Adam and his wife Eve are unique since they were directly created by Allah and they lived in the Paradise of Eden. So they have important signs for us to learn. There are two passages in the Qur’an that talk about Adam, and one from the Taurat. (Click Here to read them).
These accounts are very similar. In both accounts the characters are identical (Adam, Eve, Shaytan (Iblis), Allah); the place is the same in both accounts (the Garden); in both accounts Shaytan (Iblis) lies and tricks Adam and Eve; in both accounts Adam & Eve put on leafs to hide the shame of their nakedness; in both accounts Allah then comes and speaks to give judgment; in both of the accounts Allah shows mercy by providing raiments (i.e. clothing) to cover ‘the shame’ of their nakedness. The Qur’an says this is ‘sign of Allah’ for the ‘Children of Adam’ – which is us. In other words this is not just a history lesson about sacred events in the past. We can learn from the account of Adam.
Adam’s Warning to us
Adam & Eve only committed one sin of disobedience before Allah judged. There are not, for example, ten sins of disobedience with Allah giving nine warnings and then finally judging. Allah judged from only one act of disobedience. Many people believe that Allah will only judge them after they have committed many sins. They reason that if they have ‘less sins’ than most others, or if their good deeds outnumber their bad actions then (perhaps) God will not judge. Adam & Eve’s experience warns us that this is not so. Allah will judge even one sin of disobedience.
This makes sense if we compare disobedience to Allah with breaking the law of a nation. In Canada where I live, if I broke just one law (e.g. I stole something) the country can judge me. I cannot plead that I have only broken one law and have not broken laws for murder and kidnapping. I only need to break one law to face Canada’s judgment. It is the same with Allah.
When they clothed themselves with leafs we see that they experienced shame and tried to cover their nakedness. Likewise, when I do things that makes me feel shame then I try to cover up and hide it from others. But Adam’s efforts were futile before God. Allah could see their failure and He then both Acted and Spoke.
The Actions of Allah in Judgment – but also in Mercy
We can see three actions:
- Allah makes them mortal – they will now die.
- Allah expels them from the Garden. They must now live a much more difficult life on Earth.
- Allah gives them clothes of skins.
It is fascinating that all of us even to this day still are affected by these. Everyone dies; no one – prophet or otherwise – has ever returned to the Garden; and everyone continues to wear clothes. In fact these three things are so ‘normal’ that we almost miss noticing that what Allah did to Adam & Eve is still being felt by us thousands of years later. The consequences of what happened that day still seem to be in effect.
The clothing from Allah was a gift of mercy – their shame was now covered. Yes He judged – but he also provided mercy – which He did not have to do. Adam & Eve did not earn the clothing through good behaviour that gave ‘merit’ against their disobedient act. Adam & Eve could only receive Allah’s gift without meriting or deserving it. But someone did pay for it. The Taurat tells us that the clothing was ‘skins’. Thus they came from an animal. Up until this point there was no death, but now an animal with skin suitable as a covering of clothes did pay – with its life. An animal died so that Adam & Eve could receive Mercy from Allah.
The Qur’an tells us that this clothing did cover their shame, but the covering that they really needed was ‘righteousness’, and that in some way the clothing that they did have (the skins) was a sign of this righteousness, and a sign for us.
“O you Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition” [Surat 7:26 (The Heights)]
A good question is: how do we get this ‘raiment of righteousness’? Later prophets will show the answer to this very important question.
The Words of Allah in Judgment and in Mercy
Allah not only does these three things for Adam & Eve and us (their children), but he also speaks His Word. In both accounts Allah speaks of ‘enmity’ but in the Taurat it adds that this ‘enmity’ will be between the woman and the serpent (Shaytan). This particular Word is repeated here. I have just inserted with () the persons referred to. Allah speaks:
“And I (Allah) will put enmity
between you (Shaytan) and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he (offspring of woman) will crush your (Shaytan) head,
and you (Shaytan) will strike his (offspring of woman) heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
This is a riddle – but it is understandable. Reading carefully you will see that there are five different characters mentioned AND that this is prophetic in that it is looking forward-in-time (seen by the repeated use of ‘will’ in future tense). The characters are:
- God (or Allah)
- Shaytan (or Iblis)
- The woman
- The offspring of the woman
- The offspring of Shaytan
And the riddle maps out how these characters will relate to each other in the future. This is shown below.
It does not say who the woman is. But Allah speaks of an ‘offspring’ of Shaytan (Satan) and an ‘offspring’ of the woman. This is mysterious but we know one thing about this offspring of the woman. Because the ‘offspring’ is called a ‘he’ and a ‘him’ we know that it is a single male human. With that knowledge we can drop some possible interpretations. As a ‘he’ the offspring is not a ‘she’ and thus cannot be a woman – but ‘he’ comes from a woman. As a ‘he’ the offspring is not a ‘they’ (i.e. it is not plural). Thus the offspring referred to is NOT a group of people whether that refers to a national identity or a group of a certain religion. As a ‘he’ the offspring is not an ‘it’ (the offspring is a person). Though this may seem obvious it eliminates the possibility that the offspring is a particular philosophy or teaching or religion. So the offspring is NOT (for example) Christianity or Islam because then it would be referred to as an ‘it’, nor is it a group of people as in the Jews or the Christians or the Muslims because then it would be referred to as a ‘they’. Even though there remains mystery about who the ‘offspring’ is we have eliminated many possibilities that might naturally come to our mind.
We see from the future tense of this promise that a plan with a purposed outcome is in the Mind of Allah. This ‘offspring’ will crush the head of Shaytan (i.e. destroy him) while at the same time Shaytan will ‘strike his heel’. The mystery of what this means is not clarified at this point. But we know that a plan of God is going to unfold.
Notice now what Allah does NOT say to Adam. He does not promise the man a specific offspring like he promises the woman. This is quite extraordinary especially given the emphasis of sons coming through fathers through the Taurat, Zabur & Injil. The genealogies given in the Taurat, Zabur and Injil almost exclusively record only the sons that come from the fathers. But in this promise in the Garden it is different – there is no promise of an offspring (a ‘he’) coming from a man. The Taurat says only that there will be an offspring coming from woman – without mentioning a man.
Out of all the humans that have ever existed, only two have never had a human father. The first was Adam, created directly by God. The second was Isa al Masih (Jesus – PBUH) who was born of a virgin – thus no human father. This fits with the observation that the offspring is a ‘he’, not a ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘it’. Isa al Masih (PBUH) is an offspring from a woman. But who is his enemy, the ‘offspring’ of Shaytan? Though we do not have space here to trace it out in detail, the Books speak of a ‘Son of Destruction’, ‘Son of Satan’ and other titles that depict a coming human ruler who will oppose ‘the Christ’ (Masih). Also known as Dajjal, the later Books speak of a coming clash between this ‘Anti-Christ’ and the Christ (or Masih). But it is first mentioned in embryo-like form here, at the very beginning of history.
The climax of history, the conclusion of a struggle between Shaytan and Allah, started long ago in the Garden is prophesied at that same beginning – in the first Book. Yet many questions remain and more have been raised. Continuing from here and learning from the successive Messengers will help us better answer our questions and understand the times we are in. We continue with their sons of Adam and Eve – Qabil and Habil.