Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) and The Infallibility of the Prophets (Alayhi Salaam)

Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) and The Infallibility of the Prophets (Alayhi Salaam)

The infallibility of the Prophets, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, that they do not commit sins, is a doctrine agreed upon by the Ulema of the Ahl-e-Sunnah wal-Jamaat, however it is possible that they, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, are made to forget to establish a Sunnah. However some question how this can be when it appears on reading the Qur’aan that Hadrat Adam, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, did in fact commit a sin.

Firstly we should remember that Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, had created Hadrat Adam, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, to live on the earth as his Khalif- Representative:

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ [٢:٣٠]
And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a khalif, they said: What! wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know. (2:30)

Also Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, ordered the Angels to prostate to Hadrat Adam, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, and to learn the Names of All things from him, for he was the Khalif: Representative of Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He:

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنْبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ [٢:٣١]
And He taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right. (2:31)
قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ [٢:٣٢]
They said: Glory be to Thee! we have no knowledge but that which Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art the Knowing, the Wise. (2:32)
قَالَ يَا آدَمُ أَنْبِئْهُمْ بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا أَنْبَأَهُمْ بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ [٢:٣٣]
He said: O Adam! inform them of their names. Then when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not say to you that I surely know what is ghaib in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide? (2:33)

Thus Hadrat Adam upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, was placed above the Angels, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, and the rest of the Creation. Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, placed him upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, in the garden with Hadrat Hawwa upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, and warned them not to eat of the tree or to listen to Shaitain, because to do so would be to show injustice to themselves and to cause themselves unhappiness:

وَيَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ فَكُلَا مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ [٧:١٩]
And (We said): O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden; so eat from where you desire, but do not go near this tree, for then you will be of the unjust. (7:19)

َقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ إِنَّ هَٰذَا عَدُوٌّ لَكَ وَلِزَوْجِكَ فَلَا يُخْرِجَنَّكُمَا مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَتَشْقَىٰ [٢٠:١١٧]
So We said: O Adam! This is an enemy to you and to your wife; therefore let him not drive you both forth from the garden so that you should be unhappy; (20:117)

Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He attributes the fall of Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, to Shaitan deceiving them:

فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ عَنْهَا فَأَخْرَجَهُمَا مِمَّا كَانَا فِيهِ ۖ وَقُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ وَلَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ [٢:٣٦]

But the Shaitan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time. (2:36)

فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِنْ سَوْآتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ [٧:٢٠]
But the Shaitan made an evil suggestion to them that he might make manifest to them what had been hidden from them of their nakedness, and he said: Your Lord has not forbidden you this tree except that you may not both become two angels or that you may (not) become of the immortals. (7:20)
وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنَ النَّاصِحِينَ [٧:٢١]
And he swore to them both: Most surely I am a sincere adviser to you. (7:21)

Reflecting on these verses we see that Iblis lied to Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, making them believe that Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, forbidding them from the tree was not a comprehensive prohibition but rather it was advice because eating from the tree may prevent them from becoming Angels or Immortals and he swore oaths to them that he was sincere in his advice to them. The above verses also highlight the fact that both Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, were not aware of the inclinations of the nafs inherent in all human beings, thus they were decieved by Iblis and ate from the tree. Also the narration in Sahih Bukhari indicates Hadrat Hawwa, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, ate from the tree first:

حَدَّثَنَا بِشْرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ عَنْ هَمَّامٍ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَحْوَهُ يَعْنِي لَوْلَا بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ لَمْ يَخْنَزْ اللَّحْمُ وَلَوْلَا حَوَّاءُ لَمْ تَخُنَّ أُنْثَى زَوْجَهَا

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “If it had not been for the Children of Israel, Meat would not decay and if it had not been for Hawwa, wives would never betray their husbands.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Kitab ul Ambiya, no.3330)

However they had no intention to disobey Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, but rather they had forgotten his warnings and fallen for the deception of Shaitan:

وَلَقَدْ عَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَنَسِيَ وَلَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْمًا [٢٠:١١٥]
And certainly We gave a commandment to Adam before, but he forgot; and We did not find in him any firm intention. (20:115)

Also Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, makes it clear that the lower inclinations of humanity was not revealed to Hadrat Adam And Hadrat Hawwa, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, until they had eaten from the tree:

فَأَكَلَا مِنْهَا فَبَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِنْ وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ ۚ وَعَصَىٰ آدَمُ رَبَّهُ فَغَوَىٰ [٢٠:١٢١]
Then they both ate of it, so their nakedness became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with leaves of the garden, and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him). (20:121)

