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Islam provides us with the astonishing details of the creation of Adam عليه السلام. He is the first human being and a Prophet of God on the face of the earth. He and his wife Hawwa(Eve), both were born without father and mother. Even Prophet Eesa عليه السلام(Called as JESUS by few) was born to virgin Mariam(Mary) without any male intervention, Qur’an surah Anbiya 21:91. The birth of Prophet Eesa عليه السلامwas not more supernatural than the creation of the father of whole mankind Adam عليه السلام.


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Description of Adam’s عليه السلامCreation in the Qur’an

And Allah said to the angels: And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."


And He taught Adam عليه السلامthe names - all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful." Quran Surah 2:30,31


So begins the story of Adam عليه السلام, the first man, the first human being.  God created Adam عليه السلامfrom a handful of soil containing portions from all its varieties on Earth.  Angels were sent to earth to collect the soil that was to become Adam عليه السلام.  It was red, white, brown, and black; it was soft and malleable, hard and gritty; it came from the mountains and the valleys; from infertile deserts and lush fertile plains and all the natural varieties in between.  The descendants of Adam عليه السلامwere destined to be as diverse as the handful of soil from which their ancestor was created; all have different appearances, attributes and qualities.


And God said, to the Angels: And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam عليه السلام"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers. Quran surah Baqrah 2:34


“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am going to create a human (Adam عليه السلام) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.  So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him.” Quran surah Baqrah Saad 38:71-72)


God honoured the first human, Adam عليه السلام, in countless ways.  Allah blew his soul into him, He fashioned him with His own hands and He ordered the Angels to bow down before him. 


The First Greeting

Adam عليه السلامwas instructed to approach a group of Angels sitting near to him and greet them with the words Assalamu alaikum (May God’s peace be upon you), they answered ‘and also upon you be God’s peace, mercy and blessings’.  Sahih Muslim 2841


From that day forward these words became the greeting of those submitted to God.  From the moment of Adam عليه السلام’s creation, we his descendents were instructed to spread peace.


The Creation of Hawwa(Eve)

Adam عليه السلامopened his eyes and looked into the beautiful face of a woman gazing down at him.  Adam عليه السلامwas surprised and asked the woman why she had been created.  She revealed that she was to ease his loneliness and bring tranquillity to him.  The Angels questioned Adam عليه السلام.  They knew that Adam عليه السلامpossessed knowledge of things they did not know about and the knowledge mankind would need to occupy the earth.  They said ‘who is this?’  and Adam عليه السلامreplied ‘this is Eve’.


Eve is Hawwa in Arabic; it comes from the root word hay, meaning living.  Eve is also an English variant of the old Hebrew word Havva, also deriving from hay.  Adam عليه السلامinformed the Angels that Eve was so named because she was made from a part of him and he, Adam عليه السلام, was a living being.


Both Jewish and Christian traditions also maintain that Eve was created from Adam عليه السلام’s rib, although in a literal translation of the Jewish tradition, rib is sometimes referred to as side.


“And God said: ‘O Mankind!  Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam عليه السلام) and from Him (Adam عليه السلام) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women.’” Quran Surah Nisa 4:1


The traditions of Prophet Muhammad relate that Eve was created while Adam عليه السلامwas sleeping from his shortest left rib and that, after sometime, she was clothed with flesh.  He (Prophet Muhammad) used the story of Eve’s creation from Adam عليه السلام’s rib as a basis for imploring people to be gentle and kind to women.  “O Muslims!  I advise you to be gentle with women, for they are created from a rib, and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part.  If you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked; so I urge you to take care of the women.”Saheeh Al-Bukhari 5185, 5186 (Vol.7: 114)


Dwelling in Paradise

Adam عليه السلامand Hawwa عليه السلامdwelt in tranquillity in Paradise.  This, too, is agreed upon by Islamic, Christian and Jewish traditions.  Islam tells us that all of Paradise was theirs to enjoy and God said to Adam عليه السلام, “eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will...”(Quran Surah 2:35) The Quran does not reveal the exact location of where this Paradise was; however, commentators agree that it is not on the earth, and that the knowledge of the location is of no benefit to mankind.  The benefit is in understanding the lesson from the events that took place there.


