Adam concludes his training in the Garden. The stage is now set for Adam to assume his duty and play his role as Allah’s first khalifah, vicegerent on earth. Adam (AS) is also the first Prophet of Allah (SWT).
Adam and Eve’s experience in the garden taught them to always be cognizant of their Creator. They also learned that one must do their very best to obey Allah (SWT)’s commands, and that in the event one errs or disobeys God while feeling remorse for what he or she has done, the recourse then is to repent and ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness. They also learned that one must at all times be mindful of Iblis and his deceitful tactics.
Upon concluding the training, “(Allah) said, ‘All of you descend with mutual enmity to each other. And you shall have on earth settlement and provision for a while.’” Allah (SWT) concludes the ayah by mentioning the last three stages of our life-cycles, life on earth and the earthly death, which are irrefutable; and resurrection, “He (further) said, ‘In it you will live; in it will die; and from it you will be brought out” (al-A’raf, 7:24, 25).
By way of admonishing the descendants of Adam, Allah (SWT), reveals immediately after this ayah, “O Children of Adam! We have given you garments to cover your nakedness and as adornment for you; however, the garment of righteousness (taqwa) – That is best. That is from the signs of Allah, so that people may take heed” (al-‘Araf, 7:26).
The admonition serves as a reminder to us all. Recall when Iblis enticed our parents, Adam and Eve, which caused them to be stripped naked exposing their shame. This is the very same Iblis who is also made to inhabit the earth and is given respite until the end of time, who will do his very best to expose our shame.
The admonishment is followed by a clear warning, “O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan seduce you, as he did your parents, causing them to leave the Garden, stripping them of their garments to expose their nakedness to them. He and his forces can see you from where you cannot see them. We have made evil ones allies to those who do not believe” (al-‘Araf, 7:27).
As promised, Iblis will adorn the path of evil with the aim of stripping people naked through illicit sexual behavior among other immoral acts. Such deeds that once upon a time used to be private and were considered an abomination, are deemed normal today particularly in the West including America. Iblis has succeeded in stripping away the cloak of righteousness in the public square exposing our collective shame. What was once a vice is now a virtue and the converse holds true. Such social evils have contributed to the increase of widespread mischief and corruption. The only recourse to covering the shame of our society is through the garment of piety and righteousness (taqwa), and that is the best of all garments.
The message is very clear. Just as Allah (SWT) forewarned Adam and Eve, He (SWT) has forewarned the children of Adam of Iblis. Anyone who does not protect him/herself from the influence of satan has indeed been deceived by Iblis and his forces of Jinn and humankind. Adam and Eve were deceived, many of their descendants throughout history have been deceived and many more will continue to be deceived. So we must take heed.
Allah (SWT) did not create us perfect like the angels who constantly celebrate the praises of Allah (SWT). As humans, we have free will and are prone to err and sin. As conscious believers, it behooves us to remember the story of Adam and learn from his great experience in the Garden when he and his wife committed a major sin.
The Prophet (SAW) informed us, “All children of Adam are sinners and the best of sinners are those who repent.” The way to expiate our sins is by, first and foremost, returning back to Allah (SWT) with utmost sincerity as Adam and Eve did begging for His forgiveness, “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves and if You don’t forgive us and be merciful to us, we shall certainly be among the losers” (al-‘Araf, 7:23). This is the cloak of righteousness (taqwa).
Now is the time to repent to Allah (SWT) sincerely and ask for His forgiveness. Those who persist on sinning will have to admit their guilt and sins on the Day of Judgment and will wonder if they can do something about it, “They will say, ‘Our Lord, twice You have caused us death and twice You have brought us to life. Now we confess our sins. Is there any way out?’” (Ghafir, 40:11). There will be no way out.
It is we who write our own destiny. The decision is ours and has been so from day one. Allah is not an unjust or unkind God. He created us and provided us with all the means to succeed. It was made very clear to Adam and by extension his progeny from the very beginning. “We said, ‘Get out, all of you! But when guidance comes to you from Me, as it certainly will, there shall be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor shall they grieve” (al-Baqarah, 2:38).
Everything Adam, Eve and their descendants will need for survival; such as food, water, shelter and clothing, is made available to them by the grace of Allah (SWT). The entire planet earth and what it contains were created to serve man. Unlike the garden where everything was there for Adam to enjoy without having to labor; on earth, we have to work hard for our livelihood.
As Allah (SWT) promised, those who adhere to His guidance while on this journey will always be in a state of complete contentment and satisfaction. Allah (SWT), in surat Ta Ha reminds, “He said, ‘You two (the human kind – Adam and Eve, and the Jinn kind Iblis), descend from here (the Garden) as enemies to one another. Nonetheless, Guidance shall most certainly come to you from Me, and he who follows My guidance will not go astray nor suffer misery’” (Ta Ha, 20:123).
On the flip side, Allah (SWT) promises, “And whoever turns away from My remembrance (guidance) indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” On that day he will complain, “He will say, My Lord, why have you raised me blind when I was able to see?” Allah will swiftly answer, “Just as Our revelation came to you and you forgot (ignored) it; and thus today We ignore you" (Ta Ha, 20:124-126).
From the first day, Allah (SWT) never left humanity stranded without guidance, from Adam (AS) to Muhammad (SAW). “And We sent Our messengers in succession” (Al-muminoon 23:44). According to a prophetic tradition, Abu Dharr (RA) asked the Prophet (SAW) how many prophets were sent to the people. He (SAW) replied, “124,000 prophets and 313 messengers.”
All of God’s prophets and messengers preached one common message, “Worship Allah (alone), you have no other deity besides Him.” Nuh (AS) warns his people from a ghastly day, “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. I fear for you the punishment of a dreadful day!” (al-‘Araf, 7:59)
“And indeed, to every community We sent a messenger (entrusted with this message), ‘Worship God, and shun false gods’” (al-Nahl, 16:36). Each prophet of Allah (SWT) from Adam to Jesus, may God’s peace and blessings be upon all of them, was sent to his own people and nation addressing them, “O my people,” “O my nation.”
Muhammad (SAW), on the other hand, was chosen as God’s final messenger sent to all of humanity. “We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a universal (Messenger) to all mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most people do not know” (Saba’, 34:28). His universal message echoed his predecessors. Muhammad (SAW), while addressing humanity, preached, “O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), who created you and those who came before you so that you may be saved” (al-Baqarah, 2:21).
As humans’ intellect matured, Allah (SWT) sent Scriptures that contain divine law (shari’ah); in other words, guidance in the form of Books. Abraham (AS) was the first messenger to receive the scrolls (suhuf), Moses (AS) received the Ten Commandments followed by the Torah (al-Tawrat), commonly known as the five books of Moses. The written law, also known as the Jewish Pentateuch. The Psalms (al-Zaboor) of David (AS), is a collection of hymns and poems praising God. The Gospel (al-Injeel) was given to Jesus (AS) and finally, Allah’s final Scripture, al-Qur’an, was revealed to Muhammad (SAW).
All of God’s scriptures are meant to guide people to the right path, the path to salvation. According to the Qur’an, the Torah contains guidance and light, “Surely, We sent the Torah, therein was guidance and light,” (al-Ma’idah, 5:44) and so did the Gospel, “And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We gave him the Gospel, therein was guidance and light” (al-Ma’idah, 5:46).
The Qur’an, the epitome of all scriptures, was revealed to Muhammad (SAW) as God’s final Book of guidance overruling all previous scriptures, “And We sent to you (O Prophet) the Scripture with the truth, confirming the Scriptures that came before it, and with final authority over them” (al-Ma’idah, 5:48). A final messenger sent to all mankind brought a final scripture to all of humanity for all time to come, “Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and a clear proof of that guidance, and as the criterion (by which to discern right from wrong)” (al-Baqarah, 2:185). The Qur’an is the latest and last edition of Divine Guidance.
The scriptures, former editions of this very book, went through a process of evolution side by side with the psychological, intellectual and social evolution until the advent of Muhammad (SAW). “It is He (Allah) who sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with the Guidance and the true deen (system of Justice) to make it prevail over the whole deen (manmade systems of life), however hateful this may be to those who ascribe partners (with Allah). (al-Saff, 61:9)
An open invitation is issued to the recipients of former scriptures, the people of the Book (Jews and Christians), “O people of the Book! Believe in what We have sent down, confirming that which is with you (Old and New Testaments).” (al-Nisa’, 4:47)
The Qur’an is the last edition and final Book of Divine Guidance that will never undergo revision. “The Words of Allah shall not change” (Yunus, 10:64). Allah’s favor upon humanity is complete. “When guidance comes to you from Me, as it certainly will, there shall be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor shall they grieve” (al-Baqarah, 2:38).