God says, “The heavens and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence. And from water we made all living things.” — Quran 21:30.
Before we talk in the future about the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, let us describe the story of creation in brief, according to Islamic tradition.
A group of Muslims arrived from Yemen to learn about their new religion. They asked Prophet Muhammad, “O’ messenger of God, how did this all begin”
The messenger replied “In the beginning, there was God, on his throne, on water. And there was nothing before him. The pen was first created. The pen was then ordered to write what will happen till the Day of Judgment and what will be provided in the heavens and the Earth.
“The sustenance of creations was written down 50,000 years (heavenly years) before the heavens and earths were created. Then the heavens and Earth were created in six days.”
God said, in Quran 21:31-32, that mountains and valleys, rivers and oceans were created with the heavens as a well-guarded canopy. These are the signs pointing to the creator.
Next, angels were created with light. Angels are creations that perform tasks that God has given them. An angel — like the angel Gabriel — may be given a task of glad tiding, like the news given to Mary about her pregnancy with Jesus. Or an angel — like Azrael — may have the duty as an angel of death.
There is another creation called Gin, created with smoke-like fire. Gins are creations, like humans, and are given the ability to do good or evil. Most people in the west are familiar with the Hollywood genie in the bottle. This Hollywood depiction of Gin came from the Muslim tradition.
The Quran teaches that Iblees — Satan — was a Gin, not an angel as in Christian tradition. He was so righteous that he was considered among the highest of angels. His downfall came when he refused to obey and bow down to Adam.
Prophet Muhammad said, “Adam was created from dirt. God took dirt from all parts of the earth, black, white, brown, red and yellow and from valleys and mountains.”
This gives the complexions and characters to the children of Adam. We will discuss more of this later.
And the Lord said, “I will place on Earth a Khalifah,” meaning a successor or representative, a human on earth. “And humans will succeed each other as Khalifah.”
Angels said, “You will place on Earth someone who will shed blood and cause corruption in the world while we praise and worship you.”
How did the angels know One of the explanations is given — not a Hadith or a saying of Prophet Muhammad — that Gins on Earth caused corruption on Earth earlier.
God said, “What I know, you know not. And there is wisdom in what you do not know.”
Angels said, “We know only what you have taught us.”
So Adam was the first Khalifah, a representative on Earth, with responsibility to apply the laws, ethics and morals of God and to worship him. Adam and his descendents are noble and sacred, as God created Adam with his own hands.
We will continue, in the Islamic tradition, with the story of Prophet Adam in the next column.
Riaz Hasan is a former director of outreach for the Tracy Islamic Center. He is now active in Islamic Outreach in the greater Bay Area and San Joaquin County. For more information, call (209) 830-6286 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.