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4 Timeless Lessons from the Story of Adam and Eve in the Quran

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Accepting how small and lowly we are in the sight of Allah is a form of glorifying him. We must always remember that our sins are not greater than Allah’s mercy. 

The first humans on earth are said to be sent here as a result of their disobedience to Allah’s commands. Even though we are centuries apart now, there are numerous takeaways from their story mentioned in the Qur’an across various chapters.

Upon deeper reflection, we realise that the trials they went through, and how they reacted to them hold significance even in this day and age. It is a heart-warming realisation because we are all made from the same mud, and by the same Creator.

Here are four of some of the most important lessons we can take away from the holy story of Adam and Eve.

1. The Importance of Knowledge

“And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, ‘Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful’. They (angels) said: ‘Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-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 Ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing?'” (Quran, 2:31-33)

As Muslims, we are encouraged to always be in the quest for knowledge. Called ‘ilm in Arabic, knowledge – both worldly and religious – has a high status in the life of a believer as it enlightens the mind and empowers a person. Our knowledge and rational thinking are what distinguish us from animals, and our freedom to act on that knowledge distinguishes us from the angels.

It is due to this quality that the angels were asked to prostrate to Prophet Adam. The first command given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one of iqraa’, or “read”. Education must be encouraged from a very young age wherein children are taught about their faith, who their Lord is, and how one must behave as a Muslim as all these subjects help shape a strong Muslim identity that carries one through life.

One also must not neglect secular subjects as this will help a person make a living for themselves and their families. Knowledge is said to be worship in Islam, and when one is in an act of gaining knowledge, they are involved in worshipping Allah.

2. Arrogance Is Most Hated

“Remember, O Prophet when your Lord said to the angels, ‘I am going to create a human being from clay. So when I have fashioned him and had a spirit of My Own creation breathed into him, fall down in prostration to him.’ So the angels prostrated all together, but not Iblîs, who acted arrogantly, becoming unfaithful. Allah asked, ‘O Iblîs! What prevented you from prostrating to what I created with My Own Hands? Did you just become proud? Or have you always been arrogant?’ He replied, ‘I am better than he is: You created me from fire and him from clay.’ Allah commanded, ‘Then get out of Paradise, for you are truly cursed.  And surely upon you is My condemnation until the Day of Judgment.’” (Quran, 38:71-77)

When Allah the Exalted created man, he asked the angels to prostrate to him. Satan outright refused because he thought he was a superior creation to man as he was made of fire. This disobedience to Allah caused him to be expelled from Heaven forever.

Even in life, we come across things that we feel don’t make sense to us in Islam, but we must obey the command of Allah because He designed the world with underlying wisdom that is unfathomable to humans. Trust in Allah and obedience to Him even though we don’t understand certain situations grants us His love and prevents us from becoming arrogant like Iblis did.

The point of such stories in the Qur’an is for us to gauge the message behind them and apply them to our worldly life.

3. Satan Is Mankind’s Eternal Enemy

“Allah said, ‘O Adam! Live with your wife in Paradise and eat from wherever you please, but do not approach this tree, or else you will be wrongdoers.’ Then Satan tempted them in order to expose what was hidden of their nakedness. He said, ‘Your Lord has forbidden this tree to you only to prevent you from becoming angels or immortals.’ And he swore to them, ‘I am truly your sincere advisor.’ So he brought about their fall through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their nakedness was exposed to them, prompting them to cover themselves with leaves from Paradise. Then their Lord called out to them, ‘Did I not forbid you from that tree and did I not tell you that Satan is your sworn enemy?’” (Quran, 7:19-22)

“Allah said, ‘Descend, both of you, from here together with Satan as enemies to each other. Then when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray in this life nor suffer in the next.'” (Quran, 20:123)

In multiple places in the Qur’an, Allah warns us that Iblis is our biggest enemy. He works in such a smart way that he never directly tells us to commit a sin or a wrongdoing. Rather, he glorifies unlawful acts, and they look appealing to humans as we are weak-willed and our nafs (Self) gets the best of us.

This is highlighted in the story of Prophet Adam wherein Allah commanded him and his wife to stay away from a particular tree. Satan made the tree look extremely attractive to them, and it fed their curiosity. They gave in and disobeyed Allah, which led to them being sent down to the earth.

Satan never wants what is good for man; which is Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, as he rid himself of them, so he promised to misguide humans too. This is something we must remember going through our daily lives so as to not fall victim to the evil ploys of Satan.

4. Repentance Makes All The Difference

“Our Lord!  We have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Quran, 7:23)

Both Adam and Satan committed sins by disobeying Allah, but the major difference between the two was that Adam admitted to his sin, and sought forgiveness, while Satan let his arrogance and pride prevail.

Human beings are not free of sin, and it is God’s infinite mercy that keeps us going. If our repentance were to be weighed against his mercy, we would be doomed. This part of the story of Prophet Adam teaches us to acknowledge our sins and keep seeking forgiveness from Allah continuously, as we are always in need of Him, but He doesn’t need us.

Accepting how small and lowly we are in the sight of Allah is a form of glorifying him. We must always remember that our sins are not greater than Allah’s mercy. 

Stories of the prophets in the Qur’an are aimed at educating people on character, morals, values, and etiquette, as these things are timeless. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to read the Holy Book with introspection and apply these messages to our daily lives to become the best versions of ourselves.

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