Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Tree, the Apple, and all of Humanity

The lessons to be learnt from the story of Adam and Hawwa (Eve) as related uniquely in the Qur'an are so powerful as to be an evidence in and of themselves that this book is indeed from the Lord of humanity.

When Adam and Hawwa, may peace be upon them, sinned they must have felt so ashamed, so extremely guilty. You might think - well they just ate from a tree.. but you know Adam and Eve had never sinned before. They must have loved Allah so much for His innumerable blessings.. They were so happy living in the garden and Allah had given them so much.. and now they had disobeyed Him for the first time. The level of guilt and shame is relative to your standards.. so for example, even someone who's really generally a bad person - bad character, bad habits, etc. will feel really bad if he kills someone.. but someone who's never done anything bad EVER, eating from a tree when Allah had told them not to must have been excruciatingly painful in the aftermath, and the most painful of all sins is the very first shameful one you do.
This was the first sin for all humanity. The sin that has confused humanity so much that people have split into different religions and sects because of it.

And Allah tells us that a few words solved it. 
"Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful."[1]

But how?!?! How can a few words be the solution?! And subhanAllah when you ponder these words you find that they are indeed a key to the salvation of humanity in this life and the next. Allah tells us in another place in the Qur'an the words He taught them to say, 

"So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, "Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?"
"They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers."[2] 

They understood that disobeying Allah is an injustice against themselves - they hurt *themselves* when they disobeyed Allah. You see because Allah put in us a survival instinct - we are always looking out for ourselves and for our own benefit- so when we realize that sins hurt *you* you won't do them. This was a mercy from Allah that before they went down to this Earth that was filled with not ONE temptation, as in the garden, but many - they had to understand, and all of their offspring too - that when Allah tells you not to do something it's for your own good; Allah is not hurt by our disobedience, we hurt ourselves. It's in our interest, in this life and the next to obey Allah.

And who is going to plot and plan so that we disobey Allah? The one who was jealous of Adam's status - the shaytan. He will go out of his way to make us disobey Allah because he *knows* that disobeying Allah is bad for us, and obeying Allah is good for us. 

""But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, "Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time." 
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
 And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs - those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally."[3]

It was a lesson.. a preparation for Adam and a lesson for all of humanity.. Look at the mercy of Allah as He teaches us all..

"O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe." [4] 

So *some* lessons to take home..
- When we disobey Allah, it hurts ourselves, not Allah
- When we disobey Allah, we are obeying Satan - who is only too happy to make us sin because he is jealous of us.  
- When Adam and Hawwa ate from the tree, their private parts were exposed and they were so ashamed they started covering themselves with leaves. So uncovering your private parts, unlike what American TV shows will have you believe, is shameful, not something to be proud of!
- It's not clever to disobey Allah because He's watching you always and you're not going to get away with it!
- When you are drowning in guilt and shame.. and you feel so bad that you are on the brink of despair.. know that Allah is the [only] one who can save you - He is the One who accepts repentence, and His mercy is greater than you can imagine..

All ayat of the Qur'an quoted here are Saheeh International translation
[1] Surah 2: Ayah 37
[2] Surah 7: Ayah 22-23
[3] Surah 2: 36-39
[4] Surah 7: 27

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