Welcome to this series on the Prophets mentioned in the Quran.
Belief in the Prophets of Allah SWT* is one of the 6 pillars of Iman. In learning how they lived and what they taught, we look to apply these timeless lessons to our own lives.
“And mention when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed I will place mankind, generations after generations on the earth.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood while we glorify You with praises and thanks?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
-Chapter 2:30, Quran, Surah Baqara
Prophet Adam AS* is both the first man and first Prophet in Islam. He was created by Allah SWT from moulded clay, after which a soul was breathed into him. After his creation, Allah commands the angels to prostrate to Adam in a show of respect, which they all do except one, Iblis* (Satan). He refuses, claiming, as one made of fire, that he is better than one made of clay. Allah SWT curses Iblis for his disobedience, and commands him to leave. He departs, but not before promising to spend the rest of his days leading man into misguidance.
Prophet Adam AS is endowed with a love for knowledge, and is taught the names of all things by God. But he is lonely, and Allah SWT creates a woman from his rib, Hawa (Eve), to be his companion. They are admitted into paradise to live together in comfort, but cautioned to beware Satan, and to avoid the fruit of one tree.
In paradise, Satan continually tries to persuade them to eat from the tree, promising them immortality if they heed him. After a time, Adam forgets God’s warning, and he and Hawa succumb to Iblis’ enticement to eat from the tree. This act then elicits emotions of shame, sadness and regret from them. Having disobeyed God, they become aware of their nakedness and begin to cover themselves. And Allah SWT addresses Adam – Didn’t He warn them against Iblis and the tree? Adam and Hawa beg for Allah’s SWT forgiveness and mercy, which He grants. However, they are made to leave paradise and descend to the earth where they are to live henceforth.
Earth is an ongoing struggle with great hardship. The Prophet has to learn to labour and cultivate to survive. Prophet Adam and Hawa experience great joy though when they have children, a family that he now has to protect and provide for. There is also the constant struggle to be vigilant of Iblis who seeks to lead him and his family astray. With time, they settle to enjoy the bounties of the land, and their progeny begins to spread and settle over the earth.
Prophet Adam and Hawa have many offspring, and he constantly teaches his children and grandchildren to worship in one God, to shun Iblis, and to remember that Allah will send Messengers to provide guidance on earth. Iblis continues in his attempts to corrupt and deceive, and it is also during Prophet Adam’s lifetime that the first murder on earth takes place; that of his son, Habil (Abel) at the hand of his brother Qabil (Cain).
Prophet Adam AS lived for over 900 years, and upon his death, his son, Shiith (Seth) succeeds him as a Prophet.
What we learn
- In Islam, we believe Prophet Adam (AS) and Hawa’s removal from paradise to be pre-destined. Allah (SWT) knew they would eat from the tree and descend to the earth. Note also, the verse from Surah Baqara above, where Allah says He will place man on earth, not in paradise.
- We are reassured that humankind has not been left alone, but that guidance has been sent through the message of the Prophets, with the promise that following Allah’s path will lead us back to Him.
Abu Hurraira RA* reported that the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said - "The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday. On this day Adam was created, on it he entered paradise, and on it, descended to the earth. The Hour will not be established except on Friday."
- SWT is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, which means, "May He be glorified and exalted".
- AS is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase alayhi salam, which translates to "peace be upon him".
- It is important to clarify that Iblis was the leader of the angels, however he was not an angel but a jinn. In Islam, angels are made of pure light, and follow all of God's commands. Jinns, however are created from a 'smokeless fire', and have free will, similar to humankind.
- RA is an abbreviation of the Arabic honorific phrase, radiAllahu anhu, which means, "May Allah be pleased with him" and are used when referring to the companions of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH.