Adam - Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost I
Adam is mentioned quite early in the Koran and mentioned again on a number of occasions, but mainly as part of Allah's numerous retelling of the story of Iblis, the jinn who refused to bow down to Adam.
It all began with Allah informing his angels about his intention to place a deputy on earth and they, in turn, questioning His motivation.
2:30 When your Lord said to the angels: "I am placing a deputy on earth", they said: "Will you place one who will make mischief in it and shed blood, while we sing Your praise and glorify Your sanctity?" He said: "I know what you do not know."
Then follows a surreal discussion where it is Adam who tells the angels the names by which they are known, and which they allegedly have been concealing from their creator.
2:31 And He taught Adam all the names. Then He laid them before the angels. He said: “Tell me the names of these if you are truthful.”
2:32 They said: "Glory be to You; we have no knowledge other than that what You taught us. You are the All-Knowing, the Wise."
2:33 He said: “O Adam, tell them their names.” When Adam told them their names He (Allah) said: “Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and that I know what you reveal and what you conceal?”
The first mention of Iblis:
2:34 And when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam”, they all prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan), who refused, out of pride and was one of the disbelievers.
Allah, in 2:30, said He was establishing Adam as a deputy on earth. Did He change his mind and decide to keep Adam and his wife in Paradise. Allah never mentions Eve by name in the Koran. The "wife of" Adam is first mentioned along with the infamous tree.
2:35 Then We said: “O Adam, dwell in Paradise, you and your wife, and eat from it as much as you wish and wherever you wish, but do not approach this tree (meaning do not eat from it) or you will both be unjust (by being disobedient).”
But who could resist?
2:36 But Satan caused them to fall down from it and be turned out of the bliss they had been in. And We said: “Go down (from Paradise to earth), being enemies one to the other. And you will have in the earth an abode and sustenance for a while.”
Then he forgave Adam, but perhaps not his wife.
2:37 Then Adam received words from his Lord, Who forgave him. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, The Merciful.
2:38 We said: “Go down from here (Paradise) all of you. And when in time My Guidance is vouchsafed to you, those who follow My Guidance will have nothing to fear nor will they grieve (because they will be admitted into Paradise).”
And if you don’t believe this story about Adam and his wife, and my other revelations, Hell will be waiting.
2:39 And [as to] those who have disbelieved and denied Our Revelations, they are the people of Hell, wherein they will dwell forever.
Paradise Lost II
A retelling of the story of Adam and his wife’s fall from Paradise with an emphasis on “naked parts”. In this reiteration there is no Iblis, only Satan.
7:10 And We have established you firmly in the earth and provided you therein with means of livelihood. But seldom do you give thanks.
7:11 And we created you, then fashioned you, and then said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves to Adam”; so they prostrated themselves, except for Satan who was not one of those who prostrated themselves.
7:12 He (Allah) said: “What prevented you from prostrating yourself when I commanded you?” He (Satan) said: “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.”
7:13 He said: "Get down from it (Paradise), then (sic). It is not given you to be arrogant therein. Get out; you are indeed one of the lowly.”
7:14 Satan said: “Give me a respite, until the Day when they shall be resurrected.”
7:15 He (Allah) said: “You are one of those who are granted respite.”
Did Satan wrongly assume that he was superior to God’s latest creation, or was he mislead by Allah into believing he was? Notice the capital Y in “You” in the following verse. It can only mean Allah.
7:16 Satan said: “Because You have misled me, I will lie in wait for them on Your Straight Path.
7:17 “Then I will come upon them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left; and You will not find most of them thankful.”
7:18 He (Allah) said: “Get out of it despised and vanquished. I will fill Hell with all who follow you!”
7:19 And [We said]: “Adam, dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from wherever you wish; but do not come close to this tree, lest you both become wrongdoers.”
In the Bible, the first couple become aware that they are naked because they have sinned. In the Koran being naked appears to be the great sin that causes the first couple to be cast out of Paradise, not that they disobeyed God. Read all the verses in this series before coming to your own conclusion.
