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Original Sin in Islam Revisited

In this post, I am going to present some of the evidence showing that the Quran and hadiths affirm that the sin of Adam and Eve affected the whole human race, and creation in general, by corrupting their descendants and causing them to be expelled from paradise.

Note, for example, what the following Quranic text states with respect to the punishment of Adam and Eve for their disobedience:

But the Satan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: GET DOWN, ALL OF YOU (ihbitoo), with enmity between YOURSELVES (ba’dukum), and there is for YOU (wa lakum) in the earth an abode and a provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. We said: GO DOWN, ALL OF YOU (ihbitoo jami’an), from hence; but verily there cometh unto YOU (yatiyannakum) from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon THEM (alayhimneither SHALL THEY GRIEVE (hum yahzanoona). S. 2:36-38

The Arabic employs the plural all throughout, which refers to three or more, as opposed to the dual, even though Adam and Eve are only two.

The following verse also uses the plural:

God said, ‘GO FORTH (ihbitoo), SOME OF YOU (ba’dukum) will be enemies of others. And for YOU (wa lakum) there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time.’ S. 7:24

The words that we have capitalized and italicized are all in the plural, not in the dual. This shows that Adam’s sin had a negative impact on all future generations of mankind.

Here is another version that actually uses both the dual and the plural together!

We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot: and We found on his part no firm resolve. When We said to the angels, “Prostrate yourselves to Adam”, they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused. Then We said: “O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden, so that thou art landed in misery. There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked, Nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun’s heat.” But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, “O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?” In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him Guidance. He said: “GET YE DOWN, BOTH OF YOU (ihbita), – all together (jami’an), from the Garden, with enmity ONE TO ANOTHER (ba‘dukum liba‘din): but if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whosoever follows My Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. S. 20:115-123 Y. Ali

The word ihbita is a 2nd person masculine dual imperative verb whereas ba‘dukum is a 2nd person masculine plural possessive pronoun.(1)

The context makes it certain that the plural cannot be including Satan since he had already been expelled from paradise and stands condemned to hell. He will, therefore, not follow the guidance which will come from Allah to those who have fallen from grace. In light of this fact, the plural must be referring to the entire human race, to all of Adam’s offspring, thereby implying that Adam stood in the place of all mankind as their father and representative, thereby corrupting them and causing them to incur Allah’s wrath and displeasure.

In other words, according to the Quran when Adam sinned his unborn offspring also sinned. And when he was expelled from the garden they were expelled as well.

In fact, this is precisely how some of the expositors explained the use of the plural in these passages. For instance, here is the commentary of Ibn Kathir regarding Q. 2:38-39:

Allah informs of His warning to Adam, his wife and Satan, THEIR OFFSPRING, when he ordered THEM to descend from Paradise. He says he will send messengers with Scriptures, signs and proofs… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 1, Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, Abridged by Sheikh Nasib Ar-Rafa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London: Second Edition 1998], pp. 109-110; bold and capital emphasis mine)

The late Abdullah Yusuf Ali said something similar in reference to Q. 2:36:

“… Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here [2:36], which I have indicated in English by ‘All ye people.’ Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam, Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural is appropriate for any number greater than two.” (The Quran: Translation and Commentary *: Bold and capital emphasis mine)

And here is what Ibn Kathir wrote concerning Q. 2:34:

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?” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], Parts 1 and 2, Volume 1, p. 193; bold emphasis mine)

These scholars weren’t the only ones to interpret the plural in relation to Adam, Eve, and their offspring:

Then Satan, Iblīs, caused them to slip, he caused them to be removed (fa-azallahumā: a variant reading has fa-azālahumā: he caused them to be away from it) therefrom, that is, from the Garden, when he said to them, ‘Shall I point you to the tree of eternity’ [cf. Q. 20:120], and swore to them by God that he was only giving good advice to them, and so they ate of it; and brought them out of what they were in, of bliss; and We said, ‘Go down, to earth, both of you AND ALL THOSE COMPRISED BY YOUR SEED; some of you, of your progeny, an enemy to the other, through your wronging one another; and in the earth a dwelling, a place of settlement, shall be yours, and enjoyment, of whatever of its vegetation you may enjoy, for a while’, [until] the time your terms [of life] are concluded. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q. 2:36; bold and capital emphasis mine)

And:

