By Malika Kahn
Adam (pbuh) is regarded as the first human being, as well as the first Prophet of Islam. The story of Adam and Eve varies slightly across the Abrahamic religions while maintaining some similarities. This article explores the story of Adam and Eve in the Quran.
Creation of Adam in the Quran
The story of Prophet Adam is found in several verses in the Quran. Not only do these verses describe the creation of the first human beings, but also imparts the purpose of life amongst other important values.
According to the Quran, well before the creation of Adam it had already been decided by Allah that mankind would be placed on the Earth.
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.’ They said, ‘Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?’ Allah said, ‘Indeed, I know that which you do not know.’” [2:30]
Allah informed the angels that he would create Adam, the first human being, who would assume the role as Allah’s vicegerent or deputy to prosper the earth. This indicates that long before the events in which Adam and Eve are tested, it was intended that Earth would be their destination.
The angels were curious about this choice. As perfect beings created to obediently fulfill their roles, their question to God was not meant to challenge, but to gain an understanding. God’s reply indicated that Adam would be given preference for a reason.
What was Adam created from?
“Indeed Allah Most High created Adam from a handful that He took from all of the earth. So the children of Adam come in according with the earth, some of them come red, and white and black, and between that, and the thin, the thick, the filthy, and the clean.” [at-Tirmidhi, 2955]
It is described that Adam was created from a handful of soil that the Angels were instructed to take from the earth. This soil varied in colours of red, brown, black, and white; ranging in textures of soft, gritty, silky, and hard; and varying in attributes such as fertility. This indicates that the progeny of Adam was destined to be diverse.
The Quran also describes that Adam was created from clay (Quran 38:71) or dust (Quran 3:59). This range of descriptions brings to light the history and fundamental attachment that humankind has with the earth.
“…He created Him from dust; then He said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was.” [3:59]
After being fashioned into shape, Adam’s soul, created by God, was placed in him. The Quran does not detail how this occurs, and therefore it is regarded as something not within the scope of human comprehension.
Adam is honoured as the First Human
“And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam’; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.” [7:11]
After creating the first human, God commanded the angels to prostrate to Adam. Although prostrating is an act of worship reserved for God alone, this prostration by the Angels was a sign of respect. Furthermore, this gesture of honouring the first human also served as a test for Iblees or satan, who despite being present refused to participate.
“[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay. So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.’ So the angels prostrated – all of them entirely. Except Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers.” [38:71-74]
Satan was of the creation called the jinn and was amongst the angels due to his deeds. As a being with freewill who was raised in ranks, he deemed himself far greater than Adam. His disobedience was rooted in pride and a sense of superiority. He could not accept Adam as a creation worthy of respect. However, as God had previously mentioned to the angels, there was wisdom in choosing to create Adam and therefore choosing mankind for the role as earth’s deputies.
“And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels 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 them of their names.’ And when he had informed them of their names, He said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.’” [2:31-33]
Unlike the angels, Adam was created with freewill and had the ability to discern and make decisions. Furthermore, Adam was granted the gift of knowledge. This knowledge included knowing the names, features, and uses of all existing things whether animate or inanimate. This knowledge prepared Adam for his coming role on earth. When Adam was instructed to present his knowledge to the angels, it resembled that of a teacher to pupils, which further indicated his superiority. The angels came to know that purity and perfect obedience were not the sole qualities necessary to be vicegerents.
Adams’ suitability for the role of vicegerent was humbly acknowledged by the angels, but challenged by Satan, who was condemned and banished from heaven.
The Creation of Eve
Adam’s spouse, although commonly referred to as Eve or Hawa, is not mentioned by name in the Quran despite being referred to in many places. The details regarding how Eve was created is not mentioned in the Quran. However, it is made evident that Eve was created from Adam.
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women….” [4:1]
The hadith or traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) further reveal that Eve was created from Adam’s rib which was taken while he was asleep. The narrations that describe this story of the rib is often used to emphasize being gentle and kind to women.
“O Muslims! I advise you to be gentle with women, for they are created from a rib, and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part. If you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked; so I urge you to take care of the women.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 5185; Sahih Muslim 8:3468]
After Eve was created, the couple was given a place in heaven.
“And We said, ‘O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.’” [2:35]
Eve was created to accompany Adam as his companion and life partner, and they were instructed to live together in tranquility. In heaven, Adam and Eve were free to eat and enjoy everything with the exception of one tree.
The Quran does not describe what kind of tree it was, however, this prohibition set the stage for the test that was to come.
Adam and Eve’s Test in Paradise
In the Quran, the forbidden tree served as a test for Adam and Eve. Furthermore, God warned Adam and Eve that the devil was an enemy and that they should be on their guard.
“So We said, ‘O Adam, indeed this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Then let him not remove you from Paradise so you would suffer.’” [20:117]
Satan, eagerly targeting the weakness of mankind, tempted Adam and Eve by whispering into their hearts. Claiming to be a sincere advisor, he planted in their minds ideas that would make the forbidden tree appealing. Thoughts of the tree preoccupied both Adam and Eve. Forgetting the warning, they gave in and erred.
