The Story of Adam and Eve (Hawwa)

Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi

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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.

Adam understood his 3rd lesson. He knew now in a practical way that Iblis was his enemy, the cause of his losing the blessing of living in Paradise, and the cause of his distress. Adam also understood that Allah punishes disobedience and that the way of Paradise has to be through submission to the will of Allah. And he learned from Allah Almighty to ask for forgiveness.

Allah accepted Adam's repentance and forgave him. He then sent him to the earth as His first messenger.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger (PBUH) said: "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam: 'Your sin expelled you from Paradise.' Adam said: ' You are Moses whom Allah selected as His messenger and as the one to whom He spoke directly. Yet you blame me for a thing which had already been written in my fate before my Creation?" Allah's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said twice, "So Adam outclassed Moses." [Sahih Bukhari]

Umar Ibn Al Khattab also narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Moses (PBUH) said: 'My Lord! May I see Adam who removed us and himself from the Paradise?" so Allah made him see Adam and he said to him: "Are you Adam?" Adam said: "yes." And he said "Were you the one in Whom Allah breathed His spirit and before whom He bowed His angels and to whom He taught the names of all things?" Adam answered: "yes." so Moses said: "What made you remove us and yourself from Paradise.?" Adam said: "Who are you?" Moses said: "I am Moses." Adam said: "So you are Moses the prophet of the Children of Israel. Were you the one Allah spoke to directly?" Moses answered "yes." Adam said: "Why do you blame me for a matter which Allah had predestined?" So Allah’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said twice. "Adam outclassed Moses." [Sahih al Bukhari]

There are many traditions concerning the place of Adam's descent upon earth. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn Abbas said: "Adam descended on land 'Dihna' between Mecca and taif." Al-Hassan said that Adam descended in India and Eve in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Iblis Bodistiman (Iraq), and the serpent in Ashahan (Iran). This last was also reported by Ibn Hatim.

Ass'ady related that Adam descended with the Black Stone (a large black stone set into the wall of the ka'ba in Mecca. It is said to have come from Paradise) in India, and he had a handful of the seeds of Paradise. He sowed them in India and they grew into the fragrant tree therein.

Ibn Umar said that Adam descended on As-Safa and Eve on Al-Marwa (names of two mountains in the vicinity of the sacred house in Mecca. Part of the rites of pilgrimage (hajj) includes pacing between these two hills in commemoration of Hajar's search for water). This was also reported by Ibn Hatim. Abdul Razzaq reported that Abi Musa Al-shari said that when Allah ordered Adam to descend from Paradise to earth, He taught him the making of everything and provided him with the crops from Paradise.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday. On this day Adam was created, and on this day he was descended to earth." [al Bukhari]

Adam knew he bade farewell to peace and he left Paradise. On earth he had to face conflict and struggle. No sooner had one ended than another began. He also had to toil to sustain himself. He had to protect himself with clothes and weapons and protect his wife and children from the wild beasts. Above all he had to struggle with the spirit of evil. Satan, the cause of his expulsion from Paradise, continued to beguile him and his children in an effort to have them thrown into the eternal hellfire. The battle between good and evil is continuous, but those who follow Allah's guidance and should fear nothing while those who disobey Allah and follow Iblis will be damned along with him.

Adam grasped all of this and with the knowledge of this suffering he started his life on the earth. The only thing that allowed his grief was that he was master of the earth and had to make it yield to him. He was the one who had to perpetuate, cultivate and construct and populate the earth. He was also the one who had to procreate and raise children who would change and improve the world.

The pinnacle of earthly bliss was reached when Adam and Eve witnessed the birth of their 1st children, a set of twins. Adam was a devoted father and Eve a contented mother. The twins were Cain (Qabil) and his sister. Later Eve gave birth to a second set of twins, Abel (Habil) and his sister. The family enjoyed the bounties and fruits of the earth provided by their Lord. The children grew up to be strong and healthy young adults. Cain tilled the land while Abel raised cattle.

The time arrived when the two young men desired life partners. This was part of Allah’s plan for mankind, to multiply and form nations with different cultures and colors. Allah revealed to Adam that he should marry each son to the twin sister of the other. Adam instructed his children according to Allah's command, but Cain was displeased with the partner chosen for him, for Abel's twin sister was not as beautiful as his own.

It appears that since the beginning of time, physical beauty has been a factor in the attraction between man and women. This attraction caused Cain to envy his brother Abel. He rebelled against Allah's command by refusing to accept his father's advice.

At first glance Cain's rebellion might appear strange, but we should remember that although man has a pure nature, the potential for dichotomy exists. In other words, he had both good and bad qualities. He can become greedy, covetous, possessive, selfish and even destructive. Man is, therefore capable of seeking self-satisfaction even if it leads to failure in this life and in the hereafter. The path to goodness lies in harnessing the enemy within him, his baser self by controlling evil thoughts and deeds and practicing moderation in his desires and actions. His reward then will be the delights of this world and the hereafter. Thus Allah tests us through our divided nature.

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