Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting the Shirk of Adam and Eve

Sam Shamoun

This a response to Bassam Zawadi’s attempt at refuting my article concerning the Quran accusing Adam and Eve of associating partners with Allah. We encourage the readers to first look over my article and then Zawadi’s reply before reading this one, since that it will make it easier to follow along with my rebuttal.

Here is the passage in question:

It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from HIM HIS wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that HE might enjoy the pleasure of living with HER. When HE had sexual relation with HER, SHE became pregnant and SHE carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, THEY BOTH invoked Allah, THEIR Lord (saying): "If You give US a Salih (good in every aspect) child, WE shall indeed be among the grateful." But when He gave THEM a Salih (good in every aspect) child, THEY ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to THEM. High be Allah, Exalted above all that THEY ascribe as partners to Him. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.9, Page 148). S. 7:189-190 Hilali-Khan

It is apparent from the plain reading of the text that the Quran is clearly accusing Adam and Eve of associating partners with Allah, which is the unforgivable sin of shirk:

Who hath appointed the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a canopy; and causeth water to pour down from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you. And do not set up rivals to Allah when ye know (better). S. 2:22 Pickthall

Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48

All the readers need to do to confirm whether this is speaking of Adam and Eve is to simply follow the pronouns carefully. One will see that there is no change in referent and that all the pronouns refer back to the first man and his wife.

With that said, however, Muslim dawagandist Zawadi doesn’t think that this refers to Adam and Eve, and so tries to bring in his scholars to save the day:

The commentators have said: It was shirk by name and it was not in the sense of worship and lordship

This is referring to both the sexes from the children Adam who were polytheists who came from the lineage of Adam, and this is the people who are being referred to, and His (God’s) statement, “they ascribe to others” means the male and female are disbelievers, and this is referring to both sexes, and this is further proved by God’s statement “but God is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him (amma yushrikoon)” and did not say “amama yushrikaan”, and this is statement is good.


And the meaning of the partner, who is Iblis, because they they [sic] obeyed him by name, so it was association of partnership in obedience, not in worship: and they did not mean that Harith was their Lord, but they meant that he was the reason for the survival of their child,

It is truly amazing to see just how hard Zawadi tries to falsify the Quran’s repeated assertion that it is a perspicuous book which fully explains all its verses:

O followers of the Book! indeed Our Apostle has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much; indeed, there has come to you light and a CLEAR Book from Allah; S. 5:15 Sher Ali

And the day We shall raise up from every nation a witness against them from amongst them, and We shall bring thee as a witness against those. And We have sent down on thee the Book making clear EVERYTHING, and as a guidance and a mercy, and as good tidings to those who surrender. S. 16:89 Arberry

And indeed We know that they (polytheists and pagans) say: "It is only a human being who teaches him (Muhammad)." The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this (the Qur'an) is a clear Arabic tongue. S. 16:103 Hilali-Khan

He sets forth for you a parable from your ownselves, - Do you have partners among those whom your right hands possess (i.e. your slaves) to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you? Whom you fear as you fear each other? Thus do We explain the signs IN DETAIL to a people who have sense. S. 30:28 Hilali-Khan

A Book, whereof the verses are explained IN DETAIL; - a Qur'an in Arabic, for people who understand; - S. 41:3 Y. Ali

Hence, instead of defending what the Quran says about itself, Zawadi is indirectly opposing it by managing to establish that the Islamic scripture is one of the most confusing and unclear books ever produced.

For instance, one will often find Zawadi quoting several (and at times contradictory) explanations of specific verses without bothering to inform his readers which of these interpretations happens to be the correct one.

Zawadi seems to be unaware how his constant appeal to various interpretations of a specific verse proves that no one can ever know the exact meaning of any given passage within the Quran. He apparently is incapable of also seeing how his so-called “replies” are repeatedly undermining the Quran’s own claim of being fully detailed and unambiguous in its meaning.