“But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, ‘Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.’ And he swore [by Allah ] to them, ‘Indeed, I am to you from among the sincere advisors.’ So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, ‘Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?’” [7:20-22]
By forgetting God’s command, Adam and Eve bore equal responsibility for their error. This too was a test for Satan, who in fact, furthered his disobedience by exploiting mankind through their desires.
The Virtue of Repentance and Supplication
Through this test, God prepared Adam for his role on earth, as a caretaker and a Prophet. This experience taught Adam firsthand that Satan was a deceptive enemy to mankind.
After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve became ashamed and deeply regretted their actions. They acknowledged their errors and sought mercy, repenting sincerely [7:23].
The story of Adam and Eve in the Quran teaches the virtue of repentance and supplication. Adam and Eve recognized their errors and prayed for forgiveness. This, in turn, earned them Allah’s forgiveness and guidance.
“Then his Lord chose him and turned to him in forgiveness and guided [him].” [20:122]
Adam and Eve are sent to Earth
In the Quran, God consoles Adam. Since the sin of Adam stemmed from desire, and not from arrogance, his repentance was accepted.
“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.” [2:37]
Despite being forgiven, Adam and Eve were no longer granted the comforts of paradise and would be sent to Earth. It is important to note that since Allah had mentioned Adam’s mission on Earth long before his test, Adam and Eve’s appointment to earth is not viewed as punishment, instead, it aligns with God’s Plan. The Quran describes the Earth to Adam and Eve as a place in which to reside and enjoy for a period of time, until the day they die and are resurrected (Quran 7:24-25).
“We said, ‘Go down from it, 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. And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.’” [2:38-39]
Furthermore, Adam is informed by God that he and his progeny will be sent guidance during their time on Earth. In contrast, Satan, unlike Adam, had not begged for forgiveness and had instead requested respite: a chance to mislead and reveal the inadequacy of mankind. God facilitated this request, but warned that Satan would be powerless over the believers.
Therefore, in the Quran, Adam, Eve, and Satan are all sent down to Earth. On Earth, Adam (pbuh) assumes the role as the first Prophet and the father of mankind.
Lessons from the Story of Adam and Eve
There are many valuable lessons to be extracted from the experiences of the people in the Quran. From the story of Adam and Eve one learns that pride and arrogance is the key to loss and destruction. Further lessons include the value of acknowledging errors, the virtue of repenting, and the power of supplication. The test in paradise was an essential lesson that demonstrated freewill. To be able to live on earth, Adam and Eve learned about the devil’s deception, the consequences of sin, and the Mercy of the Creator.
Adam’s life on Earth as a Prophet contains many more lessons which will be explored in a future article.
What do you think? Share your reflections below!
- Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 5, Book of Tafsir Of The Qur’an, Hadith 2955
- Ma’ariful Qur’an by Muhammad Shafi Deobandi
- Sunnah.com. Available at: https://sunnah.com
- Tafhim-ul-Quran by Abul A’la Maududi
- The Noble Quran. Available at: https://quran.com/
Not insightful. It doesn’t give any insight into what the tree was, or why God said not to go near it. All the rest are things we already know.
Only The “ALL-knowing” knows All.. Know that we are all here on earth to do the work commissioned to us by the Most-High.. those make sincere effort are rewarded more knowledge. (hikma: sagacity) that helps us better steer to the righteous direction… More work we do, more wisdom is endowed. Cheers
I am not sure I understand the part where they started covering their private parts later. Did they not cover themselves before, and if not, why/
After they ate the forbidden fruits, it made their private parts apparent. Implying that their private parts were covered before they ate the fruits. The act of eating the forbidden fruit made their private parts uncovered. Hence, they had to cover them after they transgressed.
I think the concept of private parts is symbolic. It is meant to show our vulnerabilities as humans. When our private parts are exposed, we are vulnerable. Similar to this story, Adam and Eve became aware of their vulnerabilities.
Iblis was an angel..he has always been an angel. Because he disobeyed God he has become Jin Fallen angel.
Iblis never was an angel. Angels can’t disobey
No where in the Quran does it EVER state that Adam, SA was the first human. It is not there anywhere. He was the first PROPHET, no more and no less. The story has to start somewhere and that’s where it starts although elsewhere it is said that man existed prior to being MENTIONED dudes.
Get it right so I don’t have to.
Salaam wa alaikum
This whole story is a proverb on its own not just a story as we read it . I understand it differently. Anywhere you see Adam is referring to a male and Eve is a female . Because there where humans before prophet Adam was sent
There is. Read carefully Margaret. Before humans, jinn are dwellers in this world
You are right. According to the holy books, Adam existed 10000 years from now. But fossils shows skeleton of humans even much more older than that.
which book, bro?
