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Spreading the Earth out after the Heavens were created

Sahih Al-Bukhari records that when Ibn `Abbas was question about this matter, he said that the earth was created before heaven, and the earth was spread out only after the creation of the heaven. Several Tafsir scholars of old and recent times also said similarly, as we have elaborated on in the Tafsir of Surat An-Nazi`at (chapter 79). The result of that discussion is that the word Daha (translated above as "spread'') is mentioned and explained in Allah's statement,

﴿ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ ذَٲلِكَ دَحَٮٰهَآ أَخۡرَجَ مِنۡہَا مَآءَهَا وَمَرۡعَٮٰهَا وَٱلۡجِبَالَ أَرۡسَٮٰهَا

(And the earth, after that, He spread it out. And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly.) (79:30-32)

Therefore, Daha means that the earth's treasures were brought to its surface after finishing the job of creating whatever will reside on earth and heaven. When the earth became Daha, the water burst out to its surface and the various types, colors, shapes and kinds of plants grew. The stars started rotating along with the planets that rotate around them. And Allah knows best.

﴿ وَإِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ إِنِّى جَاعِلٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ خَلِيفَةً۬‌ۖ قَالُوٓاْ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيہَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيہَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ وَنَحۡنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ‌ۖ قَالَ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(30. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.'' They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.'' He (Allah) said: "I know that which you do not know.'')

Adam and His Children inhabited the Earth, Generation after Generation

Allah reiterated His favor on the Children of Adam when He stated that He mentioned them in the highest of heights before He created them. Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ

(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels.)

This Ayah means, "O Muhammad! Mention to your people what Allah said to the angels,

﴿ إِنِّى جَاعِلٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ خَلِيفَةً۬‌ۖ

(Verily, I am going to place a Khalifah on earth).

Meaning people reproducing generation after generation, century after century, just as Allah said,

﴿ وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَڪُمۡ خَلَـٰٓٮِٕفَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ

(And it is He Who has made you (Khala'if) generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth) (6:165),

﴿ وَيَجۡعَلُڪُمۡ خُلَفَآءَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ

(And makes you (Khulafa') inheritors of the earth) (27:62),

﴿ وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَجَعَلۡنَا مِنكُم مَّلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةً۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَخۡلُفُونَ

(And if it were Our will, We would have (destroyed you (mankind all, and) made angels to replace you (Yakhlufun) on the earth.) (43: 60) and,

﴿ فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ۬

(Then after them succeeded an (evil) generation (Khalf)) (7:169). It appears that Allah was not referring to Adam specifically as Khalifah, otherwise he would not have allowed the angels' statement,

﴿ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيہَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيہَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood).

The angels meant that this type of creature usually commits the atrocities they mentioned. The angels knew of this fact, according to their understanding of human nature, for Allah stated that He would create man from clay. Or, the angels understood this fact from the word Khalifah, which also means the person who judges disputes that occur between people, forbidding them from injustice and sin, as Al-Qurtubi said.

The statement the angels uttered was not a form of disputing with Allah's, nor out of envy for the Children of Adam, as some mistakenly thought. Allah has described them as those who do not precede Him in speaking, meaning that they do not ask Allah anything without His permission. When Allah informed them that He was going to create a creation on the earth, and they had knowledge that this creation would commit mischief on it, as Qatadah mentioned, they said,

﴿ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيہَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيہَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood)

This is only a question for the sake of learning about the wisdom of that, as if they said, Our Lord! What is the wisdom of creating such creatures since they will cause trouble in the earth and spill blood "If the wisdom behind this action is that You be worshipped, we praise and glorify You (meaning we pray to You) we never indulge in mischief, so why create other creatures''

Allah said to the angels in answer to their inquiry,

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(I know that which you do not know.) meaning, "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 truthful, 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.''

The Sahih recorded that when the angels ascend to Allah with the records of the servant's deeds, Allah asks them, while having better knowledge, "How did you leave My servants'' They will say, "We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying.'' This is because the angels work in shifts with mankind, and they change shifts during the Fajr and `Asr prayers. The angels who descended will remain with us, while the angels who have remained with us ascend with our deeds. The Messenger of Allah said,

« يُرْفَعُ إِلَيْهِ عَمَلُ اللَّيْلِ قَبْلَ النَّهَارِ وَعَمَلُ النَّهَارِ قَبْلَ اللَّيْل »

(The deeds of the night are elevated to Allah before the morning, and the deeds of the morning before the night falls.)