God continued his instructions to Adam عليه السلامand Eve by warning them “...come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrongdoers.” Quran surah 2:35  The Quran does not reveal what type of tree it was; we have no details and seeking such knowledge also produces no benefit.  What is understood is that Adam عليه السلامand Eve lived a tranquil existence and understood that they were forbidden to eat from the tree.  However, Satan was waiting to exploit the weakness of mankind. Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir


The Role of Satan

Satan was there in the Paradise of Adam عليه السلامand Eve and his vow was to misguide and deceive them and their descendents.  Satan said: “…surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path.  Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…” Quran surah 7:16-17  Satan is arrogant, and considered himself better then Adam عليه السلام, and thus mankind. He is crafty and cunning, but ultimately understands the weakness of human beings; he recognises their loves and desires. Sheikh ibn Al Qayyim in Ighaathat al Lahfaan.


Satan did not say to Adam عليه السلامand Eve “go eat from that tree” nor did he out rightly tell them to disobey God.  He whispered into their hearts and planted disquieting thoughts and desires.  Satan said to Adam عليه السلامand Eve, “...Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save that you should become Angels or become of the immortals.” Quran surah 7:20  Their minds became filled with thoughts of the tree, and one day they decided to eat from it.  Adam عليه السلامand Eve behaved as all human beings do; they became preoccupied with their own thoughts and the whisperings of Satan and they forgot the warning from God.


It is at this point that the Jewish and Christian traditions differ greatly from Islam.  At no point do the words of God – the Quran, or the traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad(S) - indicate that Satan came to Adam عليه السلامand Eve in the form of a snake or serpent.


Islam in no way indicates that Eve was the weaker of the two, or that she tempted Adam عليه السلامto disobey God.  Eating the fruit of the tree was a mistake committed by both Adam عليه السلامand Eve.  They bear equal responsibility.  It was not the original sin spoken about in Christian traditions.  The descendents of Adam عليه السلامare not being punished for the sins of their original parents.  It was a mistake, and God, in His infinite Wisdom and Mercy, forgave them both.



 In a tradition narrated to inform us of the importance of Fridays, the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:


“The best of days on which the sun has risen is Friday.  One this day Adam عليه السلامwas created, and on this day he was descended to earth.” Sahih Muslim 854


Words of Repentance

Many people misinterpret the words of repentance which Adam عليه السلامand Hawwa read for seeking forgiveness with Allah for their mistake. Quran describes it with clarity i: Then Adam عليه السلامreceived from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. Quran Surah Baqrah 2:37


The wordings of Dua are: Rabbana zalamna anfusana wa-il lam taghfir lana watarhamna la nakoonanna minaal khasireen


They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers." Quran Surah A’raf 7:23


Life on Earth

Adam عليه السلامand Hawwa عليه السلامleft Paradise and began their life on earth.  God had prepared them in many ways.  He gave them the experience of struggling against the whisperings and schemes of Satan.  He taught Adam عليه السلامthe names of everything and instructed him in its properties and usefulness.  Adam عليه السلامtook up his position as caretaker of the earth and Prophet of God.


Adam عليه السلام, the first Prophet of God was responsible for teaching his wife and offspring how to worship God and seek His forgiveness.  Adam عليه السلامestablished the laws of God and set about trying to support his family and learning to subdue and care for the earth.  His task was to perpetuate, cultivate, construct and populate; he was to raise children who would live according to God’s instructions and care for and improve the earth.


Adam عليه السلام’s First Four Children

Adam عليه السلامand Eve’s first children, Cain(Qabil) and his sister, were twins; Abel(Habil) and his sister, another set of twins, soon followed.  Adam عليه السلامand his family lived in peace and harmony.  Cain ploughed the earth while Abel raised livestock.  Time passed and the occasion came for the sons of Adam عليه السلامto marry.  A group of the companions of Prophet Muhammad including Ibn Abbas and Ibn Masud (May Allah be pleased with them) related that inter-marriage of the male of one pregnancy with the female of another had been the practice among Adam عليه السلام’s children. Therefore we know that God’s plan to fill the earth included each of Adam عليه السلام’s sons marrying the twin sister of the other.


It seems that beauty has played a part in the attraction of men and women since the beginning.  Cain was not pleased with the partner chosen for him.  Cain began to envy his brother and refused to obey the command of his father and, in doing so, he disobeyed God.  God created man with both good and bad tendencies, and the struggle to overcome our baser instincts is part of His test for us.


God commanded that each son was to offer a sacrifice.  His judgement would favour the son whose offer was the most acceptable.  Cain offered his worst grain, but Abel offered his best livestock.  God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, so Cain became enraged, threatening to kill his brother.


“And (O Muhammad) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam عليه السلام(Abel and Cain) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice to God, it was accepted from the one but not from the other.  The latter said to the former; ‘I will surely kill you.’” Quran Suarh Maidah 5:27


Abel advised his brother that God would accept good deeds from those that fear and serve Him, but  reject the good deeds of those who are arrogant, selfish and disobedient towards God.