In this retelling, Satan offers not only immortality but immortal life as an angel. “Secretly” in the following verse may be Allah’s way of telling us that Satan sneaked back into Paradise after being banished to earth in 7:13.
7:20 But Satan tempted them secretly in order to expose their nakedness to them saying: “Your Lord has forbidden you this tree, lest you become angels or become immortal.”
7:21 And he swore to them: “I am indeed a sincere advisor to you both.”
Did Allah make Adam and his wife’s naked parts invisible, even to their owners? Probably not, the reason is in revelation 7:27. Wait for it.
7:22 Then he brought about their downfall by deceit; so that when they tasted the tree, their private parts became visible to them, and they started to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Then their Lord called out to them: “Have I not forbidden you that tree and said to you: ‘Indeed Satan is your sworn enemy’?”
The actual warning was given in another account of the first couple's fall from grace.
7:23 They said: “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if you do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will surely be among the losers.”
How many losers could there have been?
7:24 He said: “Go down, some of you as enemies of the others. On earth you will have a dwelling place and a means of enjoyment for a while.”
7:25 He said: “Therein you shall live and therein you shall die, and from it you will be brought out.”
7:26 “O Children of Adam, We have provided you with clothing and finery to cover your private parts. But the attire of piety is the best.” Such are Allah’s Signs, that they may take heed.
In Allah's version of Adam and Eve in Paradise, both were clothed until Satan stripped them down to nothing, to show them their private parts.
7:27 “O Children of Adam, do not let Satan lead you astray as he drove your parents out of Paradise, stripping them of their clothes so as to show them their private parts. He and his host (army or tribe) see you from a place where you cannot see them. We have made the devils the friends of those who do not believe.”
Until the Koran, being naked was not considered indecent – the Devil’s stripping of Adam and Eve notwithstanding; Adam was the first Prophet after all, and an example to follow; and he did not seem to mind being naked, and neither did his progeny judging from the following revelation:
7:28 When they commit an indecency, they say: “We have found our fathers doing it, and Allah commanded us to do it.” Say (O Muhammad): “Allah does not command indecencies. Do you impute to Allah what you do not know?”
In verse 7:22, Adam and his wife covered their naked parts with “leaves from Paradise.” Could they not have just put their clothes back on?
Allah’s preoccupation with covering your private’s parts (He will return to the topic more than once), might lead those who are not familiar with the Prophet’s place and time, to think that public nudity was rampant and a real problem on the Arabian Peninsula.
Paradise Lost III
These various accounts of the same event are valuable, not only in the implied message this sameness conveys, but because of the variations on a common theme, and the additional information provided in bits and pieces.
The most interesting tidbits in this account of Adam and his wife’s encounter with Satan, is that Satan is in possession of an army composed of cavalry and infantry to help him convince the progeny of Adam to believe in him, by force if necessary.
17:61 And when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam”, they all prostrated themselves, except Satan, who said: “Shall I prostrate myself before one You have created from clay?”
17:62 He (Satan) said: “Do you see this one whom you honoured more than me? If you would reprieve me until the Day of Resurrection, I will certainly destroy his progeny except for a few.”
17:63 He (Allah) said: “Begone! Whoever of them follows you, Hell is surely your reward, an ample reward.
17:64 “Stir up those of them you can with your voice, rally against them your horsemen and your infantry, share with them their wealth and children and promise them.” But Satan makes them only deceitful promises.
17:65 “Surely, over My servants you have no authority. Your Lord suffices as a Guardian”.
There is irony in revelation 17:64 in that Islam, from its founding, and for centuries after, was spread by the sword. Violence in the pursuit of an earthbound Kingdom of Allah is still very much in evidence today e.g. Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq.
Paradise Lost IV
In the fourth retelling of the first couple’s fall from Grace, Allah admits that the first man was a bit of a disappointment.
20:115 And We commanded Adam before, but he forgot, and We found in him no firm resolve.
Again with the prostrating!
20:116 And when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves to Adam”, they prostrated themselves, except for Satan who refused.
