Allah, Adam, and the Angels

Sam Shamoun

The Quran has a lot to say about the relation between Allah, Adam, the angels and Satan. In fact, some of what the Quran says regarding these persons or entities raises a series of questions and comments. This is specifically the case with Surah 2:30-38 which we will shortly quote.

This article is essentially an expansion of points already raised in the following papers:

We decided to take the points already discussed in the above links and post them separately from the bulk of the material which was unrelated to this specific issue.

And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy (khaleefatan) in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful. They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide. And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever. And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. We said: Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. S. 2:30-38 Pickthall

The above passage brings up several questions. First, how did the angels know what the condition of man would be prior to his creation? Where did they get the idea that man would be a violent creature? Who told them? The text doesn’t say anything about Allah giving them this piece of information. Are angels omniscient?

Secondly, Allah secretly teaches Adam unspecified names in order to silence the angels for complaining against man. Was it not unfair for Allah to teach Adam these names and then proceed to challenge the angels to do likewise? Does Allah have to use deception and lies in order to vindicate himself against the charges brought against Adam by the angels (charges which turned out to be correct)? Is it not obvious that Adam would have been just as ignorant as the angels were regarding these things had it not been for Allah teaching him? What kind of vindication is this seeing that Adam only knew of these names because Allah taught him, whereas the angels were ignorant because Allah hadn't taught them these things?

And how does the naming of things justify the creation of man despite all the evil and violence he will commit? After all, if there is a superior value in humans that justifies their creation, despite their violent and sinful behavior, then it should be stated in a clear way instead of using deceptive tricks that hardly show the superiority of humans. Allah could have taught those names to anyone. This act of teaching man to name all things does not provide a sufficient reason at all why humans should be created despite the fact that they will shed blood. Allah could have simply taught those names to the angels, and then somebody would know them (if that was the objective), without there being bloodshed. So what is the point of the story, really?

Thirdly, after using deception to silence the angels Allah then proceeds to command the angels to worship the man. This command to worship was obviously the result of the man having bested them by naming the things which Allah had personally taught him. We therefore need to ask, why make angels worship Adam for being able to name things that they couldn't when the man only knew these names as a result of Allah having taught them to him? And why is Allah commanding them to bow down to Adam, a creature, when it is absolutely forbidden to do so in Islam? If it is argued that the prostration signified respect and not worship then why are such acts of respect forbidden in Islam today? It is obvious that Allah, unlike the true God of the Holy Bible, is always changing his mind and commands as time goes by.

Fourth, Iblis or Satan is blamed for not worshiping Adam even though the command was given to angels. According to the Quran, Iblis isn't an angel, but rather he is said to be a jinn:

And when We said to the angels, 'Bow yourselves to Adam'; so they bowed themselves, save Iblis; he was one of the jinn, and committed ungodliness against his Lord's command. What, and do you take him and his seed to be your friends, apart from Me, and they an enemy to you? How evil is that exchange for the evildoers! S. 18:50 Shakir

The late Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote in his Quranic translation:

50a. Iblis is one of the jinn or the evil spirits, so it is an error to take him for an angel or a good spirit. The spirit of evil is always rebellious, and it is against this that man is warned, so that he should resist every evil tendency. (Source; underline emphasis ours)

Why then does Allah blame Iblis for not obeying a command directed to angels, not to the jinn? The following Muslim thinks he has the answer:



The Qur’an in several places says that Iblis was an angel, but in Surah Kahf it says that Iblis was a Jinn. Isn’t this a contradiction in the Qur’an?


1.    Incidence of Iblis and Angels mentioned in the Qur’an

The story of Adam and Iblis is mentioned in the Qur’an in various places in which Allah (swt) says, "We said to the angels bow down to Adam: and they bowed down: not so Iblis".