Hence, the angels' statement, "We came to them while they were praying and left them while they were praying,'' explains Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(I know that which you do not know.)

It was said that the meaning of Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(I know that which you do not know.) is, "I have a specific wisdom in creating them, which you do not have knowledge of.'' It was also said that it is in answer to,

﴿ وَنَحۡنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ‌ۖ

(While we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You) after which Allah said,

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(I know that which you do not know). Meaning, "I know that Iblis is not as you are, although he is among you.'' Others said,

﴿ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيہَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيہَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ وَنَحۡنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ‌ۖ

"(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, ـ while we glorify you with praises and thanks and sanctify You.) is their request that they should be allowed to inhabit the earth, instead of the Children of Adam. So Allah said to them,

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(I know that which you do not know) if your inhabiting the heavens is better, or worse for you.'' Ar-Razi as well as others said this. Allah knows best.

The Obligation of appointing a Khalifah and some related Issues

Al-Qurtubi, as well as other scholars, said that this Ayah (2:30) proves the obligation of appointing a Khalifah to pass judgments on matters of dispute between people, to aid the oppressed against the oppressor, to implement the Islamic penal code and to forbid evil. There are many other tasks that can only be fulfilled by appointing the Imam, and what is necessary in performing an obligation, is an obligation itself. We should state here that Imamah occurs by either naming a successor, as a group among Ahl As-Sunnah scholars said occurred - by the Prophet - in the case of Abu Bakr, or hinting to a successor. Or, the current Khalifah names a certain person as Khalifah after him, as Abu Bakr did with `Umar. Or, the Khalifah might leave the matter in the hands of the Muslim consultative council, or a group of righteous men, just as `Umar did. Or, the people of authority could gather around a certain person to whom they give the pledge of allegiance, or they could select one among them to choose the candidate, according to the majority of the scholars.

The Khalifah must be a responsible adult Muslim male, able to perform Ijtihad (independent legal judgments), bodily able, righteous, with knowledge of warfare, politics. He also must be from the tribe of Quraysh, according to the correct view, but it is not necessary that he be from the tribe of Bani Hashim, or that he be immune from error, as the Rafidah (Shiites) falsely claim.

When the Khalifah becomes an immoral person (Fasiq), should he be impeached There is disagreement over this matter, but the correct view is that he is not to be removed, because the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِلَّا أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا بَوَاحًا عِنْدَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ فِيهِ بُرْهَان »

(Unless you witness a clear Kufr regarding which you have clear proof from Allah. )

Does the Khalifah have the right to resign from his post There is a difference on this issue. It is a fact that Al-Hasan bin `Ali removed himself from the position of Khalifah and surrendered it to Mu`awiyah. However, this occurred because of a necessity, and Al-Hasan was praised for this action.

It is not permissible to appoint two Imams for the world or more at the same time. This is not allowed because the Messenger of Allah said,

« مَنْ جَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْرُكُمْ جَمِيعٌ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُفَرِّقَ بَيْنَكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُ كَائِنًا مَنْ كَان »

(Whoever came to you while you are united and tried to divide you, then execute him, no matter who he is.)

This is the view of the majority of scholars. Imam Al-Haramayn stated that Abu Ishaq allowed the appointment of two or more Imams when the various provinces are far away from each other. However, Imam Al-Haramayn himself was indecisive about this view.

﴿ وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَہُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنۢبِـُٔونِى بِأَسۡمَآءِ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ قَالُواْ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمۡتَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ قَالَ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ أَنۢبِئۡهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ‌ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَنۢبَأَهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُل لَّكُمۡ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ غَيۡبَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(31. 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.'') (32. They (angels) said: "Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, You are the Knower, the Wise.'') (33. 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 Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing'')

The Virtue of Adam over the Angels

Allah stated the virtue of Adam above the angels, because He taught Adam, rather than them, the names of everything. This occurred after they prostrated to him. This discussion precedes that event here, only to show the importance of his position, and the absence of the angels' knowledge about creating the Khalifah when they asked about it. So Allah informed the angels that He knows what they do not know, and then He mentioned this to show them Adam's superiority over them in knowledge. Allah said,

﴿ وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءَ كُلَّهَا

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)).

Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah;

﴿ وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءَ كُلَّهَا

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)) "Meaning, 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.'' Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir reported that `Asim bin Kulayb narrated from Sa`id bin Ma`bad that Ibn `Abbas was questioned,

﴿ وَعَلَّمَ ءَادَمَ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءَ كُلَّهَا

(And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)) "Did Allah teach him the names of the plate and the pot'' He said, "Yes, and even the terms for breaking wind!''

Allah taught Adam the names of everything, their proper names, the names of their characteristics, and what they do, just as Ibn `Abbas stated about the terms for passing gas.

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari explained this Ayah in the Book of Tafsir with a report from Anas bin Malik who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« يَجْتَمِعُ الْمُؤمِنُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيَقُولُونَ: لَوِ اسْتَشْفَعْنَا إِلَى رَبِّنَا فَيَأْتُونَ آدَمَ فَيَقُولُونَ: أَنْتَ أَبُو النَّاسِ خَلَقَكَ اللهُ بِيَدِهِ وَأَسْجَدَ لَكَ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَعَلَّمَكَ أَسْمَاءَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، فَاشْفَعْ لَنَا عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ حَتَّى يُريحَنَا مِنْ مَكَانِنَا هَذا، فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ وَيَذْكُرُ ذَنْبَهُ فَيَسْتَحْيِي ائْتُوا نُوحًا فإِنَّهُ أَوَّلُ رَسُولٍ بَعَثَهُ اللهُ إِلَى أَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ، فَيَأْتُونَه، فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُناكُمْ وَيَذْكُر سُؤَالَه رَبَّه مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ بِه عِلْم فَيَسْتَحْيِي فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا خَلِيلَ الرَّحْمن فَيَأْتُونَهُ فَيقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا مُوسَى عَبْدًا كَلَّمَهُ اللهُ وَأعْطَاهُ التَّوْرَاةَ، فَيقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُم فَيَذْكُرُ قَتْلَ النَّفْسِ بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَيَقُولُ: ائْتُوا عِيسى عَبْدَ اللهِ وَرَسُولَهُ وَكَلِمَةَ اللهِ ورُوحَهُ، فَيَأْتُونَهُ فَيَقُولُ: لَسْتُ هُنَاكُمْ ائْتُوا مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّم مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ، فَيَأْتُونِّي فأَنْطَلِقُ حَتَّى أَسْتأذِنَ عَلَى رَبِّي فيَأْذَنُ لِي، فإِذَا رأَيْتُ رَبِّي وَقَعْتُ سَاجِدًا فَيَدَعُنِي مَا شَاءَ اللهُ ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: ارْفَعْ رَأْسَكَ وَسَلْ تُعْطَهْ وَقُلْ يُسْمَعْ وَاشْفَعْ تُشَفَّعْ، فأَرْفَعُ رَأْسِي فأَحْمَدُهُ بِتَحْمِيدٍ يُعَلِّمُنِيهِ ثُمَّ أَشْفَعُ فَيُحَدُّ لِي حَدًّا فأُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ثُمَّ أَعُودُ إلَيْهِ فَإذَا رَأَيْتُ رَبِّي مِثْلَهُ ثُمَّ أَشْفَعُ فَيُحَدُّ لِي حدًّا فأُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ثُمَّ أَعُودُ الثَّالِثَةَ ثُمَّ أعُودُ الرَّابِعَةَ فَأَقُولُ: مَا بَقِيَ فِي النَّار إلَّا مَنْ حَبَسَهُ الْقُرْآنُ وَوَجَبَ عَلَيْهِ الْخُلُود »