Mash’Allah a very insightful and balanced reading. That Allah swt already determined that Adam will be on earth therefore being sent to earth was not a punishment, this is a valuable insight, one not always understood that way. Jazak Allah khairan
Wa’iyyakum. We’re glad to share this knowledge with you 🙂
May Allah reward you for this. It’s quite insightful, it also helped me gain some insights into something I’ve been thinking about on and off for some time now, being a revert from Christianity: The Concept of Original Sin as espoused by the People of the Book, and their claim that God showed “superior mercy and love” to mankind by “coming to the earth” (or sending his “son”) to be killed for the sins of humanity.
I read through the verses in this article multiple times and it was as though I was seeing them for the first time (20:122, 2:30, 7:23), I noticed they all state that Allah forgave Adam and Eve even BEFORE they were completely ejected from paradise. In 2:37: “Then his Lord sent His commands to Adam and turned to him, Indeed He is compassionate and kind”, and in 20:122: “Then his Lord chose him and relented towards him, and showed him the way”, and in 7:23: “O our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us we shall certainly be lost”.
Firstly, the Quranic version of the story makes the most sense. Adam and Eve, being intelligent beings, realized the gravity of what they had done and felt remorseful and sought Allah’s forgiveness. I will never understand how Christians can ignore this huge elephant in the room: Adam and Eve are never recorded asking for forgiveness in the Bible. This makes no sense, because Adam and Eve had a one-on-one relationship with God, how could they not seek His forgiveness? And if they did, how could He not forgive them if He is truly Omnipotent?
Secondly, of the two stories, the truly Loving and Merciful God, in my opinion, is the one who set aside His wrath and ability to wipe them out and command a new “more-obedient” creation into being; who went so far as to show them the path to repentance, despite the gravity of their sin; and who forgave them immediately they expressed sincere remorse and asked to be forgiven and guided.
Finally, as imperfect beings, they (and their descendants) were bound to make more mistakes in the future (it would be foolish to give them free-will and expect perfect obedience), so establishing a path to repentance and forgiving them immediately (rather than just casting them out and waiting for some thousands of years to arrive on earth and die on a cross to right their wrongs) puts Allah’s All-knowing and Wise nature on full display.
My message is a little long, but I hope I have articulated my thoughts well enough to convey some valuable insights.
Thank you so much for sharing. What a great insight masha’Allah. I’m glad we could give you some beneficial knowledge, and that you could share your reflection. Jazakallahu khairan.
Great article & reminder
Thanks for reading! 😀
JazakAllahu khair Thanks for the great topic. May Allah (SWT) accept our good deeds and forgive our sins
Wa’iyyakum 🙂 Ameen!
Algamdullilah. I enjoyed the broader understanding and message conveyed. Jazaakallah for the insight.
P.S. Perhaps an E-Book of Quraan stories would be great for our children, to increase their knowledge and grant them understanding? Insha-Allah*
Wa’iyyakum 🙂 That’s a lovely idea!
Alhamdulliah for sharing this with us. What a beautiful reminder. Please share more articles, this will be so beneficial and sadqa jariyaa.
We are glad it has benefited you. Insha’Allah we hope to post more articles. Keep an eye out!
Thanks for this great topic and knowledge. It’s a crucial reminder of our duties here on earth and responsibilities for our families specialty to our women.
Alhamdulilah a welcome reminder of the trials we are facing in this life and explanation of why we dress modestly.
Yes, alhamdulillah 🙂
allah commands iblis to get down from paradise and then immediately in the following ayats we see iblis is still tempting adam and eve in paradise. So why is iblis still in paradise?
Masha Allah very good reminders and easy to read for all. Slight error with Eve’s name being spelled as Even under the subheading of ‘The Virtue of Repentance and Supplication’. I point this out to improve the text even further insha Allah.
Thanks for letting us know! Typos are no fun 😀 Thank you for reading.
JazakAllah Khair. This is so informative
Allahu Akbar. Very insightful story. JajakAllah Khairan.
Alhamdulillah. Very Informative and opening the doors of Islamic knowledge . Jazakallah
Alhamdulillah, glad to hear you benefited 🙂
Thank you for the detailed explanation. I have a doubt which has been on the back of my mind for sometime. I’ve read on the internet that the name of Adam’s wife is never mentioned in the Qur’an or the Hadiths. Please enlighten me on how and where the name Eve is found.
Thank you in advance.
Informative and very good ..
Pls share more stories for benefit of others
Ma Sha Allah! Very insightful and informative. Will be waiting for more stories and explanations to come. Thank you so much.
Alhamdullilah really good. I really liked the lessons which are applicable today.
Greatly confused with the idea of truth. So many things have been hidden . Is the moon real? How did the pyramid get made? What’s the truth of UFOs aliens?
You’ll get to know about everything when you get back to your creator, Our purpose in this life is to struggle and play our parts righteously, All hidden archives will be opened on the day of resurrection inshallah, We dont just have this mortal life, We have an afterlife beyond the earthly loops.