Said He, ‘Go down, that is, Adam and Eve, WITH ALL THOSE YOU COMPRISE BY YOUR SEED, each of you, each seed, an enemy to the other, on account of the wrong each does to the another. There will be for you on earth an abode, a place of settlement, and enjoyment for a while’, [until] your terms [of life] are fulfilled. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q. 7:24; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Moreover, all the major hadith collections affirm that Adam’s offspring share in the guilt and judgment of Adam for the sin that he committed while in the garden, which is why none of them are dwelling in it now. The narrations even go so far as to say that mankind is in a state of misery because of Adam’s transgression:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “Adam and Moses met, and Moses said to Adam “You are the one who made people MISERABLE and TURNED THEM OUT OF PARADISE.” Adam said to him, “You are the one whom Allah selected for His message and whom He selected for Himself and upon whom He revealed the Torah.” Moses said, ‘Yes.’ Adam said, “Did you find that written in my fate before my creation?’ Moses said, ‘Yes.’ So Adam overcame Moses with this argument.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 260 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=260)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Moses argued with Adam and said to him (Adam), ‘You are the one who got the people out of Paradise by your sin, AND THUS MADE THEM MISERABLE.’ Adam replied, ‘O Moses! You are the one whom Allah selected for His Message and for His direct talk. Yet you blame me for a thing which Allah had ordained for me before He created me?’” Allah’s Apostle further said, “So Adam overcame Moses by this Argument.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 262 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=262)

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira and Hudhaifa that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, would gather people. The believers would stand till the Paradise would be brought near them. They would come to Adam and say: O our father, open for us the Paradise. He would say: What turned you out from the Paradise WAS THE SIN OF YOUR FATHER ADAM. I am not in a position to do that; … (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0380 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=001&translator=2&start=0&number=0380)

Abu Huraira reported that God’s messenger told of Adam and Moses holding a disputation in their Lord’s presence and of Adam getting the better of Moses in argument. Moses said, “You are Adam whom God created with His hand, into whom He breathed of His spirit, to whom He made the angels do obeisance, and whom He caused to dwell in his garden; then BECAUSE OF YOUR SIN caused MANKIND to come down to the earth.” Adam replied, “And you are Moses whom God chose to deliver His messages and to address, to whom He gave the tablets on which everything was explained, and whom He brought near as a confidant. How long before I was created did you find that God has written the Torah? Moses said, “Forty years.” Adam asked, “Did you find in it, ‘And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred’?” On being told that he did, he said, “Do you then blame me for doing a deed WHICH GOD HAD DECREED THAT I SHOULD DO forty years before He created me?” God’s messenger said, “So Adam got the better of Moses in the argument.” Muslim transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih English Translation With Explanatory Notes by Dr. James Robson, Volume I [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], p. 23; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah said, “Adam and Musa argued and Adam got the better of Musa. Musa rebuked Adam, ‘You are Adam WHO LED PEOPLE ASTRAY and brought them out of the Garden.’ Adam said to him, ‘You are Musa to whom Allah gave knowledge of everything and whom he chose above people with His message.’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you then censure me for a matter WHICH WAS DECREED FOR ME BEFORE I WAS CREATED?‘” (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 46, Number 46.1.1 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=46&translator=4&start=0&number=46.1.1)

Note how Adam blames Allah for having already predestined that Adam would inevitably sin forty years before his creation, a fact reiterated in the following tale:

“… The following dialogue between God and Adam typifies well the theological debate concerning predestination in the early Islamic community: ‘O Lord, this sin which I have committed, is it something which you decreed for me before you created me, or is it something which I have invented of my own accord?’ God answered, ‘Rather it is something which I DECREED FOR YOU BEFORE I CREATED YOU.’ Adam said, ‘Then as you have decreed it for me, so do now forgive me my sin’ (Tabari I, p. 544).” (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1984], Volume 1, pp. 84-85; bold and capital emphasis mine)

The traditions also blame Eve for causing God’s curse to fall on all future generations of women. The ahadith further hold the Jews responsible for food becoming stale and the decay of meat!

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not FOR EVE, no woman would ever betray her husband.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 611 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=55&translator=1&start=0&number=611)

Hammam b. Munabbih said: These are some of the ahadith which narrated to us from Allah’s Messenger, and one of these (this one): Allah’s Messenger said: Had it not been for Bani Isra’il, 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. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3472 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=008&translator=2&start=0&number=3472)

Al-Tabari goes so far as to narrate a story that holds Eve accountable for women being stupid!

According to Yunus – Ibn Wahb – Ibn Zayd (commenting on God’s word: “And he whispered”): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)

According to this reference, Eve was not only made to bleed for her sin but she was also made stupid with the result being that all women now bleed and are basically stupid!

Nor is this an isolated opinion from some obscure, unknown Muslim historian since Muhammad himself taught that women were morally and intellectually deficient in comparison to men, which is why the majority of the people burning in hell are women!

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that THE MAJORITY of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion THAN YOU. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not THE EVIDENCE OF TWO WOMEN EQUAL TO THE WITNESS OF ONE MAN?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=6&translator=1&start=0&number=301; see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)

And:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCY OF A WOMAN’S MIND.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=48&translator=1&start=0&number=826)

Unlike Muhammad and his god, nowhere will one find a single verse in the Holy Bible where the true God revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ teaching that women have become stupid as a result of the Fall, or that they are the majority of those who end up in hell.

