You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 4:20), watch it below, or read the summary below.

Delivered November 8, 2019

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

All praises are due to Allah, the One that created us and the One that has blessed us with so much, the One that continuously showers us with his blessings and His mercy and His forgiveness. All praises are due to Allah, the One that has given us the greatest blessing, which is the blessing of faith, the blessing of imaan, the blessing of belief in Him. May Allah keep us steadfast and firm in our beliefs. Ameen.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the verses where Allah talks about the creation of Adam (as), the creation of mankind. The common interpretation is that Adam (as) fell from heaven because of his mistake, which was taking from the tree. But there’s a little more to it than that and I would like to discuss that today insha’Allah.

Surah Al-Baqarah is the second surah and the longest surah in the Quran. Surah Al-Baqarah is said to be a long summary of the Quran because it’s 50 pages long and has so much content. Surah Al-Fatiha is considered to be the short summary of the Quran. In the first few pages of Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah talks about the creation of Adam (as). Before the story even begins, in the pre verses that lead up to the creation of an Adam, Allah first declares to the angels –

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً

Waith qala rabbuka lilmalaikati innee jaAAilun fee alardi khaleefatan

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:30)

And remember what Allah, your Lord, said to the angels, “I am going to place on the earth a Khalifa.” So that tells us the plan all along was for Adam and Eve (Hawā) to end up on earth. That was the plan all along. The mistake was going to happen. The deception of Shaytan was going to happen. All of those events were going to happen. That was the plan all along, of course. Allah is All-Knowledgeable and He is the best of planners. But the story starts with this statement that Allah told the angels, “I’m going to place on the earth a Khalifa.What is a Khalifa? A Khalifa is a successor. So Abu Bakr (ra) was the successor of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the successor to him was Umar (ra) and so on. They were the Khalifa to Rasulullah, the successors of the Messenger of Allah. When it comes to this word Khalifa in this verse, the scholars talk about two opinions, and I think both of them make sense. They’re not really exclusive.

One meaning is that Adam was simply a successor to those creatures already on earth and the second interpretation is that he was a successor to Allah, not to Allah directly, but to Allah’s command. And that it was his job to carry out the commands and responsibilities that Allah had given him. The proof of that is what Allah talks to Dawood (as) and He says –

يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ  وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ

Ya dawoodu inna jaAAalnaka khaleefatan fee alardi faohkum bayna alnnasi bialhaqqi wala tattabiAAi alhawa

[We said], “O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow [your own] desire

(Surah Sad, Quran 38:26)

We have made you a Khalifa, a successor on the earth. So judge between people – بِالْحَقِّ – with truth – وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ – and do not follow empty desires. Be enforced for truth, be enforced for good judgment, and don’t be enforced and simply pursue the next material pleasure, the next worldly pleasure. Be a force for truth. So Khalifa is the successor that represented. Many translations use the word vicegerent, which nobody knows what that means, but it means representative. Now let’s look at the rest of the passage. Allah starts by calling Adam and Hawā the successors, the Khalifa. But before they get to earth, a few things happen. First, the angels respond to Allah and they ask him –

قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَوَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ

 qaloo atajAAalu feeha man yufsidu feeha wayasfiku alddimaa wanahnu nusabbihu bihamdika wanuqaddisu laka 

They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” 

إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

qala innee aAAlamu ma la taAAlamoona

Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:30)

Ya Allah, you want to place on earth, someone who causes corruption and spills blood?” And Allah’s first response is – إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ – “I know and you do not know.” But He didn’t stop there. A lot of us teaching our children say, “because Allah said so that’s it. No more explanation.” But Allah does not stop there, He continues. And He does not just tell the angels, He shows them –

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا

WaAAallama adama alasmaa kullaha thumma

And He taught Adam the names – all of them.

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:31)

Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Then He presented those things to the angels and the angels were unable to know the names of those things. So the first difference between Adam and the angels is that Adam can obtain knowledge. That’s very important for the rest of the story. Adam can learn whereas the angels could not learn of their own free will. They did not have free will like Adam had. So the differentiating factor was this knowledge which the angels could only obtain through direct inspiration from Allah. That is why Jibril was just a messenger. There is no way that Jibril could add anything to the Quran or subtract anything from the Quran because his knowledge was directly inspired by Allah and he takes it to the Prophet (pbuh). That is his role, that is his duty, and that is as far as he can go. So the main differentiating factor in your technology terms, USP, the unique selling proposition, of Adam, the first and foremost unique thing about him was that he can learn what Allah taught him.

