Lessons from the Stories of the Prophets in the Quraan by Mufti Menk -Creation Of Aadam AS

Lessons from the Stories of the Prophets in the Quraan by Mufti Menk -Creation Of Aadam AS

This Ramadan 2011 Tafseer series is originally posted by Du’aa a Day on Facebook. – A transcript of Mufti Ismail Menk’s post Taraweeh Series in Cape Town, South Africa

Shared on 2 August 2011, See Original


الحمد لله و كفى و صلى الله و سلّم و بارك على عباده الذين اصطفى و بعد  

All praise is due to Allah Subhana Wa ta’aala, Blessings and salutations upon Muhammad SAW


Brothers and sisters in Islam, Ramadhaan is a month of sacrifice, self-control and discipline. If we can abstain from that which is halaal and permissible for us during the month of Ramadhaan for Allah’s sake then it should be easier for us to abstain from that which is haraam and impermissible outside the month of Ramadhaan inshaAllah!

يا باغي الخير أقبل

O Seeker of Goodness come forward! And O You who intends evil stay back!

Before we begin,  let’s understand why have we chosen the use of the word ‘Qasas’ or ‘stories’ of the prophets and not the word ‘Lives’ or any other word? This is because Allah states in the Qur’aan addressing Muhammed PBUH:

(فاقصص القصص لعلهم يتفكرون)

“Narrate to the stories so that they may ponder”

Muhammed SAW knew nothing about these stories it was Allah who informed him about them as Allah says:

(و ما كنت بجانب الطور إذ نادينا موسى)

“You (O Muhammed SAW) were not present at the side of mount Tur when we called Musa AS”

So it is Allah who informed the Messanger about these stories through the Qur’aan. If it was not for revelation he would have not known about it.

Also, Allah says in Surah Yusuf:

(نحن نقص عليك أحسن القصص)

“We reveal to you the best of STORIES”

So that is why the word ‘stories’ is commonly used as Allah has chosen to use it in His Book.

Also, another reason why these stories were revealed apart from serving as a reminder and point of reflection, is that they were revealed as a source of comfort and consolation to the messanger PBUH.  Allah says:

(و كذلك جعلنا لكل نبي عدوا)

“And likewise did we create for every Prophet an enemy”

So, do not despair and do not be saddened O Muhammad! They other prophets were tested as well and faced with enemies just as you are. So each story was a form of strength and consolation to the Prophet PBUH.

Beginning of Creation

At the very beginning Allah created the Pen and commanded it to write down everything that would happen right up to the end. How was this? We don’t know. Some things are far beyond our comprehension to understand it so we do not delve into it too much and spend precious time questioning that which is beyond our grasp. For e.g., animals have inferior brains to that of man. They cannot understand things man can understand, hence, it would be a complete waste of time to sit and explain a complex sum for example, to an animal, for no matter how much you try it will never understand it.

Another important point to know before moving on is there are narrations mentioned in the books of tafseer known as ‘Israa’eeli Riwaayaat”. What are they? Israa’eel is another name given to Jacob or Ya’qoob AS. As we mentioned yesterday, there are similarities among the scriptures of the past and the Qur’aan. These Riwaayaat are mostly recorded from the Jewish scholars. They are divided into three catergories:

1. Those which the Qur’aan and Sunnah negate. We leave them out and disregard them.

2. Those which the Qur’an and Sunnah have confirmed their message. We accept them.

3. Those which the Qur’aan and Sunnah have neither negated nor confirmed. We do not believe in them nor do we reject them.

Moving on, at the beginning Allah created the Angels, Jinn kind and Bin kind. This Imam ibn Katheer has mentioned in his book ‘Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah’. The bin kind were a creation of Allah settled on the earth and caused a great deal of chaos and corruption on earth. So the Jinn destroyed them. Their leader, a jinn known as Iblees was very proud of himself for the achievement he and his followers achieved. And this was his biggest downfall from the very beginning:  His quality of pride and arrogance.

We, must draw a lesson from this, that no matter what, never ever look down upon anybody. Dont allow deeds to make you proud.  Always look at those above you and strive to be like them. You never know, those who appear to be lower than you may overtake you someday through one action which will be so beloved to Allah. So don’t underestimate anybody no matter what they may be involved in and how they may be dressing.

So Iblees became proud. And he was one who used to be addressed as part of the Angels because of his rank at the time although he was not an angel, he was a jinn. For e.g.  if the community came to your house riding on donkeys, you would just say, ‘The community came” without mentioning the donkeys because they are just a part of them. Or if we refer to someone as being “such an angel” it does not raise them to the ranks of the angels, rather we include them as part of them because of whatever noble qualities they may possess. So in a similar manner Iblees use to be addressed as part of them.

Then one day, Allah informed the Angels that He was going to place a ‘khaleefah’ on the earth. ‘Khaleefah’ has two meanings:

1. One who assumes the position of another and they continue to do the work which was previously done.

2. One who succeeds the other. So everything on earth has a life span, dies and the cycle continues. We have succeeded those before us and those after us will succeed us and so on.

The angels said: “Will you place therein one who corrupts and spills blood whilst we praise  and glorify You?” Allah said: (إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون)  “Surely I know that which you know not!”

How was Aadam created?

Allah mentions different words in the Qur’aan referring to the soil He used to create Aadam:

(تراب ، طين ، صلصال )

And amazingly and interestingly enough, if we take a look at the earth, we find many different types of soil on the earth: Sand, mud, clay, dust. Some fine, some hard, some rocky, dense etc Also soil is  of different colours and shades and have different characteristics. So Allah created Aadam from all these types of soil and this was encoded in his genes so that we find his progeny to be of different shades and colours, different character, temperament and nature. Some people are strong and hardy whilst others are weak and feeble. All because of the different soils 🙂

The narrations mention that together with this dust water was mixed to form a clay which was easy to mould. Allah says in Surah Rahmaan:  (كا الفخّار) Like Pottery clay. Not exactly pottery clay but similar to it because with pottery clay heat is used whereas in the creation of man no het was used.

The size of Aadam was 60 feet. We don’t know whether this is our feet or the feet of that time, but in any case, he was HUGE 🙂

It is mentioned that Allah created him (على صورته) “On his image” and this is a common belief amongst the Christians as well, who say that ‘on his image’ means the image of God himself so thats why Jesus was divine and so on. Noooo! If we think carefully, we will realise that Aadams creation was not like the creation of any one of us, where we start off from a seed which then grows and develops slowly over a period of nine months and then we are formed fully and complete. Rather Aadam AS was created on his image meaning, he was created as a whole human being, a fully formed and developed adult right from the very beginning. This is what ‘on his image’ means!  Allahu Akbar! 🙂

After Allah himself formed Aadam he left him at his place for a while. So he was just a clay statue standing. Iblees passed by to inspect this new creation and wondered why is Allah creating this man. When he noticed that the belly of this man is empty and hollow he said:

(لا يتمالك )

Meaning, “This man will not be consistant” It will be easy to deviate him. So before the soul was even blown into Aadam AS, Iblees was already determined to lead him astray. As we said the problem with Iblees was, he thought himself to be too holy! If you are performing salaah don’t think you are doing Allah a favour! Rather you are doing yourself a favour! Once you have this superiority complex that “I am it!” than everybody around you will be inferior in your eyes.

Then, when Allah blew the soul into Aadam AS He blew it from his head, the most honoured and noble part of man, where his intellect lies. As the life started coming into his body from the head downwards, his eyes opened. Remember, Aadam was granted full knowledge about everything already. He knew the names of everything around him not like how we learn gradually from infancy till adult hood. Everything in him was already pre-programmed 🙂 So when he opened his eyes he saw the fruits of Jannah. May Allah grant us Jannah Aameen!

Then as the life went downward he sneezed. So sneezing is a good sign, it refreshes the mind and spirit. The angels said to him: Thank Allah! So Aadam AS said: “Alhamdulillah, All praise be to Allah!” Upon which the angels replied, “Yarhamukallah! May Allahs mercy be on you!” So this is where we get this supplication of sneezing from. 🙂

Then life got to his hands and immediately he reached out to take a fruit of paradise. Though he could not because his feet were still lifeless <lol> that is why Allah says: (خلق الإنسان من عجل )  “Mankind was created from haste!” Always in a rush to get to things! In one life we want to be everything and do everything!  We try to get so much squeezed into such a short lifespan, let us make sure we include lots of salaah and good deeds in that space as well :)</lol>

Once he was fully alive, Allah commanded the angels to prostrate themselves to him. Why? In order to acknowledge his status. All of them obeyed and prostrated besides Iblees.

(أبى و استكبر و كان من الكافرين)

“He refused and was proud and was from among the disbelievers”

He refused out of arrogance and pride. So what is pride? This question was posed by the companions to the Prophet PBUH. O Messenger! We like to wear good clothing and enjoy good things but you have said that whoever has a mustard seeds weight of pride in their hearts will not enter paradise!” The Prophet said that that is not pride. Pride is when you reject the truth and despise people! So refusing the truth when it comes to you and looking down on others is pride. Allah says about Iblees: (كان من الجن ففسق عن أمر ربّه)  “He was one of the Jinn, (created from smokeless fire) and he disobeyed the command of his Lord”

Allah asked him,” What is stopping you from prostrating to that which I created with my own hands?” Iblees replied,” I am better than him! You created me from fire and him from dust.”

So again, we say, never underestimate anyone. We are all equal, no one is better than the next. The hadeeth says, “People are equal like the teeth of a comb.” So Allah loves you as much as he loves me.You and  I have equal access to our Creator. No one superior to the other. May Allah not make us from among those who look down on others Aameen!

Iblees said,” Give me respite I will lead them astray.” Allah granted him respite but told him that he will not have authority over His chosen slaves.

Another point to mention here, when Aadam AS was standing and Allah had taught him the names of everything, Allah told him to greet the angels. He said: “Assalaamu Alaykum” and the Angels responded saying: “Wa ‘alaykumus salaam wa rahmatullah!” What a beautiful greeting which stems from the time man came into existence. “Peace be upon You!” meaning , have no fear, I will not harm you. Today we have lost this greeting to the hi’s and bye’s and yo’s! <lol> Like yo-yo’s when were we young, now we cut it up in half and give one half to some one we meet: “Yo! W’ssuuppp!” <lol></lol></lol>

The Prophet said, shall I not show you to something if you do it, it will increase love between yourselves? Spread the greeting “Salaam” amongst you.”Greet sincerely. Do not greet with hypocrisy that you greet smiling at your brother but behind his back you are stabbing him! Let us love one another solely because we share this Kalimah of Laa ilaaha illa Allah!

Allah addressed the angels asking, “Do you know the names of everything?”

They replied” No, Glory be to you, We have no knowledge except for that which you have taught us, Verily you are all-knowing all-wise” –Surah Baqarah

Allah told Aadam to tell them the names of everything so he did, “this is a tree, this is a mountain etc” The angels were shocked! Allah told them, “Did I not tell you that I know tha which you know not!”

At this point Iblees was so angry and burning with envy, pride and jealousy.

Allah told Aadam,” Dweel you and your wife in Paradise and eat from it freely wherever you wish and do not come near to this tree lest you become of the losers.”

Why did Allah make a prohibition? Because just like in arithmetic, you don’t only learn to add, but you learn to subtract as well, and you don’t only learn to multiply but you learn to divide as well, so you can know how its done both ways. Similarly, Allahs list of prohibitions is very short compared to all the things He has made permissible for us. Because, through fulfilling Allah’s commands a different spirituality is gained and through abstaining from teh prohibitions a different spirituality is gained. So here, Alla gave them permission to eat everything save one tree.

Another point raised from the aayah is the creation of Aadam AS’s spouse and that is, Hawa AS. Because he was his only specie, he was feeling lonely so Allah created a woman as a GIFT 😉 to man. So we should treat her as a gift! And women too, should live their lives like they are gifts not burdens <lol> :-)</lol>

Also, some women feel embarrassed to be known as having been created from a man. There is nothing low about this, at least you were created from something alive, man was created from dust!!! The narration of Abu Hurayrah RA which says that a woman was created from a rib so do not try to straighten her for you will break her, should not be misunderstood and misinterpreted. It is only advising men to treat women kindly, with patience and tolerance otherwise you will harm them. Which is true. It is is no way saying woman are crooked :-/

So, Allah had warned Aadam AS and his wife in Jannah,  He told them they would not be hungry, thirsty, naked or tired in Jannah. Enjoy! But the enmity of Iblees was so great he could not bear to hear all this. So after some time had passed Shaytaan came to him and said: Should I not show you to a tree, if you eat from it you will live forever and have kingdom that never ends?”

Upon hearing this Aadam As turned to him. This was his mistake. Don’t even turn to the devil. Don’t even go near that which he invites you towards. Cut out bad company from the very beginning.

At this juncture, let’s not forget that Aadam As was a Prophet, He did not sin intentionally, rather he forgot. Allah says (فنسي و لم نجد له عزما )  He forgot and we did not find him resolute (in disobeying)

Who ate first from the tree? Many people blame Hawa and then have a field day blaming all women for the trials of man. But there is no concrete evidence to say she ate first. The Qur’aan says they BOTH ate. When they ate their private parts were exposed and they felt the need to cover themselves and they sought repentance for their crime.

Allah says: “And Aadam learnt some words from his Lord so he he forgave him”.

What were these words? These were the words used to seek repentance from Allah for the very first time in the history of Mankind! Allahu Akbar. Such a great act of worship, seeking taubah, this was the 1st time anyone was taught how to seek this taubah: They said: “O Allah surely we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us we will be from amongst the losers!”

May Allah grant us the ability to turn to Him at all times and seek His forgiveness.  Whenever we have fallen we need to turn. Never lose hope in the mercy of Allah! Remember we need to:

1. Admit the sin

2.Regret it.

3. Ask for forgiveness sincerely

4. Be resolute not to do it ever again!

و صلّى الله و سلّم و بارك على نبيّنا محمّد و آله و أصحابه أجمعين ، سبحان الله و بحمده سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت أستغفرك و أتوب إليك! والسلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته!

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