There are several places in the Qur’an where Allah Azza Waajal mentions the story of Adam alaihi salam and Shaytan. The following is a discussion on one of those passages, which is also the first time the story is mentioned in the Qur’an, in the beginning of Surat al Baqarah.
And [mention, O Muhammad ﷺ], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” (2:30)
The word ‘idh’ is said at the start of a story or event and denotes ‘consider’/’remember’. It is addressed here to the Prophet ﷺ and also to the Jews of Madinah for whom this story was not new.
Allah said to the angels that He will place a Khalifah on earth. Khalifah means “people reproducing generation after generation”.
“The statement the angels uttered was not a form of disputing with Allah’s, nor out of envy for the Children of Adam, ….This is only a question for the sake of learning about the wisdom of that.” (ibn Kathir)
Allah replied to them, “I know that which you do not know”. Ibn Kathir says that it means “I know that the benefit of creating this type of creature outweighs the harm that you mentioned, that which you have no knowledge of . I will create among them Prophets and send Messengers. I will also create among them t ruthful, martyrs, righteous believers, worshippers, the modest , the pious, the scholars who implement their knowledge, humble people and those who love Allah and follow His Messengers. ”
It also means,” I know that Iblis is not as you are, although he is among you.”
And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.” (2:31)
According to ibn Abbas (rahimahullah), the names which Allah taught Adam were “the names that people use, such as human, animal, sky, earth, land, sea, horse, donkey, and so forth, including the names of the other species. ”
They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.” (2:32)
The angels are saying that the questions they asked were merely because of their lack of knowledge.
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 unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (2:33)
Allah’s question to the angels is a reminder for us all. In this age we encounter blasphemous questions from enemies of Islam which tend to baffle our minds and shake the very foundations of our belief. In such situations when we fail to understand something in Allah’s words and orders, we should refer to this verse and the one above, and admit our limitations in front of the All-Knowledgeable, like the angels.
And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers. (2:34)
Iblis’s problem was arrogance; since he was the best of the worshippers among the angels, it made him think he was better than Adam. This is the path along which Iblis went, and this is the path along which he wants to lead all the worshippers of Allah. So we need to be aware of following his footsteps.
And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.” (2:35)
The forbidden tree was pointed by Allah, but human nature is such that we tend to be attracted to forbidden things. Iblis utilized this human weakness, telling Adam that eating the fruit of this tree would make him immortal and live forever in an enduring kingdom.
But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.” (2:36)
Adam and Iblis, and their respective descendants, are natural enemies of one another. Those among the evil human beings who think that they have befriended jinns and demons, they are under an illusion. As it is seen in the story of Burseesah, shaytan is no human’s friend, but rather an enemy to even the worst of them.
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (2:37)
Both Adam and Iblis had committed sins, but what made Adam righteous and Iblis a kaafir was that Adam repented. It is never too late to turn back to Allah the Merciful; He will forgive our sins as long as we sincerely repent:
Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (25:70)
Not only that, Allah even taught Adam the very words of repentance, and through him He taught us those words, which appear in Surat al A’raf:
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (7:23)
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