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Who Ate From the Tree First? Adam or Eve?

Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen

Question: Assalam alaykum

Who has eaten from the tree first? Adam or Eve?

Answer: BismilLahi Rahmani Rahim

as-Salamu ‘alaykum.

Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.

The Qur’an affirms that both Adam and Hawa, upon them be peace, ate from the tree which they were commanded to abstain from.  Our proof text is, {He [Shaytan] lured them with lies.  Their nakedness became exposed to them when they had eaten from the tree…} [Qur’an 7:22].

That both our primordial parents fell prey to the Devil’s insinuations means that Hawa, upon her be peace, is not held liable for their “fall” from the garden onto earth.  And although most of the details of this event are left ambiguous, that the Qur’an clearly absolves Hawa from such exclusive blame is highly consequential.  It frees her, and by extension all women from having to endure the injustices that have historically resulted from this wrongful condemnation.

Even eons removed from this encounter, Adam and Hawa’s reaction to their error provides us lessons that may illuminate our lives.  Rather than blaming Allah for their actions as did Iblis [see Qur’an 7:10 – 17], Adam and Hawa, upon them be peace, hasten to acknowledge their wrong and return to Allah, pleading, {“Our Lord, we have wronged our souls: if You do not forgive us and have mercy, we shall be lost!”} [Qur’an 7:23].  Through their repentance, Allah teaches us that every individual thereafter should ever take refuge in His mercy, while taking personal responsibility for any harm that afflicts us.

And Allah knows best.

[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States) where he works to enhance campus life through spiritual and pastoral care; advocacy and coalition building; and deepening mutual understanding within and between communities.  His formative Islamic studies, past and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected via unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.  Most of Sharif’s training occurred in Amman, Jordan from 2008 – 2013, with a focus on creed, ritual law, spirituality, Quranic recitation and exegesis and through which he has received permission to transmit his Islamic learning.  Sharif has a B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is now completing his graduate studies.  He completed the Classical Arabic program at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, where he was also the Director of Student Life.  He currently serves as the Vice President for Educational Chaplaincy with the U.S.-based Association of Muslim Chaplains.

Did Adam and Eve’s Children Marry Each Other? How Else Did They Have Offspring?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Did Adam and Eve’s children marry each other? How else did they have offspring?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate           

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you the best of states and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

QURANIC EXEGESIS (TAFSIR)

The various Quranic commentaries contain of a vast amount of information, consisting of both verified and unverified information. Many of the works contain explanations and stories that are not specifically based in the Islamic scholarly tradition, but rather, gained from literature of the People of the Book or stories passed down from them. Even some of the Companions were in possession of such books, collected through travels and battles, and they would share these with other Muslims. For example, some such narrations were shared by the companion Abdullah bin Salam (may Allah be pleased with him), who was a Jewish rabbi who converted to Islam, as well as Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin ‘Aas, who took possession of a great number of books which belonged to the Christian Byzantine Empire during the battle of Yarmouk, and he would inform people of certain matters of the unseen or share explanations from these books. [Siraj al Din’s Sharh al Mandthumah al Bayqquniyyah]. Therefore, many of explanations referring to events predating the revelation of the Quran cannot be taken as outright fact, and nor do they form an absolute tenant of faith.

With this understanding, we can discuss the explanations offered in the books of Tafsir in regards your question.

THE PROPAGATION OF MANKIND      

Allah Most High tells us in the Quran, ‘O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women.’ [al Nisa’ 4:1].

The books of Tafsir offer a viable and coherent explanation to how the children of Adam and Eve procreated and multiplied. Imam al Tabari gives the following background information in his Tafsir, which is reiterated in many other books of Tafsir such as Tafsir Ibn Kathir,

‘It is related from Ibn Abbas, and from Murra al Hamdaani, from Ibn Masoud, who are among the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that, ‘Adam did not have children except that a male was born with a [twin] female, so that the male child of one pregnancy would marry the female of another pregnancy, and the female of one pregnancy would marry the male of another pregnancy.’ [Tafsir al Tabari]

The above explanation is supported by the verse we quoted above and certain hadith which mention that Cain (Gabil) killed his brother Able (Habil), which according to the Tafsir books was because Cain wanted to marry his twin sister.