This is mentioned in:

Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verse 43
Surah Al ‘Araf chapter 7 verse 17
Surah Al Hijr chapter 15 verses 28-31
Surah Al Isra chapter 17 verse 61
Surah Ta Ha chapter 20 verse 116
Surah Sad chapter 38 verses 71-74

But in Surah Al Kahf chapter 18 verse 50 the Qur’an says:

"Behold! We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam." they bowed down except Iblis He was one of the Jinns."
[Al-Qur’an 18:50]

2.    Arabic Rule Of Tagleeb

The English translation of the first part of the verse ‘We said to the angels bow down to Adam: they bowed down except Iblis’, gives us the impression that Iblis was an angel. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic. In Arabic grammar there is a rule known as Tagleeb, according to which, if the majority is addressed, even the minority is included. If for example, I address a class containing 100 students of whom 99 are boys and one is a girl, and if I say in Arabic that the boys should stand up, it includes the girl as well. I need not mention her seperately.

Similarly in the Qur’an, when Allah addressed the angels, even Iblis was present, but it is not required that he be mentioned separately. Therefore according to that sentence Iblis may be an angel or may not be an angel, but we come to know from Surah Al Kahf chapter 18 verse 50 that Iblis was a Jinn. No where does the Qur’an say Iblis was an angel. Therefore there is no contradiction in the Qur’an. (Source)

To show why this ad hoc explanation is rather forced and very weak, let us take his same analogy and change it a bit. If for example, I address the same class containing 100 students of whom 99 are boys and one is a girl, and it so happens that there are parents also present with their children, and I say in Arabic that all the boys should stand up and yet none of the parents stand, I cannot legitimately hold them liable since I wasn't addressing them directly. Let us also assume that at this class, both the principal and the vice-principal were present and didn't stand up after having told the boys to rise from their seats. Could I legitimately hold them accountable for failing to comply with my orders? Of course not, since they do not fall under the category of boys, nor do they come under the category of classmates. If I wanted both the parents and school officials to stand up I would need to mention them specifically.

The only way Naik’s example could serve as a valid analogy is if we took for granted that Iblis belongs to the same category of being as that of angels. It is obvious that the girl in Naik's analogy falls under the same general category of classmates and children, so a reference to boys can include her since the term boys wouldn't be gender specific in this case. (But even that would have to be gleaned from the context in which the word is being used since you may have a class which is made up of entirely boys). The mention of boys in this context would be a general statement referring to a group consisting of young children and schoolmates. The term would therefore include all the persons which would fall under that category, irrespective of gender.

But there is nothing within the Quran indicating that jinn are of the same category of creatures like angels, or that they share the same nature. In fact, Muslims see in the following texts a denial that jinn are angels since they believe that these passages somehow indicate that they were formed from different elements and that angels are said to never disobey whereas jinn actually can if they so choose:

To God bows everything in the heavens, and every creature crawling on the earth, and the angels. They have not waxed proud; they fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. S. 16:49-50

O you who believe! save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; over it are angels stern and strong, they DO NOT DISOBEY Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. S. 66:6 Shakir

And on the day when He shall gather them all together: O assembly of jinn! you took away a great part of mankind. And their friends from among the men shall say: Our Lord! some of us profited by others and we have reached our appointed term which Thou didst appoint for us. He shall say: The fire is your abode, to abide in it, except as Allah is pleased; surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. And thus do We make some of the iniquitous to befriend others on account of what they earned. O assembly of jinn and men! did there not come to you apostles from among you, relating to you My communications and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They shall say: We bear witness against ourselves; and this world's life deceived them, and they shall bear witness against their own souls that they were unbelievers. S. 6:128-130

And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the men; they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones. S. 7:179

On that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin. S. 55:39

{Note: To see the problem with the claim that angels do not disobey please consult the following papers: [1], [2], [3], [4].}

One main problem with the Muslim position is that even though there are references that speak of the jinn being created from fire:

And the jinn did We create aforetime of essential fire. S. 15:27

And the jinn did He create of smokeless fire. S. 55:15

The Quran is totally silent on the creation of angels, i.e. whether they were created from some other element from the jinn and are therefore a different category of creatures or whether they were both created from the same material. Still, it is the belief of many, if not most, Islamic scholars that angels and jinn are different creatures.