“The former said: ‘Verily God accepts only from those who are pious.  If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear God; the Lord of mankind, jinn, and all that exists.’” Quran Suarh Maidah 5:27-28


The First Murder on Earth

“So the self  (base desires) of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.” Quran Suarh Maidah 5:30


Prophet Muhammad(S) informed us that Cain became angry and hit his brother over the head with a piece of iron.  It was also said in another narration that Cain hit Abel over the head while he was sleeping.


“God sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother.  He (the murderer) said: ‘Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?’  Then he became one of those who regretted.” Quran Suarh Maidah 5:31


Adam عليه السلامwas devastated; he had lost both his first and second born sons.  One had been murdered; the other was won over by mankind’s greatest enemy – Satan.  Patiently, Adam عليه السلامprayed for his son, and continued to care for the earth.  He taught his many children and grandchildren about God.  He told them of his own encounter with Satan and advised them to beware of Satan’s tricks and schemes.  Years and years passed, and  Adam عليه السلامgrew old and his children spread out across the earth.


Narrated `Abdullah(R):Allah's Messenger () said, "Whenever a person is murdered unjustly, there is a share from the burden of the crime on the first son of Adam for he was the first to start the tradition of murdering." Sahih al-Bukhari 3335 (Vol. 4: 552) and 6867 (Vol. 9:6)


Adam عليه السلام’s Death

All of mankind are the children of Adam عليه السلام.  In one narration, the Prophet Muhammad informed us that God showed Adam عليه السلامhis descendants.  Adam عليه السلامsaw a beautiful light in Prophet David’s eyes and loved him, so he turned to God and said: “Oh God.  Give him forty years from my life.”  God granted Adam عليه السلامhis request, and it was written down and sealed.


Adam عليه السلام’s life span was supposed to be 1000 years but after 960 years the Angel of death came to Adam عليه السلام.  Adam عليه السلامwas surprised and said “but I still have 40 years to live”.  The angel of death reminded him of his gift of 40 years to his beloved descendant Prophet David, but  Adam عليه السلامdenied it.  Many, many years later, the last Prophet Muhammad(S) said: “Adam عليه السلامdenied so his offspring denied, Adam عليه السلامforgot and his offspring forget; Adam عليه السلامmade mistakes and his children make mistakes.” Jami At-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 44, Hadith 3076


In Arabic the word for mankind is Insan and it comes from the root word nisyan to forget.  This is part of human nature, mankind forgets, and when we forget we deny and reject.  Adam عليه السلامforgot (he was not lying), and God forgave him.  Adam عليه السلامthen submitted to the will of God and died.  The Angels descended and washed the body of Prophet Adam عليه السلام عليه السلامan odd number of times; they dug the grave and buried the body of the father of mankind, Adam عليه السلام.


Adam’s successor

Before his death Adam عليه السلامreminded his children that God would never leave them alone or without guidance.  He told them God would send other Prophets with unique names, traits and miracles, but they would all call to the same thing – the worship of the One True God.  Adam عليه السلامappointed as his successor his son Seth(seeth).


Islam and Modern Science

In Islam, there is no conflict between faith in God and modern scientific knowledge.  Indeed, for many centuries during the Middle Ages, Muslims led the world in scientific inquiry and exploration.  The Quran itself, revealed around 14 centuries ago, is filled with facts and imagery that are supported by modern scientific findings.  Three of those will be mentioned here. Of them, the development of language and mitrochondrial Eve (genetics) are relatively new areas of scientific research.


The Quran instructs Muslims to “contemplate the wonders of creation” Quran Surah 3:191


One of the items for contemplation is the statement: “Truly, I am going to create man from clay...” Quran Surah 38:71


Indeed, many elements present in the earth are also contained in the human body.  The most critical component to land-based life is the top soil; that thin layer of dark, organically rich soil in which plants spread out their roots.  It is in this thin, vital layer of soil that microorganisms convert raw resources, the minerals that constitute the basic clay of this topsoil, and make them available to the myriad forms of life around and above them.


