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20:121 They both ate of the tree

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In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced.

“I understand these two verses (verse 120-121) in the context of surah 7 verse 20-22 which almost complement the same meaning”

7:20 – Islamic Web Library

7:21 – Islamic Web Library

7:22 – Islamic Web Library

The following commentary is taken from “Exposition of the Holy Quran” by GA Pervez pg. 445-447, Quranic verses 20: 115-124 :

(115) (it is dangerous to follow one’s

instincts without receiving guidance from

wahi or to ignore it after it has been acquired.

‘This has been earlier explained in the Quran

in an allegorical manner, while narrating the

story of Adam. As has been explained there,

the story of Adam is not that of an

individual. It is in fact the story of mankind

(2:30-38, 7:11-25.) Earlier, We had

commanded Adam (mankind) not to lose

sight of the guidance revealed in wahi, but he

disregarded it. In fact, we did not find him

resolute. (That he generally lacks firmness in

his resolutions is the fundamental weak

point in a human being. And this weakness

can be overcame by believing in the divine


(116) (This allegorical story pertains to

the period when) We commanded all malaika

(the heavenly forces) to bow before Adam;

and they all did so except Iblees. He refused to

bow before him. (In other words, except for

his own rebellious desires, the heavenly

forces can be conquered by a human being.

This however, can only be done if he makes

his desires subservient to divine guidance.)

(117) And We told Adam, “This is your

enemy as well as that of your spouse, lest it

drive both of you out of this blissful life of Janna, (The result will be that you will be

deprived of all life’s necessities, which

presently are easily and abundantly available

to you; and to attain them again) You will

have to labour hard and strenuously.

(118) At present (with the kind of life

you are leading) you do not have to worry

about your food or clothing.

(119) You suffer neither from thirst, nor

from the heat of the sun. (You get all the

food to eat; water to drink; clothes to wear;

and houses to live in. All this is available

without struggle. This was the society in

which mankind was living in the early stages

of human life.)”

(120) (Later, personal and selfish

interests started arousing fears and

apprehensions in his mind. The most

alarming was the fear of death. Man did not

want to die, Satan took advantage of this

weakness and exploited it.) Satan said to him,

“Should I lead you to a tree, the fruit of

which will give you eternal life and a

kingdom which will never decay?” (Satan

said that man can have eternal life through

his offspring. Therein lies his continued

existence. His progeny will keep his name

alive. Therefore, he should forget the good

of humanity and keep in view only the

interests of his own children.)

(121) (Man fell into this trap and instead

of promoting universal brotherhood, got

involved in racial complications. This can be

allegorically explained like this.) Then both

Adam and his wife ate the fruit of this tree.

Thereafter, they became conscious of their

private parts; following which they started

covering themselves with leaves from the

garden. In this way man disobeyed his Rabb,

as a result of which his livelihood and means

of nourishment became disorderly. He

started treading the wrong path and went


(122-123) (But this does not mean that

man will remain deprived forever. The

chances still remain for him to reclaim the

pleasant things by coming back on the right

track. Accordingly, Adam was told that

social life would come down to a lower level

where selfish ambitions would make people

enemies of one another.) “Nevertheless,

guidance from Us would continue coming to

you. Whoever follows this guidance will

neither go astray, nor be deprived of the

pleasures of life, nor be involved in the

rigours of life (as stated in 20:17 above).” In

this way Allah guided him towards the path

leading to all kinds of exhilaration. Mankind

was thus saved from eternal ruination.

(124) At the same time it was also

explained to him that means (of subsistence)

would be restricted, for whoever turns away

from divine laws. Furthermore, on the Day

of Judgment, We shall raise him as if he was

blind. (All the bright and shining avenues of

life shall darken for him and) This result will

occur in this life as well as in the hereafter

(17:72, 20:102).


Pervez, Ahmad (2010). Exposition of the Quran. (p. 445-447).

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