In the heavens, Allah (SWT) informed His angels that He had decided to place a vicegerent on earth who would reside there from generation to generation. The Angels were not too pleased with Allah’s (SWT) announcement as they were aware that the jinns who existed on earth previously had corrupted the land and caused ample bloodshed.
Creation of Adam (As) - The First Man:
Allah (SWT) moulded the first man using a handful of clay gathered from various parts of the earth and made him in His picture. Narrations state that due to the different types of clay that were used for the creation of the first man, the children of Adam (PBUH) are diverse in their complexions and other physical characteristics.
It is also reported Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said that Adam (PBUH) was created at a height of 30 meters. According to a Sahih Muslim hadith, Adam (PBUH) was created by Allah (SWT) after Asr on a Friday.
The first man remained a mere clay figure for a period of forty years. Each time the angels passed by the figure, they were overcome with fear. Iblis was the most fearful of the new creation. Consumed by a mixture of curiosity and envy, Iblis would strike the figure which would emit a sound similar to that of striking a clay pot.
Allah (SWT) stated in the Quran: "He created humankind from sounding clay like pottery." (Surah Ar-Rahman 55:14)
Angels prostrate before Adam (as):
When it was finally time to breathe the soul into the first man, Allah (SWT) commanded the angels: “When I breathe My spirit into him prostrate before him.” [Surah As-Sad 38:72] The Almighty then breathed the soul into Adam (PBUH).
When the soul reached him, Adam (PBUH) sneezed saying: “Alhamdulillah [All praise belongs to God]!” Allah (SWT) then responded by saying: “May Allah have mercy upon you O’ Adam.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 3367)
As commanded, the angels fell in prostration out of respect for the creation of Allah (SWT). However, Iblees, a jinn, who was also among the angels refrained from following Allah’s (SWT) command. (Surah Al-Hijr 15:30-32)
Allah (SWT) asked Iblees: “O Iblis! What is the matter with you that you did not join others in prostration?” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:32)
He arrogantly replied: “It is not for me to prostrate to a human You created from sounding clay moulded from black mud.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:33) He strongly felt that he was a far superior creation to humankind who was made using mere clay, whilst he was made using fire.
Allah (SWT) was angered by Iblees’ response: “So get out! You are truly cursed.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:34)
Iblees then appealed to Allah (SWT): “My Lord! Then delay my end until the Day of their resurrection. For allowing me to stray I will surely tempt them on earth and mislead them all together, except Your chosen servants among them.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:36,39,40)
“You are of those allowed respite (until the Day of Judgment),” Allah (SWT) conceded adding: “This is the Way, binding on Me: you will certainly have no authority over My servants, except the deviant who follows you, and surely Hell is their destined place, all together. It has seven gates, to each a group of them is designated.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15: 37-8, 41-4)
Having just received the gift of life, Adam (PBUH) witnessed the exchange between his Creator and His creation and was overcome with a myriad of emotions. He felt deep love and admiration for Allah (SWT) who had granted him life and who had instructed His angels to prostrate before him. He was filled with awe at having witnessed Iblees’ disobedience towards Allah (SWT) and the Lord’s tolerance. Adam (PBUH) was also surprised at Iblees’ hatred towards Adam (PBUH) without having any knowledge about him. He realised that Iblees was a creature that was consumed by arrogance and wile and understood then that Iblees was his eternal enemy. He knew that Iblees was among the bad and the angels were among the good.
Allah (SWT) then instructed Adam (PBUH) to go to a gathering of angels, and greet them with: “As-salaamu alaikum (peace be upon you).”
Upon doing so, the angels replied to Adam (PBUH) with: “Wa-alaikas-salamu wa rahmatullah (May the peace and mercy of Allah be with you too).”
When Adam (PBUH) returned to his Creator, He said: “This is your greeting and the greeting of your children among each other.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 3367)
Adam (PBUH) learns the names of everything:
Allah (SWT) was keen on making Adam (PBUH) perceive his true identity, and the purpose of his existence, and granting him the knowledge of all things which was a gift that was bestowed to no other creation before. As the All-Knower states in the Quran, He taught Adam (PBUH) the names of everything. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:31).
Allah (SWT) gave Adam (PBUH) the power to understand the nature of all creations and to assign each creation suitable names. He also instilled in Adam (PBUH) a love for knowledge and a strong desire to impart knowledge to his offspring. When His creation had learned all that he needed to learn, Allah (SWT) presented him before His angels.
