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 (the Garden), Shaytan (Iblis) lies and tricks Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve put on leaves to hide the shame of their nakedness, Allah then comes and speaks to give judgment, and 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 are us. So 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 and Eve only committed one sin of disobedience before Allah judged them. 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 think that if they have ‘fewer sins’ than most others, or if their good deeds outnumber their bad actions then (perhaps) God will not judge. Adam and 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 leaves we see that they experienced shame and tried to cover their nakedness. Likewise, when I do things that make 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…
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 and Eve is still being felt by us thousands of years later. The consequences of what happened that day still seem to be in effect.
…but also in Mercy
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 and Eve did not earn the clothing through good behaviour that gave ‘merit’ against their disobedient act. Adam and 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 and 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 and 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 specific message is given again below. I have just inserted with () the persons referred to. Allah speaks:
“And I (Allah) will put enmityGenesis 3:15
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.”
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.
Who is the ‘offspring’? – a ‘he’
We have made some observations, now for some deductions. Because the ‘offspring’ of the woman is a ‘he’ we can discard some possibilities.
As a ‘he’ the offspring is not a ‘she’ and so cannot be a woman. But ‘he’ comes from a woman.
As a ‘he’ the offspring is not a ‘they’. This rules out a group of people, a race, a team, or a nation. At various times and in various ways people have thought that a ‘they’ would solve the human situation. But the offspring, being a ‘he’, is not a group of people whether a nation or those of a certain religion as in Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, or Muslims.
As a ‘he’ the offspring is a person and not an ‘it’. The offspring is not a philosophy, teaching, political system, or religion – since these are all ‘its’. An ‘it’ like this would have been our preferred choice to fix the problem caused by Adam since people are always thinking up new systems and religions. 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’. God had something else in mind – a ‘he’, a single male human. This ‘he’ would crush the head of Shaytan.
Even though there remains a mystery about who the ‘offspring’ is, we have eliminated many possibilities that might naturally come to our minds.
The Conflict through History between Allah and Shaytan
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 on sons coming through fathers in the Taurat, Zabur and 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 offspring coming from a woman – without mentioning a man.
The coming ‘he’ with no Human Father – The Masih
Out of all the men 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 of a woman. The prophet Isaiah in the Zabur prophesied this birth from a virgin in greater detail – 750 years before his birth.
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, which started long ago in the Garden is prophesied at that same beginning – in the first Book. 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.