(The believers will gather on the Day of Resurrection and will say, `We should seek a means of intercession with our Lord' They will go to Adam and say, `O Adam! You are the father of all mankind, Allah created you with His Own Hand, ordered the angels to prostrate for you and taught you the names of everything. Will you not intercede for us with your Lord, so that he relieve us from this gathering place' On that Adam will reply, `I cannot do what you have asked'. He will have remembered his error and will be embarrassed, saying, `Go to Nuh, for he is the first of Allah's Messengers whom Allah sent to the people of the earth.' They will go to Nuh and ask him. He will say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will recall asking Allah what he was not to know, and will also be embarrassed. He will say, `Go to Khalil Ar-Rahman.' They will go to Ibrahim and he will also say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will say, `Go to Musa, a servant to whom Allah spoke directly and gave the Tawrah.' Musa will say, `I cannot do what you have asked.' He will remember that he killed a person without justification and will be embarrassed before his Lord. He will say, `Go to `Isa, Allah's servant and Messenger and His Word and a spirit of His.' They will go to `Isa and he will say, `I will not do what you asked. Go to Muhammad, a servant whose previous and latter errors were forgiven.' They will come to me, and I will go to Allah and seek His permission and He will give me His permission. When I gaze at my Lord, I will prostrate myself and Allah will allow me to remain like that as much as He will. Then I will be addressed, `O Muhammad! Raise your head; ask, for you will be given what you ask, and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.' I will raise my head and thank and praise Allah with such praise as He will inspire me. I will intercede and He will grant me a quantity of people that He will admit into Paradise. I will go back to Him, and when I see my Lord, I will intercede and He will allow me a quantity that He will admit into Paradise. I will do that for a third and then a fourth time. I will say, `There are no more people left in Hell except those whom the Qur'an has incarcerated and have thus acquired eternity in Hell.') This Hadith was collected by Muslim, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. The reason why we mentioned this Hadith here is the Prophet's statement,

« فَيَأْتُونَ آدَمَ فَيَقُولُون: أنْتَ أَبُو النَّاسِ خَلَقَكَ اللهُ بِيَدِهِ وَأَسْجَدَ لَكَ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَعَلَّمَكَ أَسْمَاءَ كُلِّ شَيْء »

(They will go to Adam and say, `O Adam! You are the father of all mankind, and Allah created you with His Own Hand, ordered the angels to prostrate for you, and taught you the names of everything). This part of the Hadith testifies to the fact that Allah taught Adam the names of all creatures.

This is why Allah said,

﴿ ثُمَّ عَرَضَہُمۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ

(Then He showed them to the angels) meaning, the objects or creations. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said, "Allah paraded the objects before the angels,

﴿ فَقَالَ أَنۢبِـُٔونِى بِأَسۡمَآءِ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَـٰدِقِينَ

(And said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful'').''

Allah's statement means, "Tell Me the names of what I paraded before you, O angels who said,

﴿ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِيہَا مَن يُفۡسِدُ فِيہَا وَيَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَآءَ

(Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood).

You asked, `Are You appointing a Khalifah from us or from other creations We praise and glorify You.

Therefore, Allah said, "If you say the truth, that if I appoint a non-angel Khalifah on the earth, he and his offspring will disobey Me, commit mischief and shed blood, but if I designate you the Khalifahs you will obey Me, follow My command and honor and glorify Me. However, since you do not know the names of the objects I paraded before you, then you have even less knowledge of what will occur on the earth that does not exist yet.''

﴿ قَالُواْ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمۡتَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

(They (angels) said: "Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the Knower, the Wise.'').

Here the angels are praising Allah's holiness, and perfection above every kind of deficiency, affirming that no creature could ever acquire any part of Allah's knowledge, except by His permission, nor could anyone know anything except what Allah teaches them. This is why they said,

﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمۡتَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

("Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily You are the Knower, the Wise) meaning, Allah is knowledgeable of everything, Most Wise about His creation, and He makes the wisest decisions, and He teaches and deprives whom He wills from knowledge. Verily, Allah's wisdom and justice in all matters is perfect.