In other words, Zawadi’s apologetic methodology creates more chaos and confusion, since he often leaves his readers wondering what the exact meaning of any given verse is.

Returning to the issue at hand, it seems that Zawadi must have forgotten what his own prophet said concerning obedience being equivalent to worship. When Muhammad composed Q. 9:31:

They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!

A Christian who supposedly became a Muslim challenged Muhammad on his assertion that Jews and Christians worship their rabbis or monks as lords. The convert denied that this was the case, to which Muhammad retorted that the Jews and Christian do in fact take their religious scholars and leaders as objects of worship. Muhammad claimed that this was due to the fact that the people obeyed the teachings of their leaders even when such instructions contradicted or nullified God’s commands:

(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam) [9:31]. Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from `Adi bin Hatim who became Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, `Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah. `Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta'i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, `Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck. The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah

(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah). `Adi commented, “I said, ‘They did not worship them.’” The Prophet said…

<<Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshipped them.>> The Messenger of Allah said to `Adi…

<<O `Adi what do you say? Did you run away (to Ash-Sham) so that ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Great) is not pronounced? Do you know of anything greater than Allah? What made you run away? Did you run away so that ‘La ilaha illallah’ is not pronounced? Do you know of any deity worthy of worship except Allah?>>

The Messenger invited `Adi to embrace Islam, and he embraced Islam and pronounced the Testimony of Truth. The face of the Messenger of Allah beamed with pleasure and he said to `Adi…

<<Verily, the Jews have earned the anger (of Allah) and the Christians are misguided.>> Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman, `Abdullah bin `Abbas and several others said about the explanation of…

(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah...) that the Christians and Jews obeyed their monks and rabbis in whatever they allowed or prohibited for them. This is why Allah said…

(while they were commanded to worship none but One God), Who, whatever He renders prohibited is the prohibited, whatever He allowed is the allowed, whatever He legislates, is to be the law followed, and whatever He decides is to be adhered to

(None has the right to be worshipped but He. Hallowed be He above what they associate (with Him).) Meaning, exalted, sanctified, hallowed above partners, equals, aids, rivals or children, there is no deity or Lord worthy of worship except Him. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; bold emphasis ours)

Notice carefully how Muhammad expressly classifies obedience as an act of worship, especially in situations when doing so results in disobeying God’s orders.

Therefore, according to Muhammad’s own definition of worship and lordship, Adam and Eve were guilty of taking Satan as their lord besides Allah since they obeyed his instructions instead of turning to Allah for guidance and counsel.

Furthermore, as far as the Islamic perspective is concerned, no amount of despair or hardship will ever justify a prophet of Allah (which is what Adam was according to Muslims) turning to Satan for help, or obeying him rather than his creator, especially when the Quran says that Allah is close to all who call upon him:

And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. S. 2:186

Seeing that Adam and Eve had direct access to their lord there was absolutely no need for them to turn to someone else for guidance in regard to conception and childbearing. Or does Zawadi want us to assume that Allah could not be reached, that all of a sudden his god disappeared from the scene and could no longer be found, right when Adam and Eve needed him the most?

Zawadi continues:

The fact that some commentaries say that this is referring to the lineage of Adam and not actually Adam and Eve makes sense because notice what the verse says...

[007:190]  But when He giveth them a goodly child, they ascribe to others a share in the gift they have received: but God is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him.

How can they take PARTNERS with Allah if they only took a partner?

In the first place, didn’t all those Muslims who interpreted this in respect to the sin of Adam and Eve know the Arabic? Didn’t they see that the passage said partners? And even though they could see that the verse clearly says partners they still didn’t have a problem with viewing this as a reference to Adam and Eve’s sin?