In light of the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that the reason why Muhammad employed plural verbs, adjectives etc., in narrating the rebellion and subsequent punishment of Adam and Eve, instead of the dual, is because he saw them as standing in the place of and representing all their descendants. This can be further seen from the immediate context of this particular story:

It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from HIM HIS wife [Hawwa (Eve)], in order that HE might enjoy the pleasure of living with HER. When HE had sexual relation with HER, SHE became pregnant and SHE carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, THEY BOTH invoked Allah, THEIR Lord (saying): “If You give US a Salih (good in every aspect) child, WE shall indeed be among the grateful.” But when He gave THEM a Salih (good in every aspect) child, THEY ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to THEM. High be Allah, Exalted above all that THEY ascribe as partners to Him. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.9, Page 148). Do they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they themselves are created? No help can they give them, nor can they help themselves. And if you call them to guidance, they follow you not. It is the same for you whether you call them or you keep silent. Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah are slaves like you. So call upon them and let them answer you if you are truthful. Have they feet wherewith they walk? Or have they hands wherewith they hold? Or have they eyes wherewith they see? Or have they ears wherewith they hear? Say (O Muhammad): “Call your (so-called) partners (of Allah) and then plot against me, and give me no respite! Verily, my Wali (Protector, Supporter, and Helper, etc.) is Allah Who has revealed the Book (the Qur’an), and He protects (supports and helps) the righteous. And those whom you call upon besides Him (Allah) cannot help you nor can they help themselves.” S. 7:189-197 Hilali-Khan

It is not a coincidence that the author(s) immediately turn(s) his/her/their focus to those who associate partners with Allah right after mentioning the shirk of the first human beings. They obviously saw a connection between the shirk committed by Adam and Eve and the rest of their offspring. This is sufficient to explain why the author(s)/editor(s) of the Quran chose to use the plural when speaking of the shirk, rebellion, and punishment of the first human couple.

In conclusion, it is abundantly clear that the Quran and ahadith accuse the first human parents of committing the unforgivable sin of shirk and of plunging the whole entire human race into sin, depravity and outright misery. It is also obvious from the so-called authentic sources of Islam that Muhammad believed that Adam and Eve share in the responsibility of every act of shirk and act of defiance that have been and will ever be committed. Muhammad expressly taught that every individual is affected by the actions of Adam and Eve since all human beings are descended from them.

So much for the Muhammadan assertion that Islam does not hold to a doctrine of original sin.

Further Reading

Original Forgiveness – Did Original Sin Really End with Adam? Pt. 1 (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/original-forgiveness-did-original-sin-really-end-with-adam-pt-1/), Pt. 2 (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/original-forgiveness-did-original-sin-really-end-with-adam-pt-2/)

Islam and the Doctrine of Original Sin (https://answeringislam.net/Responses/Osama/zawadi_original_sin.htm)

Divine Sovereignty, Predestination, Salvation and Human Free Will (https://answeringislam.net/Quran/Contra/predestination.html)

Divine Love: A Biblical and Quranic Perspective (https://answeringislam.net/Responses/Shabir-Ally/gods_love.htm)

Endnotes

(1) The variation in wording in the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion introduces another major problem for Muhammadans. The Quran is believed to be the divinely dictated speech of Allah and, as such, it is supposed to have only one author. Muslims emphatically deny that Allah incorporated the human personality and/or words of Muhammad. Muhammad’s role was to simply recite the words of the Quran to the masses as he received them from Allah through Gabriel.

Muslims also contend that Allah is all-knowing, and is therefore capable of perfectly recalling everything that has occurred in the past.

In light of this, we would expect that Allah would be able to correctly remember and recall the exact words of his conversation with Adam and Eve. We’d expect that Allah would be able to retell this story in the same way with the exact same details every time.

However, this is not what we find in the Quran since Allah narrates the conversation he had with Adam and Eve by using different words each time he retells it!

For instance, did Allah actually use the 2nd person masculine plural imperative verb, ihbitoo, or did he employ the 2nd person dual imperative verb, ihbita? Did Allah say, “Go down, both of you,” or did he really say, “Go down, everyone of you”?

He obviously didn’t say both, so then why didn’t Allah inform Muhammad what the exact words of his conversation were? Why did he narrate the exact same speech with variations in wording?

More importantly, since Allah is supposed to be omniscient wasn’t he able to recall the exact words he used every time he retold the same story in the Quran?

However, seeing that he clearly didn’t do so this means that either Allah is not an omniscient being, and therefore is not God, or the Quran is not the word of God.

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