Adam's Virtue of Knowledge is demonstrated

Allah said,

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ أَنۢبِئۡهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ‌ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَنۢبَأَهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُل لَّكُمۡ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ غَيۡبَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(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 Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing'')

Zayd bin Aslam said, "You are Jibril, you are Mika'il, you are Israfil, until he mentioned the name of the crow.'' Mujahid said that Allah's statement,

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ أَنۢبِئۡهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ‌ۖ

(He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names,'') "The name of the pigeon, the crow and everything.'' Statements of a similar meaning were reported from Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, and Qatadah. When Adam's virtue over the angels became apparent, as he mentioned the names that Allah taught him, Allah said to the angels,

﴿ أَلَمۡ أَقُل لَّكُمۡ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ غَيۡبَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(Did I not tell you that I know the Ghayb (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing)

This means, "Did I not state that I know the seen and unseen matters. '' Similarly, Allah said,

﴿ وَإِن تَجۡهَرۡ بِٱلۡقَوۡلِ فَإِنَّهُ ۥ يَعۡلَمُ ٱلسِّرَّ وَأَخۡفَى

(And if you (O Muhammad) speak (the invocation) aloud, then verily, He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden) (20:7).

Also, Allah said about the hoopoe, that it said to Sulayman;

﴿ أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ ۩

(﴿As Shaytan (Satan) has barred them from Allah's way so they do not prostrate before Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!) (27:25-26).

They also have comments other than what we have said about the meaning of Allah's statement,

﴿ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing).

It is reported from Ad-Dahhak that Ibn `Abbas said that,

﴿ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing) means, "`I know the secrets, just as I know the apparent things, such as, what Iblis concealed in his heart of arrogance and pride.'' Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi narrated that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that,

﴿ وَأَعۡلَمُ مَا تُبۡدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡتُمُونَ

(And I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing) means, "The apparent part of what they said was: `Do you create in it that which would commit mischief and shed blood' The hidden meaning was: `We have more knowledge and honor than any creation our Lord would create.' But they came to know that Allah favored Adam above them regarding knowledge and honor.''

﴿ وَإِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأَدَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَٱسۡتَكۡبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(34. And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.'' And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).)

Honoring Adam when the Angels prostrated before Him

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'' Iblis was among those ordered to prostrate before Adam, although He was not an Angel

When Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was included in this command. Although Iblis was not an angel, he was trying - and pretending - to imitate the angels' behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to the angels to prostrate before Adam. Satan was criticized for defying that command, as we will explain with detail, Allah willing, when we mention the Tafsir of Allah's statement,

﴿ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّهِۦۤ‌ۗ

(Except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the Jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord.) (18:50)

Similarly, Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Before he undertook the path of sin, Iblis was with the angels and was called `Azazil.' He was among the residents of the earth and was one of the most active worshippers and knowledgeable persons among the angels. This fact caused him to be arrogant. Iblis was from a genus called Jinn.''

The Prostration was before Adam but the Obedience was to Allah

Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,

﴿ وَإِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأَدَمَ

(And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.'')

"The obedience was for Allah and the prostration was before Adam. Allah honored Adam and commanded the angels to prostrate before him.'' Some people said that this prostration was just a prostration of greeting, peace and honor, hence Allah's statement,

﴿ وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيۡهِ عَلَى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ ۥ سُجَّدً۬ا‌ۖ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ هَـٰذَا تَأۡوِيلُ رُءۡيَـٰىَ مِن قَبۡلُ قَدۡ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّى حَقًّ۬ا‌ۖ

(And he (Prophet Yusuf) raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: "O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true!'') (12:100)

The practice of prostrating was allowed for previous nations, but was repealed for ours. Mu`adh said to the Prophet, "I visited Ash-Sham and found that they used to prostate before their priests and scholars. You, O Messenger of Allah, are more deserving of prostration.'' The Prophet said,

« لَا لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا بَشَرًا أنْ يَسْجُدَ لِبَشَرٍ لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأةَ أنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوجِهَا مِنْ عِظَمِ حَقِّهِ عَلَيْهَا »

(No. If I was to command any human to prostrate before another human, I would command the wife to prostrate before her husband because of the enormity of his right on her.)

Ar-Razi agreed with this view. Also, Qatadah said about Allah's statement,

﴿ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَٱسۡتَكۡبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(And they prostrated except Iblis (Shaytan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).)

"Iblis, the enemy of Allah, envied Adam because Allah honored Adam. He said, `I was created from fire, and he was created from clay.' Therefore, the first error ever committed was arrogance, for the enemy of Allah was too arrogant to prostrate before Adam.'' I - Ibn Kathir - say, the following is recorded in the Sahih,

« لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ كِبْر »

(No person who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart shall enter Paradise.)

Iblis had disbelief, arrogance, and rebellion, all of which caused him to be expelled from the holy presence of Allah, and His mercy.