“Tell Me the names of these, if what you say is true?”, Allah (SWT) asked the angels. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:31]
“Glory be to You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. You are truly the All-Knowing, All-Wise,” the angels replied, admitting their inability to do so. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:32)
Allah (SWT) then turned to Adam (PBUH), and instructed: “O’ Adam! Inform them of their names.”
As commanded, Adam (PBUH) recited the names of everything, to the amazement of the angels.
“Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you conceal?” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:33)
The angels then comprehended that Adam (PBUH) indeed had the knowledge of everything and that this was his noblest quality. Adam’s (PBUH) knowledge encompassed that of worldly knowledge, knowledge of the Creator, and His creations.
Adam (PBUH) was eager to share his knowledge, so he would approach the angels to discuss the way of things with them. However, as is the duty of the angels, they were busy attending to the Lord’s bidding. Hence, Adam (PBUH) felt lonely. Thus, Allah (SWT) decided to create a partner for him from his ribs.
The creation of Eve:
One day, as Adam (PBUH) awoke from his sleep, he found a human gazing intently at him with tender eyes.
“Who are you?” he asked the creation.
“A woman”, came the response.
“Why have you been created?” Adam (PBUH) asked.
“So you can find tranquillity in me”, she responded.
The angels were in awe of this new creature, so they asked Adam (PBUH), “What is her name, O’ Adam?”
He replied: “Eve.”
They then asked: “Why has she been named so?”
Adam (PBUH) responded: “Because she was created from something living.”
The forbidden tree:
Adam (PBUH) and Eve lived a life of complete freedom in paradise. Allah (SWT) allowed them to explore heaven and live as they pleased, but there was one exception. Allah (SWT) warned them against approaching a specific tree, failing which they would be deemed disbelievers.
Allah (SWT) said in the Quran: “But come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrongdoers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:35)
It was clear as undisturbed water that eating from the specific tree was off limits; but, before long, as it is human nature, Adam (PBUH) forgot Allah’s (SWT) command. His willpower weakened and his mind changed.
This was the opportune moment for Iblees to strike and show Allah (SWT) that humans were weaklings after all, and he, Iblees, was the superior being. He was resolute in his mission to lead humans astray from Allah’s (SWT) worship.
He began his mission with mere whispers, through which he buried the seed of doubt in Adam’s (PBUH) mind.
"Shall I guide you to the tree of immortality and the eternal kingdom?", Iblees asked the pair.
He also said: "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." Swearing by Allah (SWT), Iblees added that he was among the sincerest well-wishers for both Adam (PBUH) and Eve.
So, the pair were coaxed into disobeying Allah (SWT).
Before he finished consuming the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam (PBUH) was awash with a sense of shame, sadness, and pain.
With the single act of disobedience, both Adam (PBUH) and Even became aware of their nudity and they frantically began to pluck leaves to cover themselves.
Condemned to earth:
Adam (PBUH) and Eve were summoned before their Lord who asked: "Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?" (Surah Al-A'raf ayah 22)
The pair was forlorn and consumed by guilt. They pleaded: “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.” (Surah Al-A'raf ayah 23)
It was indeed too late; Allah (SWT) had already planned His sentence for the two humans. He expelled Adam (PBUH), Eve, and Iblees to earth where He destined humans to be enemies with Iblees. He said: “Descend as enemies to each other. You will find in the earth a residence and provision for your appointed stay. There you will live, there you will die, and from there you will be resurrected.” (Surah Al-A'raf ayah 24)
Life on earth:
Adam (PBUH) and Eve led a life of hardship on earth. Food did not come easy unlike in their previous abode, heaven; they were compelled to work hard in order to sustain themselves on earth. He was burdened with searching for food, clothing, and shelter for his wife and children. He was also challenged with fighting wild animals who were wandering about in search of a full meal.
However, above all, the biggest burden that Adam (PBUH) had to constantly battle was the whispers of Satan. Satan stuck to his word and continued to torment the humans with his evil whispers. Nonetheless, he remained resolute and proved himself to his Lord. It was vital that he thrive on earth and bring forth offspring who would remain steadfast in their assigned duty—to worship Allah (SWT).
Adam's (as) children:
The lonesome existence of Adam (PBUH) and Eve on earth soon changed. They were first blessed with a set of twins, Cain and his sister, and were also blessed with twins the second time, when they welcomed Abel and his sister.
The children grew up to be young healthy adults, while the family enjoyed a humble life with Allah’s (SWT) ample blessings. Cain cultivated the land, whereas Abel reared the cattle.