Secondly, Zawadi focuses on the word partners but conveniently chose not to mention the fact that the Arabic uses a dual pronoun twice in the same verse:

But when He gave them (atahuma) a Salih (good in every aspect) child, they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them (atahuma). High be Allah, Exalted above all that they ascribe as partners to Him. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.9, Page 148). S. 7:190 Hilali-Khan

The Arabic word for “them” is a 3rd person dual object pronoun, which means that it is referring to two persons. In context, this could only be Adam and Eve.

The verse is essentially saying that when Allah gave both of them a son, the two of them then ascribed what they had received from him to someone else. According to the commentators, that someone else happened to be Satan!

With that said, the use of the dual pronouns conclusively proves that the author(s) is/are in fact accusing (more like slandering) Adam and Eve of associating others with Allah.

Thirdly, one possible reason why the passage speaks of partners in the plural is because Islam teaches that Adam and Eve share in the sin of all their descendants just as the following sources confirm:

Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, …

((… So Adam denied that and HIS OFFSPRING FOLLOWED SUIT (denying Allah's covenant), Adam forgot and HIS OFFSPRING FORGOT, Adam made a mistake and HIS OFFSPRING MADE MISTAKES.))

At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet. Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it."

These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam's offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-A‘raf to the end of Surah Yunus), First Edition: May 2000, Volume 4, pp. 201-203; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Notice how Adam’s forgetfulness and denial caused his descendants to also forget and deny things.

Muhammad even believed that Cain also shares part of the responsibility for every murder which occurs:

Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "None is killed unjustly, but the first son of Adam will have a part of its burden." Sufyan said, "... a part of its blood because he was the first to establish the tradition of murdering." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 423)

It is apparent from these narrations that Muhammad believed that the sins which the first human beings committed created the same kind of sinful propensities within their descendants.

This means that the reason why human beings commit shirk is because their father Adam did so, thereby producing a desire within all of his offspring to commit this same kind of sin. This, therefore, makes him and Eve responsible for all the shirk which their descendants engage in.

We will have more to say about this shortly.

Zawadi then writes:

Lets also not forget how Qurtubi explained that if God was actually referring to Adam and Eve then the verse should have said

Falamma atahuma salihan jaAAala lahu shurakaa feema atahuma fataAAala Allahu AAamma yushrikaana

and not 

Falamma atahuma salihan jaAAala lahu shurakaa feema atahuma fataAAala Allahu AAamma yushrikoona

Because to say yushrikoona in Arabic linguistic rules imply that three or more people did the action. If the verse was referring to two people (which should be Adam and Eve in this case) then the verse would have said yushrikaana.

We again need to ask, didn’t all those expositors who knew the Arabic see that the word yushrikoona is plural, referring to three or more? And even though they saw the plural they still had no problem in explaining this in regard to the shirk committed by Adam and Eve? Didn’t they realize that the plural is supposedly incompatible with their preferred interpretation?

Apparently not!

Secondly, instead of establishing his case, all that the use of the plural proves is that the Quran contains a grammatical mistake! Since the context is clearly referring to Adam and Eve this means that the author(s) made a mistake by using the plural instead of the dual.

Now this wouldn’t be the only time where the author(s) made mistakes in spelling and grammar. According to several so-called authentic Sunni sources, the Quran contains at least four additional grammatical errors:

“Abdullah narrated from Al-Fadhal bin Hamad al-Khayri narrated from Khalid (he meant Ibn Khalid) from Zaid Ibn Hubab narrated from Ash'ath from Saeed bin Jubayr: "There are four mistakes in Quran:

‘ALSSABI-OON’ [5:69], ‘WAALMUQEEMEEN’ [4:162 ], ‘FAASSADDAQA WAAKUN MINA ALSSALIHEEN’ [63:10], ‘IN HATHANI LASAHIRANI’ [20:63].” (Abi Bakr, Kitab Al-Musahif, p. 42; bold emphasis ours)

These same sources claim that both Aisha and Uthman b. Affan admitted that there were grammatical mistakes within the Muslim scripture:

Abu Bakr bin Abdoos and Abu Abdullah bin Hamid narrated from Abu al-Abbas al-Asim from Muhammad bin al-Jahm al-Samri from al-Fara from Abu Mu'awiyah from Hisham bin Arwa from his father that Ayesha was asked about Allah’s statements in Surah Nisa (verse 162) ‘LAKINI ALRRASIKHOONA’ and ‘WAALMUQEEMEENA’ and the Almighty’s statement in Sura Maidah (verse 69) ‘INNA ALLATHEENA AMANOO WAALLATHEENA HADOO WAALSSABI-OON’ and His statement (Taha, 63) ‘IN HATHANI LASAHIRANI’. Ayesha replied: ‘O my nephew, this is due to mistakes committed by the scribe’. (Tafsir al-Thalabi, Volume 6, p. 250; bold emphasis ours)

Abu Ubaid stated in Fadhail Quran that Abu Muawiyah narrated from Hisham bin Urwah from his father that Aisha was asked about the following mistakes in the Quran ‘IN HATHANI LASAHIRANI’ and His statement ‘WAALMUQEEMEENA ALSSALATA WAALMU/TOONA ALZZAKATA’ and His statement ‘INNA ALLATHEENA AMANOO WAALLATHEENA HADOO WAALSSABI-OON’. She replied: “O son of my nephew, this is due to the act of the scribes of the Quran who committed a mistake whilst transcribing them. The chain of this tradition is Sahih according to the conditions of the Shaikhain. (Jalaludin al-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi Uloom al Quran, Volume 1, p. 210; bold and underline emphasis ours)

“There is no strength with the replies that are advanced against the above cited reply of Aisha, namely that it contains a weak chain. The chain is Sahih.” (Ibid., Volume 1, p. 212; bold emphasis ours)


"There is disagreement over 'ALMUQEEMEENA ALSSALAT'. Aisha and Aban bin Uthman said that was written in the Quran due to a mistake on the part of the transcriber. Its correction is essential and it should be written as 'ALMUQEEMOONA ALSSALAT'. Similarly in Surah Maidah 'AALSSABI-OONA' and in Surah Taha 'IN HATHANI LASAHIRANI' have also been written due to the mistake of scribes. Uthman stated that he had seen some mistakes in the Quran and Arabs would correct them through their language and they had asked him to change them but he said that these mistakes did not change Haram to Halal and vice versa." (Tafsir al-BaghawiMa'alim at-Tanzil), Q. 4:161, Volume 3, p. 361; bold emphasis ours)


“Aban bin Uthman recited the verse [IN HATHANI LASAHIRANI] before his father Uthman. Uthman said: “It is incorrect.” Someone asked him: “Why don’t you correct it?” Uthman replied: “Leave it there, it doesn’t make any difference in respect of what is Halal (lawful/permissible) and Haram (forbidden/prohibited).’” (Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Q. 20:63)

This leads me to my third point. Zawadi and his sources obviously haven’t read their own scripture carefully. There are a few places within the Quran itself where the plural is used in place of either the singular or dual. Case in point:

Their similitude is that of a MAN who kindled a fire; when IT lighted around HIM, God took away THEIR light and left THEM in utter darkness. So THEY could not see. S. 2:17

In order to help the non-Arabic speaking readers appreciate the problems with this text it must be kept in mind that Arabic, unlike English, has not only singular and plural forms of verbs and adjectives it also has a dual form that is used when it is speaking of two referents. This is unlike the plural which is used when three or more persons or items are in view. Verbs and adjectives also take on masculine and feminine forms as a way of corresponding to or identifying the gender of the subject or object within the sentence.

In the example, the Quran is speaking of individuals who go astray and likens them to a person (singular) that lit a fire (also in the singular). The text says that when it lit all around him (singular) Allah then took away THEIR light (plural, three or more), leaving THEM (plural) in darkness so that THEY (plural) could not see.

