The Sign Of Adam
Adam and his wife Eve are unique since they were directly created by Allah and they lived in the Paradise of Eden. So they have important signs for us to learn. There are two passages in the Qur’an that talk about Adam, and one from the Taurat.
These accounts are very similar. In both accounts the characters are identical (Adam, Eve, Shaytan (Iblis), Allah); the place is the same in both accounts (the Garden); in both accounts Shaytan (Iblis) lies and tricks Adam and Eve; in both accounts Adam & Eve put on leafs to hide the shame of their nakedness; in both accounts Allah then comes and speaks to give judgment; in both of the accounts Allah shows mercy by providing raiments (i.e. clothing) to cover ‘the shame’ of their nakedness. The Qur’an says this is ‘sign of Allah’ for the ‘Children of Adam’ – which is us. So this is not just a history lesson about sacred events in the past. We can learn from the account of Adam.
Adam’s Warning to us
Adam & Eve only committed one sin of disobedience before Allah judged. There are not, for example, ten sins of disobedience with Allah giving nine warnings and then finally judging. Allah judged from only one act of disobedience. Many people believe that Allah will only judge them after they have committed many sins. They think that if they have ‘less sins’ than most others, or if their good deeds outnumber their bad actions then (perhaps) God will not judge. Adam & Eve’s experience warns us that this is not so. Allah will judge even one sin of disobedience.
This makes sense if we compare disobedience to Allah with breaking the law of a nation. In Canada where I live, if I broke just one law (e.g. I stole something) the country can judge me. I cannot plead that I have only broken one law and have not broken laws for murder and kidnapping. I only need to break one law to face Canada’s judgment. It is the same with Allah.
When they clothed themselves with leafs we see that they experienced shame and tried to cover their nakedness. Likewise, when I do things that makes me feel shame then I try to cover up and hide it from others. But Adam’s efforts were futile before God. Allah could see their failure and He then both Acted and Spoke.
The Actions of Allah in Judgment – but also in Mercy
We can see three actions:
- Allah makes them mortal – they will now die.
- Allah expels them from the Garden. They must now live a much more difficult life on Earth.
- Allah gives them clothes of skins.
It is fascinating that all of us even to this day still are affected by these. Everyone dies; no one – prophet or otherwise – has ever returned to the Garden; and everyone continues to wear clothes. In fact these three things are so ‘normal’ that we almost miss noticing that what Allah did to Adam & Eve is still being felt by us thousands of years later. The consequences of what happened that day still seem to be in effect.
The clothing from Allah was a gift of mercy – their shame was now covered. Yes He judged – but he also provided mercy – which He did not have to do. Adam & Eve did not earn the clothing through good behaviour that gave ‘merit’ against their disobedient act. Adam & Eve could only receive Allah’s gift without meriting or deserving it. But someone did pay for it. The Taurat tells us that the clothing was ‘skins’. Thus they came from an animal. Up until this point there was no death, but now an animal with skin suitable as a covering of clothes did pay – with its life. An animal died so that Adam & Eve could receive Mercy from Allah.
The Qur’an tells us that this clothing did cover their shame, but the covering that they really needed was ‘righteousness’, and that in some way the clothing that they did have (the skins) was a sign of this righteousness, and a sign for us.
“O you Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness – that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition” [Surat 7:26 (The Heights)]