Does the Quran also tell the story of Adam and Eve?
Yes it does, although a different version to the one that appears in the Bible today. The story of Adam (pbuh) and Eve is known the world over and is used by some to explain how mankind’s existence began on earth. In fact, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all teach that Adam (pbuh) and Eve were the first humans created by God and that all humans have descended from them. Adam (pbuh) is also a prophet in Islam.
So Muslims believe that every human being in the world today is related to Adam?
Yes, we are all ‘children’ of prophet Adam (pbuh) and Eve, as they were the first two human beings and it is from them the first generations of mankind descended. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “O Mankind fear your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his mate and from the twain He spread abroad many men and women.” In the Quran Allah (swt) often refers to mankind as the ‘Tribe of Adam’.
What else does the Quran tell us about the creation of Adam?
Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran that after He created everything that is in the earth He created the seven Heavens. After that He informed the angels that He intended to create man as His representative on the Earth. So using clay Allah (swt) designed Adam (pbuh) with His own hands and then breathed life into him. Abu Musa (may Allah (swt) be pleased with him) relates in a Hadith that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Surely, Allah created Adam from clay selected from the different regions of the world. So, the children of Aadain (the Banu Adam) went after the earth – some of them turned out to be white, some red, some black and others between them. They turned out to be evil and good, and simple and tough; and there were those between the extremes.” [Ahmad]
What happened once Adam had been given life?
Allah (swt) taught Adam (pbuh) the names of all things – knowledge that the angels didn’t possess. Then Allah (swt) asked all the angels to bow down to Adam (pbuh). All the angels did so except Iblis. “He [Allah] said, ‘What stopped you from prostrating when I commanded you?’ He replied, ‘I am better than him: You created me from fire, while you created him from clay.’” “He [Allah] said, ‘Then go down from here! It is not for you to show arrogance here, so go away! Surely you are one of those who are degraded.’” (Chapter 7, Verse 12-13) So Iblis, thereafter also known as Shaytaan (Satan), was cast away after he refused to obey Allah (swt). Iblis then vowed to spend the rest of his days trying to lead mankind astray. “He [Allah] said, Go away from here, degraded and outcast; as for whoever of them follow you, surely I will fill Hell with all of you.’” (Chapter 7, Verse 18)
Does the Quran reveal any more about Eve?
Eve isn’t actually mentioned by name in the Quran, in fact ‘Eve’ is the name given to the first woman in the Bible. However, in Islamic tradition she is known by the Arabic name ‘Hawwa’. The Quran confirms that Hawwa was indeed created from Adam (pbuh) but doesn’t go into detail: “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her in love...” (Chapter 7, Verse 189) The Bible however states that Eve was created from Adam’s (pbuh) rib – something which although is not confirmed in the Quran, it is in fact supported by a Hadith in Bukhari.
Does the Quran mention the Garden of Eden?
It does, but in Islam it isn’t given such a name but is simply referred to as ‘the Garden’. Both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa lived in Paradise enjoying the blessings of Allah (swt), living a life any human would have envied. However Allah (swt) warned them: “And We said, O’ Adam, dwell – you and your wife – in the Garden and eat freely of its (fruits) as you wish, but do not come near this tree lest you become wrongdoers’”. (Chapter 2, Verse 35) Allah (swt) also told Adam (pbuh) to beware of Shaytaan: “And We said, ‘Surely this one is an enemy to you and your wife, so do not let him drive you out from the Garden, so that you are made miserable’”. (Chapter 20, Verse 117)
Did Adam and Eve eat the apple from the forbidden tree?
Although in Islam there is no confirmation of what particular tree it was, Shaytaan did manage to tempt both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Being humans, their curiosity got the better of them: “But Shaytaan whispered to him saying, ‘O’ Adam, shall I show you the tree of immortality and power that does not waste away?’” (Chapter 20, Verse 120) The Quran tells us that after eating the fruit both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa noticed they had become naked. Realising they had been tricked by Shaytaan they desperately tried to cover their nakedness with leaves from the trees.
In Islam is Eve blamed for tempting Adam to eat the fruit?
No, certainly not. Islam preaches that every person is responsible for their own actions. In the Quran Allah (swt) holds both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa equally responsible for the sin of eating fruit from the tree that He had commanded them to stay away from. They can’t blame one another, as they are both as much responsible human beings as each other. In Islam we will all be made accountable for our own sins, we won’t be able to blame our parents, our brothers or sisters, or our friends or anyone else for that matter.
What about the concept of Original Sin?
This does not exist in Islam. Muslims do not believe that all humans are born with a tendency towards sin, or that we bear actual guilt or responsibility for the sins of our ancestors. Both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa committed a sin and then asked Allah (swt) for forgiveness and He forgave them both, so there is no question of a hereditary sin in Islam. The Quran tells us: “No soul will be questioned about what another soul has done…” (Chapter 17, Verse 15) Instead, Muslims believe we inherited choice from Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa. After committing the sin both Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa were expelled from Paradise and sent to live on earth: “He [Allah] said, “There you will live, and there you will die, and from there you will be raised (from the dead).’” (Chapter 7, Verse 25) Allah (swt) gave them a choice as to how to live their life on earth, they could either believe in Allah’s (swt) signs and follow the guidance He sent to them or they could reject His laws and face the consequences on the Day of Judgement. “We said, ‘Go down from here together, but certainly guidance will come from Me to you – and whoever follows My guidance will neither fear nor grieve; but those who reject and deny Our signs, they are the people of the Fire; they will dwell in it.’” (Chapter 2, Verse 38-39) This is the choice that the whole of mankind has inherited from Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa.
If God truly forgave Adam and Eve for their sin why did He expel them from Paradise?
Allah (swt) is Most Merciful. Not only did Allah (swt) accept their repentance He also guided them: “Then Adam received words (of revelation) from his Lord, and He turned in forgiveness towards him; surely He is the Relenting, the Compassionate.” (Chapter 2, Verse 37) Another verse in the Quran states: “And Adam disobeyed his Lord, so he erred. Then his Lord chose him, and relented towards him, and He guided him.” (Chapter 20, Verse 122) Allah (swt) right from the beginning created Adam (pbuh) with the intention of making him His representative on earth. The Quran tells us that just before Allah (swt) created Adam (pbuh) He told the angels: “Surely I am about to place a vicegerent on the earth...” (Chapter 2, Verse 30) So Adam’s (pbuh) stay in Paradise at the beginning was always only meant to be temporary. However, Allah (swt) did inform Adam (pbuh) that it was possible to return to Paradise if one made the right choices in their life on earth.
Did Adam and Eve have any kids?
Yes, since the whole of mankind descended from them both, they had a lot of children. It is said that in each birth they had twins - a boy and a girl. They were commanded to marry the male of one set to the female of the next set, and the male of that set to the female of the first, but they were disallowed to marry a brother and sister of the same birth. The marriage between sets of twins - an exception granted to the first generation of human beings only - was in order for mankind to multiply. The Quran reveals the names of two of Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa’s sons as Habil and Qabil, known as Abel and Cain in the Bible.
What does the Islamic version of the story of Adam and Eve teach us?
The whole story teaches us that Islam is fair and just when dealing with matters relating to men and women. This story shows us that both men and women are equally capable of following the right path and equally capable of being led astray by Shaytaan and falling into destructive ways. It teaches us that humans have free will, and that they alone will be responsible for their choice of action of which they will ultimately face accountability before Allah (swt). In the Quran Allah (swt) tells us: “O’ Tribe of Adam, do not let Shaytaan beguile you in the same way that he caused your (first) parents to leave the Garden, pulling away their garment (of innocence) so that he made them aware of their nakedness. Surely he sees you, he and his followers, from where you do not see him…” (Chapter 7, Verse 27) Allah (swt) tells Shaytaan in the Quran: “You will have no power over my (sincere) slaves; and Allah will be guardian enough (for them).” (Chapter 17, Verse 65)
How is this story significant to Muslims today?
The story highlights the importance of us acknowledging any sins we commit and then sincerely repenting to Allah (swt) for them. Adam (pbuh), Eve and Iblis all disobeyed Allah’s (swt) command, but the clear difference was how they reacted when made aware of their sin. Adam (pbuh) and Eve realised their mistake, and humbly asked for forgiveness, while Ibis, full of pride, was arrogant and refused to even acknowledge he had done wrong. Also, just like Adam (pbuh) and Hawwa we live as free beings on this earth with the choice to follow Allah’s (swt) Divine Guidance, which is available to us in the Quran, or to follow our own self-willed ways under the influence of Shaytaan. Depending on the choice we make we will either spend our afterlife in peace in Heaven or be forever punished in Hell.