We said: “O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression.”
As pointed out by Allama Iqbal, the earth is not a place of banishment but is declared by the Qur’an to be humanity’s dwelling place and source of profit to it.
“Adam أدم is derived from adama َ
أدم ,which means to reconcile or be brown. In classical Arabic dictionaries adam stands for a human being, man, person, intelligent person, brown man, brave man, civilized person, chief, honest person, kind and polite person, a person who is created from different substances, a person in
possession of different powers, one who enjoys the comforts of life,
one who is by nature social, one who has heirs. Adam also stands for
the whole human race and humankind. All these meanings are given
to the word adam آدم) َTâj, Lisân, Lane, Râghib).” [Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections, pg. 342]
“It is believed that Adam, supposedly the first man created by Allah, (whose story is narrated in the Quran regarding his exit from Jannah) was the first Rasool. This is not supported by any verse of the Holy Quran, neither is the name of Eve (Hawwa) mentioned in the Quran. The story is narrated in a symbolic form and does not pertain to a particular person or a couple; in fact this is the story of mankind and Adam is its representative. The word Adam occurs 25 times in the Quran and only in one place (3:32) it appears that Adam was also the name of a chosen person.” (Exposition of the Quran, pg. 1141)
“In the Qur’an, “Adam” is stated seventeen times. The word of Adam has a connotation of proper noun in the Ayat where it is mentioned alone. We prefer that the word of “Adam” comes from the word of “edim” in Arabic, meaning “interior, inner surface, inner layer,” and we think accordingly that a person has an internal, spiritual, feature in addition to his dimension of being a bashar or insan.
That is to say:
Surah Al-Hajj 75, 76:
Allah chooses messengers from among the harbinger Ayat and from among the mankind. Indeed, Allah is the One Who hears best, sees best, He knows that which is between their hands and behind them. And all matters will be returned only to Allah.
Surah Ali Imran 33, 34:
Indeed, Allah favored Adam, Noah, family of Abraham and family of Imran -being from each other’s lineage- over the people of the time. And Allah is the One Who hears best, knows best.
Adam is a prophet: He was chosen from among humans.” (Creation of the Universe and Man according to the Quran, p. 31-32)
“In the Qur’an, there is also the expression of “Benî Adam” (Sons of Adam). This expression takes place seven times. What are meant here are not the sons of Adam but lineage of Adam. This expression, while warning people, states that they are not ordinary persons but the lineage of a knowledgeable and conscious ancestor with spiritual aspect subjected to Wahy (revelation) and that they must be the persons that deserve their ancestors. That is to say, an art of Reference is exhibited through these expressions and first Prophet Adam is reminded.” (Ibid, p, 33)
Regarding this word, Maurice Bucaille writes:
One of a pair’ is the translation of zawj (plural azwa’j) whose original meaning is that which, in the company of another, forms a pair.’ The word may just as readily be applied to a married couple as to a pair of shoes. (What is the Origin of life, pg. 166-168)
Regarding the word “Paradise”, Ibn Kathir writes:
“The location of this Paradise is unknown to us. The Quran did not reveal it, and the commentators
had five different opinions. Some said that it was the paradise of our refuge and that its place was
heaven. Others regretted that statement because if it was the paradise of refuge Iblis would have
been forbidden admission and disobedience would have been forbidden as well. Still others said
that it was another paradise that was created by Allah for Adam and Eve. A fourth group said it
was a paradise on the earth located in a high place. Another group of commentators accept what
was in the Quran without questioning where this paradise was located. We agree with this last
opinion as the lesson we learn from its location is immaterial compared to the lesson we learn
from the events that took place there. (Stories of the Prophets, under the category “Prophet Adam”)
Regarding this issue, Muhammad Asad comments:
“In any case, this story of Adam is obviously one of the allegories referred to in 3:7.”
For details on the concept of allegories, see the following post:
The Arabic word “Al Jannah” means “Beautiful Garden” not only in the meaning of “Paradise in the heaven”, but also in the meaning of “gardens of this world“. This word in the meaning of the “garden of this world” and also in its plural form has been used in many other verses of Quran. For example verses: 2:265, 2:266, 6:99, 6:141, 13:4, 17:91, 23:19,
71:12 and 78:16. The part of the verse 2:265, is clearly in the meaning of a garden on a high and fertile ground on earth. Therefore it is quite logical to consider that Adam was created on earth in a beautiful garden, probably situated on a high and fertile ground. (Excerpt taken from ADAM: Our Foremost Father).