Then Allah asked the angels to bow down to Adam. Iblees was with them and he refused to bow down even though he was given that command. He was arrogant and refused to back down and said –

قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ ‎

Qala ana khayrun minhu khalaqtanee min narin wakhalaqtahu min teenin

He said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”

(Surah Sad, Quran 38:76)

“I am better than Adam. You created me from fire, and you created him from clay.” You’ve heard the story. So Shaytan becomes the accursed one – الرجيم – the one who is arrogant – أَبَىٰ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ – He does not repent. He does not seek Allah’s forgiveness. He does not recognize his mistake with Allah. But Allah commanded him. Then the next part of the story Allah moves Adam and Hawa to paradise. And He tells them –

وَكُلَا مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ

wakula minha raghadan haythu shituma wala taqraba hathihi alshshajarata

and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree,

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:35)

Eat and drink wherever you like, just don’t eat from that tree.” And Shaytan deceived Adam and Hawā. Some people have heard the tale that Eve tricked Adam to eaten from the tree, but we don’t believe that. We believe that it was Shaytan who tricked both of them into eating from the tree. The Quran talks about what he promised them. He used their desires and their internal, natural feelings to get to them. He said, “if you eat from this tree, you will become angels or you will live forever.” He knew that human beings desire to be perfect, like the angels and human beings desire to live forever. So he said, “this is the tree that gets you to live forever.” He deceived Adam and Hawa and they fell for his deceptions and they slipped, as Allah says. They made a mistake and they ate from the tree. What is the difference between Shaytan’s mistake and Adam’s mistake? Shaytan was unrepentant, whereas Adam and Hawa were repentant-

فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ

Fatalaqqa adamu min rabbihi kalimatin fataba AAalayhi

Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance.

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:37)

That’s where knowledge comes into play again. Allah taught Adam the words of repentance. Adam learned from his mistakes. And then Allah says –

قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا

Qulna ihbitoo minha jameeAAan

We said, “Go down from it, all of you.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:38)

Go and descend to the earth. Now you are ready to descend to earth after those three things happened:

  1. Allah showed that Adam can learn
  2. Adam made a mistake
  3. Adam learned from that mistake and sought repentance.

Once those three things were complete, “Now go to the earth. Now, descend to the earth.” –

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ

walakum fee alardi mustaqarrun wamataAAun ila heenin

and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:36)

And on this earth, you have a place to reside and you have some provision – مَتَاعٌ – for a small amount of time, for a temporary existence. Allah did not say, “There you will be tortured and there you will be punished and there you will suffer.” He said, “this is a place for you to reside and your provision for a time and that time will end. That time is temporary.” So the plan all along was to send Adam (as) and Hawa (as) to earth. But those things had to happen. The establishment of knowledge had to happen. The establishment of trial and error and learning from those mistakes had to happen. And then Adam and Hawa would be sent to earth.

And that was the difference between the angels and Iblees and Adam. The angels did not have free will. They could not learn. Adam could learn and he could make a mistake and he could learn from his mistake and he could repent. And Iblees, even though he had free will, he utilized it for evil. He rebelled, he was arrogant, and he was not repentant. So you see these three creations of Allah. The creation that we are is Adam’s (as) offspring. Like him, we have to learn. We will make mistakes and we should learn from those mistakes and we should repent to Allah. So we ask Allah that He helps us to engage in that.

If you look at all of the creatures of the earth, trial and error and learning from our mistakes is our unique variable that Allah has given us. The ability to be able to work on modern technology. What is it but trial and error, one after the other? We are able to learn and we are able to build like no other creature on earth. This is the miraculous intelligence that Allah has given human beings. And all the successes that we have had in technology are due to this inherent ability to learn from our mistakes. We should not only use that intelligence to learn from the worldly mistakes, but also from the mistakes that will lead us to ruin in the akhirah. We should try to repent from those and seek forgiveness for those mistakes and make sure that we find a better way.

If I was to ask you, what are your goals for the next 10 years, the next five years? What would you say? What would you say your goals are for the next five to 10 years? Is it to become a CEO, to become a senior vice president, the President, the higher up? What is the goal? This is that time of year now when everyone is starting to think about those new year’s resolutions, the last two months of the year. People usually resolve to do the three most common resolutions in America –

  1. I want to make more money.
  2. I want to be more organized.
  3. I want to get fit.

Those are the three main resolutions that people have. But what other resolutions should we have and how can we live a meaningful and purposeful life? How can we aim for that objective which Allah gave us when he created usجَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةًa Khalifa, a successor of my commands, a representative of mine. How can we achieve that goal? How do we live that purposeful and meaningful existence?

People who have a purpose in life, recent research shows that they live longer. They have less risk for heart disease. They have less risk for stress and depression because they’re living with some kind of purpose. So how can we live for some kind of purpose? And by purpose I don’t mean making sure that dinner is ready every night. That’s a short-term goal. Like purpose, they did the research, they talked about long-term. They even studied on knee replacements, a very big surgery. And they found that people who, in the survey responded that they have more purpose in their life, healed much faster. They had somewhere to go. It makes sense. It makes logical sense. They had something to do. They had some purpose in life and so they heal faster. Isn’t that amazing, that power of intention and that power of your mind? And Islam actually encourages this.

What did the Prophet (pbuh) say? He said that if someone thinks about the good deed and makes a good intention, then you get rewarded just for having a good intention. So Islam incentivizes good thoughts and Islam incentivizes good intentions. But if you have a bad intention and evil intention, then you are not held accountable for that, and you are not punished for that, and you can see how that incentive system works. And if you actually go and carry out that good deed, you get 10 times the reward or whatever multiple Allah decides for you. That is how Islam encourages us and positively reinforces us to have good thoughts and good intentions. So what are our good thoughts and good intentions? Let’s try to come up with those goals for ourselves, living in a greater purpose and giving a greater purpose to our lives.