Someone who commits an act of disobedience by error or mistake is not considered as having committed a sin, however it may be that they may still have to pay a penalty. For example if we destroy another person’s property by mistaking it for our own, we will have committed no sin, yet we will be liable to compensate the person whose property we destroyed. On a spiritual level if we forget to pray salat-ul-asr for example and remember after when we reach the time of salat-ul-maghrib then we will not be considered sinful but still we need to make up the salah that we missed. In the case of Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, who had not committed any intentional sin, yet by eating from the tree they had to pay the penalty of leaving the garden, because they were know aware of the soul that commanded to evil:
قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ مِنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ [٢٠:١٢٣]
He said: Get forth you two therefrom, all (of you), one of you (is) enemy to another. So there will surely come to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall not go astray nor be unhappy; (20:123)

Let us recall that Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, had always planned for Hadrat Adam upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, and his descendants to live on the earth, so the ‘fall’ of Hadrat Adam upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, was not a punishment but rather the natural consequence of eating from the tree regardless of whether a person ate from it intentionally or not. Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, realised they had been unjust to themselves by taking themselves out of the garden, so they sought forgiveness for their mistake.
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنْفُسَنَا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ [٧:٢٣]
They said: Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves, and if Thou forgive us not, and have (not) mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers. (7:23)

People may object that there is no need to ask forgiveness if one hasn’t committed a sin, however if we return to our earlier example, if we mistakenly destroyed someone else’s property, though we hadn’t done so intentionally it is correct to apologize and seek that person’s forgiveness, then how much more so should it be when we make a mistake in the matter of Allah’s commands.

Allah, Exalted and Glorious, tells us in the Qur’aan that He gave Hadrat Adam, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, words by which he could seek forgiveness successfully, this is an example to us that the best way to relate to Allah is by the ways He commands and shows us by the way of examples of his Prophets and Friends, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate.

Finally it is noteworthy that although Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, mentions that He forgave Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Hawwa upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, He did not automatically return them to the garden, but rather did this only after they had undergone life and death in the Dunya. In fact to suggest that Hadrat Adam and Hadrat Haw, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, were exiled to earth due to ‘sin’ would be to open the door to the Christian concept of ‘Original Sin’ whereby we all suffer because of the ‘sin’ of Hadrat Adam, upon whom be Salutations of Peace Immaculate, to live and suffer in this world. Rather we as human beings were created to live and die in this Dunya and then to attain Paradise or Hell, accountable for our own deeds: good or bad. This is the foreordained destiny decreed by Allah, Exalted and Glorious is He, our beloved Prophet, Divine Exaltations and Salutations of Peace Immaculate be upon him and his family, narrated the following narration concerning a debate in Al-Barzakh between Hadrat Musa (Alayhi Salaam) and Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam):

حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ قَالَ حَفِظْنَاهُ مِنْ عَمْرٍو عَنْ طَاوُسٍ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ احْتَجَّ آدَمُ وَمُوسَى فَقَالَ لَهُ مُوسَى يَا آدَمُ أَنْتَ أَبُونَا خَيَّبْتَنَا وَأَخْرَجْتَنَا مِنْ الْجَنَّةِ قَالَ لَهُ آدَمُ يَا مُوسَى اصْطَفَاكَ اللَّهُ بِكَلَامِهِ وَخَطَّ لَكَ بِيَدِهِ أَتَلُومُنِي عَلَى أَمْرٍ قَدَّرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيَّ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَخْلُقَنِي بِأَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً فَحَجَّ آدَمُ مُوسَى فَحَجَّ آدَمُ مُوسَى ثَلَاثًا قَالَ سُفْيَانُ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الزِّنَادِ عَنْ الْأَعْرَجِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِثْلَهُ

Hadrat Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with Him) narrated: “The Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa alahi wa salim) said: “Adam and Musa argued with each other. Moses said to Adam; “O Adam you are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise. Adam said to him: “O Musa, Allah favoured you with His speech to you directly and He wrote the Torah for you with His own Hand. Do you blame me for an action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?” So Adam confounded Musa, Adam confounded Musa, the Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa salim) repeated the statement three times. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Kitab-ul-Qadr, no. 6617, Sahih Muslim, Volume 4, Kitab-ul-Qadr, no.2652)

Here the Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa salim) narrates that Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) overcame Hadrat Musa (Alayhi Salaam) by pointing out that his act and its consequences were foreordained, now normally we cannot blame our destiny for our wrong actions, but here Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) did so and this was accepted by two great Prophets (Alayhi Salaam) Hadrat Musa (Alayhi Salaam) and Hadrat RasoolAllah (Salla Allahu alayhi wa alahi wa salim). Thus it appears that Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) was made to forget so that mankind would be placed on the earth and the example for seeking forgiveness would be demonstrated by Hadrat Adam (Alayhi Salaam) for our instruction.

And Allah and His Messenger Know Best.Divine Exaltations and Salutations of Peace Immaculate be upon him and his family

~ Sidi Ismaeel De Silva