The author(s) of the Quran used a plural to describe the man in the parable since he is the one who lights a fire so as to have some light. Therefore, when the verse goes on to say that Allah took away THEIR light this can only be referring back to the man who was just mentioned since he is the only one in the context that even has a light!

Here is a second example:

These two antagonists dispute with each other about their Lord (Hathani khasmani ikhtasamoo fee rabbihim): But those who deny (their Lord), - for them will be cut out a garment of Fire: over their heads will be poured out boiling water. S. 22:19

The word rendered as “dispute” (ikhtasamoo) is a plural verb form normally used to address three or more individuals. However, the verse mentions only two individuals disputing with each other.

A further example is:

Then he rose towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come BOTH OF YOU (itiya) willingly (tawaan) or unwillingly (aw karhan).” They BOTH said (qalata): “We BOTH come (atayna), willingly (taieena).” S. 41:11

According to the late Iranian Islamic scholar Ali Dashti, there is a mistake regarding the grammar of Q. 41:11:

“… Sky and earth in Arabic are feminine nouns, and the verb 'said' in verse ten [note: in most English translations it is verse eleven] is accordingly feminine and dual; but the adjective 'willing' at the end of the verse is masculine and plural, and thus at variance with the rules of the Arabic grammar.” (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from the Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], p. 163; bold emphasis mine)

In the above verse the words itiya, qalata and atayna are feminine in gender and dual in number, whereas the adjective taieena is in the masculine plural.

To help the readers appreciate Dashti’s point concerning the blatant grammatical errors of this particular verse the following sentence is an attempt to mimic the errors of the Arabic into English:

Rachel and Mary both said, "The three of us men come willingly."

Anyone reading this can clearly see the considerable grammatical mistakes of the sentence, confusing both gender and numbers. This is precisely what we find in Q. 41:11.

And now to our final example:

O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allah has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Allah has already ordained for you (O men), the dissolution of your oaths. And Allah is your Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.) and He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise. And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. 'Aishah), and Allah made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said: "The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allah) has told me". If you two (tataboo) (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts (quloobukuma) are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad SAW), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers. S. 66:1-4 Hilali-Khan

The above passage is referring to two of Muhammad’s wives, namely Aisha and Hafsa, and yet the Arabic word for “your hearts” (quloobukuma) is in the plural!

In light of this, should we understand this to mean that Muhammad actually believed that his two wives literally had three hearts or more? If so then this would contradict the Quran which says that Allah hasn’t placed two hearts in anyone:

Allah has not put for any man two hearts inside his body. Neither has He made your wives whom you declare to be like your mothers' backs, your real mothers. [Az-Zihar is the saying of a husband to his wife, "You are to me like the back of my mother" i.e. You are unlawful for me to approach.] nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. That is but your saying with your mouths. But Allah says the truth, and He guides to the (Right) Way. S. 33:4 Hilali-Khan

Or should we assume that the author(s) often used the plural in contexts where only two individuals or items are in view?

Hence, since the Quran in several places clearly uses the plural in place of the singular or the dual this means the plural in Q. 7:190 does absolutely nothing to establish Zawadi’s premise that this text is not referring to Adam and Eve.

Finally, and more importantly, Zawadi failed to mention that Q. 7:190 isn’t the only place where the author(s) used the plural in connection with the Adam and Eve account. S/he/they also used it in reference to the sin of Adam and Eve which resulted in their expulsion from paradise:

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, not in the dual. 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.(1)

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

In other words, according to the Quran when Adam sinned his unborn offspring also sinned. And when he was expelled from the garden they were expelled as well.

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 Abdullah Yusuf Ali said something similar 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 [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 capital emphasis ours)

And here 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. The narrations even go so 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 0380)

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)

The traditions also blame Eve for causing God’s curse to fall on all future generations of women. The ahadith further hold the Jews responsible for food becoming stale and the decay of meat!