﴿ وَقُلۡنَا يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ ٱسۡكُنۡ أَنتَ وَزَوۡجُكَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنۡهَا رَغَدًا حَيۡثُ شِئۡتُمَا وَلَا تَقۡرَبَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ فَأَزَلَّهُمَا ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ عَنۡہَا فَأَخۡرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ‌ۖ وَقُلۡنَا ٱهۡبِطُواْ بَعۡضُكُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ۬‌ۖ وَلَكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُسۡتَقَرٌّ۬ وَمَتَـٰعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬

(35. And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimin (wrongdoers).'') (36. Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.'')

Adam was honored again

Allah honored Adam by commanding the angels to prostrate before him, so they all complied except for Iblis. Allah then allowed Adam to live and eat wherever and whatever he wished in Paradise. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr bin Marduwyah reported Abu Dharr saying, "I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Was Adam a Prophet' He said,

« نَعَمْ نَبِيًّا رَسُولًا كَلَّمَهُ اللَّهُ قُبُلًا »

(Yes. He was a Prophet and a Messenger to whom Allah spoke directly), meaning

﴿ ٱسۡكُنۡ أَنتَ وَزَوۡجُكَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ

((O Adam!) Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise.)''

Hawwa' was created before Adam entered Paradise

The Ayah (2:35) indicates that Hawwa' was created before Adam entered Paradise, as Muhammad bin Ishaq stated. Ibn Ishaq said, "After Allah finished criticizing Iblis, and after teaching Adam the names of everything, He said,

﴿ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ أَنۢبِئۡهُم بِأَسۡمَآٮِٕہِمۡ‌ۖ

(O Adam! Inform them of their names) until,

﴿ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

(Verily, You are the Knower, the Wise.)

Then Adam fell asleep, as the People of the Book and other scholars such as Ibn `Abbas have stated, Allah took one of Adam's left ribs and made flesh grow in its place, while Adam was asleep and unaware. Allah then created Adam's wife, Hawwa', from his rib and made her a woman, so that she could be a comfort for him. When Adam woke up and saw Hawwa' next to him, it was claimed, he said, `My flesh and blood, my wife.' Hence, Adam reclined with Hawwa'. When Allah married Adam to Hawwa' and gave him comfort, Allah said to him directly,

﴿ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ ٱسۡكُنۡ أَنتَ وَزَوۡجُكَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنۡهَا رَغَدًا حَيۡثُ شِئۡتُمَا وَلَا تَقۡرَبَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

("O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, of things therein wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimin (wrongdoers).'').''

Allah tests Adam

Allah's statement to Adam,

﴿ وَلَا تَقۡرَبَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةَ

(but come not near this tree) is a test for Adam. There are conflicting opinions over the nature of the tree mentioned here. Some said that it was the grape tree, barley, date tree, fig tree, and so forth. Some said that it was a certain tree, and whoever eats from it will be relieved of the call of nature. It was also said that it was a tree from which the angels eat so that they live for eternity. Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said, "The correct opinion is that Allah forbade Adam and his wife from eating from a certain tree in Paradise, but they ate from it. We do not know which tree that was, because Allah has not mentioned anything in the Qur'an or the authentic Sunnah about the nature of this tree. It was said that it was barley, grape, or a fig tree. It is possible that it was one of those trees. Yet, this is knowledge that does not bring any benefit, just as being ignorant in its nature does no harm. Allah knows best.'' This is similar to what Ar-Razi stated in his Tafsir, and this is the correct opinion. Allah's statement,

﴿ فَأَزَلَّهُمَا ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ عَنۡہَا

(Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom) either refers to Paradise, and in this case, it means that Shaytan led Adam and Hawwa' away from it, as `Asim bin Abi An-Najud recited it. It is also possible that this Ayah refers to the forbidden tree. In this case, the Ayah would mean, as Al-Hasan and Qatadah stated, "He tripped them.'' In this case,

﴿ فَأَزَلَّهُمَا ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ عَنۡہَا

(Then the Shaytan made them slip therefrom)

means, "Because of the tree'', just as Allah said,

﴿ يُؤۡفَكُ عَنۡهُ مَنۡ أُفِكَ

(Turned aside therefrom (i.e. from Muhammad and the Qur'an) is he who is turned aside (by the decree and preordainment of Allah)) (51:9) meaning, the deviant person becomes turned aside - or slips - from the truth because of so and so reason. This is why then Allah said,

﴿ فَأَخۡرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ‌ۖ

(And got them out from that in which they were) meaning, the clothes, spacious dwelling and comfortable sustenance.