I asked people about how best to leave a legacy. The common answer I got was, “the best way to leave a legacy is to be like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, and to make a lot of money and to use that money for something that is productive.” But very few people will actually get to that level. It’s important for us to try our best to excel in what we do, whether it is being a student, whether it is being an employee, whether it is being an employer, whether it is being a parent, we should excel in all of those things. But leaving our legacy and our purpose is not tied to a material cause, to simply something having to do with money. We can’t depend on corporations to have our best interests in mind. We saw that recently with what had happened in Hong Kong, where people criticized Apple and other companies for not taking a stance there, but they can’t. It doesn’t make sense for them to because their main objective is profits at the end of the day.

So, what are we taking our level and what direction are we taking our lives? And how are we acting out? How are we becoming the successor Allah wants to become, that Khalifa on the earth that Allah wants us to become? The story of Adam (as), if you think about it is very, very beautiful. Allah wanted to send us to earth. Our existence on earth, we believe as Muslims, is not a punishment. We don’t believe in the original sin. Our sentence to earth, our time on earth rather, is not an punishment. Many Muslims get it wrong and they believe that being a part of the world, being a part of the dunya, is evil inherently. But that is not the case.

Islam introduces a balance. On the one hand, you have one extreme, which is I want to be completely away from dunya and I don’t want anything to do with it. And I am going to sit in a corner and I’m going to worship. And the other extreme is there is no akhirah and let me just completely follow whatever pleases me, whatever gives me the most pleasure. Let me just follow every single desire that I have with no control.

But Islam teaches a balance. I always remember the story of the three Sahabah who came to Prophet (pbuh). They were a little confused. They had some questions. One of them came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said that, “I prayed all through the night and I never sleep.” The second man said, “O Prophet of Allah, I fast every single day.” And the third one said, “I will never get married. I will never have a family. I will only devote myself to Allah.” What was the Prophet (pbuh)’s response? Did he say, “Great job! MashaAllah, you guys have left the dunya. Great job. Wonderful.” No. What did he say?

He said, “I am the most highest of you. I have the most taqwa.” And he didn’t say that out of pride but because that’s his role. He’s the role model. “I have the most piety. And I pray and I sleep. And I fast and I don’t fast somedays. And I get married and I have a family.” Faman raghiba an sunnati falaisa minni – “and the one who strives for something other than my way, other than my tradition – falaisa minni – then they are not from me.” So if you wish to be from the Prophet then you have to achieve that balance. You cannot be fully in one extreme or the other. You have to achieve that balance. The best verse that I love for this is where Allah says –

وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا

wala tansa naseebaka mina alddunya

and do not forget your portion of the world.

(Surah Al-Qasas, Quran 28:77)

Very beautiful, so short. – نَوَلَا تَنسَ – don’t forget. The assumption is that you are so engrossed in Allah that you will forget. وَلَا تَنسَ – Don’t forget – نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا – your portion of the world. When Allah says your portion, that’s another assumption, which is that “if I work hard enough, I’m going to own everything. I would be king of the world.” That aspiration, Allah also controls that. He says it’s just a portion. You’re never going to own everything. What did the Prophet say? If you give a man a valley of gold, they will want another valley. But it’s just a portion. You will never own everything, but don’t forget it either and try to achieve that balance.

We ask Allah that He helps us to live purposeful lives. That He gives the ability to be Allah’s representative on this earth and to carry out the responsibilities and commands that He has given us.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِیعُ العَلِیمُ وَتُبْ عَلَیْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِیمُ

رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ ھَدَیْتَنَا وَھَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

O Allah make our families the coolness of our eyes. O Allah guide us and our families. O Allah fulfill all of our needs. O Allah grant us your mercy and your forgiveness. O Allah guide us in every aspect of our lives. O Allah guide us in the dunya and for the akhirah ya Rabbal a’lameen. Ya Allah make our last words – لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ. Ya Allah accept our good deeds and forgive our shortcomings and our mistakes. Ya Allah help us to learn from our mistakes.

Ya Allah help us to seek your forgiveness and repentance. Help us to engage in your repentance, and in repentance to you ya Rabbal a’lameen. Ya Allah enter us in Jannatul Firdaus, the highest levels of paradise. O Allah have mercy on those that have passed. O Allah give patience to the families of those who have passed. O Allah, our parents, if they are alive have mercy on them and protect them. O Allah if our parents has passed Allah have mercy on them and forgive them and accept their good deeds and make their graves, gardens and paradise and enter them into the highest levels of paradise.

Ameen.

عِبَادَ اللّهِ  إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ  يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا

 وَأَقِمِ الصّلَاة

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein.  And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.

And, establish the prayer.

What did you think? Please share your reflections and questions below.

And come back next week for another khutbah!

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