Also, there are situations where only part of the class is supposed to stand up. Just imagine there are 30 boys and ten girls in a class. The teacher says that all the boys should stand up. Does he mean all the pupils then? Or could it be that he meant really only the boys and not the girls? E.g. because the boys should then leave the room to attend auto mechanic class to learn how to repair cars while the girls remain in the room for learning knitting, or something of that nature. Thus, it isn’t the rule, really, but the context that determines the meaning.

Now had the Quran simply said that Allah commanded the heavenly beings, or the inhabitants of heaven to worship Adam then that would have been a different story. The reference to heavenly inhabitants would include Iblis, presuming of course that this event took place in heaven and that he was a heavenly creature as opposed to an earthly one. (This latter point is not necessary since he could have ascended into heaven after being created on earth. After all, it is just as likely that Iblis, although a jinn, is an earthly creature since the jinn are said to be on earth not in heaven.)

To help further drive this point home here is another illustration. Suppose in heaven there had been angels, jinn, men and animals present when Allah chose to single out one man, Adam, for special honor and blessing. Suppose Allah had commanded that all the angels should bow down before Adam, which they do, but none of the other humans, jinn or animals do so. Could Allah blame them for failing to bow before Adam despite the fact that he never specifically singled any of these other groups out as he did with the angels? The obvious answer is, of course not.

As it stands, Naik's argument is pretty weak and quite unconvincing. Dr. Naik is simply committing the fallacy of false analogy at this point.

Fifth, the passage says that Adam/Man was to be Allah's viceroy/vicegerent on earth, with other verses stating that he was created from mud, dust, clay etc.:

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. S. 3:59

We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape. S. 15:26

Amongst his signs is this, that he created you from dust. S. 30:20

Adam and his wife were then told to enter the Garden together, which can mean that this Garden was located somewhere on the earth. Yet Surah 2:36 suggests otherwise:

Then did Satan make them slip from the (Garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: "Get ye down, all (ye people). With enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time." Y. Ali

The above passage seems to place the Garden in heaven above since Adam and Eve are said to be going down to dwell on the earth. As Yusuf Ali noted regarding Surah 2:35:

Was the Garden of Eden a place on this earth? Obviously not. For in verse 36 below, it was after the Fall that the sentence was pronounced: "On earth will be your dwelling place." Before the Fall, we must suppose Man to be on another altogether plane of felicity, innocence, trust, a spiritual existence with the negation of enmity, want of faith, and all evil. Perhaps Time and Space also did not exist, and the Garden is allegorical as well as the tree. The forbidden tree was not the tree of knowledge for man was given in that perfect state fuller knowledge than he has now (ii. 31): it was the tree of Evil, which he was forbidden not only to eat of, but even to approach. (Ali, The Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary [Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., Elmhurst NY, Paperback edition], p. 25, fn. 50)

Maulana Muhammad Ali concurred with him:

35a. The garden spoken of in this verse was on this earth, as it was on the earth that man was placed. It was certainly not the paradise to which men go after death, and from which they will never be expelled (15:48) … (Source)

But this leaves us with the problem of Adam having been created from mud, dust, etc. while being in heaven. Are we to therefore assume that heaven, a spiritual realm, contains all these physical elements?

Now someone may suggest that although Adam and Eve were created on the earth, they eventually ascended into heaven above to dwell in the Garden. This seems to be supported by Surah 2:35 since it does say:

And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust. Shakir

The command to dwell in the Garden may presuppose (but not necessarily so) that initially Adam and Eve were somewhere else. Thus, a Muslim may wish to reason that after Allah had created them on and from the earth, he then placed them in the heavenly Garden. (But as we indicated above, being somewhere else doesn’t necessarily mean somewhere other than the earth. They could have been created in a different earthly location from that of the physical, earthly Garden).

