Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
My question relates to why Allah taught Adam the names. What is wisdom, as far as we know? I read online that Adam can interpret, understand, and formulate thoughts, whereas angels cannot. Furthermore, I read that this shows that Adam can worship Allah in a way that angels are not.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.
Allah (Most High) taught Adam (Allah bless him and give him peace) the names or knowledge of things, meaning the properties and qualities of all the existents, animate or inanimate. Angelic nature is not capable of such awareness – for example – an angel cannot experience the pain of hunger and thirst, the tumult of passions, the torment from the bite of a scorpion or snake, physical pain or disease, or the exhilaration from an intoxicant. [Shafi’i, Ma‘arif al-Quran]
In short, through this demonstration, Allah made the Angels realize how wrong they were in supposing that He would not create any being superior to them in any way and that they were more suitable for being vicegerents of Allah than Adam (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Since they could not name the things that Adam (Allah bless him and give him peace) could, they came to see that purity and innocence is not the criterion in choosing a vicegerent. Even though Adam (Allah bless him and give him peace) had free will and, therefore, the ability to “cause mischief and shed blood,” he also received knowledge and the ability to learn and live by that knowledge on earth and amidst the things therein, of the ways of using them, and of the consequences of their usage.
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.