Minerals are inorganic elements that originate in the earth which the body cannot make.  They play important roles in various bodily functions and are necessary to sustain life and maintain optimal health, and thus are essential nutrients.[1]  These minerals cannot be man made; they cannot be produced in a laboratory nor can they be manufactured in a factory

With cells consisting of 65-90% water by weight, water, or H2O, makes up most of the human body.  Therefore most of a human body’s mass is oxygen.  Carbon, the basic unit for organic molecules, comes in second.  99% of the mass of the human body is made up of just six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.[2]


The human body contains trace amounts of almost every mineral on earth; including sulphur, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, aluminium, molybdenum, chromium, platinum, boron, silicon   selenium, molybdenum, fluorine, chlorine, iodine, manganese, cobalt,  lithium, strontium, aluminium, lead, vanadium, arsenic, bromine  and more.[3]  Without these minerals, vitamins may have little or no effect.  Minerals are catalysts, triggers for thousands of essential enzyme reactions in the body.  Trace elements play a key role in the functioning of a healthy human being.  It is known that insufficient iodine will induce a disease of the thyroid gland and a deficiency of cobalt will leave us without vitamin B12, and thus unable to manufacture red blood cells.


Another verse to contemplate is: “He taught Adam عليه السلامall the names of everything.” (Quran 2:31)


Adam عليه السلامwas taught the names of everything; the powers of reasoning and free will were given to him.  He learned how to categorize things and understand their usefulness.  Thus, God taught Adam عليه السلامlanguage skills. He taught Adam عليه السلامhow to think – to apply knowledge to solve problems, make plans and decisions and to achieve goals.  We, the children of Adam عليه السلام, have inherited these skills in order that we can exist in the world and worship God in the best manner.


Linguists estimate that more than 3000 separate languages exist in the world today, all distinct, so that speakers of one cannot understand those of another, yet these languages are all so fundamentally similar that it is possible to speak of a “human language’ in the singular.[4]


Language is a special form of communication that involves learning complex rules to make and combine symbols (words or gestures) into an endless number of meaningful sentences.  Language exists because of two simple principles, - words and grammar.


A word is an arbitrary pairing between a sound or symbol and a meaning.  For example, in English the word cat does not look or sound or feel like a cat, but it refers to a certain animal because all of us memorized this pairing as children.  Grammar refers to a set of rules for combing words into phrases and sentences.  It may seem surprising, but speakers of all 3000 separate languages learned the same four rules of language.[5]


The first language rule is phonology – how we make meaningful sounds.  Phonemes are basic sounds.  We combine phonemes to form words by learning the second rule: morphology. Morphology is the system we use to group phonemes into meaningful combinations of sounds and words.  A morpheme is the smallest, meaningful combination of sounds in a language.  After learning to combine morphemes to produce words, we learn to combine words into meaningful sentences.  The third language rule governs syntax or grammar.  This set of rules specifies how we combine words to form meaningful phrases and sentences.  The fourth language rule governs semantics – the specific meaning of words or phrases as they appear in various sentences or contexts.


All children, regardless of where in the world they are, go through the same four language stages because of innate language factors. These factors facilitate how we make speech sounds and acquire language skills. The renowned linguist Noam Chomsky says that all languages share a common universal grammar, and that children inherit a mental programme to learn this universal grammar.[6]


A third ayath to ponder is about progeniture: “O Mankind!  Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam عليه السلام) and from Him (Adam عليه السلام) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women.” (Quran 4:1)


The realisation that all mtDNA lineages(Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas) can be traced back to a single origin is popularly called the “mitochondrial Eve” theory.  According to top scientists[7]  and cutting-edge research, everyone on the planet today can trace a specific part of his or her genetic heritage back to one woman through a unique part of our genetic makeup, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  The mtDNA of “mitochondrial Eve” has been passed down through the centuries from mother to daughter (men are carriers, but don’t pass it on) and exists within all people living today.[8] It is popularly known as the Eve theory because, as can be deduced from the above, it is passed down through the X chromosome.  Scientists are also studying DNA from the Y chromosome (perhaps to be dubbed the “Adam عليه السلامtheory”), which is passed only from father to son and is not recombined with the mother’s genes.


These are but three of  the many wonders of creation God suggests we contemplate through his verses in the Quran.  The entire universe, which was created by God, follows and obeys His laws.  Therefore Muslims are encouraged to seek knowledge, explore the universe, and find the “Signs of God” in His creation.


See also

Prophet in Islam; Abel or Habil; Hawwa or Eve; Cain or Qabil;




[2] Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Your Guide to Chemistry.

[3] Minerals and Human Health The Rationale for Optimal and Balanced Trace Element Levels by Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D.

[4] Pinker, S., & Bloom, P. (1992) Natural Language and natural selection.  In Gray.  P. (2002).  Psychology.  4th ed. Worth Publishers: New York

[5] Plotnick, R. (2005) Introduction to Psychology.  7th Ed .Wadsworth:USA

[6] Gray.  P. (2002).  Psychology.  4th ed. Worth Publishers: New York

[7] Douglas C Wallace Professor of Biological Sciences and Molecular Medicine.  At the University of California.

[8] Discovery channel documentary – The Real Eve.



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