UNDERSTANDING MORAL AND ETHICAL LAW

The question of whether the marrying of Adam’s children to one another commonly brings up the question of whether this amounts to incest or not. The key to understand this is to step out of our own moral and ethical understanding of the law.

We know that God has revealed various laws throughout the ages, and these differed in rulings from one nation to another. What was prohibitive to one nation may have been permissible to another. What was the distinguishing factor for these differences between each nations legal and moral codes? The answer is that the only one that possesses ultimate knowledge of right and wrong, of good and evil, and the only one who has a right to decide when something is right or wrong, moral or immoral, is God.

To make the point clearer, let’s take a more modern, real life example. In the US, marriage between first cousins was widely practised and legal before the civil war. Following the war, various studies were made which showed negative consequences to such marriages, and this lead to some states making first cousin marriages illegal, regarding it as incestuous. Further studies were made which contradicted the claims put forth in the previous studies. Currently, over half the states in the US permit marriage between first cousins, whilst the remaining states prohibit marriage between first cousins. Who is right? What studies do we go by? Are the people who marry their first cousins in countries such as the UK, the Middle east, and the Sub-Continent, guilty of incest?

Likewise, the same can be said of polygamy. Once permitted in both the Christian-Judeo religions, these were outlawed by their own clergymen due to shifting beliefs and reliance on their own human moral ethics. This has been done to such a point, that anyone who inclines towards polygamy is viewed as debauched in some way.

The conclusion is that we cannot merely go by man-made laws and moral codes.  Man has been writing moral codes of behaviour from the ancient times, such as the Code of Hammurabi in Babylonia. These have come and gone, have been abandoned, altered, or built upon. It is a case of trial and error. Our own moral beliefs are necessarily moulded by our upbringing, environment, and religion. Therefore, the only absolute and definitive moral and legal code is that which Allah reveals to mankind. Without it, man would continue to stumble and go from one conclusion to another, measuring his moral code with the shifts and changes of time.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we can say that, according to the explanation given in the books of Tafsir, God did permit inter-marrying of siblings during the first generations of man. This was carried out by the female of one pregnancy marrying the male of another pregnancy and vice versa. These couples would procreate and have children, which would mean second cousins would marry each other, then third cousins etc., until mankind multiplied and spread through the land.  At some point in the early history of man, God revealed laws prohibiting the marriage of siblings, and revealed further laws for man to observe (we have in our own Qur’an a clear and final instruction of who we can and can’t marry for a confirmation of God’s final law to man). This was the way God, in his infinite Wisdom, had decreed mankind to propagate.

We have seen that it is not possible to use the word ‘incest’ when understanding the propagation of man. The word incest was first noted in western literature around 1200 BC, stemming from the Latin incestum, meaning lewdness and unchasteness [Chambers Dictionary of Etymology]. This negative word cannot be used to describe the initial propagation of mankind because, 1) God is the only one who can decide what is right and wrong, moral and immoral, and 2) God reveals laws according to different times and places, and in the case of Adam and Eve, the law was a different shariah specifically for that time. Sibling marriage was permitted for necessity, and later on, and for forever more, was prohibited as the legal necessity was no longer present.

I hope the above clarifies your questions. And Allah knows best.

 

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

Why Did Allah Create Humans With The Potential For Evil?

When Allah first told the angels that He was going to place Adam as a Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth, the angels asked Him, “Would you place in it one who spreads corruption and who sheds blood?”

Given the state of humanity, this is a profound question. How did the angels know? And why was it Allah’s will that they would ask this question?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains in this beautiful 20-minute khutbah.

Photo credit: nebojsa mladjenovic

Was Hawa’ (Eve) Created from the Rib of Adam?

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: On the creation of Adam and Eve, where in the Qur’an or hadith is it stated that she was created from Adam’s rib?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this reaches you in the best of health and faith.

The Qur’an does not mention anything explicit with regards to our mother Hawa’ (Eve) being created from the rib of our father Adam (peace be upon them both). Rather, it states for example, “And from amongst His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, so that you may dwell in tranquility with them” [30:21]. Many exegetes did interpret the phrase “from among yourselves” to mean that Hawa’ was created from the rib of Adam (peace be upon them both), yet Imam Qurtubi and others interpreted “from among yourselves” as meaning “from the same species,” that is, human mates. [al-Jami` li Ahkam al-Qur’an]

According to Imam Razi, this is a sounder interpretation than the oft-cited “from the rib of Adam” opinion. It is similar to the expression “There has indeed come to you a messenger from among yourselves” [9:128], i.e., a messenger from the same people as to whom he is sent.