Part of Adam (PBUH) and Eve’s expulsion to earth was with the aim of populating the land with dutiful humans who worshipped the Almighty. Thus, when the children reached marriageable age, Allah (SWT) revealed to Adam (PBUH) to marry each son to the other’s twin sister. There was after all no other family in existence besides Adam’s (PBUH) family.
Adam (PBUH) did as Allah (SWT) bid and instructed his children that they were to marry each other’s twin. While Abel was ready to follow Allah’s (SWT) command, Cain was not too pleased. Whilst Abel was known for his intelligence, obedience, and his readiness to obey the will of Allah (SWT), Cain was arrogant, selfish, and disobedient to his Lord.
Cain was unhappy with the command as, according to him, Abel’s twin sister was not as pleasing to the eye as his own. He defied Allah’s (SWT) command as he refused to accept his father’s advice.
Adam (PBUH) was in a quandary. He was uncertain as to what needed to be done, so he called out to Allah (SWT) seeking His assistance. Thus, Allah (SWT) commanded that each son offer a sacrifice in the name of Allah (SWT) and He would favour the son whose sacrifice he accepted.
While Abel offered his best lamb to Allah (SWT), Cain offered his worst harvest. Therefore, naturally, Allah (SWT) accepted Abel’s offer, whilst Cain’s disobedience towards Allah’s (SWT) command and his insincerity in his offering caused his plea to be rejected.
Enraged, Cain threatened to kill his brother. "I will kill you!" he said. (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:27)
"Allah only accepts the offering of the sincerely devout. If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you, because I fear Allah—the Lord of all worlds. I want to let you bear your sin against me along with your other sins, then you will be one of those destined to the Fire. And that is the reward of the wrongdoers," Abel responded with sincerity. (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:27-29)
Abel was not fazed by the threats of his brother, but he made certain that he reminded his brother to not stray from the path of Allah (SWT).
The first murder:
The hatred that Cain had towards his brother outweighed all other forms of familial bonds and emotions. The fear of Allah’s (SWT) punishment also failed to arise in his mind.
As expected, Cain did not heed the warnings of his brother. He struck Abel with a stone and killed him in an instant. This was the first death and murder in the history of humankind.
As time passed, and Abel did not return home, Adam (PBUH) began worrying. He began to look for his son but found no trace. When he inquired Cain about Abel’s whereabouts, Cain stated that he was not his brother’s keeper nor protector.
It didn’t take Adam (PBUH) long to realise that his beloved Abel was no more. Adam (PBUH) was consumed with grief.
Having murdered his brother, Cain was unsure what needed to be done with Abel’s body. He wandered all over, pondering how he could hide the body from his family.
As his anger slowly subsided, Cain began to feel remorse for his brother and was overcome with guilt.
In a bid to retain the dignity of the deceased, Allah (SWT) caused Cain to witness the death and burial of two crows.
Cain watched as the crow used its claws and beak to dig a hole in the earth, push the carcass into it and cover it with sand. Caine followed suit and buried his brother, Abel. (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:31)
Adam (PBUH) lost both his sons and was overwhelmed with grief. Abel was murdered while Cain was under the spell of the devil. He made dua for his son and went on to carry out the duties expected of him. He continued to warn his children and grandchildren of Iblees and constantly reminded them to worship Allah (SWT) and not be among those who disobeyed him.
Adam (as) Death:
One day, Adam (PBUH) who was gravely ill said to his children: “O my children, indeed I feel an appetite for the fruits of Paradise.”
Intent on fulfilling their father’s request, the children set out to gather the fruits of paradise. On their way, they met with some angels who carried with them Adam’s (PBUH) shroud and other materials required for the preparation of a body for burial.
The angels instructed the children of Adam to hasten home as their father was about to meet his end soon. So the children returned home with the angels.
Upon arrival, the angels took Adam’s (PBUH) soul. They prepared him for the funeral, wrapped him in the shroud, dug his grave, and laid him in it. They told the children of Adam: “O Children of Adam, this is your tradition at the time of death.”
Prior to Adam’s (PBUH) death, he reassured his offspring that Allah (SWT) would not abandon them and continue to watch over and guide them. He also informed them that Allah (SWT) would continue to send down Prophets as a guide for mankind.
Following the death of Adam (PBUH), his son Seth (PBUH) succeeded him. He too was made a Prophet and was tasked with the duty of guiding people to the path of Allah (SWT).