be among the obscurantists.”
But disobedient whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their misdeeds.
He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become maintainers or become of the ones eternally abiding.”
And he swore to them, “Indeed, I am to you from among the sincere advisors.” So he made them fall, through allurement. And when they tasted of the tree, their misdeed became apparent to them, and they began to repair the leaves of the garden above them.
And their Lord called to them, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that the disobedient 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!”
God said, “Descend, being to one another enemy! And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time!”
God said, “Therein you will live, and therein you will die, and from it you will be brought forth!”
O children of Adam! We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal what is blamed and as adornment, but the clothing of prudence – that is best. That is from the signs of God that perhaps they will remember!
O children of Adam! Let not the disobedient tempt you as he removed your parents from the garden, stripping them of their clothing of prudence to show them their misdeed. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the disobedient ones patrons to those who do not believe! (7:11-27)
Apparently, the proposed passage also differs from the traditional translation. It is generally accepted that Adam and his wife were nude in the garden. After the violation of the ban, they allegedly saw the light and realized that they were naked and began sewing for themselves clothes from the leaves. However, analysing the story with Adam throughout the Quran, we find the following:
Indeed, We had already had an obligation from Adam before, but he forgot, and We found not in him firmness.
When We said to the maintainers, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except the disobedient (iblees), he refused.
So We said, “O Adam! Indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from the garden so you would suffer.Indeed, it is for you not to be hungry therein or be unclothed. And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein or be hot from the sun!”
Then the disobedient whispered to him, saying “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and unattainable kingship?” And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their misdeed became apparent to them. They began to repair the leaves of the garden above them. Adam disobeyed his Lord, being tempted. Then his Lord chose him and turned to him, accepted his repentance and guided.
He said, “Descend from the garden – all, being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer! And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life! We will gather him blind on the day of standing before God!” (20:115-124)
Again we have the unambiguous meaning that in the garden where Adam and his wife were placed, they were not naked. Further, in the Arabic version it is literally written that after disobedience, Adam and his wife began to repair leaves over themselves, and not sew on themselves, which is quite logical. If you climb a tree to get some fruit, then it is likely to break some of the branches and leaves. After realizing their mistake, Adam and his wife tried to hide the traces of their disobedience, which explains the attempt to repair the broken leaves.
“Rational monotheists” have an opinion that the description of a tree in the garden is a figurative expression describing some abomination. However, in a new understanding, we see that in this story there is a concrete description of the facts that have occurred.