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)

Hammam b. Munabbih said: These are some of the ahadith which narrated to us from Allah's Messenger, and one of these (this one): Allah's Messenger said: Had it not been for Bani Isra'il, food would not have become stale, and meal would not have gone bad; and had it not been FOR Eve, a woman would never have acted unfaithfully toward her husband. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3472)

Al-Tabari goes so far as to narrate a story which holds Eve accountable for women being stupid!

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 (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing, one can actually make the case that the reason why Q. 7:190 uses the plural instead of the dual is because Adam and Eve represented all of their descendants who would follow in their footsteps by committing the same sin they did. This can be further seen from the immediate context of this particular story:

It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from HIM HIS wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that HE might enjoy the pleasure of living with HER. When HE had sexual relation with HER, SHE became pregnant and SHE carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, THEY BOTH invoked Allah, THEIR Lord (saying): "If You give US a Salih (good in every aspect) child, WE shall indeed be among the grateful." But when He gave THEM a Salih (good in every aspect) child, THEY ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to THEM. High be Allah, Exalted above all that THEY ascribe as partners to Him. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.9, Page 148). Do they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they themselves are created? No help can they give them, nor can they help themselves. And if you call them to guidance, they follow you not. It is the same for you whether you call them or you keep silent. Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah are slaves like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful. Have they feet wherewith they walk? Or have they hands wherewith they hold? Or have they eyes wherewith they see? Or have they ears wherewith they hear? Say (O Muhammad): "Call your (so-called) partners (of Allah) and then plot against me, and give me no respite! Verily, my Wali (Protector, Supporter, and Helper, etc.) is Allah Who has revealed the Book (the Qur'an), and He protects (supports and helps) the righteous. And those whom you call upon besides Him (Allah) cannot help you nor can they help themselves." S. 7:189-197 Hilali-Khan

It is not a coincidence that the author(s) immediately turn(s) his/her/their focus to those who associate partners with Allah right after mentioning the shirk of the first human beings. The author(s) obviously saw a connection between the shirk committed by Adam and Eve and the rest of their offspring. This is sufficient to explain why the author(s) chose to use the plural when speaking of the shirk of Adam and Eve.

In conclusion, it is abundantly clear that the Quran accuses the first human parents of committing the unforgiveable sin of shirk. It is also obvious from the so-called authentic sources of Islam that Muhammad believed that Adam and Eve share in the responsibility of every act of shirk that has been and will ever be committed. Muhammad expressly taught that every individual is affected by the actions of Adam and Eve since all human beings are descended from them.

So much for Zawadi’s “rebuttal.”


(1) The variation in wording in the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion introduces another major problem for Zawadi. The Quran is believed to be the divinely dictated speech of Allah and, as such, it is supposed to have only one author. Muslims emphatically deny that Allah incorporated the human personality and/or words of Muhammad. Muhammad’s role was to simply recite the words of the Quran to the masses as he received them from Allah through Gabriel.

Muslims also contend that Allah is all-knowing, and is therefore capable of perfectly recalling everything that has occurred in the past.

In light of this, we would expect that Allah would be able to correctly remember and recall the exact words of his conversation with Adam and Eve. We’d expect that Allah would be able to retell this story in the same way with the exact same details every time.

However, this is not what we find in the Quran since Allah narrates the conversation he had with Adam and Eve by using different words each time he retells it!

For instance, did Allah actually use the 2nd person masculine plural imperative verb, ihbitoo, or did he employ the 2nd person dual imperative verb, ihbita? Did Allah say, “Go down, both of you,” or did he really say, “Go down, everyone of you”?

He obviously didn’t say both, so then why didn’t Allah inform Muhammad what the exact words of his conversation were? Why did he narrate the exact same speech with variations in wording?

More importantly, since Allah is supposed to be omniscient wasn’t he able to recall the exact words he used every time he retold the same story in the Quran?

However, seeing that he clearly didn’t do so this means that either Allah is not an omniscient being, and therefore is not God, or the Quran is not the word of God.