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(2:36) Get Down, Ihbitu

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Then did Satan make them slip from the (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: “Get ye down, all (ye people), with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood – for a time.”

Adam made a mistake despite he was a chosen prophet. He noticed his mistake and asked forgiveness of Allah. Allah accepted his repentance. Hence, in the hailing of Beniadem, such things and beauties are reminded. (Creation of the Universe and Man according to the Quran, pp. 34-35)

“The statement means that Shaitân (the evil suggestions in the human mind) made them both (the male and female) forget their respective duties, whereupon they commit an unintentional fault.” [Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections, pg. 353]

Satan cast an evil suggestion into the minds of both Adam and Eve, as he casts evil suggestions into the minds of all of their offspring to divert them to the way of guile and deceit (7:20). This is what is indicated by the expression “slipping”; evil gradually tempts human beings from a higher to a lower state (cf. .)62-65 ; 36:60” [Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections, pg. 352]

According to A Study of Quran,

“The first man created by God – according to the Scriptures – is Adam. God also created a wife for Adam, and the whole of humanity is supposed to have descended from them. Adam is also regarded as the first prophet as he received guidance in the form of revelation from God after he and his wife were evicted from Paradise for disobedience to His command. This traditional interpretation, that humanity, as we see today, descended from Adam and his wife, is untenable for biological and other reasons. Therefore, we have to look for an allegorical interpretation. The one used by Parwez appears to fit very well with the story described in the Qur’an in verses 2:30-39. In this story, Adam stands for Man and his wife for Woman, the angels (Malaika) for the forces of nature, Iblees or Shaitan (Devil) for baser human desires.

Man was given autonomy and free will, unlike the forces of nature which do not have any independent will and, therefore, have to be subservient to Allah. Although nothing in ‘nature’ obeys Man, he can obviously learn to channel its workings to his advantage. When Man was made to settle on earth at first his needs were very limited and the means of subsistence plentiful. However, the baser instincts of Man eventually got the better of him. Driven by selfishness, human beings began to live according to their own self-made systems. As a result, they lost their blissful life. Humanity was split into different races, tribes and nations, with enmity amongst them. When man lost his blissful life, he was told:

(7:35) O children of Adam! If messengers of your own come unto you, who narrate unto you My revelations, then whosoever refraineth from evil and amendeth – there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

(20:124) But he who turneth away from remembrance of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection.”

“Another interpretation is that the initial history of humanity was one without the need for the commands and prohibitions of religion, and the sending of prophets mentioned in this verse refers to a later time when prophecy became necessary (Th). Al-Rāzī disapprovingly relates an opinion he attributes to Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (d.544/1149), a prominent Mālikī jurist and theologian, that the first period was one in which human beings acted
according to the intellect (both theoretical and practical); that is, they knew that there was a Creator, that one should be good to others, that lying and oppression are bad, that one should be just, and so forth. Pride, envy, and other vices eventually crept in and led to division, which then necessitated the sending of prophets. But such a view would have to take into account that Adam was the first prophet according to Islamic belief, and the clear proofs would have begun with him and continued throughout history. It is useful to recall here that in discussing 3:19 (Those who were given the Book differed not until after knowledge had come to them), many commentators point out that after several generations the Jews and Christians came to differ each within their own group, and an analogy can be made with Adam and the initial one community, whose members began as one, but then came to differ among themselves over the truth.” (Study Quran, under the commentary of 2:213)

For more information on the initial human community, see the following post:
Mankind was once one Community

According to T.O. Shanavas,
“As the interpretations of the early Muslim scholars do not find credence within a realistic biological model, I offer a third interpretation. This interpretation is compatible with the modern scientific understanding. Returning to the verses 2:35-36, initially Adam and Eve are addressed while in the Garden as “you” in the dual grammatical form when God offered to enjoy the “Garden”. Adam was nevertheless deemed a Prophet.
Adam must have had contemporary human beings by whom he was ordained to convey the Divine message. God ordered them to “get you down” from their paradisiacal mental state of perfect ease and happiness when the Prophet Adam and his congregation, the trustees of God on the earth, violated the divine guidance. The use of the plural form (“get you down”), in the divine command suggests the presence of a generation of human beings along with Adam and Eve. Then, the Quran states, “Some
of you are enemies to others.” The use of the plural form, (some of you), referring to a group of human beings is another reason to suppose that there were other human beings with Adam and Eve. So, based on Quranic verses 2:35-36 and 7:10-11, God peopled the world of Adam and Eve with rich genetic diversity so that His vicegerents would not go extinct due to the population bottleneck until the end of the world.” (Islamic Theory of Evolution, p. 160)

For further information on the dispersal of modern humans from ‘the Garden of Eden’,
see the following post:
Out of Africa Theory

At this point, one might ask “what is the purpose of the story of Adam if this event occurred on the Earth?” Who were Adam and Eve?

T.O. Shanavas explains:

Islam’s greatest historiographer, Abd-ar-Rahman Muhammed ibn-Khaldun, believed that the creation of mankind was gradual and that it evolved from the world of apes. In an earlier section of this work, we have seen many other pre-Darwin Muslims echoing the same belief. How, then, did the Judeo-Christian belief that God created Eve from Adam’s rib become a part of the Muslim faith? The Muqaddimah supports the argument that the story was not based on the Qur’an, but was incorporated into Muslim belief through Jewish and Christian converts to Islam.

