Bismi’Allah. Alhamdulillah wa salatu wa salamu ala Rasulullah
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The story of Adam and Eve, Nabi Adam and Hawwa is not just another ‘Tale of the Ancients’ in the Holy Quran. It’s a vitally important story about our human condition, a story that confirms primordial innocence, human frailty, regret, and remorse; the struggle for redemption, forgiveness and Divine Mercy. It’s not just the story of two people who gave birth to the human race after disobeying their Creator. It’s the story of every human being that ever was, is and ever will be. It’s your story and my story. It’s the story of our origin and our destiny, where we’ve come from and where we’re going to. The story of Adam and Eve deserves reflection. And after reflection, it deserves action, good actions that bring us nearer to Allah.
What does the story tell us? According to the Holy Quran, Allah said to the angels that He was going to create an Ambassador, a Vice-Regent, a khaleefah, on earth. That’s the first lesson. We human beings are not just the alpha-predators of the natural world, at the top of the food chain. We’re not just here to feed and breed like the wild beasts of the earth. Our lives have a greater meaning than that. We have been given a noble garment: We have been appointed as Trustees, caretakers, ambassadors of Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. When the angels asked whether Allah was going to create a creature that would create mischief and shed blood, the reply was:
“…Qaala ilaa a’lamu maa laa ta’lamoon.”
“I know what you do not know!” [Quran 2:30]
Adam would tell the angels the Names of Things, i.e. the knowledge inspired by Allah, knowledge withheld from the angels. Further Allah commanded that the angels bow down to Adam. From this we learn that in our purest human form, serving Allah alone, we can be higher in status than the angels.
We’ve all heard about Iblis, how he refused to bow, because he was proud and he said: “Ana khairun min!” “I am better than he is, I am made of smokeless fire, and he is made of dust, mud moulded into shape!”
Another lesson: We must avoid vanity and pride, that leads us to think we are better than someone else. If we ever hear those words in our heads, “I am better than him or her,” remember where they came from. Remember that Iblis was the first one in history to show the pride that comes before the fall. Don’t let us follow the footsteps of Shaytaan. He is “aduw-wum mubeen,” an avowed enemy.
Even so, Adam and Eve forgot. They were distracted, and they forgot to keep up their guard against the whisperings of Shaytaan. “Yuwas wisufee sudoorin naas,” The one who whispers into the hearts of people. “Minal jinnati wan naas.”
We too, have to keep a constant vigil on the promptings of our own lower self, the lower nafs, the nafs al ammara bis sow: The nafs that is inclined towards evil. This is where we are most vulnerable to Shaytaan’s influence. As human beings and as bani Adam, children of Adam, we cannot escape our fate. We cannot escape the trials and tribulations of life that Allah has decreed for us.
The good news is that as long as we nurture and strengthen our iman, our faith in Allah, as long as we hold fast to the rope which Allah stretches out for us, we can inshaAllah, pass the test. We can triumph over adversity and we can truly deserve the noble status that confers us as khaleefahs.
My dear sisters and brothers,
We are children of Adam and Eve, appointed as Allah’s ambassadors over all His creation.
The story of Adam and Eve is also our own story. We too, were born innocent, free from sin. We too, allow ourselves to be distracted, to become disobedient, to stray from siraatul mustaqeem, the straight path. We also will fall into sinful behaviour. And like Adam and Eve, we will recognise our mistakes. If we are true Believers, we will acknowledge our faults honestly, and seek forgiveness. Nabi Adam `alayhi salam taught us how to begin this process with this wonderful prayer, a very short but powerful prayer that every pilgrim recits during the Hajj and on Arafat:
“Rabbanaa thalamnaa anfusanaa wa il-lam tagh firlanaa watarhamnaa lanakoonan-naa minal khaasireen.”
“O My Lord! We have truly wronged our own souls, and if You do not forgive us, we will be among the losers.”
Like every other Prophet of Allah, Nabi Adam `alayhi salam was a teacher. We have many important lessons to learn from him. Our journey from birth to death, from innocence to distraction, forgetfulness, sin, regret, remorse, seeing and finding Allah’s forgiveness and mercy, these are the Adamic lessons of life. Every human being is destined to learn from these lessons. Sadly, not every human being will try to mend their sinful ways. Not everyone will beg forgiveness and plea for Allah’s mercy. These are the losers. A-oothu bil-Laah! Let us not be amongst them!
Above all, the story of Adam and Eve has a happy ending. It’s the story of hope, of Mercy rising above despair. It’s the story of humility destroying pride and elevating the human spirit to celestial heights. Let us travel through life, ever hopeful of Allah’s mercy, fearing His anger, and being grateful for His love by serving His creatures with gentle, loving care.
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”
Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].
“and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”
wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”