The above explanation still leaves us with the problem of explaining why Adam was in heaven when he was created to dwell on the earth as Allah's vice-regent. He wasn't created to dwell in heaven (at least not initially since the Quran does say that eventually all true believers will end up in the Garden). So again, why was Adam in heaven when Allah had specifically created him to dwell on the earth?

Others may say that the statement in Surah 2:36 doesn't imply a literal descent from a higher location to a lower one. Rather, it refers to a descent in position and honor, that Adam and Eve were demoted in rank and prestige. This would imply that the statement referring to earth being their dwelling place signifies the fact that instead of enjoying the luxuries and bounties of an earthly Paradise, the couple would now be forced to work for their own food and raiment. The problem with this exegesis is that it ignores the fact that the command to descend wasn't directed only to Adam and Eve, but to all the parties involved which includes Satan as well. As Yusuf Ali noted:

God’s decree is the result of man’s action. Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here [2:36], which I have indicated in English by "All ye people." Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam, Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural is appropriate for any number greater than two. (Ibid., p. 26, fn. 53; bold, underline emphasis and statements within brackets ours)

Satan had already been demoted in honor and prestige, becoming accursed for his refusal to worship Adam:

And certainly We created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam. So they did obeisance except Iblis; he was not of those who did obeisance. He said: What hindered you so that you did not make obeisance when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he: Thou hast created me of fire, while him Thou didst create of dust. He said: Then get forth from this (state), for it does not befit you to behave proudly therein. Go forth, therefore, surely you are of the abject ones. He said: Respite me until the day when they are raised up. He said: Surely you are of the respited ones. He said: As Thou hast caused me to remain disappointed I will certainly lie in wait for them in Thy straight path. Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and Thou shalt not find most of them thankful. He said: Get out of this (state), despised, driven away; whoever of them will follow you, I will certainly fill hell with you all. S. 7:11-18 Shakir

And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter's clay of black mud altered, So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him. So the angels fell prostrate, all of them together Save Iblis. He refused to be among the prostrate. He said: O Iblis! What aileth thee that thou art not among the prostrate? He said: I am not one to prostrate myself unto a mortal whom Thou hast created out of potter's clay of black mud altered! He said: Then go thou forth from hence, for lo! thou art outcast. And lo! the curse shall be upon thee till the Day of Judgment. He said: My Lord! Reprieve me till the day when they are raised. He said: Then lo! thou art of those reprieved Till the Day of appointed time. He said: My Lord! Because Thou hast sent me astray, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them every one, Save such of them as are Thy perfectly devoted slaves. He said: This is a right course incumbent upon Me: Lo! as for My slaves, thou hast no power over any of them save such of the froward as follow thee, And lo! for all such, hell will be the promised place. It hath seven gates, and each gate hath an appointed portion. S. 15:28-44

When your Lord said to the angels; Surely I am going to create a mortal from dust: So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down making obeisance to him. And the angels did obeisance, all of them, But not Iblis: he was proud and he was one of the unbelievers. He said: O Iblis! what prevented you that you should do obeisance to him whom I created with My two hands? Are you proud or are you of the exalted ones? He said: I am better than he; Thou hast created me of fire, and him Thou didst create of dust. He said: Then get out of it, for surely you are driven away: And surely My curse is on you to the day of judgment. He said: My Lord! then respite me to the day that they are raised. He said: Surely you are of the respited ones, Till the period of the time made known. He said: Then by Thy Might I will surely make them live an evil life, all, Except Thy servants from among them, the purified ones. He said: The truth then is and the truth do I speak: That I will most certainly fill hell with you and with those among them who follow you, all. S. 38:71-85 Shakir

This therefore shows that the descent wasn't solely in rank or position. The descent was a literal one, being cast out of a higher plane or realm (the heavenly Garden) to a lower one (the earth below).

