Fri. Dec 6th, 2019

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Quran 30:21:

And among His signs is that He created mates for you from among yourselves, that you might find rest in them, and He established affection and mercy between you. Truly in that are signs for a people who reflect.

The following excerpt is taken from “The Study Quran” under the commentary of the above verse:

That God made for human beings mates from among yourselves (or “from your souls”; cf. 16:72; 35:11; 42:11; 78:8) is also understood to mean “from yourselves” when seen as an allusion to the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib (IK, Ṭ), though some commentators are skeptical of this association, feeling it relies too heavily on the Biblical tradition (see Genesis 2:21–23). A direct account of Eve’s creation is not found in the Quran, only in the Ḥadīth literature; see 4:1c. Although many understand the present verse as an address to men, telling them of the benefits to be found in their wives (Aj, IK, R), viewed in a broader Quranic context, especially in relation to those verses that state that God created human beings from a single soul (4:1; 6:98, 7:189, 31:28, 39:6) and its mate from that same soul (see 7:189c and 39:6), it is most likely an address to both men and women, telling of the manner in which God has extended His own Love and Mercy to them through the love and mercy that they manifest toward one another. In this sense, the purpose of marriage is not limited to producing children; it also represents a spiritual good in and of itself and a means by which men and women can encounter God’s Love and Mercy in each other. In this vein, the Prophet is reported to have said, “The believer whose faith is most complete is the one whose character is the best; and the best among you are those who are best to their wives.”

As well:

Quran 2:35:

And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”

Regarding the word “Paradise”, Muhammad Asad writes:

“Lit., “the garden”. There is a considerable difference of opinion among the commentators as     to what is meant here by “garden”: a garden in the earthly sense, or the paradise that awaits     the righteous in the life to come, or some special garden in the heavenly regions? According     to some of the earliest commentators (see Manar I, 277), an earthly abode is here alluded to     namely, an environment of perfect ease, happiness and innocence. In any case, this story of Adam is obviously one of the allegories referred to in 3:7.”

Furthermore, T.O. Shanavas writes:

“Most contemporary Muslims across the world believe that Adam and Eve were created in Paradise (Jennat-ul-Khuld) but were expelled for eating fruit from the forbidden tree in the garden. Early Muslims carried on great debates about the location of the garden. According to the two foremost exegetes of the Quran, Ibn Kathir (died in 1372) and arRazi (died in 1209), four interpretations of the location of the garden prevailed: that the Garden was Paradise itself, that it was a separate Garden created especially for Adam and Eve, that it was located on Earth, and the view that it was best for Muslims not to be concerned with the location of the Garden. Unorthodox as it seems for our time, more reasons lead us to believe that the garden was on Earth rather than in Paradise.”

In general terms, however, this term (Paradise) refers to the Earth and its blessings.

According to “Lamp of Islam”:

Adam and his/her spouse symbolize mankind’s male and female equals

At this point (2:35) – when man and woman are asked to dwell in the garden and to ‘eat’ therefrom – we notice the sudden change of address from single form (Adam) to the dual (ADAM AND HIS/HER SPOUSE), apparently to signify the whole humanity represented by its male and female equals.

Here we cannot ignore that this reference to the two human counterparts – men and women – clearly follows a context that insures gardens for virtuous people to be fed therefrom and to dwell with their SPOUSES therein (2:25).

Furthermore, according to Muhammad Asad regarding “the tree”:

“This symbolic tree is designated in the Bible as “the tree of life” and “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis ii, 9), while in the above Qur’anic account Satan speaks of it as “the tree of life eternal (al-khuld)”. Seeing that Adam and Eve did not achieve immortality despite their tasting the forbidden fruit, it is obvious that Satan’s suggestion was, as it always is, deceptive. On the other hand, the Qur’an tells us nothing about the real nature of that “tree” beyond pointing out that it was Satan who described it – falsely – as “the tree of immortality”: and so we may assume that the forbidden tree is simply an allegory of the limits which the Creator has set to man’s desires and actions: limits beyond which he may not go without offending against his own, God-willed nature” (The Message of the Quran pg. 619-620)

In other words, the tree here simply refers to the limits which God has placed on Mankind, limits that each human being is aware of and knows that if he/she crosses, will harm him/herself.

With this commentary we can properly understand the verse 2:35 above:

Dwell O Adam (man/woman), you and your mate in Paradise (the Earth) and eat therefrom from wherever you wish (Do whatever you like i.e. seek every blessing) but do not approach this tree (signifying the limits placed on humanity as a whole and individuals).

What we must understand is that Allah has bestowed a great honour on humanity by saying ‘you and your mate’. This unique reference is for the pure purpose of honoring both spouses, also by calling this world by the name of the eternal Garden (Jannah), it is an even greater honour as it establishes that this world in which we live in is also “a” Jannah (Paradise), a place of goodness and blessing.

The Story of Adam adds a further blessing to all this by stating that if we make a mistake that harms us, we may seek forgiveness from God and we will be instantly forgiven and regranted Paradise. The whole purpose of the Story of Adam is this: life, liberty, redemption and thus, freedom.