The Story of Adam and Eve (Hawwa)

Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi

eBook: Stories of the Prophets



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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 was 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.)"

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