Yahiya Emerick writes,
The traditional view has been that Adam and Eve lived in a garden located in heaven above and that they were banished down to earth after eating from the forbidden tree. A careful look at the text offers possible alternative understandings, the first of which is as follows: since the preceding verses state that God was making a caretaker for the earth (al ‘ard), and furthermore, since He taught the first man the ‘names’ (and qualities) of what was on the earth, (animals, plants, etc…), then this caretaker could have been in a lush garden located somewhere on this planet. The Arabic word used in the passage to refer to the fabled garden is jennah, which can mean heaven above or any earthly garden. (See 18:32-35 where a man’s garden on earth is referred to as a jennah repeatedly.) It is also accepted in Islamic theology that humans who are physically alive do not live in heaven (save for Prophet Jesus who is awaiting his return to earth in the End Times). When Adam and Eve were commanded to ‘go down’ (ahbitu) and inhabit the expanse of the world, it could mean that they were driven down from a highland area into the lower elevations surrounding that primeval place. (Verse 7:24 even implies that the regular terrain of earth outside of the garden was to be their new home.) Archeologists and anthropologists have concluded that hundreds of thousands of years ago the highlands of East Africa were lush jungles and that our remote ancestors lived in that region as it underwent climate change, causing our ancestors to scatter down from there and spread all over the globe.
(For a scholarly discussion on the location of this Garden, see the post: The Garden of Eden: An Earthly or Heavenly Garden?
T.O. Shanavas comments,
“Ordinary humans become prophets only when God reveals His wisdom to them. So, God elevated Adam to become the first of His long chain of prophets by teaching him “knowledge of the nature and reality of all things and everything.” (Qur’an 2:31)
Then God blessed them to live in a spiritual “Garden” of ease, happiness, and innocence. Muslims believe that Islam is the religion of all of the prophets. This belief is based
upon the following verses:
The Religion before God is Islam. (Qur’an 3:19)
Say: We believe in God, and what has been sent down to us, and what has been revealed to Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, and their progeny, and that which was given to Moses and Christ, and to all other prophets by the Lord: We make no distinction among them, we submit to Him (Qur’an 2:136)
No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian but he was a Muslim. (Qur’an 3:67)
According to these verses, all prophets preached Islam and so they are all Muslims. Adam being the first prophet of God preaching Islam, he and his mate became the original spiritual parents of all humans. If Adam was the first prophet, he must have had a human community to whom to preach the divine message.”
According to Ghulam Ahmad Pervez,
“The word Jannah has been used in the Quran extensively to convey a definite concept; the social order, which results by following the Quranic way of life. Jannah is established both in this world and the hereafter.
While narrating the story of Adam, the Holy Quran says that Adam was living in al Jannah, where he could eat as much as he liked and from anywhere, but was warned not to go near shajara (2:35). In other words, Jannah denotes a social order where each and everything can be had without undue labor. These things, however, are to be utilised within the limits laid down by Allah – (hudood-ullah). If that limit is respected, then there would be no end to these bounties and the sources would never
exhaust.” (Exposition of the Quran)
For an explanation of the word “fruits” see the following post:
According to Tafsir Abduraheem As Saranbi,
“However one condition that Adam (as) and Huwaa (as) were given when they were in the garden was that they could not approach one tree. Allah (swt) tells them that they could eat all that they wanted but they could not come near one tree. The scholars say this is similar to our situation in this world. We can have anything that we want from this world; all objects have been made permissible for us, except for those few that the Law of Allah (swt) has made forbidden. With regarding these forbidden objects we
should not even come close to them. Similar was the condition for Adam (as) and Huwaa (as). Everything was made permissible for them except that tree. The tree was what was forbidden for them, and they were forbidden from even coming nearing that tree.” (Tafsir as Saranbi, pg. 177)
For details regarding the meaning of the Forbidden tree, see the following post:
Yusuf Al Qaradawi writes,
“In Islam the sphere of prohibited things is very small, while that of permissible things is extremely vast. There is only a small number of sound and explicit texts concerning prohibitions, while whatever is not mentioned in a nas as being lawful or prohibited falls under the general principle of the permissibility of things and within the domain of Allah’s favor. In this regard the Prophet (peace be on him) said: What Allah has made lawful in His Book is halal and what He has forbidden is haram, and that concerning which He is silent is allowed as His favor. So accept from Allah His favor, for Allah is not forgetful of anything. He then recited, “And thy Lord is not forgetful.” (19:64) (This hadith was reported by al-Hakim, classified as sahih (sound), and quoted by al-Bazzar.)
Salman al-Farsi reported that when the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) was asked about animal fat, cheese, and fur, he replied, “The halal is that which Allah has made lawful in His Book and the haram is that which He has forbidden, and that concerning which He is silent He has permitted as a favor to you.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.)
Thus, rather than giving specific answers to what the questioner had asked, the Prophet (peace be on him) referred to the general criterion for determining the halal and the haram. Accordingly, it is sufficient for us to know what Allah has made haram, since what is not included in it is pure and permissible. The Prophet (peace be on him) also said: Allah has prescribed certain obligations for you, so do not neglect them; He has defined certain limits, so do not transgress them; He has prohibited certain things, so do not do them; and He has kept silent concerning other things out of mercy for you and not because of forgetfulness, so do not ask questions concerning them. (Reported by aI-Darqutni and classified as hasan (good) by al-Nawawi.)” (The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, pg. 6-10)
In another discussion contained in Surah al-A’raf, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala rejects the claims of all prohibitors, laying down the final criteria governing prohibitions:
Say: Who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say: They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Judgment. Thus do We explain the signs in detail for those who understand.
