This is a very interesting topic, and I am sure a lot of things about the origin of man will be made known as we proceed to discuss about our origin.
Can you tell us who Adam was?
According to Religious teachings, at a particular point in the evolution of and growth of the earth and the skies Allah wanted to introduce the human species. So He announced to the rest of creation that He was about to create man who shall be His Vicegerent on the earth. This is recorded in the Holy Book in the following words:
Behold, the Lord said to the angels, I will create a Vicegerent on earth. (2:30)
So when I have fashioned him (in due proportion), and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him. (15:29)
Eve was created from Adam. We shall be discussing this as we go along in the program.
How was Adam created?
According to the Scriptures Adam was made from clay. In the Bible one reads about it as follows:
God said: Let us make man in our own image after our likeness. (Gen.1:26)
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. (Gen.2:7)
According to Islamic teachings, Allah made Adam from clay taken from different parts of the earth; those parts that had the greatest potentials as He says:
Man did We create from the quintessence of clay. (23:12)
Adam was created in the best of shape as Allah says:
We have indeed created man in the best of mould. (95:4)
You say that Islam teaches that Adam was formed and fashioned; can you say a little more about this?
Long before Adam came into existence Allah had already announced his existence in a concept form to the angels. Also they were told as to the reasons why Adam was to be created. This is mentioned in the Qur'an as follows:
Behold, your Lord said to the angels; I am about to create man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape. So when I have fashioned him, and breathed into him of My Spirit, then all of you must fall down in obeisance to him. (15:28-29)
Allah revealed His plans about Adam to the angels and Jinn that were already in existence, just as an architect displays a plan for some building long before it is actually being built.
So what you are saying is that angels and jinn are older species of creation than man; is that true?
Yes, Allah started the universe as a single cell, which grew and burst open thereby forming the skies and the earth. This is recorded in the Holy Qur'an in the following verse:
Do not the unbelievers see that the skies and the earth were a closed up mass before We clove them asunder? (21:30)
When the original cell (i.e. the closed up mass) exploded and the whole thing was only light angels were created, and as it cooled and became like smokeless fire jinn were created; finally, when the earth was perfected with all the flora and fauna, then man was created to be ultimately the Vicegerent of Allah on it.
You said Allah made Adam from clay, can you tell us more about it?
Allah took some clay from the earth and with it He created a creature called Nafs a creature capable of having desire and an ego. This ultimately grew a body which became Adam, the first man. From Adam He created Eve. About this He says in the Qur'an:
O ye human beings fear your Lord Who created you from a single nafs, and created there from its mate, and from them twain spread men and women. (4:1)
Is it true that Eve was made from the rib of Adam?
According to the Bible Eve was created from the rib of Adam. It narrates this event as follows:
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Gen.2-21-22)
There are differences among the translators of the Bible as to actually what the original Hebrew word means. Some believe it to be from the side of Adam.
The Qur'an does not mention about Eve being created from Adam's rib although there are two Traditions attributed to be that of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) referring to it. These are:
Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her.
Had it not been for Bani Israel, 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.
These Traditions are found only in one of the Books of Hadith.
What does the Qur'an say about the creation of Eve?
Firstly, the Qur'an does not state clearly how Adam was formed and fashioned. Did he grow from a tiny creature like a sperm which Allah created out of clay or was he made out of mud in the shape of a man, is not mentioned. All that is said is that he was formed and fashioned and elsewhere Allah mentions about human beings having bodies. For example, He says:
Before you, (O Prophet) We did not send but men to whom We gave inspiration. So ask those who know if you do not know. Nor, did We give them bodies that ate no food nor were they exempt from death. (21:7-8)
So Adam was given a body possessing ego and desires. This was passed on to his progeny.
Regarding the creation of Eve, the Qur'an did not mention how she was created. All that is mentioned is that Adam's mate Eve was created from him.
Probably, in earlier times it would have been more difficult to understand but with knowledge that we now have as a result of all the research in Biology etc. we might be able to conclude that Eve could have been a clone of Adam growing out of a stem cell taken out from his rib or something like that. Allah knows best.
Where did Adam and Eve spend their early years?
They were both in the Garden of Eden. There they were both nurtured and were allowed to roam about with only one restriction, i.e. not to approach a particular tree. Allah says:
O Adam, you and your wife dwell in the Garden and enjoy (its good things), as you wish, but do not approach this tree or you will run into harm and transgression. (7:19)
The Qur'an does not say that Adam and Eve were restricted from eating of any fruit, as it recorded in the Bible. It narrates the event in the following verses:
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden. And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said; Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, they your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen.3:1-5)
According to the Qur'an Allah told Adam and Eve:
O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will; but do not approach this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression. (2:35)
Is it true that Satan deceived Even and she caused Adam to disobey Allah.
No, that is not true. According to the Qur'an Satan spoke to both of them and seduced them. Allah says:
So by deceit he brought about their fall……O Children of Adam, do not let Satan seduce you, in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment to expose their shame. (7:27)
Two things are very significant from the Qur'anic reference, viz.
They should not taste from whatever is of the tree. It is possible that the tree could have been one that was able to produce intoxication or make a person high.
Allah told them that if they should taste from the tree they would not behave normal.
Satan supported that argument by telling them that their eyes will be opened and they become like angels. According to the Qur'an, Satan began to whisper suggestions to them, in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them. (7:20)
What do you think was the effect of the tree on them?
They became conscious of their sexual organs and one became attracted to the other. As a result they felt ashamed of themselves and tried to hide their bodies with leaves that they put together.
Adam and Eve sinned, and were liable to be punished. What happened then?
Upon realising their mistake they both sincerely begged the Lord to forgive them. They prayed as follows:
Our Lord, We have wronged our own souls; if you do not forgive us and bestow on us Mercy, we shall certainly be among the losers. (7:23)
Did Allah accept Adam and Eve's prayers?
Because they violated God's command, they were cast out of the Garden, along with Satan. They were sent to earth, not as a punishment but to represent Allah here, after He had forgiven them. However, Allah gave them stern warning, and also to their progeny He gave a universal Law which He told Satan at the time of expulsion from the Garden. He said:
Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them (i.e. the progeny of Adam) should follow thee, I shall fill Hell with all of you. (7:18)
Do we have to suffer because of the sin committed by Adam and Eve?
No, the Qur'an has made it very clear in the following words that every person is responsible for his or her own affairs. Allah says:
Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself; no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another; Your goal in the end is towards Allah; and He will tell you the truth of the things wherein you disputed. It is he Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth; He hath raised you in ranks, some above the others, that He may try you in the gifts He has given you. (6:164-5)
What can we conclude from the event of Adam and Eve?
We must beware of Satan, as Allah warns us. He says:
He and his tribe are watching you from a position where you cannot see them. (7:27)
Say, I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind, from the mischief of the evil whisperer who whispers in the hearts of mankind from among the Jinns and among men.