Ibn-Khaldun maintains that the sources for this story can be traced back to early Muslims, contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad and to men who belonged to the generation that succeeded him. Records preserved by these men involved both reliable and unreliable materials. The reason for that, according to Ibn-Khaldun, is that the early Arabs “had no books or scholarship [and] desert attitude and illiteracy prevailed among them. When they wanted to learn certain things that human beings are usually curious to know, such as the reasons for existing things, the beginning of creation, and secrets of existence, they consulted earlier People of the Book (Jews and Christians).” Ibn-Khaldun maintains that when these men converted to Islam, they clung to some of their Judeo-Christian beliefs, such as the beginning of creation. He asserts that converts such as Ka’b ul-ahbar, Wahb ibn Munabbiah, Abdullah Ibn Slam, and others “filled the Qur’anic commentaries with such materials, which originated . . . with the people of the Torah,” and therefore such information was neither sound nor verifiable. In Ibn-Khaldun’s view, their interpretations were accepted because they were “people of rank in [their] religion and religious community.”

In the light of the testimony of Ibn-Khaldun, one of Islam’s greatest historiographers and a devout Muslim, we can see that Muslims incorporated the story of the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib not through the authority of the Qur’an, but through information they acquired from Jewish and Christian converts. There is no Qur’anic, historical, or scientific basis to accept the contemporary Muslim belief that Adam and Eve were created ex nihilo.

The Qur’an tells us that all races, tribes, and nations are the children of Adam and Eve. God addresses us as such: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. (Qur’an: 49:13) 20 He also tells us: “Mankind was one single nation.” (Qur’an: 2:213)

Modern scientific research has come to the same conclusion.

(Creation and/or Evolution, chapter 8)

An example of this idea is found in the books of the classical scholars:

The scholars of islamqa write:

“With regard to the way in which the children of Adam (peace be upon him) were married and how they produced offspring: 

There is nothing in the Holy Qur’an or saheeh Prophetic Sunnah to explain that; rather it was attributed to some of the Sahaabah – and it may be that it was taken from the books of the People of the Book – that in every pregnancy, Adam’s wife would bear him one male and one female, and a male born from one pregnancy would marry a female born from another pregnancy, and in this manner the number of his descendants increased.” (End Quote)

“This view – even though we have suggested that its only source was the books of the People of the Book – is not objectionable to the Muslim mind, and there is no text in our religion to say that it is wrong. There is no valid reason that prompts us to reject it or prevents us from narrating it. It was narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Convey from me, even if it is only one verse. Narrate from the Children of Israel and there is no problem. But whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his place in Hell.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3461). 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

Ash-Shaafa‘i said: It is well-known that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not permit the narration of lies. What is meant by narrating from the Children of Israel is that which you do not know to be a lie. As for what you think sounds reasonable, there is nothing wrong with you narrating it from them.”

End quote. Fath al-Baari (6/499) 

Usaama al-Azami writes:
“My own suggestion to Muslims grappling with such an issue is to recognize that when it comes to what we believe, science and religion address two kinds of truth: empirical and revealed. Empirical (observation-based) truth is the stuff of science. It’s contingent on our sense perception, and humanity’s current state of knowledge. It’s truth with a lower-case t. It’s relative to what the human senses can access at a given point in time,
and makes no claims to being absolute. This is not to belittle it, as most empirical truths are what we consider facts, like the fact that the spherical earth goes around the sun.
Revealed truth, by contrast, is based upon revelation which, if you believe it, is Truth with a capital T. For the believer, it is absolute, not relative. Our knowledge of empirical truth can and has improved over time; just as the once held ‘fact’ that the sun goes around the earth has been corrected with the passage of time. No reasonable person believes this ‘fact’ today; though the ancients may have been justified in thinking it was genuinely scientific. Revealed truth, on the other hand, claims to be constant, absolute,
and unchangeable. Problems of this kind are nothing new for Muslim theologians. An example is the statement of the Prophet that: after the sun sets, it goes to the Throne of God and prostrates, before rising again from the East. This statement is recorded in multiple collections of Prophetic statements including the respected Sunni collections of Bukhari and Muslim. Muslims additionally believe that such statements from the Prophet constitute revealed truth. The reality is that virtually no Muslim theologian has ever taken such revealed truths to be statements of empirical truth. In such an instance, a Muslim will believe in the revealed truth, but not think this means that the empirical truth is wrong. Rather, the two kinds of truth address different domains, the moral and the empirical (what is observable through the senses). The first addresses what Muslims should believe as a matter of faith, and how they should behave; and the other is whatever a reasonable person believes about the observable world based on the current state of human knowledge.”

As recorded by Muhammad Asad above,

‘In any case, this story of Adam is obviously one of the allegories referred to in 3:7’

For details on allegories in the Quran, see the post

The Allegorical verses of the Quran – Islamic Web Library

And Allah knows best.


Al-Azami, Usaama (2013). Muslims and Evolution in the 21st Century: A Galileo Moment?.

Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

NOORUDDÎN ,ALLÂMAH. (2015). Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections. (p. 342, 349, 352, 354, 355).

Sadiq, Ali Abubakar. Science and Scriptures: Friends or Foes?: Marrying science and religion in the quest for meaning . Kindle Edition.

Shanavas, T.O.. Creation And/Or Evolution: an Islamic Perspective: An Islamic View of Creation . Xlibris US. Kindle Edition.

Shanavas, T.O. (2005). Islamic Theory of Evolution: The Missing Link between Darwin and the Origin of Species. (p. 160).

WordPress. (2021). Adam. A Study of Quran.

Yılmaz, Hakkı. CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE AND MAN ACCORDING TO THE QUR’AN (pp. 31-35). Kindle Edition.

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 2 verse 35).

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