Say: What my Lord has indeed prohibited are shameful deeds, whether open or secret, and sin and rebellion without just cause, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and that you say concerning Allah that about which you do not know. (7:32-33)
A significant aspect of these discussions is that they were revealed in Makkah. The Makkan revelations invariably dealt with matters of faith, the oneness of Allah Ta’ala, and the Hereafter. We may therefore deduce that, in the sight of Allah, this matter of declaring things to be prohibited without any authority from Him was not a minor matter but one which pertained to the fundamentals and general principles of the faith.
For details of this concept, see the post:
Explaining the purpose of the story of Adam, Muhammad Asad writes:
“In his earlier state of innocence man was unaware of the existence of evil and therefore, of the ever-present necessity of making a choice between the many possibilities of action and behavior: in other words, he lived, like all other animals, in the light of his instincts alone. Inasmuch, however, as this innocence was only a condition of his existence and not a virtue, it gave to his life a static quality and thus precluded him from moral and intellectual development. The growth of his consciousness—symbolized by the willful act of disobedience to God’s command— changed all this. It transformed him from a purely instinctive being into a full-fledged human entity as we know it—a human being capable of discerning between right and wrong and thus of choosing his way of life. In this deeper sense, the allegory of the Fall does not describe a retrogressive happening, but, rather, a new stage of human development: an opening of doors to moral considerations. By forbidding him to approach this tree, God made it possible for man to act wrongly—and, therefore, to act rightly as well: and so man became endowed with that moral free will which distinguishes him from all other sentient beings.” (The Message of the Quran, Surah 7, Note 16)
Elsewhere (67:2), the Holy Quran mentions:
Who created death and life that He might try you as to which of you is better in deed. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Forgiving:
Commenting on this verse, Maududi writes,
“That is, the object of giving life to man in the world and causing his death is to test him to see which of them is best in deeds. Allusion has been made in this brief sentence to a number of truths: (1) That life and death are given by Allah, no one else can grant life nor cause death. (2) That neither the life nor the death of a creation like man, which has been given the power to do both good and evil, is purposeless. The Creator has created him in the world for the test. Life is for him the period of the test and death means that the time has come to an end. (3) That for the sake of this very test the Creator has given every man an opportunity for action, so that he may do good or evil in the world and practically show what kind of a man he is. (4) That the Creator alone will decide who has done good or evil. It is not for us to propose a criterion for the good and the evil deeds but for Almighty Allah. Therefore, whoever desires to get through the test, will have to find out what is the criterion of a good deed in His sight. Every person will be recompensed according to his deeds, for if there was no reward or punishment the test would be meaningless.” (Tafhim ul Quran, Surah 67 verse 2 note # 4)
See also, in this context, the following posts:
The Holy Quran also mentions in 51:56,
I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained this verse as follows:
It is related by Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say: “The actions are but judged according to intentions; and to every man is due what he intended. Thus, whosoever migrates for the sake of Allah and His Messenger [and there is no other motive of his migration except compliance with the commands of Allah and the Prophet and winning of their good pleasure], his migration is accounted for the sake of Allah and His messenger [and, doubtlessly, he is a true Muhajir-Emigrant]-and shall receive the recompense prescribed for Hijrat-Migration- towards Allah and His Messenger]; and whosoever migrates for the sake of this world or to wed a woman [his migration will not be for Allah and the Prophet], and it will be accounted only for the purpose for which it is intented.” (Bukhari and Muslim) [taken from Maariful Hadith, Noomani]
For details, see the following post: Actions are by Intentions
‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) took hold of my shoulder and said, ‘Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.” (Related by Al-Bukhari)
Commentary of the Hadith:
According to Seifeddine-M, this hadith shows that a believer should have one of two attitudes toward this
The second possibility that the Messenger of Allah [Pbuh] mentioned for the believer is to be like a
traveler along a path. This implies that the person is actually not residing anywhere but is always moving toward his final destination or goal. The end of his travels, of course, will be his death. Therefore, his only preoccupation is to gather the provisions that he needs to continue his journey and make his journey a successful one.
Therefore, the believer’s life, long-term aspirations, goal in life, time, efforts, work and wealth should never be spent for the purposes of this worldly life alone. Instead, they should all be guided by his urgent desire to reach his true home, where he knows he belongs. They must all be guided by his want to please Allah [the Almighty] and to be entered among Allah’s pious servants in the everlasting home of Paradise.” (The Concept of the Stranger: An Islamic Perspective, pg. 2)
And Allah Almighty knows best.
Adam, Abdisalam. January 18, 2018 .Prepared by Imam Abdisalam Adam, Islamic Civic Society of America
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Asad, Muhammad (1980). (pg. 21-22). The Message of the Quran. http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/55877864-54484011-Message-of-Quran-Muhammad-Asad-Islam-Translation.pdf
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