﴿ وَقُلۡنَا ٱهۡبِطُواْ بَعۡضُكُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ۬‌ۖ وَلَكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُسۡتَقَرٌّ۬ وَمَتَـٰعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬

(We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.'') meaning, dwelling, sustenance and limited life, until the commencement of the Day of Resurrection

Adam was very Tall

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ubayy bin Ka`b said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِنَّ اللهَ خَلَقَ آدَمَ رَجُلًا طُوَالًا كَثِيرَ شَعْرِ الرَّأْسِ كَأَنَّهُ نَخْلَةٌ سَحُوقٌ، فَلَمَّا ذَاقَ الشَّجَرَةَ سَقَطَ عَنْهُ لِبَاسُهُ فَأَوَّلُ مَا بَدَا مِنْهُ عَوْرَتُهُ، فَلَمَّا نَظَرَ إلى عَوْرتِه جَعَلَ يَشْتَدُّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَأَخَذَتْ شَعْرَهُ شَجَرَةٌ فَنَازَعَهَا، فَنَادَاهُ الرَّحْمنُ: يَا آدَمُ مِنِّي تَفِرُّ؟ فَلَمَّا سَمِعَ كَلامَ الرَّحْمنِ قَالَ: يَا رَبِّ لَا ولَكِنِ اسْتِحْيَاء »

(Allah created Adam tall, with thick hair, just as a date tree with full branches. When Adam ate from the forbidden tree, his cover fell off, and the first thing that appeared was his private area. When he saw his private area, he ran away in Paradise and his hair got caught in a tree. He tried to free himself and Ar-Rahman called him, 'O Adam! Are you running away from Me' When Adam heard the words of Ar-Rahman (Allah), he said, 'No, O my Lord! But I am shy.')

Adam remained in Paradise for an Hour

Al-Hakim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Adam was allowed to reside in Paradise during the time period between the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer, until sunset.'' Al-Hakim then commented this is "Sahih according to the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), but they did not include it in their collections.'' Also, Ibn Abi Hatim recorded Ibn `Abbas saying, "Allah sent Adam to earth to an area called, Dahna, between Makkah and At-Ta'if.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that Adam was sent down to India, while Hawwa' was sent to Jeddah. Iblis was sent down to Dustumaysan, several miles from Basra. Further, the snake was sent down to Asbahan. This was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim. Also, Muslim and An-Nasa'i recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« خَيْرُ يَوْمٍ طَلَعَتْ فِيهِ الشَّمْسُ يَوْمُ الْجُمُعَةِ فِيهِ خُلِقَ آدَمُ وَفِيهِ أُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَفِيهِ أُخْرِجَ مِنْهَا »

(Friday is the best day on which the sun has risen. On Friday, Allah created Adam, admitted him into Paradise, and expelled him from it.)

A Doubt and a Rebuttal

If one asks, "If the Paradise that Adam was thrown out of was in heaven, as the majority of the scholars assert, then is it possible for Iblis to enter Paradise, although he was expelled from it by Allah's decision (when he refused to prostrate before Adam)''

Basically, the response to this would be that the Paradise which Adam was in, was in the heavens, not on the earth, as we explained in the beginning of our book Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah.

The majority of scholars said that Shaytan was originally prohibited from entering Paradise, but there were times when he sneaked into it in secret. For instance, the Tawrah stated that Iblis hid inside the snake's mouth and entered Paradise. Some scholars said that it is possible that Shaytan led Adam and Hawwa' astray on his way out of Paradise. Some scholars said that he led Adam and Hawwa' astray when he was on earth, while they were still in heaven, as stated by Az-Zamakhshari. Al-Qurtubi mentioned several beneficial Hadiths here about snakes and the ruling on killing them.

﴿ فَتَلَقَّىٰٓ ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ كَلِمَـٰتٍ۬ فَتَابَ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(37. Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.)