This interpretation is also proven by the next phrase in the verse “so that you may dwell in tranquility with them.” That is, the primary reason according to the verse for creating mates “from among yourselves” is so that spouses may be drawn to each other and find tranquility together. This supports the interpretation of “from among yourselves” meaning “from the same species,” since if the mates given to man were from a different species, neither spouse would find repose and comfort with the other. [Mafatih al-Ghayb]

The same two possible interpretations would apply to similar verses, such as “O humanity, fear your Lord Who created you from one soul, and created from it its mate…” [4:1]. Again, many  scholars and exegetes understood this to mean that Allah Most High first created Adam (upon whom be peace), and then from him, i.e., from his rib, our mother Hawa’ (upon whom be peace).

Yet Imam Razi and others mention that the other interpretation is also possible, namely, that the meaning is “Who created you from one soul” i.e., “starting from one soul” since “from” in Arabic could indicate the starting point of something [ibtida’ al-ghaya], and then “created from it its mate” i.e., “created from that same species, its mate.” [Mafatih al-Ghayb]

The Narrations of the Prophet (Allah bless him) on the Issue

As for sayings of our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), there is no sound narration that mentions her being created specifically from the rib of Adam, but rather “from a rib.” [Bukhari]. There were many interpretations classically as to what that means exactly. Many scholars did hold the opinion that the meaning is “from the rib of Adam,” yet again there is no explicit evidence of this from the Qur’an or sound hadith literature.

In his masterful commentary of Sahih Bukhari, ‘Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri mentions that it was popular opinion that she was created from “a left rib,” and that this phrase could in fact be a metaphor, as the story of her creation is that Adam once woke up from sleep and – lo and behold – found her sitting on his left side. Hence, “created from a rib” was used in the hadith to mean that Adam saw her created [i.e., immediately after having been created by Allah] in the direction of his left side (peace be upon them both). [Fayd al-Bari]

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How Did the Devil Tempt Adam & Hawa (Eve)?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: If the Devil (shaytan) was cast out of Heaven after refusing to bow down to Adam and refusing to show him respect, how is it that he was able to tempt Adam in heaven into disobeying Allah?

Answer: Wa alaikum salam,

Thank you for your question.

Firstly, it was only with Allah Most High’s permission (though not approval) that the Devil (shaytan) was able to find a way to tempt Adam and Hawa (peace be upon them) after his expulsion. His expulsion from Paradise was not meant to make it impossible for him to reach them. This momentous incident in history, after all, is what brought about the fall from Paradise to this world, which is the reason why we are all here today. Clearly, this happened as part of the Divine plan and wisdom.

The exact nature of how Shaytan tempted Adam is differed upon. There is no conclusive evidence as to how this happened in the Islamic primary sources, only various speculations.

Imam al-Qurtubi mentions that the strongest opinion was that Shaytan tempted them with his voice only, saying this was the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas and the majority of the scholars.

He also cites weaker opinions that closely followed the Genesis 3:1 account, or that Shaytan used his minions, along with the ability to whisper in the hearts. [al-Qurtubi, Tafsir]

The Old Testament of the Bible in Genesis 3:1 says that Iblis took the form of a snake and tempted Hawa in the Garden of Eden, however this cannot be relied upon.

Imam al-Baydawi mentions many opinions as well without choosing any one. Among the opinions are that Iblis was not allowed to enter Paradise with honor as he once did with the angels, but was able to enter in a humiliated state, or that he deceived the guards of Paradise. Or, he may have simply whispered from outside the gates. In the end, he says ,”the knowledge of it is with Allah Exalted and Most High.” [al-Baydawi, Tafsir: Anwar al-Tanzil]

wassalam,
Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Sidi Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He converted to Islam in 2001 and completed a degree in Business Administration. In 2005, he left Canada to pursue Islamic studies. He now lives in Amman, Jordan with his wife and two daughters, where he studies various Islamic sciences and concurrently serves as the Study Abroad Director at the Qasid Institute.