Shaytan’s Promise to Adam, Peace Be upon Him

Ustadh Tabraze Azam explains the meaning of Shaytan’s promise to Adam, peace be upon him, concerning eternal life in Paradise.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question regarding the 120th ayah of Sura Ta Ha in which, according to a translated commentary of this ayah, Shaytan promised immortality and the everlasting kingdom to Adam, peace be upon him, in order for him to eat from the forbidden tree.

My question is: Wasn’t Adam, peace be upon him, immortal in Paradise at that time? And how did Shaytan whisper to Adam and Eve, peace be upon him, when he himself was not in Paradise? I would appreciate a deep explanation of this if possible.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The answer to your questions has a little detail which you may find below. But it is important to remember three matters: (1) the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was cunningly deceived by the devil in Paradise; (2) the Prophets, peace be upon them all, are sinless, and protected from sin, before and after prophethood, as we learn in our studies of Theology (‘aqida); and (3) his descent to earth was to fulfill a divine purpose, to manifest His divine wisdom and to honor the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him. It was certainly not a “punishment.”

Thereafter, the verse in question is Allah Most High’s saying, “But Satan whispered to him, saying, ‘O Adam! Shall I show you the Tree of Immortality and a kingdom that does not fade away?’” (Sura Ta Ha 20:120)

Immortality in Paradise

The Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, was actually created for custodianship or vice-regency (khilafa) of the earth, so he was not going to be in Paradise forever at this stage. Abu al-Su’ud, Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman Empire of his time, and widely considered to have authored the greatest work of exegesis (tafsir), clarifies this in his explanation of the relevant verses in Sura al-Baqara (2:36), namely, that the divine instruction wasn’t to remain in Paradise forever.

Elsewhere, Allah Most High says, recounting the words of the devil, “He said, ‘Your Lord has forbidden this tree to you only to prevent you from becoming angels or immortals.’” (Sura al-A‘raf 7:20) Imam Alusi explains that immortality, here, meant either that (a) you will never die, or (b) you will remain in Paradise forever, just as the “Tree of Immortality” (Sura Ta Ha 20:120) indicated eternal life. This is perhaps another indication that the Prophet Adam knew that Paradise wasn’t an eternal abode at the present time.

How Did the Devil Get into Paradise?

As for how the devil managed to deceive them, the reality isn’t clear to us. We do know that he was instructed to leave Paradise by the command, “Get out of Paradise, for you are truly cursed,” (Sura Sad  38:77) and that he was known to them as somebody harmful, “We said, ‘Adam, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. So let him not expel you from Paradise.’” (Sura Ta Ha 20:117)

The exegetes, however, have forwarded a varying number of possibilities explaining the issue. Some of these affirm that the devil was no longer permitted to enter Paradise in a state of honor like the angels, but could enter in a humiliated state; others said that he called upon them from the door as they were close to it; others still that he took on the form of another creature and the guardians of Paradise didn’t realize, and a variation of that, namely, that he entered whilst being carried in the mouth of another animal or creature.

The Moral of the Story

At the end of the day, these kinds of details aren’t relevant to the message of the story, as Ibn ‘Ashur points out in his Tahrir. The important point is that we come to realize and appreciate the presence of a divine command, the great gift and blessing of belief and guidance, the duty to avoid the unlawful and it great harm in this life and the next, the tremendous opportunity to attain unto eternal salvation and divine pleasure, and the reality that this is the one and only chance we get.

Allah Most High sums the final matter up in a few words, “a group will be in Paradise and another in the Blaze.” (Sura al-Shu‘ara 42:7) But Allah Most High has made Paradise for the believers, and it is up to us to ensure that we get both feet there. Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah al-Sakandari commented in one of his Aphorisms, “He has made worship binding upon you, and in reality, He hasn’t made anything but Paradise binding upon you.”

We ask Allah Most High to shower His everlasting mercy upon us out of His pure grace and favour.

Please also see How do We Understand the Sinlessness of Prophets in Light of Their Reprimand in the Qur’an?  and How Did the Devil Tempt Adam & Hawa (Eve)?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

(Abu al-Su‘ud Effendi, Irshad al-‘Aql al-Salim; Alusi, Ruh al-Ma‘ani; Tantawi, al-Tafsir al-Wasit; Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil wa Asrar al-Ta’wil; Sabuni, al-Muntaqa min ‘Ismat al-Anbiya’ (34))

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Bringing to Mind Graphic Blasphemy

Shaykh Jamir Meah explains the rulings on blasphemous thoughts presented to one in discourse.

Can there ever be a cause that makes the bringing to mind of very graphic blasphemy (insulting images and actions of God that are very grave with sexuality and humiliation) permissible or halal? Like when it is sent to a scholar?

Does the simple fact that you read my question not mean that you imagined what you read – at least the sentences or maybe the entire act – in context?

It is possible to listen to, or read something, and understand the gist of what is being said without vividly imagining it in one’s head, particularly absurdities.  

If an image is inadvertently conceived in the mind, then it does require that it fall under a ruling of “permissibility,” etc., especially if it is discarded afterwards. One is not accountable for thoughts that occur unintentionally or that are presented to one without one seeking them.  