But this introduces even more difficulties. The above passages say that Allah expelled Satan from Paradise for refusing to worship Adam. Then how in the world did he get into Paradise to tempt Adam and Eve? Furthermore, after expelling and demoting Satan Allah swore to give him respite till the Day of Resurrection, which suggests that he wouldn’t suffer any more punishment until the Judgment Day. Then how could Satan be expelled from Paradise and demoted a second time? Did Allah renege on his word?

Sixth, Adam’s sin clearly impacted all future generations of mankind since in both 2:36 and 38 the plural (more than two) is used, as opposed to the dual. Here, again, is 2:38 including 37 as well for context:

Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. We said: Go down, ALL OF YOU, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

We already saw how the plural in 2:36 includes Satan, but here in 2:38 the plural cannot be a reference to Satan since he stands condemned to hell and will not follow the guidance which will come from Allah. Therefore, it is quite obvious that the plural is addressed to all of mankind, that humanity suffered expulsion due to their federal head, Adam, a point reiterated elsewhere:

God said, `Go forth, some of you will be enemies of others. And for you there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time.' S. 7:24

As Ibn Kathir stated regarding 2:38-39:

Allah informs of His warning to Adam, his wife and Satan, THEIR OFFSPRING, when he ordered THEM to descend from Paradise. He says he will send messengers with Scriptures, signs and proofs… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 1, Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, Abridged by Sheikh Nasib Ar-Rafa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London: Second Edition 1998], pp. 109-110; capital emphasis ours)

Here, too, are his comments on 7:24:

<Get down>, was addressed to Adam, Hawwa', Iblis and the snake. Some scholars did not mention the snake, and Allah knows best. (Source)

An obvious question at this point is: What snake? Where does the Quran mention a snake at all in this context? In Biblical understanding the snake is a reference to Satan, in the commentary above, they seem to be different entities. Ibn Kathir’s comment regarding the snake is also problematic since what would a snake be doing in the heavenly Garden? This presupposes that the Garden was on earth, which introduces all the other problems already mentioned above. But the very fact that Ibn Kathir mentions Iblis and the snake, along with Adam and Eve, presupposes that the text is addressing more than two individuals.

It is obvious that the plural in both 2:38 and 7:24 refers to Adam and his descendents. The late Muhammad Asad essentially argues along the same lines by saying that the story of Adam and Eve is nothing more than an allegory about collective humanity. He wrote regarding 7:24:

16 Sc., "from this state of blessedness and innocence". As in the parallel account of this parable of the Fall in 2:35-36, the dual form of address changes at this stage into the plural, thus connecting once again with verse 10 and the beginning of verse 11 of this surah, and making it clear that the story of Adam and Eve is, in reality, an ALLEGORY of human destiny. In his earlier state of innocence man was unaware of the existence of evil and, therefore, of the ever-present necessity of making a choice between the many possibilities of action and behaviour: in other words, he lived, like all other animals, in the light of his instincts alone. Inasmuch, however, as this innocence was only a condition of his existence and not a virtue, it gave to his life a static quality and thus precluded him from moral and intellectual development. The growth of his consciousness-symbolized by the wilful act of disobedience to God's command-changed all this. It transformed him from a purely instinctive being into a full-fledged human entity as we know it - a human being capable of discerning between right and wrong and thus of choosing his way of life. In this deeper sense, the ALLEGORY of the Fall does not describe a retrogressive happening but, rather, a new stage of human development: an opening of doors to moral considerations. By forbidding him to "approach this tree", God made it possible for man to act wrongly-and, therefore, to act rightly as well: and so man became endowed with that moral free will which distinguishes him from all other sentient beings. - Regarding the role of Satan - or Iblis - as the eternal tempter of man, see note 26 on 2:34 and note 31 on 15:41. (Source; underline and capital emphasis ours)

He basically reiterates this in his comments on 2:36:

30 With this sentence, the address changes from the hitherto-observed dual form to the plural: a further indication that the moral of the story relates to the human race as a whole… (Source; underline emphasis ours)

Here, also, are Y. Ali’s comments on 2:36 which we had cited above:

… Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here [2:36], which I have indicated in English by "All ye people." Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam, Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural is appropriate for any number greater than two. (Bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Quran is essentially agreeing with the Holy Bible that Adam caused all his offspring to be expelled from the Garden. We are not the only ones to see it this way; the following Muslim sources also saw it in this same manner:

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira and Hudhaifa that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, would gather people. The believers would stand till the Paradise would be brought near them. They would come to Adam and say: O our father, open for us the Paradise. He would say: What turned you out from the Paradise WAS THE SIN OF YOUR FATHER ADAM. I am not in a position to do that; ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0380)

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father WHO DISAPPOINTED US AND TURNED US OUT OF PARADISE.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611)

Abu Huraira reported that God’s messenger told of Adam and Moses holding a disputation in their Lord’s presence and of Adam getting the better of Moses in argument. Moses said, "You are Adam whom God created with His hand, into whom He breathed of His spirit, to whom He made the angels do obeisance, and whom He caused to dwell in his garden; then BECAUSE OF YOUR SIN caused MANKIND to come down to the earth." Adam replied, "And you are Moses whom God chose to deliver His messages and to address, to whom He gave the tablets on which everything was explained, and whom He brought near as a confidant. How long before I was created did you find that God has written the Torah? Moses said, "Forty years." Adam asked, "Did you find in it, ‘And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred’?" On being told that he did, he said, "Do you then blame me for doing a deed which God had decreed that I should do forty years before He created me?" God’s messenger said, "So Adam got the better of Moses n the argument." Muslim transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih English Translation With Explanatory Notes by Dr. James Robson, Volume I [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], p. 23; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Adam and Musa argued and Adam got the better of Musa. Musa rebuked Adam, 'You are Adam WHO LED PEOPLE ASTRAY and brought them out of the Garden.' Adam said to him, 'You are Musa to whom Allah gave knowledge of everything and whom he chose above people with His message.' He said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Do you then censure me for a matter which was decreed for me before I was created?'" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 46, Number 46.1.1)

This Ayah mentions the great honor that Allah granted Adam, and Allah reminded Adam's offspring of this fact. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, as this Ayah and many Hadiths testify, such as the Hadith about the intercession that we discussed. There is a Hadith about the supplication of Musa, "O my Lord! Show me Adam who caused us and himself to be thrown out of Paradise.'' When Musa met Adam, he said to him, "Are you Adam whom Allah created with His Own Hands, blew life into and commanded the angels to prostrate before?'' Iblis was among those ordered to prostrate before Adam, although He was not an Angel. (Ibn Kathir on surah 2:34; online edition; bold and italic emphasis ours)

These narrations further complicate matters. It blames Adam’s sin and subsequent expulsion on Allah’s predetermined decree, that Allah had already predestined that Adam would fall from favor. Here again is Ibn Kathir’s commentary, this time regarding 2:37:

… Narrated Sufyan At-Thawri quoting ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Ibn Rafi‘ that someone heard Mujahid quoting ‘Ubayd Ibn ‘Umayr as saying that Adam said: "My Lord, is the sin I committed one that was destined for me before You created me or is it something I brought upon myself?" Allah replied: "I preordained it upon you before I created you." Adam said: "Lord forgive me it as You have preordained it upon me". The narrator said, hence the verse <Then Adam received words from his Lord, and his Lord relented towards him.>. Narrated al-‘Awfi, Sa’id Ibn Jubayr, Sa’id Ibn Ma‘bad and al-Hakim quoting Ibn ‘Abbas: Adam said to Allah: "Have You not created me with Your own hands?" The answer was yes. Then he asked: "And You have breathed into me of Your spirit?" The answer again was yes. He added: "And You decreed for me to do this?" Yes was the answer he received. He said: "If I repent, will You send me back to Paradise?" Allah said: "Yes." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i, p. 106; underline emphasis ours)

What the foregoing implies is that Allah had already determined that Adam would end up on earth by sinning against Allah’s command, thereby necessitating his expulsion from the Garden!

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