It all began when Allah almighty told the angels that he would make a caretaker on Earth who would have the ability to think freely, reason and decide. The angels immediately sensed danger and questioned Allah’s plan.
Allah almighty reveals in the Holy Quran:
“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.” They said: “Will you place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify you with praises and thanks (exalted be you above all that they associate with you as partners) and sanctify you.” He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know.” (2:30)
The angels were intelligent and obedient beings, made from light, whose only purpose was to obey Allah’s command. They simply could not fathom why Allah would create a new being that could choose to rebel against the creator! Allah informed the angels that their knowledge was limited and that they would soon understand his divine plan.
Allah created the very first man, raised right out of dust, named Adam and also his wife whose name was Eve or Hawwa in Arabic. Afterwards, Allah educated Adam and completely taught him everything he needed to know about Earth and all it contained. Then Allah called the angels into an assembly and challenged them to describe even one part of the Earth. They could not. But Adam could and he did. Allah proved to the angels that Adam was the superior being and commanded them to bow to man. They did as they were told and so did another beings called Jinns who are made out of fire. The Jinns had been eavesdropping and when they saw the angels bow they did so as well. But one Jinn did not and his name was Iblis, or the devil. Iblis declared that he was made out of fire whereas man was made out of dirty dust. So, Iblis affirmed he was superior to man. For his disobedient arrogance, Allah threw him out of the Heavens. But Iblis had a special request. He wanted to prove that he was superior to man and asked Allah for time to lead man into ungratefulness to Allah. Since Allah accepts all challenges laid before Him, Iblis was given free reign to lead whomever would follow him astray but on the condition that he leaves whoever worships Allah in true faith alone. Iblis agreed and promised this:
“I will attack them from their front and back and from the side…”
Meanwhile, Adam and Eve began their lives in a beautiful garden of which they were the masters. They had everything they could ever want and spent their days in peace and happiness. Adam and Eve had no need for clothes even as their world was innocent and did not contain human degradations like anger, shame or fear. However, in his education from Allah, Adam knew that they had an enemy in the devil and knew that he would try to lead them astray. The day finally came when the devil entered the garden and encouraged both Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from a forbidden tree. The devil promised that by eating the fruit they would gain even more power and knowledge than they already had. However, this tree was the one place where Allah commanded them not to eat from. Unable to resist the temptation the devil presented them with, both Adam and Eve ate from the tree. They disobeyed the creator by allowing the devil to guide them.
The Holy Quran does not lay blame specifically on Adam or Eve. They both disobeyed Allah and were held to be equally accountable. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and into the wild to fend for themselves. By this time, their shame in disobeying Allah was so great that they had fashioned clothes out of leaves to cover their private parts.
According to the Holy Quran, Allah in His Infinite mercy forgave Adam and Eve for their disobedience. That is why there is no such concept as ‘original sin’ in Islam as there is in Christianity. According to the Bible, ‘original sin’ means that since Adam and Eve committed the first sin then all of humanity is shrouded in sin and that all humans are born sinners. Islam rejects this and the Quran says that no soul can bear the deeds of another. So in Islam, all children are born pure and sinless. It is only when humans reach the age of puberty that their sins will be held against them.
Further, Islam also rejects humans needing a ‘savior’ to die for the sins of man. Rather Islam teaches that the only real way that any human can attain salvation is by submitting their will exclusively to Allah in sincere obedience, acts of worship and good deeds. That is why Allah has sent prophets throughout all the ages to help man fight the devil and find their way back to the creator. Allah gave Adam and Eve instructions to pass this knowledge on to their descendants:
“(Allah) said:” Get you down (from the paradise to the earth), both of you, together; some of you are an enemy to some others. Then if there comes to you guidance from me, then whoever follows my guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery. But whosoever turns away from my reminder (that is, neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and we shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (20:123-124)
Adam was actually the very first prophet of Allah as he taught his own children to be faithful and obedient servants to the lord of this world. Since Adam, a long line of prophets have come and done their utmost to guide and warn man throughout the ages. To all people have come a prophet. So, on the Day of Judgment, no soul can feign ignorance or escape punishment. We don’t know all of their names but some mentioned in the Holy Quran include: Abraham, Moses, Noah, Job, Jesus and the Seal of prophets was Muhammad (pbuh) and no other prophet will come to guide man although scores of false prophets will come to join the devil in his plight to lead humans astray.Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org