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah forgives my nation those [evil inclinations] their souls may whisper or suggest to them, as long as they do not act (on it) or speak.” (Bukhari)

Certain images may be presented to scholars when listening to people’s psychological issues or when studying and refuting erroneous theological beliefs, or for example, therapists when treating patients with various disturbing thoughts. 

In these cases, it is permissible to listen, read, attempt to understand and discuss what is being said, with the intention of confronting the issues people are struggling with and finding a solution, or in order to expose and disprove false beliefs. Indeed, it may be obligatory to do so and rewarded as such. However, even here, one limits oneself to what is necessary to fulfill the need at hand, and not enter into and engage in blameworthy discussions. And Allah knows best.  

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Apostasy and Good Deeds

Ustadh Salman Younas unpacks the question of the deeds of an apostate who returns to Islam.

My question is on the deeds of the apostate. I know that apostasy invalidates good deeds but I want to know the opinion of the majority of scholars and maddhabs; whether they are returned to him when he repents and reverts back to Islam?

Also, when he or she does return back, is it necessary to repeat Hajj because I find it against the mercy of Allah Most High to wipe out all good deeds and keep his sins even if the apostate repents because apostasy is very easy to fall into so how can one word of kufr destroy all hard work even if one repents?

The first thing to point out is that apostasy is absolutely not a very easy state to enter into. While some people and texts may give such an erroneous and dangerous impression, scholars are quite clear that the conditions for deeming a person out of the fold are extremely stringent. When it comes to supposed acts or statements of kufr by a person, any excuse or interpretation that keeps him or her inside the fold of Islam is favored over those that do not.

As for the deeds of the apostate – someone who is shown to have decisively left the faith – there are two main positions on the issue:

  1. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are not invalidated. Thus, he or she would not be required to repeat Hajj if they had already performed it before their apostasy and while Muslim.
  2. The deeds of the apostate who returns to Islam are invalidated. Thus, he or she would be required to repeat the Hajj even if they had already performed it before their apostasy while Muslim.

There is also a difference on the reward for previous acts. Some scholars stated that the rewards for the actions an apostate performed while Muslim are also nullified (and this was stated even by those who opined that such a person does not have to repeat acts the apostate did while Muslim, such as Hajj), while others stated that if he returns to Islam, he or she may continue to possess these rewards in some form. (al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Ibn Abidin, Hashiya; al-Shafi‘i, Kitab al-Umm)

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Uncreated Beings Besides Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle is questioned about the possibility of their being other creators besides Allah.

Are there other uncreated beings alongside Allah? Seeing as how the definition of god is the one who created the universe and creation, is it possible for there to be uncreated beings that Allah did not create? A being that created their own universe and creation. That is not regarded as god by us but regarded as god by their own creation that they have created.

I am asking this question because I have a thought going through my head that before the existence of any creation Allah had a quarrel with other uncreated things over who is more powerful. And that is why Allah has created the mankind and jinn to worship him; to prove to the other uncreated things that He is the most powerful.

I also go through thoughts that other uncreated beings alongside Allah do exist, but they all live in peace and that they all have created their own things and only the things they created regard them to be gods but not the things that the other uncreated things have created.

I know this sounds like it is against the teachings of Islam and I have tried to find anything that goes against this but I can neither find any convincing evidence against this claim or for it. The Qur’an mentions the impossibility of multiple gods in Sura al-Anbiya 21:22. But that only had to do with multiple gods creating the same thing.

My question is to do with multiple uncreated beings that create their own creation who are not regarded as god by the creation of other uncreated beings, but regarded as god by their own creation.

Please I would like for you to clear this up for me and give me an answer as soon as possible, because I am extremely confused and I need to desperately know what is the answer against this claim.

I also have other thoughts that Allah has sexual organs. I go through this thought because Allah mentions he has hands and a shin. I need to know what is the response to all of the above queries I have.

Dear questioner, I would strongly advise you to listen to this series of podcasts: Why Islam Is True.

Regarding your question, it is logically impossible that there be multiple creators because that necessitate a level of dependency in being or actions.

Were there other beings with the power to create and destroy, nothing would stop them from destroying each other, and then they wouldn’t have necessary existence. Similarly, if there were there beings with the power to create and destroy, the execution of such powers would be contingent upon the agreement of other such beings, and this would also be a dependency.

In short, the being that keeps everything in existence and keeps things the specific way everything is exists without any dependency whatsoever, and this dictates that it (He) be one.

As for His not having body parts, this also returns to His freedom of need: parts take up a certain among of space and this would entail that He needs space to exist. Verses that mention His hand or face are metaphorical. For more detail, please see Literalism and the Attributes of Allah.

Theologically, whenever anyone returns the whole of existence to one being, that being must be completely self-explainable: that it is and what is does cannot return to some other external determiner.

This is why the Big Bang cannot be the reason for the universe, Brahma, Jesus or, anything else apart from Allah as He is in the Qur’an.

Allah summarizes this beautifully in Sura al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4.

Say: It is the Allah is One, the One to Whom all else returns;
Never has He had children, nor was He ever born;
And there was [and never will be] anything equal to Him.

Again, listen to the podcasts and this will be more than clear, insha Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.