Once upon a time, a long long time ago, 6,000 years ago to be precise, Allah Almighty decided to send down to the world, its first Prophet. This is the story of Hazrat Adam (as). We read in the Holy Qur’an:
“And when your Lord said to the angels; I am about to place a vicegerent in the Earth” (Ch2: verse 31)
A vicegerent means a successor or Khalifa. Picture the scene. The angels are assembled before Allah Almighty and He declares to them that He is going to send a messenger to Earth. From this verse we can understand that Hazrat Adam (as) was not the first man on Earth but a Khalifa; a spiritual leader of the people. That means there must have already been people living on Earth for Adam (as) to become their leader. Now what do the angels think of Allah’s decision?
“They said: ‘Wilt Thou place therein such as will cause disorder in it (the world) and shed blood? — and we glorify Thee with Thy praise and extol Thy holiness.’ He answered: ‘I know what you know not.’ (Ch2 verse 31)
The angels couldn’t understand Allah Almighty’s decision. They thought if a prophet was sent down, it would cause divisions between people. Some people would believe in him and some wouldn’t, hence creating disorder and bloodshed. But Allah Almighty is the best of all planners and simply replied: ‘I know what you know not.’
So how did Allah Almighty make Hazrat Adam (as) different from the rest of mankind? The Holy Qur’an states:
‘And He taught Adam all the names, then He put the objects of these names before the angels and said: ‘Tell Me the names of these, if you are right.’ (Ch2 verse 32)
These names refer to the attributes of Allah Almighty. Hazrat Adam (as) must have already been taught a language by Allah, but to perfect himself spiritually, Adam needed to know Allah’s Attributes. Attributes such as Al Rahman (The Gracious), Al Raheem (The Merciful), Al Qudoos, (The Holy One). After understanding this, the angels had no choice but to proclaim:
They said, `Holy art Thou! No knowledge have we except what Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art All-Knowing, the Wise.’ (Ch2 verse 33)
By being taught the knowledge of Allah’s attributes, Hazrat Adam (as) was elevated to a level beyond the angels.
Adam was then given a commandment, that he and his wife, Hazrat Eve were told to live happily in the garden, but were forbidden to approach a particular tree:
And We said ‘O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in the garden, and eat therefrom plentifully wherever you will, but approach not this tree, least you be of the wrongdoers.’ (Ch 2 verse 36)
We don’t believe that the garden that Hazrat Adam (as) and Hazrat Eve lived in was in heaven. It was right here on Earth. Researchers believe it to be the garden of Eden in Iraq. Allah refers to Hazrat Adam’s (as) home as a garden because it had abundance of food, fertile soil for people to grow crops on and it was safe. Hazrat Adam (as) and his wife were given one simple commandment: not to approach a particular tree. The tree mentioned here meant a tribe. The verse meant that Hazrat Adam (as) was commanded to keep away from a certain tribe because members of that tribe were enemies of Hazrat Adam (as) and they could do him harm.
‘But Satan caused them both to slip by means of it and drove them out of the state in which they were.’ (Ch2 verse 37)
In the Holy Qur’an, Satan is often referred to as an evil being or evil person, not a snake or serpent, as is often depicted. The Holy Qur’an provides details as to how Satan caused Hazrat Adam (as) and his Hazrat Eve to slip.
But satan made evil suggestions to them so that he might make known to them what was hidden from them of their shame and said, ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree, lest you become angels or lest you become of the immortals.’ (Ch 7 verse 21)
It is possible that the individual that mislead Hazrat Adam (as) was a man. He promised Hazrat Adam (as) that he was an honest person.
And he swore to them, saying, ‘Surely I am a sincere counsellor unto you.’ (Ch 7 verse 22)
In this way satan assured Hazrat Adam (as) that there was no harm and that he should go and associate with this tree/tribe. In this way, Satan succeeding in misleading Hazrat Adam (as) but he did not commit a sin, as will be explained later. Allah says:
So he caused them to fall into disobedience by deceit. And when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them and they began to stick the leaves of the garden together over themselves. And their Lord called them, saying, ‘Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: verily, Satan is to you an open foe?’(Ch 7 verse 23)
When Hazrat Adam (as) realised his mistake, he became remorseful. The shame that is being referred to here is Hazrat Adam’s (as) natural weakness. Hazrat Adam (as) was now aware that he was able to be deceived by Satan. The Qur’an makes it clear that this shame was only manifest to Hazrat Adam (as) and Hazrat Eve, not to the rest of the community. Satan had succeeded in causing a split in the community and so Hazrat Adam (as) gathered the ‘leaves of the garden’ i.e. the youth of the community and began to re-unite and re-organise his people.
And We said, ‘Go forth hence; some of you are enemies of others and for you there is an abode in the earth and a provision for a time.’ (Ch 2 verse 37)
In the verse Allah orders Hazrat Adam (as), Hazrat Eve and their small community from the garden and provides them with an abode, somewhere else in the Earth. Where it says ‘…some of you are enemies of others…’. This means that hatred and division had spread among the community and so Allah Almighty thought it best that they leave for their own safety.
It is very important to remember that Hazrat Adam (as) did not sin i.e. he did not directly disobey Allah but was deceived by Satan. As soon as Hazrat Adam (as) and Hazrat Eve realised their mistake they asked forgiveness from Allah and Allah forgave them.
They said, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, we shall surely be of the losers.’ (Ch7 verse 24)
This Is a beautiful prayer to memorise if we make a mistake and want to ask for forgiveness from Allah. Allah Almighty makes a promise to Hazrat Adam (as) and his people:
We said. ‘Go forth hence, all of you. And if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoso shall follow My guidance, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve. (Ch 2 verse 39)
Allah declares that after Hazrat Adam (as) there shall come guidance from other righteous Prophets from among Hazrat Adam’s (as) progeny who will call people to the truth. Along with this promise, Allah also gives the people good news that those who follow these chosen servants of Allah shall neither be fearful, nor shall they grieve. As well as giving glad tidings to the people of Hazrat Adam (as), Allah also warns them.
‘But they who will disbelieve and treat Our signs as lies, these shall be the inmates of the Fire; herein shall they abide.’ (Ch 2 verse 40)
When a righteous caller of truth appears in the world, amongst those who accept him, there will also be those who reject him. In this verse Allah warns these rejecters of truth, that for them will be a terrible punishment.
This is the account of the story of Hazrat Adam (as) according to the Holy Qur’an.