Allah had obviously created Adam and his wife before Satan’s refusal to bow down. The following revelation also contains Allah’s warning about Satan, which He said He gave the first couple in verse 7:22.
20:117 So We said: “O Adam, this is surely an enemy to you and to your wife; so do not let him drive you out of Paradise; for then, you will be miserable.
Considering the haphazard way the Koran appears to have been thrown together, it is not impossible that the current account of the first couple’s fall from Paradise was delivered prior to the one in Paradise Lost II.
Nudists and exhibitionists are still not welcomed in Paradise.
When you read about Allah’s sensible arrangement to accommodate the billions of people, jinns, angels and houris in Paradise, perhaps trillions, depending on when He brings on Judgement Day, you may wonder how private parts will be kept private with all the fornicating that will be going on in open spaces (it's all in the chapter Heaven).
20:118 “You will certainly not be hungry therein, nor be naked.
20:119 “And you will not thirst therein, nor be exposed to the heat of the sun.”
The sun, in the Koran, is the heat and light source of both heaven and earth.
First it was immortality, then a choice of immortality as man and wife or immortality as angels. In this account, Satan throws in a kingdom to convince Adam, not his wife, to eat a piece of that infamous tree.
20:120 But the Devil whispered to him, saying: “O Adam, shall I show you the Tree of Immortality and a kingdom which will never perish?”
And we all know what happens next. In the following, the sin is not being naked as implied in revelation 7:22 but disobedience.
20:121 And so they both (Adam and Eve) ate from it; whereupon their shameful parts were revealed to them and they started fastening upon themselves leaves of Paradise. Adam thus disobeyed His Lord and so went astray.
Even at the beginning of creation, Allah makes His preference for males obvious.
20:122 Then, his Lord favoured him, and so he relented towards him, and guided him.
Revelation 20:123 is a reiteration of revelation 7:24 where He commanded the first couple to: “Go down, some of you as enemies of the others.” It’s all about the battle of the sexes, with Allah squarely in the male's camp.
20:123 He (Allah) said: “Go down from it both of you, as enemies of one another; but should guidance from Me come to you, he who follows My Guidance will not go astray or suffer.
Paradise Lost V
38:71 When your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to create a mortal out of clay.
38:72 “When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of my Spirit, fall prostrate before him.”
38:73 Then all the angels prostrated themselves entirely;
38:74 Except for Iblis; he waxed proud and was one of the unbelievers.
38:75 He said: “O Iblis, what prevented you from prostrating yourself before what I created with My Own Hands? Have you waxed proud or were you one of the exalted?”
Whether Allah actually has hands has been the subject of much argument among Islamic scholars.
38:76 He said: “I am better than he; You created me from fire and You created him from clay.”
38:77 [Allah] said: “Get out of here (Paradise); you are truly accursed.
38:78 “And My curse shall pursue you till the Day of Judgement.”
The irony here is that Iblis is cursed, labelled an unbeliever with Allah standing, sitting or hovering over him, and banished from Paradise when in fact he was obeying Allah’s Law to the letter – that only He be worshipped.
Iblis again asked Allah to postpone his punishment so that he can test how many of Adam’s progeny he can entice to disobey Him, and Allah again agrees.
38:79 He said: “Lord, give me respite till the day they shall be resuscitated.”
38:80 [Allah] said: “You are one of those respited (sic),
38:81 “Till the day of the well-known time.”
38:82 He (Satan) said: “By your glory, I will seduce them all,
38:83 “Except for your sincere servants among them.”
Allah ends this recounting of the banishment of Iblis with a warning that He does not make idle threats; that He means what He says and that all humanity i.e. mankind will eventually come to appreciate His Message which includes a large dose of punishment.
38:84 [Allah] said: “Truly, and I say the truth;
38:85 “I will fill Hell with you and those of them who follow you all together.”
38:86 Say (O Muhammad): “I ask you no wage for it and I am not one of those who pretend.
38:87 “It is only a Reminder to mankind.
38:88 “And you will learn its message after a while.”