Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Differences Between the Biblical and Quranic Account
Of the Story of Adam

A Response to Shabir Ally Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue our discussion of Adam’s fall and the negative effects it had on his descendants.

Ally also didn’t bother to mention the fact that the Quran uses plural verbs and pronouns when describing the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden:

But the Satan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: GET DOWN, ALL OF YOU (ihbitoo), with enmity between YOURSELVES (ba’dukum), and there is for YOU (wa lakum) in the earth an abode and a 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 (ihbitoo jami’an), from hence; but verily there cometh unto YOU (yatiyannakum) from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon THEM (alayhim) neither SHALL THEY GRIEVE (hum yahzanoona). S. 2:36-38

The following verse also uses the plural:

God said, ‘GO FORTH (ihbitoo), SOME OF YOU (ba’dukum) will be enemies of others. And for YOU (wa lakum) there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time.’ S. 7:24

The words that we have capitalized and italicized are all in the plural, which is only used in respect to three or more entities, not in the dual which is what we would expect here. This shows that Adam’s sin had a negative impact on all future generations of mankind.

Here is another version which actually uses both the dual and the plural together!

We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot: and We found on his part no firm resolve. When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam", they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused. Then We said: "O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden, so that thou art landed in misery. There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked, Nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun's heat." But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him Guidance. He said: "GET YE DOWN, BOTH OF YOU (ihbita), - all together (jami’an), from the Garden, with enmity ONE TO ANOTHER (ba‘dukum liba‘din): but if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whosoever follows My Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. S. 20:115-123 Y. Ali

The word ihbita is a 2nd person masculine dual imperative verb whereas ba‘dukum is a 2nd person masculine plural possessive pronoun.

The context makes it certain that the plural cannot be including Satan since he had already been expelled from paradise and therefore stands condemned to hell:

It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bowed down. (God) said: "What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay." (God) said: "Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures)." He said: "Give me respite till the day they are raised up." (God) said: "Be thou among those who have respite." He said: "Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies)." (God) said: "Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee, - Hell will I fill with you all.” S. 7:11-18 Y. Ali

As such, Satan will never follow the guidance which will come from Allah to those who have fallen from grace.

In light of this fact, the plural must be referring to the entire human race, to all of Adam’s offspring, thereby implying that Adam stood in the place of all mankind as their father and representative.

Hence, when Adam sinned his unborn offspring also sinned. And when he was expelled from the garden all of his offspring were expelled right along with him.

In fact, this is precisely how some of the expositors explained the use of the plural in these passages. For instance, here is the commentary of Ibn Kathir regarding Q. 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)

The late Muslim translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali made a similar assertion in reference to Q. 2:36:

“… Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here, 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.” (The Holy Qur’an: New Edition with Revised Translation, Commentary and Newly Compiled Comprehensive Index [Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland: Eleventh edition, 2009], p. 26, fn. 53; bold and capital emphasis ours)

And this is what Ibn Kathir wrote concerning Q. 2:34:

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?" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], Parts 1 and 2, Volume 1, p. 193; bold and underline emphasis ours)

These scholars weren’t the only ones to interpret the plural in relation to Adam, Eve, and their offspring:

Then Satan, Iblīs, caused them to slip, he caused them to be removed (fa-azallahumā: a variant reading has fa-azālahumā: he caused them to be away from it) therefrom, that is, from the Garden, when he said to them, ‘Shall I point you to the tree of eternity’ [cf. Q. 20:120], and swore to them by God that he was only giving good advice to them, and so they ate of it; and brought them out of what they were in, of bliss; and We said, ‘Go down, to earth, both of you AND ALL THOSE COMPRISED BY YOUR SEED; some of you, of your progeny, an enemy to the other, through your wronging one another; and in the earth a dwelling, a place of settlement, shall be yours, and enjoyment, of whatever of its vegetation you may enjoy, for a while’, [until] the time your terms [of life] are concluded. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 2:36; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Said He, ‘Go down, that is, Adam and Eve, WITH ALL THOSE YOU COMPRISE BY YOUR SEED, each of you, each seed, an enemy to the other, on account of the wrong each does to the another. There will be for you on earth an abode, a place of settlement, and enjoyment for a while’, [until] your terms [of life] are fulfilled. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 7:24; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Moreover, all the major hadith collections affirm that Adam’s offspring share in the guilt and judgment of Adam for the sin that he committed while in the garden, which is why none of them are dwelling in it now. These narrations even go as far as to say that mankind is in a state of misery because of Adam’s transgression:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "Adam and Moses met, and Moses said to Adam "You are the one who made people MISERABLE and turned them out of Paradise." Adam said to him, "You are the one whom Allah selected for His message and whom He selected for Himself and upon whom He revealed the Torah." Moses said, 'Yes.' Adam said, "Did you find that written in my fate before my creation?' Moses said, 'Yes.' So Adam overcame Moses with this argument." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 260)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Moses argued with Adam and said to him (Adam), ‘You are the one who got the people out of Paradise BY YOUR SIN, AND THUS MADE THEM MISERABLE.’ Adam replied, ‘O Moses! You are the one whom Allah selected for His Message and for His direct talk. Yet you blame me for a thing which Allah had ordained for me before He created me?’” Allah's Apostle further said, “So Adam overcame Moses by this Argument.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 262)

“It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira and Hudhaifa that the Messenger of Allah 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 380)

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 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)

Not only do these narrations affirm that Adam was NOT forgiven, but they further confirm that mankind is suffering as a result of Adam’s transgression.

So where is this so-called original forgiveness that Ally speaks of? And what kind of original lesson is Ally referring to? The lesson that the pain and misery that human beings experience are the direct result of Adam’s rebellion? If so then we didn’t need the Quran to tell us since we already knew all this from God’s true Word, the Holy Bible.



It is also worth noting that the Qur’an does not share the biblical mention of a serpent approaching, or of Eve seducing her husband, or of Eve receiving a sentence to pain in childbirth and subjugation to her husband. So, Islam never acknowledged the idea of "Eve’s sin"!



Ally seems to think that he is a Qurani Muslim, or a Muslim who follows only the Quran, since he argues as if Islam is limited to the Quran alone.

The fact of the matter is that traditional, orthodox Islam – particularly of the Sunni type which Ally belongs to – follows the Quran and the sunna of Muhammad, with the latter being found primarily in the hadith literature.

Once we factor in Muhammad’s sunna then we see that Muhammad not only acknowledged Eve’s sin, but also held her personally responsible for women betraying their husbands:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not FOR EVE, no woman would ever betray her husband." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 611)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Had it not been FOR EVE, woman would have never acted unfaithfully towards her husband. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3471)

Muhammad wasn’t alone since Islam’s greatest scholars and historians followed suit and also condemned Eve. This next citation regarding the fall comes from renowned Muslim historian al-Tabari, and fully agrees with the preceding traditions that Eve's sin affected all women:

According to Yunus- Ibn Wahb- Ibn Zayd (commenting on God's word: "And he whispered"): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

According to this reference Eve was not only made to bleed for her sin but she was also made stupid with the result being that all women now bleed and are basically stupid!

Nor is this an isolated opinion from some obscure, unknown Muslim historian since Muhammad himself taught that women were morally and intellectually deficient in comparison to men, which is why the majority of the people burning in hell are women!

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that THE MAJORITY of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion THAN YOU. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not THE EVIDENCE OF TWO WOMEN EQUAL TO THE WITNESS OF ONE MAN?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301; see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)


Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCY OF A WOMAN’S MIND." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826)

Unlike Islam, nowhere will one find the Holy Bible saying that women have become stupid as a result of the Fall, or that they form the majority of those who end up going to hell.

So it may be the case that Ally’s “Hislam” never acknowledges the idea of “Eve’s sin,” yet Muhammad’s Islam surely did!

So much for Ally’s answer.

All scriptural citations taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Holy Bible.